WASTEWATER ODORS MITIGATED NEAR I-10 AND INA ROAD - Pima County recently completed more than $600 million worth of projects to upgrade its wastewater treatment plants and make other improvements at the facilities. The Regional Optimization Master Plan includes construction of the new Agua Nueva Water Reclamation Facility to replace the old Roger Road plant. That plant drew the ire of nearby residents and I-10 travelers for the odor it emitted. The Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department also upgraded and expanded the newly-renamed Tres Rios facility at Ina Road, installed a sewer pipeline to connect the two treatment plants, and built the Water Energy and Sustainability Center, which serves as a laboratory and training center for department workers. Officials say the projects were completed ahead of schedule and finished $115 million under budget. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
PARKS AND RECREATION SUMMER PROGRAM GUIDE AVAILABLE ONLINE TOMORROW - Tucson Parks and Recreation Department's Summer 2014 Program Guide and Class Catalog will be posted online tomorrow. Printed versions, which will be distributed on Monday, will be available for pick up at all Parks and Recreation facilities, including district offices, centers, and pools. The 76-page booklet contains registration information on leisure classes, aquatics, swim lessons, summer KIDCO, sports programs, sports camps, and more.
2nd SATURDAYS DOWNTOWN THIS WEEKEND - The monthly, free, family-friendly event this Saturday begins with gallery shows at 9 a.m. and entertainment at 4:30 p.m. At 6 p.m., the main stage at Scott Avenue and Congress Street features musical groups, and there are plenty of activities for children. Food from vendors and downtown eateries will be available. Street parking is free on Saturdays, or you can pay $3 to park in the Pennington Street Garage. Visit 2nd Saturdays Downtown for the schedule.
TUCSONANS HONOR CÉSAR CHÁVEZ - Tucsonans recently took part in a Day of Service to honor César Chávez. The celebration occurred shortly after the Mayor and Tucson City Council voted unanimously to add a Chávez holiday beginning next year to recognize the work of the late farm worker, labor leader and civil rights activist. Watch the video from Tucson 12.
CITY OF TUCSON HOLDS WORKSHOPS ON LICENSE AND TRANSACTION PRIVILEGE TAX REPORTING - Learn your rights and responsibilities for Transaction Privilege (Sales) Taxation by attending a Tax and License Workshop sponsored by the City of Tucson Finance Department. Questions will be answered and written materials will be available. Samples of sales tax records, worksheets, and monthly returns will be explained. You should bring a calculator and a pencil. A workshop for retail questions will be held next Tuesday from 10:30 a.m. until noon at the Woods Branch Library, 3455 N. First Ave. A contracting workshop will be held April 29 at the same time and place. Read the news release.
WATER VALVE, CONNECTION WORK AFFECTING TRAFFIC NEAR 22ND STREET - Excavation and preparation work is underway today on westbound 22nd Street, between Rosemont Avenue and Craycroft Road, as crews get ready for tomorrow's scheduled replacement of a critical 24" valve. The work is being coordinated in advance of milling and paving work scheduled to begin at the end of this week. Read the news release.
TWO CITY OF TUCSON EMPLOYEES WIN NATIONAL AWARDS - Two members of the City of Tucson’s Procurement Department have received awards from the Institute for Public Procurement (NIGP). Contract Administrator Victoria Cortinas is the recipient of the NIGP Copper Chapter’s 2014 Manager of the Year award and Contract Administrator Nathan Daou is the recipient of the NIGP Copper Chapter’s 2014 Buyer of the Year award. Last year, NIGP named City Procurement Director Marcheta Gillespie as president of the Board of Directors. Read the news release.
RIO NUEVO BOARD REJECTS NAME CHANGE - The board that oversees the Rio Nuevo downtown redevelopment project has decided to keep the project's name after all. The board had been soliciting suggested name changes as part of a contest to award scholarships. Even though the Rio Nuevo name will remain, six students still will split the remaining $1,000 prize money. They already were awarded $500 each for being semi-finalists in the competition. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
FORUM TONIGHT ON INTERNET SAFETY FOR CHILDREN - The Arizona Attorney General's Office - Community Outreach Division is hosting a forum tonight to discuss with parents the constant changes in technology and social networking with which children are involved. Cyber-bullying, sexting, child predators and other issues will be addressed at the forum, which begins at 6 p.m. at Corona Foothills Middle School, 16705 S. Houghton Road (in the Vail School District).
Read the Corona Foothills Middle School event announcement.
