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NewsNet 10-11-13

ARIZONA AG'S OFFICE RELEASES REPORT ON RIO NUEVO, SAYS NO CRIMINAL ACTIVITY FOUND – After investigating allegations of criminal activity associated with Tucson's Rio Nuevo Multipurpose Facilities District for about eighteen months, the Arizona Attorney General's Office has released a memo outlining its decision to decline prosecuting anyone. The state's investigation, which was led by Assistant Attorney General Mike Jette, was joined by the FBI in the summer of 2011 and included help from two FBI agents and two FBI analysts. The investigative team examined tens of thousands of documents and interviewed dozens of witnesses. Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said the city can now put past Rio Nuevo misdeeds behind it and focus on the future. "The two agencies did thorough investigations and reached the right result," Rothschild said. "It has long been time we looked forward about downtown. We have been doing that the past 20 months and we are seeing the rapid results." From the Star.

STREETCAR TO BEGIN HIGH-SPEED TESTING THIS WEEKEND – On Sunday from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., the City of Tucson's Sun Link streetcar team will be conducting controlled high speed testing on the streetcar along University Boulevard, between Fourth Avenue and Euclid Avenue. The tests will involve speeds of up to 45 mph, and will be conducted on street sections closed to regular traffic. From Sun Link.

CITIES REPORT BETTER FINANCES, BUT WORRIES PERSIST – Fiscal conditions are slowly improving for American cities, aided by increases in sales tax and income tax revenue, but rapidly rising pension and health costs for city workers continue to pose a potentially crippling threat, according to an annual study released Thursday by the National League of Cities. Local officials also expressed concern that the gridlock in Washington over the debt ceiling and other budget issues could send their cities back into a tailspin. In particular, there would be "catastrophic implications" to a failure to raise the debt ceiling, said Clarence E. Anthony, the league's executive director. From the New York Times.

CALIFORNIA CITY BANS RETAIL PET SALES – The nationwide battle over so-called "puppy mills" made its way to Carlsbad, CA Tuesday night, where the City Council voted 3-1 to ban pet stores from selling dogs or cats after intense lobbying by a variety of animal rights groups. Carlsbad's move comes three months after the city of San Diego banned retail pet sales and two weeks after the Oceanside City Council voted 3-2 against such a ban. A group representing breeders said Tuesday night that bans unfairly target reputable businesses. But more and more cities across the country—especially in California—have begun tackling the issue in response to pressure from groups such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and increased media attention on puppy mills. Concerns about animal welfare in Southern Arizona have prompted some recent municipal actions, such as last year's City of Tucson ban on steroids for racing greyhounds, and Tucson and other jurisdictions' recent consideration of new ways to fund spay/neuter programs. From the San Diego Union-Tribune.

EL TOUR SHORT NEARLY $100,000 IN SPONSORSHIPS – El Tour de Tucson officials say they don't have a title sponsor for this year's race and are approximately $97,000 short on corporate sponsorships. They say the race will still go on this year on Saturday, Nov. 23, but they do need a title sponsor for next year. Officials say if there is no title sponsor for next year, the organization might have to look into raising participation fees. The University of Arizona Medical Center was the title sponsor for the previous six years. Interested potential sponsors should contact Richard DeBernardis, founder and president of the Perimeter Bicycling Association of America, at (520) 745-2033. From KOLD/KMSB.