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NewsNet 09-29-14

TUCSON FIRE DEPARTMENT EXPERIENCES FLASHOVER WHILE BATTLING FIRE - Tucson firefighters battled a building fire Saturday at the 600 block of West Alturas street, which thermal cameras estimate was more than 700 degrees in parts of the structure. The roof of the unoccupied building in a mobile home park collapsed during the fire after a flashover (when the contents of a room suddenly and simultaneously ignite), and it took 62 firefighters and more than 150,000 gallons of water to quell the flames at the 5,000-square-foot building. There were no injuries, and the cause of the fire is under investigation. See the flashover and other videos at Tucson Fire Department Facebook page, and read the news release.
 
DESERT DIAMOND CUP TEAMS ANNOUNCED - FC Tucson and Major League Soccer announced Friday that six teams will take part in the 2015 FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup. The competition, Feb. 18-28, will see the Colorado Rapids, Montreal Impact, New England Revolution, Real Salt Lake, Seattle Sounders and Sporting Kansas City compete. All games will be played at the North Kino Sports Complex. Visit Tucson pegs the competition's economic impact at $1.17 million, with an estimated attendance of 20,000 people. Rear more from MLSSoccer.com.
 
CATCH UP ON CITY NEWS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED - New City of Tucson residents are reaping some great benefits; the Gem Show makes Tucson shine; and after nearly two years of anticipation, Reid Park Zoo is enjoying "Nandi," its baby elephant. Those stories are featured in this month's edition of Tucson City News in Review, produced by Tucson 12.
 
WASHINGTON D.C. PUTS MODERN STREETCAR ON ROAD TODAY - Reminiscent of how Tucson began its Sun Link Tucson Streetcar service, the District of Columbia today began simulated service of its D.C. Streetcar along 2.4 miles of the first segment of the planned 37-mile route. During the month-long testing phase, D.C. will do what Tucson did, running the cars without passengers. United Streetcar is the manufacturer of the cars for both communities. Tucson ran several months of tests before beginning passenger service in July. Streetcar ridership in Tucson is higher than first predicted, with an average daily ridership of nearly 4,100 passengers along the 3.9-mile route. Read more from AP via Arizona Daily Star.
 
SCORE A DEAL ON CITY SURPLUS
- Need a pickup? Maybe hundreds of used folding chairs would come in handy for an event you're having? How about a couple of older iPods, or car stereo equipment? You can find these items and more on the City of Tucson's surplus auction website.

NewsNet 09-26-14

STREETCAR RIDERSHIP HIGHER THAN PREDICTED - After two months in operation, the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar is averaging nearly 4,100 riders per day...higher than the original prediction of 3,600 passengers. The streetcar travels a 3.9-mile route through the University of Arizona, Fourth Avenue, Downtown Tucson, and the Mercado District, west of I-10. 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. Read more from Arizona Public Media.

OCTOBER MEANS BIG EVENTS AND BIG CHANGES AT TUCSON CONVENTION CENTER - Disney on Ice and comedian Bill Maher have shows next month at the Tucson Convention Center (TCC), as the $8 million upgrade to the arena proceeds. The renovations are on schedule to be completed by the end of the year. Next month also marks the beginning of private management of the TCC, as SMG - a global leader in convention center management - takes over day-to-day operations of the facility. The City's contract with SMG runs through June 30, 2015 and can be renewed one year at a time over the next 10 years.

TRAFFIC ALERT: FOURTH AVENUE ACCESS TO DOWNTOWN DETOURED ONLY AS-NEEDED TONIGHT AND SATURDAY NIGHT - The City of Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) will detour southbound vehicular traffic at the Fourth Avenue Underpass into downtown on an as-needed basis to keep traffic flowing in the area. The Sun Link Streetcar, bicyclists, and pedestrians will not be affected. From this point forward, underpass closures on Friday and Saturday nights will only occur when vehicular traffic into downtown begins to get heavy.

