PVA Meeting Recap – September 22, 2011

What keeps you awake at night?

Sarah Nolan, director of Communities of Action and Faith (CAFé), spoke of her personal journey from Vado (class of ’99, Go Panthers!) to the University of San Francisco and back to Vado. She grew up in Vado unaware of being poor and first learned about the devastating poverty along the U.S.-Mexico border in a class she took at USF. That revelation kept her awake at night and convinced her to prepare herself to return home and work as a community organizer.

CAFé is a local group but is part of PICO, a national network of faith-based community organizations with the purpose of training and organizing low- and moderate-income families to shape public policy at the local level and beyond.

Currently CAFé is working with 8 congregations representing 6 religions. They are focusing on meaningful parent involvement in local schools. One of their goals is finding out how Title I funds are being spent in the Gadsden School District.

CAFé is planning a November 3 gathering of 400 people from 12 congregations and schools. For more information send email to Sarah or call her at 575-520-1624 and visit the Web site, OrganizeNM.org, which is under construction and will be completed soon.

Unified Action for September—All politics is local

Theresa Westbrock introduced the traditional unified action for September—be involved in the upcoming November election by giving your time and/or your money to the candidate(s) of your choice. All the details about candidates who have been to PVA to ask for support are here and everyone is urged to participate. Las Cruces will be electing a mayor and three city councilors plus judges. To a great extent our quality of life will be in their hands, so let them know what matters to you.

For more information send email to Theresa or Cheryl Frank.

Women Democrats

Nancy Blecha announced that Women Democrats are back at work after a summer break. They have scheduled their first-Saturday-of-the-month meeting, the agenda is bursting, and everyone (men included) is invited.

Women Democrats of Doña Ana County
Saturday, October 1, 10 a.m.
Good Samaritan, Kiva Room
3025 Terrace Drive, Las Cruces

For more information call Nancy at 575-373-9190.

Mayor Ken Miyagashima for a second term

Mayor Miyagashima confirmed that he is running for reelection. He began by praising the current city council, calling it the best council he has seen in his 17 years in public office. He said the councilors work hard, don’t have personal agendas, and work for the people. He had praise for his opponents in the mayoral race, as well, and concluded by observing that the city is doing well and moving in a good direction.

For more information view this list of the city’s achievements and visit the campaign Web site.

Pat Aguirre for Mayor Miyagashima

Pat Aguirre invited volunteers to canvass for the mayor, explaining that the weather has been great and responses have been positive. She made it sound as though nothing could be more fun than canvassing.

For more information send email to Pat or call her at 575-532-5157.

Redistricting update from the Las Cruces School Board

Board Member Maria Flores warned that redistricting is in the works for existing Las Cruces high schools because the new high school, Centennial, will be opening next year. Public meetings are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on September 26 and 28 and October 3. Meeting details are posted on the Las Cruces Public Schools Web site along with minutes of the redistricting committee, a map, and a link for giving your feedback via email.

For more information send email to Maria or call her at 575-644-9612.

NMSU’s writers host 18th annual hunger benefit

Connie Voisine, professor in the NMSU creative writing program, announced the 18th annual benefit for hunger sponsored by La Sociedad Para Las Artes. This year’s featured writers are award-winning poets Juliana Spahr of Mills College and Sheila Black of NMSU. In addition to the poetry reading, the evening includes live music, food, a silent auction, a small carnival, and a cash bar. All proceeds from the event go to support Casa de Peregrinos, our local food bank that provides emergency food relief.

Connie invited everyone to buy a ticket and attend the event, consider being a sponsor, donate for the silent auction, or hang an event poster.

Benefit for Hunger
Sponsored by La Sociedad Para Las Artes
Friday, October 7, 6 p.m. to midnight
Beverly Hills Hall (corner of Griggs and Hermosa)

For more information send  email to Connie.

Councilor Dolores Connor for Mayor

Councilor Connor’s husband, Bill, spoke in support of her bid for mayor. “She is a native of Las Cruces and the hardest working person I’ve ever known,” he began. He spoke of her work as the first paper girl in Las Cruces, her careers in banking and as a small business owner, and of her service on the city council.

For more information send email to Bill and visit the campaign Web site.

Charlie Scholz for City Council, District 2

Charlie Scholz welcomed volunteers to join his campaign and asked everyone to look for his “Chile Blast Off” float in the Whole Enchilada Fiesta Parade on Saturday, September 24.

