Paul's Ward 3 News and Updates
Friday, August 21, 2020
News and Updates
Pet of the Week
Ward 3 Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings
Ward 3 Events
Did You Know?
Ward 3 News and Updates
I hope you enjoyed a sigh of relief with the wonderful rain we had throughout the City of Tucson yesterday. In this week’s newsletter I hope to share some additional elements that hopefully will also provide some relief and comfort—expansion of the slow streets program, grocery and delivery services for older adults and testing access as well as an update on KIDCO and information on how you can participate in the Tucson Mask Share event at the Ward 3 office next Saturday (be sure to scroll all the way down to the events). You’ll find an update on the UA reopening and information on how to handle loud, UA parties in your neighborhood—a less rosy item for sure. I also include reviews of recent COVID-19 data including positive trends but also a call to remain vigilant. And don’t forget to #MaskUpTucson if you are out and about this weekend.
Slow Streets has returned to Ward 3, friends. You may remember reading in one of my previous newsletters that the city’s Department of Transportation and Mobility kicked off its Slow Streets pilot project in the Feldman’s and Sugar Hill neighborhoods in early summer. Well two weeks ago it opened in the Miracle Manor neighborhood!
Slow Streets, a project I endorse, is a move by the city to reimagine how we use our residential streets, how we can use our streets to enhance physical activities of walking, cycling and jogging. Slow Streets limits traffic to give neighbors to a safe zone to use the street as a social, neighborly connection.
DTM Director Diana Alarcon, in the middle, talked with some Miracle Manor residents Tuesday.
In Miracle Manor, North 15th Avenue, between West Glenn Street and West Grant Road, has been designated a Slow Street. It is the first of 15 streets that will receive the Slow Street treatment in the second phase. A second Slow Street in Ward 3 will soon come to Old Pascua Village, said Gabriela Barillas, Livability Project Manager with the Transportation and Mobility Department.
In the second phase of Slow Streets the city will install semi-permanent traffic calming measures, like a traffic circle that will require little to no maintenance. The city used several sources of data to determine which 15 streets would be turned over to Slow Streets, Gabriela said.
To encourage Miracle Manor residents to go out and enjoy 15th Avenue, on Saturday, Aug. 22, Slow Streets will make available bike mechanics to adjust and repair residents’ bikes. The mobile repair will be available from 5-7 p.m. at Jacinto Park on North 15th Avenue. Bikes for all ages are welcomed!
The COVID pandemic lead to the adoption of Slow Streets, which has been used in other cities across the country. The city is using CARES Act funds, money allocated by Congress to help cities defray costs associated the pandemic, to pay for the costs of Slow Streets.
For more information about Slow Streets go here
Go out and enjoy your residential streets. Be safe. Have fun!
This week KidCo opened its doors. So far we have about 100 kids at these 10 elementary school sites: Grijalva, Bonillas, Borton, Bloom, Erickson, Davidson, Miles, Prince, Nash and Keeling. The final three schools in that list are Amphi Public Schools, the KidCo program is returning after an absence of over a decade. As the program moved quickly to open ahead of the August 17 deadline imposed by the Governor for onsite school services, Superintendent Todd Jaeger shared with us that he was initially worried we would run out of time because there was thought to be no intergovernmental agreement in place, but as luck would have it this is the last year of a 25 year agreement!
The KidCo program will also be expanding into Freedom Recreation Center and El Rio Neighborhood Center. Early reports are that kids are adapting to wearing masks pretty well and the kids are excited to be back at school and with other kids.
Program is available for city residents only. Applications must be submitted prior to registration. Register EZEEreg.com
University of Arizona students return to their classes on Monday and I want Ward 3 residents to know what significant changes and precautions the UA has made to keep students, staff and residents as safe as possible during the pandemic.
First and foremost, everyone on campus, and those working and studying in satellite UA buildings will be required to wear masks, said Julie Katsel, Senior Director of Government Relations/Local and Community Government & Community Relations.
