"A" MOUNTAIN FIREWORKS FRIDAY - The Independence Day fireworks celebration from “A” Mountain will start at approximately 9:15 p.m. Friday. The 4th of July celebration is sponsored by the Tohono O'odham Nation's Desert Diamond Casinos & Entertainment. Residents can watch the fireworks from the Tucson Convention Center’s parking lots. There will be food vendors (burgers, hot dogs, ice cream, refreshments and a beer garden) available between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.
PUBLIC ART ADORNS TEN OF 22 STREETCAR STOPS - The Sun Link Tucson Streetcar starts passenger service on July 25, and the route is already bursting with new public art. Eight artists designed the artwork for the ten streetcar stops and the Sun Link Operations and Maintenance Facility. Another artist designed the art on the Luis G. Gutierrez Bridge. Each piece represents the artist's overall interpretation of "flow" - such as the flow of time, history, words, ideas, etc. across our city - to symbolize the streetcar's smooth movement through Tucson's urban core. The $765,000 cost for the art was funded by the City of Tucson and Pima County’s Percent for Arts Program, which allocates one percent of the budget for capital improvement projects for public art. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star, and learn more about the Sun Link arts program.
PIMA COUNTY TO USE FUND BALANCE TO BUY SOCCER SITE; FINALIZES PAINTED HILLS PURCHASE - Pima County will buy 167 acres of land near the Kino Sports Complex to build soccer fields, but the money for the purchase will not come from funds set aside for road repairs, as previously had been discussed. Instead, the Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 yesterday to make the $1.75 million down payment on the property — with a total cost of $8.75 million — using money from its year-end fund balance, which County officials said was $2 million to $3 million higher than expected. The County also will move forward with a $7.5 million purchase of a 286-acre parcel in the west-side Painted Hills area. Supervisors voted to use $3 million from a 2004 open-space program to make a down payment on the land, which is owned by the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System. At Monday's Tucson Mayor & Council meeting, Painted Hills preservation supporters praised the City of Tucson for its steadfast support and leadership in protecting the area from development. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
Mayor and Council agenda items about the transaction
TUCSON NONPROFIT BREAKS GROUND ON NEW OUTDOOR CHILDREN'S FACILITY - Aviva Children's Services is building a park-like facility that is more than just a playground. The nonprofit, which helps children in State care, is turning a dirt lot next to its facility near Broadway and Campbell into a secure place to help facilitate court-ordered visits with children and their parents. Aviva serves more than 3,500 children in foster care in Pima County. The estimated cost of the new 11,000-square-foot outdoor visit center is $425,000, with part of the funding being covered by a grant from Angel Charity. Construction is expected to be finished by December. Read more Tucson News Now.
Capacity improvements on I-19 southbound off ramp at Valencia Road start July 7
The Arizona Department of Transportation will begin a project to improve the southbound Interstate 19 exit ramp at Valencia Road following the July 4 holiday weekend.
TUCSON RESIDENTS CAN BUY INSURANCE FOR THEIR EXTERIOR WATER LINE - The National League of Cities and Towns is endorsing a water and sewer line warranty program for Tucson residents who are interested in purchasing repair protection. On June 3, the Mayor and Tucson City Council unanimously approved a contract implementing the program. Tucson residents recently were mailed details of the offer. Homeowners are responsible for their exterior water and sewer lines. The warranty program, from Service Line Warranties of America (SLWA), covers the homeowner's repair costs for leaking, clogged or broken lines. More than 150 cities, including Phoenix, Avondale and Mesa, are co-sponsors of the League-sponsored program. The Service Line Warranty Program provides an important service to city homeowners, as repairs to the exterior water line can be very costly. A sewer line warranty also available through SLWA. Read Mayor and Council materials from the June 3 meeting.
