Hantavirus confirmed in recent traveler to northern Arizona

FLAGSTAFF – Coconino County Public Health Services District (CCPHSD) officials have announced a confirmed case of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) in a recent traveler to the County from outside Arizona. The individual traveled to multiple areas in northern Arizona and it is unknown where the current case contracted the virus.

The disease is transmitted to people who come into contact or breathe infected urine, droppings and/or saliva of wild mice (primarily deer mice). People who come into contact with rodents that carry hantavirus are at risk of contracting the disease. The illness has not been found to spread from person to person.

HPS is not limited to one geographic location. It can be present in many areas in the southwestern region of the United States where there is rodent activity, even if mice are never seen.

This is the first confirmed HPS case in Coconino County this year and the sixth case of HPS in Coconino County since 2007. Two cases resulted in death from complications caused by the illness. Symptoms of the illness could include fever, headache and muscle aches progressing rapidly to severe difficulty in breathing. Individuals experiencing these symptoms should see their physician immediately and mention their potential rodent exposure.

To prevent HPS, public health officials recommend the following clean-up methods for areas that may have rodent activity:

  1. Prior to starting cleanup, open all door and windows, especially in areas that have been closed for an extended period such as a garage, storage shed or second homes that are not used year-round. Leave open for 30 minutes before cleaning and if possible, allow direct sunlight on the area.
  2. Do not stir up dust in the infested area by vacuuming, sweeping, or any other means. This will allow virus particles to go into the air, where they can be breathed in, and potentially causing infection.
  3. When rodent droppings or nests are found in and around the home, spray them liberally with a household disinfectant (such as one-part bleach to nine parts water) and allow them to soak for at least 15 minutes. Any rodent droppings and rodent nests should be sprayed with a pesticide to kill fleas before disinfecting or disposing the carcasses.
  4. After disinfecting, wear rubber gloves and clean up the droppings with disposable materials such as paper towels, rags or disposable mop heads.
  5. Seal all materials, droppings or nests in double plastic bags and dispose of them in the trash.

Rodent-proof your home:

  1. Prevent rodents from entering the home by plugging or sealing all holes and gaps to the outside greater than 1/4-inch in diameter. Use steel wool, thick wire screen, metal flashing or cement to seal holes.
  2. Eliminate or reduce rodent shelter around the home by removing outdoor junk and clutter, and by moving woodpiles, lumber, hay bales etc., as far away from the house as possible.
  3. Do not make food easily available to rodents. Do not leave pet food in dishes and dispose of garbage in trash cans with tight-fitting lids.
  4. Prevent mice infestation inside your home with the use of traps and proper removal.

For more information regarding HPS, call the Coconino County Public Health Services District at 928-679-8750, toll-free at 877-679-7272 or visit www.cdc.gov/hantavirus/hps.

ADOT publishes Tentative Long-Range Transportation Plan

After two years of research and analysis, the public now has the opportunity to comment on the Arizona Department of Transportation’s draft long-range plan, outlining strategies for meeting the state’s highway and bridge needs over the next 25 years.

ADOT’s Tentative Long-Range Transportation Plan, which is required to be updated every five years, is available for comment through Dec. 21 and can be reviewed at azdot.gov/WhatMovesYouArizona. The CiviComment online tool, which is also available on the project website, allows users to comment on the full report or comment on individual pages pulled from the document. The direct link to CiviComment is provided here: whatmovesyouarizona.civicomment.org.

ADOT has spent the past two years drafting this update to the Long-Range Transportation Plan, which looks through 2040. The project team conducted stakeholder outreach, gathered extensive public comment across the state and worked through months of technical analysis.

During the 25-year period of this draft plan, about $923 million in annual highway capital funding will be available from state and federal sources. On average, the Phoenix and Tucson regions are expected to receive $512 million annually. Of that, $223 million comes from voter-approved regional programs in those two metropolitan areas dedicated largely to highway expansion. ADOT’s Recommended Investment Choice calls for all of the remaining annual average of $411 million to go toward preserving and modernizing highways in Greater Arizona.