Julie said the message that is being delivered to everyone, including visitors, is, “If you wish not to wear a mask, we ask you don’t come to campus.”
The UA administration has been working long hours on reopening protocols in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Reopening schools, at all levels, has been a hotly debated issue across the country. New outbreaks of the virus have broken out at several universities that reopened to in-person instruction. The UA is attempting to prevent that from happening here.
The UA has created a hybrid schedule of in-person instruction, remote learning and staggered work schedules. A highly detailed prescription for maintaining health safety and exercising precaution can be found here
At the UA, students will return to campus in three phases, Julie said. The first phase is immediate and the next two phases will come when it becomes clear that it is safe to do so.
The first wave of students, maybe around 5,000, will be on campus next week. These are students who require hands-on learning and work. These students will be working in engineering labs, dance studios, the College of Medicine and in other similar environments where in-class instruction is crucial.
The second phase will allow students to return to small class settings, which may involve 10,000 to 15,000 students. The third phase is when all students are invited to return to the campus. Another site with detailed information about the reopening from the UA’s Provost office can be found here
But students will be highly discouraged from stepping onto campus if they are not feeling well. And when students return to their classes, they will attend in shifts, Julie said. Students will be encouraged to maintain safe physical distancing, to avoid gatherings and to wash their hands frequently. Overall, the campus will strive to maintain 50 percent capacity of students and employees, Julie said. Employees, who can, are encouraged to work from home, she added.
Off campus, where the majority of where students live, the UA has no control over how students comport themselves. But the UA, through Julie’s office, has created a plan to actively go out to the surrounding neighborhoods to welcome students and to remind them of the COVID protocols. Julie’s office is providing informational materials, door hangers, and the neighbors will distribute the information.
The effort is to encourage students to be good neighbors, to introduce themselves to their neighbors, and be active participants in their neighborhoods.
I welcome the UA’s efforts in making the campus safe for students, faculty and staff, and for working with Ward 3 neighborhoods. I also welcome our UA students and wish them well during this trying time.
Continue reading for information on the Red Tag program, another effort between the city and the UA to make life pleasant for residents, both temporary and long-time, in the neighborhoods surrounding the UA.
Red Tag Unit
While I welcome UA students back to Tucson, I also want to remind them that part of being a resident is to be a good neighbor. I know that parties are part of college life. Been there, done that. But loud, unruly parties are not the way to create good will with your new neighbors, the long-time residents of the neighborhood.
I would like to remind students that there are consequences for off-campus parties deemed troublesome. Tucson Police officers will come to your door and issue a Red Tag notice, and violations will be reported to the UA’s Dean of Students Office. And I would like to remind residents that they can report loud parties to the Tucson Police Department. But residents, please don’t abuse the reporting system if the students who are gathered next door are really not that loud.
According to City code:
An unruly gathering is defined as a gathering of five (5) or more persons on any private property, including property used to conduct business, in a manner which causes a disturbance of the quiet enjoyment of private or public property by any person or persons. Such disturbances include, but are not limited to, excessive noise or traffic, obstruction of public streets by crowds or vehicles, drinking in public, the service of alcohol to minors or consumption of alcohol by minors, fighting, disturbing the peace, and littering.
For students there could be fines and the fines could increase if there are additional offenses. Also the Dean of Students office will be notified and that office could issue additional sanctions, depending on the situation.
A team of residents, UA staff and TPD officers from the Red Tag unit, last weekend went out to one of the UA neighborhoods to talk to students and residents. Similar efforts will be made in the coming weeks to provide students and residents with information and to welcome students.
“We’re trying to give both sides information,” said Tucson Police Officer Karena Silva.
In addition to information about parties and Red Tags, Officer Silva said that students will be encouraged to get to know their neighbors and help keep their residential streets clean. It’s about being courteous and reasonable.
To contact the Red Tag Unit call 520-837-7318. Learn more here.
