Overhead sign installation continues on westbound I-40 east of I-17 Junction in Flagstaff

FLAGSTAFF — The Arizona Department of Transportation continues work to install an overhead electronic message sign on westbound Interstate 40 (milepost 197), just east of the I-17 junction south of Flagstaff.

Electronic message signs span the width of the freeway and are used by ADOT to help keep drivers informed of traffic, road and weather conditions.

Monday (Aug. 31) through Wednesday (Sept. 2), westbound I-40 will be narrowed to one lane (milepost 197) while crews continue work on an overhead electronic message sign. Work will take place daily from 6 a.m. to noon. Please observe reduced speeds and exercise caution while traveling through the work zone.

A visit to Old Trails

640-15-08-28-01WILLIAMS — Old Trails True Value hardware has been serving the Williams community for hundreds of years. Okay. For a really long time. I am not a handyman because I do not have a lot of room for projects and I usually break my thumb changing a light bulb. Today I had the need of some tools and had a chance to visit at 616 Airport Road in Williams and see what was new. You can call them at 928-635-2591 (even from your smart phone) and see if they have what you need.

Loads of fishing and camping essentials.

Loads of fishing and camping essentials.

Old Trails allows well-behaved, friendly, vaccinated and leashed dogs, cats, parrots, etc., into the store so you do not have to leave your pet in the hot car.

I was able to find what I was looking for and some things I was not. If you cannot find your particular need, the friendly staff knows where it is.

Of course you can get the usual home repair necessities and project requirements. Old Trails is stocked with the basic pipes, ladders, lumber and wood products, tools and so forth. Everything you expect from a hardware store.
640-15-08-28-03They also have a line of RV essentials for our visitors coming through. Along with anti-freeze, washer fluid, oil and other general auto supplies.

Old Trails has some things to think about for Fire Prevention month in October. They have a line of smoke detectors and fire extinguishers which are really important. They also have the batteries if yours are dead. You do not have to wait for October to participate. You can test your smoke or C02 detector and replace the batteries or units as necessary today. Then you can sit back during October and enjoy the Halloween decorations you can also get at Old Trails.

Fire extinguishers are important for home or auto.

Fire extinguishers are important for home or auto.

I twice had the occasion to actually use a fire extinguisher that was carried in my family vehicles. Once to stop a fire in my family kitchen and once in my own car. Both times limited severe damage so I recommend you get one for home and vehicle. These were smaller fires. If they had been larger I would not try to fight them alone, of course. I would call 911.
They also carry the Dickies line of work shirts, pants and shorts.

They also carry the Dickies line of work shirts, pants and shorts.

Don't forget to check out the back. Lots more stuff back there.

Don’t forget to check out the back. Lots more stuff back there.

If you are getting ready to winterize or need parts for projects or home repairs, check out Old Trails in Williams. In fact you might want to pick the brains of the staff now for ideas on what you might need for winter. Some are expecting a harsh winter season this year.

Here is a secret, ciphered message that only my Veteran brothers and sisters will understand:

Don’t forget to tell them you are a Veteran to receive your 10% discount.

(I’m sorry. Did that go out in the clear?)

US 60 east of Superior to close briefly for blasting operations Sept. 2 and 3 and Sept. 9 and 10

SUPERIOR — Motorists traveling along US 60 between Phoenix and Globe on Wednesday and Thursday mornings, for the next two weeks, need to plan ahead or allow extra time as the Arizona Department of Transportation continues blasting work as part of an improvement project to build a new passing lane and widen roadway shoulders east of Superior, approximately 65 miles east of downtown Phoenix. The closures are scheduled for Sept. 2 and 3 and the following week for Sept. 9 and 10.

The construction of the two-mile-long climbing lane from Devil’s Canyon to Oak Flat (mileposts 231-233) will require a full closure of US 60 for up to 90 minutes from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 2 and 3.

Traffic on eastbound US 60 will be stopped east of Superior (milepost 227) and westbound US 60 will be stopped at the Top of the World, west of Miami (milepost 235) until the blasting work is completed and the roadway is reopened after all debris is cleared. Law enforcement officers will be stationed at each closure to assist with traffic control.

