Friday, May 1, 2020
Pet of the Week
Ward 3 Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings
Did You Know?
I have another full e-newsletter for you this week. You will again get my COVID-19, City budget and senior isolation updates as well as some important information on the City of Tucson Resiliency Fund direct loans to small businesses. I also have a number of items this week that I hope will bring you a smile or connect you with useful resources. Don’t miss the updates on Ward 3’s Iskashitaa and the Thrive in the 05 resource café. You’ll also find great resources for guardians, including a video storytime with Ward 3 aide, Ernesto Portillo featuring Mi Barrio. First, enjoy this “warm and fuzzy” update from the Reid Park Zoo.
Reid Park Zoo
The Reid Park Zoo is excited to welcome some new animals that have arrived this month. In the early morning on April 9, animal care professionals on rounds discovered three adult meerkats huddled protectively over a pile of tiny moving legs. They found five pups had been born overnight.
A member of the mongoose family, meerkats are catlike carnivores found in the desert and grasslands of Africa. They live in groups known as mobs with a dynamic social structure where group members rotate responsibilities, including taking turns standing “sentry” on their hind legs to watch for predators. They are also masters at digging tunnels, which they use for protection. The species was popularized by the character Timon in the movie “The Lion King.”
Semba, the Zoo’s African elephant matriarch, gave birth to a calf at 3:33 am on Monday, April 6, 2020 weighing in at just under 300 pounds. More than 17,000 votes were collected through a poll on the Arizona Daily Star’s website, ultimately choosing Mapenzi for the name of the new calf. Mapenzi means beloved in Swahili.
The calf now weighs 315 pounds and is developing some early skills such as running to keep up with her mom, using her trunk to hold objects like sticks, and spinning in circles with her ears fanned.
Mapenzi’s animal care team says her enthusiasm is unmatchable. Whenever she gets the opportunity to explore her habitat, she’s ready for an adventure. She does not walk but runs from place to place, and uses her trunk to investigate everything in reach. Instead of settling down for a nap gently, Mapenzi will bow her head, stretch her front legs forward, and slide into a laydown like a batter sliding into home base.
Zoo to You
As the global pandemic unfolds around us, the Zoo has offered online resources to help with the effects of social distancing and social isolation while it is temporarily closed
Resources for Guardians
In addition to the great resources available from the Reid Park Zoo, I want to be sure that our guardians out there are aware of additional learning tools from our public library and Ward 3-based Literacy Connects, coaching for parents and guardians and where to find food for children and their families.
Ready, Set, School is a free program offered by the Pima County Public Library designed to help children, ages 4-5, and their parents get ready for school. Kids build school-ready skills through stories, songs, and interactive learning activities. Parents and caregivers learn practical ideas to help their children become successful learners. Ready, Set, School will now be held every week, live, on Fridays from 10:00-10:45 am via Facebook. Click here for more information
No Kid Hungry in collaboration with the Arizona Food Bank Network has launched a texting hotline to provide information about emergency food distribution sites in communities where schools have been closed. To find food near you, you can text the word FOOD (COMIDA) to 877-877.
Members of the Pima County Parenting Coalition are offering virtual parenting classes, parent support groups, online story time, and other virtual activities. Check out their Facebook page or website
for a schedule of virtual activities.
We had previously shard with you that Literacy Connects is producing “Inside Outings,” story time with children’s books that feature themes that are outside the house.
Our own Ward 3 Aide, Ernesto Portillo, was last week’s guest reader. He is featured reading the Spanish language book Mi Barrio
. You can enjoy the story reading here
Speaking of Literacy Connects, last week I shared with you that they were hosting a school supply drive that took place last weekend. Those donations will supply more than 22 schools in Amphi and Tucson Unified School Districts. Thank you to the 80+ donors who contributed.
Thrive in the ‘05
Providing our Ward 3 residents with reliable information is one of my critical missions during this COVID-19 crisis. With dependable information we all can make informed decisions and find assistance for what we need to sustain our families during this often confusing period.
To that end I invite you to be a part of the Thrive in the ’05 Resource Café
. These are virtual discussions and Q&A sessions with community leaders, representatives from Ward 3 organizations and non-profit groups. The sessions, which started this week, will highlight our community partners and resources available to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic. This past week, for example, representatives from Make Way For Books, the Tucson Police Department and United Way participated in the live online sessions.
