City News



Reid Park Zoo announces that Semba, a 24-year old African Elephant,
successfully delivered a female calf at 10:55pm last night! Both mother
and calf appear to be doing well, but are spending quiet time in the
Click Family Elephant Care Center under the watchful eyes of the
elephant team. This is Semba’s third calf, but the first elephant ever
born at Reid Park Zoo.   Congratulations to the Reid Park Zoo staff.

NewsNet 08-21-14

ELEPHANT CALF BORN AT REID PARK ZOO ON TUCSON'S BIRTHDAY - African elephant Semba gave birth last night to a female calf, and both are doing well. This is Semba's third calf, but the first elephant ever born at the Reid Park Zoo. It's also the only African Elephant birth in any zoo this year. “This birth, literally the largest in the history of the State of Arizona, represents a significant milestone for the Zoo,” said Zoo Administrator Jason Jacobs. “This birth would not have been possible without the vision and partnership of the City of Tucson, Reid Park Zoo, Reid Park Zoological Society, and San Diego Zoo Global.” The first 48-72 hours following the birth are the most essential for Semba and her as-yet-unnamed calf to form a strong physical and emotional bond. Although Semba and the calf are not currently on exhibit, they may be viewable soon on the Zoo Cams between the hours of 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The rest of the herd members will remain on exhibit intermittently throughout the day. Check out the Reid Park Zoo and City of Tucson Facebook and Twitter sites for late-breaking information.
Reid Park Zoo Twitter
Reid Park Zoo Facebook
City of Tucson Facebook
City of Tucson Twitter
TUCSON POLICE PART OF MULTI-AGENCY CRIMINAL STREET GANG ARRESTS - The Tucson Police Department (TPD) joined other agencies in Southern Arizona in serving 16 arrest warrants yesterday at nine Tucson locations. TPD said the Eastside Crips (ESC) is an organized group whose members are suspected of homicides, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, trafficking in firearms, and committing violent crimes. The case was initiated based on information gathered by TPD, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Arizona Department of Public Safety's Gang Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission. The case is being prosecuted by the Criminal Division of the Arizona Attorney General’s Office in Tucson. Read more on TPD Facebook page.
AN INSIDE VIEW OF THE 2014 TUCSON FIRE ACADEMY - It takes a lot of hard training and plenty of long hours to be a firefighter with the Tucson Fire Department (TFD). To give the public an idea of what that training entails, TFD put together a video of its most recent 21-week training academy, start to finish. The video was produced Capt. Jim Grimes.
TFD Facebook page
FRIDAY NIGHT CONCERT SERIES CONCLUDES TOMORROW AT UA - Tomorrow is the final concert in the "Friday Night Live!" series at Main Gate Square at the University of Arizona. Presented by the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance, tomorrow's 7 p.m. performance features Jazz saxophonist Kelland Thomas. Main Gate now is easily accessible via the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar.
HOW TO MANAGE HARD WATER AND OTHER TIPS FROM TUCSON WATER - Get tips on how to manage hard water, increase dishwasher efficiency, flush your water heater, check faucet aerators, and more. Information is available in English and Spanish. You can download, print, or request a mailed copy of the tips. You can also learn how to pay your water bill online and stop and start service.

NewsNet 08-20-14

TUCSON FIRE DEPARTMENT PERFORMS ANOTHER SWIFT WATER RESCUE - For the second time in three days, Tucson Fire Department (TFD) personnel performed a swift water rescue, using a fire truck ladder to help a woman trapped in her car in a wash near Broadway and Camino Seco. A single firefighter walked out on the ladder and handed the woman a lifejacket. She was then able to climb out of the window and onto the ladder to walk to safety. The woman was assessed on scene, but did not require medical attention. TFD urges motorists to stay away from flowing washes during thunderstorms, saying moving water 1-2 feet deep will carry away most vehicles. See video of the resuce on TFD Facebook page.

