Children’s Classes Available at Hubbard Family Swim School

Submitted photo

It is back-to-school time in Arizona, and parents have options for after-school activities, including swim lessons at the Hubbard Family Swim School. While the COVID-19 pandemic is keeping many children at home and away from their regular, in-person school routine, children’s swim lessons are continuing in person and in the water with several new safety measures in place.

Hubbard’s new safety measures include:

  • Face coverings are required for everyone over the age of 6 (except when in the water).
  • Families are asked to limit their swim entourage to one adult per family.
  • Enter the building no more than 10 minutes before your scheduled lesson.
  • Upon arrival, use the available hand sanitizer.
  • Practice social distancing and keep children close when they are not in a lesson.
  • Families are strongly encouraged to come and leave in swim gear to reduce the number of people in the changing area.
  • To reduce family crossover, makeups are not being offered at this time.

Founded in 1998 by co-owners Bob and Kathy Hubbard — experts and educators in the field of infant swimming — Hubbard Family Swim School offers lessons to children 8 weeks to 12 years of age. The Hubbard’s basic philosophy is this: Children everywhere must learn how to swim. Learning to swim should not be a choice.

“Back-to-school time is a great time to enroll children in swim lessons during the week or on the weekend,” says Bob Hubbard. “Not only is swimming excellent exercise for children to enjoy after school and a wonderful way for them to burn off energy, we don’t want children to lose the important swim skills and swim strokes they learned over the summer.”

After-school swim lessons are available on weekdays until 7pm.

“We have spent over 20 years here in Arizona watching thousands of children under the age of 4 become calm and confident swimmers,” adds Kathy. “It’s such a joy for us to help introduce children to the wonderful sport of swimming which can definitely become a life-long sport.”

Many students who grew up taking swim lessons at Hubbard also went on to have competitive swim careers in high school and college.

There are three Hubbard Family Swim School locations around the Valley — in Phoenix, Peoria and Mesa — and a fourth swim school will open in Goodyear this September. The temperature of the heated indoor pools at each location remains at a very comfortable 90 degrees year-round.

Hubbard in Phoenix is located at 13832 N. 32nd St., Suite 100, in the Kino Plaza. For more information, call 602.971.4044 or visit

Phoenix Testing Blitz: Free COVID-19 Testing Offered Beginning July 17

City of Phoenix community partners are holding free COVID-19 testing sites on select dates. Pre-registration is required. The testing is free to all community members.

No ID required at these sites:
Friday, July 17

Cesar Chavez Library, 3635 W. Baseline Road, Phoenix
Provider: Valle del Sol
Pre-registration/appointment required:

Saturday, July 18

7am to Noon
Cesar Chavez Library, 3635 W. Baseline Road, Phoenix
Provider: Valle del Sol
Pre-registration/appointment required:

Saturday, July 18

MetroCenter Mall, 9617 N. Metro Pkwy W., Phoenix
Provider: Family Tree Healthcare
Pre-registration/appointment required:

Federal COVID-19 Free Testing Sites

Federal and State agencies, and the City of Phoenix, along with pharmacy and lab partners are hosting COVID-19 testing events. Pre-registration is required. Testing locations are drive-thru and by appointment only. Residents must pre-register on the website. Bring the provided voucher to the test appointment. For those who cannot print, a voucher will be created at the site. Register online at

Keep checking here as additional times and locations will be added through July 27.

Photo ID is required at these sites:
Maryvale High School

3415 N. 59th Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85031
​Friday, July 17: 6am–2pm
Saturday, July 18: 6am–2pm
Sunday, July 19: 6am–2pm

South Mountain Park

10919 S. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85042
Friday, July 17: 6am–2pm
Saturday, July 18: 6am–2pm
Sunday, July 19: 6am–2pm

Metier Pharmacy

4214 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, AZ 85018
When arriving at the testing location, follow instructions on the signage and provided by onsite personnel.
Friday, July 17: 9am–12pm;1–4pm
Saturday, July 18: Closed
Sunday, July 19: Closed
Monday, July 20: 9am–noon;1–4pm
Tuesday, July 21: 9am–noon;1–4pm
Wednesday, July 22: 9am–noon;1–4pm

Find additional information from the Arizona Department of Health Services about COVID-19.

