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NewsNet 07-24-14

TUCSON STREETCAR SERVICE BEGINS TOMORROW, FREE RIDES FOR ALL THROUGH SUNDAY - The much-anticipated launch of passenger service on the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar begins at approximately 10 a.m. tomorrow. Opening celebrations will take place along many of the stops on the 3.9 mile route from west of I-10, through 4th Avenue, to the University of Arizona. Rides will be free Friday through Sunday. Starting Monday, payment for rides will be required. Riding a streetcar is different than riding a bus. Cash is not accepted on the car (but you can use it at machines at the stops to buy a $4 one-day pass), and you can bring your bike on the streetcar. The City of Tucson has a video that tells you everything you need to know about how to ride the streetcar. Please take a look at it before your first ride.
Cómo viajar video
Opening morning riding tips and more
Opening weekend events
 
TRAFFIC ALERT: STREETCAR CELEBRATIONS TO CLOSE SOME ROADS BRIEFLY - Beginning tonight at approximately 6:30, the right lane of Congress Street, between Fourth Avenue and Fifth Avenue, will be closed, leaving one travel lane open on Congress. Also, at approximately 6:30 tonight, Fifth Avenue will be closed between Toole Avenue and Broadway. In order to facilitate downtown business traffic, the left lane of Congress will remain open until approximately 5 a.m. tomorrow. At 5 a.m., Congress Street will be closed completely, from Toole Avenue to Sixth Avenue. Toole will be converted to one-way westbound travel between Fourth Avenue and Pennington Street (similar to the traffic pattern that was utilized for the streetcar construction). All streets should reopen to traffic by noon on Friday. Read the news release.
 
TUCSON SEES BIG BOOST IN PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION USE
- While the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar will no doubt increase public transportation use in Tucson, the pattern already has emerged. A study of statewide transportation trends found Tucson and Phoenix residents are driving less and seeking alternative modes of transportation. In the Tucson area, the number of public transit trips increased by nearly 25 percent between 2005 and 2010, according to the report by the Arizona Public Interest Research Group (ArizonaPIRG), with funding from the St. Luke's Health Initiative. In addition, annual driving miles per capita in Arizona decreased by 10.5 percent between 2005 and 2012, according to federal highway usage statistics and census data cited by researchers. Much of the shift is being led by people between the ages of 18 to 34. Read more from azcentral.com.
 
DESIGN CONCEPTS BEING SOUGHT FOR TUCSON’S JANUARY 8TH MEMORIAL - The January 8th Memorial Foundation and the Tucson Pima Arts Council invite designers to submit their qualifications and design interests to create a Master Plan Concept for El Presidio Park downtown and a schematic design for a January 8th Memorial. The memorial will commemorate both the tragic events of January 8, 2011 and the ways in which the Tucson community proved that "Together We Thrive." The application deadline to submit a design is Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014 at 11 p.m. The budget for the scope of work is $90,000, and each finalists will receive a $5,000 stipend. Read more from the Tucson Pima Arts Council.
 
CATCH UP ON CITY NEWS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED - Mayor Jonathan Rothschild works to strengthen ties with Mexico; it’s time to get streetcar street smart; and a dream comes true for Menlo Park residents. Those stories are featured in this month's edition of Tucson City News in Review, produced by Tucson 12.

NewsNet 07-23-14

WEEKEND PACKED WITH FUN EVENTS ALONG STREETCAR ROUTE - As Tucson kicks off the historic launch of the Sun Link streetcar, the districts along the route are ensuring this upcoming weekend will be one to remember. Each of the five districts--Downtown, 4th Avenue, Mercado, Main Gate, and the University of Arizona--will be sponsoring free activities, music, and entertainment, while many shops and restaurants will offer discounts. Some of the many events include a pop up beach, outdoor movie screen, an instrument petting zoo, farmers' markets, and karaoke on the new Luis Gutierrez Bridge over the Santa Cruz River. Find a full listing of activities at the Friends of the Tucson Streetcar website. The streetcar will be free to ride July 25-27 starting at approximately 10 a.m. Friday. View Sun Link streetcar parking map and tips.

BILINGUAL LITERACY FAIR THIS SATURDAY - The 6th Annual Bilingual Literacy Fair will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. - noon at the El Pueblo Activity Center, 101 W. Irvington Road. The event, coordinated by The Consulate of Mexico in Tucson and Tucson City Council Member Regina Romero, will offer free Spanish language books and backpacks. Children also can enjoy educational activities, including crafts, music, and a play.

TUCSON EARNS IMPRESSIVE SUSTAINABILITY RATING FOR MAKING 'SMART INVESTMENTS' - The City of Tucson is just the fifth city in the United States to earn an impressive 4 out of 5 star rating for national leadership in sustainability from the STAR Communities Ratings System. The ratings system measures economic, environmental, and social performance for local governments and the broader community. "The data Tucson submitted made a compelling case that the City is making smart investment decisions to protect scarce resources, grow and retain businesses, and attract a rich diversity of new residents," said STAR Communities Executive Director Hilari Varnadore. Read the full STAR report.

