NewsNet 04-24-14

TUCSON CITY COUNCIL RESTORES SOME PARKS FUNDING - Tucson City Manager Richard Miranda yesterday formally presented his budget recommendations to the Mayor and Tucson City Council. Council Members stated their opposition to cutting parks funding and staff, reducing funding to outside agencies, and raising business license fees.  They unanimously approved moving $500,000 proposed for the General Services budget to the Parks budget.  A public hearing on the proposed final budget is scheduled for May 6, with tentative adoption slated for May 20. A final vote is planned for June 3. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star and read the City Manager's Recommended Budget.

UA CLASS PRESENTS STREETCAR MARKETING PLAN - The Integrated Marketing Communications class Tuesday gave its final presentation to local political and business leaders on the marketing campaign it developed for the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar. Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and City Manager Richard Miranda were among those who listened to the students' ideas. One of the recommendations from the class was to allow students to pay for a SunLink pass through their Bursar's accounts. UA Parking and Transportation says it is making that recommendation a reality. Read more from the Arizona Daily Wildcat.

PRESCRIPTION DRUG TAKE-BACK EVENT THIS WEEKEND - The Tucson Police Department (TPD) and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) again are sponsoring the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Initiative this Saturday. During the event, the public can bring unwanted or unused medications to either of two drop-off locations, where they can be turned over for disposal. This service is free and anonymous. The drop-off sites are at the TPD Eastside Service Center, 9760 E. Golf Links Rd (just east of Harrison Rd) and the TPD Westside Service Center, 1310 W. Miracle Mile (northeast corner of Miracle Mile & Flowing Wells Rd). Both sites will be open from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Please do not bring sharps, needles, I.V. medications, glass containers, or inhalers.

TRAFFIC ALERT: GRANDE AVENUE RESTRICTIONS THIS WEEKEND - Grande Avenue will be the site of the annual Fiesta Grande this Saturday and Sunday. The Fiesta runs from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. Beginning Friday, at approximately 6 a.m., the southbound, right lane of Grande Avenue will be closed between West Delaware Street and West Saint Clair Street. At about 7 p.m. Friday, Grande Avenue will be closed to all vehicular traffic between Saint Marys Road and Speedway Boulevard. All traffic should return to normal at approximately midnight Sunday. Read the news release.

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.
 

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NewsNet 04-23-14

GOVERNOR JAN BREWER VETOES TWO GUN BILLS - Gov. Jan Brewer yesterday vetoed HB 2339, which would have allowed those who have a state-issued permit to carry a concealed weapon to ignore a “no guns” sign posted at the door, unless security measures — including armed guards, metal detectors and gun lockers — were in place. The Governor voiced concerns about the security cost to cities, counties and other government agencies. Brewer also vetoed legislation to allow civil penalties for city officials who enact their own gun laws, saying the measure was unnecessary. Read more from Capitol Media Services via the Arizona Daily Star.

BASIS NORTH AND UNIVERSITY HIGH SCHOOL (UHS) RATED AMONG NATION'S BEST - BASIS Tucson North and UHS are once again on the top 10 list of the best high schools in the country. BASIS ranked fifth and UHS finished 7th in the latest survey by U.S. News & World Report. BASIS Scottsdale is ranked second, meaning Arizona schools make up nearly a third of the top 10 schools in the country. The 2014 Best High Schools rankings include school-specific data on location, enrollment, ethnicity, school type, and test results to develop the rankings. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star and read the complete list at U.S. News.

WATER AWARENESS PRESENTATIONS CONTINUE - April is Water Awareness Month in Arizona, and Tucson Water and several Tucson City Council Members are hosting public sessions to discuss water. Topics include present and future water resources, long-range planning, water quality and safety, investment in infrastructure and technology, and drought. The next session, co-hosted by Ward 3 Council Member Karin Uhlich, will be held tomorrow from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Ward 3 Council Office, 1510 E. Grant Rd. For more information, call (520) 791-4711. Read the news release.

