VISITING KENYAN JOURNALIST IMPRESSED BY TPD'S RESTRAINT AT IMMIGRATION PROTESTS - "As a journalist from Kenya who has covered several protests on the streets of Nairobi, the capital city, and other parts of the country, I was taken aback by the restraint on the part of the police here in Tucson," wrote Patrick Nzioka, a Kenyan journalist participating in an exchange program administered by the International Center for Journalists and funded by the U.S. State Departments Bureau for Education and Cultural Affairs. "Police handled the protesters humanely, with no one hurt during the arrests. Despite the protesters closing an important road for hours and blocking the gate to the federal court building, police negotiated with them for hours, pleading unsuccessfully," said Nzioka. "In my country - although handling of protesters has improved with the enactment of a new constitution recently - police would not have the patience under the hot sun to plead with a handful of protesters." From the Star.

'PLAYABLE PARKS' PROJECT TAKES MOM, SON ON CITY-WIDE JOURNEY - After taking a break over the summer Maloree Renaud and her 3-year-old son will continue their exploration of Tucson's City Parks. On a recent Friday, Renaud and her son set out to explore Hoffman Park. The small grassy field with its colorful play equipment is tucked into a neighborhood off East Broadway and South Swan Road. Friday-morning adventures have become a ritual for the two as they make their way to all 127 parks in Tucson. The project began when Renaud decided to spend more time outside with her son and start journaling. Her resolution pushed her to start a blog, Playable Parks, where she posts articles and photos of the parks they visit. The blog has even introduced people knowledgeable about Tucson parks to places they'd never heard of. I know that people are seeing what she is doing and finding these little hidden gems, because some parks I actually didn't even know we had, said Sierra Davenport, community relations and marketing manager at Tucson Parks and Recreation. From the Star.

COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR: PHOTO RADAR NOT AS EFFECTIVE AS HOPED - A study of the effectiveness of the 11 speed cameras installed on county roads states they have had mixed results in terms of safety. County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said the accident rate for the entire Pima County road system has declined by 19 percent since the inception of speed-photo enforcement, but only by 13 percent in the areas where the cameras are in place. He said drivers have become aware of the cameras and have largely adjusted their driving behavior for the immediate area, but not for the length of their commute. The use of fixed, stand-alone cameras generally has not been as effective as hoped in reducing speeds and crashes because drivers tend to rapidly decrease their speed before reaching the camera and then speed up quickly after passing the camera, Huckelberry wrote in a memo to the county Board of Supervisors. The five-year contract has generated more than 100,000 tickets, but the number peaked in 2010 as drivers learned to slow down in the busy traffic corridors. The county gets about $47 per ticket issued by the photo enforcement system. From the Star.

CENSUS REPORT REVEALS DIFFICULTY IN DEFINING DOWNTOWN - Last year, the U.S. Census Bureau released a report on population trends in American downtowns, a step toward quantifying the claims made by many cities that residents (and jobs) are moving there in large numbers. But the Census defines downtown as everything within a 2-mile radius of the local city hall. By this definition, Downtown Tucson would include the main campus of the University of Arizona, the west campus of Pima Community College, the Old Pascua, and much of the City of South Tucson. From the Atlantic.

THIS FRIDAY: MEET YOUR WATER PROFESSIONALS AT THE SAHBA HOME SHOW - Tucson Water is proud to be a part of the SAHBA Fall Home and Patio Show this weekend at the Tucson Convention Center. Representatives from Tucson Water's administration, maintenance, planning, customer service, and conservation divisions will be on hand throughout the show.