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NewsNet 11-26-14

TUCSON WATER RECEIVES DESIGNATION OF ASSURED WATER SUPPLY - The Assured Water Supply (AWS) program is designed to sustain Arizona's economic health by preserving groundwater resources and promoting long-term water supply planning. Before developers in the Tucson Water service area can record plats or sell parcels, the City must demonstrate a 100 year supply of water to meet current and future growth water demands. The State of Arizona recently issued the City a Designation of Assured Supply for approximately 183,000 acre-feet/year of available water supply through 2025. That exceeds Tucson's projected demands of approximately 155,000 acre-feet/year, which puts the City in a strong position to support future population growth and economic development.
 
RECYCLE YOUR TURKEY GREASE TO HELP KEEP THE ENVIRONMENT CLEAN
- The Day-After-Thanksgiving Grease Collection and Recycling event will be held this Friday. The annual event benefits the community by keeping grease out of our sewers. The collected grease is recycled into biodiesel, a cleaner burning fuel for the environment. The Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department and its partners will collect grease from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. at five drop-off locations.
 
HOLIDAY ARTS & CRAFTS FAIR THIS WEEKEND - As the holiday shopping season is about to begin, the Tucson Parks and Recreation Department is offering an alternative to the busy stores. The annual Holiday Arts & Crafts Fair will be held this Saturday and Sunday in Reid Park, 22nd Street and Country Club Road. The free event will be held west of the DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. each day. More than 100 vendors will be on hand from all over the Southwest, ranging from artists, crafters, photographers, painters, potters, jewelers and more. The Thanksgiving weekend fair has become a tradition for many holiday shoppers for more than 20 years. See artists' original designs, including delicate beading, steampunk jewelry, teapot wind chimes, handcrafted masks, colorful mosaics, sun catchers, and one-of-a-kind ceramics. Food and refreshments from local vendors will be available for purchase.
 
TUCSON COMMUNITY BUILDS NEW PARK PLAYGROUND IN ONE DAY (VIDEO)
- La Madera Park is sporting a new playground today, thanks to neighbors, volunteers, The City of Tucson, KaBOOM!, Humana, and Lend a Hand Senior Assistance. The all-ages redesign of the park at 2700 E. La Madera Drive was finished earlier this month. The one-of-a-kind, multi-generational playground was created using drawings and other input from community members, including children and seniors. The new design is senior-focused with adult elements, including fitness stations and walking paths to promote good posture, balance, and flexibility. There also is traditional, kid-friendly equipment that creates a multi-generational space. Tucson 12 captured some of the sights and sounds of the design phase and construction.
 
HAPPY THANKSGIVING FROM NEWSNET - The staff at NewsNet wishes all of our readers a happy Thanksgiving! We wish you all the best this upcoming holiday season. We'll be off tomorrow, but will be back Friday with a special edition highlighting some of the great stories that happened this year at Reid Park Zoo. You'll learn more about a big baby that's capturing the hearts of Tucson (and the nation), and we'll even tell you about a little baby...the newest resident of the Zoo.

NewsNet 11-25-14

CALL CENTER EXPANSION TO CREATE HUNDREDS OF JOBS - APAC Customer Services says a major expansion will bring more than 1,100 jobs to Arizona, with 700 full-time positions coming to Tucson. The Chicago-based call center made the announcement yesterday with the Arizona Commerce Authority and Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities, Inc. They say the move will be a major boost to the Tucson-Phoenix “Sun Corridor.” APAC serves customers in a broad range of industries, including healthcare, financial services, technology, communications, and travel and hospitality industries. APAC already ranks 24th among Southern Arizona’s largest employers, with 1,904 full-time equivalent employees at the start of the year, according to a survey by the Arizona Daily Star.

MEXICAN CONSULATE READY FOR IMMIGRATION CHANGES - The Mexican government announced yesterday that the 50 consulates in the United States are prepared to help those who qualify for executive action on immigration. Currently, the government is running a national help line out of Tucson. Once President Obama's action begins next year, the consulate will provide free legal advice, workshops, and the waiving of document fees. Officials say the goal is to provide information through trusted sources, so that immigrants don't fall victim to fraud or abuse. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.

TRANSIT ON HOLIDAY SCHEDULE THURSDAY: READY FOR GAME FRIDAY - Both Sun Tran and the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar will be operating on a Sunday schedule on Thanksgiving Day, and Sun Express routes will not be in operation. Regular service will return Friday. On Friday, football fans can ride the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar to the University of Arizona football game. Prior to the 1:30 p.m. rivalry game against Arizona State University, fans can experience 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 also can park in one of the many garages downtown and take the streetcar to the game to avoid UA congestion. Beginning at 10:30 a.m., the Pennington Street Garage is offering discounted parking fees when you ask for the "Park, Dine, and Ride" bundle, which includes a Sun Link Day Pass and parking.
UA Parking and Transportation football information

JOB OPPORTUNITY: ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES EQUIPMENT OPERATOR - This position primarily is responsible for the collection of trash and recycling using trucks operated by hydraulic systems. City of Tucson Environmental Services has multiple positions available for qualified individuals with solid waste collecting experience and the skills to operate front loaders, automated side loaders, roll-offs, rear loaders, skid steers, and other collection and hauling equipment. The application deadline is Dec. 7. View the job description.