SUSTAINABLE HISTORIC HOME TOUR THIS WEEKEND - The City of Tucson’s Historic Preservation and Sustainability programs are coordinating the Sustainable Historic Home Tour this Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The self-guided open house tour will feature historic homes in Tucson that have been “green retrofitted” to be more sustainable, while remaining sensitive to their historic characters. Participants will travel to locations identified on a map, where the property owners and volunteers will provide information and tours. Read the news release.

HOW TO REPORT TRANSPORTATION CONCERNS - Is there a pothole you'd like to see fixed? Is a street sign missing? Is a tree limb hanging too close over a roadway or sidewalk? You can report these issues to the Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT), (520) 791-3154, or email the exact location to tdotsr@tucsonaz.gov. You also can use the SeeClickFix website and app for iOS and Android.
 

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NewsNet 04-22-14

CITY BUDGET, TRANSIT AND MORE ON MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL AGENDA TOMORROW - Budget, transit, and the proposed Downtown Entertainment district are some of the items scheduled to be discussed during tomorrow's meetings of the Mayor and Tucson City Council. The Study Session begins at noon, and the Regular Meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. Both meetings will be held in Mayor and Council Chambers, 255 W. Alameda St., and can be seen via live streaming from Tucson 12. Read the agenda items.

POLICE NAB SUSPECTED CARJACKER AND RETURN VEHICLE TO OWNER - Tucson Police officers Friday responded to a carjacking call at the 1200 block of East Tucson Marketplace. The victim told police she was walking out of a store when a male with a silver revolver approached her and demanded her keys. She gave the man her keys and he took the car and fled. The vehicle was spotted by the Tucson Police Air Support Unit, which followed the car until officers on the ground caught up with it. The suspect was arrested and jailed on several charges and the victim's vehicle was returned. There were no injuries during the incident. Read more at the TPD Facebook page.

BUFFELGRASS A THREAT AS TEMPERATURES HEAT UP - Buffelgrass is an invasive grass species first brought over from Africa in the 1930s for grazing and erosion control. It has taken over large swaths of land in Southern Arizona, strangling native plant roots. The thick density of buffelgrass is perfect fuel for massive summer fires. The Southern Arizona Buffelgrass Coordination Center routinely organizes community events to remove buffelgrass and it recently developed a mobile app for mapping and removal. Read more from KVOA.

CORONADO NATIONAL FOREST OFFERS MORE CABIN RENTAL OPTIONS - The Coronado National Forest is adding three renovated 1930s-era cabins to the Rooms with a View program, which offers cabins for public rental on national forest lands. Two of the cabins are in Cave Creek Canyon southeast of Willcox, an area known for its forests, sheer canyon walls and abundant bird life. The other is at the Palisades Administrative Site in the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson. With the addition of the three newly-renovated cabins, there are now 17 cabins available for public rental. More information is at 1-877-444-6777 and the links below. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star and Reserve America.

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, please 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. Read more at ES website.

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NewsNet 04-21-14

ARIZONA'S JOBLESS RATE SHOWS SLOW IMPROVEMENT - The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports Arizona gained a net 47,800 jobs last year. That was enough to boost the workforce 1.9 percent in that time and was faster than the nation's 1.6 percent growth rate. However, the state's job recovery remains on a slow climb, something many economists had hoped would change in 2014. Arizona had 21,000 fewer unemployed residents in March 2014 than it did the year before. That was a nearly 9 percent decline in the jobless rate, according to the BLS, ranking Arizona 34th among the 50 states. Read more from azcentral.

UA BIO PARK TO GET NEW NAME - University of Arizona officials say they plan to rename UA Bio Park and announce their new focus for the site. The name change hasn't been revealed, and there are no buildings yet on the 65-acre lot, located near 36th Street and Kino Parkway. Officials say only the infrastructure is complete. The UA says the name change is to communicate to companies that the place is more than just a location for bioscience research. Read more from Tucson News Now.

