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NewsNet 09-17-14

FLASH FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT UNTIL 5 P.M. TOMORROW - The Tucson area and surrounding communities are under a Flash Flood Watch through tomorrow afternoon. The National Weather Service says conditions for widespread flooding are developing, and rainfall amounts could total two to four inches by late tomorrow. Monitor forecasts closely, take quick action if Flash Flood Warnings are issued, and stay away from washes. The Tucson Fire Department says it only takes as little as eight inches of water to move a vehicle. When in doubt, wait it out.
 
CITY OF TUCSON PREPARED FOR POTENTIAL FLOODING - With the Flash Flood Watch in effect, the City of Tucson is prepared for any emergencies that may arise. City services are coordinated in one place to make response as fast as possible. Monitor the City's website and social media (links below) for late-breaking information, including free sandbag availability. Pima County also has information for those outside of city limits.
City of Tucson
Pima County
City of Tucson Twitter page
City of Tucson Facebook page
Tucson Fire Department Twitter page
Tucson Fire Department Facebook page
Tucson Police Department Twitter page
Tucson Police Facebook page
 
TUCSON FIRE DEPARTMENT URGES YOU TO BE PREPARED FOR EMERGENCY - September is National Preparedness Month. In a recent "No Bad Days with Barrett" on KGUN9, Tucson Fire Captain Barrett Baker and crew show you how to prepare for 72 hours of distress. Tips include keeping a gallon of water on hand for each person, stocking a three-day supply of non-perishable food, having a battery-powered radio with fresh batteries, and more.
American Red Cross Southern Arizona Chapter safety tips
Tucson Fire Department Facebook page
 
HOW TO REPORT TRANSPORTATION CONCERNS AFTER STORM DAMAGE (OR AT ANY TIME) - Tucson transportation crews are prepared to respond to calls after heavy storms. Is there a tree in the road after a thunderstorm? Is there a pothole you'd like to see fixed? Is a street sign missing? You can report these issues to the Tucson Department of Transportation, (520) 791-3154, or email the exact location to tdotsr@tucsonaz.gov. You also can use the SeeClickFix website and app.
Tucson Department of Transportation:
 
BABY ELEPHANT'S MAIN EXHIBIT DEBUT DEPENDS ON WEATHER - The Reid Park Zoo had hoped to have Tucson's nearly month-old elephant out on the big exhibit by now, but the weather has changed the timetable for the public debut. In this Tucson 12 video, Zoo Education Curator Vivian VanPeenen says zookeeepers are monitoring the weather conditions..

NewsNet 09-16-14

STAY OFF WET ROADS AND BE PREPARED FOR EMERGENCY - With heavy rain in the Tucson weather forecast - and numerous swift water rescues last week - the Tucson Fire Department (TFD) is urging motorists to stay away from washes when it rains. In addition to that warning, September is National Preparedness Month, and TFD urges you to be prepared for 72 hours of distress. Tips include keeping a gallon of water on hand for each person, stocking a three-day supply of non-perishable food, having a battery-powered radio with fresh batteries, and more. In addition, the American Red Cross Southern Arizona Chapter has published safety tips about what to do - and not to do - during heavy rain. Some of those tips include not walking or driving through water, staying away from power lines, watching for snakes and small animals that could get into your home, and being alert for potential gas leaks.
 
CITY OF TUCSON ENTERS INTO CONTRACT FOR PRIVATE MANAGEMENT OF TCC - The City of Tucson has signed the final contract with SMG for management of the Tucson Convention Center (TCC). The contract runs from Oct. 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015. The contract can be extended with 10 one-year renewals at the City's sole discretion. SMG will be paid a fixed annual fee of $135,000, with annual increases consistent with the Consumer Price Index - not to exceed two percent in one year. SMG also is eligible for an incentive fee not to exceed the annual fixed fee amount, if certain conditions are met. SMG is a global leader in convention center management and currently operates properties throughout the southwest. Several TCC employees have accepted jobs with SMG, while others accepted other jobs in the City. For those who haven't accepted jobs, the City's Human Resources Department will continue to work with them to find other civil service positions.
 
BABY ELEPHANT TO GET NAME SOON - After weeks of calling her "Tucson's Big Baby," the Reid Park Zoo is getting close to naming the elephant calf born Aug. 20, on Tucson's birthday. The Zoo has come up with two names, and you can vote on your favorite. Watch a Tucson 12 video about the naming process.
Zoo Cams
Baby Elephant FAQ
Reid Park Zoo Flickr page
Reid Park Zoo Twitter
Reid Park Zoo Facebook
 
TUCSON COMMUNITY INVITED TO HELP DESIGN ALL-AGES PLAYGROUND - The City of Tucson, Lend a Hand Senior Assistance, and Humana Inc. will join organizers from KaBOOM! (a national non-profit organization that has built more than 2,300 playgrounds) tomorrow to begin design plans for a one-of-a-kind, multi-generational playground. The customized playground, funded primarily by Humana, will be created with personal drawings and other input from local community members, including children and seniors. The existing playground at La Madera Park, 2700 E. La Madera Drive, is in need of replacement, as it is outdated and contains some unusable components. Organizers say the community will come together to design senior-focused and adult elements, including fitness stations and walking paths to promote good posture, balance, and flexibility. There also will be traditional, kid-friendly equipment to create a multi-generational space. The design meetings will be held tomorrow at JP Industries, 2851 N. Country Club Road. Child-focused design talks will run from 4:15 p.m. - 5:15 p.m., with adult volunteers helping in the process from 5:30 p.m. - 8 p.m. Read the news release.
 