The City of Phoenix also offers a Coronavirus Business & Resident Resources page.

Phoenix Mayor Gallego Declares State of Emergency in Response to COVID-19 — Bars to close by 8pm March 17, restaurants to shift to take-out/delivery/drive-thru only

Below is the statement issued from the Mayor’s office this afternoon:

“After extensive discussions with medical professionals, business leaders, and community members I am working with my fellow councilmembers and city leadership to implement a State of Emergency in the City of Phoenix in response to COVID-19. Tomorrow’s City Council meeting includes a scheduled vote on this State of Emergency Declaration. The parameters and further details on the proposed declaration will be available following tomorrow’s vote.

The most immediate effect of this declaration is that Phoenix bars have been asked to close by 8pm tonight and all restaurants (or bars that serve food) are asked to shift to a take-out/delivery/drive-thru only model. We have not assigned an official end date to these closures. We’re reviewing needs on an hourly basis based on medical input. The other largest cities in the nation have already made the difficult to move bar and restaurant service to take-out/delivery/drive-thru only models.

This was not a decision made lightly–we understand we are talking about people’s livelihoods and lives. Servers, bartenders, wait staff, and others will need our support during this time. It is imperative that all levels of government partner to put forward innovative solutions to support our businesses and residents.

I’ve spoken with medical professionals who continue to reiterate that our system is not prepared for a deluge of COVID-19 patients. They’ve asked that community leaders do anything possible to help stem the spread of this virus. We have learned from the mistakes made in other nations in their efforts to combat this virus and we do not want to repeat them. The priority is the health and safety of our residents. This decision will save lives.

What our community is experiencing right now is unprecedented. The steps we take will define the future of our city and our residents. Every Phoenician can be part of the solution. Stay home and save lives. The city has set up an inbox and phone number for residents with questions around city service changes related to COVID-19. Email or call at (602)262-3111.”

In addition, the scheduled March 18 Formal City Council meeting will be conducted audience-free. Residents can submit comments on any item on the March 18, 2020 Formal City Council meeting at or call with comments before 2pm Wednesday, March 18, at 602.262.6001. The agenda is posted at; click the button in the middle of the home page that says “City Council Meetings.” Resident comments will be read into the record.

For additional information on how to watch the March 18 meeting, visit

Keep up-to-date on information in Phoenix at


Children’s Nature Play Space Opening at Desert Botanical Garden Feb. 29

Photo courtesy of Desert Botanical Garden

Desert Botanical Garden is inviting children to engage with the outdoors around them at Cactus Clubhouse, a brand-new nature play space opening at the Garden. The open-aired, 8,000-square-foot play area will provide unstructured, child-led activities for children ages 0 to 12 to discover the fun of the natural world by climbing, creating and building with various organic materials.

Throughout Cactus Clubhouse, children will encounter several stations and activities designed to spark independent play, while encouraging physical, cognitive and behavioral growth. Activities include:

  • Nature Art — Children will work with natural materials such as seed pods and leaves to develop a deeper appreciation for the natural world, while strengthening skills in observation and creativity.
  • Music and Movement — This space will feature nature-based instruments and a place to move in order to help children discover basic concepts of sound and rhythm.
  • Climbing — Children will climb, balance, jump and crawl to develop confidence, balance, coordination and risk-assessment.
  • Messy Materials — This area is filled with large-scale, loose parts to encourage building and imaginative play, which gives children a sense of accomplishment and belonging in the outdoors.
  • Building – This area will feature blocks made from natural materials to give children a different sensory and spatial experience, while strengthening math skills and conceptual thinking.

Cactus Clubhouse was made possible by a $50,000 grant from the USDA Forest Service, which awarded the funds for the Garden to open this Nature Explore certified outdoor classroom. Nature Explore is a nature-based educational program of the Dimensions Educational Research Foundation, which seeks to incorporate nature as an integral part of children’s daily learning. They have designed and built nearly 200 outdoor classrooms across the United States, providing spaces for children to stimulate development, support creativity and learn about nature.

