Let’s Talk Sierra Vista

Welcome to the official podcast of the City of Sierra Vista. In this podcast we will cover a wide variety of topics associated with your local government and of importance to Sierra Vista residents. As its name suggests, we invite citizens to join the conversation by asking questions, providing comments, and suggesting topics important to them. We hope you enjoy listening and we want to hear from you! This podcast is now available via Podbean, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, and Podcast Addict!

Dive Into Ocean-themed Programs This Summer

Post Date: June 16, 2022

In this episode Henry F. Hauser Museum Curator Elizabeth Wrozek joins us to talk about the museum’s new exhibit “Opulent Oceans: Extraordinary Scientific Illustrations.” This 2D traveling exhibition from the American Museum of Natural History highlights the integral role scientific illustration has played in undersea exploration and discovery!

And we’re also joined by Library, Recreation, & Cultural Services Manager Emily Duchon to highlight the library’s Summer Reading Program, which is celebrating this year’s theme “Oceans of Possibilities.” Plus we’ll discuss how Emily and Elizabeth find new ways to reach residents by teaming up across City divisions and hosting local trivia nights at different establishments in the West End.

We also look forward to celebrating National Park and Recreation Month in July. We hope you enjoy the show!

You can see the Opulent Oceans Exhibit at the Henry F. Hauser Museum during its regular hours from Tuesdays through Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. June 1 to August 31. The museum is located inside the Ethel Berger Center at 2950 E. Tacoma St.

You can sign up for the library's Summer Reading Program https://sierravista.azsummerreading.org/ or on the READSquared app.

How to Stay Cyber Safe

Post Date: April 14, 2022

City of Sierra Vista Chief Information Officer Abe Rubio joins us to discuss efforts to protect the City from cyber threats, to include an innovative partnership with the University of Arizona College of Applied Science & Technology. We'll also share how to practice good cyber safety yourself at home and in the office!

City and Chamber Partner to Enhance Holiday Traditions

Post Date: Nov. 19, 2021

In our final episode of 2021, podcast host and City Public Information Officer Adam Curtis is joined by Parks, Leisure, and Library Director Laura Wilson and Sierra Vista Area Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Melany Edwards-Barton. Together we talk about how the City and Chamber are partnering to combine two of Sierra Vista’s favorite holiday traditions: The City’s Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony and the Chamber’s annual Christmas Light Parade. The City’s tree lighting has been expanded into a two-day festivity with children’s activities and a holiday market on Friday, December 3, and Saturday, December 4. That has enabled the City to partner with the Sierra Vista Area Chamber of Commerce on its annual Christmas Light Parade, which will now feature a new route running around Veterans Memorial Park on the evening of Saturday, December 4. The Kiwanis Club of Sierra Vista has partnered with the City too by donating a large Christmas tree that will serve as the centerpiece of the newly expanded event.


  • Intro 00:10
  • Hi Laura and Melany, welcome to the podcast! (01:25)
  • So Melany, let’s start with the parade. Newcomers to Sierra Vista may not know much about its history. Remind us just how long the parade has been a part of our holiday traditions here in Sierra Vista and how it’s changed over the years. (01:31)
  • What’s the theme for this year’s parade and how do people participate? (03:49)
  • Laura can you describe the City’s tree lighting event and how it is being expanded this year? What do we hope to grow it into as time goes on? (04:32)
    • How partnerships tie into this effort.
    • What we seek to accomplish by bringing in community partners like the Kiwanis Club of Sierra Vista and the Sierra Vista Area Chamber of Commerce.
  • Melany, what was your reaction to the City’s vision for this event and how do you hope the parade complements these efforts? (12:13)
  • The Chamber has some other long-running holiday traditions, plus a new one that began during COVID last year and is continuing this year. Can you tell us a little bit about these other activities and how folks can learn more? (17:47)
  • We wrap up sharing what we each love most about the holiday season in Sierra Vista. (23:50)
  • Outro (32:39)

New substation will enhance emergency medical response

Post Date: Oct. 22, 2021

In this episode, we’re joined by Sierra Vista Fire & Medical Services Chief Brian Jones as we discuss a new EMS station now under construction at the northeast corner of 7th Street and Buffalo Soldier Trail.

Funded in part by a Defense Community Infrastructure Program grant of more than $1.4 million from the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment, the substation will aid EMS efforts on Fort Huachuca, improve response for many military families living off-post, and benefit the community at-large. Brian also shares how his department cultivates leaders from within, why it’s an extraordinary place to start a career in fire and medical services, and what fire safety tips to keep in mind this holiday season. Plus, we remind folks to get ready for the department’s annual Christmas Toy Drive!


