NewsNet 05-06-15

TUCSON WATER DIRECTOR RESIGNS - Tucson Water Director Alan Forrest is leaving the utility after three years on the job. His last day is June 12, and there will be a national search to replace him. Forrest says he is returning to the private sector to work for engineering firm CH2M HILL, where he worked for seven years before becoming water director. In a resignation memo to his staff, Forrest said he's proud of the work he accomplished during his leadership at Tucson Water and that he leaves it in good hands. "We are all grateful to Alan for his sound leadership of Tucson Water during his tenure as director," said City Manager Martha Durkin. "Our citizens can be proud that Tucson Water continues to be considered one of nation's finest water utilities delivering high quality water to more than 700,000 customers in a desert community that is a leader in conserving water."  Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.

MAYOR AND COUNCIL MOVE FORWARD SOME CHARTER CHANGE RECOMMENDATIONS - The Mayor and Tucson City Council yesterday decided to continue discussions on some of the recommendations from the Charter Review Committee (CRC). Paring down a long list of CRC recommendations that could be sent to voters this November, Mayor and Council agreed to further study giving the mayor full vote on all matters and standardizing the process for appointment and removal of department directors. Proposed Charter changes dealing with financial matters will be discussed on May 19. Read the agenda items from yesterday's meeting, and learn more about proposed Charter changes.

TUCSON'S EFFORTS TO END VETERANS HOMELESSNESS PROGRESSING - Two projects by nonprofits to build subsidized apartments for homeless veterans in Tucson are in the works. La Frontera Partners and Esperanza En Escalante are developing the specialized housing projects. Both projects would use the Housing First model, which means veterans get quick access to housing first and then help with other problems, such as mental health issues or substance abuse problems. The Public Housing Authority board, which is made up of the Mayor and City Council, approved contracts with the two groups yesterday. One of the new sites will be located downtown (101 S. Stone Ave.) and the other is on Tucson's southeast side (3700 S. Calle Polar). Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.

TUCSON POLICE DEPARTMENT HONORS FALLEN OFFICERS TOMORROW - The 2015 Tucson Police Department Annual Fallen Officer Memorial will begin at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Memorial Courtyard on the front lawn of TPD headquarters, 270 S. Stone Avenue. Eight officers from TPD were killed in the line of duty. Every year, the Tucson Police Department takes a moment to remember and honor the fallen officers for their dedication, service, and the price they paid. Read the news release.

REID PARK ZOO EUTHANIZES LONG-TERM RESIDENT SUN BEAR - Reid Park Zoo today announced the death of a Malayan sun bear named Dresena. The 34-year-old bear was euthanized yesterday, after a veterinarian said her quality of life began declining quickly over the past several weeks, with clear neurological symptoms. Dresena was the oldest known Malayan sun bear in captivity. The median life expectancy for females of the species is 23. Dresena moved to Tucson from the San Diego Zoo in 2001. Over the past few years, as her eyesight declined, she chose to spend most of her time off exhibit. Her den remained a highlight of behind-the-scenes tours and education programs, where she would always visit with groups and receive a few of her favorite treats. “Her long life is a testament to the scientific advances in zoo geriatric husbandry, as well as the love our staff had in caring for this wonderful animal,” said Zoo Administrator Jason Jacobs. “She will be missed by staff, visitors, and volunteers alike.” The Zoo does not have plans to house additional sun bears at this time, but will continue to work closely with other professionals to share expertise regarding issues facing all bear species. Read the news release.