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Latest ERICA MELTZER Stories

2008-10-11 09:00:14

By ERICA MELTZER Pima County will try to take advantage of the slowdown in the housing market to buy up state trust land it wants to preserve. Earlier this year, the county asked the state to put land on Tumamoc Hill up for auction so it can try to buy it. On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors approved a plan to file similar applications for four other parcels, the largest of which would add more than 4,400 acres to Tortolita Mountain Park. All the parcels were set aside for conservation...

2008-09-26 09:00:21

By ERICA MELTZER Saving species would be done on regional basis Pima County plans to apply for a permit before the end of the year from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that would allow development to move forward, even if it harmed threatened species. To get the permit, known as a "take permit," Pima County must show its mitigation efforts - from buying ecologically sensitive land to protect it, to requiring developers to set aside land for conservation - outweigh the potential harm....

2008-09-13 09:00:14

By ERICA MELTZER Pima County taxpayers may end up buying a 106-acre Southwest Side property that the county designated for industrial use against the wishes of the owners, who wanted to put a residential subdivision there. The designation was part of a series of larger land-use decisions made late last year to address anticipated growth that could add as many as 114,000 new residents over the next 50 years to the area between Mission and Sandario roads. County officials said they need...

2008-08-24 09:00:22

By ERICA MELTZER IS IT 'NAVIGABLE'? The Environmental Protection Agency has taken charge of deciding whether the Santa Cruz River is a "traditional navigable water" of the United States. Environmental groups pushed hard for the EPA to make the decision after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers suspended its own designation of the Santa Cruz as a navigable water, a designation that triggers the highest level of environmental protection. The EPA finding could create a test case for future...

2008-08-23 09:00:30

By ERICA MELTZER Flow shift could hurt river habitat Pima County officials say a concern raised by the Ak-Chin Indian Community about effluent reaching its land could destroy riparian habitat in the Santa Cruz River that is sustained by discharge from county sewage-treatment plants. County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said finding another way to dispose of the effluent could cost sewer ratepayers anywhere from $285 million to $10 billion. But a Tucson Water official said that by...

2008-08-07 06:00:00

By Erica Meltzer, The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson Aug. 7--Some Pima County supervisors are having second thoughts about whether declaring the Santa Cruz River a "navigable waterway" is the best way to protect it. Attorneys for the county have argued that declaring the river navigable could lead to the state's taking possession of county lands bought for conservation and flood control. Environmentalists say that risk is overblown and a lesser designation wouldn't offer enough protection....

2008-07-06 18:00:15

By Erica Meltzer, The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson Jul. 6--When considering the impact of the proposed copper mine at Rosemont Ranch, the U.S. Forest Service needs to look far beyond the 4,000-acre mine site, Pima County officials say. They say the federal agency should consider everything from new houses and roads that will be built for mine workers and their families; to ancient archaeological sites that could be buried under tailings piles; to damage to the Cienega Creek watershed,...

2008-06-23 06:00:00

By Erica Meltzer, The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson Jun. 23--Faced with skyrocketing demand and rising food prices, the Community Food Bank is digging into its reserves to make ends meet and even considering cutting back on the number of food boxes it gives out. That's not a step food bank managers want to take, and they say they will do everything they can not to. "We've never turned anyone away," said food bank Chief Financial Officer Dan Walters. Reducing the number of food boxes to...

2008-06-23 06:00:13

By Erica Meltzer, The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson Jun. 23--Promising to "lead by doing," Pima County is developing a plan to make county operations greener and more sustainable. The plan is the result of a resolution the Pima County Board of Supervisors passed last year calling on the county to use greener, more energy-efficient technology wherever possible. Forty-six employees worked for six months to come up with specific steps county departments could take to improve sustainability...


Word of the Day
grass-comber
  • A landsman who is making his first voyage at sea; a novice who enters naval service from rural life.
According to the OED, a grass-comber is also 'a sailor's term for one who has been a farm-labourer.'