Wednesday, May 27, 2020

As holiday crowds packed tourist spots, fears rose of COVID-19 spread

Posted By on Wed, May 27, 2020 at 1:00 PM

London Bridge, Lake Havasu City, AZ - BIGSTOCK
  • Bigstock
  • London Bridge, Lake Havasu City, AZ
Memorial Day weekend crowds that one official said were “off the charts” at Arizona vacation spots have health experts worried that tourist behavior could lead to an increase of COVID-19 of cases.

With the state’s stay-at-home orders largely lifted this month, tourists flocked to sites like Lake Havasu, Scottsdale and Lake Pleasant, according to news reports. At Lake Havasu, one official said, “The lake was full, the river was full. Every activity we had, there were people involved in.”

While it was legal, it may not have been wise, according to one health official, who said the “behavior over the holiday weekend will increase transmission of the virus.”

“Whether that translates into a big increase of cases, we don’t know yet,” said Will Humble, executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association. “But it was definitely the kind of the behavior that increases the spread of the virus.”

Those concerns were echoed by Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane, who said images of crowds in Old Town Scottsdale were “disturbing, and frankly show a real lack of common sense and civic responsibility.”

“It is imperative that all businesses comply with the governor’s executive orders – to ignore them is to risk faster spread of this disease and further damage to our physical and economic wellbeing,” Lane said in a statement Tuesday.

After stay-at-home orders shut down much of the state’s travel and tourism – and other industries – this spring, Gov. Doug Ducey began lifting the restrictions earlier this month.

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Friday, April 3, 2020

Tucson Tourism; What to Do with Your Wanderlust

Posted By on Fri, Apr 3, 2020 at 10:26 AM

  • BigStock
Most of us are sheltered in place and social distancing the way we should be. That's great - keep it up. It doesn't help the wanderlust, though, does it?

Especially with how beautiful it's been outside lately, the urge to go and experience it is strong. This is the perfect season to travel and experience the new, which is why Spring Break comes at a perfect time of year - usually.

Unfortunately, with the exception of the occasional outdoor walk in our yards or to an essential place, we're pretty much hunkered down in our homes, binging Tiger King and TikTok. Not going out and traveling only causes us to be bummed for a little while; for businesses and small communities, it can be devastating. The economic impact of tourism on communities and states can be huge.

Total direct travel spending in Arizona during 2016 was $21.2 billion according to a report done by the Arizona Office of Tourism. "Of that $21.2 billion, travel spending in the Tucson and Southern Arizona area accounted for $3.3 billion."

In this chart from the UArizona Eller College of Management, you can see where the recession in 2008 really had an effect on employment in the Accommodation sector, closely tied with tourism in the state. And now, just as tourism was beginning to bounce back, COVID-19 busts in like the Kool-Aid man to tell us to stay home.


We had a chat with Dan Janes, CEO of Madden Media - a Destination Marketing company located here in Tucson - to find out why the tourism market is suffering so badly, what it means for our town, and what it means for you.

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Thursday, February 13, 2020

UA Passports Office to Hold Extended Hours Feb. 22

Posted By on Thu, Feb 13, 2020 at 12:06 PM

  • Bigstock
The University of Arizona's Passports Office will hold a special passport day event on Feb. 22 to help Tucson residents apply for newly required, federally valid IDs.

Starting Oct. 1, U.S. citizens traveling domestically will be required to present a "real ID" in order to board a flight. State driver's licenses without a gold star, which will designate an ID is "REAL ID-compliant" will no longer be accepted.

Passports do fulfill the federal requirements and may be used to fly. There is also a passport card available that can be used to travel by ground or water into Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean and Bermuda, and can be used as a valid form of ID for domestic flights. These are the most cost-effective option.

The event takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the University of Arizona's Global Center, located at 615 N. Park Ave.

Attendees should bring the following with them to the event:

- The original copy of, or a certified copy of their proof of citizenship.
- A government-issued photo ID.
- A recent 2x2 inch passport photo. Those who don't have one can use the photo services on site for $10.
- Two separate payments. Applicants need a check or money order payable to the U.S. Department of State for the passport application and optional expedite fees. A second check or money order payable to UA Passports, or a debit/credit payment, is also required for the execution ($35) and photo fees if needed. Cash will not be accepted.

Passport books for adults cost $110 and $80 for people 15 and younger. The passport cards cost $30 for adults and $15 for children 15 and younger.

Free parking for this event will be available on the west side of Tyndall Avenue and in the Tyndall Avenue parking garage.

Passport forms and photo services are available on site. For complete information about required documentation and fees, visit or email

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Thursday, January 30, 2020

Work begins at Ruthrauff and I-10

Posted By on Thu, Jan 30, 2020 at 3:20 PM

  • Courtesy rendering
Less than a year after work was completed at the Ina Road Interchange, construction is underway at Ruthrauff Road and Interstate 10.

The $79 million project, when completed, will allow drivers to pass over the interstate and Union Pacific railroad track, similar to the Ina interchange. Sundt Construction is handling the project.