SUNGO CARDS ACCEPTED ON BOTH SUN LINK STREETCAR AND SUN TRAN BUSES - The SunGO card is the best way to pay fares when riding public transit in Tucson. The card works on both the Sun Tran bus system and the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar. A SunGO card with unlimited rides for a month is just $42. If you're an occasional rider, you can load the SunGO card with a cash value to pay the $1.50 one-way fares whenever you use transit. In addition, there are many discounts available for students, low-income residents, senior and others. If you have a promotional U-Pass, the free ride period has expired. Please visit the UA Parking and Transportation website to buy your discounted pass. If you ride the streetcar, you must have a SunGO card, or purchase a day pass with cash or a credit card from a vending machine at the stop. Cash is not accepted on the streetcar. Read answers to Frequently Asked Questions about SunGO cards.

NewsNet 09-15-14

FALLEN TUCSON FIREFIGHTER TO BE HONORED IN COLORADO - Former Tucson Fire Department (TFD) Investigator Tom Quesnel, who died of cancer this past March at the age of 59, will be memorialized again this weekend. His TFD colleagues honored him with a special memorial ceremony in Tucson earlier this year, and now Quesnel will be honored Saturday at an international ceremony in Colorado. His name will be added to the Wall of Honor at the annual International Association of Firefighters Memorial in Colorado Springs. In addition, the 19 firefighters who died in Arizona's Yarnell Fire in June 2013 will have their names added to the Wall of Honor during the same ceremony. Read more from KVOA.
 
PREPARE FOR THE POSSIBILITY OF MORE HEAVY STORMS THIS WEEK - As Hurricane Odile climbs up the coast of Baja California, the tropical moisture surge could bring heavy rain to Arizona this week, according to the National Weather Service. The forecast calls for a slight chance of rain tonight, gradually increasing through Thursday night, then falling a bit through the rest of the week. After numerous swift water rescues last week, the Tucson Fire Department urges motorists to stay away from washes when it rains. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star, and watch storm safety tips from a July edition of "No Bad Days with Barrett" on KGUN9.
 
FREE CAR SEAT SAFETY CHECKS THIS WEEK
- As part of this week's National Child Passenger Safety Seat Week, several local law enforcement agencies will be checking child safety seats for proper installation. A big event is scheduled for this Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon, when the Tucson and Marana Police Departments, in partnership with Safe Kids Pima County and Tucson Medical Center, will check car seats in the parking lot of the Target store at 4040 N. Oracle Road, near West Roger Road. Parents and caregivers also can call law enforcement to make an appointment with a nationally-certified car seat technician. Operational funding for National Child Passenger Safety Seat Week comes from grants awarded by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. Arizona law requires every child under the age of five to be properly secured in a federally-approved car seat. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
 
DESIGN CONCEPTS BEING SOUGHT FOR TUCSON’S JANUARY 8TH MEMORIAL - The January 8th Memorial Foundation and the Tucson Pima Arts Council invite designers to submit their qualifications and design interests to create a Master Plan Concept for El Presidio Park in Downtown Tucson and a schematic design for a January 8th Memorial. The memorial will commemorate the tragic events of Jan. 8, 2011, remembering those who lost their lives and those who were injured while participating in the democratic process and the community response that followed. The application deadline to submit a design is Tuesday, Sept. 30 at 11 p.m. The budget for the scope of work is $90,000, and each finalist will receive a $5,000 stipend.
 
GET THE LATEST TUCSON NEWS AND INFORMATION ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER - "Like" the City of Tucson on Facebook to get the latest news, community updates and fun facts about Tucson local government and our community. You can also "Follow" the City of Tucson on Twitter for timely, concise updates throughout the day.

NewsNet 09-12-14

RIDE THE STREETCAR TO UA FOOTBALL GAME TOMORROW - University of Arizona football fans can ride the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar to University of Arizona football games. Prior to tomorrow's 8 p.m. game against Nevada, fans can experience the dining, entertainment, and retail opportunities at Main Gate Square, Fourth Avenue, Downtown Tucson, and the Mercado District, and then board the streetcar to the UA from any one of the 23 stops along the 3.9-mile route. Once on campus, Arizona Stadium is a short walk from the Second Street and Cherry Avenue stop. Fans can also park in one of the many garages downtown and take the streetcar to the game to avoid UA congestion. The Pennington Street Garage is offering discounted parking fees when you buy a Sun Link Day Pass, park in the garage, and ask for the "Park, Dine, and Ride" bundle.
City of Tucson Parkwise
UA Parking and Transportation football info

2nd SATURDAYS DOWNTOWN PART OF BUSY WEEKEND - The monthly, free, family-friendly event tomorrow begins with gallery shows at 9 a.m. and entertainment later in the day. At 6:30 p.m., the main stage at Scott Avenue and Congress Street features musical groups, and there are plenty of activities for children. Food from vendors and downtown eateries will be available. With the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar, you can park not only in the downtown area, but at the University of Arizona, and along 4th Avenue to catch a ride downtown (regular streetcar fares apply). There are 11,000 parking spaces along the 3.9-mile route.
2nd Saturdays Downtown event and parking information

IMMIGRANT WELCOMING TASK FORCE TO DISCUSS IMMIGRANT WOMEN WORKERS - The Tucson Immigrant Welcoming Task Force, Coalición de Derechos Humanos, and the Tucson Immigrant Workers’ Project will host a community conversation on female immigrant workers. The forum will include a presentation of the report "Out of the Shadows: Shedding Light on the Working Conditions of Immigrant Women in Tucson," as well as a panel of women workers, community advocates, and other stakeholders discussing current working conditions and policy solutions. The 6 p.m. forum is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 15, at the Sam Lena Library, 1607 S. 6th Avenue. For more information about the meeting, call (520) 791-4593 or send an email to tucsonimmigrant@tucsonaz.gov.