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 11-24-14

HOW TO PREPARE YOUR PIPES FOR FREEZING WEATHER - A Freeze Watch is in effect for the Tucson area overnight, and Tucson Water is recommending that residential and business customers insulate exposed water pipes, plumbing, and backflow assemblies as part of their preparation for winter. You can wrap exposed pipes and plumbing with insulation available at plumbing supply and home improvement stores. In a pinch, you also can wrap your exposed pipes with towels and blankets. Tucson Water has tips and videos to help you get ready for winter.
Watch a demonstration video from Tucson 12
 
FINALISTS NARROWED DOWN FOR JAN. 8 MEMORIAL - The January 8th Memorial Foundation has chosen four finalists to submit competing proposals for the design of a permanent, outdoor memorial at El Presidio Park in Downtown Tucson. The memorial will honor the six people killed on that day and the 13 who were injured at the 2011 Congress on Your Corner event that was hosted by Gabrielle Giffords, who was among the injured. Firms submitted statements of interest, past work examples, and preliminary renderings of how they might design the memorial. About half of the 60 submissions were from companies based in Arizona, but Ibarra Rosano Design Architects is the only Tucson firm to be named a finalist. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
 
TRASH AND RECYCLING DELAYED A DAY THIS WEEK FOR MANY CUSTOMERS - Thanksgiving will be observed this Thursday, and residential and commercial trash and recycling will not be collected on that day. All City of Tucson customers with Thursday or Friday collections will have their trash and recycling services delayed by one day, and the Los Reales Landfill will be closed on Thursday. Except for emergency services, all City of Tucson offices also will be closed on Thanksgiving.
Download "My Waste" app
 
DOWNTOWN PARADE OF LIGHTS ACCEPTING ENTRIES - The Downtown Tucson Partnership is inviting individuals and community groups to participate in the Downtown Parade of Lights, presented by Carondelet St. Mary’s. This year marks the 20th year of the parade, which attracts about 20,000 spectators. The festivities will be held on Saturday, Dec. 20, and entries to take part in the parade must be submitted by Dec. 5.
 
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 streetcar
Cómo Viajar video

NewsNet 11-21-14

EL TOUR DE TUCSON TRAFFIC RESTRICTIONS - Downtown Tucson will be the site of the El Tour de Tucson start/finish line tomorrow. The event will encompass the entire region with a 107-mile bicycle ride/race, meaning traffic will be restricted at various times in many parts of the city. Beginning tonight at 6 o'clock, Sixth Avenue will be closed between 12th and 13th Streets and will remain closed until late tomorrow afternoon. Beginning at 5 a.m. tomorrow, Sixth Avenue will be closed from 13th Street to 22nd Street, and 22nd Street from Arizona Avenue to Mission Road will be reduced to one travel lane in each direction. Left turns will be not be permitted. Also tomorrow, Grande Avenue will be closed between Congress Street and 22nd Street from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. The eastbound I-10 frontage road also will be closed between Cushing Street and 22nd Street. These streets will reopen by late afternoon, after the last rider has finished. More than 6,000 bicyclists are expected to take part in El Tour. Read more on traffic restrictions.
 
PRESIDENT OBAMA TAKES ACTION ON IMMIGRATION
- President Obama last night announced his executive action on immigration, halting deportations of nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants. Key components of Obama's announcement include placing a greater emphasis on securing the border, prioritizing immigration resources on deporting felons, halting deportations for parents of U.S. citizens, and providing an accountability program for long-term residents who are undocumented, but have significant family ties. The president's action does not provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, nor does it allow access to the Affordable Care Act. Read more from the the White House blog and the Associated Press via the Arizona Daily Star.
 
ZOO EXPERT/TV CELEBRITY PRAISES CITY'S REID PARK ZOO - Through his two TV shows and late-night TV talk show appearances, Jack Hanna is a familiar name among wildlife lovers and the zoo community. The Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo was in Tucson yesterday releasing bighorn sheep into the Santa Catalina Mountains and recording footage at the Reid Park Zoo for a TV show that will air in the spring. Hanna took some time out of his schedule to speak with Tucson 12 about the great work being done at Tucson's zoo, while also discussing the financial impact and quality-of-life zoos bring to their communities.
 
