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Avondale Employee Receives Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Award

Avondale employee honored with Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Award

Christopher Lopez, Youth Development and Community Engagement Supervisor for the City of Avondale, was honored with a Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Community Builder Award.  The 2017 honors were presented on Thursday, July 20 at the Arizona City/County Management Association Summer Conference hosted this year in Marana, AZ.

The Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Community Builder Award recognizes public servants in cities and towns who advance community pride and connectedness. These leaders have be instrumental in transforming their communities through a variety of efforts including job creation and training, healthy communities, environmental and historical preservation, volunteerism and philanthropy, and educational advancement.

Chris Lopez spearheads numerous programs, services and partnerships that benefit local youth in the Avondale area. Under his leadership, the Youth and Community Engagement Division works to address the needs of underserved youth and provides meaningful community engagement opportunities for all Avondale residents.

Lopez introduced the Kids at Hope philosophy to the city and paved the way for Avondale to become the first official Kids at Hope city in the nation. As a result, staff from various school districts, local government and community leaders have adopted the Kids at Hope support system and belief that all children are capable of success, no exceptions. He also was instrumental in fostering relationships with the Corporation for National and Community Service, as well as expanding youth workforce development and teen leadership opportunities in Avondale.

The Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Awards are sponsored by the Center for the Future of Arizona and supported by Arizona City/County Management Association, Arizona Department of Administration, County Supervisors Association of Arizona, Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc., and League of Arizona Cities and Towns.

The Center for the Future of Arizona is a nonpartisan, nonprofit that combines research with collaborative partnerships and initiatives that drive the state’s economic prosperity, quality of life, and civic health to create a better future for all Arizonans.   www.arizonafuture.org.

 

City of Sierra Vista Wins $120,000 for Tourism Campaign

The City of Sierra Vista won the Arizona Office of Tourism’s Grand Pitch contest on Friday, earning about $120,000 in advertising for a campaign spotlighting international cuisine and bicycling.

The selection was made at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism. Sierra Vista was one of three finalists in its rural category, joining the City of Prescott and the Globe-Miami Chamber of Commerce in making Grand Pitch presentations at the conference. Visit Mesa won the metro category. The selections were made by a panel of judges formed of media partners that contributed to the prize and attendees of the conference who viewed the presentations.

Sierra Vista’s entry pitched a marketing campaign that marries two of the community’s strengths, bicycling and international cuisine. These experiences are available in Sierra Vista all year long and are often enjoyed by the same demographic. The campaign’s tagline, “that’s how we roll,” speaks to many local dishes that happen to be rolled, while also tying in the many avid cyclists and mountain bikers who roll along Sierra Vista’s paths, trails, and roads.

“The campaign will capitalize on our recent designation as a bicycle friendly community, Sierra Vista’s inclusion on U.S. Bicycle Route 90, and previous marketing efforts,” says Judy Hector, marketing and public affairs manager for the City.

“It will give us the resources needed to aggressively pursue a demographic that has responded well to our ad campaigns in the past,” Hector says. “This prize will make a significant difference for a community like Sierra Vista.”

The City will share more information on its Grand Pitch award winning campaign during the annual Spotlight Breakfast at the Thunder Mountain Activity Centre on Tuesday, Aug. 8 at 7:30 a.m. Admission is $25 and includes a buffet breakfast. Seating is limited; call (520) 458-7922 to make a reservation before it’s too late.

Rainwater Harvesting in Tucson

Below is an excerpt from Tucson  Councilmember Paul Cunningham’s newsletter about rainwater harvesting in Tucson:

July 14, 2017:

As a native Tucsonan, the monsoon season is my favorite time of year. There is nothing more magical than rain in the desert, with the drop in temperature, the smell of creosote, and the flowing arroyos. Most people I know in Tucson make it through the oven like heat of June with hopes of a good monsoon season.

Well, our hopes, prayers and good thoughts have been rewarded. Here at the Ward 2 office we have received well over 2 inches this past week and for a variety of reasons, this is good news. As I’ve mentioned before, we make extensive use of rainwater harvesting. The rain that hits the asphalt runs off to water our Palo Verde trees that shade the west side of our parking lot while the rest of our landscaping is watered by harvested rainwater that flows into basins and collects in our cistern from the roof. Given the area of our building, we have collected over 2000 gallons of water that is now saved in our cistern and ready to irrigate when needed.

