Paul's Ward 3 News and Updates
Friday, September 25, 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
Thanks for reading this week’s Ward 3 newsletter. We would especially like to thank all of the individuals who registered to vote or updated their voter registration with us last Saturday! If you still need to register, October 5 is the deadline to register to vote in November.
You will find in this week’s offering a great update on recent efforts by the Amphi Foundation to close the digital divide for Amphi students in Ward 3. We also have an update on a recent nationwide effort to support refugees that Council member Durham is supporting as well as an update on the community safety pilot program and the role of a 311 call system as part of this new effort.
Finally, we would like to inform Ward 3 residents who reside east of Campbell Avenue that you have some new leadership in the Midtown Division of the Tucson Police Department starting next week. Captain Matt Ronstadt is retiring after 25 years. We would like to recognize Captain Ronstadt for his service to midtown residents. Captain Ronstadt started as a patrol officer in Midtown and now looks forward to having more time with his children. Council member Durham and the Ward 3 team wish him and his family the very best.
Beginning next week, Lieutenant Michelle Pickrom will become the new Captain for the Midtown Division. We will bring you a feature on Captain Pickrom next week so you can learn more about her and her vision for Midtown Division. Please join us in welcoming her and stay tuned for more information.
What started out informally by Amphi School District teachers and staff in 1983 has developed nearly 30 years later into a robust and committed organization of parents, local businesses and educators that provides thousands of dollars to district students, staff and schools. The Amphi Foundation is chugging forward on a COVID-challenged route to support students and staff.
In recent weeks, the Foundation added more accomplishments to its long list to bolster Amphitheater Public Schools.
With a $20,000 grant from the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, the Amphi Foundation purchased 63 computer devices for students to replace lost or damaged devices that were distributed in the spring at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, 500 homes where students live are scheduled to receive low-cost internet service, for at least six months, in a collaboration with Cox Cable and Comcast. Third, the district will hire to an instructional technical specialist with a $25,000 grant from the Community Food Bank of Arizona.
“These are big steps, said Leah Noreng, executive director of the Amphi Foundation. “These are morale boosters for our teachers and staff.
Smiling faces of some of the 33 Amphi educators who each received $250 Classroom “Start-Up” grants to help offset the costs of outfitting a classroom for the first time. Photos courtesy of the Amphi Foundation.
The Foundation’s mission rests on three pillars, said Leah.
It prepares students for the classroom where they can learn and grow intellectually and emotionally. The foundation provides a resource center and clothing bank for students who need some TLC.
The foundation sets the stage for innovative learning experiences and teacher support. Grants are provided to classroom teachers and the Foundation has set a goal of creating a Maker Space on each campus. A Maker Space, said Leah, is a classroom where students can build, create and tinker to spur their imagination, creativity and ingenuity.
Enhance opportunities for students outside the classroom. The Foundation will pay for athletic and testing fees if students cannot afford the costs, and provide small grants and travel assistance to students who attend out-of-town events.
The Foundation’s Shoes to Smiles program delivered footwear to students at Nash Elementary School on Monday.
Leah said the Foundation’s mantra is simple and direct: “Education is our cornerstone of our community.”
The Amphi District was born more than 125 years ago, nearly 19 years before Arizona became a state, becoming the second school district in the city after Tucson Unified School District. Today about 13,000 students are enrolled in Amphi schools.
The Foundation began 37 years ago when a small group of district staff and teachers came together with the task of generating money to help fill the gaps, Leah said. In 1986, it formally became a non-profit organization, which helped the Foundation increase grants and contributions. It faced challenges, like any other non-profit, volunteer organization. There was an ebb and flow to the funding it received and participation of foundation members.
But in 2007, the Foundation received a game-changing grant of $200,000 to start a technical education initiative, Leah said. Over time the Foundation has brought in more business partners and expanded its presence in the Amphi community, said Leah who became executive director five years ago after serving on the board as a volunteer.
Last year the Foundation invested more than $225,000 in Amphi’s 22 schools, which includes the Rillito Center for students with disabilities and special needs, and its online school, Amphi Academy. Looking ahead the Foundation has set a lofty goal of investing $1 million each year by 2030.
The Foundation’s role of filling the gaps has become greater over the years and increasingly so as public education funds are cut by the state. Leah, a mother of three students, noted that Arizona’s per-pupil funding is at or near the bottom compared with other states. It need not be, she said.
“I like to believe that education is non-partisan,” Leah added.