The recommendation outlined in the Tentative Long-Range Transportation Plan is in line with public and stakeholder outreach, in which most participants listed preservation, safety and modernization projects as their highest priorities for Greater Arizona.

The State Transportation Board approved the Tentative 2040 Long-Range Transportation Plan on Oct. 20, allowing it to move forward for public review and comment. The Long-Range Transportation Plan is expected to be finalized in early 2018.

Comments can also be sent to:

  1. ADOT Project Information Line: 1.855.712.8530
  2. Mail:
    Long-Range Transportation Plan
    c/o ADOT Communications
    1655 W. Jackson St., Mail Drop 126F
    Phoenix, AZ 85007

Supervisors update Winter Parking Ordinance

FLAGSTAFF — The Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to approve Winter Parking Ordinance 2017-11 during a public hearing Tuesday, Nov. 7. The new ordinance requires parking restrictions from County maintained rights-of-way during snow season and for the enforcement of parking restrictions either by citation or towing.

Pursuant to Arizona Revised Statute § 11-251, the County Board of Supervisors may manage public roads within the County, as well as, pursuant to Arizona Revised Statute § 11-251.05, adopt all ordinances necessary or proper to carry into effect such powers.

“This ordinance will allow the County to better manage issues associated with winter recreation,” said Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Matt Ryan. “This is another tool the County can use to help navigate winter challenges.”

The Board of Supervisors has amended the ordinance to state that between Nov. 1 – April 1 of each year, motor vehicles must be kept clear of County maintained rights of way. Any vehicle parked in such prohibited areas reserves the right to be cited or towed at the owner’s expense (not less than $200.00) due to the possibility of threatening the health or welfare of County residents. Penalties are applicable where violations take place and where signed.

Winter recreation in Coconino County has resulted in increased parking and traffic congestion, littering and other dangerous hazards that negatively impact the health, safety and welfare of residents of the County who live and/or own property adjacent to County highways and roads. Over 80 signs will be disbursed to identified roadways to reinforce the new ordinance.

“I want to thank the community for addressing the challenges of peak winter recreation events in Coconino County,” said District 1 Supervisor Art Babbott. “This new ordinance provides a legal foundation to better serve and protect our neighborhoods and communities. Moving this forward was an important objective of the Community Winter Recreation Task Force to improve safety along County maintained roads and complements the new ADOT no parking signage on the Highway 180 corridor.”

It is a primary responsibility of the County to keep County owned, or maintained, rights -of-way reasonably clear of snow and provide major access for emergency vehicles. Most motor vehicles left parked in the streets become a hazard, both to the County snow removal equipment and to the owner of the vehicle.

Free firewood giveaway at Fort Tuthill County Park

FLAGSTAFF – Coconino County Parks & Recreation is offering a free firewood giveaway to the public at 8 a.m. Saturday, November 18, at Fort Tuthill County Park near the archery range. The firewood giveaway is a result of recent forest thinning efforts to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfires.

Approximately 25 cords of pine will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The wood will not be ready to burn this winter because it was cut this fall and is green. The wood is cut to firewood length (approximately 18” or less), but not split.

Future firewood giveaways will be in conjunction with local service organizations and chapter houses and will occur after November 18.

For more information on Coconino County Parks and Recreation: http://www.coconino.az.gov/parks.

District 3 County Supervisor Matt Ryan named Board Chair

FLAGSTAFF — The Coconino County Board of Supervisors named District 3 Supervisor Matt Ryan as the next chair of the Board. He replaces District 2 Supervisor Liz Archuleta.

Ryan said he was looking forward to finishing out the 2017 as chair and serving the people of Coconino County.

“I’m enthusiastic about taking on this role for the County and feel privileged to have the support of my fellow supervisors,” said Supervisor Ryan, “I want to thank Supervisor Archuleta for providing such great leadership over the past 11 months. As a board, we will work to better the lives of our constituents. I look forward to continuing discussions on zoning and subdivision ordinances, ensuring resource conservation and continuing to focus on improving the County’s infrastructure. We will work to provide overall safety and ensure access to services for Coconino County citizens.”

The Board also named District 5 Supervisor Lena Fowler as vice-chair. Ryan and Fowler began their leadership roles November 7.