MUSIC UNDER THE STARS RETURNS TO REID PARK SUNDAY - The Tucson Pops Orchestra's Music Under the Stars program continues its Sunday night fall concert series this weekend with "Orchestral Favorites," featuring Clair de lune by Debussy, Brubaker’s Touch of Jazz, as well as selections from Gigi, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Die Fledermaus, and much more. The free concerts begin at 7 p.m. at the DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center at Reid Park. There is a limited amount of seating at DeMeester, which fills up quickly, so organizers urge you to bring folding chairs or a blanket. The Tucson Parks and Recreation Department operates shuttles from 5 p.m. - 10 p.m. from the Randolph Golf Course parking lot, 600 S. Alvernon Way.

HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE (HHW) COLLECTION TOMORROW - Do you have unused chemicals, oils or pesticides sitting in your shed or garage? The City of Tucson and Pima County are hosting the Household Hazardous Waste Program's 2nd Saturday Collection this weekend at Himmel Park, 1000 N. Tucson Blvd. from 8 a.m. until noon. Accepted materials include automotive fluids, auto and rechargeable batteries from electronics equipment, toxic cleaning products, fluorescent lamps, paints, solvents, lawn and garden products, and computer equipment ($2 for monitors without computer). Drop off of HHW is free for residents. Download the 'my-waste'™ App.

NewsNet 09-11-14

SEPT. 11 MEMORIAL SERVICE HONORS THE FALLEN - The Tucson Fire Department (TFD) this morning marked the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States, which killed nearly 3,000 people, including 343 firefighters and 60 police officers. Events included a flag raising, bell ringing, radio communication announcement, and a moment of silence. See photos on the City of Tucson Facebook page.
 
TRAFFIC ALERT: CITY WORKING TO HELP TRAFFIC FLOW AT BUSY DOWNTOWN INTERSECTION - Toole Avenue will be closed to traffic tomorrow from Fourth Avenue Underpass/Congress Street west to Pennington Street to allow for work crews to permanently restripe a section of Toole Avenue to make it one-way travel. The one-day closure will be in effect from approximately 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. When the striping is complete, motor vehicle travel on Toole Avenue will be one-way westbound from Fourth Avenue Underpass/Congress Street to the eastern entrance into the Historic Train Depot. Two-way travel on Toole Avenue will remain from Stone Avenue to the eastern entrance into the Depot. The permanent configuration change is taking place to help traffic flow at the busy Congress Street, Fourth Avenue and Toole Avenue intersection. In an effort to ease traffic flow in the popular downtown area, the Tucson Department of Transportation also recently made permanent traffic signal timing adjustments several weeks ago on Congress Street.
 
TRAFFIC ALERT: FOURTH AVENUE ACCESS TO DOWNTOWN DETOURED TOMORROW AND SATURDAY NIGHTS - The City of Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) will detour southbound vehicular traffic at the Fourth Avenue Underpass into downtown to keep traffic flowing in the area. The Sun Link Streetcar, bicyclists, and pedestrians will not be affected. The detour will be in place Friday from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Because of the anticipated pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic associated with the University of Arizona home football game and 2nd Saturdays Downtown, Saturday night’s detour will take place from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Over the past several weeks TDOT staff has also detoured southbound motor vehicle traffic at the underpass on Thursday nights. This week TDOT staff will instead monitor the traffic flows at the Fourth Avenue Underpass/Toole Avenue/Congress Avenue intersection. If significant delays occur tonight, staff will detour southbound travel at the underpass. View a map of the detour.
 
REVERSE TRADE SHOW NEXT WEEK - Tucson’s seventh annual Reverse Trade Show gives vendors an opportunity to meet with procurement professionals from government agencies and private businesses, and learn how to do business with them. The event is sponsored by the local Copper Chapter of the NIGP, The Institute of Public Procurement. The Reverse Trade Show takes place on Thursday, Sept. 18, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Desert Diamond Center on Pima Mine Road at I-19. Registration information is online, and onsite registration is available the day of the event.
 
TUCSON NAMED A "SILVER LEVEL" CITY FOR MOUNTAIN BIKING - The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) recently declared Tucson as a silver level IMBA Ride Center. The application was submitted by the Sonoran Desert Mountain Bicyclists advocacy group. Local organizations rate themselves in the application process and then IMBA employees come out to the city and act as a sort of secret shopper and complete the same criteria, said Patrick Kell, IMBA’s southwest regional director. The next step is to work with local and state tourism boards to promote the designation and feature Tucson as one of the best places in the country to ride, Kell said. Read more from Bicycle Tucson.

NewsNet 09-10-14

PUBLIC COMMENT TOMORROW ON QUALIFICATIONS FOR NEW CITY MANAGER - The Mayor and Tucson City Council will hold a Special Meeting tomorrow to hear public comments regarding the recruitment of a new City Manager. The 5:30 p.m. meeting is to hear public input on the desired qualifications for the candidates. Bob Murray and Associates is serving as the executive search firm to assist in the recruitment process. Martha Durkin has been serving as Interim City Manager since Richard Miranda retired on July 31. Read more about the search process for City Manager.
 