Monsoon season is a good time to talk about water harvesting and how we can encourage more Tucsonans to utilize this ancient and basic technology in our neighborhoods. Rainwater harvesting made human settlement possible in Southern Arizona 3,500 years ago. The Hohokam Indians captured rainwater with rock dams and built sizable storage tanks. The Tohono O’Odham still store rainwater in earthen tanks for cattle. Here in Tucson, any chance we can use rainwater instead of potable water, we make an investment in our future.

To that end, the Mayor and Council recently directed staff to institute a program using water conservation funds to provide grants to neighborhoods and community groups in the City of Tucson. These funds are available to facilitate the installation of storm water harvesting features in their neighborhoods. The aim of these grants is to provide neighborhoods with appropriate resources to plan and implement neighborhood scale storm water harvesting projects in publicly owned areas or a homeowner association’s common area such as a right-of-way, park or other open space

Taking storm water off our streets is a good thing. Runoff causes potholes and, more importantly, causes flooding, property damage and potential loss of life. Putting that water to beneficial use is even better. One of those uses is to increase our tree canopy. By planting more trees and shading the asphalt and concrete we reduce the heat island effect (therefore reducing temperatures,). Additionally, trees absorb CO2 (helping to improve air quality and mitigate climate change) tree lined streets help calm traffic, provide habitat for birds and lizards, improve aesthetics while increasing property values.

Read the councilmember’s full article here:  https://www.tucsonaz.gov/files/ward2/newsletters/Newsletter_071417.pdf

Town of Queen Creek Employee Recognized for 20 Years of Service

Congratulations to Sandy McGeorge! The Town of Queen Creek recently recognized Sandy for her dedicated service to the town, commemorating her 20th anniversary. 

The town has experienced many changes since Sandy McGeorge started in 1997. Initially serving as the Town Clerk, Sandy transitioned to the role of grant writer in 1999. As a young community, Sandy was instrumental in securing grants to help develop programs and services, particularly in the area of Parks and Recreation. She also assisted the communications area by coordinating community outreach events and the Citizen Leadership Institute. 

In 2007, Sandy began working on real estate matters on the Town’s behalf in addition to her other duties. In 2010, she became a Management Assistant II, focusing solely on real estate, where she is essential to the success of road improvement projects and economic development efforts. In 2012, she received the Senior Right-of-Way Agent distinction from the International Right-of-Way Association, the most prestigious professional designation granted to right-of-way professionals.

“Sandy plays an integral role within our organization,” stated Public Works Director Troy White. “Not only does she have a vast amount of knowledge related to real estate activities, her knowledge of Town history is invaluable.”

Learn more about Sandy, Queen Creek and read the full story by clicking here.

 

Tempe History Museum Receives National Accreditation

The Tempe History Museum has been awarded the highest honor of National Accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums, an organization that recognizes institutions that meet or exceed national museum standards. The museum joins the ranks of some of the most recognizable institutions in the Phoenix-metro area and nationwide.

The accreditation process took several years and involved an in-depth self-assessment by city staff, peer reviews and an analysis of the museum’s management of resources. In particular, the Tempe History Museum was recognized for its openness to engaging in partnerships and listening to public feedback. It was also given high marks for its well-maintained, well-catalogued collections, many of which are digitally accessible. Additionally, it was recognized for its educational programs and how relevant they are to classroom instruction.

Tempe’s Public Works and IT departments also played a role in the accreditation, along with the History Museum and Library Advisory Board, Tempe Historical Society and the African American Advisory Committee.

To find out more and read the full release, click here.

Arizona City and Town Police Officers Honored

Congratulations to Arizona city and town police officers on commendable efforts that were recently recognized!

Officer Wes Kelley of Apache Junction Police Department (Photo Courtesy of City of Apache Junction)

Apache Junction Police Department Officer Wesley Kelley was recently named the Officer of the Year by the local American Legion.

Kelley was given the honor on April 9 by American Legion Post 27.

American Legion posts nationwide name officers of the year. The American Legion then annually selects a National Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award. It is awarded to a well-rounded law enforcement officer who has exceeded the duty requirements expected of his or her position and has demonstrated a distinct pattern of community service coupled with professional achievement, according to the American Legion website.

“It is always an honor to have one of our officers recognized by one of armed service organizations,” said Police Chief Thomas E. Kelly. “It is especially humbling as these are the same people that have previously placed themselves in harm’s way in defending our country.  Officer Kelley is one of those officers that requires minimum supervision and is respected by his peers. He presents himself well and treats all with dignity and respect as stated in the Apache Junction Police Department’s mission statement. Very proud of the recognition.”