CITY MAY RECONSIDER NEW URBAN AGRICULTURE RULES - Proposed limits on how many chickens and goats Tucson residents can keep in their backyards may be not adopted after all. The same goes for new rules about selling homegrown fruits and vegetables to neighbors. Tucson City Council members last night expressed hesitation about bringing the changes to a public vote in the wake of opposition from urban farmers, who say the proposed rules would hinder people from growing their own food. An update to urban agriculture rules aims to balance increased interest in animal and food production in residential areas with neighborhood protection, historic building preservation, and other quality of life issues such as noise and odor. The Mayor and Council will re-visit the issue in the future. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
City of Tucson's urban agriculture proposed farm animal rules (including chickens)
CITY COUNCIL HOLDS FIRST PUBLIC HEARING ON UPDATED IMPACT FEES - The Mayor and Tucson City Council last night held a public hearing on proposed updated development impact fees. Tucson currently collects impact fees on all new development, but it will be forced to stop on Aug. 1 after failing to meet the deadline for adopting a complicated state-mandated update on how it charges and spends the money. Homebuilder groups say the City’s proposed changes need more work. The plan would boost fees from about $7,400 to $10,000 on an average 2,250-square-foot home. Impact fees help ensure that new residents pay some of the cost of additional roads, parks, police, and fire equipment required by those new residents and reduces the burden on existing taxpayers. The City Council voted unanimously to direct City staff to incorporate all of the speakers’ concerns as they work toward a final draft. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
Agenda materials from last night's Mayor and Council meeting
TRASH PICKUP DELAYED FRIDAY - Because of the 4th of July holiday Friday, City of Tucson customers who normally have their trash and recycling picked up on that day will instead have their collections on Saturday. City offices also will be closed on Friday. Read the news release.
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HOW TO REPORT TRANSPORTATION CONCERNS - 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.
The 4th of July holiday will be observed on Friday, July 4, 2014. Residential and commercial trash and recycling will not be collected on Friday. All City of Tucson residential and commercial customers with regular Friday service will have their trash and recycling service collected on Saturday, July 5, 2014. The Los Reales Landfill and the Household Hazardous Waste Facility will be closed.
TUCSON POLICE DEPARTMENT TO GET GIFT OF 50 AEDs - The Steven M. Gootter Foundation tonight will present the Tucson Police Department (TPD) with 50 Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs). The money to pay for the AEDs comes from a portion of the $500,000 raised at the 2014 Gootter Grand Slam charity tennis event in March. The presentation of the AEDs will happen at tonight's meeting of the Mayor and Tucson City Council, which begins at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers at 255 W. Alameda St. A demonstration on the use of AEDs will be held before the meeting, at 5:30 p.m., in the plaza outside of Council
WINGSPAN CLOSING JULY 31 - Wingspan — a center that serves lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities — will close its doors July 31 because of financial problems. The nonprofit has served LGBT clients for 26 years and has experienced financial difficulties since 2009, said Paul Guerrero, president of Wingspan’s board of directors. “The board voted to begin collaborations with the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation to discuss a transition that will allow for Wingspan’s programs and mission to continue,” Guerrero said. Discussions with other nonprofits also are underway. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
FREE GAS CAPS FOR SOME CARS WHO FAIL EMISSIONS - Starting tomorrow, Arizona is giving away free gas caps to people who fail their vehicle emissions test due to a faulty gas cap. The cost of the program actually will be paid by the emissions contractor, Gordon-Darby. Not only will Arizonans not have to pay for the new gas cap, but they also won't have to return for another test. Gordon-Darby will keep a regular stock of the most widely-used gas caps, which should cover about 90-percent of vehicles. If a cap is not readily available, drivers will get a $5 prepaid debit card to help defray the cost of a new gas cap. Read more from Capitol Media Services via the Arizona Daily Star.
TUCSON SOCCER TEAMS IN NATIONAL COMPETITION - Five Tucson-area youth soccer clubs are headed to Southern California to compete in the 2014 AYSO National Games. Nearly 500 teams and 7,000 athletes will be participating at the Riverside Convention Center. The teams already have arrived, and the competition runs through Sunday.
HOW TO REPORT TRANSPORTATION CONCERNS - 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can use the SeeClickFix website and app fro iOS and Android.
PROPOSED DOWNTOWN HOTEL ARCHAEOLOGICAL DIG - The developer of a proposed AC Marriot hotel at Broadway and Fifth Avenue will need to pursue an archaeological clearance to qualify for an $8 million HUD 108 federal loan to help build the project. The archaeological clearance is a federal requirement for HUD 108 loans, which provide states and communities a source of financing for economic development, housing rehabilitation, public facilities, and large-scale physical development projects. Developer Scott Stiteler, manager of Tucson Urban LLC, is in the early stages of the loan process. Read the memo to Mayor and Council from City Manager Richard Miranda.