GET STREETCAR STREET SMART - With the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar beginning passenger service Friday, it's important that bicyclists, pedestrians, motorists, and passengers practice streetcar safety to avoid problems. The City of Tucson produced a video that tells you everything you need to know to stay safe along the along the 3.9 mile route from west of I-10, through 4th Avenue, to the University of Arizona. Please review the video before the big day on Friday.

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 07-22-14

THERE'S PLENTY OF PARKING ALONG THE NEARLY FOUR-MILE SUN LINK TUCSON STREETCAR CORRIDOR - Tucsonans are excited to ride the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar when passenger service begins Friday. Rides will be free for the first three days, and the City of Tucson expects many citizens to get on board.  Even though you can expect some congestion along the route, there are plenty of places to park...about 11,000 spaces in all. Sun Link has a map of garages and surface lot parking along the route.

STREETCAR SAFETY FOR MOTORISTS - With the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar beginning passenger service Friday, it's important that motorists practice streetcar safety to avoid problems along the 3.9 mile route from west of I-10, through 4th Avenue, to the University of Arizona. The City of Tucson produced a video that describes the safest ways to drive along the route.
 
A TIME LAPSE VIEW OF THE STREETCAR - You've no doubt seen media footage of the streetcar in motion (or have seen it in person), but you haven't seen it from the driver's perspective. Now you can, in time lapse, with a video made from 10-second photo increments. Watch the Tucson 12 video.
 
LEARN ABOUT TUCSON'S STREETCAR HISTORY - While the Sun Link Streetcar opening July 25 is the most modern of streetcars, the history of streetcars in Tucson dates back to 1897. The University of Arizona's Drachman Institute downtown is partnering with Old Pueblo Trolley to present a photo exhibit on the history Tucson's streetcars. The exhibit traces the history from horse-and mule-drawn streetcars of the 19th century, to electric streetcars of the early 20th century, to the revival of streetcars by the volunteers of Old Pueblo Trolley in 1993. It culminates with the start of service on Tucson’s 21st century Sun Link Tucson Streetcar. The exhibit is displayed in the windows of the University of Arizona–Downtown building, 44 North Stone Avenue (at Pennington Street). See some of the photos via Friends of the Tucson Streetcar Facebook page.
 
GET THE LATEST STREETCAR 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 07-21-14

FEDERAL PARTNERS RECOGNIZED FOR ROLES IN STREETCAR - Passenger service for the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar begins Friday, but some federal partners who made the streetcar a reality got to ride it this morning for their strong support. The City of Tucson, Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, and the Regional Transportation Authority held a news conference to recognize Arizona Congressmen Raúl Grijalva and Ron Barber, and Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenaur. After the news conference, the group rode the streetcar to the stop at Avenida del Convento/Congress Street for the formal dedication of a plaque honoring Rep. Grijalva. Read more from Tucson News Now.
 
HOW TO WALK IN THE STREETCAR ZONE - With Sun Link Tucson Streetcar service starting this Friday, pedestrians need to be alert when walking near the tracks. The electric-powered streetcar moves quietly and you may not be able to hear it in traffic. Pedestrians also need to take care when walking over the tracks with high heels, canes or bikes, as those items can get stuck in the tracks. When crossing the street to get to a designated streetcar stop, make sure you use the marked crosswalks, obey the walk signals, and keep your children close to you. The streetcars are nearly 12-feet tall and motorists and pedestrians may not be able to see around them. The City of Tucson produced a video that describes the safest ways to walk where streetcars travel.
 
CITY MANAGER MIRANDA REFLECTS ON HIS 39-YEAR CAREER WITH CITY - Tucson City Manager Richard Miranda is in his final two weeks on the job, following his announcement in May that he plans to retire at the end of this month. He says he met his goals of restoring trust and confidence in the management of the City and transparency in government. He also says he's proud of this week's launch of the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar....the largest construction project ever undertaken by the City of Tucson. Miranda first began working for the City of Tucson in 1975, starting with an entry-level job in the Tucson Police Department, where he eventually rose to Police Chief. He was appointed as an Assistant City Manager in 2008, Interim Manager in 2011, and City Manager in 2012. Assistant City Manager Martha Durkin will serve as Interim City Manager, beginning in August, until the Mayor and City Council hire a permanent Manager. Read more from Arizona Public Media.
 
