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  #41  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2010, 6:57 PM
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The Museum of Northern Arizona's new LEED-Platinum Easton Collection Center was recently named the Top Green building in the nation in the 2009 Best of the Best Awards from McGraw-Hill Construction:



The state-of-the-art Easton Collection Center on the grounds of the Museum of Northern Arizona was dedicated June 20. The 17,283-square-foot building has already received more than 7,000 pieces from the museum's collections. The enormous task of moving the whole collection may take two years.
(photos: Josh Biggs)


Creative spirit inspires in 2009
By BETSEY BRUNER
Arizona Daily Sun
January 3, 2010

Its roof rears high above a snowy field, seemingly pointing to the white crests of the San Francisco Peaks in the distance. In all ways, the new Easton Collection Center on the grounds of the Museum of Northern Arizona is a lovely building and a vast improvement over the substandard cinder-block units that have housed the MNA collections for about 60 years. The new building is a collector's dream and offers evidence that year 2009 had some notable bright spots in the world of arts and culture here.

A SENSE OF PLACE

The building has been under construction since February 2008, and it was dedicated June 21, 2009. Donors Elizabeth and Harry Easton of Flagstaff and Sedona helped fund the center. Built at a cost of $7.1 million, the center has already garnered recognition for its unique design, energy efficiency, sustainable features and use of native materials, recently winning Best of the Best, a national competition for design and construction excellence. "I'm so excited I can hardly stand it," said MNA Director Robert Breunig, during a Dec. 17 media tour of the building. "This is one of the most rewarding things I've ever done in my 50 years in museums."

Parts of the massive collection, which includes more than 8,700 pieces of pottery and 850 Hopi Katsina dolls alone, have already been moved into the 17,283-square-foot facility. The entire move might take two years with the help of 53 volunteers and staff. Tribes affiliated with the museum asked that it be somehow connected to the natural world. Building materials include Douglas fir and local sandstone. "It's the most beautiful, the most environmentally appropriate for the collections and it's also the greenest," Breunig said. "It's a building that fits the natural environment here and symbolizes the history of this place."
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  #42  
Old Posted Feb 9, 2010, 7:01 AM
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Kelly Simonson covers her ears as a train blows its horn while passing by the Fanning
Street railroad crossing in December 2007. People from around town gathered at the
crossing to watch the demonstration of a wayside train horn that would reduce the
amount of noise compared to train horns.
(photo: Jenn Ireland)


Latest train horn silence date: March 1
By JOE FERGUSON
Arizona Daily Sun
February 5, 2010

The city of Flagstaff has tentatively set March 1 as the latest date for the silencing of train horns through the city. The project, long delayed by financial, political and administrative hurdles, was cleared by the Federal Railroad Administration earlier this week. A federal, on-site diagnostic team is expected to review and sign off on the installations in the next few weeks.

City Manager Kevin Burke said in a memo that the installation of pedestrian gates and wayside horns was completed last month. Both measures are designed to clear the way for train engineers to silence their horns through five at-grade crossings in Flagstaff. Sensors will trigger wayside or directional horns at the Steves and Fanning railroad crossings, while pedestrian gates and crossing arms will be used at Enterprise, San Francisco and Beaver streets. Train engineers will sound their horns in emergencies only. City officials will begin testing the newly installed equipment next week, with the goal of establishing the quiet zones on March 1. The city has been pursuing options to silencing train horns since 2005 and is expected to spend $950,000 on installing pedestrian gates and wayside horns.

The city saw its last delay in the summer of 2009 when the Arizona Corporation Commission forced the city to stop installation of the wayside horns after the agency learned that construction crews had been working without the regulatory agency's permission. The issue was resolved in October when the commission ruled that work could resume, but only after a series of administrative hearings. A citizen-run bond advisory group is currently considering bonding to remove the directional horns at Steves and Fanning and replace them with a quieter alternative -- pedestrian barriers. The issue is popular with many eastside residents but considerably more expensive than the gates at the downtown crossings. The Flagstaff City Council has considered this option in the past but has rejected it several times due to its price tag -- estimated to be more than a million dollars.
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  #43  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2010, 7:56 AM
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Now that the city has committed to repairing the collapsed roof of the Jay Lively ice rink, it may rebuild the aging structure into a first-class facility:


Ice arena to stay in city hands
By DANIEL BERK
Arizona Daily Sun
February 10, 2010

Dozens of members of the Flagstaff hockey and skating community were out in full force Tuesday night at the Flagstaff City Council meeting to voice their support for Jay Lively Ice Arena to remain in control of the city, rather than a private or outside group. It appears they'll get their wish, even before any cost estimates come in on what it will take to repair the fallen roof or rebuild the arena entirely. The roof collapsed Jan. 21 under the weight of heavy snow.

Mayor Sara Presler and a majority of the city council voiced their support for the rink to remain being run by the city rather than a private group, and a sale of Jay Lively has been ruled out. The concern of the users of the rink was that outside or private ownership would drive up the prices of ice-time, pricing out a large portion of the Flagstaff skating community. Under city ownership, prices to use the rink should remain unchanged. Several members of the community spoke in support of the rink to remain in the city's control. Mark Williams, a coach with the Flagstaff Youth Hockey Association read an e-mail from Rachelle Lively Duncan, the sister of the late Jay Lively, advocating the safe rebuilding of the rink and for it to remain in the city's control.

TIME OF THE ESSENCE

Now, the focus will shift to getting the rink rebuilt safer than ever and in a quick fashion. "Everyone with the city has been very positive," said Williams. "I'm aware it's city government and things take time. Everybody in there doesn't want to wait. That's the biggest hurdle right now. Time is of the essence or else it will get forgotten." A.J. Fairchild, the director of the NAU hockey club, said the city may have ruled out the privatization of Jay Lively too early. "The city has a lot of trouble, as all municipalities do," Fairchild said. "Things are difficult. They are working under a deficit. There seems to be a strong resistance to private ownership or even a discussion about it. I like the fact that all of the city council members want to get it rebuilt, but in a budget shortfall, it's certainly going to be difficult." Councilmember Scott Overton said the city has a "tremendous opportunity to rebuild Jay Lively into a first-class facility." He agreed with Fairchild that given the city's budget problems, it may be in the best interest not to rule out the possibility of working with outside groups. "Looking at it from a fiscal perspective, it think it is reasonable to pursue a public/private partnership or consider a sale to a private party," he said.