SPRING FLING RETURNS TO UA CAMPUS - After a decade-and-a-half absence from campus, Spring Fling is returning to the University of Arizona this weekend. The 40-year-old student-run carnival moved to Rillito Downs 15 years ago to accommodate construction of the Manuel Pacheco Integrated Learning Center and just wound up staying there. Setup for Spring Fling began Monday, closing off campus on the UA Mall, from Cherry Avenue to Campbell Avenue. Proceeds from Spring Fling help fund student clubs on campus. Read more from the Arizona Daily Wildcat.
ARIZONA LAWMAKERS APPROVE $9.23 BILLION BUDGET FOR THE COMING FISCAL YEAR - Senate Republicans yesterday agreed on a spending plan higher than they had originally wanted, but still less than sought by Gov. Jan Brewer and their House GOP counterparts. Among other things, the plan gives an extra $2 million to the University of Arizona over current funding and an identical amount to Arizona State University. That’s $500,000 less for each than the House plan but still more than the $1.3 million for each the Senate had been offering. Northern Arizona University will get $500,000. House and Senate leaders say they expect Brewer to sign the spending plan. Read more from Capitol Media Services via Arizona Daily Star.
NOGALES PORT EXPANSION GETS ANOTHER BOOST - The U.S. government recently doubled the lanes for cargo and people at the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales, but there has been some uncertainty over whether the Port would add enough new inspectors to make those new lanes valuable. That uncertainty ended earlier this month when Customs and Border Protection (CBP) decided to hire and train about 170 new Customs inspectors so the expanded Port facility can live up to its potential. Business leaders say the extra lanes help speed up distribution for items such as produce, but there are often bottlenecks in crossing the border, so the extra inspectors will help speed up the process. Read more from KGUN9.
PIMA COUNTY RECEIVES $5.4 MILLION FEDERAL WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT GRANT - Pima County is the recipient of a $5.4 million grant to support a regional effort to train 940 young people for jobs in local technology industries. The Youth CareerConnect grant is one of 24 grants totaling $107 million nationwide. The grant from the U.S. Department of Labor is the only grant awarded in Arizona. The grant will allow certain employers who share a common skill shortage to work with workforce staff and K-12 and community college educators to align class offerings to meet workforce needs. The money also will be used for paid internships and mentoring.
PROTECTED BIKE LANES TESTED LAST WEEKEND - Sunday's Cyclovia event put the protected bike lane idea on display with wooden boxes lining a bike lane on Sixth Avenue. The street was already closed to traffic for the event, but the makeshift barriers gave cyclists an idea of what it would be like if they had a protected lane in traffic. "The key to biking and getting more people to bike is making them feel like they can bike safely," said Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, who spoke at the event. He said you may start seeing a lot more of those barriers. A portion of St. Marys Road, between Davis Street and Main Street, will have a barrier installed at the end of the month. Read more from KGUN9.
SHORT VIDEO ILLUSTRATES DANGER OF TEXTING AND DRIVING - The City of Tucson sends a message about the potential for tragedy associated with texting while driving, which is illegal in City limits. In addition to risking their own lives and the lives of others, motorists caught texting while driving are subject to a $100 fine, which increases to $250, if involved in an accident. View the video from Tucson 12.
LEARN ABOUT STREETCAR SAFETY - As the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar vehicles go through testing in preparation for a summer start, the streetcar's management team continues to educate community members and streetcar operators about safety. Sun Link's "Be Street-Smart" educational safety campaign is an ongoing effort to educate citizens about the streetcar's presence and how to be safe around the tracks. Watch the safety video.
PROPOSED DOWNTOWN ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICT WOULD CHANGE LIQUOR LICENSE RULES IN THE AREA - The City of Tucson wants to create a special entertainment district downtown that would allow businesses in the area to apply for liquor licenses, even if they are within 300 feet from a school or church. The exemption would be granted on a case-by-case basis solely at the discretion of the Mayor and Tucson City Council. The Greater Downtown Entertainment District would mostly cover areas along the streetcar route with potential for future development, said Camila Bekat, economic development specialist for the City. City High School, on East Pennington Street, between North Scott and Stone Avenues, is in the heart of the proposed entertainment district and supports the change. The proposal comes four years after the Arizona Legislature passed a law allowing designations of such districts. City Attorney Mike Rankin verified that the City’s proposal meets the requirements of the state law, Bekat said. The Mayor and Tucson City Council next month will discuss plans for the proposed district. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
EL GRUPO YOUTH CYCLING'S BICYCLE SCAVENGER HUNT IS SATURDAY - The 11th Annual Bicycle Scavenger Hunt is a fun, family outing that is part of April's Bike Fest in Tucson. The event, which begins at 9 a.m. Saturday at 600 N. 9th Ave, features two hunts. Participants must solve riddles to point them toward the hidden objects. Read more from the Downtown Tucson Partnership.