CEREMONY OF FLAGS TO MARK TUCSON'S BIRTHDAY -  The five flags that have flown over Tucson – American, Spanish, Mexican, Confederate, and the State of Arizona – will be presented in a ceremony tonight to celebrate Tucson’s 239th birthday. The Tohono O'odham Nation and Pascua Yaqui Tribe flags also will be presented, as will a replica of the 28-star American flag that was brought by the Mormon Battalion and flown over Tucson in 1846. The celebration begins at 5:30 p.m., with a performance by Mariachi Los Changuitos Feos de Tucson at Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Courtyard (SW corner of Church Avenue and Washington Street). The flag ceremony begins at 6:30 p.m., followed by proclamations and a reading of Hugo O’Conor’s letter designating Tucson as the site of a new presidio. Those attending are encouraged to dress in “period” costumes and sample a piece of Tucson’s birthday cake. Read the news release for more information.

TUCSON AND OTHER CITIES WIN LATEST ELECTION BATTLE AGAINST STATE - An appellate court ruling says the State of Arizona can't make Tucson, Phoenix and other cities move their municipal elections to even-numbered years. Monday's ruling by the Arizona Court of Appeals upholds a trial judge's ruling that the 2012 law improperly intrudes on the constitutional authority of charter cities. The State had appealed a 2013 ruling by Judge James Marner of Pima County Superior Court. Cities claim they have the right to set their own elections, while opponents suggest turnout would be greater and cost less if local elections were held at the same time as presidential and gubernatorial elections. There was no immediate response from the Arizona Attorney General’s Office about a possible appeal to the State Supreme Court. Read more from the Arizona Capitol Times and the Associated Press via Tucson News Now.

NEXT WEEK IS DEADLINE TO SUBMIT REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS FOR REDEVELOPMENT OF TRANSIT CENTER - The City of Tucson is looking for a developer for a 4.7-acre site in the heart of downtown (Congress Street and Sixth Avenue) to create a distinctive multi-modal, mixed-use development incorporating a modern transit center. Adjacent to the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar line, the area currently consists of the Ronstadt Transit Center and two surface parking lots. More than $930 million in recent private and public investment - including new restaurants, shops, businesses, and housing - are near the site. Upcoming investments near the area include a grocery store, a new hotel, additional housing, and roadway improvements. The City’s goal is to transform the development site from a single-use transit center into a mixed-use development that contributes to an active, economically-robust downtown. Requests for Proposals are due Aug. 28, 2014. More information is available from the City of Tucson Office of Integrated Planning.

DOWNLOAD APP TO REPORT GRAFFITI IN TUCSON - Graffiti Protective Coatings and the City of Tucson have a smartphone application for reporting graffiti. MyTucson is a free download on the iPhone App Store and Google Play for Android.
Watch a University of Arizona PSA about the app.