NO TEMPORARY ICE RINK YET

Neither the council nor staff were able to offer a timeline on when a temporary or permanent ice rink would be established. The city is continuing to meet with its insurance carrier regarding the settlement for the damage. Williams has been gathering support for the rink to be rebuilt but has run into some initial challenges. "We've had contact with the National Hockey League and the NHL Players Association and they want to get involved and they want to help, but they don't know how to help," Williams said. "We don't know how to tell them to help. It's the city's thing to say we need to put money here or this is how we can use the money there."

Several scenarios for the future of the rink were discussed Tuesday. One of the leading proposals was to purchase a portable rink from the city of Williams that hasn't been used in at least two years. City officials have been in contact with Williams but a deal hadn't been reached as of Tuesday night. Caitlin Peterson, an employee at Jay Lively and a member of the Flagstaff figure skating club, said if a temporary rink is brought in from Williams, she would like it inside an existing building. "As far as a temporary sheet of ice without an enclosure, it will only be for a month or so," Peterson said. "To get something under a roof is ideal for everybody, especially if it takes longer to rebuild the rink."

Another possibility would be for the city to build a temporary, makeshift rink outside of Jay Lively Ice Arena. Several members of the youth hockey community said they've found success building makeshift rinks in their back yards. Councilmember Coral Evans, who herself played for years on a competitive hockey team at Jay Lively, said the city will find ways to improve the aging facility. "Now we are going to get a state-of-the-art ice rink we should have gotten 40 years ago," Evans said.
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  #44  
Old Posted Feb 18, 2010, 6:29 AM
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Flagstaff Mall owner Westcor says the city owes it $4M for public improvements associated with Phase I of the mall's Marketplace expansion:


Flag Mall in $4M dispute with city
by JOE FERGUSON
Arizona Daily Sun
February 17, 2010

The parent company of the Flagstaff Mall is threatening to sue the city of Flagstaff for $4 million for public improvements related to the mall expansion and the auto mall. The city has already paid $10 million for roads, sewers and other public infrastructure at the site. But the Phoenix-based Westcor is claiming that the city has failed to live up to a development agreement it signed in 2004. Under the terms, the city would reimburse Westcor for public improvements to the Marketplace at Flagstaff Mall and the Auto Mall. "The City has failed to reimburse Westcor for significant costs pursuant to the City's express payment obligations under the Agreement," wrote an attorney representing Westcor in a four-page demand letter delivered to the city last Friday. But the amount the city is actually liable for is under dispute. City officials have previously stated that the city would pay up to $10 million for the public improvements, and city records indicate that amount has been spent. City officials refused to comment Tuesday, citing ongoing litigation.

MEDIATION FIRST

A demand letter is a precursor to a lawsuit. But prior to any lawsuit, the developer's agreement between the city and Westcor requires that the two parties go into mediation over the disputed figure. The two parties have already spent more than a year and a half discussing the $4 million figure, according to the demand letter. Westcor claims that the city supposedly rejected an offer to settle "for a small portion of the amount it owed under the agreement," but an exact amount was not disclosed.

To date, Westcor has spent more than $40 million to build the 248,000 square-foot mall extension called The Marketplace at Flagstaff Mall and renovate the mall's food court. A second phase of the planned expansion, which included several restaurants and a movie theater, has not been built. The city-backed auto mall, across the street from the Marketplace, was also made possible with the development agreement.
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  #45  
Old Posted Feb 19, 2010, 6:26 AM
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Buckled sheet metal and insulation are visible in a
section of the roof of the Jay Lively Ice Rink that
collapsed under heavy snow in January.
(photo: Jake Bacon)


Council OKs rink rebuild
by JOE FERGUSON
Arizona Daily Sun
February 18, 2010

The city of Flagstaff will spend an estimated $1.7 million in insurance money to rebuild Jay Lively Ice Arena with the goal of reopening it this fall. The only city outlay is likely to be the policy's $25,000 deductible. The Flagstaff City Council decided Tuesday against a substantial upgrade in effort to reopen the damaged building as soon as possible. Some hockey enthusiasts had hoped for the installation of seats and a second sheet of ice. But city staff told the council that substantially redesigning the rink could delay its opening for more than a year.

Most families who spoke before the Council Tuesday said their greatest concern was not with new amenities but when the rink would be open. It was severely damaged Jan. 21 when the weight of rain-soaked snow caused the roof to collapse. The Cashmans were one of those families. Rhonda Cashman said her family is currently driving to Phoenix twice a week so that her 11-year-old daughter, Courtney, can continue to get figure skating lessons. Councilmember Rick Swanson said he hoped the rink would be reopened by Sept. 1, the start of the season for the youth hockey league.

The Council did not, however, opt to use an emergency procurement process that could have sped up the reconstruction process even further. The emergency measure would forgo the normal bidding process used for most city contracts. Without it, the awarding of a building contract is expected to take an extra month. Several local contractors criticized using the emergency procurement process during the Council meeting, noting several companies in Flagstaff were qualified for the $1.7 million building contract. The Council opted instead to "fast-track" the rebuilding process by giving the arena priority with city building staff over other projects.

DONATION FUND ESTABLISHED

The Council also set up a donation fund to help rebuild Jay Lively. While the city's insurance is expected to cover most of the costs to rebuild, the city is still liable for a $25,000 deductible. The Council also discussed the possibility the donations could be earmarked for improvements to the facility. But those would be considered only after the ice rink reopens. The only major upgrade will likely be to the roof, where the city will build to current building standards. City staff noted on Tuesday night that when the original roof was built it was designed to hold 20 pounds of load per square foot; the current standard is double that amount.

The Council also directed staff to sign off on application for ABC's "Extreme Home Make-Over" reality show to consider rebuilding the ice rink. Several children are currently circulating the petition in the community. The show generally focuses on rebuilding homes, not facilities like the ice rink. A temporary rink is expected to open in the coming weeks, but several members of the skating community said the portable rink from the city of Williams is too small to be useful.
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  #46  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2010, 8:03 AM
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An aerial photo taken in August 2008 shows the construction site of Aspen Place
at the Sawmill on Butler Avenue. The New Frontiers market is in the foreground
with Butler Avenue being on the right of the image.
(photo: Jake Bacon)


Default averted for Aspen Place at Sawmill developer
by JOE FERGUSON
Arizona Daily Sun
February 19, 2010

The developer of the financially troubled commercial/residential project in central Flagstaff had some good news for the City Council -- and taxpayers -- Tuesday night. The CEO of the Aspen Group, Don Meyers, said he was close to securing the much-needed financing to keep most of the 40-acre project, known as Aspen Place at the Sawmill, under his control. The announcement comes a week before a deadline with the city to find new investors before the city would start seizing parcels in the mixed-use, midtown development.

