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Yarnell Residents Go Home

Residents return to Yarnell

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Development impact fees could be going away in Dewey-Humboldt. Town Manager Yvonne Kimball has recommended discontinuing the fees as of August 1st, 2014. Development fees are designed to handle growth, but Kimball points out that hasn't lasted long past 2007. Fourteen new house permits had been issued in 2008 and so far this year, only 5 have been issued. In addition, State laws governing development fees have become more stringent and require a more cumbersome process. As a result, it's not worthwhile for small towns to have impact fees. Town staff will monitor growth after August 2014 so the fee program can be restarted if needed. The special session starts at 2 this afternoon in Council chambers, located on South Highway 69.

The Humboldt Unified School District is expected to wrap up its 2014 Budget process tonight. The budget totals more than 30 million dollars, up from last year's amount of 29 million. Superintendent Paul Stanton explains the District tries to work within its means. Stanton says the State continues to make school budget cuts. Also at 6:30 tonight, the Board will consider conducting the November 5th Bond and Override Election by mail, rather than at polling places. The meeting will be held in the Transportation Facility on Robert Road in Prescott Valley.

Now that Yarnell residents have returned home, the American Red Cross is helping them get back on their feet. The Grand Canyon chapter of the Red Cross has opened a Recovery Center at the Yarnell Community Presbyterian Church, located on Table Top Way. Spokesman Brian Gomez describes how things have gone since the Center opened yesterday. Residents have returned to their homes after they were evacuated due to the Yarnell Hill Fire. The Center is open from 9 to 5 seven days a week. Gomez adds workers are also going door to door delivering bottled water. An Individual Assistance Service Center for those affected by the fire has opened at the Yarnell Community Center. All residents must check in through the Center, located on Highway 89. Hours are 9 am to 5 pm.

Returning Yarnell evacuees are not only being asked to boil their water, but to conserve it as well. The Yarnell Water Improvement Association has issued a Boil Water Advisory. This is being done as a precaution until water sample testing results are received. All water from the Town's distribution system should be boiled for at least 3 minutes. Spokeswoman Terri Denemy explains there is also a ban on outdoor or any high volume water use of any kind. Denemy adds water should be ok for showering. It's expected that things will be back to normal by tomorrow pending test results.

Yarnell residents can pick up food and water at the Yavapai Food Bank. Since Yarnell isn't able to set up any type of distribution in their area yet, the Food Bank is offering its location on Long Mesa Drive in Prescott Valley to come pick up food boxes. Food Bank Director Ann Wilson says people have really stepped up to help Yarnell residents. Wilson describes what residents need to do get a food box. Non-perishable food items, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables are available through the Yarnell Emergency Relief Program. For more information, call the Food Bank at 775-5255.

The Red Cross plans to keep their shelter open until it is no longer needed. 

It's been a difficult week. 

Oscar De La Hoya expresses his sympathy to the community.

4th of July Celebrations

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Good news for 4th of July travelers, there will be no construction related closures over the extended holiday weekend.  Even though there will be no closures along state highways, ADOT is advising drivers to be patient and expect heavy traffic during peak travel times at the start and end of the weekend.  Law enforcement officers will be out and about working to get impaired drivers off the roads.  Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Director Alberto Guiter. Guitier says these enforcement efforts come as we all mourn the loss of 19 firefighters in the Yarnell Hill Fire. 

In Prescott, repair and replacement work on Whipple and Ruth Streets and Iron Springs Road will resume after the 4th of July holiday.  Completion is set to occur in August.  

Prescott Valley’s 4th of July celebration will now include a tribute to the fallen Granite Mountain Hot Shots.  The 18th annual Salute to the Red, White and Blue celebration starts at 3 tomorrow at Mountain Valley Park.  There will be musical entertainment and food booths at 5.  At 8:45, Mayor Harvey Skoog will share a statement of condolence to the family and friends of those tragically lost in the Yarnell Hill Fire.  Parks and Recreation Director Brian Witty explains why it’s important for the Town to do this. Skoog says the Town wants to help the families as much as possible. 

Over in Prescott’s Pioneer Park, there will be an all-day carnival and free musical entertainment starting at noon tomorrow and running through 10 pm.  Chino Valley is hosting a family celebration at noon at Community Park, located at the corner of East Perkinsville Road and North Road 1 East.  Fireworks are scheduled to start at 9 in all 3 communities.  Cliff Castle Casino in Camp Verde will have fireworks at 9:15.  