ADOT anticipates the highway will be closed at least once per week for blasting for up to three months. As blasting continues there will be a lesser impact on traffic and delays will be reduced.

Motorists seeking an alternate route can consider state routes 77 and 177, which is approximately 68 miles long.

The $8.8 million safety improvement project will make it easier for motorists to pass large trucks and slow-moving vehicles whose speed drops because of the sustained grades along this stretch of highway from Devil’s Canyon to the Oak Flat area.

The project will include the following:

  • Construction of a new westbound passing lane from Devil’s Canyon to Oak Flat (mileposts 231-233)
  • Widening shoulders in the Devil’s Canyon area (milepost 233-234)
  • Improvements to the Waterfall Canyon bridge (milepost 229)
  • Box culvert drainage improvements (milepost 242 just west of Miami)

ADOT will work to minimize the traffic impacts as much as possible, including scheduling some nighttime work.

There will be narrow traffic lanes, wide-load restrictions and a reduced speed limit through the work zone. Flaggers and pilot cars will be used at different times throughout the project.

Drivers are asked to use caution, watch for construction equipment and personnel, and allow extra time for your commute.

Big Park Wastewater Treatment Plant Pollutant Discharge renewal permit


Pursuant to the Clean Water Act and in accordance with Arizona Administrative Code (A.A.C.) R18-9-A907, the Director of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) proposes to issue an Arizona Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (AZPDES) Permit to discharge pollutants to Waters of the United States to the following applicant, subject to certain effluent limitations and special conditions:

Public Notice No. 16-09 Published on August 28, 2015
Published in the Verde Independent

AZPDES Permit No. AZ0024082
Big Park Domestic Wastewater Improvement District (DWID)
Big Park Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP)
117 E. Gurley Street, #206
Prescott, AZ 86301

The Big Park Domestic DWID applied for a renewal AZPDES permit for the proposed discharge of up to 0.7 million gallons per day (mgd) of treated domestic wastewater from the Big Park WWTP to an unnamed wash, tributary to Jacks Canyon Wash in the Verde River Basin in Township 16 N, Range 6 E, Section 19, in Yavapai County, Arizona. The Big Park WWTP is a privately owned treatment works that receives domestic wastewater from residential sources in Big Park. Sludge is hauled to sludge drying beds off-site to Greywolf Landfill in Dewey, Arizona for disposal. Variances from the Verde River standards for nitrogen and phosphorus are proposed in the draft permit.

The permit and fact sheet may be viewed online here by typing the permit number in the box left of “Search Event”. The public notice and related documentation also are available for public review, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the ADEQ Records Center, 1110 W. Washington St., Phoenix, Arizona, 85007. In Phoenix, please call (602) 771-4380 or e-mail recordscenter@azdeq.gov 24 hours in advance to schedule an appointment to review the file.

Persons may submit comments or request a public hearing on the proposed action in writing, to Jacqueline Maye, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, Water Quality Division, 1110 W. Washington St., 5415B-3, Phoenix, Arizona 85007. All written comments received by ADEQ by the close of business on the date 30 days after publication of this notice will be considered in the final permit decision. A public hearing request must be in writing and must include the reasons for such request. If there is a significant degree of public interest, the Director will hold a hearing in accordance with A.A.C. R18-9-A908(B).

Work continues on the expansion of US 93 north of Wickenburg

WICKENBURG — For the past three weeks, crews have been paving the new lanes on US 93 north of Wickenburg between mileposts 185 and 190. Work on the new roadway will continue through the end of September. While the project has not been impactful to motorists, drivers need to be aware of trucks entering and exiting the project site at much slower speeds.

Once the new roadway is paved, crews will switch traffic to the new lanes in order to replace pavement on the existing lanes in early October.

Drivers traveling tomorrow, Friday, Aug. 28, need to be aware of the increased weekend traffic and use extra caution around construction equipment and personnel working to pave the new roadway from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Normal work hours are 5 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday.