The city is liable for $19 million in site improvement bonds if the developer is unable to make the payments. A grocery store and two restaurants have opened, but a recent market assessment placed the value of the property at just $12 million. The Aspen Group defaulted on its first bond payment last December, worth roughly $1 million, pushing the project into a legal limbo of sorts with the city. The city was able to cover the entire first bond payment with a $1.9 million letter of credit it held from the developers. Another payment of $465,000 is due this summer. Meyers promised more details by next week's deadline.

But Mayor Sara Presler, who voted against a revised agreement with the Aspen Place developer, repeatedly focused her attention on a split of sales tax proceeds -- a holdover from the last agreement. The previous city council agreed to let the developer get a share of the tax revenue -- up to $9 million -- for the next 20 years. Two members of the current Council who made the decision, Scott Overton and Al White, stepped in to defend the agreement, noting the Scottsdale-based developer made several large concessions worth millions of dollars. Those included donating two acres of land for affordable housing and realigning Lone Tree to build the development. They also pointed out that without the nearly $40 million invested by the Aspen Group in the development, no new revenue would have been generated.


(and some further discussion on the plight of Fourth St....)

SUNNYSIDE BLIGHT?

The former K-Mart/Mega Foods/Price Choppers in Sunnyside isn't pretty to look at. But is it a blight along Fourth Street? Councilmember Coral Evans thinks so and has set her sights on the city condemning the property. Evans made her intention clear on Tuesday night, saying she has talked with her peers in Nogales and Douglas who have been successful in condemning neglected commercial properties.

The property has sat largely vacant for the last few years, save for when it served as a temporary home to Hastings last year. Several businesses have made offers over the years to lease the property, but all have been rejected, Evans said. The Council will formally review Evans' request in the coming weeks, but Evans has already seen her first roadblock -- the city attorney. City attorney Pat Boomsma said Tuesday night that looking into the proposed condemnation would take significant research by her staff.
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  #47  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2010, 8:10 PM
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Tribe gives $2M toward Native American center at NAU
By HILLARY DAVIS
Arizona Daily Sun
January 6, 2009

A Southern California Indian tribe has donated $2 million toward a Native American cultural center at Northern Arizona University's Mountain Campus. The gift from the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians, the indigenous people of the San Bernardino mountains and valleys, is the first major contribution to NAU's Native Roots, Native Futures fundraising campaign. The new facility, which will be located on North Campus not far from the University Union, will cost $6 million. Another $2 million will be dedicated to programs and scholarships.

Catherine Talakte, director of Native American Student Services, said she was pleased and pleasantly surprised with the large gift. She said Native American Student Services has outgrown its shared space in the University Union with Multicultural Student Services and Student Support Services, and with its new space can reach a wider population. "Most importantly, it's going to be a home away from home for a lot of our native students," Talakte said. "It'll give them an opportunity to interact more with each other, but also interact more with the faculty and staff on campus." Construction on the building is expected to begin in spring 2010.

NAU president John Haeger and Talakte traveled to San Bernardino this week to accept a check from the San Manuel tribe. Haeger said the tribe became interested in the building project with the understanding that if they gave money, NAU would commit additional dollars. "We drafted these proposals and we sent them to San Manuel — probably, we started talking to them a year and a half, two years ago," he said. "We made a commitment if they went forward, we'd go forward — and it made a commitment to campus. So it's one of those things where you have to maintain your commitments." Haeger said the university does not have the $3 million right now, but will commit to additional debt service. He estimated it would be a year and a half before the first debt service payment. Haeger, along with Talakte, also said he was confident that the campaign would be able to raise the remaining $1 million to finish the center. He said the center indicates NAU's commitment to its Native community. NAU is one of the top 10 institutions in the country for Native American student enrollment, and is in the top five for awarding Natives degrees. More than 1,300 Native American students at the university represent 62 tribes.

In a press release, San Manuel Chairman James Ramos said NAU's proximity to government centers and several prominent Indian nations will make the center a model for others to work with tribal nations. "An environment of this nature begs for a strong and progressive relationship between the tribes and the university," he stated. The center will offer support services to Native students, as well as outreach to broaden cultural understanding among non-Natives. The center, which can enter the design phase with the gift, will house the university's Native American Student Services, admissions support, financial aid guidance, classrooms, a computer area, a kitchen, lounges and a venue for presentations, gatherings and ceremonies. The facility will also feature sustainable design principles and traditions from Southwestern Native cultures.


NATIVE ROOTS, NATIVE FUTURES

So far, the Native Roots, Native Futures campaign has raised $2,039,000. For more information, including how to give, contact Shelley Silbert, development officer in University Advancement, at 523-7635 or Shelley.Silbert@nau.edu.
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  #48  
Old Posted Feb 28, 2010, 3:17 AM
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thanks for the info.
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  #49  
Old Posted Mar 2, 2010, 7:21 PM
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The future of the retail portion of Aspen Place at The Sawmill is in limbo after the developer
missed Friday's deadline to name investors to help with bond payments for all 40 acres.
(photo: Rick Wacha)


Developer pleads for time
by JOE FERGUSON
Arizona Daily Sun
March 2, 2010

The developer behind the financially troubled commercial/residential project at Butler Avenue and Lone Tree Road missed a crucial deadline on Friday to find new investors. The Phoenix-based Aspen Group was only able to find new backers for two of the three parcels in the 40-acre midtown project known as Aspen Place at The Sawmill. Without new investors for the third parcel, city taxpayers could again be on the hook for roughly $8.5 million in bond payments related to the property for the next 25 years. But the founder and CEO of the Aspen Group, Don Meyers, said he might be able to still find investors if the city can give him more time. Meyers would not elaborate, noting he is in negotiations with city officials.

Several councilmembers contacted over the weekend said they would be open to giving the developer more time to find investors. Giving the Aspen Group a few more weeks is preferable, said Councilmember Scott Overton, to having the city sell the property at a public auction. Overton said the Aspen Group has better contacts with private investors than the city. The Flagstaff City Council set the deadline out of continued concerns that the developer did not have the financing to pay back the $19 million in bonds the city helped to secure as part of a 2007 development agreement. The developer was expected to repay the bonds over 25 years, but the group missed the first bond payment of nearly $1 million last December. The city was able to cover the payment with a $1.9 million letter of credit it held from the developers. Another payment of $465,000 is due this summer, but it will also be covered by the remainder of the letter of credit. City Manager Kevin Burke said last week’s deadline to find new investors was set to motivate the developer, but does not correspond to repayment schedule related to the bonds.

