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NewsNet 04-16-14

REID PARK ZOO RECEIVES ASSOCIATION OF ZOOS AND AQUARIUM ACCREDITATION -  The Reid Park Zoo recently earned a five-year re-accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The Zoo underwent a review and inspection in January, demonstrating how it meets or exceeds professional standards for excellence in animal care, veterinary programs, conservation, education, and safety. Last month, Reid Park Zoo officials traveled to Memphis, Tennessee for a hearing by AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission. "AZA accreditation validates our efforts, and the Zoo’s staff, volunteers, and supporters should be commended for making Reid Park Zoo one of the best zoos of its size in the nation,” said Zoo Administrator Jason Jacobs.

GOVERNOR SIGNS LAW ALLOWING UNANNOUNCED INSPECTIONS OF ARIZONA ABORTION CLINICS - Gov. Jan Brewer signed legislation yesterday permitting the state health department to make unannounced inspections of abortion clinics without first getting a warrant from a judge. Backers of HB 2284 said there is no reason to exempt abortion clinics from the same regulations that apply to all other health care facilities. Opponents said the clinics need protection because there is a heightened need for privacy for patients and staff. A federal appeals court voided an identical provision in 2004, ruling the statute’s authorization of “boundless, warrantless search of physicians’ offices” by state health officials violates constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure. Cathi Herrod, president of the anti-abortion Center for Arizona Policy, which helped write the measure, said state regulatory policies have changed since then, legitimizing this version of the law. Read more from Capitol Media Services via the Arizona Daily Star.

REPORT: DETROIT PENSION BOARDS AGREE TO CUTS THAT COULD HELP CITY EXIT BANKRUPTCY - Negotiators for Detroit pension boards agreed yesterday to retiree benefit cuts that were lower than initially proposed. The agreement could help resolve Detroit’s historic Chapter 9 bankruptcy and position the City to start reinvesting in city services to its citizens. The deal would require civilian retirees to accept a 4.5 percent cut to their monthly pension checks and the elimination of cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) increases, while police and fire retirees would get no cuts to monthly checks but absorb a reduction in COLA increases, the sources said. Pension board trustees still must sign off on the deal, and a U.S. government committee officially appointed to represent Detroit retirees is still weighing whether to support the City’s proposal. Read more from Governing.

IT'S NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS WEEK - The City of Tucson is honoring public safety dispatchers, 911 operators, and police service operators on National Telecommunications Week. The week is dedicated to public safety telecommunicators who provide 911 emergency assistance to citizens every day and night. Public safety agencies encourage citizens to recognize and celebrate the dedicated service provided by Tucson's telecommunicators. Read the news release.

WATER AWARENESS PRESENTATIONS CONTINUE - April is Water Awareness Month in Arizona, and Tucson Water and several Tucson City Council Members are hosting public sessions 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 next session, co-hosted by Ward 4 Council Member Shirley Scott, will be held tomorrow from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Clements Recreation Center (Multi-Purpose Room), 8155 E. Ponciana Drive. For more information, call the Ward 4 Council Office, (520) 791-3199. Read the news release.