Williams holds annual Christmas pageant

WILLIAMS – People crowded around heaters to watch the Williams annual Christmas pagent tonight. Before the pagent there was some excitement as a light appeared in the sky.

It was not the Star of Bethlehem, however. It appeared in the west. That light was a Space X Falcon 9 launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

This pageant represents the second annual presentation of the nativity with scripture readings from the Holy Bible by various pastors of the churches of Williams. Between train interruptions, there were songs and some surprisingly good presentations by the kids of Williams.

The pageant could

Coconino County offices closed for winter holidays

FLAGSTAFF — All Coconino County administrative offices will be closed Monday, December 25, 2017 and Monday, January 1, 2018 for the Christmas and New Year holidays.

While the administrative offices at the Sheriff’s Office will be closed, Dispatch, Patrol, and Detention will be open. Records will be closed on Monday, December 25 and open Monday, January 1, 2018 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., with limited staffing. Please dial 9-1-1 for emergencies. For non-emergencies, dial 928-774-4523 to connect with the non-emergency Dispatch number or to leave a message for one of the administrative offices.

In the event of a snow storm or other hazardous weather during the holiday, County Public Works crews will be deployed to keep County roadways open and passable.

Coconino County’s parks and natural areas will remain open during the holiday, but administrative offices at Fort Tuthill will be closed and limited staff or services will be available. The Fort Tuthill Bike Park is open. Drinking water has been turned off at all parks, but bathrooms are still available at Raymond, Peaks View and Sawmill County Parks. Water and bathrooms are available at Louise Yellowman County Park located in Tuba City.

Coconino County Public Health Services District (CCPHSD) Animal Management will have an officer working on Monday, December 25 and Monday, January 1, 2018 from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Contact the CCPHSD Animal Management office at 928-679-8756, leave a message and an officer will respond. Call 9-1-1 for emergencies.

No state highway construction closures over Thanksgiving weekend

PHOENIX – Over Thanksgiving weekend, state and local agencies will focus on keeping motorists safe and placing equipment and resources along heavily traveled highways to help move traffic should incidents occur.

Motorists will play key roles in keeping traffic moving, too, by making smart driving decisions that won’t result in serious crashes that ruin road trips and create travel delays. Drivers are urged to use caution over the holiday weekend in existing work zones and in three “holiday travel corridors” that will receive extra enforcement and resources to minimize travel delays.

The Arizona Department of Transportation and its contractors won’t schedule construction closures along state highways from Friday through late Monday evening. Road restrictions for ongoing projects will remain in place.

In an effort to reduce crashes and delays that result from speeding and driver inattention, speed limits will be lowered during peak holiday travel periods on a winding stretch of Interstate 17 north of Phoenix. ADOT will reduce speed limits by 10 mph on I-17 between New River and Sunset Point Rest Area. Temporary signs will advise drivers of the lower speed limits. For example, areas where the speed limit is ordinarily 65 mph will have a speed limit of 55 mph.

ADOT is emphasizing safety in three high-traffic holiday travel corridors: Interstate 17 between north Phoenix and Flagstaff, Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson and State Route 87 between Mesa and Payson. Along those routes, ADOT crews will strategically stage equipment, such as loaders and utility trucks, minimizing travel delays with faster response times to crashes and stalled vehicles.

The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety is working with state troopers, deputy sheriffs and local police officers on a holiday DUI enforcement campaign across Arizona that will patrol state highways, county roads and city streets. The holiday season DUI Task Force Campaign involves 10 separate statewide task forces and 84 different law enforcement agencies and will run through the New Year’s holiday.

Last year, 10 people died in 10 fatal traffic collisions during the holiday weekend on Arizona’s state and local roadways. Impairment was a factor in five of the fatal crashes. To encourage smart driving decisions, overhead signs will display safety messages, as well as current traffic conditions

ADOT has not scheduled any closures or work during the holiday weekend, but travelers should be aware that restrictions in existing work-zones will remain in place. This can include I-10 in Phoenix’s West Valley, I-40 near Kingman and northbound State Route 87 south of Payson. State routes 366 and 473 have closed for the winter season.