The announcement by Meyers late Friday afternoon that the Aspen Group was unable to secure financing to pay for millions in bond payments did surprise several senior city officials. Many were privately expecting the developer to default on the undeveloped southern half of the project that was zoned for 321 residential units — a mix of apartments, townhomes and detached single-family homes. However, Meyers indicated on Friday that he had found investors for the residential portion as well as the parcel that covers the New Frontiers supermarket. What Meyers was unable to find new backers for was the northwestern parcel that contains the revenue-generating parcels where Wildflower Bread Company and Pita Jungle are located. If the developer defaults on the northwestern parcel, it is not expected to have any effect on the leases at either business.

One possible solution would have the city auction off the northwestern parcel to make the bond payments, but in the slow commercial real estate market, the sale of property might not be enough. A recent estimate of the entire development suggests the entire project could be worth as little as $12 million in the current market. Meyers’ announcement on Friday puts into legal limbo a clause in the original development agreement that would split sales tax proceeds. If the city ends up taking over the northwest parcel, which was zoned exclusively for commercial and retail use, the only new sales tax covered by the agreement would come from the New Frontiers grocery store. The store primarily sells food, which is not taxed by the city. A clause related specifically to the grocery store splits additional incremental sales of taxable items above the revenue that was generated when the store used to be located on Milton Avenue.
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Old Posted Mar 4, 2010, 7:15 AM
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Mayor Sara Presler joins other spectators in holding her hands over her ears as the last train horn
to be sounded in downtown Flagstaff goes off on Tuesday afternoon. The city of Flagstaff, along
with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, held a ceremony commemorating the final train horn.
(photo: Josh Biggs)


Train horns go out with a blast
by JOE FERGUSON
Arizona Daily Sun
March 3, 2010

The first train whistled into Flagstaff on Aug. 1, 1882, touching off a "noisy and rough celebration," according to an account by the late historian Platt Cline. All the men in town were armed, and many shot off their firearms to mark the event. On Tuesday, more than a century later, there was another celebration at the train station in Flagstaff, and in keeping with the theme, it turned out to be even quieter than planned. Mayor Sara Presler picked up one of the small wooden train whistles given to community leaders to commemorate the silencing of train horns at all five city crossings, only to learn in front of a crowd of more than 100 people that the toy didn't work. Presler would later joke that she must have gotten the "quiet zone" train whistle. The mayor said she was excited that the horns had been silenced, noting that hotel owners could finally distance themselves from the negative reviews on the Internet from guests who were rudely awakened by the sound of passing trains.

Others predicted the reviews would be mixed. "It depends on whether they are train buffs or they stayed in a hotel the night before," said Kathy Hales, who has worked in the city's visitors center at the train station full-time for the last four years and has heard tens of thousands of trains close up.

DOWN TO 60 TRAINS A DAY

The city spent nearly $1 million on the multi-year project to silence the horns from passing trains. The city has seen numerous delays since first attempting to quiet the train horns in 2005. A Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway official said during the ceremony that currently 60 trains pass through town, down from a peak of 125 trains per day a few years ago before the recession. Little was mentioned during the 30-minute ceremony about the installation of wayside horns at the Steves Boulevard and Fanning Drive at-grade crossings, which have been deeply controversial among eastside residents.

At least one resident made his displeasure known, carrying around a sign stating that only three-fifths of the city was actually quiet and 78 decibels (the volume of a wayside horn a few hundred feet from an intersection) is not the same as silence. A citizen-run bond advisory committee briefly considered earlier this year bonding for the $1.4 million needed to convert the two eastside crossings into true quiet zones. But the project failed to resonate with the committee members and was not part of narrowed list of 14 possible bond projects.

BLACK SASHES AND SHOTS

Four-year-old Maxwell Jankowski came up with his mother from the Sedona area to hear the trains one last time. The tiny train lover said he would miss the sound of trains when his family visits Flagstaff. Across the tracks, about 25 people celebrated the last "official" sounding of the train horn with shots of hard liquor at Altitudes Bar and Grill. The co-owner of Altitudes, Lynda Fleischer, said people wore black sashes as they celebrated one last time. Fleischer, a Cheshire resident, said she will miss the horns but hopes to mount an actual train horn on the wall of her business. Decorative, of course. "I've lived here for 30 years and I am going to miss them," she said. But one thing won't change at Altitudes: train shots. Fleischer said the tradition of inexpensive shots is tied to passing trains, not the horns.
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  #51  
Old Posted Mar 4, 2010, 7:27 AM
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The Navajo Nation's first resort-casino in Arizona is slated to start construction this fall near Twin Arrows:



(map: Arizona Daily Sun)


New casino east of Flag takes shape
by CYNDY COLE
Arizona Daily Sun
March 3, 2010

The gaming arm of the Navajo Nation plans to break ground this fall on a $180 million resort, spa and casino near Twin Arrows, less than a half-hour drive east of Flagstaff. Final financing for the project is likely to come through in the coming days, with completion of the project estimated in fall 2011, said Bob Winter, chief executive officer of the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise. He is seeking an architect familiar with strict sustainability standards to design a "green" resort near Twin Arrows on the north side of Interstate 40. "It's going to be environmentally friendly and as green as it can be," he said. He said he did not know how much water the casino would use or where it would come from.

The resort-casino will have a golf course, a sewage treatment plant, a store selling native arts and crafts, water and utilities. It will be three stories tall at most, Winter said. This would not be a "Las-Vegas-style" casino, he added. "We're looking to make it a place where people can stay and be comfortable and do many things other than game," Winter said. Its accompanying hotel would have 150 to 250 rooms, and the facility would be built to avoid archaeological sites in the area, Winter said. The tribe's feasibility study estimates the resort-casino would attract foreign and domestic tourists headed to the Grand Canyon or to other nearby points of interest, but Winter would not give estimates on how many. Nor would he discuss funding, other than to say it will be funded by the tribe.