TIPS TO STAY SAFE WHEN FRYING A TURKEY - If you plan to fry your Thanksgiving turkey, please be aware that there are several safety steps you need to take to prevent injury to yourself and others. In this week's "No Bad Days with Barrett" on KGUN9, Tucson Fire Department Captain Barrett Baker offers some tips to keep your holiday celebration away from the emergency room.
 
HOW TO REPORT TRANSPORTATION CONCERNS - Is there a pothole you'd like to see fixed? Is a street sign missing? Is a tree limb hanging too close over a roadway or sidewalk? You can report these issues to the Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT), (520) 791-3154, or email the exact location to tdotsr@tucsonaz.gov. You also can use the SeeClickFix website and app for Android and iOS.

NewsNet 11-20-14

ABANDONED SHOPPING CART PROGRAM TURNS ONE YEAR OLD - It has been a little more than a year since the City of Tucson's Environmental Services department began collecting abandoned shopping carts reported via phone and the "My Waste" smartphone app. When the Mayor and Tucson City Council approved the program in October 2013, City staff estimated it would cost $40,000 for the first year, but that amount turned out to be less than $5,500 paid to the contractor. In the past year, 1,222 carts have been collected, mostly from Walmart, Fry's, Walgreens and Albertsons. If you see an abandoned shopping cart, please call 791-3171 or use the app to report it.
Watch a PSA about how the program works
 
EL TOUR HEALTH EXPO UNDERWAY AT TCC
- The El Tour Bicycle, Fitness & Health Expo opened this morning at the Tucson Convention Center (TCC) and will stay open until 9 p.m. The two-day, free event leads up to Saturday's big cycling race. The Expo is a trade show with cycling and health-related vendors and exhibitors. In addition, cyclists will be picking up their rider packets, timing devices and other items. The event is open to the public. The start and finish line for Saturday's Special Olympics El Tour de Tucson is located at Armory Park, across the street from Children’s Museum Tucson, on South 6th Avenue at 13th Street. Read more from Tucson News Now.
 
NANDI CELEBRATES 3-MONTH BIRTHDAY - Reid Park Zoo's baby elephant is three months old today. Nandi weighs more than 465 pounds, and she received her first vaccine (tetanus) last Thursday. Nandi is still figuring out how to manage the 40,000 muscles in her trunk, entertaining visitors to the Zoo. The Zoo is having a Facebook photo contest to find the best baby picture.
Read more from the Nandi Notebook in the Arizona Daily Star.
 
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR HOME FROM BURGLARS - With the holidays approaching, it's a good time to make sure your home is burglar proof. In a video produced by Tucson 12 back in 2011 (link below), the Tucson Police Department shares tips to protect your residence.
 
FOLLOW THE PROGRESS ON THE DOWNTOWN LINKS PROJECT
- The City of Tucson and the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) have a Downtown Links website to give citizens information and updates on one of the largest transportation projects in Tucson. The $76 million project will result in a four-lane roadway north of the Union Pacific Railroad that will link Barraza-Aviation Parkway and Interstate 10, Broadway Boulevard with 4th Avenue, and downtown with the neighborhoods to the north. Downtown Links also will provide alternate access to downtown, new and safer underpasses and railroad crossings, and improved sidewalks and bike paths.

NewsNet 11-19-14

MAYOR AND COUNCIL TO REVISIT TRANSIT ITEMS NEXT MONTH - The Mayor and Tucson City Council voted yesterday to move decisions regarding changes to transit routes and fares to the Dec. 9 meeting. Staff requested the route and fare changes to save approximately $1.2 million in the current fiscal year, but Mayor and Council requested more time to review recent input from the Transit Task Force and to examine other possible cost savings to the system. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star, ans see the agenda materials.
 
TUCSON POLICE DONATE GIFTS TO SUPPORT TROOPS
- The Tucson Police Department's (TPD) "Santa Cop Program" collects hundreds of toys and stuffed animals throughout the year. This year, TPD was able to donate the toys and stuffed animals to Tucson Troop Support. The donations will be given to the children of troops who are currently deployed. Many of the gifts came from the Ronald McDonald House and the American Legion (Post 7).
 
USA TODAY CHOOSES BEST RESTAURANTS IN TUCSON - Aside from scenery and great weather, Tucson is also becoming a destination for food connoisseurs. As USA Today 10 Best puts it, "There's no disputing that some of the best Mexican food in the country is found in the cafes and restaurants of the Old Pueblo. In fact, sometimes it seems like every corner in town has a great mom-and-pop Mexican restaurant dishing out amazing enchiladas, burritos, tacos, and of course, the homegrown Sonoran hot dog." Even so, there's plenty more than Mexican food, and the writer weighs in on her favorite places to eat. Most of the favorites are within walking distance of the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar.
 
HOW TO STAY SAFE THIS WINTER
- The onset of cold weather in Tucson introduces some potential dangers. From carbon monoxide poisoning to fire, the Tucson Fire Department offers tips to keep you safe. Watch a safety video, produced by Tucson 12.
 