According to an Arizona wildfire expert, the Yarnell Hill Fire exploded the way it did due to massive vegetation that hadn’t been cleared in years.  

Jim Paxon, who now works for the Arizona Game and Fish Department, says better approaches need to be put into place to minimize the risk to firefighters. The 19 Granite Mountain Hot Shots died Sunday in a rolling wall of fire.  Paxon explains the fire’s landscape built up quite an accumulation of fuels over time. Paxon adds launching an initial air attack on the quickly spreading fire would’ve been useless.  Since controlled burns can always go awry, he says there’s no substitute for manpower on the ground confronting a fiery rampage such as the Yarnell Hill Fire.  

Yarnell Hill Fire evacuees at the Yavapai College Red Cross Shelter have received a pleasant surprise.   Arizona Cardinals Defensive Tackle David Carter, owner Nicole Bidwell and Team Mascot Big Red visited residents displaced by the fire yesterday.  In addition, Team President Michael Bidwell has delivered a 100 thousand dollar check to the 100 Club to help families affected by the fire.  Spokesman Brian Gomez says 41 people stayed in the shelter Monday night, while only 5 stayed in the Wickenburg shelter. The days of both shelters could soon be coming to an end.  During a community meeting at Prescott High School yesterday, Incident Commander Clay Templin told evacuees they could be back in Yarnell and Peeples Valley by this Saturday. 

Officer Dave Schmidt told people at the meeting Prescott Police are joining other law enforcement agencies to make sure looting of evacuated homes doesn’t occur.  

A Prescott Valley man who allegedly rammed a police vehicle has been arrested.  On June 12th, Prescott Police officers tried to stop 62 year old Martin Zinkl’s van on Willow Creek Road.  Zinkl pulled over, but then started to drive away.  Two Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking Detectives attempted to block Zinkl, but he struck the front of the vehicle and drove off.  

He later fled on foot but Police Lieutenant Ken Morley says Zinkl was located on Monday. Zinkl is facing multiple felony charges that include aggravated assault on police officers, felony flight and crimes related to narcotics.  

Bill's Newscast: Shelter

Red Cross Shelters are seeing a lot of use

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The Prescott and Camp Verde areas have reached moderate smoke levels from the Yarnell Hill Fire. This smoke level is normally okay for people, except for those who have health issues such as lung disease. David McAtee, Yavapai County Community Health Services spokesman explains the conditions are worse in the Cottonwood area. McAtee adds a public information line has been set up. Yesterday's heavy monsoon rains helped lighten the smoky conditions, but anyone who feels sick or faint should call their doctor immediately. More air quality information can be found at azdeq.gov.

Phoenix area residents have paid their respects to the 19 Granite Mountain Hot Shots. The bodies of the fallen Yavapai Hill firefighters were taken to the Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office yesterday. Once word got out of the route on Grand Avenue to Phoenix's downtown area, people lined the street. Carolyn Earle says standing in the extreme heat to pay her respects is the least she could do. Construction workers Sisto Jimenez and Frank Marin removed their hats as the procession went by. An elderly couple holding their American flag stood watch and said thanks for all the firefighters do.

The Red Cross shelters at Yavapai College and Wickenburg High School are seeing a lot of use from Yarnell Fire evacuees. According to Red Cross officials, between 50 and 60 people were consistently at the Prescott Shelter yesterday, with about 40 people spending the night. Spokesman Phil Mele says the Red Cross has plenty to offer evacuees. Tom Tuttle, Operations Manager at Home Depot, explains why his store decided to get involved with helping those displaced by the fire. About 20 to 30 people were consistently at the Wickenburg shelter, but only a few stayed over. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are being served today at all shelters and snacks, water and coffee will also be available.

The more than 1100 acre Granite Dells Estates off Highway 89A could be undergoing some changes. According to Prescott Community Development Director Tom Guice, a request has been made to change portions of this master planned development from Industrial and Business usage to Single Family use. The Estates property was annexed in 2007, and it was the first one subject to Proposition 400, which requires a Master Plan to be submitted with the annexation application. Since the Master Plan rezoning 5 years ago, there has been no development except for the Yavapai Accommodation School District. During its meeting at 3 this afternoon, the Prescott City Council will consider amendments to the General, Airport Specific Area and Granite Dells Master Plans, along with the rezoning to allow additional houses. The meeting will be held in Council chambers on South Cortez Street.

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