Winter storm coming through

WILLIAMS – Please be careful and slow down on the highways and freeways the next couple of days. High winds will likely affect high-profile vehicles and snow and rain will cause the roads to become icy overnight. Watch for snow plows on the highways and keep clear of them.

We are currently in a high wind advisory through Monday night. Today the winds are expected to reach 23-mph with gusts up to 41. On Washington’s Birthday, winds could reach 30-mph with gusts up to 48-mph. Winds will calm over Tuesday.

Rain and snow is expected to start tonight with less than an inch of accumulation. Snow will continue Monday with up to 3-inches possible. Another inch may be possible over Monday night.

Wednesday should be clear with a high near 36. Thursday is mostly sunny with a high near 40. Snow may come back in Thursday through Friday night.

MVD: Buying a vehicle? Check its history

PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division cautions consumers to beware of potential fraud when buying a car.

“The best defense is to do your research,” says Ralene Whitmer, MVD Title and Registration Specialist. “This is especially true for people buying vehicles from individuals. The possibility for fraud exists and it’s wise for every consumer to thoroughly look into a vehicle’s history. Reputable dealers will always be willing to provide this information, and that same standard should be expected of anyone who sells a vehicle in a private sale.”

A vehicle’s title will include information about its origin and whether it’s been stolen, water-damaged, wrecked, destroyed, or suffered other damage. In addition, some titles will be stamped “Export Only”, which means they were purchased by a dealer from out-of-state or a foreign country and they cannot be legally sold in Arizona.

“The advice from the Motor Vehicle Division is to avoid buying cars in Arizona that are stamped ‘Export Only’”, Whitmer added. “Dealers or individuals who attempt to sell vehicles with an Export Only title stamp within Arizona are breaking the law. Those vehicles can only be sold where the dealer is actually licensed. We have seen problems with this in Arizona communities that border Mexico and other U.S. states.”

Customers can get more information about title, registration and tips on buying and selling vehicles at www.azdot.gov/mvd at the Vehicle Services section.

ADOT to host Small & Disadvantaged Business Transportation Expo

PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Transportation and partner agencies will hold an event Thursday, March 1, offering tips and tools to owners of small businesses and companies qualifying for the agency’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program.

The DBE & Small Business Transportation Expo, scheduled for 7 a.m. to noon at Glendale Civic Center, will allow attendees to learn about project opportunities, network with industry professionals and business owners and hear from transportation leaders including featured speaker ADOT Director John Halikowski. Also participating are the Phoenix Public Transit and Street Transportation departments, Valley Metro and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

ADOT’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program helps qualifying small businesses compete for contracts. The companies must be owned by individuals from socially and economically disadvantaged groups, including women and minorities.

“ADOT’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program is critical to helping to reduce barriers to entry and teaching DBEs and small businesses how to fish, thrive and survive in the transportation industry,” said Dr. Vivien Lattibeaudiere, ADOT’S Employee and Business Development Administrator. “With access to project opportunities, they can become a meaningful part of building the transportation infrastructure in our state.”

To register for this free event, visit adotdbeexpo.com.

Although the expo is geared toward Disadvantaged Business Enterprises and small businesses, it’s open to all businesses, public agencies, vendors and community partners with an interest in the transportation industry.

For more on the Expo or ADOT’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program, contact the ADOT Business Engagement and Compliance Office at 602.712.7761 or visit azdot.gov/dbe.

Summer ramada reservations available for County parks

FLAGSTAFF – County Parks and Recreation will begin accepting summer ramada reservations on February 20, 2018. There are 11 ramadas at four County parks available for rent.

Ramadas are used to host parties, reunions and get-togethers. They are available for rent seven days a week, for half or full days. Reserving a ramada for a party or special occasion will guarantee space and ensure utilities are active.

