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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.

NewsNet 08-26-14

RIDE THE STREETCAR TO UA FOOTBALL GAME FRIDAY - University of Arizona football fans have a new transit option for this season’s UA home football games – the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar. Prior to the season's kickoff against UNLV Friday night, 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 Highland Avenue stop. Fans can also park in one of the many garages downtown and take the streetcar to the game to avoid UA congestion. Due to federal regulations, Sun Tran will not be running football shuttles this year, but the University of Arizona will offer a Cat Tran shuttle service from the Park Avenue Garage (at Speedway and Park) to Arizona Stadium on game days. The shuttles will drop off fans on 6th Street, immediately south of the stadium, beginning two hours prior to kick-off. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
City of Tucson Parkwise
UA Parking and Transportation football info
 
TUCSON STREETCAR COMPLETES FIRST MONTH OF SERVICE - It has been an exciting month since the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar began passenger service. It all began as federal partners gathered to share their excitement about the streetcar. After that, there was the ceremonial ribbon cutting, followed by the welcoming of passengers. If you haven't taken a ride on the streetcar yet, we'll tell you how in the special streetcar review edition of Tucson City News in Review, produced by Tucson 12.
 
FINAL PHASE OF DOWNTOWN LINKS PROJECT UNDERWAY - Demolition began yesterday on several state-owned warehouses at the intersection of Stone Avenue and Sixth Street in preparation of the third and final phase of the voter-approved Downtown Links roadway project, linking Interstate 10 to Broadway Boulevard. The initial plan for the project was issued decades ago from the Arizona Department of Transportation and encountered opposition at the time from neighbors and businesses, who claimed that it required the demolition of too many buildings. However, with RTA voter-approval and funding, the City of Tucson is managing the project now and has worked closely with a Citizen Advisory Committee to ensure that as few structures as possible are affected. Construction is expected to begin in early 2016 and will include a deck plaza, buffered bike paths, elevated pedestrian walkways, and a new four-lane road. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
 
VOTER-APPROVED ROAD REPAIR WORK ON SPEEDWAY - 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 Speedway Boulevard, from Main Avenue to Second Avenue. Crews are lowering manhole and water valve covers through Friday, from 5 a.m. to 4 p.m. During the utility-lowering phase of the project, at least one lane of travel in each direction will be maintained. Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 2, crews will begin a milling (removing asphalt) and repaving Speedway. The milling and repaving is scheduled to be finished by Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. Business and residential access will be maintained at all times. The pavement preservation project is part of the $100 million, five-year Road Recovery bond program.
Bond Oversight Commission Annual Report
 
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NewsNet 08-25-14

INDUSTRY PREDICTS TUCSON TOURISM TO TOP MARKET IN 2015 - Tucson will be the top market for tourism growth in 2015, with a projected 7.1 percent increase, according to a study by Atlanta-based PKF Hospitality Research. That compares to a 2.9 percent growth in demand nationwide. The city has been slower to recover than others in the West and Southwest, said Visit Tucson CEO Brent DeRaad. Local hotels haven’t returned to pre-recession occupancy levels, but they saw a stronger peak season, January through April, compared to the same period last year, he said. In addition, more visitors are coming through Tucson International Airport. Visit Tucson recently launched a new marketing campaign using the slogan “Free Yourself,” which highlights Tucson’s laid-back, free-spirited lifestyle. Visit Tucson also reports tourism accounts for more than $150 million a year in direct tax revenue for Tucson and Pima County. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
 
TUCSON NAMED TOP 'CARING CITY' - Movoto.com, a real estate website, lists Tucson as the third most-caring city in the United States. The website says it determined the top 100 largest U.S. cities and ranked the top ten according to a number of factors, including student-counselor ratios, charitable donations, pet shelters, homeless services, crime, and Facebook "likes" for charities and causes. Tucson received high scores for pet shelters, homeless services, counseling, and having the fourth-lowest crime rate per 100,000 people.
 