JOB OPPORTUNITIES AT TUCSON WATER - Tucson Water has job openings for construction inspector, chemist, and system operator. The utility is interested in qualified candidates to care for the infrastructure and systems needed to deliver water to customers. Information about each job is available at Tucson Water's website.

NewsNet 11-18-14

AGENDA SPOTLIGHT: PROPOSED ORDINANCE HIGHLIGHTS PLAN TUCSON - The Mayor and Tucson City Council will review a proposed ordinance at today's Study Session regarding the implementation of policy from Plan Tucson, the voter-approved general plan. Plan Tucson was created through nearly 75 public meetings and calls for coordinated, consistent, and integrated planning of policies, programs, and projects across City departments. Also central to the Plan, is the regular communication and engagement of the city's residents, neighborhoods, businesses, and community organizations. The implementation and administration of Plan Tucson will be carried out by the City Manager, through the newly-created Office of Integrated Planning. The 2 p.m. meeting can be viewed live on Tucson 12.

EL TOUR DE TUCSON THIS WEEKEND - The annual Special Olympics El Tour de Tucson is this Saturday, and volunteers are still needed. The race attracts cyclists from around the world, bringing $13 million to $18 million into the local economy. So far, El Tour officials say they already have approximately 2,000 volunteers, but they could use several hundred more for the Bike Expo, Thursday and Friday. More information is at the link below. The start and finish line for Saturday's race is located at Armory Park, across the street from Children’s Museum Tucson on South 6th Avenue at 13th Street. Crossing the finish line ushers the riders into the next event - the El Tour Downtown Fiesta. Celebrate with non-stop music, food vendors, children's activities, awards, and more. Read more from Tucson News Now.
Volunteer contact - volunteer@perimeterbicycling.com
El Tour registration

PUBLIC MEETINGS CONTINUE FOR INPUT ON POSSIBLE CHARTER CHANGES - Tucson's Charter Review Committee is asking for public comments as it reviews and makes recommendations about possible amendments to sections of the Tucson City Charter. A public meeting will be held at 4 p.m. Thursday at City Hall (255 W. Alameda, 1st floor). Potential amendments to the City Charter may be on the Nov. 3, 2015 City ballot. All comments should be made via email to the City Clerk’s Office, cityclerk@tucsonaz.gov.

GET A FREE BIKE LIGHT TONIGHT - Living Streets Alliance is partnering with the City of Tucson Bicycle & Pedestrian Program and the Pima Association of Governments to give away bike lights to people without them. Not only do bike lights improve visibility for both cyclists and others on the street – it's the law that bicyclists have them. With darkness falling sooner this time of year, many people are unprepared for riding safely in the dark. Free lights will distributed tonight, beginning at 5 o'clock (until supplies run out) at the intersection of East Pima Street and North Columbus Boulevard.

'RIGOLETTO' COMES TO TCC - Arizona Opera returns to the Tucson Convention Center (TCC) this weekend for two performances of "Rigoletto." A court jester isn’t quite so funny when he has revenge on his mind. With unforgettable arias that are synonymous with Italian opera and a dramatic, twisting plot, Rigoletto features dark assassins, a philandering duke and the self-sacrificing Gilda. The production, set in 16th century Mantua, features baritone Michael Corvino as Rigoletto. Performances are Saturday (7:30-9:30 p.m.) and Sunday (2-3:30 p.m.) at the TCC Music Hall. Tickets are available at the TCC Ticket Office.

NewsNet 11-17-14

TUCSON POLICE STOP SUSPECTED FRAUD RING - Proactive policing by officers from the Tucson Police Department's Eastside Division put a stop to a potential fraud ring involving an extensive amount of stolen identifications, checks, credit cards, mail, and license plates. An officer on patrol last week conducted a traffic stop at the 700 block of South Camino Seco, and the driver fled on foot. Three others in the car remained in the vehicle and were detained. Several stolen license plates and stolen mail were found inside of the car, police said. Detectives from the TPD Fraud Unit and U.S. Postal Inspectors responded and interviewed the three detainees. All the passengers were arrested for Aggravated Identity Theft and booked into the Pima County Jail. The investigation continued and led detectives to the 11000 block of East Calle Aurora. Stolen identifications, checks, and credit cards were located at the residence, police said. The investigation is ongoing. Read more from TPD Facebook page.
 
TUCSON EARNS PERFECT SCORE IN LGBT EQUAL RIGHTS SURVEY - The City of Tucson earned a score of 100 in the latest survey from the Human Rights Commission, which works for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) equal rights. The Municipal Equality Index (MEI) examines the laws, policies, and services of municipalities, rating them on the basis of how they affect LGBT people who live and work there. Some of the categories include non-discrimination laws, recognition of civil unions, and local governments' relationships with the LGBT community. Read Tucson's scorecard from MEI.
 
