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Ben Shanahan, Arizona Daily Sun 

Dozens gathered Wednesday evening at Jim Cullen Memorial Park in Flagstaff to hear local band Muskellunge play and do some playing themselves. The next Concert in the Park will be Wednesday, July 11, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Bushmaster Park. 

Who needs fireworks? Things to do on Independence Day in and around Flagstaff

The Fourth of July falls on a Wednesday this year, which makes for an excellent excuse to use the weekend as advance celebration time. A host of quintessential Independence Day events in Flagstaff will begin Saturday, June 30, and continue through Wednesday as a preamble to the main event.

On Saturday and Sunday immerse yourself in art and culture with Art in the Park at Wheeler Park and the Hopi Festival of Arts at Culture at the Museum of Northern Arizona. The former will take place from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Saturday through Monday and the latter from 9 a.m through 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 

The Hopi Festival enters its 85th year this weekend and has been a Fourth of July tradition since the 1930s. The event will feature more than 100 award-winning artists and presenters from the Hopi villages in Arizona. 

For people whose interests lie not only in art, but extend to classic cars, the fifth annual Babbitt Ford car show will return to Flagstaff on Sunday, July 1, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Other events this weekend include the 108th Army Band in concert at the Fort Tuthill Military Museum as well as the Flagstaff Folk Festival, which returns for the 17th year. See page A2 for a full list of holiday weekend events, which will be published throughout the weekend. 

Fourth of July Events



One of several races on Wednesday, July 4, The Downtown Mile allows participants to run through downtown Flagstaff prior to the parade. This run is open to runners of all levels—from Olympians to first-time runners. The Downtown Mile also includes a patriotic costume contest, so come decked out in red, white and blue or don the costume that feels most patriotic to you.

The Downtown Mile begins at Heritage Square at 7 a.m. Those wishing to participate can register at


Start at 7 a.m. at the Historic Flagpole off Thorpe Road to run four miles and ring in the Fourth of July. This run measures exactly four miles on the Flagstaff Urban Trail System. Runners will proceed north toward Cheshire Park and back. There will be progressive head starts based on age and gender.

Same-day registration opens at 6 a.m. and ends at 6:45 a.m. The event is free but canned food donations for Northern AZ Food Bank are encouraged. For more details or to volunteer, call 928-774-5776 and leave a message.

Flagstaff parade

The Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce will host the 22nd annual Fourth of July Parade in downtown Flagstaff. The parade kicks off at 9 a.m. and will take its usual route through downtown Flagstaff.

This particular tradition will feature up to 20,000 spectators and over 100 entries, including vintage vehicles, dancing, music, marching bands, animals, floats and more. The parade goes down Beaver Street to Aspen Avenue, east to San Francisco Street and then north to Elm Avenue.

Don't forget sunscreen, a hat and water.

Free Fort Tuthill Concert

In another Flagstaff Fourth of July tradition, the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra will perform its annual Independence Day concert.

“A Flag Fourth with the Flagstaff Symphony” will be held Wednesday, July 4, at the Pepsi Amphitheater at Fort Tuthill. Gates open at 2:00 p.m. and the event begins at 2:15 p.m. The concert is free (parking is $5).

The orchestra will perform selections from American composers and musicals. As always, the show will open with "The Star-Spangled Banner" and conclude with “Stars and Stripes Forever.” In between will be songs from "Chicago" as well as "Saturday Night Waltz" from the Rodeo, a ballet by Aaron Copeland.  

Bring sunscreen, a hat and a blanket to sit on.

Lights on the Lawn

In lieu of fireworks, which have been canceled due to extreme fire danger, the Oakmont and Continental Country Club will host the fourth annual Lights on the Lawn Fourth of July Celebration from 3- 9 p.m. on Wednesday. 

Festivities will include water slides, obstacle courses, a maze, a mechanical bull, local food vendors, beer garden, and a musical performance by national recording artists J Michael Harter and Zona Road. Parking for the event will be located at the Continental Driving Range.


The Munds Park Pinewood Property Owners Association will host their annual parade in the neighborhood. The parade begins at 10 a.m. This year there will be no carnival following the parade. Registration forms must be completed prior to the event.

Contact Len Friedlund 928-286-1655 or Carl Withers at 286-4001 for more information. 


