newsnet - November 11, 3:07 pm
CITY OF TUCSON GENERAL ELECTION 2013: POLLS OPEN UNTIL 7 PM - Voters who have yet to vote in today's City of Tucson general election may still drop off their voted ballot, obtain a replacement ballot, or vote in person at any of the City's seven polling locations until 7 p.m. Election results will become available on the City's elections website shortly after polls close.
COUNTY APPROVES TEMPORARY ADDITION AT ANIMAL SHELTER - The Pima County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a measure to build a temporary addition to the Pima Animal Care Center to address overcrowding at the shelter. Shelter managers were asking for $400,000 to build a tent to house the overflow pets. Under the measure passed this morning, the county will erect a 100' by 60' tent to house 100 kennels. It will be heated, cooled and tied down to protect against summer monsoon storms. From KOLD/KMSB.
FORMER TPD OFFICER SENTENCED TO 10 YEARS FOR CHILD PORNOGRAPHY - A former Tucson police officer caught with child pornography will spend the next decade in prison. Pima County Superior Court Judge Jane Eikleberry sentenced Martin Louis Henry Ward on Monday to 10 years in prison for sexual exploitation of a minor followed by lifetime probation for a second count of sexual exploitation of minor. A TPD internal investigation into Ward from 2012 said he knowingly consumed prescription medication with alcohol, disobeyed direct orders, lied about a marriage and forged documents in order to receive Family and Medical Leave benefits. At Mondays sentencing, Ward neither apologized nor accepted responsibility for any wrongdoing. From the Star.
COUNTY NEARLY DOUBLES CONTRIBUTION TO EL TOUR DE TUCSON - After losing its title sponsor, El Tour de Tucson is looking to the city and Pima County to fill some of the financial void. The city of Tucson has already agreed to almost double its financial commitment to the communitys premier cycling event, kicking in an extra $25,000. Today, the county Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an additional $25,000 from its contingency fund to bring the county's support to $51,063, according to a news release. For the last six years, El Tour has been sponsored by the University of Arizona Medical Center, which dropped to a lower level of sponsorship this year, creating a $250,000 gap in the budget. From the Star.
JOB OPPORTUNITY: EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER - The Tucson Fire Department is looking for a career professional to serve as an Emergency Communications Manager, responsible for planning, organizing, and administering the technical components and operating systems of the E-911 Communications Center. Applicants should be experienced and proficient in coordinating the efforts of technical staff, system engineers, software and hardware vendors, and contractors, for a large, urban dispatch center environment. Applicants should possess a wide range of knowledge of radio, telephonic, CAD, reporting, and data management systems related to emergency call center operations.
newsnet - November 9, 6:59 pm
CITY OF TUCSON ELECTION TOMORROW: POLLS OPEN 6 AM UNTIL 7 PM - Tomorrow is election day for the City of Tucson's 2013 General Election. Voters will elect Council Members for Wards 3, 5 and 6 and vote on two propositions: a expenditure base adjustment for the City Budget, and a new General Plan. All registered voters should have received their ballots by mail. Voters who wish to obtain replacement ballots, drop off their voted ballots, or who would like to vote in person, may do so tomorrow between the hours of 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. at any of the City's seven polling locations.
COURT FINDS CITY RESPONSIBLE FOR $2.95M IN DAMAGES FROM ALLEGEDLY LEAKY PIPES IN BARRIO VIEJO - A jury in Pima County Superior Court has awarded a $2.95 million against the City in a case in which plaintiffs allege leaky water pipes have damaged some of their historic adobe structures. The suit, filed in 2002 by the Rollings family, initially went to trial in 2006. The jury in that case found in favor of the City, but an appellate court ordered a retrial. The city fought that decision all the way to the Arizona Supreme Court, which denied the city a hearing last January, sending the case back to Superior Court, where it went to trial Oct. 22. The trial ended Thursday, Oct. 31. The jury reached its verdict the following day. From the Star.
