Sierra Eckert

KNAU and Arizona News
4:18 am
Wed August 15, 2012

Virtual Agent Screens Travelers on the Border

BORDERS/University of Arizona

In Nogales Arizona, the latest news on the US/Mexico border is… robotic.

The National Center for Border Security and Immigration has a new virtual border patrol agent.

Meet the AVATAR, or Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time.

(Sound of AVATAR greeting: "Hello, I am AVATAR")

He’s bilingual, friendly, professional, and a computer.

His face smiles at you from a touch-screen kiosk.

Travelers who frequently cross the border can apply for something called the Trusted Travelers program.

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KNAU and Arizona News
2:38 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Despite Heavier Monsoons, Flagstaff's Water Supply is Still Low.

Monsoon Clouds in Arizona
RyanW124

Despite a wet monsoon season, Flagstaff is still in a drought.

The low water level has the city water department waiting for next spring.

Brad Hill, Director of Utilities for the City of Flagstaff reports that Upper Lake Mary is currently at 23% of its full capacity.

Hill says the 5-year-average at this time of year is 49%.

Lake Mary supplies about half of Flagstaff’s water supply, the other half coming from aquifers.

Hill says the lake isn’t filling because the forests soak up the water.  

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KNAU and Arizona News
9:53 am
Fri August 10, 2012

Composing with the Canyon

Composer Erik DeLuca strums a cigar box guitar at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Sierra Eckert

The last time you visited the Grand Canyon, what did you take away?

Photographs? An appreciation of natural beauty?

Certainly memories.

Composer Erik DeLuca is taking away sound.

As the Park's most recent artist in residence, DeLuca's using the sounds of the Grand Canyon to create music.

What do you hear when you go to the Grand Canyon?

Recent park visitors said, “You could hear the wind rustling.”

“It’s a nice peaceful silence.”

“A gentle breeze and/or silence.”

But to Erik DeLuca, the canyon is by no means quiet.

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KNAU and Arizona News
3:43 pm
Tue August 7, 2012

Flagstaff Turns on Huge Solar Array

Solar Array at the Wildcat Hill Wastewater Treatment Plant in Flagstaff, AZ
McKenzie Jones

Flagstaff officials fired up a new solar panel installation on Tuesday.

The city has installed 2,000 solar panels spanning 4.3 acres, and has plans for more.

A celebratory crowd gathered to flip the switch on a new solar installation.

The array,  out at the Wildcat Hill Wastewater Treatment Plant will provide 21% of the facility’s needs.

The city is working with an energy developer to offset the high energy costs of running the plant.

This is the first of three planned installations.

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KNAU and Arizona News
10:59 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Clinic Brings Schools Healthcare on Wheels

Sierra Eckert

As students head back to school, yellow buses are going to become a common sight again. But this fall, buses won’t be ferrying just students.

North Country Healthcare has just launched a new mobile clinic in a bus.

The clinic will bring primary healthcare to elementary schools in Flagstaff. 

Arizona Public Radio’s Sierra Eckert has this story…

A bright orange Frelightner bus sits outside Killip Elementary school in Flagstaff.

But, it’s not full of backpacks and lunchboxes.

It’s a mobile health clinic.

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KNAU and Arizona News
11:26 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Flagstaff Snow Park Sent Back to the Drawing Board

Developers have proposed setting up a sledding and tubing area on the south side of McMillan Mesa.

But on Tuesday, the Flagstaff city council voted to postpone a decision on leasing the land to the developers.

Cries of “Read it! Read it” from members of the public who gathered at City Hall have sent the Flagstaff City Council back to the books.

Their summer reading?

A proposal that would lease city property to developers of a SnoPark.

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KNAU and Arizona News
6:02 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Timberline Residents Hold Their Breath and Try to Work Together to Deal with Future Flooding

An air support tanker flies over the Schultz Fire, 6/20/10
Brady Smith USDA Forest Service, Coconino National Forest.

As much of Northern Arizona holds its breath waiting for rain, residents in the Timberline neighborhood are not as hopeful.

This summer’s monsoon season could bring more devastating floods.

Coconino County and the Forest Service have plans to build channels to keep mud and floodwaters from damaging homes.

But, these plans depend on approval of all homeowners, and not everyone is falling in line.

After the 2010 Schultz Fire burned 15,000 hillside  acres northeast of Flagstaff, residents in Timberline are all too familiar with summer flooding.

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KNAU and Arizona News
11:12 am
Wed June 27, 2012

AZ Gun Deaths Among Highest in Nation

Abu badali

You are twice as likely to die from a gunshot in Arizona as in New York City or in Los Angeles.

According to recent research from the Violence Policy Center, Arizona’s gun death rate is among the highest in the nation.  

The Center reports Arizona has a rate of 13 gun deaths for every hundred thousand people.

That may not sound like a lot, but Houston’s rate is 13. And Chicago’s is 15

Among states, Arizona ranks 15th highest in per capita gun deaths.

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