RIO NUEVO BILL APPROVAL SHOULD ENABLE NEW DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT - Rio Nuevo now has state approval to start spending money on Downtown Tucson redevelopment without a prior limitation that required building a hotel first. Gov. Jan Brewer recently signed a bill that lifts Rio Nuevo’s hotel spending mandate. Even though funding a hotel project is no longer required, Rio Nuevo Chairman Fletcher McCusker says he would still like to get one started. Other plans being discussed include building a new 120,000-square-foot exhibition hall next to Rio Nuevo property, behind the Tucson Convention Center along Granada Avenue, and spending $1 million as part of the Mission Gardens project, a replica of a historic agricultural area along the Santa Cruz River that once provided fruits and vegetables to early residents. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.

BIKE TO WORK DAY IS WEDNESDAY - Tucson workers are encouraged to pedal to work Wednesday, as part of Bike to Work Day, one of the events of the month-long Bike Fest. Downtown workers are invited to stop at the Main Library near Stone and Pennington from 7 a.m. - 9 a.m. for breakfast refreshments. Bike Fest is a program of Living Streets Alliance, in partnership with City of Tucson, Pima County Department of Environmental Quality, Pima Association of Governments, and numerous local businesses and community organizations.

SCORE A DEAL ON CITY SURPLUS - Need a bus? Maybe a pickup better fits your transportation needs? How about a digital camera, or a treadmill? You can find these items and more on the City of Tucson's surplus auction website. View the items listed for bid.

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NewsNet 04-18-14

SPLASH PADS ARE OPEN - The splash pads at Catalina Park (900 N. Fourth Ave.) and Marty Birdman Center/Balboa Heights Park (2536 N. Castro Avenue) opened today at 7 a.m. and will remain open 7 a.m. to dusk each day through the summer. Catalina Park features a covered playground, accessible walkways and a manual activation system to allow residents to turn on water features. Marty Birdman Center/Balboa Heights Park has a ramada, playground and basketball court. For more information, visit the City of Tucson Parks and Recreation website.

U.S. CONFERENCE OF MAYORS SELECTS NEW PRESIDENT - Sacramento Mayor -and former Phoenix Suns' All-Star point guard - Kevin Johnson will serve as the 72nd President of the United States Conference of Mayors.  He replaces Scott Smith of Mesa, who resigned in order to run for Governor of Arizona. “During my presidency, we will engage in a full-court press in Washington so we can get the dollars we need to get things done," Johnson said. "We will unleash our political capital to create new partnerships, create jobs, and keep the momentum going so that America maintains its competitive advantage in the global economy." The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more.

CITY OF TUCSON SEEKING HISTORIC HOMES TO BE PART OF SUSTAINABILITY TOUR - The City of Tucson’s Historic Preservation and Sustainability programs are organizing the Sustainable Historic Home Tour next weekend, but more homes are needed. To be included on the tour, a home must be a contributing property in a National Register of Historic Places historic district. In addition, the home must showcase retrofit treatments that meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and, where applicable, meet the requirements of local Historic Preservation Zone Design Guidelines. Also, all homes on the tour must address at least one of the following; energy efficiency, water conservation, or use or reuse of responsible building materials. For more information contact Jennifer Levstick at (520) 837-6961.

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.
Read more about the Small Business Assistance Line:

BE PREPARED WHEN YOU HIKE IN THE WARMER WEATHER - It's heating up outside and that means it's time to be prepared for temperatures in the 90s and above. In this week's "No Bad Days with Barrett" episode, Tucson Fire Captain Barrett Baker and his fellow firefighters offer tips on how to stay safe outdoors.

 

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NewsNet 04-17-14

TUCSON NAMED A TOP 10 'BEST U.S. CYCLING TOWN' - Tucson ranks 7th in the 10Best.com website rankings. The website, a division of USA Today Travel, cites Tucson's mild winter temperatures and dry conditions as ideal times to cycle. It also mentions The Loop, 700 miles of bike lanes and beautiful scenery. Davis, Calif. earned the top ranking in the survey.