PARKS & REC RECEIVES GRANT FROM US TENNIS ASSOCIATION TO RESURFACE COURTS - The City's Parks & Recreation Department has received a a Facility Funding Grant from the United States Tennis Association for a recent court resurfacing project at the Jim Reffkin Tennis Center. The project resurfaced 11 tennis courts and a practice area. The resurfacing allowed the center to provide a uniform surface treatment for all of its courts and included 'blended line' striping for youth tennis programs. The Reffkin Tennis Center has been heavily involved in USTA programming and has hosted numerous national tournaments. The center has been chosen to host seven USTA National Adult League Championships, which began September 26th and end November 24th. They will be hosting three major junior events over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays as well.
VISIT TUCSON NAMES NEW SPORTS DIRECTOR - Visit Tucson has hired Angel Natal Jr., formerly of the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission, as director of Tucson Sports. He replaces Vince Trinidad, who accepted the position as Executive Director of Tulsa Sports Commission, in August. Natal will be responsible for building awareness for metropolitan Tucson as a preferred destination for all types of sports events, and for selling and marketing the area in order to secure regional and national events that fill hotel rooms, venues and facilities throughout the region. News release from Visit Tucson.
ANALYSIS: MARICOPA COUNTY CITIES CLIMBING OUT OF RECESSION, BUT FACE LONG-TERM CHALLENGES - An analysis of five years of city financial data by The Arizona Republic shows cities in the Phoenix metro area are increasing spending and restoring programs after several years of stagnation. But many of the underlying issues that led them to the brink of economic crisis during the recession remain, including sensitive revenue streams, legislative mandates and rising benefit costs. From the Republic.
newsnet - November 9, 6:44 pm
RIO NUEVO AUDIT: DISTRICT IN BETTER POSITION, BUT NEEDS STRATEGIC VISION - The Arizona Auditor General's office has released a new performance audit of the Rio Nuevo Multipurpose Facilities District. The audit, conducted by Johnson Consulting of Chicago, reports "significant improvement" in the performance of the district, citing changes made to address statutory compliance recommendations from the prior audit, and the settlement of significant legal disputes with the City and other parties. The auditors said some areas of non-compliance remained, but called these "fairly minor." Concern was expressed over what auditors called "the District's current procedural inability to accurately monitor tax collections," and that this "can be addressed administratively, but may possibly require a legislative modification." The report concludes that Rio Nuevo cannot address the capital needs of the TCC as currently structured. It has the option of keeping its overhead low and using the district's remaining life to make limited improvements. But making the TCC a nationally competitive convention facility and a catalyst for overall District success will require a comprehensive strategic plan. From the Arizona Auditor General (84-page PDF).
NEW STARTING POINT FOR ALL SOULS PROCESSION - The All Souls Procession will start in a new spot this year, just south of the intersection of North Sixth Avenue and East Sixth Street, the same block that houses Exo Roast Co., Miller's Surplus and Tap & Bottle. The annual procession, now in its 24th year, has been forced to shift its route around in recent years, primarily due to ongoing development downtown and Modern Streetcar construction. Last year, the event started on the East Toole Avenue side of Hotel Congress. The procession will begin Sunday at 6 p.m. From the Star.
FIREFIGHTERS' CHILI COOK-OFF TOMORROW - Tucson Firefighters Association Local 479 will host its annual Chili Cook-Off from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday at El Presidio Park, next to City Hall. Proceeds benefit the agencys Adopt-a-Family Program, which provides food boxes, basic necessities, clothing and gifts to families in need. Many families aided by the program are referred and others are adopted by firefighters who see the need when they go to residences on calls. Last year the group raised $60,000 at the cook-off. Chili, made by firefighters, sells for $2 a cup, and other food is available for purchase. From the Star.
SATURDAY: "PRESIDIO WALLS TALK," A CELEBRATION FOR DIA DE LOS MUERTOS - Tucson Parks and Recreation Department and Presidio San Agustín del Tucson invite you to join us for "The Presidio Walls Talk," a celebration for Dia de Los Muertos. This event will feature altars, reenactments of the life of early Tucson, Puppet Theater: La Llorona by Maki Maki Theater, levitation performance by Special Head, Danza Azteca Calpulli Tonantzin, hula hoops with lights, a fortune teller, art exhibit, art raffle by Mel Dominguez and Carolyn King, childrens activities, and more.