INFÓRMESE DE LOS CAMBIOS PROPUESTOS A LOS REGLAMENTOS DE AGRICULTURA URBANA EN TUCSON (FORO EN ESPAÑOL) - El gobierno de la Ciudad de Tucson, en coordinación con el Banco Comunitario de Alimentos del Sur de Arizona, llevará a cabo una reunión pública en español para presentar información sobre las revisiones propuestas a los reglamentos de zonificación de la ciudad relacionados a la agricultura urbana, incluyendo: animales de granja pequeños, granjas urbanas, huertos comunitarios, y mercados de agricultores sobre ruedas. La reunión se llevará a cabo el Miércoles 23 de julio del 2014, de las 5:30 a las 7:00 PM, en el Centro Regional El Pueblo, Edificio para Personas de la Tercera Edad (El Pueblo Regional Center, Senior Center Building, en inglés), con dirección 101 West Irvington Rd., Tucson, Arizona 85706 (la entrada es de la calle Old Nogales Highway). Vea el folleto.
 
HOW TO AVOID A LIGHTNING STRIKE - If you can hear thunder, you're in the striking distance of lighting. When you see lightning, you should count the number of seconds until you hear thunder. Five seconds means lighting is about a mile away. In the latest "No Bad Days With Barrett," from KGUN9, Tucson Fire Captain Barrett Baker says you should start seeking cover indoors if the timeframe is 30 seconds or less. If you're stuck outdoors, please avoid standing near trees.

NewsNet 07-18-14

MONSOON THUNDERSTORMS PROMPT MORE 9-1-1 CALLS THAN USUAL - The summer thunderstorm season can be a very dangerous time, and much of that danger results in hundreds of 9-1-1 calls from people needing help. Tucson News Now recently went behind the scenes to see what it's like at Tucson's 9-1-1 dispatch center at Park and Ajo.

HOW TO BICYCLE IN THE STREETCAR ZONE - With Sun Link Tucson Streetcar service starting a week from today (July 25), bicyclists will need to be extra attentive when riding near the tracks. New markings - including green bike boxes, bike dots, and shared-lane markings - will help guide cyclists where they need to be to stay safe and more visible. The City of Tucson produced a video that describes the safest ways to ride.

WEBSITE LISTS ITS TOP TEN ART GALLERIES AND MUSEUMS IN TUCSON - TheCultureTrip.com says Tucson is home to history and culture, but its contemporary art scene is not lagging behind. The website - which covers many countries and cites around the world - names ten galleries, such as Etherton Gallery, Madaras Gallery, Solar Culture, DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun, The Museum of Contemporary Art, and others.

CITY OF TUCSON HOLDS WORKSHOPS ON LICENSE AND SALES TAX REPORTING - Learn your rights and responsibilities for Transaction Privilege (sales) Taxation by attending a Tax and License Workshop sponsored by the City of Tucson Finance Department. Questions will be answered, and written materials will be available. Samples of sales tax records, worksheets, and monthly returns will be explained. You should bring a calculator and a pencil. A workshop for contracting questions will be held next Tuesday (July 22), from 10:30 a.m. until noon, at the Wilmot Branch Library, 530 N. Wilmot Road. A retail workshop will be held July 29 at the same time and place.

JOB OPPORTUNITY: UTILITY TECHNICIAN APPRENTICE - Tucson Water is seeking multiple applicants to help monitor and maintain the components of a water system serving more than 700,000 people. Some of the duties include investigating and locating repair sites, collecting appropriate data, testing water quality as situations demand, installing or repairing system components, initiating or terminating service, and resolving water service problems. Advancement opportunities are available after a 12-month probation period. Read the job description.

NewsNet 07-17-14

SUN VAN RECEIVES 42 NEW VEHICLES - The City of Tucson and Sun Van - the City’s award-winning paratransit service - are introducing 42 new Sun Van vehicles. The vehicles include minivans and sedans to improve system efficiency when full-sized vehicles are not necessary. Once all of the new vehicles are received by the end of next month, they will replace 2009 diesel-fueled vehicles in Sun Van’s fleet, decreasing the average age of the fleet from 4.10 years to 2.47 years. The vehicles were purchased with funding from the Federal Transit Administration and the City of Tucson. Read the news release.

HOW TO PARK IN THE STREETCAR ZONE - With Sun Link Tucson Streetcar service starting a week from tomorrow, July 25, it's important you park properly near the tracks. Adjacent parking requires you to have your vehicle completely in the marked white lines of the parking space. A mis-parked vehicle can block a streetcar and cost you a lot of money in fines and towing fees. Watch a video on proper parking along the streetcar route.

TUCSON POLICE EXPLORERS IN COLORADO FOR TRAINING - Seven Tucson Police Explorers, two TPD officers and a civilian advisor are in Gunnison, Colorado attending the 2014 Annual Law Enforcement Explorer Post Advisors Association of Colorado (LEEPAAC). Over the course of this week, the Explorers are networking with agencies from around the western United States in an effort to solve law enforcement- based scenarios. The Explorers are learning to adapt and improvise to solve problems using collective tactics from all of the agencies involved. The Explorer volunteer program is for young people between the ages of 14 and 20 with a strong interest in learning about law enforcement. Follow Explorer training at LEEPAC on TPD's Facebook page.