The Resource Café will be held four days a week, Tuesday through Friday, 12-12:30 p.m. The sessions will be streamed live on Thrive in the 05’s Facebook page
and via a Zoom webinar
. To join on the phone, call (602) 753-0140. Previous Resource Cafés can also be viewed on the registration page.
If you are not able to attend but want to view the sessions, a recording of the meeting will be shared on the Thrive in the ‘05 Facebook page.
The need has grown and half the help has diminished, is what Barbara Eiswerth said when I asked her about the status of Iskashitaa Refugee Network. It is hard to hear about the difficulties that Ward 3 organizations and non-profits are experiencing during this COVID-19 pandemic. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t let Ward 3 residents know how we as a community are coping with the challenges.
Iskashitaa is well known for its work in helping refugees in our community gain a foothold and for its worthy task of harvesting citrus from Tucson’s backyards and in turn shares the fruit with food banks in Tucson and Southern Arizona. While the quarantine has kept the vast majority of Tucsonans in their homes, the fruit has not stopped coming. And now as the temperature hits three digits, “we’re going to lose thousands and thousands of pounds,” said Barbara, the group's Executive Director.
Before the lockdown, volunteers were harvesting thousands and thousands of pounds of citrus each week. The fruit would be collected at Iskashitaa’s office, 1406 E. Grant Rd., just a block west of the Ward 3 office, and then distributed or picked up by citrus-loving residents. Now the harvesting is scaled back by fewer volunteers, even a single person picking from a single tree.
While new volunteers have stepped into the breach, they can’t make up for the larger number of volunteers who have dropped out.
Barbara Eiswerth (right) with refugee volunteers
“We’re seeing an incredible food waste,” Barbara said.
On the other front, Iskashitaa volunteers are working in overdrive to help refugees and asylum seekers navigate the complexities brought on by the pandemic and the shutdown. Refugees, if they are not working, are in need of food and laptop computers to remain connected. With many of Tucson’s refugees employed by the food service and hotels, they have lost their jobs. The pandemic has destabilized refugee families, who were already living on the economic and social edge.
Barbara said there’s always a barrier for the refugees, who come from all parts of the globe.
If Ward 3 residents can help, Iskashitaa could use your time and any donation. Please call 520-440-0100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
PPP Loans & the City of Tucson’s Resiliency Fund
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has been in the news a lot recently. In the first round of the program, Arizona ranked last in the nation in receiving these funds on a per capita basis. You can learn more about that here
. That initial round of PPP loans was quickly distributed within two weeks. I know Literacy Connects and Live Theater Workshop are some of the Ward 3 nonprofits that received funding during that round. I know too, and you no doubt have heard, that a number of small businesses and nonprofits were left unable to receive the loans.
Thankfully, Congress did authorize additional funding for the loan program and new loans were approved starting last Monday. That first day of the new round of funding the Small Business Administration approved around $52 billion in loans.
Locally, we also went live on Monday when the Tucson City Council authorized the We Are One / Somos Uno Resiliency Fund small business direct loan program. As I’ve shared previously, this fund is responding to demand for financial assistance from businesses reeling from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This fund is administered by Business Development Finance Corporation and you can find the application here. I’m very pleased to share that a number of Ward 3 businesses have already been approved for loans including the APEX Mixed Martial Arts Gym. Proprietors Nicole and Joey Rivera had been working with my office and the team at the City of Tucson’s Economic Initiatives office to find additional funds to get them through this tough time. If you need help finding the right funder or loan program for your small business, please let me know by responding to this email so we can make sure you are connected with our experts in the Economic Initiative’s office.
Governing During COVID-19 – Social Isolation, Governor’s actions, City budget, relief packages and Ward 3’s City of Tucson Economic Overview
My office has been coordinating with senior care providers in Tucson to ensure Mayor and Council can best advocate on their behalf. As part of that conversation, my staff and I have heard repeatedly about the increasing knock-on effects of social isolation for older adults. I want to thank my colleague, Council Member Kozachik, for recently hosting an online discussion of how individuals can best navigate feelings of isolation.
In an effort to get some good public awareness messaging out, my office has developed these info-graphics based on feedback from senior care providers in town.
And in Spanish.
Governor Ducey’s Actions
The Governor this week had two big announcements related to flattening the COVID-19 curve and moving Arizona toward a phased reduction in physical distancing restrictions. He announced a Testing Blitz including 60,000 tests to be administered over three Saturdays at Walgreens and Sonora Quest labs. This is a step in the right direction and more is needed. To put it into perspective, those tests would nearly double the amount of testing so far but would only account for 1.8% of the total Arizona population.