MAYOR AND COUNCIL STUDYING SHORT-TERM HOME RENTAL REGULATIONS - Tucsonans who rent their homes to tourists could be regulated like any other hotel or bed and breakfast. Hotels and other businesses must pay taxes, have permits, inspections, and insurance, but short-term rentals aren’t subject to those regulations. Short-term rental companies, which facilitate property rentals by owners, were the topic of a presentation yesterday by Visit Tucson CEO Brent DeRaad and Marion Hook, chairwoman of the City of Tucson's Small, Minority, and Women-Owned Business Commission. Supporters of the changes estimate that $500,000 in bed taxes could be generated by short-term rentals in Tucson. The Mayor and City Council directed staff to meet with community partners to discuss possible regional solutions and report back in 90 days. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
Mayor and Council short-term rental agenda item from yesterday (item 8)
 
TRAFFIC ALERT: CAMINO DE LA TIERRA CLOSED AT THE RILLITO - The Camino de la Tierra dip crossing at the Rillito remains closed to traffic, as crews from the City of Tucson Department of Transportation continue to work to remove storm debris and repair damaged asphalt at the northwest side crossing. Crews expect to finish the work by Friday.

WATCH ZOO ANIMALS FROLIC IN THE RAIN - It doesn't rain in Tucson very often, so when it does, it's a delightful change for animals at the Reid Park Zoo. Watch a video of different animals reacting to this week's big storm, even though they all had access to dry spaces.
 
JOB OPPORTUNITY: WATER METER READE
R - Tucson Water is seeking candidates to read water meters. Duties also include helping with water service requests, customer inquiries, and meter operations for the utility's 236,000 accounts. Successful applicants must like people, walking, driving, and teamwork. The deadline to apply is this Friday. Read the job description.

NewsNet 09-09-14

TUCSON FIRE DEPARTMENT PERFORMED SEVERAL SWIFT WATER RESCUES YESTERDAY - The Tucson Fire Department (TFD) responded to more than 40 calls for help for stranded motorists during yesterday's torrential rainfall. Seven of those calls involved swift water rescues with full crews on scene. In one of those incidents, a 53-year-old woman died when her car was swept away in a wash near East 22nd Street and North Kolb Road. All of the other calls in city limits resulted in successful rescues, or the occupants were able to make it out of their cars on their own. TFD cautions motorists to stay out of flooded washes, since it only takes a foot or two of water to carry away most vehicles. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
 
HOW TO REPORT TRANSPORTATION CONCERNS AFTER STORM DAMAGE (OR AT ANY TIME) - Tucson transportation crews are always responding to calls after heavy storms like we experienced yesterday. Is there a tree in the road after a thunderstorm? Is there a pothole you'd like to see fixed? Is a street sign missing? You can report these issues to the Tucson Department of Transportation, (520) 791-3154, or email the exact location to tdotsr@tucsonaz.gov. You also can use the SeeClickFix website and app.
 
AGENDA SPOTLIGHT: PUBLIC HEARING ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA REGULATIONS - The Mayor and Tucson City Council will hold a public hearing tonight on the City Planning Commission's recommended amendments dealing with medical marijuana. The proposed amendments include allowing home delivery of medical marijuana to qualifying patients, extending dispensary hours, and expanding limits on "infusion kitchens" that produce marijuana-infused food products. The public hearing will be held tonight during the 5:30 p.m. meeting at Mayor and Council Chambers, 255 W. Alameda. Read Mayor and Council agenda.
 
TUCSON POLICE TEAM WITH RETAILERS TO CURB SHOPLIFTING - The Tucson Police Department's (TPD) Operations Division West is working with retailers to reduce shoplifting, which the National Association of Shoplifting Prevention says costs U.S. retailers about $13 billion a year. Employees from Plato's Closet, Target, Nordstrom's Rack, Walgreens, CVS, Circle K, and other businesses attend the Retail Theft monthly meetings. TPD Sgt. Dominick Flores runs the meetings and tells the retailers about trends and arrests, and the prevention loss employees from the stores bring pictures and videos of shoplifters. "We facilitate sharing information and solving issues that one particular store might have to identify a possible suspect that's committing crimes at other stores," said TPD Detective Olga Ramirez. At least one retailer said she's seeing a decrease in shoplifting. Read more from KVOA.
 
REDUCE CLUTTER AND GO PAPERLESS WITH CITY E-BILLING - Go paperless with your Utility Services Statement. Set up an eBill account to pay your bill, get notification of your billing statement, view water usage, and read Tucson Water's newsletter.

NewsNet 09-08-14

STAY OFF WET STREETS, IF POSSIBLE - Today's heavy rainfall in Tucson caused severe flooding on Tucson's roadways and washes. Emergency crews throughout the region have been responding to stranded motorists, but one person died after her car was swept away in a wash near East 22nd Street and South Kolb Road. The Tucson Fire Department (TFD)  urges motorists to stay away from flowing washes during thunderstorms, saying moving water 1-2 feet deep will carry away most vehicles. Read the news release, and monitor developments on the TFD Facebook page.
 
CITY OF TUCSON WEBSITE LAUNCHES ‘BIENVENIDO A TUCSON’ - A new website from the City of Tucson will help ensure that Spanish speaking residents of Tucson have access to information about child care, education, health and humanitarian services, and other important government programs. An English version of the site launched last year, and now all of the information has been translated into a Spanish website, with the help of the University of Arizona Translation and Interpretation Program, Spanish and Portugese Department. In addition, the City’s IT department built the site to make it easy for citizens to toggle back and forth between English and Spanish, by alternately clicking "Welcome to Tucson" or "Bienvenido a Tucson." Both sites are an offshot of the Immigrant Welcoming Task Force, created last year by Mayor and Council.
 