NewsNet 08-19-14

PIMA COUNTY COMBINED PROPERTY TAXES TO INCREASE 12 PERCENT - Most Pima County homeowners will see an increase in their property tax bills this year. In a 3-2 vote yesterday, the Pima County Board of Supervisors set the County’s combined tax rate at $5.76 per $100 of assessed valuation - an increase of about 12 percent from last year. Supervisors also  approved tax rates set by dozens of municipalities, school boards, fire district boards, and other special taxing districts. The exact increase varies depending on where a person lives, but the owner of a $150,000 house in Tucson and the Tucson Unified School District can expect to pay, on average, an extra $123 next year. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
TUCSON PROGRAM SAVES WATER AND HELPS WITH ENVIRONMENTAL PROJECTS -Tucson Water customers have saved 3.6 million gallons of water while contributing to community enhancement projects through Conserve to Enhance (C2E), a program started at the University of Arizona. Tucson participants have saved water through conservation strategies, ranging from behavioral changes to rainwater harvesting installations. Tucson C2E has received nearly $40,000 in donations since the program began. Donations have come directly from participant water savings and the “Riparian Enhancement and Open Space” check box on Tucson Water monthly bills. The program has funded numerous projects, including the Atturbury Wash restoration. Now, the effort has expanded beyond state boundaries, looking to help Colorado and California start their own water conservation and community enhancement programs under the umbrella of the UA-based sustainability program.
DEVELOPER ALLAN NORVILLE WINS RIGHT TO NEGOTIATE POSSIBLE LAND PURCHASE FOR DOWNTOWN HOTEL PROJECT - The Rio Nuevo Board voted yesterday to enter into negotiations with developer Allan Norville to have him buy and develop 8.5 acres of Rio Nuevo Land currently occupied by the Greyhound Bus Depot. Norville beat out Ron Schwabe of Peach Properties. Although Norville won a chance to negotiate with Rio Nuevo, the Board still must vote on whether it wants to open talks or scrap the plan and start over. Board discussion is set for next Tuesday. Norville’s plan - offering to pay $5.6 million for the land - calls for a 140-room hotel, a 96-unit apartment complex, a visual arts center, three museums, and a theater. Norville also says he'd build a 120,000-square-foot exhibition hall on his property adjacent to the Rio Nuevo land. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
TRAFFIC ALERT: KOLB ROAD STREET LIGHT REPAIRS - Beginning tomorrow, crews from the City of Tucson Department of Transportation Streets and Traffic Maintenance Division will replace lamps and repair all of the street lights on the west side of Kolb Road, from Tanque Verde Road to Speedway Boulevard. Crews will be working from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The work is scheduled to be finished in one day. For the safety of the work crews and motorists, the southbound curb lane on Kolb Road will be closed during the work. Residential and business access will be maintained at all times. Expect delays if driving through the area during work hours.
- There are many fare options available to ride the streetcar. Cash is not accepted on the car, but you can use it at machines at the stops to buy a $4 one-day pass. In addition, you can buy SunGO passes online or at regular Sun Tran merchants. Discount fares are available for certain students, low-income residents, seniors and disabled passengers. University of Arizona faculty, staff, and students can ride streetcar for free, through Sept. 14, if they sign up for a special U-pass. The City of Tucson has a video that tells you everything you need to know about how to ride the streetcar
Cómo viajar video

Kolb Road Street Light Repairs

On Wednesday, August 20, 2014, work crews from the City of Tucson Department of Transportation Streets and Traffic Maintenance Division will relamp and make repairs to all the street lights on the west side of Kolb Road from Tanque Verde Road to Speedway Boulevard. Crews will be working from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The work is scheduled to be complete in one day.

NewsNet 08-18-14

TUCSON FIRE DEPARTMENT RESCUES TWO FROM FLOODED WASH - Two people were rescued early Sunday morning after floodwaters swept their car into a wash. The Tucson Fire Department (TFD) says the vehicle became stuck in a wash near East 22nd Street and South Kolb Road, near Palo Verde High School. The incident occurred after the driver of the car tried to cross the wash from a nearby road. The vehicle stopped near a pedestrian bridge and the two females were able to climb to the roof and call 9-1-1. Firefighters were able to lower a 14-foot ladder to the car from the pedestrian bridge. Both people were able to climb to safety. TFD urges motorists to stay away from flowing washes during thunderstorms, saying moving water 1-2 feet deep will carry away most vehicles. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star, and see video on TFD Facebook page.
HOW TO REPORT TRANSPORTATION CONCERNS AFTER STORM DAMAGE (OR AT ANY TIME) - Is there a tree in the road after a thunderstorm? Is there a pothole you'd like to see fixed? Is a street sign missing? You can report these issues to the Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT), (520) 791-3154, or email the exact location to You also can use the SeeClickFix website and app.
TUCSON IMPROVING PEDESTRIAN ACCESS CITYWIDE - Starting today, the Tucson Department of Transportation, is beginning work to improve pedestrian access along various city arterial streets. The work involves making ADA improvements along stretches of roadway. Crews will work Monday through Friday, from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. During the work, curb lane restrictions will be in place for the safety of workers and the traveling public. Crews will be working at each location for approximately two weeks. All the work is scheduled to be complete in early October 2014. The first area slated for improvements is Alvernon Way, between 22nd Street to 33rd Street. Future improvement areas are listed at the link below. Read the
TDOT news release and schedule.
LOCAL GOVERNMENTS ADVISED TO BUY LAND FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING - A San Francisco-based economist is urging the City of Tucson and Pima County to buy land while it's available to build future affordable housing. Jacob Bintliff of BAE Urban Economics recently released a study that shows land values tend to soar once high-capacity transportation corridors are established. Dozens of local planners, architects, developers, and housing advocates attended Friday's presentation at the Drachman Institute, which commissioned the study. In the coming decades, much of the new housing development in Pima County should be placed near public transit to meet anticipated demand, the study says. The Drachman Institute says a local employee survey of transportation preferences is due to be released next month. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
REDUCE CLUTTER AND GO PAPERLESS WITH CITY E-BILLING - 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.

