Flagstaff, AZ – Wildfires burning on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest have also forced some road closures today. Forest Road 170 is currently closed at the junction of Forest Road 504 due to the lightning-caused Durfee Fire. Smoke from that fire will likely be visible today in the communities of Heber, Overgaard, Snowflake and Taylor. Fire crews are also managing the Pierce Mountain Fire on the Apache-Sitgreaves. It's burning southwest of Vernon near the Fort Apache Reservation. Smoke from that fire could impact the communities of Vernon, Pinetop, Lakeside and Round Valley today.
Flagstaff, AZ – A wildfire burning near Prescott has forced the closure of State Route 89-A. The highway is closed from the summit of Mingus Mountain north to the scenic vista 1 mile above Jerome. The Arizona Department of Transportation is advising drivers to avoid the area and use State Route 69, State Route 169, Interstate 17 and State Route 260 between Prescott and the Jerome/Cottonwood area. Forest Service officials say the Wood-Chute Fire is burning on Mingus Mountain. So far, it's charred 400 acres.
Flagstaff, AZ – Arizona has been awarded a 54 million dollar federal grant to aid top-performing charter schools and develop new ones. The Arizona Republic reports that the state plans to open nearly 100 new charter schools in the coming years. Arizona charter schools normally receive individual grants by applying directly to the U.S. Department of Education. But, this latest grant came after the federal government invited states to apply and use funds to increase the number of charter schools nationwide. Arizona will disperse the money incrementally.
Flagstaff, AZ – Jailed polygamous church leader Warren Jeffs continues to refuse solid food and remains on a feeding tube at a jail in Kingman. A spokesman for the Mohave County Sheriff's Office says 53 year old Jeffs had been refusing food for weeks and had to receive medical intervention. Yesterday, he reportedly ate a sandwich and an orange, but since then, he's refused to eat anything else. Jail officials began force feeding Jeffs on Friday. He's in jail in Arizona on charges of arranging marriages between underage girls and older men. Jeffs faces similar charges in Utah.
Flagstaff, AZ – The Arizona Game and Fish Department says a record number of bald eagle eggs were laid this year. Officials have counted 77 eggs, 6 more than last year. Of those eggs, 67 were hatched successfully. The state is also celebrating the second-best year on record for the number of fledgling bald eagles that took flight in. Game and Fish authorities say those 47 birds mark an important milestone in the young eagles' chances for survival.
Flagstaff, AZ – More students are headed to Arizona State University through the Maricopa Community College District's transfer-degree program. Education officials say it's one of the top 20 transfer programs in the country. The program is aimed at keeping tuition rates down for students pursuing bachelor degrees. The agreement allows students to transfer to ASU within three years of beginning community college classes. In exchange, ASU will cap those students' tuition increases at five percent.
Flagstaff, AZ – Earth Notes: Corraling Canyon Graffiti
Graffiti isn't something that only happens along inner-city alleyways. Despite advice to leave nothing but footprints, each year thousands of visitors to southwestern natural areas scratch their names into boulders and cliffs rather than into designated trail registers.