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6/12/20 A3 Briefs

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STEMmy Awards to be held digitally June 17

The eighth annual Flagstaff STEMmy Awards, recognizing excellence in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), will be held Wednesday, June 17 at 5 p.m. on the STEM City Facebook Page (@FlagstaffScienceConnection).

STEM City requests nominations for candidates each spring for individuals or organizations in the areas of community support, student achievement and exemplary teaching. A panel reviews the submissions to determine the winner of each area receives $500. The following individuals and organizations have been nominated this year.

Students: Michael Gale, Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy; Haile Nelson, BASIS; Danica Pietrzak, BASIS; and Tristin Steagall, Coconino High School.

Teachers: Miriam Anderson, Nina Anderson and Keightee Starrbliss, Kinsey Kindergarten Team; Audrey Baird, Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy; Lisa Barnard Busk, Sinagua Middle School; Gretchen Goodly, Sinagua Middle School; Katie Krause, Marshall Elementary; Karen Molck, Concho Elementary School; and Marsha Reynolds, Knoles Elementary. Community members and organizations: Amanda Acheson, Coconino Plateau Water Partnership; Anita Antoninka, Northern Arizona University; Flagstaff Festival of Science; Kelly Ferguson, Lowell Observatory; Samantha Gorney, Lowell Observatory; Jeff Jones, Coconino Community College; Society of Women Engineers, Northern Arizona University; John Unali, Instant Display Cases- CHS-CTE-PLTW; and Dr. Greg Vaughan and Railyn Stokes, USGS Astrogeology Science Center.

J. Gooch resigns after text about spreading COVID-19

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Virginia state trooper has resigned after he claimed in a text message that he coughed on a driver he ticketed in hopes of spreading the coronavirus.

Virginia State Police began an internal investigation into Jacob Gooch after the texts surfaced during a homicide investigation near Flagstaff. Gooch’s brother, Mark Gooch, is charged in the killing of Sasha Krause, a Sunday school teacher who disappeared from a Mennonite community in New Mexico earlier this year.

In one text exchange in mid-April, Jacob Gooch told Mark and another brother that he gave a Mennonite man a ticket and coughed on him “so he would spread Corona to the wedding they were going too. lol.”

Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said the text exchange was part of an internal investigation into Jacob Gooch.

He was placed on administrate leave May 8 as part of a separate criminal investigation and resigned late last month, Geller said. She declined to discuss details but said the criminal probe is unrelated to the death of Krause. Jacob Gooch, 30, graduated from the State Police Training Academy in October and was assigned as a patrol trooper in northern Virginia. Mark Gooch, a 21-year-old U.S. Air Force airman stationed near Phoenix, has pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges. Raised in a Mennonite family in Wisconsin, Mark Gooch joined the military to escape what he told investigators was a difficult, sheltered and restricted life, according to sheriff’s records obtained by The Associated Press.

One of his brothers told investigators Mark Gooch holds a grudge against the Mennonite community over perceived mistreatment.

Navajo residents urged to stay the course, keep curve flat

WINDOW ROCK (AP) — Health officials with the Navajo Nation have reported 125 new cases of coronavirus and five new related deaths on the reservation. The death toll is approaching 300 and reservation-wide cases totaled 6,275 as of Wednesday.

Tribal officials also said preliminary reports from 11 health care facilities indicate nearly 3,000 people have recovered from COVID-19 with more reports pending.

Navajo officials are cautioning tribal members about letting up their guard too soon while the pandemic remains a serious threat throughout U.S. In Arizona, health care officials are reporting spikes in new cases and hospitals have been told to prepare for the worst.

Navajo President Jonathan Nez said in a statement that the health care system on the Navajo Nation can’t afford a second wave of infections, noting it already has been strained since the first cases were reported in mid-March.

‘We have to continue making good decisions by staying home as much as possible, wearing protective masks in public, washing our hands often, practicing social distancing, and all of the good practices that have helped to flatten the curve in our communities,” he said. “Now is not the time to start traveling off the (Navajo) Nation. It only takes a few people to travel off the Nation and spread the virus in our communities once again.

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