BABY ELEPHANT Q & A - Dubbed "Tucson's Big Baby" on social media, the new African elephant calf at the Reid Park Zoo is creating a lot of buzz in our community and beyond. Answers to most common questions from the public: She still doesn't have a name yet. She isn't outside on any particular schedule. The baby and her mother, Semba, are bonding well. She is the first elephant ever born at the Reid Park Zoo. And, yes, she was born on the City of Tucson's birthday last Wednesday. For more updated information, the Zoo has a Baby Elephant FAQ posted on its website. You can also follow the calf's progress at the Reid Park Zoo and City of Tucson social media sites (links below).
Reid Park Zoo Flickr page
Reid Park Zoo Twitter
Reid Park Zoo Facebook
City of Tucson Facebook
City of Tucson Twitter
 
FARE OPTIONS FOR STREETCAR - There are many fare options available to ride the streetcar. Cash is not accepted on the car, but you can use it at machines at the stops to buy a $4 one-day pass. In addition, you can buy SunGO passes online or at regular Sun Tran merchants. Discount fares are available for certain students, low-income residents, seniors and disabled passengers. University of Arizona faculty, staff, and students can ride streetcar for free, through Sept. 14, if they sign up for a special U-pass. The City of Tucson has a video that tells you everything you need to know about how to ride the streetcar
Cómo viajar video
 
BECOME A DOCENT AT TUCSON'S TERRITORIAL SITE - The Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Garrison is looking for people who would like to portray 18th Century soldiers. The Garrison includes Catalonian volunteer light infantry, presidio soldiers, and dragoons of Spain - all one-time residents of the walled Tucson community. Located downtown at Washington and Church Streets, the Presidio San Agustín del Tucson is a re-creation of the northeast corner of the original 1775 Spanish presidio. A self-guided tour explains features including a munitions room, torreón (tower), commissary, and living space for soldiers and their families. An open Hohokam pit house is found on site, along with an interpretation of features that came before the Hohokam period. Docent training begins Sept. 6.
The Tucson Presidio Trust for Historic Preservation

NewsNet 08-22-14

TUCSON'S BABY ELEPHANT WEIGHS IN AT 245 POUNDS - The City of Tucson's Reid Park Zoo continues to monitor our first-ever newborn African elephant calf. She came into the world at 10:55 p.m. Wednesday, August 20th, which was also Tucson's 239th birthday. Cameras in the Zoo captured many of the yet-unnamed calf's first moments, such as standing, nursing, and sleeping. The calf stays close to Semba, her 24-year-old mom. At this point, only essential Zoo staff is allowed near the two, allowing them time to bond. Details on when the public can see the baby, and how the naming process will be handled, will be released soon (watch Tucson 12 interview). Until then, the Zoo is offering photos and videos of the new family on its Flickr page. In addition, you can follow the Reid Park Zoo and City of Tucson Facebook and Twitter sites for photos, links, and more information as soon as it becomes available.
Reid Park Zoo Twitter
Reid Park Zoo Facebook
City of Tucson Facebook
City of Tucson Twitter
 
TRAFFIC ALERT: SOUTHBOUND 4TH AVENUE UNDERPASS CLOSURE - With the return of University of Arizona students and the anticipation of heavy traffic in the downtown area, the City of Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) is not permitting southbound traffic through the 4th Avenue Underpass at 9th Street this weekend, from 7 p.m. - 2 a.m. During the temporary closure, which took effect 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.
 
FOLLOW THE PROGRESS ON THE DOWNTOWN LINKS PROJECT - The City of Tucson and the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) have a 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.
 
TUCSON'S 239th BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION CONTINUES THIS WEEKEND - Even though Tucson's birthday was Wednesday, the celebration continues tomorrow at the Historic Train Depot downtown, 414 N. Toole Ave. The Southern Arizona Transportation Museum on site will host a birthday party from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., and Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild will help cut the birthday cake at 11 a.m. Both parking and admission to the museum are free.
 
