Pauls Note: Friday, February 19, 2021

Paul's Ward 3 News and Updates
 
Friday, February 19, 2021
 
News and Updates
Pet of the Week                 
Ward 3 Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings
Ward 3 Events
City Wide Events
Did You Know?
 
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We all know that our traditional Rodeo Week would have been next week. Of course the pandemic shelved the parade and rodeo. But wait! While horses and wagons are out, the new City of Tucson Recreation vans will make their debut Thursday, Feb. 25. The six vans, part of the City’s Ready, Set, Rec mobile recreation program, will bring to each of the six wards games and activities for children and families. The Ward 3 van will be at Jacobs Park, 3300 N. Fairview Ave., from 2-4 pm. Join us! Participants will be required to wear masks and practice good social distancing.
 
Also in this week’s newsletter, we have information about the city’s earnest efforts to ensure our high-quality drinking water and a Thrive in the 05 virtual forum that will focus on the perseverance of Ward 3 businesses during the pandemic. Also, learn about phase two of the City’s Move Tucson program that will help establish a vision of our future mobility needs. And do you know what an American Kestrel is? If you don’t, read on.
 
Lastly, as we enjoy our warm winter temperatures, the weather and energy problems in Texas and elsewhere in that part of the country pointedly remind us of our national and global climate and energy crisis. To live in a sustainable world our future lies in reducing our carbon footprint, decreasing our use of fossil fuels and increasing our use of renewable energy sources and upping our conservation of our land, air and water.
 
Thriving in the 05
 
As we head into March, Ward 3 residents will look back at the past 12 months of obstacles, frustrations and losses. We were all affected, some more than others, but all our lives changed in some ways, small and big. For Ward 3 businesses owners, the COVID pandemic was doubly hard: it struck their personal lives and their businesses.
 
A good number of businesses in our neighborhoods remain operating. They adapted. They shifted the way they did business, and they displayed their faith and resiliency. In that spirit, we invite you to a virtual presentation on Monday, March 1, from 4-5 pm with three Ward 3 business owners who will share their pandemic experiences.
 
The event is part of the Thrive in the 05 Initiative and is sponsored by the City of Tucson Economic Initiatives and Pima Community College Workforce Development.
 
 
Teresa Noon of the PCC Workforce Development said, “We hope that participants will learn how the featured businesses employed new creative ideas and business pivots and support resources while also connecting and continuing to build community and support as Thrive in the 05 business owners continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.”
 
The three local business owners who are scheduled to participate in the virtual panel discussion are:
 
Steve Baquet, ABC Insurance - a Baquet Company  http://insurewithabc.com/
Kelly McLear, Monterey Court - https://www.montereycourtaz.com/
Chef Juan Almanza, El Taco Rustico- https://www.tacorustico.com/
 
The session is not just for business operators. Teresa urged non-business Ward 3 residents to join the 1-hour session. She said others will be inspired to support local businesses and better understand the incredible tenacity of our local businesses during these current difficult economic times. 
 
Pre-registration is required to the free Zoom session.
 
Not a Hawk
 
The American Kestrel is a small bird featuring bright feathery colors. It loves to hover and hunt its prey, usually mice, lizards and insects. And Kestrels can be found across North America and far deep into South America. But while it flutters around or perches itself on a wire or a pole, Kestrels prefer to nest in an empty hole or space in a tree, a cliff or a nesting box.
 
And if you look closely the next time you find yourself on the Rillito River, you might see a nesting box, one of 15 along the river, including two at the Rio Vista Natural Resource Park in Ward 3, between North Tucson and Cactus boulevards, abutting the river.
 
“I see them in the city all the time but the trick is to lure them into nesting boxes,” said Mike Shaw, a volunteer in the effort to study the ubiquitous birds.
 
But let’s get one fact straight about the American Kestrel. While the bird is often called a sparrow hawk, the Kestrel is not a hawk. It’s a falcon, the smallest in the falcon family.
 
 
Tucson is in its first year of participating in a national Kestrel study, a collaboration between HawkWatch International (see, there’s that hawk thing again), and several universities and environmental organizations. Locally the study of the little falcon has been aided by the Tucson Audubon Society, Tucson Parks & Recreation Department, Pima County and Arizona Game & Fish.
 
While the Kestrel is a relatively common bird, there’s much to learn about its habits and habitats. And while it is not an endangered bird, the Kestrel population is declining, Mike said. A number of man-made environmental factors are in play, he added.
 
