Pauls Note: Friday, December 18, 2020

Paul's Ward 3 News and Updates
 
Friday, December 18, 2020
 
News and Updates
Pet of the Week                 
Ward 3 Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings
Ward 3 Events
City Wide Events
Did You Know?
 
Ward 3 News and Updates
 
The Ward 3 office wishes you health and happiness this holiday season. The eight days of Hanukkah ends this evening. Christmas is one week from today and Kwanzaa begins a week-long celebration on December 26 and ends on January 1. Tis the season for families and friends to gather and spread the cheer. However, this year the cheer should only be shared with those in your immediate household.
 
It is also the season of a dramatic surge in COVID-19 cases in Pima County. An aggregate summary of hospital reports shows that as of December 16, there are 581 inpatients, a 23% increase from Sunday, and 50% increase from December 1. The number of COVID admissions per day has increased 68% since December 13. In the 24 hours from Thursday to Friday morning there were 172 admissions. More than half of ventilators in use are for COVID-19 patients, 19% of COVID positive inpatients are on a ventilator and barely 2% of ICU beds are available.
 
Be smart. Be safe. Wash your hands. Stay away from crowds. Use a mask and stay home as much as possible.
 
La Paloma Family Services
 
Natashia McCloud would like to ask for a few minutes of your busy time. It won’t take long to read this. Possibly, however, her small ask could result in something big: like turning someone’s life around. Maybe it could be yours.
 
While you read this, keep in mind: Presently there are 140 children in foster homes who are being cared for by 90 foster parents. In addition, there are 30 children living in two group homes, all here in Tucson under La Paloma’s wing. The children come from an array of families, situations and income levels. And during this COVID-19 pandemic, life has become more difficult for a lot of children who are abused and neglected or abandoned.
 
That is where Natashia and her caring colleagues at La Paloma Family Services come in. They take in the children and teenagers to care for them, to find them safe shelter and to ensure a more stable and comforting home, be it with other youths in group homes or with foster parents, who are in short supply.
 
“We continue to recruit foster parents,” said Natashia, who is the Foster Care Supervisor for La Paloma Family Services, located in Ward 3 at 870 W. Miracle Mile. La Paloma is a subsidiary of La Frontera Arizona and both are active partners and participants in Ward 3.
 
 
During this pandemic, a surreal time for nearly all of us, the reality for some young people has been horrific. Not going to school and spending more time at home, youths have been more vulnerable to abuse and violence in their homes. There is less reporting by teachers (who by law have to report suspected child abuse) and there are more referrals by Tucson police officers, Natashia explained.
The pandemic, which has resulted in families losing income, not having enough food, threatened with eviction, and in some cases actual evictions despite the moratorium, has increased the level of stress and trauma.
 
“The increase was expected,” Natashia said. “Stressful time impacts everyone.”
 
For young people in the care of foster parents or living in the group homes, said Natashia, there is more stress piled on because of the change in how counseling services are delivered. Just as the youngsters have to “attend” school through virtual instruction, counselors and their young clients also meet virtually. There are less home visits.
 
“It’s difficult for some children to focus on virtual meetings,” she said. After so many hours in front of a screen, “they’re done,” Natashia added.
 
Natashia comes at this with 15 years of experience. After graduating from college, she worked in retail while searching for a more meaningful career. She felt she wanted to work with children. Her search led her to La Paloma. Her first job was as a behavioral health technician in a group home. She worked with the kids, helping them learn how to navigate everyday life. She helped develop their social and learning skills. The connection was made.
 
“I was hooked,” she said.
 
While the challenges are great and frustrations can be daunting, she finds deep satisfaction in her work with children and families. When she sees a young person make the jump from uncertainty to assuredness, from fear to confidence and from anger to happiness, the challenges and frustrations evaporate.
 
“It’s the kids. It’s knowing that you’re making a difference,” she said.
 
As the agency’s supervisor for foster care, a major focus is recruiting. To be a foster parent, interested couples or individuals must apply through the state. Minimum age is 21 and applicants undergo a background check, have their fingerprints taken and complete a training program. In addition, the prospective parents’ homes are inspected and certified for safety and health.
 
“All we’re asking families is to take care of their children’s needs,” she said.
 
La Paloma’s foster care program is open to single individuals, GLBTQ individuals or couples. There is no religious requirement. Natashia said, “We want a diverse number of families.”
 
And if the foster parent wants to move on to the next step, La Paloma offers adoption services. La Paloma could also use public donations. The state provides dollar-for-dollar in Arizona income tax liability.
 
TOYS 4 KIDS!
 
You may recall that Council Member Durham is working with Ward 3-based La Paloma Family Services to bring gifts to kids living in foster care and group homes.
 
We ask for your support to make the holidays enjoyable for these children. Donations can be made at 870 W. Miracle Mile or 504 W. 29th St or online.
 
If you have questions please contact Adrienne.Trees@Lafrontera.org.
 