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NewsNet 09-25-14

THE WINNING NAME FOR TUCSON'S BIG BABY IS... - After a week of public voting between two names for Reid Park Zoo's one-month-old elephant, the calf will now be known as "Nandi," which handily beat out the other choice of "Imvula (Immie)." Nandi made her public debut in the main exhibit last Friday and has been charming Zoo visitors ever since. Read more from the From the Arizona Daily Star, and look below to find Tucson 12 video links to some of Nandi's milestones.
Video of Nandi about a week after her birth
Video of the Nandi's public debut on Sept. 19
Video of Nandi's mud show earlier this week
Zoo Cams
Baby Elephant FAQ
 
TWO TUCSON POLICE OFFICERS USE NEW TRAUMA KITS TO SAVE MAN'S LIFE - Two Tucson Police Department (TPD) officers are credited with helping save a man's life Tuesday after he was shot in the leg, and the officers rendered first-aid on the scene. Officers Adam Rodriguez and Randy Smith were the first to arrive at a shooting at West President Street, off West Ajo Way between South Sixth and Seventh avenues, said Sgt. Pete Dugan, a TPD spokesman. They treated the victim until Tucson Fire Department paramedics arrived. Officers used their trauma kits issued earlier this year, which are similar to ones used by the military. "There have been numerous times when officers have used the kits in the field to help people with life-threatening injuries," Dugan said. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
 
FORMER TUCSON FIRE CHIEF DAN NEWBURN PASSES AWAY - Retired Tucson Fire Chief Dan Newburn passed away last weekend at his home. He was surrounded by family. Chief Newburn was a member of the Tucson Fire Department from 1979 until he retired in 2008. He served as Chief from July 1, 2001 until his retirement on Sept. 12, 2008. The funeral service for Newburn will be private, but the Tucson Fire Department will honor him during the annual Firefighter Memorial Ceremony, Oct. 11th at 10 a.m. at Fire Central downtown. Read more from the Tucson Fire Department Facebook page.
 
UPDATE: TUCSON COMMUNITY HELPS DESIGN ALL-AGES PLAYGROUND - A successful community Design Day last week (see pictures) kicked off the first phase of the redesign of La Madera Park, 2700 E La Madera Drive, and the next phase begins next Tuesday with the removal of old playground equipment. The City of Tucson, Lend a Hand Senior Assistance, and Humana Inc. are working with KaBOOM! (a national non-profit organization that has built more than 2,300 playgrounds) to design a one-of-a-kind, multi-generational playground. The customized playground, funded primarily by Humana, will be created with personal drawings and other input from local community members, including children and seniors. The existing playground at La Madera Park, 2700 E. La Madera Drive, is in need of replacement, as it is outdated and contains some unusable components. The new design is senior-focused with adult elements, including fitness stations and walking paths to promote good posture, balance, and flexibility. There also will be traditional, kid-friendly equipment to create a multi-generational space. Read the news release from Parks and Recreation.
 
CITY OF TUCSON IS REMOVING ABANDONED SHOPPING CARTS - If you see a shopping cart off store property, abandoned along the street, or sitting in a wash, call the City of Tucson's Environmental Services (ES) department to have it removed. You can call Customer Service at (520) 791-3171 or use the 'My-Waste'™ app and choose the Report a Problem option. Watch a PSA about how the program works.

NewsNet 09-24-14

ANNEXATION BENEFICIAL TO NEIGHBORHOODS - Becoming part of the City of Tucson has its benefits for those currently on the periphery of city limits, while Tucson also benefits by getting a larger portion of state-shared revenue. With more than 300,000 people living outside Tucson city limits, that amounts to tens of millions of dollars every year in tax money already paid to the State of Arizona that could be used in our community to help fund police, fire, roads, and parks. Learn how the Empire Vista Neighborhood is benefiting from its recent annexation, in this Tucson 12 video.

MAYOR AND COUNCIL CONDITIONALLY AGREE ON WESTSIDE VISITOR CENTER - As City of Tucson leaders plan to develop nearly 28 acres of vacant land west of downtown, Mayor and Council agreed yesterday to give five acres of that land to Pima County for a future regional visitor's center. However, the projected $15 million visitor center would have to be included in a successful 2015 bond package and satisfy other Council concerns before the City formally turns over any property. The City hopes a bond-funded visitor center will help attract commercial, retail, or residential development to the western edge of the streetcar route, south of Cushing Street, said Nicole Ewing-Gavin, program director for Tucson's Office of Integrated Planning. Even though the Council approved giving up the land, it refused a County request for the City to build a parking garage. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.