TSRS Update

Council Member Fimbres, many thanks for your kind note acknowledging our receipt of the GFOA's Certificate of Achievement for Financial Reporting for the Tucson Supplemental Retirement System for year ended June 30, 2013.
This year's award marks the 18th consecutive year that TSRS has received this award; and I am proud to have achieved these accolades for the City of Tucson.
Regards, Mike
Michael A. Hermanson, CPA
Pension Manager for the City of Tucson

NewsNet 08-15-14

UA COMMUNITY CAN RIDE STREETCAR FREE FOR 30 DAYS - Starting today, students, faculty, and staff at the University of Arizona can ride the new Sun Link Tucson Streetcar and all Sun Tran buses for free, through Sept 14. The promotion requires a special U-Pass that can be ordered online at the link below. After the 30 days end, the card can be loaded with one-day and 30-day monthly passes. In addition, the UA is offering a 50 percent discount for those who buy semester or annual passes. The streetcar travels a nearly 4-mile route through parts of the UA campus, 4th Avenue, Downtown Tucson and the Mercado District west of I-10. If you don't have a UA affiliation, you can buy a SunGO monthly pass for unlimited rides on the streetcar and bus system.
How to Ride the Streetcar
Take a virtual 5-minute ride on the streetcar, produced by Tucson 12

'PULL ASIDE & STAY ALIVE:' MONSOON RAINS CAN THREATEN LIFE & PROPERTY, CAUSE HAVOC ON ROADS - The Tucson Fire Department (TFD) has been busy this year with several swift water rescues during and after thunderstorms, but some of those situations could have been avoided. TFD Captain Barrett Baker says the motto this time of year is to "pull aside, stay alive."
TRAFFIC ALERT: 12TH AVENUE ASPHALT WORK - Crews from the Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) Streets and Traffic Maintenance Division will be performing asphalt maintenance work for the next two weeks on 12th Avenue, between Santa Paula Street and Bilby Road. The work begins on Monday and is scheduled to be complete by Friday, Aug. 29. Work hours will be 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. During the project, at least one lane of travel will be maintained in each direction.
MERMAIDS UNITE DOWNTOWN - Tomorrow's the day mermaids, pirates, jellyfish, and other sea creatures will be washed ashore on downtown's pop-up beach on the MLK Lot at North Fifth Avenue at East Congress Street, and at Fourth Avenue’s Haggerty Plaza, 316 N. Fourth Ave. The "Return of the Mermaids" event begins at both locations at 7 p.m. The Haggerty's Plaza location is more family-friendly, featuring face painting, crafts, games, island music, and a visit with a professional mermaid. The downtown location will have a staged coronation of King Neptune and a goddess of the sea at about 9:30 p.m. or later. The festivities (accessible by streetcar) will then move to Hotel Congress for a beach-themed party from about 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. The event is part of the Downtown Tucson Partnership's Summer in the City Celebration, complete with entertainment and food trucks. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.

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.