  • Interview begins (01:25)
  • So a big component of the funding for the new EMS substation now under construction is tied to how it will benefit Fort Huachuca. Many folks may not be aware that SVF&MS already provides Fort Huachuca with EMS service through a first-of-its-kind Intergovernmental Services Agreement. Can you refresh our memory on how that got started in 2017 and share how it’s been going to date? (01:29)
  • How will this new substation enhance your ability to support Fort Huachuca and local military families? (03:10)
  • What are the broader impacts to EMS service in the community? How have call volumes trended over time? (3:55)
  • What can people in that neighborhood expect in terms of the station’s aesthetics and any other possible impacts? (5:30)
  • What percentage of calls are medical versus fire? How has the profession evolved to be more medically-focused? (7:05)
  • The new Patient Transport Engine (8:28)
  • You recently celebrated the retirement of Fire Marshal Paul Cimino, who was longest-tenured City employee when he retired. How you prepare for that type of transition in your leadership team? (10:25)
  • You’re currently hiring firefighters and EMTs. How can people interested in the profession get started? What makes SVF&MS an especially good place to work? (12:21)
  • Making the profession safer (15:07)
  • One of the things Paul Cimino was known for is running the department’s longstanding Christmas Toy Drive. How are plans going for that event this year? (18:32)
  • With temperatures cooling and the holidays approaching, do you have some fire safety tips folks should remember during this season? (21:30)
  • Thanks so much for taking the time to join us today. (23:37)
  • Outro (23:46)

Thank you for enjoying another episode of Let’s Talk Sierra Vista. As always, you’re invited to join the conversation by sending your comments, ideas, or questions to Pod@nullSierraVistaAZ.gov.

A Better Way to Help Those in Need

Post Date: Oct. 1, 2021

Sierra Vista Police Department Public Information Officer Cpl. Scott Borgstadt joins us in this episode to discuss the launch of Better Bucks of Sierra Vista. Modeled after a voucher program in Flagstaff, Better Bucks of Sierra Vista offers a way to help people in need without enabling issues like substance abuse. Individuals or groups can purchase Better Bucks that can be provided to people in need and redeemed for living essentials at participating merchants. Look for the Better Bucks of Sierra Vista booth at Art in the Park this weekend to purchase the first vouchers. They will also be available at City Hall and the Sierra Vista Public Library. Scott also highlights some of the police department’s upcoming events and shares why the department is glowing purple in October. Learn more about Better Bucks of Sierra Vista at https://betterbuckssierravista.org.


  • Interview begins (01:07)
  • How Better Bucks got started and why it's a good fit for Sierra Vista. (01:17)
  • How Sierra Vista Police engages with people camping on city, state, or private property. (02:44)
  • Who runs Better Bucks of Sierra Vista? (05:13)
  • What can be purchased with Better Bucks? (08:02)
  • Where can people redeem Better Bucks? (08:48)
  • Is there some education with the merchants you've been doing? (09:03)
  • What was the non profit that started Better Bucks in Flagstaff? (10:16)
  • How are the Better Bucks booklets used? (10:44)
  • Are there spending limits for Better Bucks? (11:32)
  • Panhandling is legal in Arizona. (13:46)
  • How do people buy Better Bucks (15:45)
  • Better Bucks will be available at Art in the Park this weekend. (16:22)
  • How the Nancy J. Brua Animal Care Center is participating in the Better Bucks program. (17:00)
  • Fall is a busy event season for the Sierra Vista Police Department. Scott shares what people can look forward to in the next month or so. (19:40)
    • National Night Out (19:52)
    • Child Identification Program (CHIP) event (21:32)
    • 15th Annual Bearcat Pull for Special Olympics (23:07)
    • Sierra Vista Faith & Blue (24:57)
    • October is domestic violence awareness month (26:44)
  • Signing off and Outro (29:17)

Local citizens are encouraged to join the conversation by asking questions, offering comments, and suggesting future topics. To share your thoughts, email Pod@nullSierraVistaAZ.gov.