BANNER HEALTH TAKEOVER OF UA HEALTH NETWORK A STEP CLOSER - The University of Arizona Health Network (UAHN) and the University of Arizona announced yesterday that they have signed a Principles of Agreement document to negotiate a transaction with Banner Health. A final agreement would lead to the creation of the state's largest private employer, with more than 37,000 employees. According to a joint news release, the signed document formalizes discussions and is intended to lead to definitive agreements sometime in the fall. The proposed transaction is anticipated to generate approximately $1 billion in new capital, academic investments, and other consideration and value beneficial to UA and the community, the release said. UAHN has 6,300 employees working at its two hospitals, health plan and medical group. The UAHN and Banner Boards of Directors and Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) have voted in support of proceeding with negotiations. Final agreements are expected to be completed and signed this September, and the deal is expected to close a few months later.
SUN TRAN GETS NEW CNG BUSES - The City of Tucson and Sun Tran have received 10 of 24 new buses using Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). Once all arrive by January, they will replace 14-year-old CNG buses. The new vehicles use a lower-emissions engine than standard fuel and older CNG buses, improving air quality in Tucson. The buses, costing a little more than $512,000 each, were purchased with funding from the Federal Transportation Administration, City of Tucson and the Regional Transportation Authority. Read more from Tucson News Now.
TWO FORMER WILDCATS HEADING TO NBA - Former University of Arizona basketball players Aaron Gordon and Nick Johnson learned their futures yesterday, with Gordon being drafted by the Orlando Magic and Johnson going to the Houston Rockets. Gordon was selected fourth by Orlando in the first round, the fourth highest selection ever for an Arizona player, while ex-teammate Johnson went to Houston as 42nd pick in the second round. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
STAY SAFE AT THE BBQ THIS SUMMER - It's summer and (if you can brave the heat) that means plenty of backyard barbecues. However, Captain Barrett Baker of the Tucson Fire Department says barbecuing is one of the top ways to start a wildfire. Just yesterday, an unattended grill sparked an eastside house fire that left two residents displaced. Barrett Baker and and his colleagues share some tips on how to make sure your next cookout is a safe one.
Here is the spay/neuter brochure in English: http://awasa.org/images/pdf/englishpetfix.pdf
Here is the Spanish version: http://awasa.org/images/pdf/spanishpetfix.pdf
Here is a link to a news story about this Saturday’s FREE microchip clinic from 8 to 10 at Pima Animal Care: http://webcms.pima.gov/cms/One.aspx?portalId=169&pageId=128954
Paving on I-10 frontage road and Ruthrauff Road
The Arizona Department of Transportation will close the eastbound I-10 frontage road and the eastbound I-10 entrance ramp at Ruthrauff Road from 9 p.m. Saturday, June 28, to 3 p.m. Sunday, June 29 for paving operations.
WATER USAGE IN TUCSON AT 1994 LEVELS - Even though Tucson's population grew by more than 156,000 people since 1994, water usage in the city is about the same now as it was back then. Tucson Water spokesman Fernando Molina says conservation, low flow devices, and fewer swimming pools in Tucson help control water use, but the pricing of water also is a factor. Tucson was one of the first cities to go to a tiered system for water rates in the 1970s. Tucson Water offers homeowners enough water for showers, laundry and drinking at a comparatively low rate. However, when you have a drip system for landscaping, a swimming pool, or a leaky faucet, the next tier can cost significantly more. Tucson Water also is banking some of its allotment from the CAP to help with any potential shortage in the future, Molina said. Read more from Tucson News Now.
MAYOR TEAMS WITH TUSD TO ENCOURAGE DROPOUTS TO RETURN TO SCHOOL - A one-day door-to-door campaign to contact those who dropped out of school within the last 14 months is scheduled for July 18. Volunteers from the City of Tucson and Tucson Unified School District will be joined by those who dropped out of school (and returned) and others to encourage those who left school to complete their education. The Steps to Success walk volunteers will refer the dropouts to a Success Center, where each student will receive an individualized plan to be reintroduced into an academic environment. The Tucson Police and Fire Departments, University of Arizona Athletics, Pima Community College, United Way, Boys and Girls Clubs, and others have agreed to take part in the campaign. "Dropping out comes with substantial costs, not only for the dropouts and their families, but also for the communities they live in," said Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild. The Arizona Department of Education reports more than 450 students, ranging from seventh to 12th grade, have been identified as having "unknown" educational status. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
BE PREPARED TUCSON - With the monsoon right around the corner, Tucson officials are urging you to be prepared for an emergency, such as a multi-day power outage or an interruption in utilities. Be Prepared Tucson advises all residents to create a 72-hour emergency kit. Each member of your family, including pets, should have a kit. A website from the City of Tucson, U.S. Department of Energy, Homeland Security, and FEMA has a checklist of everything you need to be ready for an emergency. Watch a Tucson Fire Department/Tucson 12 video on how to prepare for an emergency.
