Flagstaff, AZ – This weekend, Grand Canyon National Park will join other parks across the country and waive entrance fees. It's the second of three "Fee Free" weekends scheduled by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. He says it's a way of encouraging Americans seeking affordable vacations to visit their National Parks. Visitors who come to Grand Canyon National Park this Saturday and Sunday will be allowed free entrance and free parking. The final "Fee Free" weekend is set for August 15th and 16th.
Happy Jack, AZ – The 4th of July Complex fire burning near Happy Jack has grown to nearly 1,000 acres and is expected to get even bigger. Officials with the Coconino National Forest say fire crews have begun control lines to the north of the fire near the southern end of Blue Ridge Reservoir. Forest Managers have extended a fire closure area to include a portion of the Blue Ridge Reservoir. For specific details of the fire closure area you can log onto www.fs.fedus/r3/coconino.
Flagstaff, AZ – The Coconino County Sheriff's office and Search and Rescue unit are mourning the loss of one of their volunteers. The Coconino County Sheriff's office says 22-year old Joe Rommel was killed Tuesday in a car accident. Rommel had been a volunteer for the county's Search and Rescue unit since 2005. He specialized in technical and alpine rescue. Joe Rommel was originally from Tucson, but came to Flagstaff to attend NAU.
In the arid Southwest, the idea of a rainy season comes as a surprise to many newcomers. But the region does enjoy a distinct monsoon period that usually begins in early July and lasts into the middle of September.
Phoenix, AZ – Arizonans will soon be able to bring their loaded guns into bars. But as Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer explains, they WON'T be able to light any sparklers to celebrate the new law.
Flagstaff, AZ – A former Flagstaff police officer serving in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan has been killed in action. Twenty-seven year old Army Sergeant Eric James Lindstrom was a member of the 10th Mountain Division. Hist father told the Arizona Daily Sun that his son was killed by gunfire. Eric Lindstrom joined the Army at 17 after graduation from Flagstaff High School in 1999. After one tour of duty in Iraq, Lindstrom returned to Flagstaff where he served for four years as a police officer. He then returned to the Army and was eventually deployed to Afghanistan.
Tucson, AZ – Federal Officials say Border Patrol agents near Tucson have seized a record 1 million pounds of marijuana so far this fiscal year. Officials estimate a street value of more than 800 million dollars. Seizures during the first nine and a half months of fiscal year 2009 add up to the most ever in a single sector of the Border Patrol. The Tucson sector covers 260 miles of the Mexican border from New Mexico to Yuma County. It's the nation's busiest part of the two thousand mile southwest border for human and drug trafficking.
Phoenix, AZ – U.S. Airways plans to cut 600 ground jobs this fall as the airline continues to struggle with the slow economy. U.S. Airways officials said yesterday that the biggest cut will be 340 customer service agents nationwide. They're scheduled to lose their jobs September 14th. Other layoffs will coincide with the closing of the U.S. Airways Las Vegas Aiways Club September 13th and a reduction in staff at its club in Phoenix. The airline also plans to shut its walk-up ticket counter at its Tempe headquarters, the last remaining counter the airline has outside an airport.