LEARN TO RECOGNIZE HEART ATTACK SYMPTOMS - It's important to know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack if you ever need to help someone in cardiac arrest. Knowing what to do beyond that point also is necessary. Calling 9-1-1 is a must, but you can help before paramedics arrive. In this week's, "No Bad Days with Barrett," on KGUN9, Tucson Fire Department Captain Barrett Baker offers some tips on CPR and the use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

NewsNet 08-21-14

ELEPHANT CALF BORN AT REID PARK ZOO ON TUCSON'S BIRTHDAY - African elephant Semba gave birth last night to a female calf, and both are doing well. This is Semba's third calf, but the first elephant ever born at the Reid Park Zoo. It's also the only African Elephant birth in any zoo this year. “This birth, literally the largest in the history of the State of Arizona, represents a significant milestone for the Zoo,” said Zoo Administrator Jason Jacobs. “This birth would not have been possible without the vision and partnership of the City of Tucson, Reid Park Zoo, Reid Park Zoological Society, and San Diego Zoo Global.” The first 48-72 hours following the birth are the most essential for Semba and her as-yet-unnamed calf to form a strong physical and emotional bond. Although Semba and the calf are not currently on exhibit, they may be viewable soon on the Zoo Cams between the hours of 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The rest of the herd members will remain on exhibit intermittently throughout the day. Check out the Reid Park Zoo and City of Tucson Facebook and Twitter sites for late-breaking information.
Reid Park Zoo Twitter
Reid Park Zoo Facebook
City of Tucson Facebook
City of Tucson
 
TUCSON POLICE PART OF MULTI-AGENCY CRIMINAL STREET GANG ARRESTS - The Tucson Police Department (TPD) joined other agencies in Southern Arizona in serving 16 arrest warrants yesterday at nine Tucson locations. TPD said the Eastside Crips (ESC) is an organized group whose members are suspected of homicides, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, trafficking in firearms, and committing violent crimes. The case was initiated based on information gathered by TPD, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Arizona Department of Public Safety's Gang Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission. The case is being prosecuted by the Criminal Division of the Arizona Attorney General’s Office in Tucson. Read more on TPD Facebook page.
 
AN INSIDE VIEW OF THE 2014 TUCSON FIRE ACADEMY - It takes a lot of hard training and plenty of long hours to be a firefighter with the Tucson Fire Department (TFD). To give the public an idea of what that training entails, TFD put together a video of its most recent 21-week training academy, start to finish. The video was produced Capt. Jim Grimes.
TFD Facebook page
 
FRIDAY NIGHT CONCERT SERIES CONCLUDES TOMORROW AT UA - Tomorrow is the final concert in the "Friday Night Live!" series at Main Gate Square at the University of Arizona. Presented by the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance, tomorrow's 7 p.m. performance features Jazz saxophonist Kelland Thomas. Main Gate now is easily accessible via the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar.
 
HOW TO MANAGE HARD WATER AND OTHER TIPS FROM TUCSON WATER - Get tips on how to manage hard water, increase dishwasher efficiency, flush your water heater, check faucet aerators, and more. Information is available in English and Spanish. You can download, print, or request a mailed copy of the tips. You can also learn how to pay your water bill online and stop and start service.

NewsNet 08-20-14

TUCSON FIRE DEPARTMENT PERFORMS ANOTHER SWIFT WATER RESCUE - For the second time in three days, Tucson Fire Department (TFD) personnel performed a swift water rescue, using a fire truck ladder to help a woman trapped in her car in a wash near Broadway and Camino Seco. A single firefighter walked out on the ladder and handed the woman a lifejacket. She was then able to climb out of the window and onto the ladder to walk to safety. The woman was assessed on scene, but did not require medical attention. TFD urges motorists to stay away from flowing washes during thunderstorms, saying moving water 1-2 feet deep will carry away most vehicles. See video of the resuce on TFD Facebook page.

CEREMONY OF FLAGS TO MARK TUCSON'S BIRTHDAY -  The five flags that have flown over Tucson – American, Spanish, Mexican, Confederate, and the State of Arizona – will be presented in a ceremony tonight to celebrate Tucson’s 239th birthday. The Tohono O'odham Nation and Pascua Yaqui Tribe flags also will be presented, as will a replica of the 28-star American flag that was brought by the Mormon Battalion and flown over Tucson in 1846. The celebration begins at 5:30 p.m., with a performance by Mariachi Los Changuitos Feos de Tucson at Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Courtyard (SW corner of Church Avenue and Washington Street). The flag ceremony begins at 6:30 p.m., followed by proclamations and a reading of Hugo O’Conor’s letter designating Tucson as the site of a new presidio. Those attending are encouraged to dress in “period” costumes and sample a piece of Tucson’s birthday cake. Read the news release for more information.