TUCSON POLICE DEPARTMENT TO USE NEW TOOL TO COMMUNICATE WITH NEIGHBORHOODS - The Tucson Police Department (TPD) is partnering with Nextdoor.com, a private social network for neighborhoods to build stronger, safer communities. TPD's integration with Nextdoor will allow police to get messages to individual neighborhoods, which could be helpful in cases where a suspicious person may be targeting a particular neighborhood. TPD says it feels confident this additional form of communication can increase neighborhood safety. More than 114 Tucson neighborhoods already have started a Nextdoor site, representing 50 percent of Tucson's neighborhoods. Police say Nextdoor will not replace neighborhood meetings. Read the TPD news release.
 
AED SCAVENGER HUNT THROUGH THE END OF THE MONTH - There's only one week left in this month's scavenger hunt for automated external defibrillators (AEDs). The Tucson Fire Department (TFD) and the University of Arizona Department of Emergency Medicine are hosting the HeartMap Tucson Challenge, an AED scavenger hunt that aims to raise awareness about AEDs and to a build a comprehensive database of where the devices are located. At last report, TFD said 900 devices had been located in Tucson. Registration for the challenge is open to individuals or teams. Prizes range from $50 to $5,000. AEDs are electronic, briefcase size devices designed to allow bystanders to help someone who collapses during a cardiac arrest prior to the arrival of emergency medical help.
 
ADOPT A PARK TO HELP KEEP PUBLIC AREAS CLEAN - Tucson Clean and Beautiful is seeking community volunteers to adopt parks, streets, washes, and other public areas on an ongoing basis. There are more than 700 sites available for "adoption." Volunteers (at least five in a group) agree to remove litter and debris once a month, while making notes about conditions of the site that require attention by maintenance employees. To become a part of Tucson Clean and Beautiful’s environmental stewardship efforts, or for more information, visit its website. You can also email adoptapark@tucsonaz.gov, or call 791-3109.

NewsNet 09-23-14

TUCSON POLICE WARNING OF MULTIPLE PHONE SCAMS - The Tucson Police Department (TPD) Financial Crimes Unit is urging people to be skeptical about unsolicited phone calls regarding alleged past due payments. There are various scams in which the caller claims to be from the IRS, Tucson Electric Power, the courts, and other public and private entities. The consistent link is that the scammers will claim to need payment quickly or consequences will occur, such as tax liens, shutting off power, or an arrest warrant. The callers will usually request payment through prepaid cash cards which can be obtained at various local merchants. They request the numbers on the front and back, at which point the money becomes extremely difficult to recover. If you get a call demanding payment, TPD asks you to confirm your account status by calling the business or agency directly at any of the publicly available numbers. Do not use a number provided by the caller. Read the warning on TPD Facebook page.

BABY ELEPHANT PUTS ON MUD SHOW FOR ZOO VISITORS - She's only been on the main exhibit since Friday, but Reid Park Zoo's baby elephant calf is already a crowd pleaser. Yesterday, the month-old baby decided to have some fun playing in the mud, and Tucson 12 caught it on video. It's already a big week for the baby, as the public voting on a name for her ended at noon today. The winning name - "Imvula (Immie)" or "Nandi" - will be announced Thursday in the Arizona Daily Star.
Zoo Cams
Baby Elephant FAQ
Reid Park Zoo Flickr page
Reid Park Zoo Twitter
Reid Park Zoo Facebook

COX EXTENDS PARTERNSHIP TO HELP LOW-INCOME RESIDENTS - Cox Communications says it will continue its partnership with Connect2Compete to provide discount high-speed Internet service to low-income families who meet eligibility requirements. Some of those requirements include having a child eligible for free lunches through the National School Lunch Program, and not having been a Cox customer for 90 days (with no outstanding bills or equipment). The national discount program was launched in Tucson earlier this year. Cox is promoting the program to certain agencies and school districts in Southern Arizona. A public information session will be available Oct. 25 at Hope Fest, at Kino Stadium.

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. Visit Tucson Water website for more information.