COLD WEATHER BRINGS FURNACE SAFETY WARNINGS - Now that Tucson's temperatures are getting close to freezing, many people will be firing up their furnaces for the first time this season. In the latest edition of "No Bad Days with Barrett," Tucson Fire Captain Barrett Baker offers some tips to keep you safe when trying to get warm.
 
SANTA TO CALL TUCSON CHILDREN EARLY NEXT MONTH - Santa and his elves would like to add some sparkle to a child’s holiday season through the "Santa's Calling" program, courtesy of Tucson Parks and Recreation. The special child(ren) in your life, between ages of 3 and 8, will have an opportunity to speak with Santa and listen to his elves hard at work. Santa will make the calls from 5-8 p.m. on Dec. 2, 3, 4 (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday). In order to receive a call, you'll need to fill out a form and mail the request by Friday, Nov. 28.
 
GRAPES FOR APES - The Reid Park Zoo is hosting a fundraiser this Friday to help pay for habitat renovation for the Zoo's gibbon family, Billy, Moms, and Lilith. Enjoy wine, food, various activities, and animal encounters. Music also will be a part of Friday's event, with Gabriel Ayala performing. Uber will be offering rides home from the event for those drinking wine. Learn more about the event.

NewsNet 11-14-14

FAMILY FESTIVAL IN THE PARK THIS WEEKEND - The Tucson Parks and Recreation Department presents the 9th annual Family Festival in the Park tomorrow. This free community-wide event will be held from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at Reid Park, 22nd Street and Country Club Road. The Festival is about having fun with your family, while also serving as an opportunity for Tucson Parks and Recreation to showcase programs and activities offered to the community. Activities include a carnival, games, inflatables, crafts, a golf clinic, tennis games, and demonstrations of leisure classes. Edith Ball Adaptive Recreation Center is hosting an afternoon of free swimming from noon - 4 p.m. Tucson City Golf will offer a free 10-minute golf instruction at the Randolph Driving Range, adjacent to the park, from 10 a.m. - noon. Entertainment will be presented throughout the day, and a variety of foods will be available for purchase through local vendors.

TUCSON GOLF COURSES GET MAKEOVERS - If you attend the free golf instruction referenced in the story above, you'll notice some changes at Randolph Golf Course. Players at Tucson City Golf are enjoying improvements, from the kitchen to the fairways. See what the golfers think, in this video from Tucson 12

RIDE A CAMEL AT REID PARK ZOO - Animals aren't just for show at Reid Park Zoo nowadays, as four dromedary (one-hump) camels are ready to give rides to guests. Winston, Luke, Mack and Riddle will give rides every day during Zoo hours (9 a.m. - 4 p.m.). The cost to ride is $7 (in addition to admission), and riders must be at least two-years-old. See photos at Reid Park Zoo's Facebook page.

IMPROVEMENT PROJECT AT KINO PARKWAY AND 22ND STREET CAUSES WEEKEND TRAFFIC SHIFT - The Kino Parkway and 22nd Street Intersection Improvement Project is nearing completion. As the work winds down, crews this weekend will begin shifting traffic to install the new traffic signals on 22nd Street and restripe the roadway. During this work, left turns in all directions at the Kino Parkway and 22nd Street intersection will not be permitted. The Ashton Company, Inc. is working under contract to the Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT). Read more about the weekend traffic patterns.

RIDE THE STREETCAR TO UA FOOTBALL GAME TOMORROW - Football fans can ride the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar to tomorrow's University of Arizona football game. Prior to the 1:30 p.m. game against Washington, fans can experience 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. Beginning at 10:30 a.m., the Pennington Street Garage is offering discounted parking fees when you ask for the "Park, Dine, and Ride" bundle, which includes a Sun Link Day Pass and parking.
UA Parking and Transportation football info

NewsNet 11-13-14

GRANT ROAD WIDENING PHASE II PUBLIC OPEN HOUSE NEXT WEEK - The City of Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) and the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) will host a public open house next Wednesday, 5:30-7 p.m., to discuss the widening of Grant Road. The meeting will be held at the Tucson Association of Realtors building, 2445 N. Tucson Boulevard, and there will be a brief presentation by the project team at 5:45 p.m. Staff from the City of Tucson's Office of Integrated Planning will discuss amending the Major Streets and Routes Plan (MSRP) to reflect the Grant Road widening alignment, from Oracle Road to Swan Road, approved by the Mayor and Tucson City Council in 2009. Staff will be available to answer questions regarding the MSRP and the amendment process. Grant Road Widening Phase II is from Stone Avenue to Park Avenue, and the design is 60 percent complete. Phase II construction is scheduled to begin in late 2015. Read the news release.
 
CITY WINS NATIONAL BUDGET AWARD
- The City of Tucson is receiving national recognition, with an award from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA). The GFOA's Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for Tucson's Office of Budget and Internal Audit reflects the commitment of the governing body and staff to meet the highest principles of governmental budgeting. In order to receive the award, the City had to satisfy nationally-recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation. Read the news release.
 