Parks in the Pine General Store. 12963 Old Route 66. Parks Fourth of July events include a PTO pancake breakfast at 7 a.m. in the Maine Consolidated School gym. The day's events go from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. with the parade beginning at 1 p.m. Events include a kids bounce house, karaoke, a watermelon eating contest at noon, raffle tickets and more. 

The parade in Parks will also mark its 30th year with its original founders serving as marshals.

For more information, call 928-635-4741.


The Williams parade begins at 6 p.m. on Historic Route 66.

Prior to the parade will be the Williams Annual Tractor Show at 2nd Street and Route 66. The Williams Aquatic Center will host a free swim from noon until 4 p.m. The Independence Ice Cream social at the United Methodist Church begins at 2 p.m. and goes as long as supplies last.  Also at 2 p.m.: BBQ fundraiser for the veterans day banquet. 

The City of Williams has canceled all fireworks this year due to fire danger.


The 2018 Northeast Arizona Freedom Fun Festival will be held at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, July 4, at the City of Winslow Hayden Walton Sports Complex/Vegas Field Ramada. Kids fun booths will be open from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m..

10 a.m. - Children’s Patriotic Parade with raffles and door prizes.

8:30 p.m. - Fireworks at Emil Nasser Football Stadium on Colorado Avenue. Admission for the show is free but donations for next year’s fireworks display will be accepted.


4–7 p.m.- Drum Group, Native American Dancers

7-10 p.m. DJ Divine on the Patio, Giveaways

9 p.m.- Fireworks Show

9:30- Native American Dancers with DJ Divine


Jake Bacon, Arizona Daily Sun 

In this 2017 photo, Ryan Plato, 7, sees the world through his patriotic sun shades during the Fourth of July parade.

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Hit the trail: Old Beale Wagon Road a wide open bike ride

Editor's note: Although major parts of four national forests in northern Arizona are closed to the public due to extreme fire danger, there are plenty of trails and other destinations left to explore.  Today, follow the Beale Wagon Road Historic Trail across Government Prairie in this trip report from 2013.

Part of the fun of exploring new trails is reading about where you’ve been once you get back.

The trick, of course, is finding what you are looking for in the first place.

That was the case with a recent family outing in search of the trail that marks the historic Beale Wagon Road.

Our go-to guidebook for historic trails, as usual, was “Flagstaff Hikes,” by Richard and Sherry Mangum. Their access point, however, was at Government Mountain north of Parks, and we wanted to start farther east where the trail crossed Highway 180, then bicycle westward across Government Prairie.

So after some false starts, we parked just off Forest Road 171 near the Lava Tube, unloaded the bikes and headed west along FR156 toward Wild Bill Hill about a mile away.

This hill marks the eastern boundary of Government Prairie, a vast expanse of grasslands stretching west that Lt. Edward Beale praised in his report as one of his favorite sections of the trip.

Beale had been hired by Congress in 1857 to explore the new wilderness acquired after the Mexican-American War, and his 1,240-mile route westward from Fort Smith, Ark., took him right through what became present-day Flagstaff.

He is best known for bringing 22 camels on his first expedition, the better to cope with what were reported to be Sahara-like sand dunes and searing heat. Beale liked the camels but the muleskinners who tended the stock didn’t, and the only reminders of the camels today are the 4-inch-high woodblock carvings on trail signs marking the route.

I literally stumbled across the Beale story during one of my first years in Flagstaff — there is a one-foot-high brass marker on the Easy Oldham trail at the end of Paradise Valley Road that caught a ski tip one winter.

Then last summer I finally climbed Wild Bill Hill to get a better look at what the Mangums contend are still-visible wagon tracks with rows of rocks spaced 10 feet apart. Beale returned after that first scouting expedition without the camels but fully equipped to build a road to the Colorado River, and the rocks were pushed aside to make the journey easier on wooden wagon wheels, not to mention the millions of sheep and cattle that would follow.

I never did see the tracks — my old binoculars are getting cloudy. But the view of the grasslands across Government Prairie from the crest seems nearly as vast and undisturbed as in Beale’s day. Only at ground level does the evidence mount that this has been a heavily traveled and settled patch of northern Arizona — the fence lines, spools of barbed wire, rutted ranch roads and rock foundations of old sheepherders’ huts are well-disguised by the waving grasses when seen from above.