REDUCE PAPERWORK & CLUTTER BY SIGNING UP FOR PAPERLESS WATER BILLS - Go paperless with your Utility Services Statement. Set up an eBill account to pay your bill, get notification of your billing statement, view water usage, and read Tucson Water's newsletter.
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, 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.
ARIZONA BOARD OF REGENTS (ABOR) GUARANTEES INCOMING UA FRESHMAN STEADY TUITION FOR FOUR YEARS - While freshman entering the University of Arizona this fall will pay nearly 5.4 percent more than those who arrived last year, they won't have to worry about any tuition hikes during the next four years. ABOR approved the changes yesterday, meaning incoming freshman who live in Arizona will pay $10,957 a year for base tuition and fees. In-state undergraduates returning to the UA will pay an extra 1.8 percent, bringing their total tuition and fees to $10,581. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
TAKE THE NATIONAL MAYOR'S CHALLENGE FOR WATER CONSERVATION - Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and Tucson Water are asking residents to participate in the Wyland Foundation's National Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation and help Tucson repeat its 2013 first-place showing. Online pledges can be made through April 30 at MyWaterPledge.com. Residents are encouraged to save water by doing simple things, such as fixing leaky faucets and using low-flow fixtures. The challenge is a city-friendly competition started by mayors in Florida and Southern California. It became a national event in 2012.
CACTUS AND COLOR BOWLS ADDING TO DOWNTOWN STREETSCAPE - Planters with a variety of species of cactus, flowers and other plants are showing up downtown to inject natural beauty into the area. They also have another purpose - making a more-friendly and defined space for people, via a process called streetscaping. The project of the Downtown Tucson Partnership has a variety of plants in more than 50 locations around Downtown Tucson.
UGANDAN ORPHANS CHOIR TO PERFORM IN TUCSON TOMORROW - The Reid Park Zoo is welcoming the Ugandan Orphans Choir tomorrow. The Choir will perform in Expedition Tanzania at 10:30 a.m. and again at 1 p.m. The performances are free with regular Zoo admission. The Ugandan Orphans Choir consists of 10 sponsored orphans from the Ssese Islands in Uganda. The children perform for audiences across the country with authentic African tribal drumming, dancing and singing.
PREPARE FOR BRUSH FIRES - Spring cleaning doesn't just mean clearing the clutter from inside your house. In this week's "No Bad Days with Barrett" on KGUN9, Tucson Fire Captain Barrett Baker says it's also important to clean around the outside to create a defensible space to keep your home safe from brush fires. Read more from KGUN9.
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.
CYCLOVIA TUCSON IS THIS WEEKEND - This Sunday's Cyclovia Tucson event, which runs from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., is meant to connect neighborhoods in and around Downtown Tucson (starting at Armory Park) to the City of South Tucson, which also is planning a festival that day. That festival runs from noon - 7 p.m. along South Fourth Avenue, from 36th Street to 28th Street, and will feature live music, vendors and food carts, activities for children, dancing, and entertainment. The twice-a-year Cyclovia bicycling event in Tucson is in its fifth year and is a project of the Living Streets Alliance, a non-profit advocacy organization to help transform streets into vibrant places for walking, bicycling, socializing and play. For information and maps, follow the links below. Read more from Downtown Tucson Partnership.
FORESTRY OFFICIALS PREDICT ACTIVE WILDFIRE SEASON THIS SUMMER - Citing a third consecutive year of drought, state forestry officials are urging Arizona residents to be vigilant in the forests this fire season. They say the dry conditions in the mountains this month are similar to what typically is seen in May. While Arizona's high country is at risk, State Forester Scott Hunt says the lower-elevation deserts in Tucson, Phoenix and Yuma should see a lower fire potential this year compared to last year. Read more from KJZZ.
'FIX IT FRIDAY' DOWNTOWN - Do you need something fixed, modified, or just want to take it apart to see how it works? Bring the item to the Maker House and they'll help you do it. The free, weekly Friday event runs from 6 p.m. - 10 p.m. Free parking is available in the Franklin lot, across the street from Maker House at 283 N. Stone Ave.
ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (ADOT) SEEKING PUBLIC COMMENT ON FIVE-YEAR PLAN - The public comment period is underway for ADOT's 2015-2019 Tentative Five-Year Transportation Facilities Construction Program. The plan is updated every year and serves as a blueprint that details where, when, and how regional, state and federal funding will be spent for projects over the next five years to improve the Arizona's transportation infrastructure. A public hearing will be held April 11 at 9 a.m. in the Town of Marana Council Chambers, 11555 W. Civic Center Drive. The plan is online for review at ADOT's website, linked below. View the news release.
