Gillian Ferris

Managing Editor

Gillian came to KNAU in 2001 as a freelance reporter. Her first story won an Arizona Associated Press Award. Since then, Gillian has won more than a dozen Edward R. Murrow Awards for feature reporting, writing and documentary work. She served as the local anchor for NPR’s Morning Edition for 8 years before moving into a full time reporting position in 2012. Gillian covers everything from environmental issues to sports, with a penchant for human interest stories of all kinds. When she’s not working, Gillian revels in the natural world and is an avid hiker, skier, swimmer, river runner and surfer. She also enjoys making fancy cakes and reorganizing her collection of fabulous shoes… 70 pairs and counting.

Ways to Connect

Today marks the 25th anniversary of one of the deadliest plane crashes in U.S. history. The sole survivor of Northwest Airlines Flight 255 was a four year old Arizona girl, who became known to the world as "the miracle girl". For the first time since the disaster, she's publicly shared her story of survival. Arizona Public Radio's Gillian Ferris Kohl reports.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety is reporting a backlog of thousands of fingerprinting applications from teachers statewide.  The delay could be a problem as districts gear up for the start of the school year.

DPS is reporting a backlog of at least 12,000 fingerprinting applications.  Fingerprint clearance is a crucial step in teacher background and criminal history checks. 

Last week alone, DPS received nearly seven thousand new applications. 

Officials generally process about 5,000 fingerprint cards per week. 

Gillian Ferris Kohl / KNAU

Last month, President Obama handed out the most prestigious science award for young researchers. The Presidential Early Career Award honors science and engineering professionals in the beginning stages of their research careers. One of the recipients was 38 year old Flagstaff geologist, Justin Hagerty. His work focused on studying the evolution of the moon, particularly the dark side of the moon.

A report released this week by the Arizona Department of Economic Security reveals that the number of children in foster care is at an all-time high. Arizona Public Radio's Gillian Ferris Kohl reports.

Officials in northeastern Arizona say more than a week of consistent rain is causing flooding downstream of the Wallow Fire burn area. The flooding has forest officials and residents on alert.

Last summer, the Wallow Fire became the largest wildfire in state history after it burned nearly 540 thousand acres and destroyed dozens of homes in Arizona and New Mexico.  Now, officials say monsoon rains are causing flash flooding in some of the scarred areas downstream of the burn.

Arizona has one of the highest incarceration rates in the country. And that means it also has one of the highest percentages of children with one or both parents in jail. Keeping those kids and parents connected is particularly difficult in the more remote parts of the state. Arizona Public Radio's Gillian Ferris Kohl reports on how Coconino County is trying to help families stay in touch without bringing kids inside prison walls.

Arizona has one of the highest incarceration rates in the country, and that means it also has one of the highest percentages of children with one or both parents in jail. One rural county there is trying to help families stay connected.

On a recent day, 45-year-old Liz Minor sits in the shade outside a coffeehouse in Flagstaff, enjoying icy drinks with her two sons. She relishes this ordinary moment, considering that just a few years ago, their time together was limited to a prison visiting room, separated by shatterproof glass.

Gillian Ferris Kohl / KNAU

Over the last few weeks, northern Arizonans have witnessed a lot of astronomical drama: the annular eclipse earlier this month and a partial lunar eclipse yesterday. Today. Flagstaff will have one of the most impressive views of the Transit of Venus. It's a rare event that happens when Venus passes between the sun and the Earth. And, as Arizona Public Radio's Gillian Ferris Kohl reports, it's an event most of us will never see again.

Most of the state is under some type of high wind advisory today. And, the strongest gusts are yet to come.

Winds have been blowing throughout the day at around 40 miles per hour. But weather officials expect them to pick up significantly by this evening.

Chris Outler, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Flagstaff, said, "Just east of Flagstaff in the Doney Park area tends to be the most susceptible to high winds and that’s where we’re expecting to see some of the strongest gusts today possibly exceeding 60, maybe 65 miles per hour”

Second Chance Center for Animals

This is the time of year when a puff of smoke on the horizon can raise the hair on the back of your neck. Is it a prescribed burn? Or is it the makings of the state's next massive wildfire? Arizona has experienced two of the largest forest fires in recorded state history in the last decade. And, as Arizona Public Radio's Gillian Ferris Kohl reports, the onset of fire season has a lot of Arizonans on edge.

Flagstaff resident Lisa Skinner grew up in a household of firefighters and has been ready to evacuate her whole life.