Customers may reserve a ramada online by going to coconino.az.gov/parks/ramadas. People may also reserve them by going to the Parks and Recreation Administration office located at Fort Tuthill County Park, 2446 Fort Tuthill Loop, Flagstaff. Regular business hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Prices range from $46-$114 for ramada rentals. A staff member will follow up with a confirmation within one business day. For reservations less than 24 hours in advance or questions, please call the Administration office at (928) 679-8000.

ADOT officers assist local law enforcement in two northern Arizona arrests

PHOENIX – In addition to protecting Arizonans and infrastructure by ensuring commercial vehicles are safe to drive on the state’s highways and have proper permits, Arizona Department of Transportation officers manning commercial ports of entry coordinate with local law enforcement agencies. That partnership paid off during the past week near St. George, Utah, and in Kingman where ADOT officers helped apprehend suspects in cases involving rape and theft.

On Sunday, an ADOT Enforcement and Compliance Division officer inspecting a semi at the St. George port of entry learned, while determining whether the driver’s commercial license was valid, that the driver, Thorpe G. Steel, was wanted in Utah for rape.

Stalling for time, the ADOT officer told Steel to wait in the port of entry office while he conducted a walk-around inspection of his truck. The officer contacted Utah State Troopers and continued to stall until a trooper arrived and arrested Steel.

On the evening of February 6, two individuals broke into a Kingman man’s home and stole his 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser and other items. Around noon February 7, two ADOT officers stationed at the Topock port of entry on I-40, heading back from training in Kingman, spotted what appeared to be the vehicle heading in the opposite direction.

Once they verified it was the vehicle, the ADOT officers contacted Kingman police dispatch as well as ADOT dispatch. Both ADOT and Kingman officers pulled the vehicle over on Stockton Hill Road, and the suspects were arrested without incident.

Fuels Reduction Efforts Continue on Tusayan Ranger District

TUSAYAN – Fire Managers on the Tusayan Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest will continue burning slash piles on a 429 acre block this week just west of the Grand Canyon Airport.

The return of wet winter weather has enabled crews to resume working where they started last month eliminating woody fuel loads from previous thinning projects southwest of the town of Tusayan. Piles generally consume quickly due to the arrangement of burnable material above the ground and have little to no spread potential over the dampened surface.Smoke may be visible for short durations from the Grand Canyon Village, Highway 64 and the community of Tusayan but is expected to dissipate rapidly toward the northeast with very light impacts. Conditions are monitored closely throughout the day to ensure smoke ventilation is optimal during operations.

Visitors are always reminded to use caution when traveling in the vicinity of prescribed fires, as firefighters, fire-related traffic and smoke may all be present.

All prescribed fires are subject to approval by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. For additional information on the Smoke Management Division and to view prescribed burn authorizations for any given day, visit www.azdeq.gov/programs/air-quality-programs/smoke-management

Victim of Kachina Village homicide identified

FLAGSTAFF – The Coconino County Sheriff’s office has identified the victim of the February 9 homicide in Kachina Village. The victim is 53-year-old Timothy Scott Larson, a resident of Kachina Village.

The incident is still under investigation and no additional information is available at this time.

If anyone has information regarding the incident, please contact the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office at 1-800-338-7888 (option 1 to speak to a Dispatcher or Deputy) or 928-774-4523 (option 1

ADOT brings back exchange program aiding local transportation projects

PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Transportation has brought back a program made possible under state law allowing local governments to build transportation projects faster and at a lower cost by reducing red tape associated with federal funding.

The HURF Exchange Program, taking its name from the Highway User Revenue Fund, allows ADOT to exchange State Highway Fund revenues for federal Surface Transportation Block Grant Program funds with eligible local governments. ADOT is required to administer most federally funded projects, but local governments taking part in the program can now administer projects themselves, facing fewer regulatory restrictions and requirements.

“This is a win-win for the state and local communities that would otherwise have to depend on ADOT to manage their federally funded projects,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said. “Enabling local governments to administer their own projects through the HURF Exchange Program helps reduce project costs and time to completion, and allows ADOT to focus its efforts on highway projects.”

