SMALL BUSINESS HELP LINE GOES LIVE - The City has launched a Small Business Assistance Line as a one-stop shop for local entrepreneurs seeking answers or information from staff. "We recognize the important role small businesses play in the local economy, and we want to help them out any way we can," said Chris Kaselemis, director of the City's Economic Initiatives Program. "Economic development starts with the retention and expansion of current Tucson businesses and helping Tucson entrepreneurs get new businesses off the ground." The line's number is 837-4100. It is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, and is available in both English and Spanish. From the Star.

TUCSON'S FIRST RAIL EXPORT HEADED TO JAPAN - A local company is the first to take advantage of the new capability at the Port of Tucson to directly ship ocean freight to outbound ports. The makers of Azmira Pet Food previously had to rent an empty freight truck to pick up their product and drive it to the Port of Los Angeles for export. Last week, they simply drove it a mile down the road to the Port of Tucson and loaded it onto an ocean container where it rolled away by rail to the L.A. port, destined for Osaka, Japan. From the Star.

STREETCAR OVERHEAD WIRES ENERGIZED - Warning labels have been placed on the poles that support the exposed copper wire that powers the Sun Link Streetcar. The wire, which is 19 feet off the ground, carries 750 volts of direct current, an amount that could easily be fatal to anyone that touches it. The labels also say a track access permit is required for anyone doing work such as tree trimming along the line. The permits will be free, but applicants will be required to take a safety class. From KOLD/KMSB.

STUDY: DECLINING MUNICIPAL WATER DEMAND DRIVEN BY BETTER PLANNING, TECHNOLOGY, CONSERVATION EFFORTS - Water researcher Gary Woodard, a former associate director for knowledge transfer in the Department of Hydrology and Water Resources, is conducting a study that seeks to explain why municipal demand for water is dropping in Arizona, in the Southwest, the West and all over North America. At the Arizona Hydrological Society's annual symposium in Tucson earlier this month, Woodard presented some of his study's preliminary findings. He says trends in demographics and lot sizes, and improved efficiency of water-using appliances, may be important factors in addition to individual conservation. From the Star.

CITY MANAGER TO BE HONORED BY UA HISPANIC ALUMNI ASSOCIATION - The UA Hispanic Alumni Association will honor City Manager Richard Miranda at a fundraising dinner Friday. The 29th annual "Portraits of Excellence Scholarship Dinner" is intended to raise money for the UA Hispanic Alumni Scholarship Program while honoring the City Manager and former Chief of Police of the Tucson Police Department for his years of service to the Tucson community. From the Wildcat.