NewsNet 12-01-14

NEW PARKING METERS DOWNTOWN - Downtown Tucson now has 21 new "smart parking meters," which accept coins, credit cards, debit cards, and will soon accept stored value cards. A new smartphone app will be available soon that will allow parking customers to pay through their cell phones. The new meters relay data to Park Tucson to monitor meter operations, revenue, occupancy, and other data to assess future parking needs. The solar-powered meters at Pennington Street and 6th Avenue are the first of more than 850 parking meters expected to be installed downtown this month, with another 200 at Main Gate Square and locations near the University of Arizona campus. Next month, more than 350 meters will be installed in the 4th Avenue business district. More information about how to use the meters is at the Park Tucson website.
 
TUCSON NAMED A BEST CITY FOR HOTEL VALUE - The hotel-booking site Trivago names Tucson as one of the top 50 destinations in its "U.S. Best Value Cities for 2015" index. Tucson - the only Arizona city on the list - ranks 31st in the survey, with an average hotel room rental rate of $104 for a standard double room. The German-based website says Trivago is the world's largest online hotel search site. Read more from KTAR.
 
CATCH UP ON CITY NEWS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED - You may notice some changes the next time you play at a City golf course; a new pocket park opens to the public; and thanks to a community effort, residents are enjoying a new playground. Those stories are featured in the latest edition of Tucson City News in Review, produced by Tucson 12.
 
'BUY LOCAL MONTH' UNDERWAY - While today is "Cyber Monday," a state organization is encouraging you to patronize local businesses. Local First Arizona, a nonprofit advocacy group, says that when you shop at locally-owned businesses, your money is recirculated, creating up to 75 percent more tax revenue to our community and state. Buy Local Month began last Friday and runs through Dec. 24. Many local businesses have special deals for consumers participating in Buy Local Month. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
 
FOOD SAFETY FOR THE HOLIDAYS - With the holidays upon us (and maybe some leftover Thanksgiving food in the refrigerator), now is a good time to brush up on food safety. Tucson Fire Captain Barrett Baker explains the importance of safe food preparation and proper handling of leftovers.