Paul's Note - August 27, 2020

Yesterday, the COVID-19 dashboard from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) showed 239 new cases and 1 new death here in Pima County. The now fully approved Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine offers the surest protection against a virus that continues hospitalizing and killing those who aren’t vaccinated. Full approvals of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are expected in the near future. There are many places in Tucson to get tested and to get vaccinated. 

I’m a classroom teacher and that puts a lot of responsibility on me to keep my students, and by extension their families, safe from COVID, and that’s why I got vaccinated. Please do so, not just for your own health but for your friends, family, co-workers and the strangers you interact with every day. 

Click here for a list of free COVID testing sites offered by Pima County. 

To get vaccinated, you can go to the sites listed here or call 222-0119. 

Remember that Ready, Set Rec! Kicks off this weekend at Palo Verde Park. 

This program started earlier this year as we were looking at ways to give people in Tucson recreational opportunities with so many of our indoor recreation centers closed. We purchased vans as part of our CARES Act money and Parks and Recreation visits parks around our community equipped with items like arts and crafts supplies, STEM educational equipment, sports items, yard games, large board games and even fishing and Loteria. 

The program took a break over the summer (it was a little hot out), but is restarting again on Saturday at 9 am over at Palo Verde Park. 

This, by the way, is the kick off for the entire city. It’s appropriate to have the launch at that particular park, given the work that the Palo Verde Park Neighborhood Association and our Parks and Recreation Department have put in over the last couple of years to make that one of the best neighborhood parks in the city. 

The van will be making visits to Case Park (September 2), Udall Park (September 4) and Jesse Owens Park (September 9). I will be posting details on my Facebook page as well as on my weekly update. You can also visit the website at https://www.tucsonaz.gov/parks/readysetrec or on Instagram and Twitter at @readysetrec. 

Saturday is San Agustín Day, the day that Spanish troops under the leadership of an Irish mercenary named Hugo Oconór founded a presidio (a fancy name for a fort), roughly near where the corner of Church and Alameda is now. The presidio was named for an already existing Tohono O’Odham village near by, Schuk Son, meaning “black base,” a name that makes sense to anyone who has seen the basalt rock that the Tucson Mountains west of town are made of. 

Tucson, by the way, was the first city to be incorporated in Arizona. In 1877, what was then known as the Village of Tucson included an area roughly from Speedway south to 22nd Street and Main/Granada west to 1st Avenue. We had less than 7000 residents at the time, but served as the territorial capitol in those days. 

Happy birthday Tucson, best city ever.