HOW TO REPORT TRANSPORTATION PROBLEMS - 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 email@example.com. You also can use the SeeClickFix website and app.
SeeClickFix app for Android
SeeClickFix app for iOS
URBAN SPRAWL LINKED TO REDUCED HEALTH & ECONOMIC MOBILITY - A new report from the University of Utah’s Metropolitan Research Center and Smart Growth America demonstrates new links between a region's development policies and quality-of-life indicators. The more urban sprawl there is in a region, the more likely there is reduced life expectancy and decreased chances of upward mobility for residents compared to more compact cities. The group's prior research linked sprawling development to obesity, traffic fatalities, inefficient energy use, and even depression. Pima County/Metro Tucson's composite score is 78.92, ranking it 171 on the list of 221 metropolitan areas surveyed. Read more from Governing.
TUCSON DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (TDOT) AND TUCSON ELECTRIC POWER (TEP) REPLACING TREES - TEP now will remove trees growing into overhead utility lines. For each tree that is removed, TDOT will replace it with two new trees that are shorter in stature or replanted in an area away from overhead utility lines. The replacement trees will be watered with irrigation lines already in place. The new program will reduce maintenance costs for TEP and will improve the aesthetics and tree canopy of the city’s landscape. Previously, trees growing into overhead power lines were pruned with a ‘V’ cut, which reshapes the tree’s canopy into an unnatural shape. Read the news release.
PHOENIX BUSINESSMAN CHARLES KEATING DIES - The man notorious for the Savings-and-Loan scandal of the late 1980s died late Monday at the age of 90. Before becoming a well-known name to the nation in the scandal, Charles H. Keating Jr. developed what some in Phoenix call the "crown jewels" of the Valley, and he was well-known for his charitable works. In 1989, federal regulators seized control of his Lincoln Savings-and-Loan company and Keating's other holdings, alleging that he looted the federally-backed Lincoln Savings at taxpayer expense, sank money into risky ventures and cheated the company's investors. Keating was sentenced to 12 years and seven months in prison, but served just 50 months before the conviction was overturned on a technicality. In 1999, he pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud and was sentenced to time served. Read more from the Arizona Republic.
CITY OF TUCSON ACCEPTING PUBLIC COMMENTS ON ANNUAL ACTION PLAN FOR FEDERAL ENTITLEMENT FUNDS - The City of Tucson is preparing an Annual Action Plan outlining the project investments that will be made with approximately $8 million of entitlement funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for Fiscal Year 2015. This Annual Action Plan must be adopted by the Mayor and Council and submitted to HUD before the City can make local project expenditures. The public comment period starts Friday and runs through May 3. More details are available in the news release and from the City of Tucson Housing and Community Development department.
ZEBRA DIES IN ACCIDENT AT REID PARK ZOO - The young Grevy's zebra, named Ajani, was born at Reid Park Zoo a year and 7 months ago and died yesterday morning during the preparation for routine, required vaccinations. Shortly after being separated from the rest of the herd, Ajani was suddenly startled by another zebra in an adjacent area and ran into the normal enclosure barrier, fracturing his neck. Zoo officials say the incident occurred in an interior area of the exhibit, not visible to the public. Zookeepers witnessed the accident and the veterinary team immediately performed CPR in attempts to revive the zebra. While a full post-mortem exam will be completed, an X-ray on site revealed the physical trauma to the vertebrae was not survivable. Read the news release.
STOLEN JFK BUST RECOVERED - After sitting idle for almost 50 years at El Presidio Park in Downtown Tucson, the bronze bust of the head of John F. Kennedy was ripped from its concrete base last December and hadn't been seen until this past Saturday. A couple walking in a westside wash says they found the bust in a pot turned upside down and took it to a recycling center to turn it in, but they didn't want any money. Tucson Parks and Recreation Administrator Peg Weber identified the bust, which is in pretty good shape, except for a few gashes at the lower part that was near the base. Read more from KGUN9.
APRIL IS WATER AWARENESS MONTH IN ARIZONA - Tucson Water and several Tucson City Council Members are hosting four public sessions this month 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 first session will be held tonight from 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at the Pima County Housing Center, 801 W. Congress St. For more information, call the Ward 1 Council Office, (520) 791-4040.
BIKE FEST BEGINS TODAY - Today is the first day of the month-long Bike Fest in Pima County. Approximately 40 events and activities will take place during the month of April, including Walk and Roll to School Day (April 4), Cyclovia Tucson (April 6), Greater Arizona Bicycling Association Swap Meet, and Bike to Work Day (April 23rd). You can find a complete listing of events at the URL below. 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.
