MAYOR AND COUNCIL PRESENTED WITH BUDGET FORECAST FOR NEXT FISCAL YEAR - Tucson City Manager Richard Miranda and his budget staff yesterday told Mayor and Council the City faces a $33.2 million dollar shortfall for Fiscal Year 2015, if current conditions and policies remain the same. Since it's still early in the budget process, Miranda didn't offer details on where cuts would need to be made, but he said City staff has evaluated 174 City programs and services to determine how critical they are and how much they can be cut. He said some City programs have become outdated or inefficient. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star and view the PowerPoint of the budget presentation.

GEM SHOW VENDORS SAY BUSINESS IS STEADY - Many vendors at the Tucson, Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase say they are happy with the pace of sales. The shows are being held at various locations, through Feb. 16.  Visit Tucson estimates the shows pump about $100 million into Tucson's economy. GemRide shuttles offer free rides between shows from 33 locations. Parking is available at six City of Tucson parking garages and surface lots in Downtown Tucson. Read more from Tucson News Now.
Tucson Gem and Mineral Society

SILVER ALERT COULD COME TO ARIZONA - In a variation of Amber Alerts for missing children, Arizona soon could join 15 other states in developing a system for missing vulnerable adults. The Arizona Senate passed a bill to create a Silver Alert system, sending the bill to the Arizona House. If the House approves the measure, it would go to Gov. Jan Brewer for her signature. read more from KGUN and Tucson News Now.

STUDY SHOWS LIFE EXPECTANCY IN UNITED STATES DEPENDS ON STATE - A mapping of state data shows a varying degree of life expectancy, depending on where you live.  A report in The Atlantic shows the average age of death in Arizona is 79.6, matching statistics from Chile. The report breaks down each state and compares it to different countries. On average, American life expectancy is roughly 79.8 years. The United States ranks 35th in the world, nestled between Costa Rica and Chile. There’s profound variation by state, from a low of 75 years in Mississippi to a high of 81.3 in Hawaii. Possible factors cited in the disparity include diet, environment, medical care, education and access to doctors and healthy food.

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 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 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.