4,400 VEHICLES A DAY

Twin Arrows sits in the southwestern corner of the Navajo Nation, where Interstate 40 nears tribal land. Tribal reports filed with Coconino County and the Arizona Department of Transportation estimate the resort-casino would increase traffic heading off Interstate 40 from fewer than 100 vehicles per day now to 4,400 vehicles per day. "We are telling them that it would be their responsibility to upgrade the interchange" at Interstate 40, said Rod Wigman, spokesman for the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Given national vehicle occupancy rates, that would equate to perhaps 5,280 visitors per day, or an estimated 1.9 million visitors if the casino received that much traffic every day of the year. That's a little less than half the visitation the Grand Canyon receives, on average, annually. Three years ago, Winter estimated that such a casino could gross $50 million in its first year. That was the year the Navajo Nation accepted a $100 million line of credit to start building casinos around the reservation. But it later set that idea aside in favor of tapping a tribal trust fund instead. The tribe opened its first casino east of Gallup in 2008.

NO PAYMENTS TO INDIVIDUALS

The Twin Arrows project is possible, in part, due to a 300-acre land donation from the Leupp Chapter. One local family had loudly opposed the casino in the past. Gaming could add jobs for Navajo Nation residents, but it will not lead to regular distribution of profits to individuals. Instead, the money generated from the resort and casino is slated to go for infrastructure all across the nation. The Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise is headed by a board nominated by the tribe's president and confirmed by its council, and the financial data it keeps is largely secret. It's not possible for the average Navajo resident to know how much the casino costs to operate or what its profits total. Those facts are disclosed in executive sessions, according to one legislative adviser, which are confidential government meetings that are not open to the public.

Last edited by kaneui; Mar 4, 2010 at 7:50 AM.
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Old Posted Mar 10, 2010, 6:31 AM
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Even after the courts OK'd the use of treated wastewater, the Dept. of Agriculture has withheld permission from Arizona Snowbowl to begin artificial snowmaking, and has been negotiating in secret with the city of Flagstaff to have the facility use more expensive potable water:



Skiers ride on the ski lift to reach the top at Snowbowl Monday morning.
(photo: Kendra Enriquez)


Secret Snowbowl talks break open
by CYNDY COLE
Arizona Daily Sun
March 9, 2010

A federal agency is pressing the city of Flagstaff to offer potable water for snowmaking at Arizona Snowbowl that does not come directly from reclaimed wastewater. In addition, Snowbowl could get government aid to cover the $11 million in higher costs for the water over 20 winters. Arizona's two U.S. senators are blasting the plan as a waste of taxpayer money and a violation of court decisions in favor of making snow at Snowbowl with treated effluent.

The proposal comes in response to tribal concerns that making snow with reclaimed wastewater desecrates the San Francisco Peaks, which they hold sacred. Instead of making snow entirely with processed wastewater taken from the Rio de Flag Water Reclamation plant, Snowbowl would be tapping so-called "stored water." That's water located underground and downstream of the Rio de Flag plant, mixed with natural surface and groundwater from rain and snow. This "stored water" is already tapped by four 1,500-foot-deep city wells in the vicinity of Foxglenn. But instead of going to the city's water treatment plant for final processing, up to 1.5 million gallons a day would be diverted to Snowbowl for three months each winter.

NO EARMARKS FOR SNOWMAKING SUBSIDIES

The negotiations, revealed Monday, involve city officials and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has withheld permission for Snowbowl to build while holding private negotiations with regional tribes since July in attempts to forge a compromise. The Navajo Nation, along with other tribes, declined an option to purchase the ski area last fall, according to Snowbowl's owner.

U.S. Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl blasted the U.S. Department of Agriculture in a letter Monday, though they each support snowmaking at Arizona Snowbowl. They called for Agriculture to grant Snowbowl permission to build "immediately." "We oppose the use of taxpayer dollars to subsidize snowmaking at Arizona Snowbowl, and we will object to any attempt to secure an earmark or congressional approval of this project," they wrote. They also asked whether the tribes that litigated to prevent snowmaking with reclaimed water would be content with this source of water. "Have the tribes officially taken a position that they support 'stored water' but not A+ reclaimed water; and if so, on what basis?" they asked.

ATTEMPT TO STRIKE A BALANCE

Among the litigants opposed to the project was the Hopi tribe, which feared snowmaking with any kind of water could interfere with the home of spiritual beings and ancestors responsible for creating snow on the San Francisco Peaks and the rain on Hopi farmlands. Hopi Chairman Le Roy Shingoitewa had heard nothing of the new proposal as of Monday. The city of Flagstaff secretly proposed this "stored" water to the Agriculture Department in January in an apparent attempt to strike a balance between the use of water that was formerly in sewer systems and kitchen sinks -- an offensive idea to some tribal members -- and potential Flagstaff resident opposition to using fresh groundwater.

"This has been done for local political and legal reasons, as some segments of the general public would be very much opposed to using drinking-quality water or potable water for snowmaking ..." a Jan. 13 letter from the city to the Agriculture Department reads. Using such a water source would also nullify an ongoing lawsuit that calls into question the safety of using purely reclaimed wastewater for snowmaking. City of Flagstaff officials, who are bound by confidentiality rules in the negotiations, declined comment early Monday evening.

HIGHER COSTS VS. MORE JOBS

Negotiations on Snowbowl reach very high in the executive branch -- to the chief of staff and at least the deputy director at the Agriculture Department, if not Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, to whom the senators' letter is addressed. Snowbowl last year proposed to take legal action to force the Agriculture Department to allow construction of snowmaking infrastructure this spring following Snowbowl's legal victory in the courts, according to federal records obtained by the Arizona Daily Sun under the Freedom of Information Act.

But it set those legal tactics aside out of concern the resolution of the dispute would take longer. "We are striving to come up with a solution that the tribes are satisfied with," Eric Borowsky, a Snowbowl owner, told the Daily Sun Monday. "We all know that those mountains are sacred to the tribes of northern Arizona." He said there were many other options discussed that he would not disclose, and that Snowbowl was willing to split the cost of the more-expensive water with the Agriculture Department or the city of Flagstaff, citing the additional jobs it would provide for Flagstaff. "Hopefully, we will be under construction within weeks," he said.
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  #53  
Old Posted Mar 14, 2010, 7:39 PM
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A cross-section view of the Skydome shows future renovations.
(render: Inside NAU)


SPEED projects moving forward; Skydome, Liberal Arts to close in December
Inside NAU
March 4, 2010

Northern Arizona University has re-started its SPEED construction efforts, and projects will soon begin on campus. The 33-year-old Skydome will close in mid-December following the football season and fall commencement. Construction will address fire and life safety and Title IX issues as well as upgrade outdated accommodations. The 46-year-old Liberal Arts building also will close in December to allow construction on fire and life safety issues and to upgrade classroom and faculty office space. Both buildings are expected to re-open in August 2011. “We know that closing these two buildings will be a short-term inconvenience,” said Jane Kuhn, associate vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs. “However, in the long term, we will have highly improved facilities that meet the needs of our students, faculty, athletes and fans.”