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.
URBAN LAND INSTITUTE (ULI) ISSUES FINAL REPORT - The ULI, an independent global nonprofit that provides leadership in real estate development and responsible land use, visited Tucson in November to provide a technical assessment for underutilized properties in Downtown Tucson. The ULI team toured the downtown area and met with many downtown and community stakeholders in both the public and private sectors. The final recommendations include a small-scale, incremental development strategy instead of a single, large-scale approach. Read the report and watch video of the preliminary report from November.
STREETCAR OPERATOR TRAINING UNDERWAY - Eighteen newly-hired drivers are in the process of learning how to operate the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar. The new operators must complete an intensive training schedule that includes both in-classroom and behind-the-wheel testing and training. Sun Link Streetcar passenger service is expected to begin in late July. Read more from Tucson News Now.
REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY BEGINS RESEARCH ON SECOND ROUND OF BONDS - The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) Board last week voted to have staff research a second round of bond financing totalling between $125 million to $175 million. The first round of bonds funded several large regional roadway projects and construction of the Sun Link Streetcar project. The RTA is studying whether to issue the second round of bonds this year, during what it feels is a favorable climate for both interest rates and construction bids. The RTA manages the $2.1 billion regional transportation plan approved by Pima County voters on May 16, 2006. Read the news release and agenda material from March 27 meeting.
TUCSON CITY NEWS IN REVIEW - A diversion program helps veterans out of the court system and into treatment; a learning experience on wheels delivers a message about conservation; and a garden oasis provides a special place for spiritual reflection . Catch up on the news you may have missed on the latest edition of Tucson City News in Review, produced by Tucson 12.
SUNNYSIDE LITTLE LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SIGNS POSTED - Little League Softball World Series championship signs were unveiled to the public over the weekend at Mission Manor Park. Ward 5 Council Member Richard Fimbres and the City of Tucson Parks and Recreation department hosted a ceremony to recognize the first time in 23 years that the Little League Softball™ World Series champion is from the West Region. After defeating McLean, Va. 9-0 last August, the Sunnyside Little League girls 12 and under team from Tucson became the state’s first-ever champions. Also recognized with a sign is the 1992 Sunnyside Little League Junior Baseball champions. Read the news release.
HUNDREDS GATHER TO HONOR FALLEN FIRE INVESTIGATOR - A Color Guard led a procession of public safety officers and others this morning in honor of Tucson Fire Investigator Tom Quesnel, who died from leukemia earlier this month. Doctors determined the cancer to be work-related. Quesnel began his career with Tucson Fire in 1989 and became a Fire Cause Investigator in 1994. The walking procession began at Tucson Police Department Headquarters (270 S. Stone) and ended with a memorial service at Fire Central downtown (300 S. Fire Central Pl.). View the Tucson Fire Department's Facebook page.
TUCSON UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT (TUSD) APPROVES POLICY TO PROTECT TRANSGENDER STUDENTS, STAFF, AND OTHERS - The TUSD Governing Board last night revised its non-discrimination policy. The policy previously prohibited discrimination based on disability, race, color, religious beliefs, sex, sexual orientation, age or national origin. The revision added "gender identity or expression" to the list. The policy change was prompted by a situation within the district, although details were not discussed publicly. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
WILDCATS HOPE TO ADVANCE TO ELITE EIGHT TONIGHT - The Arizona Wildcats take on the San Diego State Aztecs tonight in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Basketball Tournament in Anaheim. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:17 on TBS. The winner will play Saturday against the winner of tonight's Baylor - Wisconsin game.
SURVEY DEADLINE APPROACHING FOR TRANSPORTATION PLAN - Tuesday (April 1) is the deadline to weigh in on the Pima Association of Government's (PAG) 2045 Regional Transportation Plan. The survey is the beginning of a nearly two-year effort to update the PAG region's long-range transportation plan. The PAG region encompasses all of Pima County and includes the Cities of Tucson and South Tucson; the Towns of Marana, Oro Valley, and Sahuarita; unincorporated Pima County; the Pascua Yaqui Tribe; and the Tohono O'odham Nation. PAG is in the process of prioritizing more than $17 billion in transportation spending over the next 30 years.
CATCH UP ON THE LATEST NEWS ABOUT THE REID PARK ZOO - Reid Park Zoo is bursting with pride after introducing its four new lion cubs to the public. It has been a busy several weeks at the Zoo for the pride and staff. Watch Tucson 12's Zoo News for a summary of the journey, and re-live the excitement of the cubs' birth and first outing in front of the public.