LOUIS TAYLOR, CONVICTED 42 YEARS AGO OF STARTING PIONEER HOTEL FIRE, TO BE FREED TOMORROW – The man accused as a teenager of starting the deadliest fire in Tucson’s history is expected to be released tomorrow from prison. Louis Taylor, who has maintained his innocence since his 1972 conviction, will plead no contest in an agreement that sets aside his original conviction and credits him for time served. Taylor’s legal representation was provided by the Arizona Justice Project, an organization of attorneys and law students committed working to overturn and prevent wrongful convictions. Read the Star's story here, the script from March 31's CBS’s 60 Minutes feature here.
STREETCAR STOP DISPUTED BY COUNTY TO BE BUILT AS PLANNED – A stop along the Sun Link streetcar line, the location of which has been protested by the Pima County administration and its wastewater department, will not be moved. Although County officials agreed to the location in 2011, the City was asked to relocate the stop in a letter from Pima County's Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department on December 6, 2012. At issue is a sewer interceptor line which runs underneath it. County officials say the stop’s location would hinder maintenance of the line and inflate repair costs if the line failed. In lieu of relocating the stop, the County has asked the City to agree to pay any costs of removing or replacing the stop should access to the sewer line be needed, citing an easement the County purchased in 1985. But a previous easement on the same property, granted to the City by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1964, says “Pima County is responsible for making whole any city facilities in the event that they are damaged by failure of, or need to access." Wastewater Director Jackson Jenkins says his department is evaluating the city's claims and preparing a formal response. Read the story from today’s Star here, and the original story from the Jan. 22 Star here.
MANNING HOUSE DODGES FORECLOSURE, BUT FUTURE UNCLEAR – A Scottsdale attorney acting as a trustee for the City National Bank of Los Angeles, which holds the loan on Downtown’s 106-year-old Manning House, gave notice last month it would be sold at public auction on May 29 at the Superior Court building downtown. But owner Colleen Concannon says she has persuaded the bank to call off the foreclosure sale while she negotiates a restructuring of the loan, and that she is confident that she will find a buyer within the next year. From the Star.
NATIONAL MAYOR’S CHALLENGE FOR WATER CONSERVATION KICKS OFF – Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and Tucson Water are actively encouraging residents to “pledge for water” in the National Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation. The challenge is sponsored by the Wyland Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to promoting, protecting, and preserving the world’s oceans, waterways, and marine life. Tucson residents can make their online pledges at mywaterpledge.com April 1 through April 30. Participants in cities with the highest number of pledges are eligible for prizes donated by Wyland and several other organizations. Pledges are tallied by area zip codes, not official city limits. “Last year, Tucson exceeded expectations by coming in sixth in the country," said Mayor Rothschild. "I know that this year, we can do even better. Saving water is something we all need to do, and here's an opportunity to learn, to conserve and to win prizes.” Story from KVOA. Read the news release from Tucson Water here.
DM AIRMEN ENJOY FREE CONCERT FROM GARY SINISE AND THE LT. DAN BAND – On Friday, inside Davis Monthan’s 755th Aircraft Maintenance Hangar, actor Gary Sinise and his “Lieutenant Dan Band” performed for the Airmen of the 355th Fighter Wing and other military guests. The U.S.O. concert was free and open to all active-duty, Guard, Reserve and retired Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and their families. Known for his role as Lt. Dan in the movie Forrest Gump, Sinise plays bass in the band, which performs rock and roll covers. "It's a great morale event, we don't often have live bands come here and play great music for us," said Kevin Blanchard the 355th Fighter Wing Commander. From KOLD/KMSB.