/ Modified may 5, 2021 3:56 p.m.

News roundup: TEP brings on new solar storage system, UA adds Asian Pacific American studies minor

Recent coverage impacting Southern Arizona, May 5.

Arizona COVID-19 cases: 7 days

Map shows COVID-19 cases and case rates over the week preceding the last update.

Credit: Nick O'Gara/AZPM. Sources: The New York Times, based on reports from state and local health agencies, Census Bureau. Case reports do not correspond to day of test.

Cases 866,022 | Deaths 17,360

On Wednesday, April 5, Arizona reported 742 new cases of COVID-19 and five additional deaths.

TEP brings new renewable energy solar system online this month


Tucson Electric Power has brought the solar storage facility southeast of Tucson online with plans later this month to start delivering power from a wind farm in New Mexico.

By adding these two energy systems, the Wilmot Energy Center and Oso Grande Wind project, about 26% of TEP's power will be from renewable sources. Spokesperson Joseph Barrios said over the next 14 years TEP wants to bump that number up to 70%.

The solar plus storage system and the wind farm together will provide the energy needed for an average 126,000 homes each year, according to a press release from TEP and Business Wire.

Learn more here.

New Asian Pacific American studies minor added to UA studies


A decades-long goal is being realized at the University of Arizona. It is establishing a new minor in the field of Asian Pacific American studies.

The minor will look at immigrants and generations of their descendants from Asia and the Pacific Islands. More than 50 nationalities from the region are represented in the United States.

U of A Assistant Professor of Practice Brett Esaki notes students and faculty had pushed for the program for 30 years.

"This is in no way a recent development. It has been worked on for many decades," he said.

Learn more here.

Tucson council OKs up to $30M in raises for city employees


The Tucson City Council has approved up to $30 million in raises for city employees.

The Arizona Daily Star reports the council voted unanimously Tuesday to move forward with the largest compensation package for employees in Tucson’s history.

The city will implement over the next two years a series of wage increases to bring employees’ salaries up to par with other similar government jobs around Arizona.

According to the Star, up to $30 million will go toward raising wages for city employees that make below market-range compensation levels and a 2% pay increase for employees not impacted by market adjustments.

Learn more here.

Arizona's Adia Barnes to receive $5.85 million in new deal


Arizona women’s basketball coach Adia Barnes will receive $5.85 million in a five-year contract extension.

The terms of the extension must be approved by the Arizona Board of Regents. No changes were made to the incentive structure of the contract.

Barnes has turned Arizona from an also-ran in the Pac-12 into a national championship contender.

The Wildcats had the best season in program history in 2020-21, beating national powerhouse UConn in the Final Four to reach their first national championship game. Arizona lost to Pac-12 rival Stanford by one in the title game.

Learn more here.

Arizona reports 742 additional COVID-19 cases, 5 more deaths


PHOENIX — Arizona on Wednesday reported 742 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases and five more deaths as the state’s rates of new cases and deaths moved in different directions.

The latest figures reported by the Department of Health Services raised Arizona's pandemic totals to 866,022 cases and to 17,360 deaths but remain far below daily increases seen during the pandemic's peak last winter.

Johns Hopkins University data shows Arizona’s seven-day rolling average of daily new cases rising over the past two weeks, increasing from 615.6 on April 19 to 730.1 on Monday. The rolling average of daily deaths dropped from 15 to 11.3 during the same period.

Learn more here.

Navajo Nation reports 12 new COVID-19 cases and 1 more death


WINDOW ROCK — The Navajo Nation on Tuesday reported 12 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and one additional death.

Tribal health officials say the total number of cases since the pandemic began more than a year ago now is 30,543 on the vast reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah with 1,282 known deaths.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said more than half of the reservation’s adult population has been vaccinated, but people still need to stay home as much as possible, wear masks and avoid large gatherings.

Learn more here.

Treasury: Some tribes will get more money from CARES Act


FLAGSTAFF — Some Native American tribes will receive more money from a federal virus relief package approved last year.

The U.S. Treasury Department recently revised its methodology for distributing some of what remains from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

The department had distributed 60% of the funding set aside for tribes, or $4.8 billion, to tribal nations based on federal population data.

Three tribes sued over the methodology, alleging the data didn't reflect their actual tribal enrollment numbers. The Treasury Department filed a revised methodology Monday in the court case and said payments would go out starting this week.

Learn more here.

Families, advocates mark day of awareness for Native victims


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — From Washington to American Southwest Indigenous communities, top government officials, family members and advocates are gathering as part of a call to action to address the ongoing problem of violence against Indigenous women and children.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland is commemorating the day Wednesday as female motorcyclists take to the streets in Phoenix and advocates use social media to raise awareness.

As part of the Washington ceremony, a red memorial shawl with the names of missing and slain Indigenous women was draped across a long table to remember the lives behind what Haaland called alarming and unacceptable statistics. More names were added Wednesday.

Learn more here.

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