CANDIDATES WHO LOST IN THE PRIMARY ELECTION NEED TO REMOVE SIGNS - Wednesday is the deadline for unsuccessful candidates in last month's primary election in Arizona to remove their campaign signs. The Arizona Secretary of State's Office says losing candidates have 15 days to remove their signs after an election, although there is no penalty for not following the rules. The City of Tucson doesn't notify candidates of out-of compliance signs, but does remove them as necessary. "If we get a complaint, or if one of our inspectors sees it, we take it down and bring it to our sign corral," said Michael Wyneken, Tucson's interim code enforcement administrator. Citizens looking to file a complaint or candidates who need to retrieve their signs may contact the City's Code Enforcement Division at 791-5843, or visit the link below to report a violation. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
 
ADOPT A PARK TO HELP KEEP PUBLIC AREAS CLEAN - Tucson Clean and Beautiful is seeking community volunteers to adopt parks, streets, washes, and other public areas on an ongoing basis. There are more than 700 sites available for "adoption." Volunteers (at least five in a group) agree to remove litter and debris once a month, while making notes about conditions of the site that require attention by maintenance employees. To become a part of Tucson Clean and Beautiful’s environmental stewardship efforts, or for more information, visit the link below. You can also email adoptapark@tucsonaz.gov, or call 791-3109.
 
HOW TO BICYCLE IN THE STREETCAR ZONE -  Bicyclists need to be extra attentive when riding near the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar tracks. New markings - including green bike boxes, bike dots, and shared-lane markings - help guide cyclists where they need to be to stay safe and more visible. The City of Tucson produced a video that describes the safest ways to ride.

NewsNet 09-05-14

TESLA ENTERS NEGOTIATIONS WITH NEVADA FOR BATTERY PLANT: TUCSON REMAINS HOPEFUL - Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval asked state legislators yesterday to approve tax breaks and other incentives worth up to $1.3 billion over 20 years to bring Tesla Motors’ battery factory to the state. Tesla wants to build the massive factory at an industrial park near the Reno suburb of Sparks — as long as lawmakers agree to the package Sandoval negotiated with the electric car maker. The City of Tucson also wants to attract the plant. Mayor Jonathan Rothschild says even with yesterday's official announcement, Tesla and other high-tech companies are noticing Tucson. A Tesla spokesman says until the deal is closed with Nevada, the company will not stop discussions with Arizona and other interested states. Tesla also says it may need another factory at some point. Read more from AP via the Arizona Daily Star and from Tucson News Now.
 
TRAFFIC ALERT: SOUTHBOUND 4TH AVENUE UNDERPASS DETOUR - In an effort to ease traffic in the downtown area over the weekend, the City of Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) is not permitting southbound vehicular traffic through the 4th Avenue Underpass at 9th Street through Sunday, from 9 p.m. - 2 a.m. During the temporary detour, which began last night, the Sun Link Streetcar and bicyclists will be allowed to use the southbound travel lane through the underpass, and pedestrians will be allowed to use the sidewalk. TDOT staff recently adjusted the timing of the traffic signals to allow for better traffic flow through the busy Congress/4th/Toole intersection, and engineers will continue to evaluate and monitor travel patterns this weekend. Read the news release.
Map of closure area and detours
 
TUCSON POPS RETURNS TO REID PARK - The Tucson Pops Orchestra's Music Under the Stars program opens its Sunday night fall concert series this weekend with "Conductor's Choice." Classics like Hungarian March by Berlioz, Sousa’s Gladiator March, Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess will be featured, along with selections from Man of La Mancha and a well-rounded selection of Maestro László Veres’s favorites. The free concerts begin at 7 p.m. at the DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center at Reid Park. There is a limited amount of seating at DeMeester, which fills up quickly, so organizers urge you to bring folding chairs or a blanket. The Tucson Parks and Recreation Department operates shuttles from 5 p.m. - 10 p.m. from Randolph Golf Course Parking Lot, 600 S. Alvernon Way.
 
TUCSON FIRE DEPARTMENT URGES YOU TO BE PREPARED FOR EMERGENCY - September is National Preparedness Month. In this week's "No Bad Days with Barrett" on KGUN9, Tucson Fire Captain Barrett Baker and crew show you how to prepare for 72 hours of distress. Tips include keeping a gallon of water on hand for each person, stocking a three-day supply of non-perishable food, having a battery-powered radio with fresh batteries, and more.
Tucson Fire Department Facebook page
 
HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE (HHW) COLLECTION TOMORROW - Do you have unused or expired prescription medications but aren't sure what to do with them? They should never be poured down the drain or flushed in the toilet, nor should they be left where people or pets might get to them. The Tucson Household Hazardous Waste Program (HHW) and the Pima County Sheriff’s Department are sponsoring a medicine collection event along with the monthly HHW collection tomorrow, 8 a.m. – noon, at the Eastside Service Center, 7575 E. Speedway Blvd. Prescription and over-the-counter tablets, capsules, liquids, and creams will be collected. Metal or glass inhalation bottles, syringes, and EpiPens will not be accepted. In addition to old medicines, residents may also bring other household chemicals for collection. Accepted materials include automotive fluids, auto and rechargeable batteries, cleaning products, fluorescent lamps, paints, solvents, and lawn and garden products. Computer equipment and televisions will be accepted by Rise, Inc. for a fee. Monitors without a CPU are $2 and televisions are $10. Read the news release.
Download the 'my-waste'™ App

NewsNet 09-03-14

TUCSON POLICE DEPARTMENT (TPD) RECIPIENT OF STATE GRANTS TO BUY EQUIPMENT - More than $250,000 in grants from the Arizona Governor's Office Of Highway Safety (GOHS) helped TPD purchase six police motorcycles, two unmarked SUVs, 24 laser speed detection devices, and more. When combined with additional equipment and overtime funding for training, education and enforcement in the areas of speed, impaired driving, pedestrian and bicycle safety, and occupant protection, GOHS has provided more than $2 million in grant funding for Tucson over the last three years. In recognition of the efforts of GOHS and Director Alberto Gutier, the Tucson Police Department will hold a news conference tomorrow at 10 a.m. at the front entrance of the TPD's Traffic Division at 1310 West Miracle Mile. The items purchased with the grant funds will be on display. Read the news release, and visit the TPD Facebook page.

