Arizona Lottery funds benefit Yuma-area projects

[Source: YumaSun.com, Joyce Lobeck] – –  Over the years, the Arizona Lottery has provided millions of dollars for projects in the Yuma area that make it a better place to live and visit.  Those projects range from parks and recreation to wildlife preservation, education, public health, transportation and economic development, said Art Macias, executive director of Arizona Lottery, during a presentation Tuesday to Yuma-area leaders and community members. He repeated the presentation in San Luis, Ariz., for south county representatives.

Since Arizona voters first approved the lottery in 1981, nearly $30 million has gone to help fund projects in Yuma County stretching from San Luis to Wellton, Macias said. A good share of that funding has gone to local transportation needs as a partner with the city of Yuma and Yuma County, he said. Lottery money also helped fund the rehabilitation of the Yuma County Courthouse and the Historic Yuma Theatre, the development of Gateway Park and the West Wetlands along the riverfront, the Urgent Care and Family Center in Somerton, electricity for street lighting in San Luis and street maintenance in Wellton. [Note: to read the full article click here.]

International conservation program brings endangered wild-born jaguar to Phoenix Zoo

[Source: wmicentral.com, AZ Game & Fish Department] – – After years of planning, an endangered jaguar made its way from Sonora, Mexico to Arizona recently.  On loan from Mexico, the young male cat will call the Phoenix Zoo home for at least the next year before returning to a zoo in Mexico. The loan was orchestrated by the Arizona Game and Fish Department and the zoo as a way to provide needed medical care to the animal. Illegally captured, the jaguar damaged its canine teeth while in an inadequate enclosure, which precludes it from ever being returned to the wild. The Phoenix Zoo agreed to provide the necessary dental surgery. “The arrival of this jaguar in Arizona is exciting for so many reasons,” said Arizona Game and Fish Department International and Borderlands Program Manager, Francisco Abarca. “Not many people realize that the jaguar is native to the United States, so to work in cooperation with Mexico and the Phoenix Zoo to bring it here provides us with an important chance to learn more about a virtually unstudied population segment of the species.” [Note: to read the full article click here.]

Santa Cruz County gets $85,503 for Rio Rico soccer complex

[Source: Nogales International, Kathleen Vandervoet] – – Santa Cruz County was recently awarded $85,503 for the Robert Damon Recreational Complex Soccer Field. The Arizona State Parks Board on Sept. 19 announced awards of more than $41 million in grants from the Arizona Heritage Fund, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the Recreational Trails Grant Fund Program, and the Land Conservation Fund.

The Heritage Fund, created in November 1990, provides up to $10 million annually from Arizona Lottery proceeds. A press release said there are three competitive grant programs offered annually from the Heritage Fund to provide opportunities for the public to enjoy parks and outdoor recreation, and to help preserve natural and cultural resources: Local, Regional and State Parks (LRSP), Historic Preservation, and Trails. The State Parks Board approved a total of $542,293 to six Historic Preservation Heritage Fund grant applicants. [Note: to read the full article click here.]

State could sell Arizona Lottery to deal with expected 2009 deficit

[Source: Phoenix Business Journal, Mike Sunnucks] – – Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano said Wednesday the state could face a budget deficit next year of as much as $800 million and one option to close that gap is selling or leasing out the Arizona Lottery. Napolitano said the state likely will face another budget shortfall of between $320 million and $800 million. Others, including the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, project a $1 billion-plus deficit.

The governor said the state can use reserve funds and will continue a hiring freeze of nonessential workers and take the remaining $120 million out of the Rainy Day Fund. The Governor’s Office said the sale or lease of the Arizona Lottery is presently just an option for consideration. The current budget plan allows for the Lottery to do more advertising to boost sales.