Other telephone numbers:
UArizona Neighborhood Hotline: 520-282-3649
UArizona Police Dept Non-Emergency: 520-621-823
Older Adults and Managing COVID-19
We know that older adults are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. This is especially true for people of color who are over 60 years old. The likelihood that you will experience severe illness with COVID-19 is much higher the older you are.
Unfortunately, we know that 71% of COVID related deaths in Arizona are of people 65 or older. In Pima County 88% of the COVID related deaths are of individuals who are 60 or older. And, you’ll recall, even when Governor Ducey lifted the Stay at Home order, he continued to encourage older adults to shelter in place. You can see how this has played out in the graph below.
As an elected leader, I am very concerned for older adults in this community. It’s not easy to shelter in place and my colleagues and I have taken action to try to eliminate one of the major barriers for households: accessing fresh groceries.
This week a number of new programs became available to City of Tucson residents through the Federal CARES Act dollars allocated by Mayor and Council. One of them is a grocery shopping and delivery service for adults age 60 and up offered by PCOA.
This is a really important service, especially for older adults with other medical vulnerabilities. We also know that some existing grocery shopping and delivery programs are not able to work with households using EBT cards and this expanded program is able to do that. And you are not just limited to food items, hygiene and cleaning supplies are also included.
I supported this program to make sure that older adults could avoid one additional trip outside their home as needed. To learn more and to apply please see the information from PCOA below.
In addition to getting this program out and available to Tucsonans, I am still working to close the digital divide for older adults in our community. Last week, Mark Clark from PCOA provided an update to Mayor and Council on primary issues facing older adults. These include addressing the digital divide, nutritional services, up-to-date information on changing COVID-19 policies and rental and utility assistance. Thankfully, the City and County are getting rental and utility assistance out to the community as well as nutritional assistance for older adults.
As we roll out the Public WIFI in the City of Tucson we will see some barriers reduced for older adults, but we know that those in their mid-70s and up often need more help. Specifically, one of the concerns I’ve written about before is how social isolation is impacting older adults and how access to digital communication with their peers, family members and service workers can make a big difference. We have a lot of work do here and the City of Tucson continues to advocate at the national level for additional supports to address this.
The impact of social isolation and the digital divide is particularly severe for older adults in nursing homes. We have had a high level of cases and deaths in these facilities. As a consequence, access to these facilities has been significantly limited, leaving many older adults in these facilities with no way to communicate with their families. PCOA reported many staff members in these facilities sharing their personal cell phones so that older adults could speak with their loved ones.
Some efforts are underway to get devices into these facilities. Governor Ducey has offered some funds for skilled nursing facilities to purchase devices that would allow residents to communicate with their families but these funds would not be available to vast majority of elder housing including assisted living and long-term care facilities. I believe the City of Tucson, Pima County and other cities and towns in Arizona have an important role to play in advocating for more support for these facilities, and especially the ability for residents to communicate with family members and combat social isolation.
And we must not forget that the very best outcome is if we can get control of COVID-19 with testing, tracing and quarantining and with appropriate levels of PPE available so that families can safely visit their loved ones. This must be the goal that all of government is working toward.
I hope that all of my readers know that testing has expanded significantly in Tucson recently thanks to efforts by Pima County and the City of Tucson. There are more testing sites on-line where you can schedule an appointment, get in quickly for your free, scheduled test and get results back within days (some sites, such as Ellie Towne Center are typically under 24 hours while others, such as at Kino, are averaging 2-4 days currently). This additional testing capacity is very important if our city is going to move away from merely managing to controlling this virus.
I do want to make sure that you know that Pima County Health Department and ASU have plenty of testing capacity just outside of Ward 3 at the Flowing Wells Ellie Towne center. You can schedule an appointment here
In addition to the Pima County and City of Tucson permanent testing sites at Kino Event Center, Ellie Towne Center and the Udall Recreation Center, the City of Tucson and Pima County just held a testing blitz at a series of pop-up testing sites throughout the community. On Tuesday at Sunnyside High School, there were 205 tested and on Wednesday at the Rodeo grounds, there were 220 tested. The total tested for the entire 9-day blitz was 2,242.