NEW PROGRAM IN TUCSON AIMED AT BOOSTING HOMEOWNERSHIP - A new program is offering $5.5 million to increase homeownership and strengthen neighborhoods in Tucson. Wells Fargo, NeighborWorks America®, the Primavera Foundation, Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, and South Tucson Mayor Paul Diaz announced the Tucson NeighborhoodLIFT® program last month. Down payment assistance of $15,000 will be available for eligible homebuyers with annual incomes that do not exceed 120 percent of the Tucson area median income – about $68,400 for a family of four – with income maximums varying depending on family size and type of loan. Among other things, potential buyers must complete an eight-hour homebuyer education session with The Primavera Foundation or another HUD-approved counseling agency. Participants must commit to live in the home for five years and qualify for a first mortgage with any lender. The Tucson Wells Fargo  NeighborhoodLIFT® program begins with a free homebuyer event this Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the Tucson Convention Center. Pre-registration is closed, but walk-in appointments may be available. Read more from Market Watch/Wall Street Journal.

FEDERAL GRANT TO BOOST TUCSON'S RAIL CAPACITY - A $5 million grant to improve rail capabilities in Tucson has been awarded, a year after it was announced. A Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant - the same type of grant that also helped fund the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar - was awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation to the Port of Tucson and Pima County. The money will fund a $13 million project to build an off-ramp for Union Pacific to enter the port without delaying other trains or motorists sitting at the Kolb Road railroad crossing, near Interstate 10. Pima County officials estimate the port could add up to 100 logistics jobs once the project is operational. Construction is expected to take about six months. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
 
TUCSON AMONG BEST CITIES FOR RETIREES - A new study by WalletHub, a personal finance website, finds Tucson to be the 24th best place for retirees among the nation's 150 largest cities. That puts Tucson ahead of Gilbert, Chandler, Glendale and Phoenix. The study praised Tucson for its affordability, nice weather, and quality of life issues of interest to seniors, including percentage of residents of retirement age who are still working, a low crime rate, and good air and water quality. Tucson also fared well in the category of activities, such as the number of recreation and senior centers, fishing facilities, and public golf courses. The report also says communities in Arizona, Florida and Texas benefit from good weather. Read more from Capitol Media Services via the Arizona Daily Star.
 
NEED HELP STARTING OR EXPANDING A BUSINESS IN TUCSON? CALL THE SMALL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE LINE - The City of Tucson's Small Business Assistance Line, (520) 837-4100, is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Help is available in both English and Spanish. Staff from the City Manager's Office of Economic Initiatives answer the calls. The Small Business Assistance Line is one of a number of City initiatives, along with 21 new business incentives, streamlined permit processes and more, to make the City of Tucson more business-friendly.

NewsNet 09-03-14

AED SCAVENGER HUNT THROUGH THE END OF THE MONTH - Tucson and Pima County residents are invited to join a scavenger hunt for automated external defibrillators (AEDs) during September. The Tucson Fire Department and the University of Arizona Department of Emergency Medicine are hosting the HeartMap Tucson Challenge, an AED scavenger hunt that aims to raise awareness about AEDs and to a build a comprehensive database of where the devices are located. Registration for the challenge is open to individuals or teams. Prizes range from $50 to $5,000. AEDs are electronic, brief-case size devices designed to allow bystanders to help someone who has collapsed during a cardiac arrest prior to the arrival of emergency medical help.
 
FIRST DROWNING OF THE YEAR IN TUCSON OCCURRED ON LABOR DAY - A two-year-old boy died Monday, after he was found in a hot tub in the gated pool area of an apartment complex at the 4200 block of East Monte Vista Drive. Tucson Fire Department (TFD) personnel performed extensive resuscitative efforts on the scene and at the hospital, but the boy died at the hospital. TFD says the "ABCs" of drowning prevention are critical for everyone to know. "A" is for active adult supervision. "B" is for barriers, to make it difficult for children to get into water by accident. "C" is for CPR classes for adults and swimming lessons or classes for kids. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star, and watch a drowning prevention video from TFD's "Do Something" campaign, in collaboration with Tucson 12.
 
