Work at Interstate 40 and Bellemont traffic interchange continues this week

BELLEMONT – The Arizona Department of Transportation is scheduled to continue paving at the Bellemont traffic interchange next week as part of the improvement project on Interstate 40 from Parks to Riordan.

ADOT advises drivers to allow extra travel time while work occurs on the eastbound ramps (Exit 185) as follows:

· Tuesday, Sept. 26, from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.
· Thursday, Sept. 28, from noon to 6 p.m.
· Friday, Sept. 29, from 4:30 a.m. to noon.

Motorists can use the interchanges at Parks (milepost 178) and A-1 Mountain (milepost 190) to travel between eastbound I-40 and Bellemont. Signs will mark the detour routes. The Bellemont bridge over I-40 will remain open at all times, and no restrictions are scheduled on the westbound I-40 ramps.

For more information about this project, visit azdot.gov/I40Paving.

Drivers should use caution and watch for construction personnel and equipment.

Schedules are subject to change based on weather and other unforeseen factors. For more information, please call Coralie Cole, ADOT community relations project manager, at 602.501.4899 or ccole@azdot.gov. For real-time highway conditions statewide, visit the ADOT Traveler Information site at www.az511.gov, follow ADOT on Twitter (@ArizonaDOT) or call 511, except while driving.

Forest Service completing thinning project north of Parks

PARKS – Tree removal has begun on a 1,039-acre project on the Williams Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest associated with the Four Forest Restoration Initiative.

The Community Tank Timber Sale area is located about 11 miles north of Parks just south of Forest Road 171 and west of Kendrick Mountain Wilderness near Pumpkin Center. Harvesting operations recently began in the area and are expected to be completed by the end of this year, depending on weather conditions over the next few months.

As thinning work is implemented, residents and visitors can expect to see heavy, mechanized equipment and workers in the project area and an increasing number of log trucks traveling along the haul route. Because work is progressing quickly at the project site, it is expected that log trucks will begin hauling this week.

The major haul route will be from the project area south along Forest Road 141 through Parks to Interstate 40. It is possible that there could be a significant number of trucks hauling timber through this area until project completion.

Members of the public are urged to use extreme caution near timber removal and hauling operations. Besides the presence of heavy equipment and log trucks, there will also be trees being felled and stacked into log decks, which can be unstable. Visitors to the area should not camp near nor climb on them, as they often shift and have the possibility of collapse.

“It’s really important that local community members and visitors understand that they need to be careful when driving near a log truck or in areas where logging work is occurring. These are not areas to camp or play around in, and people need to be aware of what is happening around them,” said Tom Dauenhauer, a timber sale administrator for the Kaibab National Forest. “In the long run, the benefits of this work will be safer communities and healthier forests for all of us for years into the future. In the short term, though, it means being extra vigilant near project areas and haul routes so that this forest restoration work can be accomplished safely.”

The objectives of the Community Tank Timber Sale are to reduce fuel loading and the potential for future high-intensity wildfires and to improve forest health and watershed conditions. The thinning and logging work occurring on the Williams Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest is associated with the Four Forest Restoration Initiative.

The goal of the Four Forest Restoration Initiative is to accelerate the pace and scale of restoration within 2.4 million acres of ponderosa pine forest in northern Arizona to increase resilience and proper functioning. Restoring this fire-adapted ecosystem is accomplished with a suite of restoration activities – from watershed maintenance and habitat improvements to prescribed burning and thinning.

For additional information on the Four Forest Restoration Initiative, visit www.fs.usda.gov/4fri. Members of the public can find additional information on the Kaibab National Forest through the following sources:

Twitter: www.twitter.com/KaibabNF (Text ‘follow kaibabnf’ to 40404 to receive text messages.)
Kaibab website: www.fs.usda.gov/kaibab
Kaibab Facebook: www.facebook.com/KaibabNF

Man Arrested on Charges Related to Domestic Incident near Parks

PARKS – On August 8, 2017 at approximately 12:24 pm, the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office responded to a domestic dispute occurring between a male and female driving eastbound on I-40. Information was that the couple was travelling from Las Vegas, NV to Texas when a dispute occurred. The female reporting party had tried to exit the vehicle at a gas station in Parks, AZ. At some point during the incident the male fired a shot out of the window from a handgun.

The male subject was located with the vehicle and taken into custody. Thirty-six year old Johnnie Wilcox, III of Killeen, TX was booked into the Coconino County Detention Facility with expected charges of Disorderly Conduct with a Weapon and Felony Endangerment.

Boundary Fire smoke enters Williams area

WILLIAMS – Smoke from the Boundary Fire entered Williams creating a slight haze over the area. The forest service issued an advisory for parts of Flagstaff, Bellemont, Parks and Williams.
Coconino County health issued a release advising that smoke from wildfires in Northern Arizona and in Southern Utah continues to affect several communities in Coconino County. County health officials are encouraging individuals to take precautions to protect themselves from health effects of wildfire smoke.