Celebrating the Launch of the James Webb Space Telescope

Post Date: Sept. 17, 2021

We're looking to the stars in this episode as we highlight how the Henry F. Hauser Museum is partnering with the Huachuca Astronomy Club and Patterson Observatory to celebrate the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope! Museum curator Elizabeth Wrozek is joined by NASA Solar System Ambassador Ted Forte to share exciting news about an out-of-this-world multi-site exhibition and many special events in October all tied to the Webb Telescope. Forte is a longtime member of the Huachuca Astronomy Club and serves as director of the Patterson Observatory located on the University of Arizona Sierra Vista Campus. We discuss the thriving local amateur astronomy community, just what makes the Webb Telescope such a big deal, and how the museum strives to engage the community with local history. For details about the exhibition and events, check out our Fall Vistas newsletter.


  • Interview begins (01:25)
  • Elizabeth, can you share how this multi-faceted celebration of the James Webb Telescope Launch came about and why you think it’s a good fit for Sierra Vista? (01:30)
  • How did the Huachuca Astronomy Club get involved? (02:00)
  • What’s the amateur astronomy scene like in our area? (02:54)
  • What makes the launch of this telescope such a landmark event in the astronomy world? (05:08)
  • Why an “Infrared” telescope? (06:23)
  • Multi-site exhibits at four City facilities explore different facets of the James Webb Telescope research. (08:15)
  • What were some of the issues the Hubble Space Telescope experienced and how does the Webb Telescope adapt to those lessons learned? (09:37)
    Why send the James Webb Telescope so far away that it can’t be serviced? (11:15)
  • What happens to the spacecraft after it runs out of fuel? (12:42)
  • Why is it coated in gold? (13:13)
  • When does the Webb Telescope launch? (14:03)
  • Elizabeth, will the exhibits stay up until the launch and what happens to the exhibits after they are pulled down at City facilities? (15:05)
  • Why did you decide to host the Webb exhibit across multiple facilities? (16:14)
  • Contribution of the University of Arizona to the Webb telescope. (18:15)
  • Huachuca Astronomy Club meeting at Cochise College. (19:08)
  • What are some of the Webb Telescope events people won’t want to miss in October? (19:50)
    • City star party in Veterans Memorial Park. (19:58)
    • Sensory Space Exploration program at the Ethel H. Berger Center. (20:20)
    • Webb Telescope launch party at the Patterson Observatory. (20:21)
    • Ted Forte’s presentation on the Webb Telescope at the Sierra Vista Public Library. (25:13)
  • And before we sign off, Elizabeth can you share some of the recent updates to the Henry F. Hauser Museum and remind folks about the exhibit currently on display? (25:46)
  • Outro (29:01)

Local citizens are encouraged to join the conversation by asking questions, offering comments, and suggesting future topics. To share your thoughts, email Pod@nullSierraVistaAZ.gov.

Revitalizing the West End

Post Date: Sept. 3, 2021

In this episode of Let’s Talk Sierra Vista, we kick off our fall season with Community Development Director Matt McLachlan and delve into longstanding efforts to revitalize the West End. With major improvements now underway along Fry Boulevard, we discuss just how long this type of project has been the subject of public input and community planning. We also cover numerous other projects and initiatives that are helping transform the West End in step with the Fry and Garden Avenue Improvement Project. We share how it’s exciting to see so many long-sought ideas result in actions that are now making meaningful changes. And there is still much to be done together with the community to create an inviting entertainment district that feels like a downtown, while also expanding opportunities to enhance West End neighborhoods.


  • Interview with Matt McLachlan begins (1:08)
  • How did public input help lead to this project and what does the City hope to accomplish with it? (1:13)
  • What are the next steps for streetscape improvements once this phase wraps up in January? (9:33)
  • How does the property the City acquired at the corner of Fab Avenue and Fry Boulevard tie into these plans? (11:12)
  • Can you share some background on the West Sierra Vista Partnership program that the City launched in 2018 and describe its impacts so far? (14:15)
  • What are some other initiatives the City is working on to bolster revitalization in the West End? (19:33)
  • I’d like to close by reminding folks to support our local businesses in the West End during construction. (31:42)
  • I know you’ve been out in the area working with the business owners. What have you been hearing from them? (32:48)

Local citizens are encouraged to join the conversation by asking questions, offering comments, and suggesting future topics. To share your thoughts, email Pod@nullSierraVistaAZ.gov.

Summer Break & Spotlight Breakfast Preview

Post Date: July 27, 2021

We're taking a break in July, but you can look forward to the next full episode of Let's Talk Sierra Vista in August. In the meantime, why not take this opportunity to catch up on some of our recent episodes?