Because unexpected delays can occur due to crashes and stalled vehicles, motorists traveling during the holiday weekend should:

· Pack extra drinking water and snacks
· Avoid the busiest travel times, if possible
· Get plenty of rest before driving
· Check vehicles, including tire pressure, belts and fluid levels
· If traveling to the high country, pack cold-weather clothes and blankets

Real-time highway conditions are available on ADOT’s Arizona Traveler Information site at az511.gov, by calling 511 and through ADOT’s Twitter feed, @ArizonaDOT. When a freeway closure or other major traffic event occurs, our free app available at ADOTAlerts.com will send critical information directly to app users in affected areas – where possible, in advance of alternate routes.

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.

Unexploded Ordnance Discovered and Removed

FLAGSTAFF – On October 31, 2017 at approximately 5:20 pm Coconino County Deputies responded to Fort Tuthill after a citizen reported finding what he believed to be unexploded military ordinance. Upon arrival Deputies determined that an item likely unearthed during recent excavation did in fact appear to be military ordinance.

The Flagstaff Bomb Squad was requested and after determining the item may be a viable explosive requested assistance from an Explosive Bomb Disposal Unit (EOD Unit) assigned to Luke Air Force Base. The EOD Unit agreed to respond during daylight hours. To insure public safety Sheriff’s deputies remained on site throughout the night to prevent inadvertent access to the location.

On November 1, 2017 at approximately 12:45 pm the discovered device was detonated in place by the Bomb Disposal Unit.

Fort Tuthill prior to its current use by Coconino County has served many roles. One of these was as a training site for the 158th Infantry regiment who called the location home from 1929 through December of 1948.

Halloween safe alternatives available in Williams

Halloween is coming and there is a safe way to get through the Halloween season.

Instead of wax candles in your jack-o-lantern, you could use the battery operated type or even flashlights. Make sure you do not overload your household circuit with plugin lights. Make sure the lights you use outdoors are designed for outdoor use.

Arizona Game and Fish issued a notice that jack-o-lanterns may attract wildlife so they recommend that you keep them indoors in your window. Remember we still have skunks about. In addition you won’t find your hours of carving work smashed on the roadway.

Costumes should be light and reflective. If you have already purchased dark costumes, use glow sticks, reflective vests or flashlights.

When the kids go out to trick-or-treat, they should stay in the neighborhood where you know the neighbors. Younger children should be accompanied by an adult or older sibling. Make sure they know not to eat any candy before adults can inspect it. They should not trick-or-treat too late after dark.

After dark, or instead of trick-or-treat, you could visit one of the churches having fall festival activities. The First Baptist Church and Family Harvest Church across the street from Safeway have such safe alternatives. The Methodist Church on 2nd and Grant will once again sponsor trunk-or-treat. They hand out candy from their cars and have food and games besides.

The Tunnel of Doom haunted house is open again this year at 1099 Allison Way after dark until 9 p.m.

Whatever activities you choose during this season, we wish you a safe season.

Halloween decorations may attract wildlife

PHOENIX — Halloween is on the horizon and soon those carefully carved pumpkins sitting outside may be attracting some unwanted trick-or-treaters: hungry wildlife looking for an easy meal.

As such, the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) reminds area residents to be aware that Halloween pumpkins and other fall decorations, such as gourds or squash, can attract wildlife when displayed outdoors.

AZGFD recommends that jack-o-lanterns, uncarved pumpkins and cornucopias be displayed indoors on window sills so they can be seen from outside if desired, and discarded securely to help prevent encounters with foraging wildlife.

“Pumpkins and other edible decorations are easy meals for wildlife and often attract javelina, coyotes, deer and even bears,” said Mike Demlong, AZGFD Wildlife Education program manager. “Habituating wildlife to human food sources can lead to conflicts, resulting in potentially serious injuries to people or pets and even property damage. That is why it is important to help keep wildlife wild.”

Additionally, unintentional or intentional feeding can cause problems for wildlife, such as obesity and malnutrition, and promote the spread of disease.

The public is reminded that it is illegal under state law (A.R.S. 13-2927) to feed wildlife in Pima, Maricopa and Pinal counties, with the exception of birds as well as tree squirrels, which are rare at lower elevations.

Other wildlife may eat bird seed, so birds are best fed only in an enclosed yard, preferably from a bird feeder. A tray can be attached beneath a feeder to catch spillover seed. Seed blocks should be placed in an enclosed area or on a secure raised platform.