Mike said when nesting boxes went up along the Rillito, nearby residents took note and interest. Individuals, or as Mike calls them, “citizen scientists,” have placed nesting boxes on their property. Mike said these citizen scientists, which he is one of, will help in the long-term study of the Kestrels.
 
Erecting a nesting box along the Rillito is a no-brainer. Kestrels enjoy wide-open spaces to soar and spot their prey, including small sparrows. Here are suggestions and directions on building a nesting box for your yard. If you build a nesting box, consider contributing to the overall study of the birds.
 
Mike said the study’s partners include the American Kestrel Partnership, Peregrine Fund, HawkWatch International, and the Tucson Audubon Society. Each group asks the same communal questions, and each group asks questions specific to their own study, Mike said.
 
“The more participation, the better,” he said.
 
For more information and if you would like to volunteer with the Kestrel nesting box survey, contact Mike Shaw at mshaw@hawkwatch.org.
 
Move Tucson Virtual Open House
 
The City of Tucson Department of Transportation and Mobility (DTM) is excited to announce a self-guided informational virtual tour of Move Tucson Phase 2. Between March and August 2020, Tucsonans shared their vision for the city’s mobility future. Over 4,500 people participated in the online survey from all areas of the city. The Virtual Open House shares what we've learned from the public about
Tucson's mobility priorities and provides an overview of the current state of our transportation system.
 
 
The virtual Open House will guide you through the work to date and ask you to provide your input on the draft guiding principles that will shape the outcomes of the Move Tucson Plan.
 
English Virtual Open House: https://movetucson.org/voh/
 
Visit the Move Tucson Virtual Open House and:
  1. Learn about Move Tucson and what we’ve heard so far.
  2. Review the draft Vision and Guiding Principles that, with your input, will shape network priorities.
  3. Provide feedback on the Move Tucson Vision and tell us about the challenges and opportunities for travel today. 
Move Tucson will establish shared transportation visions, goals, and performance measures for tracking progress. The plan will consider the needs of people who walk, bike, use public transit, drive, and deliver goods and services on City streets. The outcome of the planning process will create a list of prioritized projects and programs that will drive future funding decisions.
 
The Ward 3 office spoke with Patrick Hartley, the Complete Streets Program Coordinator about the effort, which began in October of 2019. Originally, DTM had planned on having full scale in-person public outreach. This began with a kick-off event at the Fox Theatre downtown almost exactly one year ago.
 
“We wanted to meet people where they are,” said Hartley.
 
Despite best-laid plans to attend community events and neighborhood meetings, COVID-19 changed the plan. Like all of us, the Move Tucson team pivoted to virtual meetings, outreach, and advertising. However, with traditional forms of advertising the team still noticed that there were key areas of the City being under sampled in terms survey returns.
 
Patrick and the Move Tucson team then gathered a team of “Street Ambassadors” to help.  These folks reach out to members of the public from their own community perspective.
 
“The Ambassadors were able to be creative,” Hartley said in reference to their approach to community outreach. Each ambassador was able to make the project their own based on their knowledge of the community.
 
The team is now happy to report back on what they have learned from the community. With the option for even more feedback.
 
PFAS Clean-up
 
As regular readers know, Mayor and Council along with Tucson Water have acted swiftly to effectively manage per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) found in our groundwater. If you’d like a refresher on what these substances are, please watch this recent short video from Tucson Water Interim Director, John Kmiec.
 
Importantly, water served by Tucson Water is safe. This is the case because Tucson Water is proactively testing water and removing production wells where contamination is found. To date, 24 production wells have been removed from service due to detections of PFAS compounds (see map below).
 
 
The City of Tucson has partnered with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) and Davis-Monthan Air Force base, as well as our Arizona Congressional Delegation to urge the state and federal governments to assist in the clean-up efforts to manage PFAS and protect our aquifer.
 
ADEQ has allocated $3.3M to begin this effort. During this quarter, ADEQ has begun the assessment of the extent of existing PFAS contamination. Other tasks to be conducted include modeling and projections of potential future impacts to the Central Well Field and design of a PFAS groundwater extraction and treatment system. The preliminary schedule provided by ADEQ targets pilot testing of treatment methods in the summer of 2021 with full-scale remediation design and construction in Fall 2021.
 