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.

MOVIES IN THE PARK SERIES CONTINUES AT REID PARK - Looking for some family-friendly entertainment on Friday nights over the summer? Movies in the Park, a Tucson summer staple since 2003, returns tomorrow at Reid Park with a free showing of "How to Train Your Dragon." Residents are invited to bring blankets and chairs to enjoy a free movie every other Friday at the Demeester Performing Arts Pavilion, 900 S. Randolph Way. The events 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.

NewsNet 07-16-14

VOLUNTEER AS A STREETCAR GUIDE DURING OPENING WEEKEND - The Sun Link Tucson Streetcar team is recruiting volunteers to assist riders on the streetcar, July 25-27. Volunteers are asked to register to work a two-hour shift (or multiple staggered shifts) to help people board and exit the streetcar, answer questions and hand out free water. Volunteer shifts are available between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. all three days. As part of the volunteer training, you will get to ride the streetcar before the official launch, and you will get a free T-shirt. After the grand opening celebrations July 25, rides on the streetcar will be free through Sunday, July 27.

TUCSON ARCHITECTURAL FIRM MOVES DOWNTOWN TO BE PART OF AREA'S REVIVAL - With the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar and a vibrant food and entertainment scene leading Downtown Tucson's revival, a Tucson architect says he wants to be "part of the entire scene." Thomas Sayler-Brown, founder of SBBL Architecture + Planning, recently relocated his office from midtown to 15 E. Pennington Street to realize his dream of working in the urban center of Tucson. His company even is helping create part of the new downtown, finishing design plans for the forthcoming Johnny Gibson’s Downtown Market, the long-awaited downtown grocery store. SBBL's portfolio also includes the Foothills Mall Loews Theater, the Lodge at Canoa Ranch, the Stone Curves multi-family housing development, the Cord Blood Registry, and other projects. Read more from the Downtown Tucson Partnership.

RIO NUEVO RECEIVES TWO BIDS TO REDEVELOP CURRENT GREYHOUND SITE - Rio Nuevo has two proposals to develop land it owns near the Tucson Convention Center. The Rio Nuevo Board board voted 4-1 Tuesday to publicly interview the two bidders in a final evaluation before it selects a winner to purchase and develop the approximately 8.5 acres of land now occupied by the Greyhound Bus Depot. Both proposals include plans for a hotel, parking garage and some mix of apartments, office space, restaurants, and shops. One bid, for $100 million, is from developer Allan Norville, who owns land adjacent to the property. The other, for nearly $112 million, is from Peach Properties. Once the Rio Nuevo Board picks a winner, it would then enter into negotiations to develop a final agreement. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.

VOTER-APPROVED ROAD REPAIR WORK CONTINUES - Crews from Southern Arizona Paving and Construction Co., under contract with the City of Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT), began work today to improve the roadway conditions on Sixth Street from Ferro Avenue (just west of Sixth Avenue) to Park Avenue. Crews are lowering manhole and water valve covers through Friday, from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. During the utility-lowering phase of the project, at least one lane of travel in each direction will be maintained. Beginning Monday, crews will begin a full-depth mill (removing asphalt) and repaving on Sixth Street. The milling and repaving is scheduled to be complete by Tuesday, July 29, 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. Read the Bond Oversight Commission Annual Report.

TUCSON MAKES THE LIST OF TOP 50 CITIES FOR SWIMMERS - A study commissioned by USA Swimming and Speedo ranks Tucson 42nd on the list of 50 top cities in which to swim. The study ranks cities based on the number of USA Swimming clubs and members, number of competitions, and other factors. Tucson Ford Dealers Aquatics is one of the nation's most successful post-collegiate clubs, building on the achievements of the University of Arizona swim teams. Former UA coach Frank Busch is USA Swimming national team director. Phoenix did not rank among the top 50 cities in the survey. Read more from azcentral.com, and read the entire survey.

NewsNet 07-15-14

BE PREPARED DURING MONSOON THUNDERSTORMS - With swift water rescues, power outages and flooding seemingly part of the daily news lately, there are steps you can take to be prepared for an emergency. Be Prepared Tucson advises all residents to create a 72-hour emergency kit. Each member of your family, including pets, should have a kit. A website from the City of Tucson, U.S. Department of Energy, Homeland Security, and FEMA has a checklist of everything you need to be ready for an emergency. Watch a Tucson Fire Department/Tucson 12 video on how to prepare for an emergency.