ADOT began this expansion project in February to widen US 93 between State Route 71 and State Route 89. The $12.5 million project, reconstructing the highway into four lanes, is expected to be completed in November.

The work zone will be clearly marked by temporary barricades and signage. ADOT advises drivers to allow additional time to reach their destinations, and to proceed through the work zone with caution and comply with the reduced speed limit.

Suspicious person around Flagstaff school update

The Flagstaff Police Department received a call from a witness today about 8:30 a.m. who observed a subject who appeared to be carrying a long gun in the wooded areas near Sinagua Middle School at 3950 E. Butler. The witness stated she was driving on the asphalt road which runs from Butler to Sparrow when she noticed a subject between the ages of 16 and 25 walking out of the cul de sac area just to the east of the school grounds (Foxglen) area.

After the search of the schools and surrounding areas was completed, two subjects were contacted in the area. The first subject was a juvenile who admitted to carrying a stick in the described area, and another witness described an adult getting off the City Mountain Lion bus route carrying a dark colored umbrella with a brown handle.

Williams hit with a short but furious thunderstorm

WILLIAMS — Williams was hit about 2:50 this afternoon with a furious storm that brought hail and lightning. The lightning subsided in about fifteen minutes, but the storm continued for about 25-minutes.

This is the heaviest rain Williams received so far since Sunday.

The chance of more thunderstorms drops to 40% tonight and through tomorrow during the day. There is a 30% chance Friday during the day clearing overnight. Saturday the chance drops to 20% with a slight chance during the night.

Storms could continue through Wednesday of next week.

Military veterans give North Kaibab trails a facelift

kaibab-veterans-1FREDONIA — The Forest Service’s most recent 2015-2020 Strategic Plan contains four outcome-oriented goals, one of which is to “Deliver Benefits to the Public.” Last week, recreational staff from the North Kaibab Ranger District (NKRD) of the Kaibab National Forest partnered with the Arizona Wilderness Coalition (AWC) and military-veteran volunteers to once again work toward meeting that goal by working together to maintain trails within and near the Saddle Mountain Wilderness.

Since the recent June release of the new Strategic Plan, the district’s staff has taken this challenge seriously by implementing various projects throughout the summer that would help meet this strategic goal. In addition to this most recent AWC Veterans Saddle Mountain Wilderness project, other summer projects on the district include: trail, sign, and building maintenance performed by students from the local Youth Conservation Corps, trail maintenance on the Rainbow Rim performed by volunteers from the American Conservation Experience and the International Mountain Bicycling Association, and prescribed fire prep work on the Tipover East prescribed fire burn unit performed by inmate fire crews from the Arizona State Forestry Division, who completed approximately 30 acres of thinning and hand piling fuel reduction work.

kaibab-veterans-2“For my veteran brothers and sisters, this trip was a good chance to push reality and stress aside and enjoy one of this country’s treasures, meet other veterans and make some new friends,” said U.S. Army veteran Bill Losh.

During the Saddle Mountain Wilderness project, AWC coordinator Brian Stultz and NKRD coordinator Denise Carpenter, jointly hosted ten U.S. military veteran volunteers to three days of trail maintenance and hiking followed by four nights of rest and relaxation, campfire bonding, and evening dinners consisting of burgers, pastas, fresh salads and three much-loved dutch-oven entrees cooked by Stultz.

“The cord is cut,” said Mind, Body and Resilience trainer Nick Manci, who instructed yoga and trauma release classes throughout the week. “I felt a disconnect to my world back in Phoenix. My time in the forest with no communication with anyone outside of our camp and the trail time, yoga, trauma release and meditation all played a role in my reemerging with nature. I’m once again reminded of where I’ve come from and where to find solace and peace. It took four days. I’ll return to the city tomorrow a little different man. I am thankful for my time here on the Kaibab Plateau.”

“I especially enjoyed the beauty and quiet seclusion of the wilderness,” said U.S. Marine Corps veteran John Morgan. “There was nothing but friendly and professional folks running this program, and plenty of time to myself. I think the volunteer program is a major plus and would do it again if asked.”