In addition to these free, publicly-funded testing options, El Rio Community Health Centers are also seeing important improvements on their COVID-19 testing and turnaround times. El Rio is working with a private lab for their testing, Sonora Quest. Recently, Sonora Quest began returning results to El Rio patients in 24 hours--at the most 48 hours. Those rapid results are so critical to support our city to reduce exposure. El Rio is now offering COVID-19 testing to all patients. Daily drive-through testing is available at the Congress center.
According to Nancy Johnson, CEO of El Rio, El Rio had tested 19,937 unique individuals with 2,777 reported positives as of Wednesday. All of the positive individuals received follow up from El Rio and were submitted to Pima County for contact tracing.
As a state, Arizona is doing much better in terms of new cases. However, looking by county you see a broad range, with Santa Cruz County, our neighbor, really struggling with high cases per 100,000 residents. Pima County is trending down from our rank of ninth last month. Of course, the goal is for all counties to reach zero.
If we look at rate of deaths by 100,000 residents we see, again, a wide range at the county level.
Again, Pima County has trended downward relative to other Arizona counties. Of course, the hope would be that we slow down and then stop the climb of these data points.
Now, the rate of cases throughout southern Arizona is a concern for Tucson given that we do provide much of the specialized care and majority of hospital capacity in the region. The chart below shows how our medical capacity in Pima County is trending (a word to the wise, “ED” stands for emergency department).
You can see that we have some downward trends in the number of in-patients, COVID-19 ICU beds in use as well as ventilators in use. Otherwise we are largely holding steady. The real question, is whether we can remain stable or decreasing as schools and the university are reopening. I think the likelihood of that is slim and as a community we will have to be vigilant and respond quickly if clusters are identified. I remain committed to doing so. I think these data visualizations very clearly demonstrate the significant improvements that Arizonans have made, but our work is still cut out for us. We must not lose sight of that.
As always, take good care of yourself and others. #MaskUpTucson
Pet of the Week
Not a usual suspect for Pet of the Week, Toot Toot is a green parakeet. With cheerful chatter and colorful plumage, parakeets make wonderful pets, especially for first-time bird owners. Parakeets are sweet, social little birds that enjoy interaction with each other and with their human companions. They can even be taught to talk!
To protect staff, volunteers and visitors from COVID-19, hours and operations of the Humane Society of Southern Arizona
have been modified. Adoptions can be made by appointment by calling 520-327-6088.
Ward 3 Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings
Country Club/Ft Lowell Safety Meeting
Ward 3 Events
Tucson Mask Share is Hosting a Mask Drive at Ward 3 Office
Ward 3 Council Office
No contact drive-up, walk-up, or bike-up mask collecting drive for Tucson Mask Share
There will also be pet food available for those who need it or know someone who does.
Anyone is welcome to pick up dog or cat food if they need it or to give to someone else.
-100% cotton fabric (10x6" or larger)
Those who cannot attend are welcome to donate here
Learn more about Tucson Mask Share on their website
Tucson Mask Share is a grassroots organization collecting & distributing made masks & materials to community partners through Tucson Pima Collaboration to End Homelessness (TPCH), Sun Tran, & Tucson Food Share. These masks are delivered to people who cannot shelter in place because they are experiencing homelessness or must access public services.
It is our goal to slow the spread of COVID19.
Tucson Small Scale Development Virtual Workshop-October 6, 2020
Do you think about developing real estate on a small scale but assume it’s out of reach – Who will provide financing? How do I work with city planning? What builders, engineers, or architects will to help on small projects? The answers to these questions and more will be provided by The Incremental Development Alliance.