For tips on minimizing conflicts with wildlife, see www.azgfd.gov/urbanwildlife.

Kaibab National Forest to offer Christmas tree permits starting November 16

WILLIAMS – The Kaibab National Forest will sell over-the-counter and through-the-mail Christmas tree tags on a first-come, first-served basis for each of its three ranger districts beginning November 16 and continuing until they are sold out.

The $15 permit will allow the holder to cut a tree of any species that is not more than 10 feet in height within a designated area on the Kaibab National Forest from Nov. 16 through Dec. 24. The tag is only good for a tree on the ranger district from which it was purchased and can’t be used to cut a tree on a different district unless specifically noted. No refunds will be made, even if weather conditions prevent access to cutting areas.

Individuals who purchase tags will be provided with a map showing their designated cutting area along with additional tree cutting instructions. The number of available tags and tree species, locations and hours for purchasing the permits, and contact information for each ranger district are as follows:

# of Permits Available and Tree Species Location of Designated Cutting Area Contact Information Open Days and Hours
800

Any Species

North Kaibab Ranger District

Note: The Kaibab Plateau Visitor Center will be open Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Nov. 26 for tag sales. The visitor center is located at the intersection of highways 89 and 67 in Jacob Lake and can be reached at (928) 643-7298.

 

Physical address:        430 S. Main St., Fredonia, AZ 86022

Mailing address:        P.O. Box 248,    Fredonia, AZ 86022

(928) 643-7395

8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. The office will also be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on two Saturdays, Nov. 25 and Dec. 2, for tag sales.

Note: Please bring cash or check for North Kaibab Ranger District Christmas tree tag purchases.

500

Any Species

Tusayan Ranger District Physical address:        176 Lincoln Log Loop, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023

Mailing address:        P.O. Box 3088,       Grand Canyon, AZ 86023

(928) 638-2443

8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.
500

Any Species

 

Williams Ranger District

Note: The Williams Ranger District office will also have 100 tags available for the Tusayan Ranger District.

 

Physical and mailing address:                      742 S. Clover Rd., Williams, AZ 86046

(928) 635-5600

8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

Individuals desiring to purchase Christmas tree tags through the mail should contact the appropriate ranger district office for information on the required process. Turnaround time for arrival of tags through the mail is often 10 business days, so individuals desiring these tags should call well in advance to ensure adequate time for their permits to arrive.

The Kaibab National Forest is also pleased to announce that all fourth graders are eligible for a free Christmas tree permit, while supplies last, through the Every Kid in a Park initiative. Every Kid in a Park is a nationwide call to action to connect kids to nature. All fourth graders are eligible to receive a fourth grade pass that allows free access to federal lands and waters across the country for a full year.

In support of this initiative, the Forest Service is making available a free Christmas tree permit to every interested fourth grader with a fourth grade pass or paper voucher. For additional information about the initiative and how to obtain a pass, visit www.everykidinapark.gov. To be eligible for a free Christmas tree permit from the Kaibab National Forest, all fourth graders must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and present their fourth grade pass or paper voucher.

No highway construction closures during Independence Day weekend

PHOENIX – During the Independence Day weekend, state and local agencies are focusing on keeping motorists safe and placing equipment and resources along heavily traveled highways to help move traffic should incidents occur.

Motorists will play key roles in keeping traffic moving, too, by making smart driving decisions that won’t result in serious crashes that ruin road trips and create travel delays.

The Arizona Department of Transportation and its contractors won’t schedule construction closures along state highways from Friday through late Tuesday evening. Drivers are urged to use caution over the holiday weekend in existing work zones and in three “holiday travel corridors” that will receive extra enforcement and resources to minimize travel delays.

In an effort to reduce crashes and delays that result from speeding and driver inattention, speed limits will be lowered during peak holiday travel periods on a winding stretch of Interstate 17 north of Phoenix.

ADOT will reduce speed limits by 10 mph Friday, June 30, on northbound I-17 between New River and Sunset Point Rest Area. Speed limits on the same stretch of southbound I-17 will be reduced by 10 mph on Tuesday, July 4.

Temporary signs will advise drivers of the lower speed limits. For example, areas where the speed limit is ordinarily 65 mph will have a speed limit of 55 mph. Throughout the long weekend, temporary electronic signs will remind drivers how fast they are going.