TUCSON AND OTHER CITIES WIN LATEST ELECTION BATTLE AGAINST STATE - An appellate court ruling says the State of Arizona can't make Tucson, Phoenix and other cities move their municipal elections to even-numbered years. Monday's ruling by the Arizona Court of Appeals upholds a trial judge's ruling that the 2012 law improperly intrudes on the constitutional authority of charter cities. The State had appealed a 2013 ruling by Judge James Marner of Pima County Superior Court. Cities claim they have the right to set their own elections, while opponents suggest turnout would be greater and cost less if local elections were held at the same time as presidential and gubernatorial elections. There was no immediate response from the Arizona Attorney General’s Office about a possible appeal to the State Supreme Court. Read more from the Arizona Capitol Times and the Associated Press via Tucson News Now.

NEXT WEEK IS DEADLINE TO SUBMIT REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS FOR REDEVELOPMENT OF TRANSIT CENTER - The City of Tucson is looking for a developer for a 4.7-acre site in the heart of downtown (Congress Street and Sixth Avenue) to create a distinctive 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. Requests for Proposals are due Aug. 28, 2014. More information is available from the City of Tucson Office of Integrated Planning.

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 iPhone App Store and Google Play for Android.
Watch a University of Arizona PSA about the app.

NewsNet 08-19-14

PIMA COUNTY COMBINED PROPERTY TAXES TO INCREASE 12 PERCENT - Most Pima County homeowners will see an increase in their property tax bills this year. In a 3-2 vote yesterday, the Pima County Board of Supervisors set the County’s combined tax rate at $5.76 per $100 of assessed valuation - an increase of about 12 percent from last year. Supervisors also  approved tax rates set by dozens of municipalities, school boards, fire district boards, and other special taxing districts. The exact increase varies depending on where a person lives, but the owner of a $150,000 house in Tucson and the Tucson Unified School District can expect to pay, on average, an extra $123 next year. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
 
TUCSON PROGRAM SAVES WATER AND HELPS WITH ENVIRONMENTAL PROJECTS -Tucson Water customers have saved 3.6 million gallons of water while contributing to community enhancement projects through Conserve to Enhance (C2E), a program started at the University of Arizona. Tucson participants have saved water through conservation strategies, ranging from behavioral changes to rainwater harvesting installations. Tucson C2E has received nearly $40,000 in donations since the program began. Donations have come directly from participant water savings and the “Riparian Enhancement and Open Space” check box on Tucson Water monthly bills. The program has funded numerous projects, including the Atturbury Wash restoration. Now, the effort has expanded beyond state boundaries, looking to help Colorado and California start their own water conservation and community enhancement programs under the umbrella of the UA-based sustainability program. Read more from Yuma News Now.
 
DEVELOPER ALLAN NORVILLE WINS RIGHT TO NEGOTIATE POSSIBLE LAND PURCHASE FOR DOWNTOWN HOTEL PROJECT - The Rio Nuevo Board voted yesterday to enter into negotiations with developer Allan Norville to have him buy and develop 8.5 acres of Rio Nuevo Land currently occupied by the Greyhound Bus Depot. Norville beat out Ron Schwabe of Peach Properties. Although Norville won a chance to negotiate with Rio Nuevo, the Board still must vote on whether it wants to open talks or scrap the plan and start over. Board discussion is set for next Tuesday. 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'd build a 120,000-square-foot exhibition hall on his property adjacent to the Rio Nuevo land. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
 
TRAFFIC ALERT: KOLB ROAD STREET LIGHT REPAIRS - Beginning tomorrow, crews from the City of Tucson Department of Transportation Streets and Traffic Maintenance Division will replace lamps and repair all of the street lights on the west side of Kolb Road, from Tanque Verde Road to Speedway Boulevard. Crews will be working from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The work is scheduled to be finished in one day. For the safety of the work crews and motorists, the southbound curb lane on Kolb Road will be closed during the work. Residential and business access will be maintained at all times. Expect delays if driving through the area during work hours.
 