Pet of the Week
 
 
 
This week we get a twofer with a bonded couple Junie and Juno. Junie is a 6-year-old and is unique in that she is an Abyssinian and Manx mix. Her bestie is a blue domestic shorthaired guy named Juno. They are a bonded pair who are currently in foster through Pima Animal Care Center but are looking for their forever home. They get along with other cats and are litterbox trained.
 
If you are interested in adopting this sweet duo, please email PACC.AdoptAFoster@pima.gov.
 
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Ward 3 Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings
 
Ft. Lowell/Country Club Safety Meeting
Monday
February 22
6 pm
 
Jefferson Park Safety Meeting
Tuesday
February 23
6 pm
These meetings with Officer Erin Peters will be chaired by Rosemary Bolza, Executive VP of JPNA.
 
Jefferson Park
Wednesday
February 24
6 pm
 
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Ward 3 Events
 
Food Distributiuon
Saturday
February 20
8 am-10am
New Life Community Church of the Nazarene,
3367 N. Geronimo
 
There are no requirements and no cost to receive food at this  monthly fresh food distribution.
 
Vita at Ward 3 Council Office
 
 
Did you know that if you made $66,000 or less last year, you do not have to pay to file your taxes? Starting on February 1st, United Way of Tucson's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program can help you file for free. Mindful of the COVID-19 pandemic, United Way is teaming up with www.GetYourRefund.org to provide free, online, one-on-one tax assistance from real, live IRS-certified tax preparers. VITA tax preparation saves taxpayers an average of $250 per return. The program helps taxpayers receive all tax credits for which they are eligible – including the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
There are three ways you can get your taxes done for free:
 
-GetYourRefund.org – taxpayers can connect with VITA volunteers online
-In-Person Assistance – limited in-person assistance is available at select sites
-DIY Self-Prep Software – online services for those who feel confident in filing on their own Click here for more information.
 
If you do not have access to the internet, you can call 520-837-4231 to talk to VITA volunteers by phone. Be sure to leave your name and a good contact number so that they can reach out to assist you.
 
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City Wide Events
 
Tucson Transportation Talks Free Virtual Conference
 
 
The City of Tucson Department of Transportation and Mobility is excited to announce its first annual Tucson Transportation Talks (TTT), a virtual conference to be held on March 3 - 4.
 
ABOUT   |   REGISTRATION   |    PANEL TOPICS   |    SPONSORS
 
 
Public Meeting About Accessory Dwelling Units
 
Learn more about how Accessory Dwelling Units can provide additional housing options in Tucson, how they are regulated today, and what changes are being considered in order to make this housing option more accessible. You will also have a chance to share your thoughts and feedback.
Meetings will be held virtually over Zoom at the following times. Sign up to attend using the links below:
 
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Did You Know?
 
TAKE THE CLIMATE ACTION COMMUNITY SURVEY
 
 
Tucson Mayor Regina Romero is inviting the community to complete a survey to identify their priorities for both City government and community wide climate and environmental sustainability actions. As part of a climate emergency declaration on Sept. 9, 2020, the City of Tucson committed to develop and implement a 10-year Climate Action Plan. The Climate Action Community Survey will kick-start the process of developing that plan. "I invite all Tucsonans to complete the Climate Action Community Survey and voice your priorities and ideas on climate action and environmental sustainability,” said Mayor Romero. 
Take the Climate Action Survey
Resolution 23222 - Climate Emergency Declaration
 
Plant Low-Cost Trees for Energy Efficiency 
 
 
Plant a tree. Create shade. Conserve energy.
 
Customers of Tucson Electric Power Company qualify for native shade trees to plant within 15 feet of their homes on the west, south or east side. Trees are $8 or $15 including delivery; several varieties are available. Call 791-3109, or visit their website for more information.
 
TRANSIT FARES REMAIN FREE UNTIL END OF FISCAL YEAR
 
Tucson's Mayor and City Council voted yesterday to extend the suspension of transit fares through the end of this fiscal year, June 30. That means riders won't have to pay to make trips on Sun Tran buses, the Sun Link streetcar, Sun Van, Sun On Demand, and Sun Shuttle. The City received funds for public transit in the latest federal relief package that will help offset the costs of not charging fares during the pandemic.
 
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Council Member Paul Durham is on Social Media!
 
Follow us on Twitter: @CMPaul_Durham
 
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