GROCERY STORE ON ITS WAY TO DOWNTOWN - Downtown Tucson this year could see the opening of its first full-service grocery store in 42 years. The former, and current, owners of the Rincon Market are joining forces to open a 6,000-square-foot grocery store in the building that last housed the Beowulf Alley Theatre, 11 S. Sixth Ave. The market plans to stock a full line of meat, produce, and dairy products. “It is the one piece that has been missing from getting out of your car and living an urban lifestyle,” said Michael Keith, CEO of the Downtown Tucson Partnership. “This is really a turning point for downtown,” Keith said. “This is the moment when all future housing projects and the Ronstadt transit (project) become viable in a way they weren’t before.” Owners say with student housing complexes up and running, coupled with the pending SunLink Modern Streetcar and a potential hotel, strong demand for new development has arrived. The store will be called Johnny Gibson’s Downtown Market, in honor of the late entrepreneur who maintained a business presence downtown between 1949 and 2001. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.

TUCSON IS AMONG BEST CITIES FOR ASTHMA SUFFERERS - A consumer advocacy site that chronicles health care cost information, analyzed available data on asthma prevalence, air quality, cost, and access to asthma care in the 50 largest U.S. cities to compile its list of Best and Worst Cities for Asthma Sufferers. NerdWallet Health ranked Tucson as the 4th best city for those with asthma. The study says out-of-pocket asthma drug costs in Tucson are relatively low, and the American Lung Association gave Tucson an “A” grade in particulate air pollution. Phoenix was among the ten worst cities for asthma sufferers.

EGGSTRAVAGANZA THIS WEEKEND - The Tucson Parks and Recreation Department and Tucson Water present the 15th Annual Eggstravaganza this Saturday, 10 a.m. -1 p.m. at Mansfield Park, 2000 N. Fourth Ave. This free, annual community-wide event is expected to attract more than 2,000 Tucson children and their families. Activities include music, carnival games, inflatables, prizes, egg hunts, and the Easter Bunny. A variety of foods will be available for purchase through local vendors.

FREE ENTRY TO NATIONAL PARKS THIS WEEKEND - It'll be free this weekend to access national parks and monuments, in honor of National Park Week, which runs April 19 - 27. Park entrance fees are waived for 133 parks out of the 401 in the National Park system. The other 268 never charge entrance fees. Free admission includes the Grand Canyon, Saguaro National Park, Organ Pipe Catus National Monument and other sites in Arizona. Read more from Tucson News Now, and view the National Park Service list of national parks.

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NewsNet 04-16-14

REID PARK ZOO RECEIVES ASSOCIATION OF ZOOS AND AQUARIUM ACCREDITATION -  The Reid Park Zoo recently earned a five-year re-accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The Zoo underwent a review and inspection in January, demonstrating how it meets or exceeds professional standards for excellence in animal care, veterinary programs, conservation, education, and safety. Last month, Reid Park Zoo officials traveled to Memphis, Tennessee for a hearing by AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission. "AZA accreditation validates our efforts, and the Zoo’s staff, volunteers, and supporters should be commended for making Reid Park Zoo one of the best zoos of its size in the nation,” said Zoo Administrator Jason Jacobs.

GOVERNOR SIGNS LAW ALLOWING UNANNOUNCED INSPECTIONS OF ARIZONA ABORTION CLINICS - Gov. Jan Brewer signed legislation yesterday permitting the state health department to make unannounced inspections of abortion clinics without first getting a warrant from a judge. Backers of HB 2284 said there is no reason to exempt abortion clinics from the same regulations that apply to all other health care facilities. Opponents said the clinics need protection because there is a heightened need for privacy for patients and staff. A federal appeals court voided an identical provision in 2004, ruling the statute’s authorization of “boundless, warrantless search of physicians’ offices” by state health officials violates constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure. Cathi Herrod, president of the anti-abortion Center for Arizona Policy, which helped write the measure, said state regulatory policies have changed since then, legitimizing this version of the law. Read more from Capitol Media Services via the Arizona Daily Star.

REPORT: DETROIT PENSION BOARDS AGREE TO CUTS THAT COULD HELP CITY EXIT BANKRUPTCY - Negotiators for Detroit pension boards agreed yesterday to retiree benefit cuts that were lower than initially proposed. The agreement could help resolve Detroit’s historic Chapter 9 bankruptcy and position the City to start reinvesting in city services to its citizens. The deal would require civilian retirees to accept a 4.5 percent cut to their monthly pension checks and the elimination of cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) increases, while police and fire retirees would get no cuts to monthly checks but absorb a reduction in COLA increases, the sources said. Pension board trustees still must sign off on the deal, and a U.S. government committee officially appointed to represent Detroit retirees is still weighing whether to support the City’s proposal. Read more from Governing.