Pedestrian Access Improvements: Various Locations Citywide

On Monday, August 18, 2014, crews from West Point Contractors, Inc., under contract with the City of Tucson Department of Transportation, will begin work to improve pedestrian access along various City arterial streets. The work involves installing access ramps and driveway improvements. Crews will work Monday through Friday, from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m.

12th Avenue Asphalt Maintenance Work: Santa Paula Street to Bilby Road

Crews from the Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) Streets and Traffic Maintenance Division will be performing asphalt maintenance work on 12th Avenue between Santa Paula Street and Bilby Road.  The work begins on Monday, August 18, 2014 and is scheduled to be complete by Friday, August 29, 2014. Work hours will be 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

A single travel lane restriction will be in place while crews are performing this maintenance work. At least one lane of travel will be maintained in each direction.

NewsNet 08-14-14

GREEN PAINT PROTECTS, GUIDES CYCLISTS ALONG PARTS OF STREETCAR ROUTE - Perhaps you've seen the green bike boxes at some Tucson intersections, guiding bike riders across streetcar tracks or into boxes at red lights? That green paint also appears at four passenger stops along the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar corridor. The green designates where the bike lane continues and wraps behind the streetcar stop. This type of bike lane treatment allows cyclists to circumnavigate the streetcar when it is stopped. "The City is looking at installing more of these types of bike lanes at transit stops, and some could even appear at bus stops," said Tucson Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator Ann Chanecka.The bike lane treatments at transit stops are the latest tool from the City to make it safer for bicyclists along the 3.9 mile streetcar corridor between the University of Arizona and the Mercado District west of Interstate 10.

DEADLINE TOMORROW TO REQUEST EARLY BALLOT - If you want to vote early in Arizona's Aug. 26 Primary Election, you have until 5 p.m. tomorrow to request a vote-by-mail ballot. If you're on the permanent list for an early ballot, you should have received yours in the mail. Voters who are not registered with one of the major political parties can choose one political party's ballot to vote in the Primary - Democrat, Republican, Libertarian or Green Party. Selecting a political party ballot will not change your voter registration. If you're an Independent or Party Not Designated voter, call the Pima County Recorder's Office at (520) 724-4330, and let the operator know which party ballot you would like to receive. You can also request a ballot online.

FLAGSTAFF USING BOND MONEY TO HELP FIGHT WILDFIRES - With the cash-strapped U.S. Forest Service falling behind in treating its land to prevent wildfires, Flagstaff - which experiences about 300 fires a year - is using its own money to pay for treatment on nearby federal lands. The community is spending millions of dollars to thin 15,000 acres of forest, in an effort to make Flagstaff more resilient in the face of big forest fires, floods, violent storms, and temperature extremes. The money comes from a 2012, $10 million voter-approved bond package funded by a property tax hike. Work on State-owned land already has started, but the biggest share of the effort, in the Coconino National Forest, could start as soon as next spring. Flagstaff leaders say it appears their community is the only city in the United States using bond money for wildfire prevention. Read more from Emergency Management, and learn more about the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project.
MOVIES IN THE PARK SERIES CONTINUES AT REID PARK - Looking for some family-friendly entertainment on a Friday night? Movies in the Park, a Tucson summer staple since 2003, continues tomorrow at Reid Park with a free showing of "Night at the Museum." Residents are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs to enjoy a free movie every other Friday at the Demeester Performing Arts Pavilion, 900 S. Randolph Way. The event begin at 5:30 p.m. with live music, jumping castles, balloon animals, and arts and crafts exhibits from nonprofits. Popcorn, soda, and food truck vendors also will be available for an additional charge. The Movies in the Park program is hosted by Cox Communications and the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance. Read more from Tucson News Now.

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IGR Update - Postal Service

Postal Service:

A group of Senators recently sent a letter to leaders of the appropriations committee asking that the committee prohibit the Postal Service from moving forward with its plan to close 80 processing facilities.  Specifically, the letter asked that a one-year moratorium on consolidations be included in any omnibus appropriations bill or continuing resolution for FY2015.



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