JOB OPPORTUNITY: BUDGET ADMINISTRATOR - The City of Tucson is seeking a Budget Administrator for the Office of Budget and Internal Audit. This key position will assist the Program Director in the planning and oversight of the City's operating and capital budgets. The City of Tucson's FY 2014 budget is $1.3 Billion. The ideal candidate will have extensive knowledge of principles and practices of municipal accounting and budgeting with five (5) years relevant supervisory experience. Interested candidates should possess a Bachelor degree in Accounting, Finance, Business or related field. Highly desirable would be a candidate with a Master's Degree in Public or Business Administration; a Certified Public Accountant; or a Certified Governmental Financial Manager.
newsnet - November 9, 3:50 pm
FRIDAY: DEDICATION FOR WWII MEMORIAL AT ARMORY PARK - Ward 5 Council Member Richard Fimbres and the City of Tucson will host a ceremony for the unveiling and dedication of the City's World War II memorial at Armory Park, 221 S. Sixth Ave. Arrival and seating for the dedication will take place at 9 a.m. and the ceremony will commence promptly at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, November 1, 2013. This memorial, designed by artists Lauri Slenning and Rebecca Thompson, honors and recognizes Tucson veterans who served and gave their lives for their country. Immediately following the dedication there will be a reception held in the Armory Center Ballroom.
I-10 REOPENS AT PICACHO AFTER 19-VEHICLE CRASH THAT KILLS 3 - Interstate 10 reopened in both directions at about 10:30 last night after serious mid-afternoon collisions, believed to be related to dust storms, closed the freeway for about 10 hours. ADOT officials say the crashes involved 19 vehicles and resulted in 3 deaths. DPS spokesman Bart Graves said Tuesdays crash was one of the worst chain-reaction accidents in that area in the past seven years. From the Washington Post.
FEDERAL AUDIT: ARIZONA SECOND-WORST IN U.S. AT DISTRIBUTING MORTGAGE AID TO HOMEOWNERS - A quarterly audit of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, released late Monday found that Arizona distributed the second-lowest percentage of federal Hardest Hit mortgage aid directly to homeowners despite being one of the states hardest hit by the housing bust. The audit covered a period of roughly three years. The Arizona Department of Housing disputed the audits findings, calling them "flawed and misleading." From the Republic.
PIMA COUNTY SHUTS DOWN WEB PAGE DISPLAYING WRONG POLLING LOCATIONS AFTER VAIL RESIDENT COMPLAINS - The Pima County Elections Department will take down a web page that displayed the wrong polling places for upcoming election, which will determine whether the community of Vail will become an incorporated town. Pima County consolidated the number of polling locations since the November 2012 election but failed to update their website, according to Pima County Elections Director Brad Nelson. Nelson said a recent mailing to thousands of voters, including more than 7,000 eligible voters in Vail, contains the correct polling information. From the Star.
CITY PROCUREMENT DIRECTOR ELECTED PRESIDENT OF NATIONAL ASSOCIATION - Marcheta Gillespie, director of the City's procurement department, has been elected as President of the Board of Directors for The National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP). As President, Ms. Gillespie will lead the Institute in its mission to promote, develop and support the public procurement profession. She will serve as ambassador for NIGP and its over 16,000 members representing 2,600 agencies throughout North America.
newsnet - November 9, 2:03 pm
DEADLINE TO MAIL CITY BALLOTS IS THURSDAY - The City Clerk's office recommends that voters who wish to mail in their ballots for this year's City election do so by this Thursday, October 31, to ensure that their votes will be counted. Ballots may also be dropped off at any time between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the City Clerk's Elections Center at 800 E. 12th St., today through Friday as well as the following Monday, November 4th. On Election Day, Tuesday, November 5th, ballots may be cast in person from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. at any of the City's seven polling locations. Replacement ballots will be available on election day at all seven locations. Voters with questions may call the City Clerk at (520) 884-8683, or 884-VOTE.