SUMMER RAINFALL AT TIA IS ABOUT AVERAGE, SO FAR - The Tucson International Airport has measured 0.85 inches of rain since June 15 (not counting this morning's storms). That is near-average. However people in other parts of Tucson report higher totals. Sierra Vista is one of the most-soaked locations in Southeast Arizona so far, recording more than 4 inches of rain. That is more than three times the average. For recordkeeping purposes, the monsoon season runs from June 15 through September 30. Read more from Tucson News Now, and track rainfaill totals at rainlog.org.

MANY OF TUCSON'S OLDER STREETS NOT MADE FOR DRAINAGE - Storm drainage planning in road construction didn't really come into play in our community until the 1980s, and flood control officials say older streets were designed to fill with water that would funnel into washes. With a growing population and heavy summer storms, that flooding sometimes causes safety problems and traffic detours. Crews from the City of Tucson and Pima County stay busy this time of year removing debris that can clog washes and cause flooding. “Most of our folks have been out working most of the night clearing drains," said Tucson Department of Transportation Director Daryl Cole. The City says you can help flood control by clearing debris on your land that could clog small washes. Read more from KGUN9.

SUN LINK TEAM QUICKLY REPAIRS LIGHTNING-DAMAGED WIRE - Sun Link Streetcar testing was suspended briefly yesterday near the University of Arizona after a damaged catenary wire fell down around noon. The Tucson Fire and Tucson Police Department secured the scene on 2nd Street. Crews discovered that the non-powered span wire was frayed and blackened which led the Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) to believe lightning struck the line the night before, TDOT Deputy Director Carlos DeLeon told NewsNet. The wire was repaired and replaced within hours, he said, and testing resumed at about 5 p.m. Streetcar service begins July 25, a week from Friday.

HOW TO REPORT TRANSPORTATION CONCERNS AFTER STORM DAMAGE - 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.
 

NewsNet 07-14-14

TUCSON FIRE DEPARTMENT (TFD) PERFORMS SWIFT WATER RESCUES - Tucson Fire units rescued an 8-year-old girl and her father after they became trapped in a wash on Tucson's southeast side yesterday. The wash, at the 4000 block of South Avenida De Las Palmas, was dry when the two entered, and they ended up climbing the tree for safe refuge. Four firefighters with safety equipment made their way across the wash in an in-line position to the stranded pair. The 8-year-old was placed in the middle of the four firefighters and the five walked to safety. The same technique was used to then get the father. TFD units also were in place downstream as standard procedure in the case that someone got swept away. Neither father nor daughter required medical attention after being rescued. In another incident early this morning, rescue crews also removed a man from a flowing wash near Starr Pass and Mission Road. Tucson Fire crews remind people to stay out of washes this time of year, as water can flow quickly during the monsoon. Watch the rescue video at TFD Facebook page.
Monsoon safety tips from last week's "No Bad Days with Barrett" on KGUN9.

TUCSON NAMED TOP 10 CITY FOR MILLENIALS IN THE SOUTHWEST - A new study, conducted by Havas PR North America, surveyed Hispanic and non-Hispanic 18-to-34-year-olds living in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas on topics including family, food and work. The findings were published in a report called, “Mi Casa en Los Estados Unidos: Millennials of the Border States.” As part of the survey, about 800 participants were asked to name one Southwest city that they thought would be best for their generation in the future. Tucson was the 10th most popular. Factors cited include the University of Arizona, diversity, proximity to the border, rich history and culture, and an open-minded community. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.

CITY PARTNERS WITH TECH LAUNCH ARIZONA TO HELP START-UPS - With the creation of new businesses an important part of the City of Tucson’s economic development strategy, the City and the University of Arizona have formed an alliance to incubate local technology start-up companies. The Commercial Network Alliance is a part of the University’s Tech Launch Arizona (TLA) program and focuses on engaging local talent and expertise, particularly UA students and faculty. Tucson has been identified in several recent national studies as one of the most promising cities for entrepreneurship and innovation in the country. The Commercialization Network Alliance was created to help fully realize that promise. 

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.

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 07-11-14

STREETCAR LAUNCH IN JUST TWO WEEKS - The Sun Link Tucson Streetcar officially begins passenger service two weeks from today (July 25), with grand opening ceremonies and three days of free rides. While official service hasn't begun, the streetcar vehicles welcomed their first test passengers on Wednesday. The major purpose of the test was to determine how well the validators worked, with the passengers getting on and off at various stops. Validators are the machines where riders will tap their SunGO cards and passes to pay their fares. The tests also helped determine the timing of stops and the counting of passengers. Read more from KGUN9.

HOW TO USE A BIKE BOX - You may be noticing more green bike boxes at signalized intersections. The box allows bikes to pull in front of vehicles at a red light and wait behind the crosswalk, while motor vehicles are required to wait behind the white stop bar. This provides more safety and visibility for the bicyclists. The City of Tucson Bicycle and Pedestrian Program's latest  newsletter has a simple infographic and instructions on how bike boxes work. The newsletter also includes information about how to bring your bike onto the streetcar when it begins service July 25.