Unfortunately, we’ve not seen any reports indicating the number of presumed positive cases (those with symptoms but who were not tested). Honestly, I’m not sure if that data has consistently been tracked. We also, obviously, don’t know how many asymptomatic cases there are. Critically, we won’t be able to answer those questions until we have widespread testing available.
Governor Ducey then took action on Wednesday to extend and make modifications to his stay at home order. While the stay at home order will continue to May 15, it also will allow non-essential retailers to open with distancing practices. Here’s what the Governor’s office put out regarding how retailers need to proceed:
I think the context within which this move is happening is important. There are two legitimate and, at times, oppositional concerns coming from Tucsonans and, according to news reports, from residents across the country. On the one hand, there is a desire to reopen the economy so individuals can have access to income and services while on the other hand there is a desire to continue to curtail the spread the COVID-19. The only way we can do both safely is to follow the path provided by the CDC. While I appreciate that the Governor is requiring physical distancing, I’m concerned about that this move may be too fast, especially without explicit requirements for cloth nose and mouth covering or masks.
I’ve heard from numerous constituents about their concerns and discomfort when they have been in a retailer and are not seeing customers or employees wearing masks. This is already a concern and could be compounded with more retailers opening. Here’s why that’s important:
You wear a mask for public health. It’s not about you, it’s about the potentially vulnerable person you are coming into contact with if you are an asymptomatic carrier. Until we have wide-spread testing, regular mask wearing when in public, indoor spaces paired with hand washing and appropriate distance is the best way to protect others. If we don’t all do it, then we make our neighbors vulnerable. if you do not have access to cloth masks, bandanas are an alternative.
I’m pleased that Mayor Romero’s extension of Tucson’s stay at home order (signed yesterday and released earlier today) strongly encourages this practice. I’m also glad that my colleagues on Mayor and Council and I will be working on some public awareness efforts to further encourage the use of masks when visiting retailers and other facilities.
City Budget, Relief Packages and the Ward 3’s City of Tucson Economic Overview
I reviewed the City budget in the newsletter from April 17
. I’d like to offer a couple updates and reminders. First, a reminder that on Tuesday, May 5 the Mayor and Council will review the City Manager’s recommended budget during the Study Session. I shared previously that we are planning to keep next fiscal year’s budget largely identical to this year’s. We have seen a significant drop in revenues. Where we were looking at a surplus in January, we are expecting a $20 million downfall for the remainder of this year and are planning for a $60 million downfall for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
It’s important for us to begin conversations about how services will be impacted. Mayor and Council will be reviewing the budget and adopting it in June. Following adoption, we will be reviewing the budget every month during Mayor and Council meetings and adjusting as needed based on actual revenues and expenditures.
As you know, the CARES Act provided to the City of Tucson $95 million dollars for COVID-19 response. These dollars are very important for responding to the unprecedented challenges that we face right now. Importantly, these funds can not supplant lost revenues or cover pre-existing City services. Ultimately, we will need a future relief package that will provide dollars to states and municipalities for revenue recovery. If you agree, I encourage you to reach out to your Members of Congress. I’ll add here too, that the loss of revenue/income is widely felt; the City of Tucson is no exception.
As we look to a lean budget and an on-going hiring freeze, it is important that I hear from my constituents on how we can best prioritize these dollars. To that end, I am hosting an online City of Tucson Economic Overview on Tuesday, May 12 at 5:30pm. City Manager Mike Ortega will provide an overview of his recommended budget and our Intergovernmental Relations Manager, Andrew Greenhill, will guide us through an overview of the CARES Act dollars and potential future relief packages.
My staff will be sending out invitation to register for the event next week to Ward 3 neighborhood associations—keep a look out in your inbox. Next week, I’ll share that information here for other Ward 3 stakeholders and others in Tucson who might like join us. I hope to see you there.
- Paul Durham
Pet of the Week
Pele is a red Bengal cat at Pima Animal Care Center
who is ready to come home and be your new quarantine companion! This is a unique opportunity for you to bring a Bengal cat into your life that doesn’t come around very often.
To adopt Pele, please complete an adoption survey at www.pima.gov/adopt
and staff will contact you in the order interests are received. If you are not contacted within the next 48-72 hours, Pele has already been adopted but feel free to continue to look for other pets!