TPD TO BEGIN CITING LEFT TURNERS AT GRANT/ORACLE THIS WEEKEND - It is now illegal to make a left turn directly from Grant Rd. to Oracle Rd. in either direction. Under the intersection's new "indirect left" design, motorists on Grant must first pass through the intersection and double back to make a right turn. TPD, which has been issuing warnings to drivers who turn left illegally since the intersection became operational last week, will begin issuing citations this Saturday. From KOLD/KMSB.
FORTY NINER COUNTRY CLUB DRILLS TEST WELL, WORRIES NEIGHBORS, CONSERVATIONISTS - Forty Niner Country Club golf course owner Ron McKenzie has initiated a well test at the site. If the test succeeds, the well could ultimately be used to pump groundwater for the golf course, according to the state permit application. A Tucson Water attorney and a longtime neighbor of the course are worried that new pumping would draw down the region's shallow upper aquifer and damage nearby riparian habitat. Protection of the wash's vegetation is the key reason Tucson ratepayers spent $8 million to connect its reclaimed system to the course, according to Chris Avery, Tucson Water's chief counsel. Tucson Water also bought many of the assets of the golf courses water system back in 2003. "We have a contract with them to be exclusive provider of reclaimed water to the golf course. If they continue to pursue this avenue we will be exploring our legal remedies to enforce this contract," Avery said. From the Star.
COURT OF APPEALS TO DECIDE RTA ELECTION CASE - Seven years after a Pima County's RTA election, the state Court of Appeals will decide whether those who contend the election results were inaccurate will get to change future election procedures. Tucson attorney Bill Risner wants the court to order protections to ensure votes are being properly counted. Risner, representing the Pima County Committee of the Arizona Libertarian Party, said the system used to scan and tally ballots is subject to tinkering and abuse. But attorney Ronna Fickbohm, representing Pima County, said there's nothing to the lawsuit. She called Risner's claims "a sensationalistic and emotional attack on Pima County" which relies on "facts" without support. From the Star.
"FIREFIGHTERS WITHOUT BORDERS" RETURN HOME FROM ISRAEL MISSION - A delegation of local firefighters received a hero's welcome home at Tucson International Airport upon their return from Israel. As their flight taxied to the gate, they were greeted by a water canon salute courtesy of the Tucson Airport Authority Fire Department. The group was comprised of seven firefighters from a number of different agencies, including Northwest Fire District, Rincon Valley, and the Tucson Airport Authority. They visited several cities and regions, like the Gaza strip, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv in the nearly two weeks they spent in Israel. The purpose of the trip was to learn from each other in a region of the world that's no stranger to deadly violence. "For years, we thought that terrorist-type events would never happen in the quiet Old Pueblo, but the events of Jan. 8 changed that perspective," said Golder Ranch Fire District Chief Randy Karrer. "Tucson has many high-profile events that could be targeted, much like the Boston Marathon incident, and we must ensure our first responders preplan the event and are astute to the latest most effective procedures." From KOLD/KMSB.
newsnet - November 9, 12:20 pm
BOURN UNVEILS PLANS FOR THRIFTY BLOCK - Developer Don Bourn unveiled preliminary plans for his Thrifty Block project along East Congress Street between South Scott and Stone avenues during yesterday's Rio Nuevo board meeting. About eight years ago, the district spent $900,000 demolishing buildings on the block, which stretches along Congress St. between South Scott and Stone avenues. Bourn received the land for $100 as part of a deal for him to build condos and retail on the property, but has yet to built anything there. The land became the subject of multiple lawsuits, which were finally settled last month. Bourn plans to build a five-story mixed-use development, with 44 residential units and a street-level floor designed for retail shops and restaurants. renovating the historic Indian Trading Post and the annex building of the old Valley National Bank (now Chase bank), which flank the east and west sides of the proposed new development. He says he expects construction to begin within a year. From the Star.
ON ACA EXCHANGES, PIMA COUNTY HAS NATION'S LOWEST PREMIUMS - In the 34 states now participating in the new federally managed health insurance exchange, Pima County is shown to have the lowest premiums in the country in a review conducted by the New York Times. The review, based on the price of a silver plan for a 50-year-old, showed premiums for insurance purchased on the exchange to be inversely proportional to the number of competing insurers in a given county. In Pima County, where eight insurers were competing, a 50-year-old would pay $235 per month for a silver plan. In Baker County, Georgia, where only one insurer was participating, the same 50-year-old would pay $673 per month. From the New York Times.