IT'S CHILD PASSENGER SAFETY WEEK - The Tucson Police Department (TPD) is deploying its officers this week to stop vehicles for moving and equipment violations, while concentrating their efforts on seat belt and car seat usage. Arizona’s child restraint law requires that every child under the age of five to be properly secured in a federally-approved child safety seat appropriate to the child’s height and weight. TPD also is partnering with Target Stores, Safe Kids Pima County and Tucson Medical Center to offer free car seat checks. The event will be held this Saturday from 8 a.m. - 11 a.m. at the Target at 4040 N. Oracle. TPD nationally-certified car seat technicians will be available to answer questions about car seats, booster seats and child passenger safety. Read the news release, and take a child safety seat quiz at TPD Facebook page.
SUMMER SAFARI NIGHTS PROGRAM CONTINUES TOMORROW AT REID PARK ZOO - Enjoy the Zoo and cooler evening temperatures at a series of themed nights featuring different zookeeper chats, animal encounters, artifact stations, enrichment-making activities, crafts, and scavenger hunts. The event runs every Friday, from 5:30 p.m. - 8 p.m., through July 11. Tomorrow night's theme is Big Cat Night, featuring lions, tigers and jaguars. Learn about big cats in Southern Arizona with the University of Arizona's Jaguar Survey and Monitoring Project and Saguaro National Park. View the schedule and admission prices at Reid Park Zoo.
PHOENIX HEALTH NONPROFIT COMPANY READY TO TAKE OVER UA HEALTH NETWORK - Phoenix-based Banner Health would acquire the University of Arizona Health Network, which includes two Tucson hospitals, under the terms of a 30-year draft agreement that still needs approval from the Arizona Board of Regents. Banner Health, a nonprofit company, is Arizona’s largest health system and operates 16 Arizona hospitals, but none south of Casa Grande. The UA Health Network includes two teaching hospitals - the UA Medical Center-University campus at 1501 N. Campbell Ave., and the UA Medical Center-South at 2800 E. Ajo Way. The network also includes clinics, health plans and a physician practice plan that staffs the teaching hospitals with doctors from the UA. A recent financial report shows that the UA Health Network recorded a $28.5 million loss for the first eight months of the current fiscal year. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
HIRING UNDERWAY FOR NEW SHELTER TO HOUSE MIGRANT CHILDREN - Southwest Key currently has 272 job openings at its new shelter north of Downtown Tucson. The company is looking to fill numerous positions for cooks, care providers, and more. According to job descriptions posted online, many positions require that employees are bilingual and have previous childcare or case management experience. The shelter will house mostly Central American unaccompanied minor children who crossed illegally into the United States. Many of those children currently are housed in a Border Patrol facility in Nogales, Ariz.
TRAFFIC ALERT: 22ND STREET ASPHALT WORK - Crews from the Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) Streets and Traffic Maintenance Division are performing asphalt maintenance work on 22nd Street between Country Club Road and Tucson Boulevard. The work began early this morning and is expected to be finished by Friday, July 11, 2014. Work hours will be weekdays from 6 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. A single travel lane restriction will be in place during the work. At least two lanes of travel will be maintained at all times. Read the news release.
RIO NUEVO TO HAVE ACCESS TO DISTRICT TAX RECORDS - The Rio Nuevo Board unanimously authorized signing an agreement with the Arizona Department of Revenue, giving the district access to tax forms showing which businesses’ sales tax collections are being credited to the downtown redevelopment effort. About 1,100 businesses within the district are supposed to fill in a code on their tax forms so Rio Nuevo can receive its share of those tax dollars. However, district employees can’t access the forms to see how many of them actually are entering the code. Filling in the box doesn’t increase the amount of tax collected, but it means that all the money goes to the state instead of some of it remaining in Tucson. The board also approved $25,000 for a group wanting to renovate the fountains that link La Placita Village and the Tucson Convention Center. However, the money is contingent upon the group finding a match from the City, County or private parties. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
ELEPHANT BABY SHOWER THIS WEEKEND - The Reid Park Zoo is hosting a baby shower for Semba, the pregnant African Elephant. The party will be held at the Zoo Sunday from 8 a.m. - 10 a.m. Semba isn't expected to give birth to her calf for a few more weeks. In all, the pregnancy lasts about 22 months. Education staff will be on hand with crafts, activities, shower games, and a giant card for guests to sign. You can make a contribution for a specific gift through the Reid Park Zoological Society.