As most of you may know, social distancing is a priority at this time and so PACC has a new way to adopt and foster animals at the shelter that involves making an appointment.
To be contacted for an adoption or foster appointment, fill out the dog or cat survey below:
Ward 3 Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings
Due to COVID-19 regularly scheduled neighborhood associations in Ward 3 have been cancelled until further notice or if you hear differently from your neighborhood association.
If your neighborhood association is meeting remotely and would like to have the information provided here, please email email@example.com
and let the Ward 3 office staff know. The same email can be used if you would like assistance in setting up a meeting remotely.
Barrio Blue Moon is holding its virtual association meeting Sunday, May 2nd from 2-3 p.m.
Feldman's is holding its meeting Thursday, May 7th from 7-8 pm
Environmental and General Services Department Hosts Virtual Recycling Q&A
Do you have questions about recycling? It can be confusing and the City of Tucson's Environmental and General Services Department (EGSD) is here to help. EGSD is hosting a Virtual Recycling question and answer session on Tuesday, May 12, at 3 p.m. The event will be streamed live and will start with a short recycling presentation, and then EGSD will open it up to live questions. The Q&A applies only to City of Tucson residents who use Tucson's trash and recycling services, because the recycling guidelines are different depending on the hauler.
Webinar: Navigating the Impacts of COVID-19 for Small Businesses Part VI
Join the City of Tucson Office of Economic Initiatives for this free webinar Monday, May 4th, from 3-4 pm.
Participants will receive an update on the State and local economy from University of Arizona economist George Hammond, as well as learn about creative business responses to the pandemic.
Did You Know?
City of Tucson Extends Closures and Other Changes to City Services to May 15th
According to a news release, to protect the health and safety of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Tucson is continuing closures and other changes to City services until May 15th
, in line with Arizona Gov. Ducey’s Stay and Home, "Stay Healthy, Stay Connected" Executive Order
extension. Tucson Mayor Regina Romero later issued her own Proclamation
for the City of Tucson.
For the latest information, visit tucsonaz.gov/COVID19
. Please call the City Service Impacts Hotline (520) 791-2540 for questions about how City business is being conducted during this community emergency. We will continue to monitor and update as this fluid situation evolves.
The following changes to City Services will continue until May 15th
• All service counters and lobbies within City buildings, including Ward offices and City Hall, are closed.
• All evictions on City-owned public housing are suspended.
• Tucson Water will continue to suspend water shutoffs.
• City recreation centers and aquatics facilities are closed.
• Registration for summer activities, including leisure classes, swim lessons, therapeutic programs, and youth and teen camps (KIDCO, IBC, Junior Staff in Training) has been postponed.
• The Senior Meal Program will continue in its modified form.
• Transit fares are waived on Sun Link, Sun Tran, and Sun Van.
• Tucson City Court has limited services and public access.
• Household Hazardous Waste is not being collected at the Los Reales Landfill.
• Cash is not being accepted at the Los Reales Landfill.
• Park Tucson will continue to offer 15-minute free parking for take-out orders.
City Court Opens New Service Window As Operational Reductions Are Extended Through June 1
Tucson City Court has opened a customer service walk-up window to accept in-person payments consistent with other operational changes designed to combat the spread of COVID-19.
All other existing service and building access restrictions remain in force through at least June 1. These restrictions are listed below.
The court is limiting in-person access to the City Court building until further notice. All courtrooms are closed with the limited exceptions of those listed below. The Court building is only open for the following activities:
People seeking orders of protection or appearing for related hearings. Otherwise, attendance is limited to counsel, court staff, law enforcement, and interpreters.
Domestic Violence Court attendance is limited to the attorneys, law enforcement, court staff and interpreters.
Mental Health Court attendance is limited to the above persons and treatment providers.
Attendance of any other individuals is prohibited and will only be permitted with approval of the assigned judge.
Initial appearances will continue at the jail. Filing of documents may be done online at firstname.lastname@example.org
or mailed to Tucson City Court, 103 E Alameda St., Tucson, AZ 85701.
The Court Probation Unit, Corrective Solutions will be offering telephonic interviews. To schedule, call (520) 837-3068 or email email@example.com.
Hearings are being reset to new times and notices are being mailed out. The court is experiencing a large volume of calls and asks that individuals either wait for the notice in the mail or check online to confirm the new date.
