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KNAU and Arizona News
8:11 am
Wed July 15, 2015

Judge Grants Request To Halt Suit Against Board Of Education

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas

  A judge has granted the state Board of Education's request to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas over authority to oversee and fire the board's staff.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Patricia Starr ruled Tuesday that part of Douglas' suit was a "political question" inappropriate for a court to decide. The judge also said other parts of the suit were too abstract to warrant a court ruling.

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KNAU and Arizona News
5:00 am
Wed July 15, 2015

Flagstaff Scientists Celebrate Pluto Flyby

Planetary scientists with Flagstaff ties speak to KNAU from Laurel, Maryland during the Pluto flyby. From left to right: Simon Porter, Will Grundy, Marc Buie, Cathy Olkin, and W. Lowell Putnam, IV, the great-grandnephew of Percival Lowell.
Credit Kevin Schindler

When NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft flew by Pluto yesterday, KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny was patched into mission operations in Maryland. She was talking to some of the Flagstaff scientists who were there to celebrate the big event. It was a reunion for past and present planetary scientists of Lowell Observatory, where Pluto was discovered 85 years ago. 

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Earth Notes
5:00 am
Wed July 15, 2015

Earth Notes: Protecting the Bear's Ears

Credit Bears Ears Coalition

Among the most prominent landmarks of southern Utah are the Bear’s Ears—a pair of buttes south of the Dark Canyon Wilderness that are visible for many miles. They’re known to Navajo people as the birthplace of the celebrated “Headman” Manuelito, who was known for resisting federal efforts to forcibly remove Navajos from the region.

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KNAU and Arizona News
2:44 pm
Tue July 14, 2015

The Pluto-Flagstaff Connection: An Interview From Mission Control

Clyde Tombaugh, an astronomer at Flagstaff's Lowell Observatory, is credited with discovering Pluto in 1930.
Credit New Mexico State University

Earlier today, after nearly a decade of interplanetary travel, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft recorded the first up-close images of Pluto. It was discovered in 1930 by astronomers at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff. That's where Dr. Will Grundy works, he's a co-investigator for the New Horizons mission. Arizona Public Radio's Justin Regan spoke with him from Mission Control in Maryland about today's historic event.

JR: This is obviously a very big day for you and your team. What's the mood like in the control center right now? How are you feeling?

WG: Pretty euphoric. The spacecraft is too busy taking data right now to communicate with us, so we're not in communication, but this is exactly what it was designed for. So, we're pretty confident that it is doing its job and filling up the memories with some absolutely fabulous data.

JR: Tell us about the fly-by today. Can you tell us what you were able to see?

WG: Well, we see nothing yet. It's all an interesting dance of celestial mechanics and the limited speed of light. So the spacecraft, as you said, flew by Pluto and the Pluto system a while ago. It's now turning its cameras back towards the direction of the sun, and it's watching the sun set through Pluto's atmosphere and rise on the other side. And then we'll do the same thing behind Charon's atmosphere - if it has an atmosphere. That'll be a chance to discover something that hasn't yet been seen. We transmitted a radio transmission several hours ago from the deep space network that will arrive at Pluto just in time for New Horizons to watch that radio transmission through Pluto's atmosphere. And, of course, when it phones home it takes four and a half hours for the radio signal to come back down and be received at Earth, and we'll get that message this evening.

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KNAU and Arizona News
12:07 pm
Tue July 14, 2015

Congress Moves to Block Proposed Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument

The proposed Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument would encompass 1.7 million acres surrounding Grand Canyon National Park.
Credit Jim Dougherty

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved an amendment to a bill that would limit the president’s ability to set aside federal lands for conservation. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, the move is aimed in part at preventing the possible designation of a Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument.

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KNAU and Arizona News
8:14 am
Tue July 14, 2015

Arizona GOP Lawmaker To Announce She'll Take On McCain

State Sen. Kelli Ward

  A Republican Arizona lawmaker who has been exploring a challenge to longtime U.S. Sen. John McCain is set to reveal her decision at a Lake Havasu City news conference.

State Sen. Kelli Ward announced in April she was considering taking on the five-term incumbent in next year's Republican primary. She's scheduled a news conference Tuesday afternoon to announce her decision.

McCain announced in April that he'll seek to extend his nearly three-decade career in the Senate by running for a sixth term.

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KNAU and Arizona News
5:00 am
Mon July 13, 2015

Flagstaff Artists Inspired by New Horizons Mission to Pluto

NASA received this image of Pluto from New Horizons on July 8.
Credit NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute.

Tomorrow NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft will make its closest approach to Pluto and collect the first-ever close-up images of the dwarf planet. In Flagstaff, where Pluto was discovered, scientists will be waiting to analyze those photographs and other data. But they’re not the only ones. Artists are creating their own interpretations of Pluto, and they’ll use New Horizons for inspiration. 

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KNAU and Arizona News
7:31 am
Fri July 10, 2015

Utah Hunter Who Killed Gray Wolf Won't Be Charged

No charges will be brought against the hunter who killed this wolf, which roamed from Yellowstone to the Grand Canyon.

 

A Utah hunter who killed the first gray wolf seen near the Grand Canyon in seven decades won't face criminal charges because he thought he was shooting a coyote, U.S. Fish and Wildlife announced Thursday.

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KNAU and Arizona News
5:00 am
Fri July 10, 2015

Hualapai Mexican Vole May Lose Endangered Species Status

The Hualapai Mexican Vole.
Credit G. Andrejko, Arizona Game and Fish Department

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed removing the Hualapai Mexican Vole from the list of endangered species. Genetic evidence suggests their numbers are more widespread in Arizona than previously believed.

The Hualapai Mexican Vole was originally listed in 1987 as a subspecies confined mainly to the Hualapai Mountains in the northwestern corner of Arizona. Now researchers question whether that designation is correct.   

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KNAU and Arizona News
2:54 pm
Thu July 9, 2015

Bill Gives Seasonal Workers A Chance For Full-Time Employment

Credit themash.com

The House of Representatives has passed a bill that paves the way for thousands of seasonal federal employees to be considered for full-time merit-based jobs. As Arizona Public Radio's Gillian Ferris reports, the measure applies to land management workers, including wildland firefighters.

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