But figuring that the tracks had to be out there somewhere, we bicycled on this most recent outing past Wild Bill Hill along a ranch road that appeared to head due west. After going through two cattle gates and a herd of cattle in the space of a mile, a metal sign appeared, telling us we were entering a nonmotorized area — but no hint of the Beale Road.

Then, as we entered a grove of pines, our first trail sign: Those wood-block camels confirmed that we were on the Beale Road. The tire ruts gave way to a smoother track, and soon the telltale rows of rocks began to appear for 20 or 30 yards at a stretch on either side.

This section between Wild Bill Hill and Government Mountain is only about three miles, but it provides a good grounding in the rolling terrain and sweeping vistas Beale and his party must have encountered. On our return trip, we headed toward giant thunderclouds forming over the Peaks, adding some drama to our dash back to the Jeep.

Once back in range of the Internet, I confirmed on the Kaibab National Forest’s excellent website that we had, indeed, been on a trail segment recommended for hiking and biking. The fact that we were the only party out there on a beautiful July Saturday suggests that grasslands are an underappreciated recreational asset in this land of mountains and canyons. But turn the clock back 150 years, and the Beale Road across Government Prairie wasn’t likely to be empty — or underappreciated.

Emery Cowan / Courtesy photo 

The San Francisco Peaks stand tall in the background of this view of Rogers Lake. The 2,250-acre property, which includes 1,400 acres of wetlands, is a designated natural area that Coconino County acquired in 2010. 

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Route 66 on National Historic Trust's endangered list

WASHINGTON (AP) — Route 66, Denver's Larimer Square and school buildings in Los Angeles are on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's 2018 list of America's 11 most endangered historic places.

The annual list highlights architectural and cultural sites that the National Trust deems at risk from development or neglect.

The list can mobilize support and funding for preservation. But listings can also be controversial. Saving neglected historic properties is expensive. And when the National Trust advocates halting proposals to develop a site, local residents and officials may disagree, citing a need for modernization or economic growth.

Still, of the nearly 300 places that the National Trust has identified since the list was launched 31 years ago, the private nonprofit organization says fewer than 5 percent have been lost.


The National Trust's concerns about local proposals for development range from Denver's Larimer Square to a site across from Mount Vernon in Virginia.

Larimer Square is a thriving retail center. But the National Trust says its history as Denver's oldest commercial block and first historic district is threatened by proposals to build two towers and partly demolish several buildings.

The National Trust also highlighted a proposal to build a gas compressor station across from Mount Vernon, adjacent to Piscataway National Park in Accokeek, Maryland.

Elsewhere in Maryland, the National Trust says a proposal to rezone parts of the Colonial Annapolis Historic District threatens the City Dock area's views, heritage tourism and more.

In South Carolina, the National Trust says an annexation proposal could lead to zoning changes and development that might damage the landscape of the Ashley River Historic District outside Charleston.

In Los Angeles, the National Trust is calling attention to proposals to modernize schools that would include demolishing "almost all historically and culturally significant buildings" on the Roosevelt High School campus. The school was a central setting for activities related to the 1968 East L.A. Chicano Student Walkouts, which helped catalyze the national Chicano Civil Rights Movement and symbolized the era's student activism.


Route 66 is up for designation as a National Historic Trail, which the National Trust says would bring "recognition and economic development" to historic sites along the storied road. The U.S. Senate would have to pass legislation for the designation to take effect and the president would have to sign it before the end of 2018. Route 66 opened in 1926, connecting eight states between Chicago and California.


The Trust included three historic sites on its list that are in urgent need of rehabilitation: an early Modernist house called Ship on the Desert in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Salt Flat, Texas; the Mary and Eliza Freeman Houses in Bridgeport, Connecticut, which were part of a unique pre-Civil War community of free African-Americans; and the Isaiah T. Montgomery House in Mound Bayou, Mississippi, built by a former slave who established one of the first all-black municipalities after the Civil War.

In Nebraska, the Trust noted that the Dr. Susan LaFlesche Picotte Memorial Hospital in Walthill is "unoccupied and facing an uncertain future." The site is named after the first Native American licensed to practice medicine in the U.S.

And in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the National Trust said last year's hurricanes damaged thousands of historic and cultural properties.