PARKS AND RECREATION FALL CATALOG AVAILABLE NOW - The Fall Program Guide and Class Catalog is now available in print form at Parks and Recreation facilities across Tucson. You can also view it online. The guide has information on leisure classes, KIDCO, pools, and sports programs. You also will find information on recreation centers, senior centers, fitness and special needs centers, Reid Park Zoo, Tucson City Golf courses, and year-round pool locations.

2nd SATURDAYS DOWNTOWN TOMORROW - The monthly, free, family-friendly event this Saturday begins with gallery shows at 9 a.m. and entertainment later in the day. At 6:30 p.m., the main stage at Scott Avenue and Congress Street features musical groups, and there are plenty of activities for children. Food from vendors and downtown eateries will be available. Tomorrow also is the first Ice Cream Showdown at the event, hosted by Maynard's Market. From 6 p.m. - 8 p.m., tasters will buy tickets for the competition, which is open to creameries throughout Arizona. Proceeds will benefit Ben's Bells. Street parking is free on Saturdays, or you can pay $3 to park in the Pennington Street Garage. View the 2nd Saturdays Downtown schedule.

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. Watch a University of Arizona PSA about the app.

NewsNet 07-10-14

10 BEST THINGS TO DO IN TUCSON - The USA Today's 10best.com travel website highlights the best things to do in Tucson. As for attractions, the site lists the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Old Tucson Studios, Mission San Xavier del Bac, Mt. Lemmon Ski Resort and others. For outdoor activities, Sentinel Peak Park tops the list. When it comes to annual events, the site ranks the 4th Avenue Street Fair, Tucson International Mariachi Conference and All Souls Procession as the top three.

LEARN ABOUT TUCSON'S STREETCAR HISTORY - While the Sun Link Streetcar opening July 25th is the most modern of streetcars, the history of streetcars in Tucson dates back to 1897. The University of Arizona's Drachman Institute downtown is partnering with Old Pueblo Trolley to present a photo exhibit on the history Tucson's streetcars. The photos are presented in all three display windows at 44 N. Stone Ave. See some of the photos via Friends of the Tucson Streetcar Facebook page.

STEM JOBS ARE PLENTIFUL IN TUCSON - While jobs that don't require science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) skills bring plenty of competition for workers, jobs that require STEM skills remain vacant. The Brookings Metro Policy Program has released a new report with analysis of job openings and hiring difficulties for STEM-related jobs. It compiled data from the 100 largest U.S. metro areas, including Tucson — where more than 40 percent of job openings require some STEM skills. Of the 3,048 ads for recent job openings analyzed in the Tucson area, 40.8 percent required STEM skills. The State of Arizona recently appropriated $600,000 to Pima Community College for workforce programs in science, technology, engineering and math. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.

TOMORROW IS LAST OF SUMMER SAFARI FRIDAY NIGHTS AT REID PARK ZOO - This year's Summer Safari Friday Nights program concludes with a celebration of Amazing Africa, featuring zookeeper chats at zebra, giraffe, otter, lion, rhino, and Speke’s gazelle exhibits. Feed the giraffes, have your face painted, take a self-guided scavenger hunt, and listen to live music. Tomorrow's event runs from 5:30 p.m. - 8 p.m. at the Reid Park Zoo.
Learn more about the event and admission prices at Reid Park Zoo.

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 07-09-14

CITY COUNCIL RECOGNIZES CITY MANAGER MIRANDA - City Council Members took the time last night to give a public thank you to City Manager Richard Miranda. The Council meeting was Miranda's last before his retirement on July 31. A Tucson native, Miranda has served his community for nearly forty years and lead the City through some of its toughest financial challenges. Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said, "the qualities that you possess in abundance — integrity, reliability, stability — were exactly what this city needed as we rebuilt trust with our constituents." Read Arizona Daily Star's story about Miranda's retirement from the City of Tucson.

TRANSIT TALK FRIDAY - Transportation planner and educator Jarrett Walker will lead a public discussion about how good planning and an improved transit system can enhance the quality of life in Tucson. Walker is the author of the book "Human Transit: How Clearer Thinking about Public Transit Can Enrich Our Communities and Our Lives." He also writes the blog "Human Transit." His talk will be held Friday night at Tucson Electric Power Company headquarters, 88 E. Broadway. Doors open at 5 p.m. for a reception, and the free presentation begins at 6 p.m. Ward 3 Council Member Karin Uhlich is one of the many sponsors of the event. Read the Ward 3 news release.