“It was truly an honor to serve as Chairwoman of the Board and being able to share the excellent work of the County,” said outgoing Chairwoman Liz Archuleta. “I’m proud of what we accomplished as a board over the past year as we improved service delivery, focused on customer service and enacted several justice reform initiatives. I am most proud of the County’s adoption of the Fair Chance Initiative, Ban the Box. This will give people who struggle to find work after incarceration an opportunity to apply for work with Coconino County without the negative stigma immediately associated with checking the criminal history box.”

State Route 473 to Hawley Lake closing for the winter

PHOENIX ‒ State Route 473 leading to Hawley Lake in the White Mountains will close for the winter on Thursday, November 16, at its junction with State Route 260, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

The 10-mile-long highway east of Pinetop-Lakeside will remain closed until at least April 15.

Other high-country state highways that will close over the next six weeks include SR 67 leading to the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. That route, traveling 43 miles south from US 89A, will close Friday, December 1, unless a major snowstorm occurs before then.

With park facilities closed for the winter, ADOT doesn’t plow SR 67, which will be blocked about a half mile south of US 89A at Jacob Lake. It’s scheduled to reopen in mid-May along with North Rim lodges, campgrounds and other amenities.

State Route 64 remains open all year to the Grand Canyon’s South Rim.

Other winter closures include State Route 273 past Sunrise Park and State Route 261 west of Eagar, which are scheduled for Thursday, December 28, unless a severe storm happens sooner.

In southeastern Arizona, the upper, unpaved portion of SR 366 that leads to Mount Graham near Safford has already closed for winter. Motorized vehicles aren’t allowed on SR 366 past a locked gate a half mile past the Coronado National Forest’s Shannon Campground, but hikers, mountain bikers and cross-country skiers can still use the area.

State routes 366, 273 and 262 will reopen in the spring.

Tips on winter driving are available at azdot.gov/KnowSnow.

Arizona recognizes Traffic Incident Management Awareness Week

PHOENIX – From minor incidents on high-volume freeways to serious collisions on lightly-traveled rural roads and everything in between, Traffic Incident Management keeps the traveling public moving and safe after incidents occur.

This week, the Arizona Department of Transportation and Arizona Department of Public Safety join other states and municipalities across the country in recognizing Traffic Incident Management Awareness Week.

Nearly 350 vehicle crashes occur every day in Arizona and most will be visited by emergency responders, which can include law enforcement, fire departments, medical services, transportation crews and tow trucks. Different responders have different duties on scene – some tend to victims and others gather information about the incident, while others removed damaged vehicles and clear space to make travel safer for other motorists – but all are practicing Traffic Incident Management (TIM).

“Safety is our top priority and when there’s an incident we’re looking out for three groups of people,” said Derek Arnson, ADOT’s Traffic Management Group manager. “The people involved in the crash, the emergency responders and the traveling public. TIM practices and strategies help us keep those people safe and traffic moving.”

The traveling public can contribute to that safety – for themselves and others – in two simple ways: “Quick Clearance” and “Move Over.”

“Quick Clearance” is a state law that requires a driver involved in a minor crash without injuries to remove their vehicle from the roadway if it is operable and can be moved safely. No one wants to be in this situation, but with a vehicle crash occurring about every four minutes in Arizona, everyone should know how best to stay safe following a minor, non-injury collision.

“First responders throughout Arizona use TIM strategies to improve citizen and responder safety, reduce secondary collisions and reduce traffic congestion,” said Major Deston Coleman of the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s Highway Patrol Division. “Traffic Incident Management includes training, equipment, technologies and best practices that improve efficiency and effectiveness during large- and small-scale incidents that affect Arizona roadways. The teamwork of law enforcement, fire, EMS, towing, transportation and public safety agencies shows Arizona’s leadership and commitment to safety while improving quality of life. Citizens can carry out their daily activities, goods and freight supporting Arizona’s economy get to their destinations, and people go home safely. It’s a win for everyone.”

Arizona’s “Move Over” law requires motorists to move over one lane – or slow down if it’s not safe to change lanes – when approaching any vehicle with flashing lights pulled to the side of a road or highway.