Santa at Mansfield Park
 
Santa came to the Donna Liggins Center on Wednesday afternoon. The City of Tucson’s Parks and Recreation Department sponsored a Cookies and Santa drive through for the neighbors. Most folks drove up to wave at Santa Claus in a bubble and pick up a bag of cookies. Others walked right up to St. Nick. Either way folks had a lovely visit with the ol’ guy in red. Thanks to the Donna Liggins’ staff for making it all possible.
 
 
Central Business District
 
Ward 3 invites residents to participate in an important discussion regarding the Central Business District and the GPLET. The Ward office will host a virtual meeting on Jan. 7 at 5 pm. A portion of Ward 3, principally in the ‘05 zip code area, is currently included in the Central Business District. 
 
The Tucson City Council first adopted the Central Business District, known as the CBD, in 2012. And in September it was renewed by the Mayor and Council for an additional 10 years. In the spring, the Mayor and Council will determine the future of the CBD and how best to utilize the GPLET as a tool to accomplish community goals. 
 
The GPLET is an 8-year property tax abatement, allowed by state law, which the City of Tucson can give to businesses within the CBD district boundary. It is an incentive tool to attract investment in and near the downtown core. The goal is to bring in jobs, add retail and commercial space and affordable housing, revitalize existing buildings, and increase tax revenue for the City and other tax jurisdictions, including Tucson Unified School District. Since its inception the City has approved 23 GLPET agreements
 
Brother John’s BBQ on North Stone Avenue in Ward 3 is an example of a business that entered into a GPLET agreement with the City to allow them to build a new establish on the corridor. 
 
 
The January 7 Ward 3 session will be one of seven sessions hosted by the Office of Economic Initiatives, to engage residents and share diverse perspectives. These 90 minute meetings will inform the Mayor and Council with regard to modification of CBD boundaries and GPLET requirements. 
 
Register for the Ward 3 CBD meeting. For more information go to Connect Tucson
 
Ward 3 Neighborhood Series
 
Thank you to everyone that has participated in the Ward 3 Neighborhood Series. The November and December sessions are now online and you can view them here:
 
Session 1: Introduction to the Series
Session 3: How Communication Can Build Capacity: Examples of Success from Neighborhoods
Session 4: An Overview of Social Media Platforms
 
We here at the Ward 3 office have really enjoyed putting this neighborhood series together. We have learned a lot along the way. We have also enjoyed the chance to see everyone and stay connected.
 
We want to give a special thank you to our presenters, including Sierra Boyer from the Parks and Recreation Department and James MacAdam from the Water Department for presenting at our most recent session, An Overview of Social Media Platforms, last week. And to Kathy Bell, Presentident of Feldman’s Neighborhood, and Fran Garcia, Secretary for North Dodge Neighborhood Associations, in our session on how to communicate to build capacity.
 
We have a number of excellent presenters and topics still to come.
 
 
Registration is now active for our next three sessions. Please register at the links below.
 
January 7 at 5:30 pm
 
January 21 at 5:30 pm
Session 6: E-Newsletters
 
February 4 at 5:30 pm
 
Thanks again to everyone, citywide, who have joined us.
 
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Pet of the Week
 
 
 
Cookie is a 9-year-old English Bulldog mix. She was surrendered by her previous owner to the Humane Society so we know a bit about her background. She is super sweet and will enjoy spending quiet times with you. That’s not to say that she wouldn’t appreciate the occasional jaunt to check out the neighborhood once in a while but once you return you can bet she will appreciate a well-deserved snooze.
 
To adopt this sweetheart you can start by filling out the adoption application and contact the Humane Society to set up a meet and greet.
 
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Ward 3 Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings
 
No meetings this week due to the holidays
 
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Ward 3 Events
 
Free Food Distribution
Saturday
December 19
9 am
New Life Community Church of the Nazarene
3367 N. Geronimo
 
Fresh fruit and vegetables will be available as well as dairy, eggs, some packaged food, desserts, and likely some meat. 
 
Sign-up begins at 9 a.m. There are no requirements to receive the food. 
 
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City Wide Events
 
The City Needs Your Input About the Central Business District
 
Mayor and Council will be hosting virtual meetings (read more about that above). To register to attend a virtual meeting for the meetings you can click on the links below.
 
 
Let your voice be heard!
 
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Did You Know?
 
Free COVID-19 Mobile Testing This Weekend
 
No appointment, no insurance and no nasal swabs!
 
 
Downtown Photo Ops
 
Downtown Tucson Partnership is holding a photo contest. Take a photo in Downtown Tucson showing the downtown lights or something festive.
 
 
Some ideas include the giant ornament and the community tree, both in in Jacome Plaza. Tag @DowntownTucson on social media and use hashtag #DowntownScottG to enter this year’s photo contest.
 
 
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Council Member Paul Durham is on Social Media!
 
Follow us on Twitter: @CMPaul_Durham
 
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