VANDALS STRIKE THE HOUGHTON ROAD IMPROVEMENT PROJECT - The Houghton Road corridor improvement project has been an ongoing target for vandals, in incidents ranging from stolen equipment to pranks with barricades and street signs. Officials say the incidents have been occurring since the project began about a year ago. The contractor has recently installed a camera system to monitor the project's staging area during non-work hours. TDOT project manager MJ Dillard says TPD is investigating the incidents, and has recently stepped up patrols in the area. Vandalism notwithstanding, the project is ahead of schedule. From KVOA.
SMALL PLANE CRASHES AT TIA - One person was hospitalized yesterday morning after a small plane crashed at Tucson International Airport. The twin engine Piper crashed on a runway while taking off shortly before 11 a.m., according to TIA spokeswoman Vicki Matthews. One Tucson Fire Department engine and 1 paramedic unit were dispatched to the scene, according to Tucson Fire Department spokesman Capt. Barrett Baker. Tucson International Airport is owned by the City of Tucson and managed by the Tucson Airport Authority under a lease agreement. From KVOA.
THIS WEEKEND: ENJOY HOWL-O-WEEN AT THE CITY'S REID PARK ZOO - This weekend, at 6 p.m. on October 25, 26 & 27, the City of Tucson's Reid Park Zoo features "Howl-O-Ween," a fun, safe trick-or-treating event. Admission is $7 for all ages, $5 for members of the Reid Park Zoological Society. Children under 2 are free.
newsnet - November 9, 10:51 am
COMMUNITY FORUM TONIGHT ON PROPOSITIONS 401 AND 402 - The City is hosting a forum Wednesday to discuss the two propositions on the Nov. 5 ballot. The forum opens at 6 p.m. at the Randolph Center Performing Arts Building, 200 S. Alvernon Way. Presentations are expected to begin at 6:30. Interested citizens will have a chance to meet with city staff one-on-one, hear brief presentations, and ask questions. From the Star.
ACTIVISTS ASK COUNCIL TO CHANGE ENFORCEMENT OF SB1070 - Dozens of immigrant rights activists asked M&C last night to change how TPD enforces Arizona's anti-illegal immigration law, SB 1070. On Oct. 8, TPD officers called the Border Patrol after receiving information suggesting that the two men stopped for a traffic violation were in the country illegally. The incident sparked an immediate on-site protest, in which TPD officers used pepper spray to disperse protesters, and has led to a series of subsequent demonstrations. TPD Chief of Police Roberto Villasenor has stated that TPD is required to enforce the laws of the State of Arizona and that SB 1070 gives local law enforcement limited discretion. From Arizona Public Media.
COUNCIL APPROVES CHANGES TO PRIMARY JOBS INCENTIVE PROGRAM - Last night M&C unanimously approved changes to its Primary Jobs Incentive Program to make it easier for more businesses to qualify for building-fee exemptions and to temporarily retain sales taxes for their own benefit. The program was launched in August 2011 to encourage businesses in the primary sector to expand, and in doing so, boost the economy. "A primary job is one that exports a product and imports dollars into the economy versus retail, which just re-circulates dollars," said Chris Kaselemis, Economic Initiatives Program director. The changes lower the minimum wage businesses must pay some workers in order to get the incentive. "The average wage is a little lower and more in line with what we pay here in the Tucson area," Kaselemis said. "By lowering the threshold, it will make more firms eligible." From the Star.
TPD TO WATCH FOR ILLEGAL LEFT TURNS AT GRANT AND ORACLE - The City of Tucson's first "indirect left" intersection is now operational at Grant and Oracle roads. Motorists are no longer permitted to turn left from Grant onto Oracle. Rather, they must pass through the intersection on Grant, make a U-turn, then come back to make a right on Oracle. Tucson police say they will pull over drivers who make an illegal left. Police say they'll write warnings for a week, possibly two. They will ticket illegal left turners after that. From KOLD/KMSB.