SPEED—Stimulus Plan for Economic and Educational Development—is intended to jump-start Arizona's sagging economy by boosting the construction industry and addressing critical renovation and building renewal needs on campus. Arizona Lottery revenues will fund 80 percent of the SPEED debt service, and the university will pay 20 percent. Northern Arizona University would pay interest only on the projects for five years. Other SPEED projects include remodeling the Hotel and Restaurant Management building to convert the former Inn at NAU into classroom and culinary lab space. Construction is expected to start in May and be completed in December. The Inn at NAU closed in June 2008. Construction in the North Union, which also is closed, will begin this month and will include roofing, electrical upgrades, fire and life safety issues as well as overall renovations. The project is expected to be completed in May. Upgrades to the north campus infrastructure, including the campus boiler plant, sewer lines and tunnels, began in November and will run through August.

Two other high-profile projects are under way—or soon will be—including the 270,000-square-foot Health and Learning Center, mostly paid for through student fees, and the $6 million Native American Center, which is paid half through donations and half by NAU. The Health and Learning Center projects also include the newly opened fields on south campus and an upgraded Fronske Health Center, which will move when the new building opens.
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  #54  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2010, 2:20 AM
Buckeye Native 001 Buckeye Native 001 is offline
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God fucking dammit, I'm supposed to graduate in May 2011.

The football stadium at my undergrad college was also closed when I got my BA (May 2006). We had to have commencement at the Anaheim Convention Center.
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  #55  
Old Posted Apr 1, 2010, 6:50 AM
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The YMCA finally has its own home in Flagstaff--a brand new $6.2M, 20k s.f. facility in Switzer Canyon with a fitness center, full-sized basketball court, rock-climbing wall, snack bar and more:



The main entrance and one of the workout rooms at the Flagstaff Family YMCA.
(photos: Jake Bacon)


YMCA: Countdown to opening
by BETSEY BRUNER
Arizona Daily Sun
March 31, 2010

There are only a few loose ends left: Install lights in locker rooms; wait for snow to melt outside so playgrounds can be finished; and do a final clean-up and polish of all floors. Then it's swing-open-the-doors time as the Flagstaff Family YMCA invites the public into its new facilities during the official grand opening Saturday, April 17, at the 20,000-square-foot building on North Turquoise Drive in Switzer Canyon. The celebration will include speeches by officials, a brass quintet from the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra, tours and special activities for children.

By any measure, the completed two-story facility is dazzling. Natural light flooded through east-facing windows during a press tour Tuesday morning. "Our lobby with its vaulted ceiling captures the setting sun," said Executive Director Paul Giguere, who has an upstairs office in the new building. "As you can tell, right now we don't even have our lights on." The building features a 3,700-square-foot fitness center packed with new equipment, a gymnasium with a full-sized basketball court, group cycling room, rock climbing wall, snack bar, locker rooms with showers and an aerobics/group exercise studio, complete with a full-length wall mirror and ballet bar. Also housed in the building downstairs are preschool programs, complete with playgrounds, and the Northern Arizona College Resource Center, a free community service to middle and high school students interested in post-secondary schools.

THE 'WOW' FACTOR

Giguere (pronounced jig-air) came to town two years ago from Southern California to lead the Flagstaff Y, which is a branch of the Valley of the Sun YMCA. Sign-up for memberships began March 1, he said. "There's been a very positive response," Giguere said. "It's the 'Wow' factor. The two comments we're gotten so far are, 'Wow, I didn't know it was so big,' and ,'Wow, I didn't know there was so much fitness equipment.'" The staff of 20 will swell to 40 soon after the doors open, he said. "It's 18 days and counting," he said. "We're training our new staff -- the staff for the kids and the membership service staff. We're hiring and training personal trainers and fitness instructors."

It will take a bit more than a month to finalize the group fitness schedule, he added. "As membership grows, we'll be adding classes," Giguere said. Special pricing offers to charter members are available, the fee to join will be waived for anyone signing up through April 17. The Y is looking for 250 charter members, with a projected membership from 2,500 to 3,000 before a cap is reached. Nobody will be turned away from YMCA programs because of lack of money, he said, and scholarships are available for individuals and families in need.

YMCA WITHOUT WALLS

The YMCA presence here is not new. The organization began serving Flagstaff with the introduction of the YKidz Preschool, which opened in 1999 with seven children. Through the years, programs have been housed in many venues. The preschool met at Coconino Community College, swimming classes where at the Continental Country Club and the Holiday Inn and children's YMCA day camps were located at several FUSD schools.

"We've been a YMCA without walls for the past 11 years, so our programs have been throughout the community and all different schools," Giguere said. "The Y is focused on being rooted in its community." Despite having no home, the local YMCA has carved out a niche for itself. "The main draw is we're not a fitness club," Giguere explained. "We're a YMCA; we're really focused on the person and the family." All ages are welcome. "We even have single people who say they like seeing all the smiling kids doing activities and being involved," Giguere said. The facility will also be a community center, with opportunities for groups to have workshops, fund-raising events and even annual picnics in the building and on the grounds. "We're into being a multi-activity center," Giguere said.

KEEPING IT FLAGSTAFF

Giguere said the focus all along with the facility has been "keeping it really Flagstaff." The shape and size of the building was not dictated by some pre-determined norm. Creating a new home for the Flagstaff Family YMCA has been a labor of love. "This has been a project for the last 12 years, from the original founders who came together to put up the seed money to start the project -- Bob Senseman, APS and Bank of America," Giguere said. The first job of the committee the founders began was to gauge interest here. "The first thing they did was ask, 'Is this a town that would support a YMCA?" he said. "They spent the first three or four years looking into it." The answer to the question was "Yes." A major fund-raising pushing in the last seven years brought in $5 million from the community, to complete the $6.2- million total needed to finish the building. After a groundbreaking in October 2008, construction has been nonstop, but a projected August 2009 opening was delayed by the changing financial market, Giguere said. Workers on the projects have also been local. "I'm excited personally; we went with a local architect, a local contractor and a local attorney," Giguere said. "I love it."


IF YOU GO...