TUCSON WATER BEGINS RECYCLED WATER PROGRAM - Tucson Water announced that it has completed a master plan for the development of recycled water as a future drinking water source. After thirty years of success with supplying reclaimed water systems to parks, schoolyards, and some neighborhoods, Tucson Water is confident that purification technology is available to ensure safe drinking water. Although the development of recycled water will take several years, ongoing drought and climate changes have made the program a priority. "The City of Tucson leadership has always supported Tucson Water in planning far in advance to make sure we have a safe, reliable water supply for the future," said Tucson Water Director Alan Forrest. Read the Tucson Water News Release.

SUMMER MEANS POETRY DOWNTOWN - The UA Poetry Center is hosting a short series of Walt Whitman Circle Summer Social events, taking place at Hotel Congress. Each event is slated to begin about a half-hour before the speaker takes the podium to allow attendees time to partake in snacks and conversation. The next event, Poetry in Partnership, is scheduled for July 23 and will focus on ways poetry will play an ongoing role with the Sun Link Streetcar (which begins passenger service two days later). The final event will take place on August 13, discussing the relationship between poetry and the financial markets. Read more from Downtown Tucsonan.

TRACK THE REMNANTS OF ICONIC MINIATURE GOLF BUSINESS - Magic Carpet Golf on East Speedway closed in 2008, but memories live on for those who grew up in Tucson. Even though the business is gone, much of it remains around Tucson. The big statues/obstacles have new homes around the city, and the neon sign now rests with others on West Drachman Street, near Pima Community College. There's even an interactive Google map (linked below) to track the locations of where everything went. In 2011, the City of Tucson's Historic Landmark Signs Preservation Program was created to encourage voluntary preservation of historically-significant older signs, which often are larger than current sign code allows. Once designated as historic, the signs can be repaired, restored, adaptively-reused, and even relocated. Read more from KVOA.

NewsNet 07-08-14

USA TODAY NAMES TUCSON ONE OF '10 BEST BIKE-FRIENDLY CITIES' - Tucson's international reputation as a "bike-friendly" city continues to grow. The latest evidence is Tucson's new recognition by USA Today as being a favorite city for bike riders. The article says there are plenty of bicycle events, while highlighting The Loop's multi-use trail around Tucson and Pima County. It also mentions the beauty of the five mountain ranges that surround the community.

AGENDA SPOTLIGHT: ECONOMIC AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT GRANTS - The City of Tucson Mayor & Council have established economic and workforce development as a top priority for our community. Thanks to the Mayor and Council's direction and $600,000 in funding, their Economic and Workforce Development Selection Committee (EWDSC) has completed its review of the Request for Proposals (RFPs) submitted for Fiscal Year 2015. In all, 44 proposals worth $2 million were submitted for review. The Committee is recommending 14 proposals for funding. Mayor & Council are scheduled to vote on approval of the grants during tonight's Regular Meeting, which begins at 5:30, at Mayor & Council Chambers at City Hall, 255 W. Alameda St. Read the agenda materials.

TRAFFIC ALERT: SIXTH AVENUE UNDERPASS CLOSED - The Sixth Avenue Underpass downtown will be closed today through Thursday, from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., to allow crews from Graffiti Protective Coatings to repaint the underpass. Electronic message boards are in place to highlight the closure. Motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians will be prohibited from using the underpass during the work hours. During the closure, those traveling north on Sixth Avenue should detour west on Toole Avenue to either Seventh Avenue or Stone Avenue. Those traveling south on Sixth Avenue to downtown should detour west on Seventh Street to Seventh Avenue to access Toole Avenue.

TUCSON'S REID PARK ZOO STILL ON BABY WATCH FOR ELEPHANT - Semba, the Reid Park Zoo's African elephant matriarch, is expected to give birth this summer. This is the first time a baby elephant will be born at the Zoo. To get ready for the event, the Zoo recently held a baby shower to acquire some items needed for the calf. Follow updates at the Pachyderm Pregnancy Page.

GET A BARGAIN ON CITY SURPLUS - Need some Playstation 3s? Perhaps a pickup, van or bicycles fit your transportation needs? How about a folding table and chairs? You can find these items and more on the City of Tucson's surplus auction website. View the items listed for bid at the Tucson's Public Surplus auctions.

NewsNet 07-07-14

TUCSON FIRE DEPARTMENT'S SWIFT WATER RESCUE TEAM CALLED INTO ACTION BY SATURDAY'S STORM - A Tucson Fire Department ladder truck successfully rescued two people from the top of a Jeep after the vehicle got stuck in a wash near Broadway and Wilmot. In another incident, TFD rescue crews responded to a call of a man being swept away in a wash near Prince and Romero. A caller to 9-1-1 said someone had been living in the area and his dog was on the bank of the wash as crews arrived. Despite intense search efforts, the man had not been found as of this morning. Follow updates on TFD's Facebook page, and read monsoon safety tips.