OPEN ENROLLMENT FOR AFFORDABLE CARE ACT (ACA) BEGINS THIS WEEKEND - Saturday marks the start of a three-month period where people can enroll for health care under the Affordable Care Act (link below). Government leaders and nonprofits gathered yesterday to inform the public about open enrollment. "It’s one thing to say that health is important for individuals – and it is," said Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, "But health is also important for communities. There’s an economic cost to illness, to the person, their family, their employer, and their community." There are more than 100 health care plans available in Pima County. Read more from Tucson News Now.
 
TUCSON WATER IS PART OF CONSTRUCTION CAREER FAIR - More than 700 students from nearly 30 schools are meeting a variety of professionals during the two-day Southern Arizona Construction Career Days today and tomorrow. The event for high school students is hosted by the Arizona Transportation Builders Association and KE&G Construction. Tucson Water joins nearly 30 construction industry firms and contractors who will give students the opportunity to meet a variety of professionals and see displays and demonstrations related to careers in construction and infrastructure. The career fair is being held at the Tucson Rodeo Grounds. Read the news release.
 
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 11-12-14

TUCSON EXPLORING BIKE SHARE PROGRAM - The City of Tucson is exploring the feasibility of implementing a bike share system and is seeking input from the public. The City has launched an online survey and WikiMap to solicit comments. The survey allows the public to weigh in on the proposed program, while the WikiMap helps identify specific locations for stations. Bike share is a public transportation system where subscribers have access to a network of bicycles through automated self-service kiosks located throughout the community. More than 30 cities in the United States have existing bike share systems.
Tucson Bicycle & Pedestrian Program
 
COMMUNITY FORUMS CONTINUE TO DISCUSS HUD FUNDING
- The City of Tucson and Pima County are hosting meetings this week to discuss community needs that can be addressed with annual entitlement funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The City of Tucson receives approximately $8 million per year under various federal programs, including Community Development Block Grants. Public input received at these forums will be used to prepare the Fiscal Year 2016 City of Tucson/Pima County Five-Year Consolidated Plan, which will incorporate community needs, available resources, strategies, and priorities for the five-year period beginning on July 1, 2015. The meetings continue tonight, 5:30-7:30, at Ellie Towne Community Center, 1660 W. Ruthrauff Road. That meeting will discuss fair housing issues, while a meeting tomorrow will focus on homelessness. Tomorrow's meeting is from 9-10:30 a.m. at the West Side Police Station, 1310 N. Miracle Mile. Read the news release.
 
PARKS AND RECREATION CATALOG AVAILABLE NOW - Tucson Parks and Recreation's Spring 2015 Program Guide and Class Catalog is available at all Parks and Recreation facilities, including district offices, centers, and pools. Copies also will be available at the Family Festival in the Park event on Saturday (10 a.m. - 2 p.m.) at Reid Park, or can be viewed online at the link below. The Program Guide has information on leisure classes, KIDCO after-school sites, aquatics, sports programs, registration, and the Discount Program. The 64-page booklet also has information on recreation centers, Reid Park Zoo, Tucson City Golf courses, and swimming pools. Registration opens Saturday for city residents and Monday for non-city residents.
Tucson Parks and Recreation website

HOW TO FIGHT THE FLU - Flu season is here and you may have already noticed people around you sniffling and sneezing. In the latest edition of "No Bad Days with Barrett" on KGUN9, Tucson Fire Captain Barrett Baker and crew show you ways to brace yourself for the season, and it all starts with a flu vaccine.

USA TODAY READERS RANK REGION FOR BEST BIRDWATCHING - Southeastern Arizona finished in the top 10 of the USA Today 10 Best list of "Best Birdwatching," as chosen by readers. The website listing says, "The 'Sky Islands' of Southeastern Arizona are a magnet for birds. The most famous residents are the 15 species of hummingbirds - the highest diversity north of Mexico - visible from April to September." Read the list of "Best Birdwatching" from USA Today 10 Best. The City of Tucson's Sweetwater Wetlands attracts many different birds and serves as an environmental education facility for a variety of wildlife. See a list of birds found at Sweetwater.

NewsNet 11-10-14

VETERANS DAY PARADE TOMORROW - Downtown Tucson will host the annual Veterans Day Parade tomorrow morning. Beginning at 9 a.m., the parade will stage on West Alameda Street between Granada Avenue and Manning House Way. The parade begins at 11 a.m., and proceeds east on West Alameda Street and turns north on Stone Avenue to Franklin Street, then turns west on Franklin Street to Church Avenue.  At Church Avenue, the parade turns north to Sixth Street/St. Marys Road, proceeds west on Sixth Street/St. Marys Road, then turns south on Granada Avenue, ending at Franklin Street.