Wildfire smoke is a mixture of small particles, gases and water vapor. The primary health concern is the small particles. Not everyone who is exposed to smoke will have health problems. Many factors influence a person’s susceptibility to smoke. These factors include the level, extent, and duration of exposure, age, and individual susceptibility.

Anyone who can see, taste or smell smoke should curtail outdoor activity. People with heart disease, lung disease or asthma should avoid the outdoors entirely, as should children and the elderly.

Forest Thinning at Fort Tuthill County Park

FLAGSTAFF – Coconino County Parks & Recreation is conducting a forest thinning project in Fort Tuthill County Park to increase forest health, to improve public safety and to reduce wildfire risk. Removal will be by hand and mechanical thinning.

The Fort Tuthill Thinning Project is a collaborative effort between Coconino County, Arizona Department of Forestry & Fire Management, Greater Flagstaff Forests Partnership, U.S. Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, Arizona Game & Fish Department, Northern Arizona University Ecological Restoration Institute, and the City of Flagstaff.

To educate the community about the project, Coconino County Parks and Recreation will host two open houses. Staff and project stakeholders will be available to answer questions.

WHAT: Fort Tuthill Forest Thinning Community Open House
WHEN/WHERE: 1 – 3 p.m. June 9 – East Flagstaff Public Library, 3000 N. Fourth St.
4 – 6 p.m. June 13 – Fort Tuthill Commercial Building, 2446 Fort Tuthill Loop.

Forest treatments are planned to occur on approximately 325 acres of the park, and include both hand thinning (approximately 70 acres) and mechanical thinning operations. Crews will cut trees and remove logs that can be utilized offsite. Residual slash and debris from hand thinning operations will be piled for disposal through burning. Slash produced from mechanical operations will be chipped and hauled offsite for other potential use. Treatment areas include the former Arizona State Trust Land located in the northwest part of the park, and near the archery range in the southwest part of the park. Fort Tuthill County Park and Soldiers Trail will remain open during the project although intermittent trail and area closures will occur to ensure public safety.

Approval for the thinning project contract and two associated funding grants will be decided by the County Board of Supervisors, June 6. The contractor may begin thinning after Board approval and the project is expected to be completed in December 2017.

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

ADOT moves forward with project replacing pavement on 12 miles of I-40

FLAGSTAFF – With a contractor selected, the Arizona Department of Transportation is moving forward with a $13.9 million project to add new pavement to 12 miles of Interstate 40 between Flagstaff and Williams.

Meeting in Flagstaff on Friday, April 21, the State Transportation Board approved a contract for the project with FNF Construction. A schedule will be set in the coming weeks.

The work in both directions between Parks and Riordan, milepost 179 to 191, will mill down several inches of the current pavement and replace it with new asphalt. It will greatly improve a road surface that has required regular repairs due to the combination of more than 200 freeze-thaw cycles each year and heavy use by commercial vehicles, as well as damage from numerous storms this past winter.

“We’re grateful this much needed project is moving forward,” said Audra Merrick, ADOT’s North Central District engineer. “This project will be the long-term fix to the damage the road has taken over the winter.”

The project also will replace pavement on the on- and off-ramps at the Bellemont interchange, replace guardrail and make minor bridge deck repairs at the Bellemont and A-1 Mountain Road overpasses.

A similar project, slated for the fiscal year beginning July 1, will pick up where this project ends at milepost 179, and continue west for 17 miles to Cataract Lake near Williams.

After pavement damage from powerful and repeated winter storms, ADOT crews continue following up on temporary repairs with asphalt overlays on I-17, State Route 89A in Oak Creek Canyon and other parts of I-40.

Maine Consolidated School District seeking Governing Board applicants

FLAGSTAFF – Coconino County Superintendent of Schools Risha VanderWey is seeking applicants for appointment to the Maine Consolidated School District Governing Board. There are currently two vacant seats.

The appointments will be two-year terms ending Dec. 31, 2018.

Applicants must be Arizona registered voters and residents of the school district for at least one year prior to the date of appointment. Applicants or their spouses can’t be an employee of the district.

Application information:
· Download the application here http://www.coconino.az.gov/schoolboardapplication
· Deadline to submit is Monday, March 13 by 5 p.m.
· Submit by email kgraves@coconino.az.gov (Live signature original required)
· Submit by fax 928-526-1469 (Live signature original required)
· Mail/drop off Coconino County School Superintendent, 2384 N Steves Blvd, Flagstaff, AZ 86004

An advisory committee, consisting of district residents and a current board member will be assembled to conduct interviews and advise Superintendent VanderWey on the appointments.

For more information, please call Kim Graves at the Office of the Coconino County School Superintendent at 928-679-8070 or e-mail: kgraves@coconino.az.gov.

You can help conserve wildlife

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Deer graze along Perkinsville Road, also called South Road, out of Williams.

Did you know you can help conserve wildlife? Of course there are many groups working to do this in various ways. You can help without lifting a finger. And you can get paid—in a sense—to do it.