“The Garden has been a place for relaxation and connection with the natural world for 80 years, and we help visitors of all ages discover the beauty of the Sonoran Desert and learn to care for it,” says Ken Schutz, the Dr. William Huizingh executive director. “As we look to the future of desert conservation and preservation, we know that the children of today are the conservationists of tomorrow. We see Cactus Clubhouse being a fun and safe place where children can form those vital connections with nature and establish an appreciation in the outdoors that can follow them through adulthood. We are truly grateful to the Forest Service for helping us with this achievement for not only the Garden but for our community and desert enthusiasts around the world.”

“We are excited to partner with Desert Botanical Garden, where local kids — and kids from around the world — will have an opportunity for hands-on experiences in nature,” said Marie Sebrechts, director of communication and engagement for the Southwestern Region of the Forest Service. “The Forest Service shares similar values with Nature Explore and the Garden about supporting youth and the importance of conservation and community. Cactus Clubhouse is a great example of what we can build together when we all bring our expertise and passion to the table.”

Cactus Clubhouse opens Feb. 29 and is included with Garden admission and membership, and hours will vary seasonally. For more information, visit

Phoenix City Council Approves Solid Waste Rate Increase

During the Feb. 11 Policy Session, the Phoenix City Council approved staff’s recommendation to increase the current monthly residential solid waste rate of $26.80.

The increase of will be phased in over two years, which means residential customers will notice an additional $3.75 in their April 2020 bill and then another increase of $3.25 in January 2021.

The Council statement said that the decision to approve the increase in the solid waste monthly rate was based on feedback from the public gathered by Phoenix Public Works staff, who implemented a community outreach strategy during the months of December 2019 and January 2020.

According to the City, more than 5,800 collected surveys from the community revealed: a 90 percent satisfaction with the city’s delivery of solid waste services nearly; 90 percent of the respondents value recycling and waste diversion programs and believe they are important; and 60 percent of respondents were in favor of maintaining the current level of solid waste service.

Midtown Celebrates Seventh Annual Urban Living Tour Nov. 2

The seventh Annual Midtown Urban Living Tour is coming to town Nov. 2 to showcase some of the city’s longest-standing residences. The self-guided tour will provide participants with exclusive access to explore unique buildings across Midtown Phoenix. Included in the list of stops are the award-winning Artisan Lofts on Central, the historic Villa Del Coronado, Tapestry, 1 Lexington, Beadle View and Chateau de Ville, built-in classic New Orleans style.

By offering a glimpse into Central Phoenix’s most unique high-rise condominiums and more, The Midtown Neighborhood Association hopes that more residents and tourists will view the district as a prime place to live alongside incredible cultural centers and businesses.

“The Midtown Urban Living Tour allows thousands of attendees to see what urban living in Phoenix truly is about.” said Susan Thompson, president of Midtown Neighborhood Association. “One of the few dense areas in Phoenix that is surrounded by historic neighborhoods, impeccable restaurants and outstanding community, we are so excited to show off what makes this neighborhood truly special.”

Free trolleys will run from 11am to 5pm to give tour-goers easy access to each of the buildings. All day tickets are $20/ day. Tickets are available online at

Each building is within walking distance of a light rail station. The Midtown Neighborhood Association also encourages participants to use Grid Bike Share and ride-share apps like Lyft and Uber.

City of Phoenix Special Election Slated For Aug. 27 — Voter Registration Deadline is July 29

The City of Phoenix will conduct a Special Election Tuesday, Aug. 27, in whi​​​ch registered voters will decide on two ballot measures that propose to amend City Charter provisions pertaining to Pensions and Light Rail. Early voting will begin July 31.

The first measure, Proposition 105, is a proposed Charter Amendment submitted by Initiative I-4-18 pertaining to Light Rail.

The second measure, Proposition 106, is a proposed Charter Amendment submitted by Initiative I-1-18 pertaining to City of Phoenix Pensions.