SE HABRE UNA NUEVA VENTANILLA DE ATENCIÓN AL CLIENTE AL EXTENDERSE HASTA EL 1 DE JUNIO LAS REDUCIDAS OPERACIONES DEL TRIBUNAL MUNICIPAL
El Tribunal Municipal de Tucsón ha abierto una ventanilla de atención al cliente para aceptar pagos en persona consistentes con otros cambios operativos diseñados para combatir la propagación de COVID-19. La ventanilla de servicio al cliente está orientada hacia el sur en la Alameda St. en el edificio del Tribunal Municipal, 103 E. Alameda St.
Todas las demás restricciones existentes de servicio y acceso al edificio permanecen vigentes hasta al menos el 1 de junio. Estas restricciones se enumeran a continuación.
Se está limitando el acceso en persona al edificio del Tribunal Municipal hasta nuevo aviso. Todas las salas están cerradas con las excepciones limitadas de las que se enumeran a continuación. El edificio del Tribunal Municipal solo está abierto para las siguientes personas y actividades:
1. Personas que solicitan órdenes de protección o que comparecen a audiencias relacionadas. De lo contrario, la asistencia se limita a los abogados, el personal del tribunal, agentes del orden público, e intérpretes.
2. Las comparecencias a la Corte de Violencia Doméstica se limitan a los abogados, los agentes del orden público, el personal del tribunal, e intérpretes.
3. Las comparecencias a la Corte de Salud Mental se limitan a las personas mencionadas anteriormente y a los proveedores de servicios de tratamiento.
La comparecencia de cualquier otra persona está prohibida y solo se permitirá con la aprobación del juez asignado.
Continuará habiendo audiencias de comparecencias iniciales en la cárcel. La tramitación de documentos puede realizarse en línea en firstname.lastname@example.org
o al enviarse por correo postal a Tucson City Court, 103 E Alameda St., Tucson, AZ 85701.
Los pagos adeudados al tribunal se pueden hacer por teléfono, correo electrónico o en línea al llamar al (520) 791-4216 o en www.tucsonaz.gov/courts
La Unidad de Libertad Condicional /Régimen Probatorio del Tribunal, Corrective Solutions (Soluciones Correctivas), ofrecerá entrevistas telefónicas. Para programar una entrevista, llame al (520) 837-3068 o envíe un correo electrónico
Se están aplazando las audiencias para nuevas fechas y se están enviando los avisos por correo postal. El tribunal está experimentando un gran volumen de llamadas y pide que las personas o esperen la notificación por correo postal o verifiquen en línea para confirmar la nueva fecha.
Wi-Fi service is now activated in every public library from 6 am-10 pm. The libraries will remain closed but people will be able to sit in their car or within close proximity to the library and access the internet services (password: pclibrary) The password is case sensitive.
The library has also made an Infoline available to answer questions and help find accurate and trusted information on a wide range of topics. Library staff is available to support English and Spanish speaking customers.
The Infoline can be reached at 520-791-4010 Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm.
Food Bank Has Online Map For Those In Need
With many people seeking food assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona offers an online map of where to go for those who need help. The Food Bank has locations in Tucson, Marana, Amado, Green Valley, Nogales, and a few other locations. You can find a link to the map below.
Pima County Offering Low-Income Home Repair
Pima County's Home Repair Program for Children and Their Families provides limited-time, grant-funded home repairs and energy-efficient improvements. Applicants must live in unincorporated Pima County, including the City of South Tucson, and the towns of Marana, Sahuarita, and Oro Valley. The residence must be pre-1978 site-built housing. No mobile homes or manufactured housing are eligible. Income limits apply. Repairs can cover roofing, plumbing, electrical, weatherization, and other areas. Applications are available in English and Spanish.
How Arizona Workers Impacted By COVID-19 Can Access Unemployment Benefits
According to the Governor’s website, the fastest and easiest way to apply for unemployment assistance is online at www.azui.com
anytime between 12:01 a.m. on Sunday through 6:00 p.m. on Friday. Individuals without Internet access should call 1 (877) 600-2722. Hard copies of applications are also available in the documents center (UB-105 Arizona Initial Claim for Unemployment Insurance) at www.azdes.gov
A step-by-step guide on the application process and what information is needed can be found here.
More information about unemployment benefits from DES can be found here. A FAQ fact sheet can be found here.
For information on job openings ARIZONA@WORK staff can provide people with no-cost job assistance to help them get back to work. More information about the services available and a list of jobs with immediate openings can be found at: www.ARIZONA@WORK.com.
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