Throughout the week, volunteers dispersed camped in a water-and-electric free environment alongside Forest Service Road 611 just a few miles from the three trailheads. Each day, the crew started with morning yoga, breakfast and a short hike before the work of cutting trees and trail brushing began.

“I have shed a lot of military skin in the eight years since I got out,” said U.S. Marine Corps veteran Jeff Glessing. “Reconnecting with veterans who get it was a great treat for the weekend. We were able to speak freely about our experiences, connect over common ground and speak in acronym-filled sentences without having to decipher it for our audience.”

Throughout the days, the veteran crew worked alongside NKRD and AWC personnel. All told, they improved about 3.5 miles of the North Canyon Trail, clearing a 10-foot by 12-foot wide corridor to accommodate pack horses, and an additional 1.6 miles on the Saddle Mountain Trail. All maintenance work was done with hand tools such as the crosscut saw, bow saw, pruning saw, grub hoe, and loppers.

“It’s kind of like performing plastic surgery for the trails,” said Carpenter, a seasoned and certified crosscut sawyer. “Trail work requires many various kinds of hand tools and, to be safe and productive, trail workers must know how to select the best tools for the job and be skilled at using them. Productive trail work depends upon knowing your way around sharp tools, working together as a team and having a constant awareness of surrounding hazards, and this crew did remarkably well for their first time doing this type of work together.”

Since this particular trail maintenance was done on trails leading into and within Saddle Mountain Wilderness, the crew was prohibited from using motorized equipment within the wilderness due to the Wilderness Act of 1964 in order to provide wilderness protections for future generations.

“When everything was said and done, we were greatly supported by the AWC and USFS, who proved very knowledgeable and were willing to answer all kinds of questions about forestry, land management and ecology,” Glessing added. “We had a shared experience that is difficult to find once you leave the military. It was fun and I’ll be looking forward to my next AWC trip; hopefully, just around the corner.”

Suspicious person causes lockdown in Flagstaff schools

FLAGSTAFF — At about 8:37 a.m. today, the Flagstaff Police Department received a call from a witness who observed a suspicious person who appeared to be carrying a long gun in the wooded area near Sinagua Middle School at 3950 E. Butler.

The witness stated she was driving on the asphalt road which runs from Butler to Sparrow when she noticed a subject between the ages of 16 and 25 walking out of the cul de sac area just to the east of the school grounds (Foxglen) area.

The witness described the subject as wearing a tan shirt, and a tan back pack and he appeared to be carrying a black or brown long gun. The subject had short or buzzed hair. The witness stated what appeared to be a long gun did not have an orange tip, and she observed the subject pointing the object at trees in the area.

No one witnessed the subject entering any of the schools in the area, but as a precaution three schools were advised of the situation. Sinagua Middle School, Knoles Elementary, and Northland Prep and went into their lock down procedures as a precaution.

Flagstaff Police Officers conducted a search of the schools and surrounding areas and did not have contact with any suspicious persons.

Flagstaff Ranger District looking for volunteers to plant trees

download1FLAGSTAFF — FLAGscanner is reporting that the Flagstaff Ranger District of the Coconino National Forest is inviting volunteers to help replant approximately 2,000 ponderosa pine trees in the Schultz burn are on Saturday, Aug. 29. Volunteers should arrive by 8:30 a.m. to attend a safety briefing and planting demonstration.

A meeting area has been established at Schultz Pass Road (Forest Road 420) at the entrance to the Vulcan Mine. From Flagstaff, head north on Highway 89 approximately 12 miles. When you see the turn-off for Wupatki-Sunset Crater National Monument, turn left and go across the other side of the highway onto the dirt road. Follow the forest road to a “T” intersection and turn left again. Drive approximately one-half mile until you see signs for the planting event. The road should be suitable for most cars. Persons with low clearance vehicles are advised to drive carefully on the forest road.

More information including contact is available at FLAGscanner.