The Community Safety Pilot Program and the 311 Call System
Readers of this newsletter are familiar with Council Member Durham’s support of the Community Safety Pilot Program (CSPP) that Mayor and Council began this summer. You can read early notes that cover the CSPP here and here.
The CSPP includes the creation of a community safety division as well as an overhaul of some of the existing community oversight of TPD. Part of the intention behind the new community safety division is to build up non-police resources to respond to social and behavioral concerns that are often reported to 911.
Some of the resources that currently support the CSPP include new clinicians and the pre-existing services provided by the City of Tucson including Tucson Collaborative Community Care (TC-3), the Mental Health Service Team (MHST), the Substance Use Response Team, the Homeless Outreach Team and Housing Navigators. We also have a collaboration with Crisis Response Teams from Arizona Complete Health that provides additional supports to our 911 dispatchers to respond to crisis calls as well as the 211-resource call line provided to the public by the Crisis Resource Network. Of these City of Tucson offerings, expansion or better utilization is likely needed to appropriately support the pilot program and additional, new resources will also be needed.
One of those is the 311 call system, a toll-free phone number people can use to find information, request services, and report a problem. This new call center would be paired with a web presence and mobile app to create a centralized customer service portal for Tucson residents. The intent is that a centralized customer service portal would reduce the calls to 911, improve service, create greater customer engagement, and provide a central source of data from non-emergency calls not currently tracked by the City. A robust 311 system would work in conjunction with the 911 and 211 systems.
Between these three offerings and a public awareness campaign that would run at the time that the 311 system is launched, the intention is to provide effective alternatives to 911. Doing so would allow for effective triage of traditional city services but also needs that require those special teams mentioned above. We will continue to keep you informed as the system is prepared for launch.
Community Investment During COVID
At last Tuesday’s meeting, Mayor and Council took action to allocate additional dollars in support of community stabilization. Here is what was included:
Rent & Utility - $3,000,000
$2,500,000 earmarked for families and individuals
$500,000 for small businesses
Workers and Families Assistance - $2,000,000
Non-profit continuity grants - $500,000
Entertainment venue continuity grants - $250,000
Small businesses continuity grants - $2,000,000
These additional funds are just in time to allow these programs to continue responding to the needs of Tucsonans.
For instance, as of September 16, The City of Tucson had received requests for rental and utility assistance from 4,096 households, totaling $6.5 million in back rent and utility bills. The City’s Housing and Community Development Department is working with local agencies to get these funds out into the community to protect residents from housing instability or homelessness. The additional dollars allocated will ensure that more households are assisted.
As of August 31, over 142 small businesses had received business continuity grants and 28 had received small business loans. The additional dollars allocated will continue to provide a lifeline to our small, legacy businesses who have not had the opportunity to benefit from PPP loans and other COVID-related relief.
There is also one new fund included above: entertainment venue continuity grants. These grants will be a lifeline to our beloved Tucson venues that have had to shutter so that they can come back and enrich our community with excellent performances once it is safe to do so. We will share in this newsletter when applications open for those funds--stay tuned.
Supporting and Welcoming Refugees
Recently Council Member Durham, along with Mayor Romero, Vice Mayor Cunningham and Council Member Kozachik and Council Member Santa Cruz, signed onto a letter requesting that the President allow refugees to safely resettle in the United States.
This letter comes following a significant decrease in the numbers of refugees accepted into the United States. Last year the Trump administration announced it would reduce the number of refugees admitted to 18,000. The year prior the number were 30,000—the lowest number in the history of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. Last week, the administration suggested it might limit the number further or even accept zero refugees into the country for the new fiscal year beginning October 1.
That is why Council Member Durham and his colleagues joined over 500 bipartisan elected officials from all 50 states and Washington D.C. to urge the administration to welcome refugees. This is especially important given that there are 26 million refugees in need of resettlement, yet less than 1% will be resettled—to say nothing of the benefit that refugee families bring to our community.
You can see the letter below:
Want to express your support? Visit here to learn more and use #WelcomeRefugees on your social media.
Pet of the Week
Spaz is a handsome, 6-year-old gentleman who is ready to be adopted. If you are interested in taking this guy home with you please submit an adoption survey and schedule an appointment using the link found in the survey confirmation email. Please email Pima Animal Care Center at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Ward 3 Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings
Country Club/Ft Lowell Safety Meeting
Email Ward3@tucsonaz.gov for Zoom link
Ward 3 Events
Free Mobile Mask Distribution at Donna Liggins Center
Donna Liggins Center
2160 N 6th Ave
The City of Tucson continues to host mobile mask giveaway events thanks to the Mayor and Tucson City Council. The first three distribution events were a huge success, giving away over 70,000 washable face coverings to members of the community since July.