FARE OPTIONS FOR STREETCAR
- There are many fare options available to ride the streetcar. Cash is not accepted on the car, but you can use it at machines at the stops to buy a $4 one-day pass. In addition, you can buy SunGO passes online or at regular Sun Tran merchants. Discount fares are available for certain students, low-income residents, seniors and disabled passengers. University of Arizona faculty, staff, and students can ride streetcar for free, through Sept. 14, if they sign up for a special U-pass. The City of Tucson has a video that tells you everything you need to know about how to ride the streetcar
Cómo viajar video

NewsNet 08-18-14

TUCSON FIRE DEPARTMENT RESCUES TWO FROM FLOODED WASH - Two people were rescued early Sunday morning after floodwaters swept their car into a wash. The Tucson Fire Department (TFD) says the vehicle became stuck in a wash near East 22nd Street and South Kolb Road, near Palo Verde High School. The incident occurred after the driver of the car tried to cross the wash from a nearby road. The vehicle stopped near a pedestrian bridge and the two females were able to climb to the roof and call 9-1-1. Firefighters were able to lower a 14-foot ladder to the car from the pedestrian bridge. Both people were able to climb to safety. TFD urges motorists to stay away from flowing washes during thunderstorms, saying moving water 1-2 feet deep will carry away most vehicles. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star, and see video on TFD Facebook page.
 
HOW TO REPORT TRANSPORTATION CONCERNS AFTER STORM DAMAGE (OR AT ANY TIME) - 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 (TDOT), (520) 791-3154, or email the exact location to tdotsr@tucsonaz.gov. You also can use the SeeClickFix website and app.
 
TUCSON IMPROVING PEDESTRIAN ACCESS CITYWIDE - Starting today, the Tucson Department of Transportation, is beginning work to improve pedestrian access along various city arterial streets. The work involves making ADA improvements along stretches of roadway. Crews will work Monday through Friday, from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. During the work, curb lane restrictions will be in place for the safety of workers and the traveling public. Crews will be working at each location for approximately two weeks. All the work is scheduled to be complete in early October 2014. The first area slated for improvements is Alvernon Way, between 22nd Street to 33rd Street. Future improvement areas are listed at the link below. Read the
TDOT news release and schedule.
 
LOCAL GOVERNMENTS ADVISED TO BUY LAND FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING - A San Francisco-based economist is urging the City of Tucson and Pima County to buy land while it's available to build future affordable housing. Jacob Bintliff of BAE Urban Economics recently released a study that shows land values tend to soar once high-capacity transportation corridors are established. Dozens of local planners, architects, developers, and housing advocates attended Friday's presentation at the Drachman Institute, which commissioned the study. In the coming decades, much of the new housing development in Pima County should be placed near public transit to meet anticipated demand, the study says. The Drachman Institute says a local employee survey of transportation preferences is due to be released next month. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
 
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 08-15-14

UA COMMUNITY CAN RIDE STREETCAR FREE FOR 30 DAYS - Starting today, students, faculty, and staff at the University of Arizona can ride the new Sun Link Tucson Streetcar and all Sun Tran buses for free, through Sept 14. The promotion requires a special U-Pass that can be ordered online at the link below. After the 30 days end, the card can be loaded with one-day and 30-day monthly passes. In addition, the UA is offering a 50 percent discount for those who buy semester or annual passes. The streetcar travels a nearly 4-mile route through parts of the UA campus, 4th Avenue, Downtown Tucson and the Mercado District west of I-10. If you don't have a UA affiliation, you can buy a SunGO monthly pass for unlimited rides on the streetcar and bus system.
How to Ride the Streetcar
Take a virtual 5-minute ride on the streetcar, produced by Tucson 12

'PULL ASIDE & STAY ALIVE:' MONSOON RAINS CAN THREATEN LIFE & PROPERTY, CAUSE HAVOC ON ROADS - The Tucson Fire Department (TFD) has been busy this year with several swift water rescues during and after thunderstorms, but some of those situations could have been avoided. In the latest KGUN9's "No Bad Days with Barrett," TFD Captain Barrett Baker says the motto this time of year is to "pull aside, stay alive."
 