BABY ELEPHANT AT REID PARK ZOO IS TWO WEEKS OLD TODAY- It was a great gift for the City of Tucson on its birthday, Aug. 20, when Semba the African elephant gave birth to the first elephant calf ever born at the Reid Park Zoo. The birth also marked a milestone for the Zoo's two-year-old, seven-acre elephant exhibit, which was in built with breeding in mind. Take a journey back in time to relive the planning and building of Expedition Tanzania in a video from the Tucson 12 archives.
Tucson 12 recent video of baby elephant
Zoo Cams
Baby Elephant FAQ
Reid Park Zoo Flickr page
Reid Park Zoo Twitter
Reid Park Zoo Facebook
 
VOTER-APPROVED ROAD REPAIR WORK ON AJO WAY - Crews from Southern Arizona Paving and Construction Co., under contract with the City of Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT), are working to improve the roadway conditions on Ajo Way from 14th Avenue to Bernard Drive and on Ajo Way from the Kino off-ramp to Country Club Road. The contract also calls for resurfacing Country Club Road 200 feet north and 200 feet south of Ajo. During the project, which began today, at least one lane of travel in each direction will be maintained. Work hours are 5:30 a.m. - 4 p.m., through Monday, Sept. 15. The pavement preservation project is part of the $100 million, five-year Road Recovery bond program. Read the news release.
Road Recovery Bond Program
Bond Oversight Commission Annual Report
 
SUNGO CARDS ACCEPTED ON BOTH SUN LINK STREETCAR AND SUN TRAN BUSES - The SunGO card is the best way to pay fares when riding public transit in Tucson. The card works on both the Sun Tran bus system and the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar. A SunGO card with unlimited rides for a month is just $42. If you're an occasional rider, you can load the SunGO card with a cash value to pay the $1.50 one-way fares whenever you use transit. In addition, there are many discounts available for students, low-income residents, senior and others. If you ride the streetcar, you must have a SunGO card, or purchase a day pass with cash or a credit card from a vending machine at the stop. Cash is not accepted on the streetcar.
How to Ride video for streetcar

NewsNet 09-02-14

TCC ARENA IMPROVEMENTS NEARING COMPLETION: CELEBRATION PLANNED - The Rio Nuevo Board is hiring the Beach Boys to headline a grand reopening concert early next year to show off the $7.8 million improvement project at the Tucson Convention Center (TCC) arena. The board will pay the band $100,000 for a Jan. 3 concert. Work began on the TCC last March to replace seats, upgrade acoustics, renovate bathrooms and concession stands, add video scoreboards, as well as making other improvements. The work is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. The concert isn’t designed to make money (at $25 a ticket), but to demonstrate to Tucsonans and the entertainment industry that the TCC has new life, said Rio Nuevo Chairman Fletcher McCusker. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.

EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT OF ELEPHANT BIRTH - After 22 months of anticipation, Reid Park Zoo's African elephant Semba gave birth to her third calf almost two weeks ago, on Tucson's birthday. Zookeeper Mara Jameson was there to watch the birth of the healthy female. She recently shared her experience, in a video produced by Tucson 12. You can follow the calf's progress at the Reid Park Zoo and City of Tucson social media sites (links below).
Tucson 12 video of baby elephant
Zoo Cams
Baby Elephant FAQ
Reid Park Zoo Flickr page
Reid Park Zoo Twitter
Reid Park Zoo Facebook
City of Tucson Facebook
City of Tucson Twitter

UA STUDENT OFFERS FRESH PERSPECTIVE ON STREETCAR - Even though the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar has been running since July, University of Arizona students only recently discovered the new mode of travel, which runs through the heart of campus, 4th Avenue, downtown and the Mercado District, west of I-10. Plenty of students are finding the streetcar exciting, not only for transportation between housing and classes, but also as a travel option to food and entertainment spots not located directly on campus. One student recently wrote an Arizona Daily Wildcat opinion piece about the streetcar, saying it's "awesome."

TUCSON EXHIBIT CELEBRATES 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF ARIZONA HISTORICAL SOCIETY - Arizona Historical Society staff, volunteers, and board members have chosen 150 items from across the state that they feel best represent the history of Arizona. Items range from the artifacts of early settlers to more modern memorabilia. A small paper airplane on display dates from Charles Lindbergh's 1927 trip to Tucson to dedicate Davis-Monthan Airfield. The 150th anniversary exhibit opened Saturday at the Arizona History Museum, 949 E. 2nd Street, and will run through the rest of the year. Read more from Arizona Public Media.

GET THE LATEST NEWS AND INFORMATION ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER - "Like" the City of Tucson on Facebook to get the latest news, community updates and fun facts about Tucson local government and our community. You can also "Follow" the City of Tucson on Twitter for timely, concise updates throughout the day.

NewsNet 08-29-14

MEXICAN BASEBALL RETURNING TO TUCSON -  The Mexican Baseball League says it will return to Kino Sports Complex for its fourth annual Vamos a Tucson Mexican Baseball Fiesta, Oct. 2-5. The tournament, sponsored Visit Tucson and Cox Communications, will feature eight games between some of the best and most popular professional baseball teams in Mexico. Visit Tucson reports last year's Mexican Baseball Fiesta generated nearly $350,000 for the Metro Tucson economy. Read more from Tucson News Now, and watch a 2011 video from Tucson 12 archives.

TRAFFIC ADVISORY: SIXTH STREET – CAMPBELL AVENUE TO COUNTRY CLUB ROAD - The City of Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) yesterday removed the barricades on Sixth Street, from Campbell Avenue to Country Club Road, and placed temporary striping to reopen the roadway to two lanes in each direction. Motorists are currently driving on the first layer of asphalt that was installed two weeks ago. The final paving will take place after TDOT staff completes quality control checks on that layer. The pavement preservation project is part of the $100 million, five-year Road Recovery bond program.
Bond Oversight Commission Annual Report

WEEKEND BEACH BASH TO MARK THE END OF SUMMER - The Downtown Tucson Partnership is hosting a seasonal sendoff tomorrow at the pop-up beach in the shadow of the MLK lot at One North Fifth downtown, near Hotel Congress. The free bash runs from 4 p.m.-1 a.m., featuring live music and plenty of activities for children. The YMCA and Children’s Museum Tucson will be on hand, as will several food trucks. The beach, which includes tons of trucked-in sand, palm trees, and artificial grass has been a popular gathering spot over the summer. Even though this weekend's party marks the unofficial end of summer, the beach will remain in place through the middle of September. The beach is easily accessible via the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar.