Remember, if you are involved in a crash, the first action to take is to make sure you and occupants in your vehicle are OK. Then, if your vehicle is operable, move to the emergency shoulder, median or exit the highway and call 911. Stay out of travel lanes, be alert and watch approaching traffic. Never leave the scene of a crash.

North Kaibab Ranger District to host Holiday Open House

FREDONIA – The North Kaibab Ranger District will soon host a Holiday Open House at the Kaibab Plateau Visitor Center at Jacob Lake on Saturday, November 25, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There will be holiday music, cider and treats available for all ages, ornament decorating activity for families, and of course tree permits for sale.

As a reminder, the Kaibab Plateau Visitor Center will be open for Christmas tree tag sales from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on November 18 to 19 and November 25 to 26.

Christmas tree tags may also be purchased at the district office in Fredonia from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. In addition to the normal district office hours, Christmas tree tags may also be purchased from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on two Saturdays, November 25 and December 2. Please bring cash or check for North Kaibab Ranger District Christmas tree tag purchases.

For more information, call (928) 643-7395.

Commission Appointment Recommendation Board to interview four candidates

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Commission Appointment Recommendation Board will interview four candidates for the governor’s appointment to fill a 2018 vacancy on the Arizona Game and Fish Commission.

The meeting on Wednesday, November 15, begins at 9 a.m. at the Arizona Game and Fish Department headquarters, 5000 W. Carefree Highway in Phoenix. An agenda will be posted in advance at www.azgfd.gov/board.

The following candidates will be interviewed: Leland Brake; Kelly Clark; Bobby Cooper; James Goughnour. They were chosen from a list of 9 applicants considered by the board at its November 7 public meeting. After the interviews, the board will select between two and four candidates to forward to the governor for consideration.

Per Arizona Revised Statute 17-202, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission Appointment Recommendation Board shall assist the governor by interviewing, evaluating and recommending candidates for appointment to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission. The board shall recommend at least two, but no more than five, candidates to the governor.

The governor must select and appoint a commissioner from the list submitted by the board. For additional information about the Commission Appointment Recommendation Board, contact the Governor’s Office of Boards and Commissions at (602) 542-2449 or toll free at 1-800-253-0883 or on the web at www.azgovernor.gov.

For more information on the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, visit www.azgfd.gov/commission.

Fire Managers to Continue Hazardous Fuels Treatments at Moquitch

FREDONIA – U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service fire managers, working together as the North Zone Interagency Fire Management Program, plan to initiate the Moquitch-3 prescribed burn unit as early as Tuesday if weather, resources, and fuel moisture conditions remain favorable to assuring firefighter and visitor safety, while still achieving the desired objectives outlined during the planning process.

As anticipated conditions fall within prescriptive parameters over the weekend, firefighters will focus on treating approximately 2,000 acres on the east portion of the Moquitch-3 prescribed burn unit.

Additional details are as follows:

Fuels: The Moquitch 3 prescribed burn unit consists of vegetation that is predominantly ponderosa pine with scattered clumps of aspen and patches of New Mexico locust.

Location: The unit is located about 6 miles south of Jacob Lake.

Objectives: Reduce accumulations of hazardous fuels down to 5 tons-per-acre and stimulating aspen regeneration in areas where mature clones exist.

Smoke: Smoke impacts may include Jacob Lake, AZ Highway 67, AZ Highway 89A and forest roads directly along the burn unit boundary (see map for details).

Safety: During prescribed fires, motorists are cautioned that smoke may be present in short durations, which may impact roads and populated areas. Motorists are reminded to use caution, drive slowly, turn on headlights, and avoid stopping in areas where fire personnel is working.

As a reminder, all prescribed burning is subject to approval by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and appropriate weather conditions. For additional information on the Smoke Management Division of the ADEQ and to view prescribed burns authorized on any given day, please visit http://www.azdeq.gov/environ/air/smoke/index.html.

Fire information: Additional information is made available through the following resources: Inciweb at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5632/; Kaibab National Forest Fire Information Phone Line (928) 635-8311; Text Message – text ‘follow kaibabnf’ to 40404; https://www.nps.gov/grca/learn/management/fire_info.htm.