Find out where the mobile mask distribution events will be held next by following the City of Tucson event page on Facebook or Twitter.
Wearing a face covering is one of the best ways, along with proper hand-washing and practicing social/physical distancing, to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The Mayor and Tucson Council is committed to keeping our community safe and has thousands more washable ear loop cloth masks to help those who have not been able to get them. Adult and child sizes will be available, and the child size has adjustable ear loops that can easily fit a small adult.
Masks will be provided throughout the event or until they have all been distributed. The event will be set up as a drive-thru, where community members can drive up to the site, advise how many masks they need, and the masks will be passed out. Bike-up and walk-up requests are also welcome.
City staff supporting this event will be using appropriate PPE and social distancing while distributing the masks. This is only an event for face-covering/mask distribution. This is not a COVID-19 testing event.
American Red Cross Blood Drive
10 am-4 pm
Woods Memorial Library
3455 N 1st Ave
Division Advisory Meeting (DAC)
TPD West Side Division will host its second virtual Division Advisory Committee (DAC) meeting Monday, October 5. You are invited to meet your TPD West Side Command Staff as they discuss new developments, initiatives, operation plans and crime trends. This is also your time to ask questions, express your concerns and share your ideas.
8am - 10am
3300 N Fairview Ave
City Wide Events
Sunshine Mile Neighborhood Meeting
The virtual neighborhood meeting regarding the Sunshine Mile Overlay District previously advertised for September 29 has been rescheduled to Monday, October 5 at 6pm after it was brought to our attention that the first presidential debate would be held the same evening. At the meeting on October 5, the project team will present an update on how public comments on earlier drafts of the overlay document have been addressed.
Follow this link for instructions on how to log in to the virtual meeting.
The Planning and Development Services Department (PDSD) and other City departments have been working with Rio Nuevo and stakeholders to develop a vision for the Sunshine Mile, the stretch of Broadway between Euclid and Country Club. This vision will be implemented through an Urban Overlay District, which will establish optional development standards that promote mixed-use development, adaptive reuse, historic preservation, and a more walkable corridor.
Strut Your Mutt
Rescue Me Tucson, a local 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to opening a collaborative animal Pet Adoption Center in Tucson, is partnering with Best Friends Animal Society to bring the Strut your Mutt virtual walk to Southern Arizona. Join them on October 24th as they strut, stroll, and roll pets to bring awareness to rescue pets here in Tucson.
All funds raised through the virtual walk will stay here in Tucson and help bring our dream of opening a collaborative Pet Adoption Center to life. Rescue Me Tucson would like to invite you to participate in the walk. Go to their website for more information.
Get out, get active, and show your community pride by tagging your photos with #Ward3 on social media.
Did You Know?
Reminder: More than $700K in Cares Act Funding Available for Tucson Artists and Arts Organizations
Artists and nonprofit arts organizations are among those hit economically by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and relief is available. To help support this community, the City of Tucson-We Are One/Somos Uno Resiliency Fund is offering more than $700,000 in grants to the local arts and culture community. The money comes from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Applications are due by Oct 5. The grant process is being facilitated by the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona (AFTSA). Follow the link below for more information.
Tucson Parks and Recreation will open additional amenities to include medium-sized ramadas, outdoor fitness stations, and pools beginning Monday, September 28.
Text to 911 Launches in Pima County
Communications centers across Pima County have now integrated texting into the 911 answering system, allowing residents in need of emergency services to reach a dispatcher via text when calling is not an option. Traditional 911 voice calls are still preferred since they are the most effective way for dispatchers to gather information and field emergency calls. Text to 911 helps those who are unable to speak due to an emergency, or those who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech disabled. To best use the system, you must know and provide your location in the text. Also, you can't text with a 911-only phone nor can you text from an internet messaging program. The preferred language is English, due to limited translation services. The easiest way to remember when to use the system is to “Call If You Can. Text If You Can’t.”
The Census Deadline Extended Until October 31
But just because the deadline has been extended it doesn’t mean you should wait! Join Mayor Regina Romero today at the Tucson Census Fiesta from 4-7 pm at the Grant Plaza South Shopping Center!
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.
Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMPaulDurham/
Follow us on Twitter: @CMPaul_Durham