SOME TUCSON POLICE OFFICERS RECEIVE REPLACEMENT BULLETPROOF VESTS - Approximately 100 Tucson Police officers received new protective vests through a local program that generated funds over the past year through events, sponsors, grants and donations. The Tucson Police Foundation’s “Adopt-A-Cop” program, which began in 2011, helps raise funds to replace the vests for the patrol officers who wear a vest that is five years or older. Foundation officials say one vest costs about $800. So far, the program has provided vests to more than 300 TPD officers. Read more from Tucson News Now.

PREPARE TO RIDE THE STREETCAR - The Sun Link Tucson Streetcar opens to passenger service on July 25. The first three days of service will include free rides and a chance to learn more about this new from of travel in Tucson. You can buy a one-day pass for $4 at machines at the stops, or use your SunGo card, which will deduct from your pass or cash balance just like you're riding a bus. Read more about the streetcar from Downtown Tucsonan.

FORBES: TUCSON AMONG THE TOP 10 NEW CAPITALS OF INFLUENCE - Tucson rounds out Forbes magazine's list in its article "Why the Southwest is the New Capital of Influence." Forbes points to the region's Hispanic/American culture and Latin millennials making lives in the Southwest. The article says "millennials have real clout, both for their spending power now and for their ability to influence what comes next. Marketers especially should start paying attention." It also says Tucson’s millennial reputation is that the city is future-affordable and very authentic.

NEW TOHONO O'ODHAM NATION MONUMENT AT SENTINEL PEAK - A new monument in Menlo Park honors Tucson’s original inhabitants and represents the sighting of the 1692 arrival of Padre Eusebio Francisco Kino at Chuk Son, an area at the base of what is now called Sentinel Peak. Watch the story produced by Tucson 12.

NewsNet 07-02-14

"A" MOUNTAIN FIREWORKS FRIDAY - The Independence Day fireworks celebration from “A” Mountain will start at approximately 9:15 p.m. Friday. The 4th of July celebration is sponsored by the Tohono O'odham Nation's Desert Diamond Casinos & Entertainment. Residents can watch the fireworks from the Tucson Convention Center’s parking lots. There will be food vendors (burgers, hot dogs, ice cream, refreshments and a beer garden) available between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.

PUBLIC ART ADORNS TEN OF 22 STREETCAR STOPS - The Sun Link Tucson Streetcar starts passenger service on July 25, and the route is already bursting with new public art. Eight artists designed the artwork for the ten streetcar stops and the Sun Link Operations and Maintenance Facility. Another artist designed the art on the Luis G. Gutierrez Bridge. Each piece represents the artist's overall interpretation of "flow" - such as the flow of time, history, words, ideas, etc. across our city - to symbolize the streetcar's smooth movement through Tucson's urban core. The $765,000 cost for the art was funded by the City of Tucson and Pima County’s Percent for Arts Program, which allocates one percent of the budget for capital improvement projects for public art. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star, and learn more about the Sun Link arts program.

PIMA COUNTY TO USE FUND BALANCE TO BUY SOCCER SITE; FINALIZES PAINTED HILLS PURCHASE - Pima County will buy 167 acres of land near the Kino Sports Complex to build soccer fields, but the money for the purchase will not come from funds set aside for road repairs, as previously had been discussed. Instead, the Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 yesterday to make the $1.75 million down payment on the property — with a total cost of $8.75 million — using money from its year-end fund balance, which County officials said was $2 million to $3 million higher than expected. The County also will move forward with a $7.5 million purchase of a 286-acre parcel in the west-side Painted Hills area. Supervisors voted to use $3 million from a 2004 open-space program to make a down payment on the land, which is owned by the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System. At Monday's Tucson Mayor & Council meeting, Painted Hills preservation supporters praised the City of Tucson for its steadfast support and leadership in protecting the area from development. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
Mayor and Council agenda items about the transaction

TUCSON NONPROFIT BREAKS GROUND ON NEW OUTDOOR CHILDREN'S FACILITY - Aviva Children's Services is building a park-like facility that is more than just a playground. The nonprofit, which helps children in State care, is turning a dirt lot next to its facility near Broadway and Campbell into a secure place to help facilitate court-ordered visits with children and their parents. Aviva serves more than 3,500 children in foster care in Pima County. The estimated cost of the new 11,000-square-foot outdoor visit center is $425,000, with part of the funding being covered by a grant from Angel Charity. Construction is expected to be finished by December. Read more Tucson News Now.

HOW TO FIND ANSWERS ABOUT CITY SERVICES - Are you looking for a job in the City? Do you need to know how to pay your water bill? How do you request a police report? The answers to these questions and more are available on the new Tucson Answers website. You can search topics or browse categories to get you the answers you need. The site is an example of open source code developed by city governments and nonprofit organizations to be adopted and re-used by other cities at no cost. In this case, the site is modeled after a similar site created jointly by the City of Honolulu and Code For America. Tucson Answers also is available via a widget on the City of Tucson's main website.

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