Shelley Smithson

Freelance Reporter


KNAU and Arizona News
9:35 pm
Fri June 15, 2012

Hopi Tribal Council Rejects Kyl's Water Settlement Bill

A crowd of more than 100 Hopis gathered Friday to hear former Hopi leaders speak out against a water settlement bill proposed by Sen. Jon Kyl.
Shelley Smithson

After a heated day-long meeting today, The Hopi Tribal council has voted to halt negotiations on a controversial water bill.

The 11-4 vote endorsed a resolution brought forth by former Hopi leaders. 

The leaders objected to the bill by Arizona’s U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl that would have settled Hopi claims to the Little Colorado River in exchange for water development projects.

Former Chairman Ivan Sidney declared that Kyl’s bill is now dead, because without all parties agreeing to the water settlement, Kyl has said he won’t move it forward in Congress.

KNAU and Arizona News
9:33 pm
Fri June 15, 2012

Hopi Tribal Council debates Little Colorado water settlement

The Hopi Tribal Council is debating two bills today -- one opposing a water settlement of the Little Colorado River and the other endorsing it.

Former Hopi leaders asked the Tribal Council to reject  the controversial water settlement bill.

The meeting had to be moved to accommodate more than 100 people.

At issue is legislation in Congress that would settle Hopi and Navajo claims to the Little Colorado River.

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KNAU and Arizona News
4:42 pm
Thu June 14, 2012

Hopi Tribal Council to take up bill rejecting Little Colorado River water settlement

On Friday, the Hopi Tribal Council is scheduled to discuss a controversial water rights settlement bill introduced in Congress.

Legislation sponsored by U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl would settle Navajo and Hopi claims to the Little Colorado River in exchange for municipal water projects on the reservations.

Opposition to Senate Bill 2109 has brought together long-time political enemies on the Hopi reservation.

Ivan Sidney, Vernon Masayesva (Ma-sigh-yes-va) and Ben Nuvamsa are all former Hopi chairmen who rarely have seen eye to eye.

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KNAU and Arizona News
2:37 pm
Thu May 24, 2012

EPA grants Northern Arizona $700,000 for Route 66

Diners, motor inns and gas stations -- those were standard sites on Route 66 for decades as tourists made their way through Northern Arizona.

That is until Interstate 40 was built.   

“When I-40 came through the gas stations and so forth all moved over to 1-40 leaving behind them their old gas stations.”

That’s Karl Eberhard, Flagstaff’s city architect.

He says the tanks at those abandoned gas stations eventually began leaking petroleum into the water table.

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KNAU and Arizona News
2:00 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

Forest Service restricts campfires to campgrounds

With red flag warnings in effect near the Grand Canyon and Prescott, fire officials are putting a damper on campfires on the Coconino and Kaibab national forests beginning Wednesday.

Campfires are banned in the City of Flagstaff and will be limited in the Coconino and Kaibab national forests.

Forest Service spokeswoman Punky Moore says under the Stage 1 restrictions, campfires are only allowed in developed campgrounds.  

Stoves that can be turned off, such as propane, are still allowed in the national forest.

KNAU and Arizona News
3:00 am
Fri May 11, 2012

Student debt accompanies diploma for many NAU graduates

Graduation Thinker

More than 4,000 undergraduates are expected to walk across the stage to get their diplomas this weekend at Northern Arizona University’s Skydome.

And 6 out of 10 of those graduates will leave Flagstaff with a diploma, and thousands of dollars in debt.


The food court inside the Northern Arizona University Union was bustling earlier this week.

Just days before commencement ceremonies, students crammed for exams hunched over laptops and lattes.

Graduating senior Emily August finished her last assignment.

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KNAU and Arizona News
1:14 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

City Manager Urges Spending $6 Million for Forest Thinning

It goes without saying that a forest fire near Flagstaff’s city borders would be catastrophic.

It could destroy homes and property and endanger lives.

But that’s just the beginning, says Flagstaff City Manager Kevin Burke.

“If we had a forest fire on Dry Lake Hills similar to what we saw on the Shultz Pass on the other side, and we saw those sorts of flooding afterwards, we could see flows 10 times what we’re modeling for a 100-year flood in the Rio de Flag,” he says. “The flooding would be extraordinary, and the damage would be inconceivable.”

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KNAU and Arizona News
1:45 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

NAU Sees Modest Budget Boost

Northern Arizona University is celebrating a small budget victory.

The state budget approved by Arizona lawmakers this week includes $3.3 million in extra funding for NAU.

That may not sound like a lot, but considering the university has lost $60 million in state funding in the last three years, it was welcome news.

State funding has declined from $161 million to $101 million. That’s about one-quarter of the university’s total budget.

University spokesman Tom Bauer says the money will help students succeed. 

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KNAU and Arizona News
7:33 pm
Tue May 1, 2012

State regulators give Tusayan developer until August to submit water plan

The clock is ticking for an Italian developer to tell the state where it will get water for a planned real estate development near the south rim of the Grand Canyon.

The Arizona Corporation Commission recently told Stilo Development Group it has until early August to submit its water plan to state regulators.

The developer is asking the state for permission to form a water utility company.

The utility would provide water to Stilo’s planned commercial and residential developments inside the town of Tusayan and on nearby forest land.

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KNAU and Arizona News
7:27 pm
Tue May 1, 2012

Flagstaff mayoral candidates face questions about city's water future

Since its earliest days, questions about water have preoccupied Flagstaff’s city leaders.

Where to get it, how to pay for it, what to do if it runs out.

Those questions are still front and center for the City and the region. 

Arizona Public Radio’s Shelley Smithson talked to both candidates running for mayor to see how they would manage one of the city’s most precious resources. 


At Flagstaff’s Lake Mary Water Treatment Plant, water from snowmelt is purified before it is delivered to homes throughout the city. 

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