In addition to the 11 endangered places, the National Trust put four towns in rural Vermont's Upper Valley — Royalton, Sharon, Strafford and Tunbridge — on "watch status" because of a development proposal calling for a "planned community."



Justice Kennedy retiring; Trump gets second pick

WASHINGTON — Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Supreme Court's decisive man in the middle on abortion, gay rights and other contentious issues, announced his retirement Wednesday, giving President Donald Trump a golden chance to cement conservative control of the nation's highest court.

The 81-year-old Kennedy, often a voice of moderation over three decades on the court, provided the key vote on such closely divided issues as affirmative action, guns, campaign finance and voting rights in addition to same-sex marriage and the right to abortion.

Kennedy informed his colleagues of his plans, then went to the White House to meet with Trump, where the president said they talked for half an hour about a potential successor and other topics. The retirement will take effect at the end of July.

Trump praised Kennedy as a man of "tremendous vision" and said his search for a new justice would begin "immediately."

Without Kennedy, the court will be split between four liberal justices who were appointed by Democratic presidents and four conservatives who were named by Republicans. Trump's nominee, likely to give the conservatives a solid majority, will face a Senate confirmation process in which Republicans hold the slimmest majority but Democrats can't prevent a vote.

Several former law clerks have said that Kennedy, a nominee of President Ronald Reagan, preferred to be replaced by a Republican. If he had waited, and if Democrats had taken control of the Senate in November, Trump could have found it more difficult to get his choice confirmed.

The other two older justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 85, and Stephen Breyer, 79, are Democratic appointees who would not appear to be going anywhere during a Trump administration if they can help it.

Trump's first high court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, was confirmed in April 2017. If past practice is any indication, the president will name a nominee within weeks, setting in motion a process that could allow confirmation by the time the court reconvenes in early October.

Trump already has a list of 25 candidates — 24 judges and Utah Sen. Mike Lee — and has said he would choose a nominee from that list.

Abortion is likely to be one of the flash points in the nomination fight. Kennedy has mainly supported abortion rights in his time on the court, and Trump has made clear he would try to choose justices who want to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. Such a dramatic ruling may not be immediately likely, but a more conservative court might be more willing to sustain abortion restrictions.

"If Donald Trump, who has promised to overturn Roe v. Wade, picks someone who is anti-choice, the future of Roe v. Wade is very much in question," said David Cole, national legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union.

Interest groups across the political spectrum are expected to mobilize to support and fight the nomination because it is so likely to push the court to the right.

Republicans currently hold a bare 51-49 majority in the Senate, although that includes the ailing Sen. John McCain of Arizona. If Democrats stand united in opposition to Trump's choice, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky can lose no more than one vote. If the Senate divides 50-50, Vice President Mike Pence could break a tie to confirm the nominee.

Prominent on the list of possible successors are Judges Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania and William Pryor of Alabama, who were seriously considered for the seat eventually filled by Gorsuch, and Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who serves on the federal appeals court in Washington. Judges Amy Coney Barrett, whom Trump named to the federal appeals court in Chicago, and Raymond Kethledge, a former Kennedy law clerk who serves on the appeals court based in Cincinnati, also may be considered.

Kavanaugh is a longtime Washington insider, also a onetime Kennedy clerk and a key member of independent counsel Kenneth Starr's team that produced the report that served as the basis for President Bill Clinton's impeachment. In October, Kavanaugh dissented when his court ruled that a teenage migrant in federal custody should be able to obtain an abortion immediately.

Regardless of who replaces him, Kennedy's departure will be a major change for the high court, where he has been the crucial swing vote for more than a decade. He has sided with the liberal justices on gay rights and abortion rights, as well as some cases involving race, the death penalty and the rights of people detained without charges at the Guantanamo Bay naval base. He has written all the court's major gay-rights decisions, including the 2015 ruling that declared same-sex marriage is a constitutional right nationwide.

However, he also has been a key vote when conservatives have won major rulings on the outcome of the 2000 presidential election in favor of George W. Bush, on gun rights, limiting regulation of campaign money and gutting a key provision of the landmark federal Voting Rights Act.

Few obstacles seem to stand in the way of confirming Kennedy's replacement before the court reconvenes in October. Republicans changed the rules during Gorsuch's confirmation to wipe out the main delaying tactic for Supreme Court nominees, the filibuster, and the need for 60 votes to defeat it.