In this short episode, Public Information Officer Adam Curtis provides a brief preview of this year's Spotlight Breakfast, which we're pleased to announce will take place in-person at the Sierra Vista campus of Cochise College on the morning of Tuesday, August 10. Reserve your seat today!

We'll talk again in August.

Breaking Down the FY 21-22 Budget

FY21-22 Tentative Budget

Post Date: June 25, 2021

City budgets can be tricky to understand and even harder to explain. But it's worth the effort! Amid the many moving pieces are important decisions, projects, and stories that matter to our community. This week we dive into the City’s Tentative Budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 with Assistant City Manager Victoria Yarbrough to share how the budget process works and talk about the highlights in plain language. We cover the latest news on exciting projects like upcoming improvements on West Fry Boulevard and other key items included in the Tentative Budget. We also put everything in context, so citizens can understand how the City’s conservative fiscal philosophy, especially in good times, has helped it weather difficult economic times better than most.


  • Budget 101, clearing up a sometimes counterintuitive process (0:59)
  • The tentative budget totals more then $115 million, which is much higher than last year’s budget of $86.7 million. Find out what accounts for the increase and why a simple budget total comparison often offers a misleading picture. (7:30)
  • Discussing how the increased cost of construction materials has impacted City projects, while sharing some good news the West Fry Boulevard Improvement Project. (13:03)
  • How the City’s conservative budgeting philosophy even in good times helps The City get through the difficult times. (29:21)
  • Describing how the City continues to take a proactive approach to handle the costs associated with the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System. (34:43)

Local citizens are encouraged to join the conversation by asking questions, offering comments, and suggesting future topics. To share your thoughts, email Pod@nullSierraVistaAZ.gov.

Celebrate the Summer with Your Local Library

Post Date: June 11, 2021

In-person activities are back and the library is open to serve the community. Libraries are beloved centers of learning and enrich our lives by providing access to knowledge, technology, and community activities. In this episode, we are joined by Youth Services Librarian Erica Merritt and Arts, Culture, and Education Division Manager Emily Duchon to discuss how the library is still adapting to serve customers today. We talk about the lessons they learned from serving patrons despite restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Summer Reading Program is up and running with a variety of events and activities as we celebrate the animal kingdom with this year’s theme of Tails and Tales. Find everything you need to know to participate, from winning weekly prizes to community events and much more.


  • Information about this year’s Summer Reading Program (1:12)
  • What is the mission for the Summer Reading Program and why is it offered for all ages? (5:00)
  • Events people can look forward for this year’s Summer Reading Program (8:20)
  • What was it like to adapt library services to the COVID-19 pandemic? (10:15)
  • Learn about artwork popping up in the library’s botanical garden (17:42)
  • The Cultural Diversity Commission and Youth Commission are seeking members (22:06)
  • What does the library have to offer besides books? (23:43)

Local citizens are encouraged to join the conversation by asking questions, offering comments, and suggesting future topics. To share your thoughts, email Pod@nullSierraVistaAZ.gov.

Boots, Bikes, and Birds: Boosting Sierra Vista’s Reputation

Post Date: May 28, 2021

Today we talk with Marketing & Communications Manager Judy Hector and Economic Development Manager Tony Boone about recent news, events, and the City’s approach to economic development and tourism. The City tackles these areas as a team, executing a tailor-made strategy that leverages Sierra Vista’s unique assets. With an ideal climate, nearby mountain trails, blossoming events, growing sports tourism efforts, and an extraordinary variety of birds that attract birders from around the world, Sierra Vista’s reputation as a destination for outdoor recreation is expanding. This was recently bolstered by a declaration making Sierra Vista the official Hummingbird Capital of Arizona, signed just this month by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, and the renewal of the City’s status as a bicycle-friendly community. We learn how Sierra Vista is growing from Arizona’s best-kept secret to an up-and-coming destination for people who love the outdoors.


  • How do the City’s signature Sips and Skies events tie into the city’s overall marketing strategy? (1:30)
  • Tony talks about the process of working with Perimeter Bicycling to bring the El Tour de Zona to Sierra Vista and what that will bring to the community. (3:57)
  • The City has made major headway to improve facilities to attract sports tournaments to Sierra Vista in partnership with local sports organizations. What does that mean in terms of dollars and how does it tie in with economic development? (15:30)
  • What unique challenges and opportunities set the stage for the City’s economic development strategy? (22:48)
  • Judy tells us about the recent declaration making Sierra Vista the “Hummingbird Capital of Arizona”. Will we pursue this declaration nationally and just how big is the birding tourism market? (31:44)
  • Learn about the King’s Court property sale just ratified by council on Thursday, May 27. (38:48)

Local citizens are encouraged to join the conversation by asking questions, offering comments, and suggesting future topics. To share your thoughts, email Pod@nullSierraVistaAZ.gov.