​​​​Voters in City of Phoenix elections are not required to vote at a specified polling place in the voter’s precinct. Voters can use any of the voting centers to cast a ballot. The voting centers will be open for voting for three days. This method of voting is only available for City of Phoenix elections. For faster service, voters are encouraged to bring their driver license, state-issued identification card or voter identification card.

The voting centers for this election will be open for three days:

  • Saturday, Aug. 24, from 10am to 4pm
  • Monday, Aug. 26, from 9am to 6pm​
  • Tuesday, Aug. 27 (Election Day) from 6am to 7pm

A Publicity Pamphlet with additional information on both measures is available online, as is additional information about City of Phoenix elections.

Those who are not already registered to vote, July 29 is the last day to register in order to participate in the Aug. 27 Special Election. To register to vote in this and future elections, visit and click on the “Voter Registration” link.

July 4 Restrictions Set for Phoenix Trailheads

In an effort to reduce fire danger, the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department will restrict vehicle access to trailheads located in the city’s desert parks and mountain preserves on July 4 starting at 3pm. The annual fire ban for those areas that started on May 1 remains in effect.

City of Phoenix Park Rangers will close entrance gates at 3pm to Camelback Mountain, Deem Hills Recreation Area, Papago Park, Phoenix Mountains Park and Recreation Area, Phoenix Mountains Preserve, Phoenix Sonoran Preserve, North Mountain Park, Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area and South Mountain Park/Preserve. Additionally, the upper lookouts in South Mountain Park/Preserve will be emptied and closed at 1pm.

The following list of regulations will apply July 4 in those areas:

  • No fireworks
  • No open fires (part of annual fire ban that went into effect on May 1)
  • No charcoal fires, even in established picnic areas (gas grills are permitted)
  • No smoking outside of a vehicle (part of annual fire ban)
  • No alcoholic beverages
  • No glass beverage containers

Parks and Recreation Department staff encourage residents to celebrate Independence Day by attending one of the city’s official events. Information about those free, family-oriented events is available at

Phoenix Park Rangers remind those who visit the city’s desert parks and mountain preserves during warm weather months to use extra caution. Heat-related illnesses are common from May to October, and generally occur because the victim has been overexposed to heat or overexerted their body. The Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department and Fire Department ask that trail users follow important “Take a Hike. Do it Right.”” safety guidelines and advise against hiking during triple-digit heat.

Park rangers also remind trail users that dogs are prohibited on all City of Phoenix trails when the temperature is 100 degrees or warmer.

Additional information is available at

Phoenix Mayor Announces Public Safety Policy Meeting

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego has scheduled a July 2 policy meeting to discuss the issue of public safety.  This meeting comes just two weeks after the Community Listening Session at which Mayor Gallego assured residents that the city would come back with ideas within 30 days to address community concerns.

At last week’s Phoenix City Council Meeting, discussion included having an ad-hoc committee to review past recommendations and to have the council look into a civilian review board.

Mayor Gallego plans to address these items at the July 2 policy meeting.  The council will also hear from Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams.  The chief will give an update on her action plan in response to the mayor’s commitment to present ideas to the community within 30 days. She will ask council to approve two items.

The two items up for action are:

  • Request to issue procurement for early intervention system
  • Request to issue procurement for public opinion research firms

Discussion items:

  • Staff will present civilian review board options and council will provide direction on further policy development and research

The July 2 policy meeting will be held at the regular time, 2:30pm, at the City Council Chambers.  The agenda will be posted by Thursday, June 27.

For additional information, visit

Photo by Got Credit on / CC BY

Public Safety Exercise in Downtown Phoenix

During the month of June, the Phoenix Police, Fire and Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management departments will be conducting public safety training exercises in the downtown Phoenix area near the Phoenix Convention Center. This first exercise will occur in the early morning Sunday, June 2.

Residents in and around downtown Phoenix may see emergency vehicles and equipment from multiple public safety jurisdictions as preparations begin for the 2019 National Homeland Security Conference coming to the Phoenix Convention Center.

The purpose of this public safety exercise is to enhance first responders’ preparedness.

Any questions concerning the exercise from the public can be directed to 602.376.3981.

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