The project includes widening I-10 to four lanes in each direction and reconstruction of the traffic interchange. Other improvements include widening Ruthrauff Road and El Camino del Cerro to two lanes in each direction near I-10, reconstructing the I-10 frontage roads to connect to the new interchange and other miscellaneous work including constructing concrete barriers, storm drain, guardrail, granite mulch, landform graphics, signing and pavement marking.

Construction is expected to finish by the end of next year, with the Ruthrauff Road overpass opening to traffic by fall 2021 and interchange ramps opening later in the year.

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Monday, July 22, 2019

Sabino Canyon Road repaving project

Posted By on Mon, Jul 22, 2019 at 12:36 PM

  • Courtesy, Pima County
On Monday, July 22 through Thursday, July 25, between the nighttime hours of 7 p.m. and 5 a.m., Pima County Department of Transportation along with their contractor, GraniteSabino Canyon Construction, Inc., will continue work on north Sabino Canyon Road from the Tucson City limits to east Cloud Road.

The work will consist of installing survey monuments and loop detectors, utility adjustments, thermo striping and raised pavement markers. Work is expected to be completed early August 2019.

Motorists can expect lane restrictions and reduced speed. Please approach the area with caution and obey all traffic control devices. Minor delays may occur during this work.

In the event of mechanical failure or inclement weather, the construction schedule is subject to change.

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Monday, June 3, 2019

The Joshua Tree House Comes to Saguaro National Park

Posted By on Mon, Jun 3, 2019 at 1:45 PM

click image JAMIE GREEN
  • Jamie Green
If you know and love the culture created by the design team Sara and Rich Combs of The Joshua Tree House, you'll be excited to hear that they are creating a five suite inn on 40 acres on the western side of Saguaro National Park, slated to open for bookings later this summer.

Left abandoned for 10 years, the inn was renovated by the husband and wife interior designers. Their newest project is called Posada - "hostel". Each suite is carefully styled to tell a unique story, focusing on a neutral palette reflecting the desert, natural materials and textures.

The inn has already housed a retreat for Spell & The Gypsy Collective, an Australian fashion brand. The retreat was a gathering of familiar faces from Instagram, from Sarah Shabacon to Rocky Barnes. The group dined to live tunes from June West, meditated and shared in a tea ceremony and watched Pulp Fiction under the stars. The space is an Instagram dream.

The Joshua Tree House design team have created a peaceful, sunlight-filled space that welcomes rest, quiet conversations and daydreaming. Float in their pool carved in to the rocks and gather around the fire pit to dry off. Pulled by the magnetism of the desert, it's no wonder the Mojave-based team felt the draw of the Sonoran desert. If you need to escape, reset and reconnect, plan to stay at Posada. Bookings open late Summer 2019

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Thursday, December 20, 2018

Arizona Among Top Five States for New Residents, Report Shows

Posted By on Thu, Dec 20, 2018 at 3:36 PM

  • BigStock
According to a new study released by the United States Census Bureau, more new residents are moving to Arizona than nearly any other state in the U.S.

In terms of overall resident growth, Arizona ranked fourth in the nation with 122,770 new Arizonans recorded between July 1, 2017 and July 1, 2018. In terms of percentage growth, Arizona also ranked fourth, with a growth rate of 1.7 percent. Over 122,000 people moved to Arizona of the course of the time studied.

As stated in the report: “The U.S. population grew by 0.6 percent and Nevada and Idaho were the nation’s fastest-growing states between July 1, 2017, and July 1, 2018. Both states’ populations increased by about 2.1 percent in the last year alone. Following Nevada and Idaho for the largest percentage increases in population were Utah (1.9 percent), Arizona (1.7 percent), and Florida and Washington (1.5 percent each).”

The office of Gov. Doug Ducey sent out a press release Dec. 20 to announce the positive growth for the state.

“In the game of states, people vote with their feet, and Arizona is winning,” said Ducey, in a release. “With our high quality of life, growing economy and abundance of new jobs, and some of the best schools in the nation, Arizona continues to prove itself as an unbeatable place to live, raise a family and retire."

Read all about the new census report here.

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Friday, October 5, 2018

Miles to Magdalena

Posted By on Fri, Oct 5, 2018 at 4:43 PM

Sixty-four miles through the Sonoran desert.

That’s the trek you have to tackle if you walk from Cananea to the town of Magdalena de Kino, both located in Sonora, Mexico. But Daniel Alejandro Martinez Miranda isn’t deterred by days of walking beneath the sun, or by the seemingly permanent blisters that speckle his feet. After all, he’s been doing this for years.

Martinez Miranda is one of thousands who flock to Magdalena each autumn to honor the city’s patron St. Francis Xavier. Each year, as October 4th approaches, the narrow streets fill with peregrinos — pilgrims, and families camp out in tents in the shade of the city’s plaza. Vendors line the streets, selling rosaries, sweet blocks of quince paste, and, oddly enough, a variety football memorabilia.

Some have traveled even farther than Martinez Miranda — from Guaymas, Nogales, and the San Xavier reservation just south of Tucson. And the usually-sleepy town of Magdalena pulsates with life.

Check out these photos from the trek this year: 

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