IT'S NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS WEEK - The City of Tucson is honoring public safety dispatchers, 911 operators, and police service operators on National Telecommunications Week. The week is dedicated to public safety telecommunicators who provide 911 emergency assistance to citizens every day and night. Public safety agencies encourage citizens to recognize and celebrate the dedicated service provided by Tucson's telecommunicators. Read the news release.

WATER AWARENESS PRESENTATIONS CONTINUE - April is Water Awareness Month in Arizona, and Tucson Water and several Tucson City Council Members are hosting public sessions to discuss water. Topics include present and future water resources, long-range planning, water quality and safety, investment in infrastructure and technology, and drought. The next session, co-hosted by Ward 4 Council Member Shirley Scott, will be held tomorrow from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Clements Recreation Center (Multi-Purpose Room), 8155 E. Ponciana Drive. For more information, call the Ward 4 Council Office, (520) 791-3199. Read the news release.
 

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NewsNet 04-15-14

CITY OF PHOENIX TO DEBATE PROPOSED HIKES IN TAXES AND FEES - The Phoenix Mayor and City Council is expected to discuss Phoenix City Manager Ed Zuercher's proposal to increase taxes and fees by about $12 million next fiscal year to help close the City's projected $37.7 million budget deficit next week. The largest source of revenue would be an additional tax of up to $1.50 per month, based on water meter size, added to city residents' bills for water, sewer and trash service. Other proposed revenue increases include raising fees to use municipal recreation and senior centers, which leaders say could close if the City doesn't balance its budget. Read more from azcentral.

PUBLIC SAFETY AGENCIES NOW CAN COMMUNICATE BETTER WITH EACH OTHER -  More than 30 public-safety agencies — including the Tucson Police and Fire Departments, the Pima County Sheriff’s Department and seven county hospitals — have the ability to communicate with one another during emergencies now that the County's Emergency Communications and Operations Center is complete. The Pima County Wireless Integrated Network (PCWIN) and the Emergency Communications and Operations Center — both funded by County bonds — were first envisioned in 2001, when the 9/11 attacks prompted a discussion among officials about the need for all first responders to be able to easily communicate with one another. The new Center houses dispatch centers for the Sheriff’s Department and six fire districts. Upgrades also were made to the City of Tucson's Thomas O. Price Service Center, which can serve as a backup for County dispatch. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star and Pima County.

UA OPENS CENTER FOR VETERANS STUDYING MEDICINE - In what is believed to be the first center of its kind, the University of Arizona recently held a grand opening ceremony for the Veterans Education and Transition Services (VETS) Center at the Arizona Health Science Center in Tucson. With the help of trained student veterans, VETS helps transition veterans into the university setting while also providing resources for those pursuing careers in the health industry. The UA says its veteran population has grown to nearly 1,200, an 83 percent increase in 13 years. Among those in attendance at the dedication were Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly, a veteran and retired astronaut. Read more from KTAR and UA News.

JOB OPPORTUNITY: WATER SYSTEM OPERATOR - Tucson Water is seeking three experienced operators to be part of the Water Operations Treatment Instrumentation & Control Section. This section is responsible for the central control operations of the potable and reclaimed water system. Application deadline is May 2, 2014. Read the job description.

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

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NewsNet 04-14-14

FREE TAX ASSISTANCE FOR CERTAIN LAST-MINUTE FILERS - Tomorrow, April 15th, is the deadline for filing state and federal income taxes. The Pio Decimo Center, 878 S. 7th Ave., is offering free filing help for seniors, people with low-to-moderate incomes (earning less than $55,000), disabled individuals and those who speak English as a second language. The Center will be open from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. tomorrow. The free service is part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, sponsored by the United Way of Southern Arizona and other partners. Volunteer tax preparers with VITA are trained and tested by the IRS. Read more from Tucson News Now and take a look at where your [federal] tax dollars go, in one chart.