DISNEY ON ICE COMING TO TUCSON CONVENTION CENTER - Tickets went on sale this morning for "Disney On Ice: Let's Celebrate," Oct. 9 -12 at the Tucson Convention Center. Join Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse as they're joined by Alice and the Mad Hatter, Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen, Lilo & Stitch, and Woody, Jessie, and Buzz Lightyear. Princesses and villains will also be on hand, and there will be a medley of holidays, celebrations and festivals from around the globe. Tickets can be purchased at the TCC Box Office or online via Ticketmaster. See the links below.
Buy tickets online from Ticketmaster:

TRASH AND RECYCLING COLLECTIONS DELAYED BY ONE DAY NEXT WEEK - Due to the Labor Day holiday Monday, residential and commercial trash and recycling will not be collected on Monday. All City of Tucson Environmental Services residential and commercial customers will have their trash and recycling service delayed by one day. In addition, the Los Reales Landfill and the Household Hazardous Waste Facility will be closed Monday.
Holiday collection schedules
Download the free ‘My Waste’™ app for collection schedules

NewsNet 08-28-14

TRAFFIC ALERT: SOUTHBOUND 4TH AVENUE UNDERPASS CLOSURE - With the University of Arizona back in session and a football game tomorrow, traffic is expected to be heavy in the downtown area this weekend, so the City of Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) is not permitting southbound traffic through the 4th Avenue Underpass at 9th Street tonight through Sunday, from 9 p.m. - 2 a.m.

NewsNet 08-27-14

THE 2014 TUCSON GEM, MINERAL & FOSSIL SHOWCASE CREATED $120 MILLION IN DIRECT SPENDING - A new economic impact study of this year's Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase shows $120 million in direct spending by show owners, exhibitors and buyers - a 20 percent increase over the $100 million spent in 2007. FMR Associates in Tucson conducted the study in February and employed the same methodology it used in the previous gem show economic studies in 2000 and 2007. Studies are only conducted once every seven years. The primary objective of the studies is to measure the specific economic and tax revenue benefits for Tucson and Pima County. The Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase attracts tens of thousands of buyers, collectors, dealers, curators, and guests to Tucson each year. Dozens of shows are held at various locations. Next year's Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase is scheduled for Jan. 31 - Feb. 15. It will be the first year the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar will be in operation during the shows, which organizers say should boost attendance and create excitement about the success of Downtown Tucson. Watch Tucson 12 video about the latest study.
 
TUCSON POLICE DEPARTMENT (TPD) RECRUITING OFFICERS - TPD is looking for motivated and dedicated individuals to join its team. Successful candidates from this testing period will be considered for any funded academy class(es) within the next six months. Applications are being accepted through Sept. 14. Managing conflict is a regular part of the job, as is handling numerous physical and mental demands. Recruits must be a least 21-years-old when they graduate the academy, but the application process can begin at age 20. Learn more about TPD recruiting, and ride along with an officer who gives advice about joining TPD, from Tucson 12 archives.
 
NEW BABY ELEPHANT PHOTOS POSTED - Reid Park Zoo's week-old baby African elephant is doing well. The Zoo recently uploaded a series of new pictures to its Facebook page (link below). There's still no official word on when the baby will get a name, or when she will be on public exhibit, but you may be able to catch a live glimpse of her on the Zoo's webcam, or in the distance, in the early morning hours. You can also follow the calf's progress at the Reid Park Zoo and City of Tucson social media sites.
Reid Park Zoo Flickr page
Reid Park Zoo Twitter
Reid Park Zoo Facebook
City of Tucson Facebook
City of Tucson Twitter
 
TOMORROW IS THE DEADLINE TO SUBMIT REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS FOR REDEVELOPMENT OF TRANSIT CENTER - The City of Tucson is seeking a developer for a 4.7-acre site in the heart of downtown (Congress Street and Sixth Avenue) to create a multi-modal, mixed-use development incorporating a modern transit center. Adjacent to the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar line, the area currently consists of the Ronstadt Transit Center and two surface parking lots. More than $930 million in recent private and public investment - including new restaurants, shops, businesses, and housing - are near the site. Upcoming investments near the area include a grocery store, a new hotel, additional housing, and roadway improvements. The City’s goal is to transform the development site from a single-use transit center into a mixed-use development that contributes to an active, economically-robust downtown. Request for Proposals are due by 4 p.m. tomorrow. More information is available from the City of Tucson Office of Integrated Planning.
 
RIO NUEVO BOARD TO OPEN TALKS WITH DEVELOPER FOR PLANNED HOTEL PROJECT - The Rio Nuevo Board voted yesterday to formally enter negotiations with developer Allan Norville, of Nor-Generations, to possibly build a $100 million hotel project on 8.5 acres of Rio Nuevo land downtown. The site is along Granada Avenue, east of Interstate 10 and north of Cushing street, near the Tucson Convention Center. Norville’s plan - offering to pay $5.6 million for the land - calls for a 140-room hotel, a 96-unit apartment complex, a visual arts center, three museums, and a theater. Norville also says he'll build a 120,000-square-foot exhibition hall on his property adjacent to the Rio Nuevo land. If the two sides can’t settle on a deal, the board can negotiate with the other bidder, Ron Schwabe of Peach Properties. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.

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