TRAFFIC ALERT: 12TH AVENUE ASPHALT WORK - Crews from the Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) Streets and Traffic Maintenance Division will be performing asphalt maintenance work for the next two weeks on 12th Avenue, between Santa Paula Street and Bilby Road. The work begins on Monday and is scheduled to be complete by Friday, Aug. 29. Work hours will be 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. During the project, at least one lane of travel will be maintained in each direction.
 
MERMAIDS UNITE DOWNTOWN - Tomorrow's the day mermaids, pirates, jellyfish, and other sea creatures will be washed ashore on downtown's pop-up beach on the MLK Lot at North Fifth Avenue at East Congress Street, and at Fourth Avenue’s Haggerty Plaza, 316 N. Fourth Ave. The "Return of the Mermaids" event begins at both locations at 7 p.m. The Haggerty's Plaza location is more family-friendly, featuring face painting, crafts, games, island music, and a visit with a professional mermaid. The downtown location will have a staged coronation of King Neptune and a goddess of the sea at about 9:30 p.m. or later. The festivities (accessible by streetcar) will then move to Hotel Congress for a beach-themed party from about 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. The event is part of the Downtown Tucson Partnership's Summer in the City Celebration, complete with entertainment and food trucks. Read more from 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 08-14-14

GREEN PAINT PROTECTS, GUIDES CYCLISTS ALONG PARTS OF STREETCAR ROUTE - Perhaps you've seen the green bike boxes at some Tucson intersections, guiding bike riders across streetcar tracks or into boxes at red lights? That green paint also appears at four passenger stops along the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar corridor. The green designates where the bike lane continues and wraps behind the streetcar stop. This type of bike lane treatment allows cyclists to circumnavigate the streetcar when it is stopped. "The City is looking at installing more of these types of bike lanes at transit stops, and some could even appear at bus stops," said Tucson Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator Ann Chanecka.The bike lane treatments at transit stops are the latest tool from the City to make it safer for bicyclists along the 3.9 mile streetcar corridor between the University of Arizona and the Mercado District west of Interstate 10.

DEADLINE TOMORROW TO REQUEST EARLY BALLOT - If you want to vote early in Arizona's Aug. 26 Primary Election, you have until 5 p.m. tomorrow to request a vote-by-mail ballot. If you're on the permanent list for an early ballot, you should have received yours in the mail. Voters who are not registered with one of the major political parties can choose one political party's ballot to vote in the Primary - Democrat, Republican, Libertarian or Green Party. Selecting a political party ballot will not change your voter registration. If you're an Independent or Party Not Designated voter, call the Pima County Recorder's Office at (520) 724-4330, and let the operator know which party ballot you would like to receive. You can also request a ballot online.

FLAGSTAFF USING BOND MONEY TO HELP FIGHT WILDFIRES - With the cash-strapped U.S. Forest Service falling behind in treating its land to prevent wildfires, Flagstaff - which experiences about 300 fires a year - is using its own money to pay for treatment on nearby federal lands. The community is spending millions of dollars to thin 15,000 acres of forest, in an effort to make Flagstaff more resilient in the face of big forest fires, floods, violent storms, and temperature extremes. The money comes from a 2012, $10 million voter-approved bond package funded by a property tax hike. Work on State-owned land already has started, but the biggest share of the effort, in the Coconino National Forest, could start as soon as next spring. Flagstaff leaders say it appears their community is the only city in the United States using bond money for wildfire prevention. Read more from Emergency Management, and learn more about the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project.
 
MOVIES IN THE PARK SERIES CONTINUES AT REID PARK - Looking for some family-friendly entertainment on a Friday night? Movies in the Park, a Tucson summer staple since 2003, continues tomorrow at Reid Park with a free showing of "Night at the Museum." Residents are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs to enjoy a free movie every other Friday at the Demeester Performing Arts Pavilion, 900 S. Randolph Way. The event begin at 5:30 p.m. with live music, jumping castles, balloon animals, and arts and crafts exhibits from nonprofits. Popcorn, soda, and food truck vendors also will be available for an additional charge. The Movies in the Park program is hosted by Cox Communications and the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance. Read more from Tucson News Now.

