Shelley Smithson

Freelance Reporter


KNAU and Arizona News
4:10 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Senate votes to defund abortion providers

The Arizona Senate has passed a bill that would bar taxpayer money from funding family planning clinics that provide abortions.

Abortion opponents are hailing the decision by the Republican-dominated Senate.

Supporters of the bill say taxpayer money shouldn’t be used to subsidize abortion providers.

Arizona law already prohibits the use of public money for abortions.

Planned Parenthood spokesperson Cynde Cerf says the bill could cut off funding to 4,000 Medicare patients in Arizona.

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KNAU and Arizona News
8:20 pm
Mon April 23, 2012

Home sales up in Northern Arizona

Northern Arizona’s battered real estate market is seeing some signs of healing. 

Home sales were up in the Flagstaff, Sedona and Prescott areas.

And prices between the first quarter of 2012 and 2011 were also up slightly in all areas except Prescott.

Does that mean prices have hit bottom?

 “Prices have fallen 45 percent (in Sedona) and have only stabilized in the last three months,” says Andrew Brearley of Coldwell Banker in Sedona.

He points to another sign of life for the region – two homes over $2 million sold recently in Sedona.

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KNAU and Arizona News
3:53 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

Police presence high at Navajo water meetings

Standing-room only crowds met Navajo President Ben Shelly this week as he hosted three public hearings on a proposed settlement of tribal claims to the Little Colorado River.

The hearings are a chance for Navajos to express their views on a bill by Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl.

But not everyone felt their voices were heard.

Navajo Police SWAT teams watched from nearby rooftops as residents filed into the Tuba City Chapter House.

More than 200 people packed the meeting hall with another 60 outside protesting.

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KNAU and Arizona News
12:10 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Flagstaff mayoral race centers on economic development, budget

Construction has begun on a condominium complex south of Aspen Place. Candidates for mayor have differing views on what role the city should play in stimulating the economy.
Shelley Smithson

It seems like a condominium complex just south of the Aspen Place shopping center -- is going up overnight.

But the truth is, this development has been like a long, bad dream for the City of Flagstaff.

Just five years ago, this 40-acre spot was an abandoned industrial zone – a black eye on the edge of the city’s downtown.

To get this project going, the City offered a developer tax incentives and bond guarantees.

But the developer defaulted on those 19 million dollars in bond guarantees, leaving the city holding the bag.

The story ended well.

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KNAU and Arizona News
11:03 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Senators Kyl and McCain Meet Angry Protesters in Tuba City

Protesters turned out to tell Sen. John McCain and Sen. Jon Kyl they do not support a water settlement bill in Tuba City, Thursday, April 5, 2012.
Shelley Smithson

Protesters held up signs and booed as Arizona  Senators Jon Kyl and John McCain visited Tuba City Thursday.

The senators were in Tuba City to discuss details of their water settlement bill with Navajo and Hopi officials.  

The $300 million bill would cede the tribe’s claims to the Little Colorado River in exchange for three water development projects in reservation communities where many lack running water.

But the bill is unpopular with many, even those who live in communities that would get drinking water.

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KNAU and Arizona News
5:09 pm
Fri March 9, 2012

Study disputes economic benefits of snowmaking

The City of Flagstaff has decided to renew a contract to sell wastewater to Arizona Snowbowl for snowmaking. The decision was made by city staff, not by City Council.   

The decision comes as a new study questions the economic impact of the ski resort.

The report commissioned by the Hopi Tribe disputes previous economic studies that found a $17 million annual economic impact.

John Duffield, an economics professor at the University of Montana, says previous studies overstated the impact.

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KNAU and Arizona News
5:38 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Court halts election on development in Tusayan

Stilo Development Group plans to build hotels and retail space at the Camper Village site inside the town limits of Tusayan. A decision today by the Coconino County Superior Court precludes voters from deciding the fate of the company's plan.
Shelley Smithson

Voters in Tusayan will not be able to vote in May on whether to allow hotels, homes and retail space to be built at the gateway to the Grand Canyon.

Coconino County Superior Court Judge Joe Lodge ruled in favor of Stilo Development Group Tuesday.

That means Stilo's plans to build a resort, dude ranch, and an RV campground, as well as homes and hotels, on three parcels in Tusayan, can proceed.

The Tusayan Town Council last fall approved Stilo’s development plan.

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KNAU and Arizona News
6:21 am
Tue February 28, 2012

For many locals, Tusayan development debate revolves around housing

Sheryl Strobeck, office manager at Camper Village in Tusayan, supports a proposed development plan because she believes it will mean more housing options for workers.
Shelley Smithson

Sheryl Strobeck is the office manager of an RV campground in the tiny town of Tusayan.  Since moving here eight years ago, she’s worked at most of the businesses in town.

But every time her job changes, her home address changes too.

That’s because all of the housing in Tusayan is owned by companies who rent it to their employees.

“You can’t live here unless you work here," she says. "There’s nothing to rent here unless you are employed. Nothing.”

And that’s why Strobeck supports the Stilo Development Group’s plans.

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KNAU and Arizona News
4:00 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Study shows canned meat increases risk of diabetes among Native Americans

A recent study shows that Native Americans who eat canned food twice a week double their risk of diabetes.
Shelley Smithson

A recent study shows that Native Americans who eat canned meat more than twice a week double their risk of developing diabetes.

Canned meat such as Spam is a big seller among rural shoppers, especially Native Americans.

“About 68 percent of American Indians in the study consumed processed meat twice a week,” says Amanda Frett says, an epidemiologist at the University of Washington.

Growing up on the Micmac Reservation, Fretts saw many relatives afflicted by diabetes.

Fifty percent of Native Americans nationwide develop diabetes by age 55.

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-Arizona Centennial
5:30 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Locals recall memories on Arizona's birthday

Joe Meehan and Les Roe rang the Emerson School bell at Flagstaff Pioneer Museum 100 times to mark Arizona's 100th birthday Tuesday.

The museum is hosting a day-long birthday party with a new Centennial exhibit by NAU history students.

Meehan, curator of Arizona Historical Society’s Pioneer Museum, says in 1912, Flagstaff was a booming frontier town with a population around 2,000.

“The lumber yard was up and running. It was growing, the university was here, the observatory was here,” he says.

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