Covering Police Week and SVPD News with Chief Thrasher

This week we are bringing back Chief Thrasher for Police Week. Since 1881, 29 law enforcement professionals have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty in our county. We talk about the importance of honoring those who take the risk and put on the uniform to serve and protect their community.

And if you’ve ever wanted an inside look into the Sierra Vista Police Department, this podcast is a great start! We share how SVPD has earned a CALEA accreditation for another four years, demonstrating its ongoing commitment to excellence. We also discuss the SVPD’s efforts to maintain this high level of service, Chief Thrasher’s career as a police officer, and how now is a great time for those who wish to be police officers themselves to take that leap in Sierra Vista.


  • What does police week mean to law enforcement officers and their families? (1:13)
  • What do new recruits go through to train and become police officers and how does the SouthEastern Arizona Law Enforcement Training Academy (SEALETA) help SVPD and make this career path more accessible? (4:30)
  • The SVPD just received a CALEA accreditation for another four years, can you explain why this is important for the department and the community? (11:33)
  • This week the project to expand SVPD’s women’s locker room is getting underway. We’ll learn why this is needed. (15:03) (14:45)
  • Learn about the Citizen Police Academy and how to apply. (19:45)

Local citizens are encouraged to join the conversation by asking questions, offering comments, and suggesting future topics. To share your thoughts, email Pod@nullSierraVistaAZ.gov.

Paul Cimino Talks Wildfire Safety, Reflects on 40-year Career

Post Date: April 30, 2021

In our second episode of season 2, longtime Sierra Vista Fire Marshal Paul Cimino reminds us how to keep our properties and community safe from wildfires. As the City’s longest tenured employee, Paul also reflects on his 40 years working for Sierra Vista Fire & Medical Services. Paul will retire later this year and it was a joy to discuss some of the highlights of his time working for the City. Podcast host Adam Curtis joins Paul in recalling the Monument Fire in 2011. That crisis reminds us all why it is vital to be fire safe, especially during Sierra Vista’s windy and dry spring season. It also brought out the best in our community and demonstrated how Sierra Vistans have each other’s backs when it matters most.


  • How can homeowners protect their property from fire hazards and wildfires? (1:51)
  • Why you should have an evacuation plan (5:18)
  • Reminder of local laws pertaining to fireworks and common sense safety (7:09)
  • Discussing the Monument Fire, the efforts to control it, and more (11:03)
  • Some of Paul's most memorable moments as a fire safety professional (24:38)
  • Paul talks about his 40 years supporting the department's Christmas Toy Drive (28:47)
  • What kept Paul in Sierra Vista's Fire Department for so many years? (34:60)

Local citizens are encouraged to join the conversation by asking questions, offering comments, and suggesting future topics. To share your thoughts, email Pod@nullSierraVistaAZ.gov.

Protecting Our Neighborhoods With Kindness and Persistence

Post Date: April 16, 2021

We are excited to welcome you back for season 2 of the podcast! In this episode we are joined by code enforcement officers Jessica Vannoy and Gilbert Fuentes. We discuss how their team works with Sierra Vista residents to ensure properties meet our community’s standards, which protects the character of our neighborhoods and ensures they remain safe for everyone. We also get to know Jessica and Gilbert as they share how a history of public service continues to shape who they are today. Code enforcement requires a delicate balance of compassion, cooperation, and, as a last resort, enforcement. Jessica and Gilbert take pride in keeping Sierra Vista clean and share how local residents can help too, by joining Sierra Vista’s Adopt an Area program.


  • Gilbert’s experience as a police officer and how it translates to serving residents today (1:57)
  • Jessica’s story of how she was “almost born” in city hall and how her parents’ careers in public service influenced her to serve (4:04)
  • How does the code enforcement process work? (6:49)
  • How does their work give people pride their community? (10:36)
  • Learn how residents can get involved keep Sierra Vista clean. (14:59)
  • Gilbert and Jessica share how a job means more when its in service to the community you call home. (18:51)

Local citizens are encouraged to join the conversation by asking questions, offering comments, and suggesting future topics. To share your thoughts, email Pod@nullSierraVistaAZ.gov.