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NewsNet 04-21-14

ARIZONA'S JOBLESS RATE SHOWS SLOW IMPROVEMENT - The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports Arizona gained a net 47,800 jobs last year. That was enough to boost the workforce 1.9 percent in that time and was faster than the nation's 1.6 percent growth rate. However, the state's job recovery remains on a slow climb, something many economists had hoped would change in 2014. Arizona had 21,000 fewer unemployed residents in March 2014 than it did the year before. That was a nearly 9 percent decline in the jobless rate, according to the BLS, ranking Arizona 34th among the 50 states. Read more from azcentral.

UA BIO PARK TO GET NEW NAME - University of Arizona officials say they plan to rename UA Bio Park and announce their new focus for the site. The name change hasn't been revealed, and there are no buildings yet on the 65-acre lot, located near 36th Street and Kino Parkway. Officials say only the infrastructure is complete. The UA says the name change is to communicate to companies that the place is more than just a location for bioscience research. Read more from Tucson News Now.

RIO NUEVO BILL APPROVAL SHOULD ENABLE NEW DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT - Rio Nuevo now has state approval to start spending money on Downtown Tucson redevelopment without a prior limitation that required building a hotel first. Gov. Jan Brewer recently signed a bill that lifts Rio Nuevo’s hotel spending mandate. Even though funding a hotel project is no longer required, Rio Nuevo Chairman Fletcher McCusker says he would still like to get one started. Other plans being discussed include building a new 120,000-square-foot exhibition hall next to Rio Nuevo property, behind the Tucson Convention Center along Granada Avenue, and spending $1 million as part of the Mission Gardens project, a replica of a historic agricultural area along the Santa Cruz River that once provided fruits and vegetables to early residents. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.

BIKE TO WORK DAY IS WEDNESDAY - Tucson workers are encouraged to pedal to work Wednesday, as part of Bike to Work Day, one of the events of the month-long Bike Fest. Downtown workers are invited to stop at the Main Library near Stone and Pennington from 7 a.m. - 9 a.m. for breakfast refreshments. 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.

SCORE A DEAL ON CITY SURPLUS - Need a bus? Maybe a pickup better fits your transportation needs? How about a digital camera, or a treadmill? You can find these items and more on the City of Tucson's surplus auction website. View the items listed for bid.