HEALTH INSURANCE ENROLLMENT GRACE PERIOD ENDS TOMORROW - Arizonans and others who started, but did not finish, applications to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have until tomorrow to finish the process. Heavy traffic at the Health Insurance Marketplace website and call center were just a couple of reasons why some people couldn't finish the process before the March 31 deadline. Applicants who finish enrollment and pay today will have coverage beginning May 1. The grace period applies only to those who started the process before the deadline. Those who haven't already signed up won't be able to do so until November 2014. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.

TRAFFIC ALERT: SUN LINK HIGH-SPEED STREETCAR TESTING - Sun Link Streetcar staff will conduct high-speed testing beginning tonight on University Boulevard, between Fourth Avenue and Euclid Avenue. Testing will be conducted from 11 p.m. - 5 a.m., through Wednesday. During that time, University Boulevard will be closed from Fourth Avenue to Euclid Avenue and parking will not be permitted. Some side streets and alleys near the intersection will be closed as well. Read the news release.

CITY OF TUCSON FLEET AMONG TOP 100 BEST FLEETS IN THE NATION - The City of Tucson’s Fleet Services Division ranked 15th on the 2014 list of Top 100 Best Fleets in North America by the "100 Best Fleets" Program. The recognition acknowledges peak performing public sector vehicle fleet operations in North America. Tucson's fleet was acknowledged for its operational efficiency, significant savings and increased fleet availability. The Fleet Services Division operates the City’s motor pool, providing maintenance and repair to police cars, garbage trucks, and other motor vehicles, so that city employees can serve Tucson citizens every day and night. Read the news release.

IT'S BEE SEASON, SO BE PREPARED - As the temperatures warm, bees are emerging. In the latest segment of KGUN9's "No Bad Days with Barrett," Tucson Fire Captain Barrett Baker and fellow firefighters offer tips on how to prevent bee stings.
 

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NewsNet 04-11-14

ARIZONA SCORES ABOVE AVERAGE IN SPENDING TRANSPARENCY - Arizona earned a "B" in a state spending transparency evaluation by the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). The State Treasurer’s office has an online, searchable database where anyone can see how Arizona is spending taxpayer money. The "B" grade, with a score of 84 out of 100, puts Arizona ahead of 31 other states for its level of transparency in state spending records availability. The organization looks for checkbook-level detail of all state expenses and easy online access to the information. No state earned a perfect score, but PIRG reports eight received "A" grades. Read more from the Arizona Public Media.

D-M ECONOMIC IMPACT REDUCED - Davis-Monthan Air Force Base reported an estimated local economic impact of $973 million in the 2013 fiscal year.  This amount is down from about $1.14 billion the prior year, and is largely due to Pentagon budget cuts. The D-M economic analysis released yesterday also found that the base had a net reduction of $90 million in total payroll, including both military and civilian personnel and civilian furloughs, said Maj. Gerald Stevenson, commander of the 355th Comptroller Squadron at D-M. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.

THUNDERBIRDS TO PERFORM AT D-M OPEN HOUSE - The United States Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, also known as the Thunderbirds, will perform tomorrow and Sunday at Davis Monthan Air Force Base's Open House. The Thunderbirds aerial demonstrations include a mix of formation flying and solo routines. The show runs about 75 minutes. Gates open at 9 a.m. both days. Demonstrations begin at 11 a.m. The Thunderbirds perform at 2 p.m.
 

STROKE SCREENINGS TOMORROW AT VARIOUS LOCATIONS - A number of Tucson-area hospitals are teaming up tomorrow to offer free stroke screenings. From 8 a.m. - noon, doctors will help people evaluate their risk of having a stroke and offer prevention tips. The screenings will include testing oxygen levels, blood pressure, pulse, blood sugar, and cholesterol. For best results on the cholesterol test, officials suggest not eating eight hours prior to the test. Strokes can be deadly or debilitating and can hit anyone at any age. Read more from Tucson News Now.

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. Read more at Tucson Water.

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