NewsNet 11-07-14

CITY SEEKING COMMENTS ON POSSIBLE CHARTER CHANGES - Tucson's Charter Review Committee is asking for public comments as it reviews and makes recommendations about possible amendments to sections of the Tucson City Charter. A public meeting will be held at 4 p.m. Monday at City Hall (255 W. Alameda, 1st floor). Potential amendments to the City Charter may be on the Nov. 3, 2015 City ballot. All comments should be made via email to the City Clerk’s Office: cityclerk@tucsonaz.gov.
 
VISIT TUCSON OPENS TRADE OFFICE IN MEXICO - Visit Tucson yesterday opened its new Vamos a Tucson office in Hermosillo, Sonora. The office - in conjunction with the City of Tucson and Pima County - is intended to boost Mexican tourism to Pima County. It also will serve as an information hub for Mexican corporations and entrepreneurs seeking information about conducting business in Tucson and Pima County. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star and El Imparcial (Spanish).
 
RIDE THE STREETCAR TO WEEKEND ACTIVITIES - This weekend is a big one in Tucson, with 2nd Saturdays Downtown, the 25th annual All Souls Procession, UA football and basketball, and Veterans Day activities. The Sun Link Tucson Streetcar will take you to the events via the University of Arizona, Main Gate Square, Fourth Avenue, Downtown Tucson, and the Mercado District. Riders can experience dining, entertainment, and retail opportunities along the nearly four-mile route. You can also park in one of the many garages downtown. The Pennington Street Garage is offering discounted parking fees for the football game only, when you ask for the "Park, Dine, and Ride" bundle, which includes a Sun Link Day Pass and parking. Tomorrow's game (part of Homecoming Weekend) against Colorado begins at 6 p.m., and the parking bundle is available beginning at noon.
UA Parking and Transportation football info
 
TESTING UNDERWAY FOR POTENTIAL NEW DAY PASSES FOR TRANSIT - The Sun Link Tucson Streetcar is testing a new day pass that is more resistant to heat and humidity than the current paper SunGo Day Pass. The test passes are from the Valley Transportation Authority in California and will have a different look than the current passes. Testing a limited supply (less than 2,000 tickets) will help determine how the passes react to validators on board the transit vehicles. If the tests are successful, the passes eventually could replace those currently in use. Send feedback on test passes to: sunlinkstreetcarcomments@tucsonaz.gov.
 
TRASH AND RECYCLING DELAYED A DAY NEXT WEEK FOR MANY CUSTOMERS - The Veterans Day holiday will be observed on Tuesday, Nov. 11, and residential and commercial trash and recycling will not be collected on that day. All City of Tucson residential and commercial customers with Tuesday through Friday collections will have their trash and recycling services delayed by one day. The Los Reales Landfill will be open on Tuesday. Except for emergency services, all City of Tucson offices will be closed on Tuesday. Read the news release.

NewsNet 11-06-14

ALL SOULS PROCESSION THIS WEEKEND - One of Tucson's signature events happens Sunday, as the 25th annual All Souls Procession makes its way through Downtown Tucson. Thousands of people are expected in costumes and skeleton face paint to honor the dead. The procession will follow a two-mile route from Sixth Street and Sixth Avenue to the finale at Mercado San Agustin. Even though the big event starts at approximately 6:30 p.m. Sunday (gathering begins at 4 p.m.), activities begin Saturday with the Procession of Little Angels, 3 p.m. - dusk, at Armory Park, 221 S. 6th Ave. Organized by Many Mouths One Stomach, a nonprofit arts collective, the free event draws participants from across the country and the world. Parking is available at four garages downtown, or you can take the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar to the downtown area from the University of Arizona, 4th Avenue, or Mercado San Agustin, just west of downtown. For this Sunday only, the streetcar will run until 11 p.m. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star, and note traffic restrictions.

MAYOR AND COUNCIL REVISE GENERAL OBLIGATION DEBT POLICY - The Mayor and Tucson City Council yesterday voted to raise the self-imposed limit on General Obligation Bonds the City can issue. Current policy limits the combined primary and secondary property tax rate to a maximum of $1.50 per $100 of assessed value. The Council voted to increase the limit to the $1.75 per $100 maximum listed in the City Charter. The $1.75 figure is still well below the State of Arizona's imposed limit. While this change gives the City the capacity to issue approximately $70 million in additional bonds, those bonds cannot be issued without first being approved by voters. Read the Mayor and Council agenda materials.

AED CHALLENGE WINNER ANNOUNCED - University EMS received $5,000 yesterday for winning the HeartMap Challenge AED Scavenger Hunt. The team found the highest number of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in Pima County. The goal of the AED scavenger hunt, which ran Sept. 3- 30, was to raise awareness about AEDs and to build a comprehensive database of the devices’ locations. More than 1,300 AEDs were found in the Pima County by 170 participants. AEDs are electronic, briefcase size devices designed to allow bystanders to help someone who has collapsed during a cardiac arrest prior to the arrival of emergency medical services. Read the news release, and see photos of check presentation on TFD Facebook page.

HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE (HHW) COLLECTION SATURDAY - The City of Tucson is holding a Household Hazardous Waste collection Saturday at the El Rio Neighborhood Center, 1390 W. Speedway Blvd., from 8 a.m. until noon. Accepted materials include chemicals, oils, pesticides, automotive fluids and batteries, rechargeable batteries, toxic cleaning products, fluorescent lamps, paints, solvents, lawn and garden products, and computer equipment ($2 for monitors without computer). Drop off at HHW is free for City of Tucson residents. 
Download the 'My-Waste'™ app
Watch archived video about HHW, produced by Tucson 12

PARKS AND RECREATION OFFERS DISCOUNTS TO LOW-INCOME RESIDENTS - City of Tucson Parks and Recreation offers discounts that allow low-income residents to pay a 50 percent discounted fee for KIDCO, Jr. Leadership, In-Betweener's, Learn-to-Swim, and therapeutic programs. There also is a 25 percent discount for annual/quarterly passes at recreation centers and for a Senior Activity Card. To qualify for the discounts, you must be a City of Tucson resident, provide ID and address verification, and be able to prove your income falls within the discount guidelines. You can apply at any Parks and Recreation office. For more details on the requirements for the discounts, call Registration Services at (520) 791-4877.

NewsNet 11-05-14

TUCSON NAMED A TOP CITY FOR EXPORT ASSISTANCE - Global Trade magazine lists Tucson as one of the top 10 cities in its 2014 “America’s Best Cities for Global Trade" report. The report includes 10 needs-oriented and relevant categories, looking at 10 of the best globally-minded cities with a great business environment and well-educated workforce. Tucson finished in the list of the top 10 cities for export assistance. "Tucson is an up-and-coming trade and logistics hub, and this recognition will further promote the City's capabilities for international trade," said Camila Bekat, economic development specialist for the City of Tucson. "Tucson's binational historic ties with Mexico give Tucson a competitive edge when engaging Arizona's largest trading partner."  Under direction from the Mayor and City Council, the Office of Economic Initiatives has staff dedicated to increasing direct foreign investment and assisting Tucson businesses to expand internationally.

EL TOUR DE TUCSON APPROACHING - The annual Special Olympics El Tour de Tucson is Nov. 22, and registration is ongoing. Organizers say El Tour is the largest cycling event in Southern Arizona. The race attracts cyclists from around the world, bringing in between $13 million to $18 million into the local economy. Since 1983, El Tour has raised more than $40 million for various nonprofit organizations. The primary beneficiary and sponsor of the 2014 El Tour is Special Olympics. The start and finish line is located at Armory Park, across the street from Children’s Museum Tucson on South 6th Avenue at 13th Street. Crossing the finish line ushers the riders into the next event - the El Tour Downtown Fiesta. Celebrate with music, food vendors, children's activities, awards, and more. 

COMMEMORATIVE TREES AVAILABLE TO RECOGNIZE LOVED ONES - Commemorative trees are available for purchase to be dedicated next month at Pantano River Park. Trees are available for purchase through Tucson Clean & Beautiful (in cooperation with the City of Tucson and Pima County) for $225 each, including the tree, irrigation lines, number marker installation, name dedication at a commemorative plaza, and guaranteed replacement. Tree dedication requests are accepted year-round, but Monday is the deadline for guaranteed planting by next month's ceremony. Tree dedications are partially tax deductible and may be purchased to honor or remember any friend or family member. The official dedication of the trees will be Dec. 5, 11 a.m. - noon, at Pantano River - Garden of the Families, 2500 S. Pantano Pkwy. For more information, read the Parks and Recreation news release.
Watch Tucson 12 video from a previous dedication ceremony.

VETERANS DAY VOLLEYBALL DOWNTOWN - The official Veterans Day holiday isn't until next Tuesday, but the celebration of veterans begins Saturday in Downtown Tucson with a beach volleyball tournament on the sand west of Hotel Congress. The Downtown Tucson Partnership is sponsoring the tournament, where service members stationed in Southern Arizona will compete in teams of four. Mayor Jonathan Rothschild will present the winning team with the City of Tucson Veterans Day Cup. Military vehicles will arrive for a special display at 3 p.m. Following the day's festivities, relax with your family for a showing of the film "Big Fish" at 6:30 p.m. Read more from the Downtown Tucson Partnership.

DOWNLOAD APP TO REPORT GRAFFITI IN TUCSON - Graffiti Protective Coatings and the City of Tucson have a smartphone application for reporting graffiti. MyTucson is a free download on the iOS App Store and Google Play for Android.
City of Tucson apps
Watch a University of Arizona Athletics PSA about the app

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