WHAT: Flagstaff Family YMCA Grand Opening Celebration.

WHEN: Saturday, April 17, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

WHERE: 1001 N. Turquoise Drive.

RSVP: Respond to invitation by April 13, Shannel Oliver at the Help Center, 556-9622.
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  #56  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2010, 5:29 AM
kaneui kaneui is offline
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Last new station to break ground soon
Arizona Daily Sun
April 4, 2010

Construction of the last of four new fire stations voters approved in 2004 will get under way later this month or in May. The last station, Station 2, will be the Flagstaff Fire Department's flagship station at the intersection of East Route 66 and Enterprise Road, said Fire Chief Michael Iacona. The four new stations, placed in strategic locations throughout the city to improve response times, were built for future expansion without having to add extra facilities, Iacona said. In 2004, voters were asked to approve a bond for the construction of the new stations. The stations replace four older stations, including Station 2 in Sunnyside -- built in 1945 and renovated twice since then. Total price tag for the four stations, classrooms and a training center: $19.6 million.

Three of the stations have already been built. Station 1 is located on Thompson street off West Route 66, replacing Station 1 on Malpais Lane adjacent to the Greyhound bus station. The old Station 1 has since been reclassified as Station 7. Station 5 is located on Fort Valley Road just down the road from Sechrist Elementary School, replacing the old Station 5 at the entrance to the Cheshire neighborhood. Station 3 is located off Country Club Drive near the Purina plant, replacing the old Station 3 located off Railhead Avenue behind the Flagstaff Mall.

Iacona said Station 1 is the prototype for all the other new stations. Each station contains a crew office, day room, individual sleeping quarters, unisex bathrooms, laundry facilities and an office for the on-duty captain. There are three refrigerators in a fully stocked kitchen for each of the three crews to place their perishable food items. Each station has a two-bay garage equipped with systems to remove carbon monoxide put out by the fire engines. The stations also have rooms for firefighters to clean, disinfect and store their gear. The stations also have exercise rooms and even an activity room. Station 1 has a pool table among other games in the activity room. Iacona said that each station costs about $20,000 to $25,000 annually to run, including utilities and fuel for the fire apparatus.
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  #57  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2010, 7:37 PM
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APS gets OK for Flagstaff solar project
Phoenix Business Journal
by Sebastien Bauge
April 5, 2010

Arizona Public Service received approval for a $10 million pilot project to install solar panels in a small Flagstaff community. The Community Power Project, approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission, calls for APS to own and operate solar panels on 200 homes in northeast Flagstaff, and offer customers the opportunity to buy power from the units at a fixed level for the next 20 years.

The U.S. Department of Energy is partly funding the research effort with a $3.3 million grant given over a 45-month period. The 1.5-megawatt project also gives APS an opportunity to study how small systems interact with grid connections and how to manage changes in the flow of electricity based on what the systems are producing. “We’re very interested in the technical study of this,” said APS spokesman Dan Wool. “We really want to optimize our system and this project will teach us a lot.” APS will pay for installation and upkeep of the solar panels with residents signing easements that grant access to their roofs. In return, APS will charge participants a fixed Community Power Rate that effectively cuts their energy bills in half, Wool said. The program is expected to generate about 1.5 megawatts of energy, enough to power about 400 homes. “What we learn could very well become a linchpin for making rooftop solar generation a widespread phenomenon in the future,” said APS President Don Robinson in a press release.

Arizona Corporation Commissioner Paul Newman said the pilot will be monitored closely in terms of job creation. “The Flagstaff pilot will help us understand how high levels of distributed clean energy impact the grid and provide jobs to local solar installers,” said Newman. Flagstaff officials had been promoting the project to the Arizona Corporation Commission for months, said Nicole Woodman, sustainability manager for the city of Flagstaff. “Providing opportunities to our residents is a key, and eliminating the financial barrier to renewable energy was a way to do that,” Woodman said. APS also plans to have a utility-scale solar system and several wind turbines installed in the test area.
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  #58  
Old Posted Apr 7, 2010, 9:08 PM
kaneui kaneui is offline
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No new frills due to insurance/budgetary constraints, but the ice rink roof will be replaced in time for the fall hockey season:



The Jay Lively Ice Rink has had all traces of the old roof removed leaving the concrete
floor and support rooms waiting for a decision from the Flagstaff City Council about how
it will be rebuilt.
(photo: Jake Bacon)


Council scores Lively hat trick
by JOE FERGUSON
Arizona Daily Sun
April 7, 2010

The Flagstaff City Council scored a hat trick with its unanimous approval Tuesday of a contract to rebuild the Jay Lively ice rink in time for a fall opening. The reopening will be just after the youth hockey season starts in the fall, the project results in a full replacement of the arena, and the new roof will be reinforced and able to withstand much heavier snow loads. For hundreds of local hockey athletes and figure skaters, the contract means they finally will be able to get back on the ice after months of driving down to Phoenix or practicing inside the Flagstaff Aquaplex on basketball courts.

Dan Holmes, a project manager with the city, told the Council he believes the city could have skaters back on the ice in as little as five months. "Our goal is to have ice back in late September or early October," Holmes said. He cautioned that requests for a second sheet of ice, additional bleachers, expanded seating for spectators, a concessions area, an expanded pro shop and other amenities could not be fulfilled without additional financing. "We are severely constrained by what the insurance will or will not fund," Holmes said. City Manager Kevin Burke said city staff is continuing to negotiate with the city's insurance company. The city's insurance policy only covers the cost of the full replacement value of the rink. "We are having some challenges trying to recoup what we think we are owed under the insurance settlement," Burke conceded. City officials estimate the insurance settlement will be more worth more than $1 million.

A new request did come to light during the Tuesday night Council meeting. A local group wanted the city to rebuild the rink to the green building standard known as LEED Silver, a standard the council established last year. But Holmes was skeptical the building could be built to the green building code without an additional cost. The contract approved Tuesday night went to Flagstaff-based Loven Contracting. Mike Loven, the owner of Loven Contracting, said the rebuilt rink will look a lot like the old rink. "What was there at the time of the collapse will be there again, but new," he said.