Prescott Valley Police Department Officer of the Year Cozens (Photo Courtesy of Town of Prescott Valley)

The Prescott Valley Police Department also held its annual police recognition awards. The Officer of the Year was announced as Officer Caleb Cozens.

Officer Cozens started his career with the Prescott Valley Police Department in June 2015, laterally transferring from Chino Valley.  He demonstrates a positive, upbeat attitude and is known for his professionalism, representing the Prescott Valley Police Department and the Town of Prescott Valley with pride.

A team player, Officer Cozens consistently produces a high quality of work, especially in the handling of drug investigations. He is a leader within the department in drug arrests and is always willing to take on extra work. Over the last year Officer Cozens has written 83 citations/warnings, written 262 reports and supplements, and made 131 arrests.

The Town of Prescott Valley also honored other officers with awards:

Prescott Valley Police Department Rookie of the Year Officer Loughmiller (Photo Courtesy of Town of Prescott Valley)

 

2016 Rookie of the Year – Cameron Loughmiller

2016 Community Policing Ribbon – Officer Tyler Brown

2016 Unit of the Year – Community Services Unit

2016 Civilian of the Year – Jerry Ferguson

2016 Volunteer of the Year – Dave Demski

 

 

 

Lake Havasu City Top Finisher in America’s Best Communities

Congratulations to Lake Havasu City!

The city was one of the top finishers in the national America’s Best Communities event last night!

Lake Havasu City received a $2 million prize as coming in second in the competition. The prize money will help the city accomplish its goals of implementing its Vision 20/20 plan.

America’s Best Communities began in 2014 to spur economic development in small  towns throughout the country. It challenged local communities to submit ideas and proposals for bettering their communities. Winners would receive prize money and grant funding to help execute their plans. 

Lake Havasu City entered the competition submitting their Vision 20/20 Plan, which included five pillars: economic development and job creation, education and workforce talent, tourism and place development, water preservation and management, and community engagement.

The city was first selected from more than 350 entrants to compete in the quarterfinals among 49 other communities. They then advanced to the second round of 15 competing communities back in January.

Huntington, West Virginia took home the top prize last night. Lake Havasu City came in second place Statesboro, Georgia was third place as the top finishers.

For more information on the America’s Best Communities competition and the Lake Havasu City Vision 20/20 plan, click here: https://americasbestcommunities.com.

Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation, Paul Goldschmidt sponsor Goodyear Youth Ball Field

Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation, Paul Goldschmidt sponsor youth ball field
Goodyear’s Falcon Park receives $500,000 in upgrades 

Youth baseball and softball players will now have the opportunity to play on an upgraded field, thanks to a generous donation from the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation, APS, and Paul Goldschmidt The newly-upgraded field feature: new lights; an electronic scoreboard; new fencing and backstops; new irrigation, grass and dirt; as well as updated dugouts and bullpens. The upgrades to Falcon Park are valued at more than $500,000 and were completed at no cost to the city.

Paul Goldschmidt, nicknamed “Goldy”, is the first baseman of the Arizona Diamondbacks. With the team since 2011, Goldschmidt is a four-time Major League Baseball All-Star. He has won the National League Hank Aaron AwardGold Glove Award, and Silver Slugger Award.

For more information on youth recreation opportunities in Goodyear, call 623-882-7525, email gyrec@goodyearaz.gov or visit www.goodyearaz.gov/rec.

See more photos from the day’s events at the City of Goodyear Facebook page.

Profiles of Arizona Municipal Clerks: Silvia Smith, Town of Payson

Silvia Smith, MMC and CPM
Town of Payson

How many years have you served as a clerk? 18 years

Where are you originally from? Ignacio, Colorado

What is the most rewarding part of your job? To have our department be recognized by citizens for our exceptional customer service.

What is your favorite memory as a city/town clerk? Being recognized by the AMCA for Municipal Clerk of the Year in 2006.

Profiles of Arizona Municipal Clerks: Vicky Vivian, City of Benson

Vicky Vivian, CMC
City of Benson

How many years have you served as a clerk? 11 years

Where are you originally from?  Elfrida, Arizona (born in Douglas, Arizona)

What is the most rewarding part of your job?  Being able to provide people with the information they need, whether it be a cemetery record for family research, utility assistance information or legislative history of the city.

What is your favorite memory as a city/town clerk?  Having people participate in local government, either by coming to council meetings and addressing the council or running and serving as a council member;  they come in and meet with me to learn about the city, the council, where they can find information, etc.  I’ve had two people decide to run – and they served – on council after meeting with me regarding their questions.