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NewsNet 08-13-14

STREETCAR RECEIVES MORE NATIONAL PRAISE - NationSwell - a digital media company focused on American innovation and renewal - says the American-made, zero-emissions Sun Link Tucson Streetcar is a great example of a community creating an environmentally-friendly, seamless public transit experience, complete with buses. The company's website makes reference to the $1.5 billion of public and private investment along the entire route, including housing developments, restaurants, and retail. The Downtown Tucson Partnership quantifies $930 million in investment since 2008 just in the Downtown Reporting District. Sun Link connects the University of Arizona with the 4th Avenue Business District, Downtown Tucson, and the Mercado District under development west of Interstate 10. Meanwhile, a recent study by the Arizona Public Interest Research Group (ArizonaPIRG) shows the importance of public transit, saying the number of trips in Tucson increased by nearly 25 percent between 2005 and 2010. Much of the shift is being led by people between the ages of 18 to 34.
Relive the video of opening day of streetcar service from Tucson 12
 
BUSINESSES SEEING INCREASE IN SALES ALONG STREETCAR ROUTE - The Sun Link Tucson Streetcar only has been carrying passengers just shy of three weeks, but businesses along the 3.9-mile route say they're already seeing a increase in customers. "We normally close at six, but we've had a lot of people coming up to the door when we're ready to leave. So, we come back in and take care of them," said Mark Levkowitz of the downtown Chicago Music Store on East Congress Street. "So, we may consider changing our hours." Operators of nearby Tucson Olive Central say people are getting off the streetcar to browse and buy. Read more from KGUN9.
 
RIO NUEVO BOARD DELAYS DECISION ON PROPOSED DOWNTOWN HOTEL - The Rio Nuevo Board of Directors didn't take any final action yesterday on proposals by two downtown developers competing to build a $100 million-plus hotel project. Each developer hopes to win the chance to build on about 8.5 acres of Rio Nuevo district land near the Tucson Convention Center (TCC). The board voted 3-2 to take a few days to think about how members will individually score the proposals. The board will then vote on whether to open negotiations with a winner at a future meeting. Allan Norville, manager of Nor-Generations, and Ron Schwabe of Peach Properties, hope to develop the land behind the TCC along Granada Avenue, east of Interstate 10 and north of Cushing Street. Both proposals include plans for a hotel, parking garage and some mix of apartments, office space, restaurants, and shops. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
 
STATE REGULATORS OKAY SALE OF TUCSON ELECTRIC POWER'S PARENT COMPANY - The Arizona Corporation Commission yesterday unanimously approved the $4.3 billion sale of UNS Energy Corp. to Fortis Inc., a Canadian utility. The deal is expected to be finalized by the end of the month and not have any dramatic effect on ratepayers. However, Tucson Electric Power (TEP) customers will see small billing reductions - about a $1 month on average for residential customers and $200 for commercial users - under a provision of the merger deal that calls for $30 million in credits to be distributed among ratepayers over five years. Under other conditions of the merger, Fortis has committed to maintain or improve service quality, keep its current charitable commitments for at least five years, and in future rate cases filed through 2020, the company must show any proposed increases in bills are lower than they would have been without the acquisition. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
 
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NewsNet 08-12-14

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 yesterday. 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. “This program can help qualifying homebuyers from any approved lender,” said Mayor Rothschild. "I’m extremely grateful to Wells Fargo for their generous donation of stabilization funds. That’s good corporate citizenship.” Participants must commit to live in the home for five years and qualify for a first mortgage. The Tucson NeighborhoodLIFT® program begins with a free homebuyer event Sept. 5-6, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the Tucson Convention Center. Registration is required at the link below. Read more from Market Watch/Wall Street Journal.
 
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, seniors 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.
Watch How to Ride video for streetcar
Cómo Viajar video
 
TUCSON RECEIVES PERFECT SUSTAINABILITY SCORE FOR COMMUNITY WATER SYSTEMS
- Tucson is the fifth city in the United States to earn four out of five stars from the STAR Communities Rating System for leadership in sustainability. And in the Community Water Systems category of the STAR rating, Tucson received a perfect score. Stand out initiatives cited by STAR (Sustainability Tools for Assessing & Rating Communities) include drought preparedness, rainwater harvesting rebates, water quality initiatives, and the Sweetwater Wetlands. The Sweetwater Wetlands is a key facet of Tucson Water's reclaimed water system, where treated wastewater is filtered through recharge basins, replenishing the local aquifer. The reclaimed wastewater is then distributed for reuse at Tucson's golf courses, parks, and schools. In addition, the wetlands is an urban wildlife habitat that the public can visit seven days a week. Read Tucson's STAR report.
 