The fate of a proposed temporary ice rink this spring and summer for figure skaters and hockey teams wasn't discussed on Tuesday night. Deputy City Manager Ben Fisk said the city is still investigating possible locations to house a temporary rink. Local clubs that practiced at Jay Lively prior to the collapse were skeptical of a proposed plan that would have borrowed a quarter-sheet ice rink from the city of Williams. Several people from both FYHA and the Flagstaff Figure Skating Club said the temporary rink would have been too small to be useful. But the home-ice advantage, it turns out, wasn't necessary this year for at least two teams in the Flagstaff Youth Hockey Association. FYHA's bantam team and pee wee "red team" each captured a Sonoran League Championship in March, despite having just four on-ice practices apiece following the roof collapse on Jan. 21.
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  #59  
Old Posted Apr 10, 2010, 12:22 AM
kaneui kaneui is offline
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While the public school district shutters two grade schools and one high school next year, a public charter school--the Flagstaff Arts & Leadership Academy--is looking to add a middle school at their new $4M campus on Ft. Valley Rd.:



(render: FALA)



FALA's new campus, new middle school
by Hillary Davis
Arizona Daily Sun
April 9, 2010

Flagstaff Arts & Leadership Academy, currently housing just grades 9 through 12, is officially ready to grow. A $4 million bond needed to begin construction of the charter school's new campus on Fort Valley Road has come through. Construction workers will begin prepping the site next week. And the recently approved middle school is ready to take applications, with space for 100 seventh- and eighth-graders. FALA executive director Becky Daggett confirmed that the bond was funded on Tuesday and building permits had already been submitted to the city of Flagstaff. Although the permits were still under review, Daggett said the school and city have been working together smoothly and the construction company can begin preparing the 3-acre site, starting with surveying and compacting soil where the buildings will stand. She said the builders are confident in an August 2010 opening for all grades.

The new campus has been a project in the making for about a year and a half. FALA now owns the land at the corner of Fort Valley and Fremont outright. Daggett said she has encouraged the builders, Magnus Construction from the Phoenix area, to hire local subcontractors. The new campus, at just under 10,000 square feet, will feature a dance room that opens to an outdoor amphitheater/performance space, a music room with several practice rooms, a science lab and three classrooms. The parking lot will be bigger for both staff and students, and the school gardening teacher will plant native flora around the campus with students. The modular trailers that have been a part of FALA since its 1996 debut will be brought over for administrative offices, more classrooms and storage.

Daggett said the "green" design of the new facility won't feel very institutional. "It's going to be quite beautiful," she said. The buildings will take advantage of natural light, and Daggett said she would be open to adding solar panels to the roof if the school can find the money. However, last month's fundraising gala was a success, drawing about 200 people and $13,000 in donations. The fundraiser allowed FALA to reach its $20,000 fundraising goal to secure a matching gift for the new campus.

OPEN HOUSES IN MAY

FALA's middle school will accept up to 50 students each in seventh and eighth grades, and interested families can now reserve spots for open houses in May. Administrators plan to hire four teachers for the middle school, one for each core subject of English, math, science and social studies. The school has re-set its total enrollment cap for 300 students, middle and high schools combined. The small school, which started this year with close to 200 students and will graduate a senior class of 38 in June, focuses on creative arts and college preparatory academics.

The Arizona State Board for Charter Schools approved FALA administrators' request in March to add grades seven and eight as early as this fall. Currently, there are five other charter schools in Flagstaff with seventh and eighth grades: Northland Preparatory Academy, Flagstaff Junior Academy, Pine Forest, Montessori and Peak. NPA is the only charter that is currently 7-12. Sinagua is the only Flagstaff Unified district school with a 7-12 set-up, but that could change if the FUSD board approves a closure and consolidation plan in June that would, among other features, move FUSD to a two-campus, 6-8 middle school configuration next year.

Last edited by kaneui; Apr 10, 2010 at 12:33 AM.
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  #60  
Old Posted Apr 18, 2010, 12:57 AM
kaneui kaneui is offline
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A local congresswoman has added her support to snowmaking at Arizona Snowbowl, saying the USDA could pay $11M to subsidize construction costs:


Artificial snow plan gains ally
by CYNDY COLE
Arizona Daily Sun
April 17, 2010

U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Flagstaff, held a short telephone conference call with Flagstaff businesses and reporters Friday morning to announce her support for snowmaking at Arizona Snowbowl with a somewhat different source of water. "We need the jobs. It affects the sales tax and the city's revenues and what they can do as well," she said. A plan proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in January would use about $11 million in taxpayer money to subsidize the added cost of pumping formerly reclaimed water from far underground near Foxglenn, after it had been released from a wastewater treatment plant upstream. "The water source is pure water," Kirkpatrick said.

Previous studies by a Northern Arizona University researcher found wells in Foxglenn contained some of the same small quantities of chemical compounds found in reclaimed water at the Rio de Flag wastewater treatment facility. The tadpoles she raised in the Foxglenn well water underwent metamorphosis more quickly than a control group of tadpoles living in fresh water, suggesting the existence of synthetic hormones. Kirkpatrick said the idea of making snow with this underground water was good for both area tribes and for jobs. "I think this is a win-win," Kirkpatrick said. Leaders in the Hopi and Havasupai tribes said last month that the new water source was unacceptable, and that the idea of snowmaking on the mountains they hold sacred remained offensive. Government leaders on the Navajo Nation have not responded to questions about the proposal.

NO TRIBES ON CALL

The phone conference included a hotelier, the Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce, Arizona Snowbowl's manager and owner and a food distributor. No tribes were included. Reporters were allowed to ask two questions per person before Kirkpatrick ended the phone call. U.S. Sens. Jon Kyl and John McCain told the USDA in March that they opposed the use of taxpayer money for such a project, and they would not ask for an earmark or appropriation to fund it. Kirkpatrick's office did not directly answer a question on what sources of funding she proposed for the project, saying the USDA could find the money in its agency budget and would not need an earmark.

Snowbowl owner Eric Borowsky said this was a record year for Snowbowl at 206,000 skier visits, and other businesses on the call said they had seen increased business as a result of skiers in town. City sales tax records through February show that overall retail sales, as well as the hotel and restaurant business, are down for the second winter in a row, due largely to the recession. Other areas of the state, however, are down even further. Past bare winters when Snowbowl was open only a few days showed increases in the Flagstaff hospitality sector as Valley day-trippers and weekenders made their way north more easily on the dry interstate. Snowbowl is seeking snowmaking to make skiing more predictable each year, regardless of snowfall. Snowbowl has bought pipe to carry water to the ski area for making snow and now plans to do whatever construction it can this year, if approved by the federal government to start, and to finish the rest next year. "Literally, the day the USDA tells us we have a notice to proceed, we will be ready to start. So we hope to have a notice this season," Borowsky said.
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