In addition, people may register for one of two pre-event workshops (“Recruitment Lectures”) to learn more about the October 6th workshop at one of the links below:
The Tucson workshop instructor, Monte Anderson, interviewed with Zack Yentzer of The Tipping Point on August 12 and you can listen to it at 1030 KVOI AM The Voice
For a press release about Monte Anderson, click here
League of Women Voters of Greater Tucson Sponsors Amphi School Board Candidate Forum
The audience will be able to ask questions of the candidates through the moderator. It will be conducted like forums in the past with a Moderator, Timer and Question Sorter.
Navigating the Impacts of COVID-19 for Small Businesses Part XIX
3 - 4 pm
You will receive a confirmation email
Join the City of Tucson Office of Economic Initiatives for a webinar where you will hear from the U.S. Small Business Administration Arizona District Office, and our own Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Southern Arizona Aids Foundation Virtual Aids Walk
October 12-18 will be the Virtual AIDSWALK Week. It will start with a Drive-thru Registration and Celebration and will be followed by live-streamed events each day of the week, such as the Quilts Ceremony, engaging programs from our incredible SAAF in-house educators, cameos from well-known faces in the community, livestreams from expert panels, and more.
Receive and Return Your Ballot By Mail on Time
In preparation for mailing ballots for the November 3, 2020 General Election, Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez and her staff as well as the Tucson Postmaster report that they are ready for ballot delivery and for voters mailing ballots back to be recorded. Ballots will continue to be picked up daily at Cherrybell Post Office beginning October 13, 2020. It is recommended that ballots be returned no later than October 27, 2020. Regardless of what happens in other states, the local post office assured us that they will continue to provide the excellent delivery service as they have always done.
Voters may also drop off completed ballots at Early Voting Sites, which are open Wednesday, October 7 – Monday, November 2. Voters may drive up, bike up, or walk up for curbside ballot drop off at most sites Monday, October 26 – Monday, November 2, 2020. The complete list of sites with hours of operation is here
Check your voter registration here
Request a ballot by mail online here
Request a ballot by mail by telephone: 520-724-4330
Did You Know?
Period Product Resource for Menstruators in Need in Pima County
Period poverty is the lack of access to sanitary products, menstrual hygiene education, toilets, hand washing facilities, and waste management. These resources are meant to help menstruators connect with community organizations who provide period products.
Period Poverty has a negative impact on a menstruators health and mobility. The Period Product Resource List-Tucson will be an important first step in the journey towards “Menstrual Equity.”
Workers & Families Grant Program Runs Through September 9
Workers and families negatively affected by COVID-19 can apply for financial assistance grants through the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona until September 9. Go to the City of Tucson website
for more information about how you may qualify for up to $700 per individual and $1,200 per family from Tucson CARES Act funding.
Small Business and Nonprofit Continuity Grant Applications Through August 28
The We Are One | Somos Uno Resiliency Fund grant program will distribute $2 million to small businesses and $500,000 to nonprofits. The grant program will be accepting applications until August 28.
As part of the City of Tucson’s CARES Act funds, the Mayor and Tucson City Council approved $2.5 million for small businesses and nonprofits. Under the We Are One | Somos Uno Resiliency Fund, the grant program will distribute $2 million to small businesses and $500,000 to nonprofits.
In partnership with the YWCA of Southern Arizona (YWCA) and the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona (CFSA), the grant program has started accepting applications. The YWCA’s Women’s Business Center will administer the small business continuity grants, up to $10,000.
Applications will be available in English and Spanish, and grants will be awarded within 10 business days of submission. Nonprofit continuity grants, up to $20,000, will be administered through the CFSA.
Nonprofits in the City of Tucson and the City of South Tucson are eligible to apply.
Follow the links below through August 28 for more information.
Council Member Paul Durham is on Social Media!
Ward 3 has Facebook and Twitter pages so you can keep up with our Council Member and stay in touch with what's happening in Tucson and around the Ward.
Follow us on Twitter: @CMPaul_Durham