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Some Highway Memorials Are Now Legal In Arizona

Those makeshift memorial markers to lost loved ones along highways are finally going to be legal in the state. The Arizona Department of Transportation has established a new policy meant to balance public safety with people’s need to grieve.

For years, erecting a cross or any other memorial along an Arizona highway was illegal, but now ADOT says people can submit a request to the department to put up a tribute. These markers can be up to 30 inches high and 18 inches wide, and have to be made of specific materials. They also must be placed away from traffic.

Memorials that are already up may stay, but only if they meet safety standards. Those who placed them must contact ADOT, however, in case the markers need to be moved. ADOT will continue to remove without notice any memorial deemed a hazard.

When senior field correspondent Stina Sieg was 22, she moved to the desert. She hasn’t been the same since. At the time, the Northern California native had just graduated from college and was hankering for wide-open spaces. So she took a leap and wrote to nearly every newspaper in New Mexico until one offered her a job. That’s how she became the photographer for a daily paper in the small town of Silver City. And that’s when she realized how much she loved storytelling. In the years since, the beauty of having people open up and share their stories — and trust her to tell them — has never gotten old to Sieg. Before coming to KJZZ, Sieg was also a writer and photographer at newspapers in Glenwood Springs, Colorado; Moab, Utah; and the Smoky Mountains town of Waynesville, North Carolina. She always had her hand in public radio, too, including hosting Morning Edition on a fill-in basis at WNCW in North Carolina. It’s still the best music station she’s found. When she’s not reporting, chances are Sieg is running, baking, knitting or driving to some far-flung town deep in the desert — just to see what it looks like.