JOB OPPORTUNITY: PLUMBER - The City of Tucson's General Services Department is seeking highly skilled individuals to maintain, inspect, repair and install plumbing, commercial irrigation and related systems and components. Successful applicants must have a high school diploma or GED, a valid driver's license, six months post-high school training in plumbing, two years paid work experience maintaining, inspecting, repairing and installing plumbing at the skilled journey level, preferably four years or more.
newsnet - November 9, 10:33 am
COMMUNITY FORUM TOMORROW NIGHT ON CITY BALLOT PROPOSITIONS - City staff will be on hand tomorrow night at a community forum to discuss the two propositions appearing on this year's City ballot: Prop. 401, a permanent $50M adjustment to the City's base expenditure limitation; and Prop. 402, the City's new General Plan. Both measures were referred to November's ballot by M&C. Both measures, under Arizona law, require voter approval in order to take effect. The forum will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Randolph Center, Performing Arts Building #2, 200 S. Alvernon Way. Watch Tucson 12's info video on Prop 401 here; and on Prop. 402 here.
"INDIRECT LEFT" BEGINS OPERATING AT GRANT AND ORACLE - The "indirect left" feature of the first intersection in Tucson's city limits to incorporate the new design began operating this morning at about 6 a.m. This is the Pima County Regional Transportation Authority's (RTA's) second "indirect left" featured project in the region; the first was completed at Pima County's Ina Road & Oracle Road intersection last month. Although the intersection is now operational, transportation officials say construction on the intersection is still not complete, and that crews will be working in the area for a few more weeks. From KOLD/KMSB.
TOMORROW: MAYOR'S POVERTY COMMISSION TO HOST "POVERTY SIMULATION" - Mayor Jonathan Rothschild's Poverty Commission will host a "poverty simulation" Oct. 23 at the UniSource Building in Downtown Tucson. The simulation is intended to familiarize participants with the day-to-day realities facing people who live in poverty in the U.S. - whether they're a single mom, a senior living on a fixed income, a family with an incarcerated parent, or any number of other possible scenarios. Dr. Richard Carmona will act as facilitator during the simulation, which involves four 15-minute "weeks" - one month in which participants will juggle competing demands with limited resources. From Inside Tucson Business.
MORE CITIES USING BONDS TO SHORE UP PENSIONS, BUT EXPERTS WARN AGAINST THE PRACTICE - Despite what finance experts say is a significant risk, cities across the nation are borrowing money to bolster their employee retirement accounts. Nashville was the latest to consider such a move, but Mayor Karl Dean's administration withdrew the proposal last week after intense criticism. The city had considered borrowing $200 million to help reduce nearly $400 million of unfunded liability in its pension plan. Elsewhere this year, the Connecticut towns of Hamden and Stratford agreed this year to borrow up to $125 million and $220 million, respectively, via pension obligation bonds. Fort Lauderdale issued $337 million in bonds last year to cover $400 million of unfunded liability in two separate retirement funds. Oakland, the city believed to have issued the first pension obligation bond in 1985, again used them last year to pump more than $200 million into the city's retirement account for police and firefighters. From USA Today.
TSA BEGINS EXPEDITED CHECK-IN SERVICE AT TUCSON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT - Airline passengers can now take advantage of expedited "PreCheck" screening lanes at Tucson International Airport that don't require them to take off their shoes and belts or open their laptop cases. The TSA this week opened a PreCheck lane on the B Concourse at the airport during peak morning hours. A second PreCheck, on the A Concourse, should be open by the end of October. News release from TAA.
ward3 - November 8, 3:20 pm
Karin's Note: Friday, November 8, 2013
-Ward 3 Events -Upcoming Area Neighborhood and Coalition Meeting(s) -Citywide Events -Did You Know?
transportation - November 8, 8:05 am
Downtown Tucson will be the host of the annual Veterans Day Parade on Monday, November 11, 2013. The parade will stage on West Alameda Street between Granada Avenue and Manning House Way beginning at 9 a.m. The parade begins at 11 a.m., and proceeds east on West Alameda Street and turns north on Church Avenue to Sixth Street/ St. Mary’s Road, proceeds west on Sixth Street/ St.