NewsNet 09-22-14

CITY SEEKING COMMENTS ON POSSIBLE CHARTER CHANGES - Tucson's Charter Review Committee is asking for public comments as it reviews and make recommendations regarding possible amendments to sections of the Tucson City Charter. Comments will be accepted through 2015, and potential amendments to the City Charter may be on the Nov. 3, 2015 City ballot. All comments should be made via email to the City Clerk’s Office, cityclerk@tucsonaz.gov.

PARKS AND REC BEGINS NEW SESSION OF CLASSES SOON - Did you miss the first session of Arts and Craft classes this fall? Session two begins later next month, and registration is open now. Choose from Art Safari, Parent/Tot, Yummy for the Tummy, Painting for Tots, or try more than one. Many other types of classes also begin in October, including pottery and dancing. The registration deadline for the next session of classes is Oct. 14.

SINGER LINDA RONSTADT TO HEADLINE SUNDAY EVENING FORUM - Native Tucsonan Linda Ronstadt returns to Tucson next month to reflect on her long singing career at the Sunday Evening Forum. During a recording career spanning four decades, Ronstadt performed rock 'n' roll, folk music, older pop standards, and traditional Mexican songs. Ronstadt will be interviewed by Jeff Haskell, her longtime friend. Haskell is the musical director of the Tucson Jazz Orchestra and past conductor of the "Linda Ronstadt Sings the Great American Songbook" show, with arrangements by Nelson Riddle. The Sunday Evening Forum, which will be held Oct. 5 at the Fox Theatre in Downtown Tucson, is free and open to the public. The box office opens at 4:30 p.m., and the interview and audience question and answer session starts at 7 p.m.

PREDATOR-PREY RELATIONSHIPS - Reid Park Zoo is home to more than 200 animals. Some are predators, and some are prey. That determines how they act and how they're cared for at the Zoo. Predators have adaptations that make them excellent hunters, while prey animals are always ready to flee. Learn more about the differences between predator and prey animals in the latest edition of "Zoo News," produced by Tucson 12.

REDUCE CLUTTER AND GO PAPERLESS WITH CITY E-BILLING - Go paperless with your Utility Services Statement. Set up an eBill account to pay your bill, get notification of your billing statement, view water usage, and read Tucson Water's newsletter.

NewsNet 09-19-14

TUCSON'S BABY ELEPHANT MADE HER PUBLIC DEBUT THIS MORNING - One day shy of her one-month birthday, the 342-pound baby African elephant at Reid Park Zoo made her first public appearance in the main exhibit this morning. Approximately 300 visitors were on hand to watch the historic moment. Tomorrow, the Zoo will host a debut celebration for the calf (normal admission applies). Education staff will offer crafts, activities, and information stations to celebrate the debut. For the rest of the month, the Zoo will allow the calf to have daily access to the public-facing side of the exhibit from 8 a.m. - 11 a.m., weather permitting. Beginning next month, the Zoo opens at 9 a.m. As the public got its first glimpse of the baby elephant, the naming contest continues. Online polling at the Arizona Daily Star offers two name choices for the calf: "Imvula (Immie)" and "Nandi." The winning name will be announced next Thursday.
Watch Tucson 12 video of the elephant's public debut
Zoo Cams
Baby Elephant FAQ
Reid Park Zoo Flickr page
Reid Park Zoo Twitter
Reid Park Zoo Facebook
 
HOW TO DISPOSE OF SANDBAGS - Residents who no longer want to keep sandbags distributed earlier this week, in preparation of severe weather, can return the bags to the parking lot of the Ward 5 Council Office, at 4300 S. Park Ave. The drop-off location opened today at 10 a.m., and will remain open until Friday, Sept. 26 at 5 p.m. Staff from the City of Tucson Department of Transportation Streets and Maintenance Division will collect the sandbags at the end of each work day. Staff will not be on hand to collect sandbags from residents. Signs are posted in the parking lot to indicate the location for people to drop off sandbags. Monitor tucsonaz.gov for info and road closures.
 
SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK BEGINS TONIGHT - The El Rio Theatre Project will present its 8th Annual Shakespeare in the Park, with William Shakespeare's King Lear at the Himmel Park Outdoor Amphitheater, 1000 N. Tucson Blvd. Performances are scheduled for tonight, through Sept. 21, Sept. 25-28, and  Oct. 2-5. Curtain time is 7 p.m. for all performances. The event is free, with a suggested donation of $5. You're invited to bring a blanket and a picnic basket.
 
RIDE THE STREETCAR TO UA FOOTBALL GAME TOMORROW - University of Arizona football fans can ride the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar to University of Arizona football games. Prior to tomorrow's  7 p.m. game against the California Golden Bears, fans can experience the dining, entertainment, and retail opportunities at Main Gate Square, Fourth Avenue, Downtown Tucson, and the Mercado District, and then board the streetcar to the UA from any one of the 23 stops along the 3.9-mile route. Once on campus, Arizona Stadium is a short walk from the Second Street and Cherry Avenue stop. Fans can also park in one of the many garages downtown and take the streetcar to the game to avoid UA congestion. The Pennington Street Garage is offering discounted parking fees when you buy a Sun Link Day Pass, park in the garage, and ask for the "Park, Dine, and Ride" bundle. 
UA Parking and Transportation football information
 
TV SAFETY SEGMENT FROM TUCSON FIRE DEPARTMENT CELEBRATES 100TH EPISODE - KGUN9's "No Bad Days with Barrett" just completed 100 episodes. Each week, Tucson Fire Captain Barrett Baker offers safety tips, typically mixed with plenty of humor to keep them interesting. In yesterday's edition, Baker reflected on some of the past episodes.

NewsNet 09-18-14

THOUSANDS TURNED OUT FOR FREE SANDBAGS YESTERDAY - Even though the expected big storm yesterday never really materialized, the City of Tucson handed out thousands of sandbags to help residents prepare for the worst. The National Weather Service originally predicted up to four inches of rain in Tucson before the storm changed course. The Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) quickly assembled six distribution points, helped residents fill the sandbags, and offered advice on where to place them. In addition, TDOT crews spent yesterday cleaning washes of fallen tree limbs, shopping carts, and trash to allow water to flow properly. Read more from KVOA.
 
SEE THE BABY ELEPHANT TOMORROW - Weather permitting, the baby African elephant at the Reid Park Zoo will make her public debut in the main exhibit tomorrow morning at 8:30. The Zoo opens at 8 a.m. After the debut, zookeepers will allow the calf to have daily access to the public-facing side of the exhibit daily from 8 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.  It's a big week for the baby elephant, as she's also the subject of a naming contest (see story below).
Watch Tucson 12 archive video of the calf's first days of outside
 
HELP NAME TUCSON'S BABY ELEPHANT - The Reid Park Zoo's baby elephant is a couple days shy of being a month old, but she doesn't have a name yet. However, that's about to change. After weeks of calling her "Tucson's Big Baby," the Zoo has selected two names, and the public will get to pick the winner. The names choices are "Imvula" and "Nandi." Tucson 12 recently caught up with Zoo Education Curator Vivian VanPeenen to explain the names and the online voting at the Arizona Daily Star's website (voting link below). The winning name will be announced next Thursday.
Vote online
Zoo Cams
Baby Elephant FAQ
Reid Park Zoo Flickr page
Reid Park Zoo Twitter
Reid Park Zoo Facebook
 
TUCSON POLICE DEPARTMENT TO PARTICIPATE IN FEDERAL REVIEW PROJECT - The Tucson Police Department (TPD) has been nominated to participate in the Comprehensive Law Enforcement Review Project, which is a U.S. Department of Justice program the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) office will be managing. COPS recently was tasked by the U.S. Attorney General to lead the project that will examine what the United States has learned in policing since the Crime Commission was established by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965. Eight team review panels will examine existing reports, studies, and practices in a number of key areas related to law enforcement. The review will help identify current gaps in the criminal justice system, particularly those that focus on the organization and delivery of police services.
Tucson Police Department Facebook page
 
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 09-17-14

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

NewsNet 09-16-14

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

NewsNet 09-15-14

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

NewsNet 09-12-14

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

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

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

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

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

NewsNet 09-11-14

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

NewsNet 09-10-14

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

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

NewsNet 09-09-14

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

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