By obeying speed limits, driving safely and not allowing impaired persons behind the wheel, travelers can reduce the chance of serious crashes that often create long travel delays and close highways. In 2016, 14 fatal crashes occurred during the holiday weekend – alcohol played a role in eight – that killed 16 people.

As they have during recent major holiday weekends, ADOT and the Arizona Department of Public Safety are emphasizing safety in three high-traffic zones: Interstate 17 between north Phoenix and Flagstaff, Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson, and State Route 87 between Mesa and Payson. Along those routes, ADOT crews will strategically stage equipment, such as loaders and utility trucks, to minimize travel delays with faster response times to crashes and stalled vehicles.

DPS will focus on preventing three leading causes of traffic deaths: speeding, impaired driving and lack of seat-belt use. The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety is working with state troopers, police officers and deputy sheriffs on a holiday DUI enforcement campaign.

No closures are scheduled during the holiday weekend, but travelers should be aware that existing work-zone restrictions with lane reductions will remain in place. This includes a 30-mile stretch of I-40 east of Kingman and I-40 near Twin Arrows.

Because unexpected delays can occur due to crashes and stalled vehicles, drivers are encouraged to:

  • Pack extra drinking water and snacks.
  • Avoid the busiest travel times, if possible.
  • Get plenty of rest before driving.
  • Check vehicles, including tire pressure, belts and fluid levels.

As summer temperatures soar, so does the potential of brush fires and wildfires occurring. Travelers can minimize the risk of fires along Arizona roads by not parking or driving in dry, tall grass; making sure trailer chains are secured and not dragging and emitting sparks; and never throwing cigarettes out the window.

Real-time highway conditions are available on ADOT’s Traveler Information Center at az511.gov, by calling 511 and through ADOT’s Twitter feed @ArizonaDOT.

Great spring fishing in northern Arizona expected for Memorial Day weekend

WILLIAMS – Now is the time to get the tackle box ready, grab the fishing rods, and explore northern Arizona for some spring fishing.
Here are some updates on fish stocking activities in this region:
  • About 9,000 rainbow trout, or around 5,000 pounds, were recently stocked in Ashurst Lake. Folks fishing at Ashurst Lake started catching fish shortly after stocking.  They were using small spinners such as rooster tails and small spoons.
  • Kaibab Lake, north of Williams, will receive a similar load of fish. About 9,000 fish measuring up to 15 inches.
  • Trout stocked in Lower Lake Mary during March and April were up to 15 inches long.
  • Catfish were dropped recently into City Reservoir in Williams and Frances Short Pond in Flagstaff. Chunks of hot dogs make great catfish bait.
“We have so much water in northern Arizona this year, we are trying to get fish into as many lakes as we can,” said Chuck Benedict, a fish biologist at AZGFD. “We want to encourage people to come up Memorial Day weekend, enjoy our great weather and fish.  Typically Flagstaff and Williams are great for trout in the spring, and in reality, bass, pike, catfish, and crappie fishing are the best during the summer.”
Some tips to remember before heading out to fish:
  • Licenses now include trout and two-pole privileges (no separate stamps needed) and costs $37 for residents and $55 for nonresidents. The license is now valid for one year from the day you buy it — not just for the calendar year.
  • Anyone 10 years and older will need a fishing license. Youth licenses only cost $5 and are available for youth ages 10-17.
  • Review the 2017 Arizona Fishing Regulations — they are available online, or at most license dealers as a booklet that you can throw in your tackle box. The regulations have all the information you need to fish in Arizona.
  • Some lakes have special restrictions or regulations: catch-and-release only, daily limits, or the type of bait allowed.
  • Do not transport live fish or bait. Illegal stocking is a big problem and impacts the department’s efforts to manage the state’s fisheries. In some cases, fish like northern pike and bass have been illegally stocked and have had detrimental impacts to trout fishing and native fish populations.
Locations of these waters:
  • Frances Short Pond is located just northwest of downtown Flagstaff and is a great place to walk or ride a bike and try your luck.
  • Lower Lake Mary is about 8 miles from Flagstaff on Forest Road 3; Ashurst is about 12 miles down the road from Lower Mary.
  • Kaibab Lake is near Williams and off Highway 64, just north of Interstate 40.
  • City Reservoir is just south of Williams.