Many visit Flagstaff, Williams, Ash Fork and other northern Arizona Route 66 sites. They come up for camping, fishing and to visit the Grand Canyon in hopes of finding comfort in our cooler weather. The problem is that many come dragging their fifth-wheels exceeding the posted speed limits on Perkinsville Road to get to a camp site in the Kaibab. They exceed the posted speed limits to get to the Grand Canyon so they can take a half-hour to take photos and leave. They do not realize that the speed limits posted are posted for a reason.

Deer and elk also wander around our parks such as these at Buckskinner Park.

Deer and elk also wander around our parks such as these at Buckskinner Park.


During this season deer and elk line our highways and freeways looking for water and food. A problem arises when deer and elk dart across the highways and freeways without warning. They make no attempt to guage your speed and, like most people, are unaware that a speeding vehicle cannot brake in time to prevent them from getting hit.

The answer is simply to observe the posted speed limits and even slow down a bit. Especially when you note animals feeding along the roadway.

So how does this pay you? There is an adage which states A penny saved is a penny earned. Consider that if you hit an animal damaging your vehicle, your insurance rates are likely to rise. Not to mention any payment for injuries to occupants that might occur. If the police or Sheriff’s deputy investigating the accident determine that you were speeding, you might receive a costly citation as well. If it is determined by the insurance company that you were at fault, they may not even pay out meaning that you will be responsible to pay for all damages.

Another thing to remember is that some wildlife may seem cute and tame. It may be tempting to feed them or pet them. Either action is dangerous. They are wild and may attack at any time. Feeding them will attract them to camping areas. It may even attract more dangerous animals such as mountain lions and bears.

Flagstaff, Williams, Ash Fork, Valle and all points north welcome visitors who wish to explore the many exciting activities we have to offer. We thank you to slow down and take care to protect our wildlife and our residents from death and injury.

Emergency Response Training for teens this Saturday

Sheriff-Patch005WILLIAMS/PARKS/TUSAYAN/VALLE — Sergeant James Steng of the Coconino County Sheriff’s office will be holding a training course starting this Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CERT, Community Emergency Response Team grew out of the natural desire to help others during and after a natural disaster. The first people on most scenes after a disaster are survivors who want to help.

The primary objective of Teen CERT is to teach young citizens how to keep themselves, their family members and their fellow students safe before and during a disaster and how to assist them during the aftermath of a disaster. Teens will learn how to best prepare for a disaster and how to assess the scene after a disaster. They will also learn how to conduct a search and rescue operation and how to suppress small fires.

The advantage of this type of training is that it is something a teen can carry throughout their lifetime. FEMA even sponsors online training courses one can take to further their education.

The training sessions will start this Saturday, January 9, 2016 8 am to 5 pm. The next session will follow the next Saturday, January 16, 2016 8 am to 5 pm and finish with a last session on Saturday January 23, 2016 8 am to 12 noon.

Interested teens who would like more information or who wish to register for this training are asked to call Sergeant James Steng at (928) 679-8735 or (928) 607-6470.

Coconino County Sheriff’s Office to Provide Emergency Preparedness and Response Training to Teens in the Williams, Tusayan and Parks Areas

coco-sheriff-300pxFLAGSTAFF — The Sheriff’s Office and Coconino County Emergency Management will conduct 20 hours of Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training for teen-aged citizens who live in or near the above listed areas. The training is offered free of charge and will be held on three Saturdays in January at the Williams Justice Court/Coconino County Sheriff’s Office located at 700 West Railroad Avenue, Williams, Arizona.

The training dates and times are

  1. Saturday, January 9, 2016 8 am to 5 pm
  2. Saturday, January 16, 2016 8 am to 5 pm
  3. Saturday January 23, 2016 8 am to 12 noon

CERT, Community Emergency Response Team grew out of the natural desire to help others during and after a natural disaster. The first people on most scenes after a disaster are survivors who want to help.

The primary objective of Teen CERT is to teach young citizens how to keep themselves, their family members and their fellow students safe before and during a disaster and how to assist them during the aftermath of a disaster. Teens will learn how to best prepare for a disaster and how to assess the scene after a disaster. They will also learn how to conduct a search and rescue operation and how to suppress small fires.

Participants will receive 6 hours of training in disaster medical operations and learn how to conduct injured victim triage. They will learn the Incident Command System and how to communicate with professional emergency responders in the most efficient way possible. Following the training successful participants will be prepared to help when disaster strikes until professional responders arrive.

Chief Deputy Sheriff Jim Driscoll believes teens in Coconino County are an untapped resource and by offering this training the Sheriff’s Office is joining a fast growing national trend to train teens as the next generation of citizens who are prepared for emergencies and natural disasters.

After the training, teens that successfully completed the course will be encouraged to join one of the many CERT Teams that exist in Coconino County. In doing so they will receive additional training and be given the opportunity to assist first responders during emergencies and non-emergencies. Successful participants will be given a CERT backpack with some basic emergency response equipment.

Interested teens who would like more information or who wish to register for this training are asked to call Sergeant James Steng at (928) 679-8735 or (928) 607-6470.