NEVADA BUSINESSES WANT INCENTIVES TO LURE TESLA; TUCSON STILL COMPETING - Nevada business leaders want their state lawmakers to consider holding a special session early next year to put together an incentive package to help lure Tesla Motors' $5 billion battery factory to the state. However, legislative leaders reportedly aren't sold on the idea. Nevada appears to have a head start in competition for the "gigafactory" after Tesla officials confirmed they have a graded dirt pad in place east of Sparks, Nevada, near Reno. Tesla says its keeping its options open with possible plans to also break ground in Tucson, or cities in Texas, California, or New Mexico. Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild recently sent Tesla a building permit to start construction on a one-story building of up to 5 million square feet in size at an address “to be determined." Tesla officials have said previously that the company wants to pick one or two sites this year and begin battery production at one of them by 2017. Read more from KGUN9 and the Reno Gazette-Journal.
 
SCORE A DEAL ON CITY SURPLUS ITEMS - Need a wheelchair or crutches? Maybe some University of Arizona baseball caps and sunglasses? How about a digital camera, or some Blu-ray movies? You can find these items and more on the City of Tucson's surplus auction website.

NewsNet 08-11-14

CITY SEEKING DEVELOPER FOR REDEVELOPMENT OF TRANSIT CENTER - The City of Tucson is looking for a developer for a 4.7-acre site in the heart of downtown (Congress Street and Sixth Avenue) to create a distinctive 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 - surround 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. Requests for Proposals (RFP) are due Aug. 28, 2014. More information is available at the City of Tucson Office of Integrated Planning.
 
RENOVATION OF PORT OF ENTRY AT NOGALES EXPECTED TO BE FINISHED BY END OF THIS MONTH - The Mariposa Port of Entry, built in 1973, is undergoing a nearly $200 million renovation that will substantially increase the number of inspection booths and spaces. The changes are expected to speed up the flow of commerce and visitors through the port of entry.  A 2008 study from the University of Arizona found that 5.2 percent of total taxable sales in Pima County were due to Mexican visitors. Every day, Mexican visitors to Arizona spend more than $7 million in hotels, malls, restaurants and other businesses, the report found. “We really need to nurture that clientele,” said Juan Padrés, the City of Tucson's economic development specialist for international trade. The faster visitors get through customs checks at ports of entry, like Mariposa, the more time and money they can spend in Tucson and other parts of Arizona, he said. The City of Tucson relies on sales tax to help fund basic services such as public safety, transportation, parks and recreation, and more. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
City of Tucson Economic Initiatives Office
 
REID PARK ZOO JOINS IN "WORLD ELEPHANT DAY" TOMORROW - As the Reid Park Zoo awaits the birth of the African elephant Semba's calf, the Zoo is joining with individuals and organizations around the world to demonstrate support for programs that protect elephants in the wild. They say increasing demand for ivory has created a crisis in wild elephant populations, which could drive the species to extinction. The website for World Elephant Day says 96 elephants are killed each day in Africa for their ivory tusks. The social media hashtag for the campaign is #GoGrey.
 
TOMORROW IS DEADLINE TO SIGN UP FOR CITY PARKS AND RECREATION CLASSES - Whether you like gymnastics for your children, aerobics, arts and crafts, ceramics, photography, or have some other type of interest, Tucson Parks and Recreation probably has a class for you. If you haven't already registered for a spot, you have until tomorrow to do so. You can view the Program Guide & Class Catalog online, and even register for classes.

BACK-TO-SCHOOL SAFETY TIPS FROM TUCSON FIRE DEPARTMENT - Now that classes are back in session, it's a good time to brush up on some safety tips. In the latest edition of KGUN9's "No Bad Days with Barrett," Tucson Fire Department Captain Barrett Baker visited an elementary school classroom to teach parents and children how to stay safe while walking to school.

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