Paul's Note - January 11, 2019

Here in my newsletter, I try to keep you all up to date on Saguaro National Park. Tucson has a rare and wonderful thing: a national park only minutes away from our city limits. Very few cities our size can say that.

Unfortunately, right now, Saguaro is one of the many federal institutions that is affected by the federal government shut-down. You can still visit the park, but you can’t go to the visitor’s center, there are no rangers on duty to help you and a lot of basic maintenance is being left undone. The trash is only being picked up because volunteers from the Friends of Saguaro National Park have been out to do it. They shouldn’t have to.

This is more than just an inconvenience for people who enjoy Saguaro Park. For the employees (some of whom still have to work without a paycheck) it means choosing between an electric bill and buying groceries. That effect trickles through the economy. There are an awful lot of people in our community that are suffering.

The American Federation of Government Employees (who represent nearly 10,000 of the Arizonans directly affected by the shut-down) along with the Pima Area Labor Federation are sponsoring a resource fair and town hall to help furloughed workers who need services during the shutdown. The event will be between 5 and 7 on Friday at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers hall at 750 S Tucson Boulevard.

Agencies that will be there are the Arizona Workforce Connection, the United Way, Community Food Bank, Catholic Community Services and ARC-AZ. There will also be representatives of local congressional offices on hand to give information on what is going on in Washington around the shut-down.

If you are trying to find a way to help, remember that my office is a drop-off location for Community Food Bank donations.

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Remember that Friday night is the opening of the Senior Olympic Festival. This is the 35th edition of the festival put on by Tucson Parks and Recreation. I’m proud to say that this year’s headquarters for the festival is Udall Park. Events will be all over town and is our way to encourage a healthy and active lifestyle for residents over 50.

The opening ceremony at the Udall amphitheater from 4:30 to 6:30 pm and events will include live performances, information booths, giveaways, a parade of athletes, and a lighting of the torch. Food will be available for purchase. The first 100 people will receive a 2019 Senior Olympic souvenir pin.

This year’s festival runs through February 3rd and include pickleball, racquetball, swimming and even card games. To find out more, please visit the website at https://www.tucsonaz.gov/parks/senior-olympic-festival