Cities, towns and unincorporated portions of counties within a regional planning area with 200,000 or fewer residents are eligible to participate in the HURF Exchange Program. Projects must be programmed as part of the HURF Exchange Program by a region’s council of governments or metropolitan planning organization, be on the federal aid system and improve the efficiency, reliability and safety of travel. ADOT will provide State Highway Fund dollars at the rate of 90 percent of the amount of federal aid programmed for eligible projects.

ADOT will review projects qualifying for the HURF Exchange Program and consult with the Federal Highway Administration to determine which federal requirements may apply. These requirements will be the responsibility of the project sponsor to fulfill and are documented in an intergovernmental agreement.

The state Legislature authorized the program in 1997, but ADOT suspended it in 2009 due to a lack of State Highway Fund revenues. Before that, the HURF Exchange Program facilitated 145 projects with a total value exceeding $90 million.

For more information on the HURF Exchange program, please visit azdot.gov/HURFExchange.

AZGFD to hold OHV sobriety checkpoint February 17

PHOENIX – The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) will conduct an off-highway vehicle (OHV) sobriety checkpoint Saturday, February 17 on the Tonto National Forest north of Fountain Hills.

AZGFD is conducting the checkpoint to ensure public safety by detecting and deterring impaired operation of OHVs. Those using an OHV are reminded to use the following safety tips:

  • Never operate an OHV while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
  • Helmets are required by law for all riders under the age of 18 regardless of the off-highway vehicle type. However, they are strongly recommended for all riders.
  • Wear a seat belt at all times, if equipped.
  • Only carry the number of passengers recommended by the manufacturer for your vehicle. Often many accidents are the result of too many people riding a machine that was designed for fewer passengers.
  • Wear riding goggles, a long-sleeved shirt, pants, riding gloves and over-the-ankle boots.v
  • Never ride alone.
  • Be prepared and equipped with a map, a first aid kit, whistle and have basic tools on hand.
  • Stay on designated trails.
  • Take an OHV safety education course designed to teach off-road motorists how to ride safely and responsibly.

Remember, state law requires all OHVs in Arizona require a title, license plate and an OHV decal to operate on public and state trust lands.
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For more information about OHV use and safety course options, visit www.azgfd.gov/ohv.

Fatal Yuma County off-highway vehicle accident a reminder to practice OHV safety

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department reminds all off-highway vehicle (OHV) drivers and passengers to wear the proper safety gear, including a helmet, in the wake of a fatal accident that killed a 77-year-old Wellton, Arizona man Thursday.

The man lost control of the all-terrain vehicle (ATV) he was driving when he hit a rut in the roadway and was thrown from the vehicle, according to the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office, which investigated the crash. The man was not wearing a helmet and succumbed to his injuries at a local hospital.

“It’s critically important for all OHV drivers and passengers to always wear a helmet,” said Kim Jackson, AZGFD Off-Highway Vehicle Safety Education program manager. “Helmets save lives and all riders should make sure they are wearing one before heading out on the trails.”

Helmets are required by law for all riders under the age of 18 regardless of the off-highway vehicle type. However, they are strongly recommended for all riders. In addition riders should remember to:

  • Wear a seat belt at all times, if equipped.
  • Only carry the number of passengers recommended by the manufacturer for your vehicle. Often many accidents are the result of too many people riding a machine that was designed for fewer passengers.
  • Wear riding goggles, a long-sleeved shirt, pants, riding gloves and over-the-ankle boots.
  • Never ride alone.
  • Be prepared and equipped with a map, a first aid kit, whistle and have basic tools on hand.
  • Stay on designated trails.
  • Take an OHV safety education course designed to teach off-road motorists how to ride safely and responsibly.

For more information about the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s OHV program and safety course options, visit www.azgfd.gov/ohv.