For more information visit the campaign Web site.

Walk, run and win a Passat to support the colonias

Diana Bustamante, of the Colonias Development Council, announced the first annual 5K and 10K run (or walk) to support the CDC’s initiatives to improve the quality of life in colonia communities. The run will promote the importance of local economic development.

5K/10K Walk/Run for G.O.L.D. (Green, Organic, and Local Development)
Saturday, October 29, 8:30 a.m.
La Llorona Park on the Rio Grande

Go here to register online and get more details about the race.

CDC is also selling raffle tickets for a brand new 2012 VW Passat. Tickets are $30 each and the drawing will be held on December 21, 2011.

For more information send email to Diana or call 575-647-2744.

Ella Nelson for Evelyn Erhardt, candidate for House of Representatives

Ella explained that Evelyn has been working extremely hard, including three trips to Washington, D.C., to talk with national Democratic organizations and a meeting with Roswell Democrats, which prevented her from attending tonight’s PVA meeting. The campaign is going strong. Volunteers are welcome. Checks are welcome.

For more information send email to Ella or to Evelyn.

Grant County PVA will hold first meeting

Theresa Westbrock announced that Grant County is holding it’s first Progressive Voter Alliance meeting. Everyone is invited to attend and urged to let their friends in Silver City know about this new beginning.

Progressive Voter Alliance–Grant County
Wednesday, October 19, 7 p.m.
Silco Theater, 311 N. Bullard St., Silver City

For more information send email to Theresa.

Fundraiser for Mayor Miyagashima

Vi Cauthon spoke in support of Mayor Miyagashima and invited everyone to a fundraiser for his reelection campaign.

Fundraiser for Mayor Miyagishima
Wednesday, September 28, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
El Tiburón Restaurant
Corner of Mesquite and Amador

For more information send email to Vi or call her at 575-373-0571.

Free rabies shots for your pets

Judy Long announced that free rabies shots will be given for World Rabies Day. That’s right—free. If you insist, they will accept a modest donation of $5 or so.

Free Rabies Shots
Friday, September 30, all day
Lawn of the Doña Ana County Government Building
845 N. Motel Blvd.

For more information send email to Judy.

Speak out about NM drivers license policy

Veronica Carmona spoke eloquently about the New Mexico drivers’ license issue and asked us to tell our state senators that we do not want this issue hurting our economy, degrading our safety, and–most importantly–dividing our communities. She asked that we call State Senators Papen and Fischmann at 505-986-4727 by the September 23 deadline.

For more information send email to Veronica or call her at 575-571-2177.

Councilor Miguel Silva Running for Reelection—It’s official

City Councilor Miguel Silva made the official announcement that he is running for reelection for city councilor representing District 1, a. k. a. the heart of the city. Miguel commented that four years ago, one developer was determining the direction of the city and he reflected on how things have changed since then. “Every person should have a say in the identity and direction of our city,” he said.

For more information call Miguel’s campaign at 575-571-0193.

Mexicanos en Exilio Legal Defense Fund

Emilio Gutierrez, an exiled Mexican journalist, announced a fundraiser for legal defense for himself and others seeking asylum. He promised great Mexican food and mariachis.

Mexicanos en Exilo Fundraiser
Saturday, October 15, 6 to 10:30 p.m.

The event will be held at a home in Doña Ana. Mysteriously, you will get the address when you make your reservation.

For more information send email to Emilio or call him at 505-990-7954. You can also send email to Mexicanos en Exilio or call them at 915-522-0441.

Councilor Pedroza endorses La Semilla Food Summit

Councilor Olga Pedroza (District 3) spoke of the Food Summit and urged us to take advantage of this opportunity to analyze the interrelationships among growers, corporations and consumers and to explore ways to get more control of our food system.

You can find out about the goals of the conference and the work of La Semilla on their Web site and view a detailed conference schedule listing dozens of presentations, hands-on gardening and cooking workshops, and a fabulous lunch of local foods on Saturday

La Semilla Food Summit—Grow, Eat, Celebrate
September 30 and October 1
Court Youth Center and Various Locations

For more information send email to Councilor Pedroza.

On the River, For the River

Jason Burke announced that it is once again time for the Southwest Environmental Center to host its biggest fundraiser of the year.

On the River, For the River
Saturday, October 8, 5 to 10:30 p.m.
Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park

Jason promised all the following: gourmet food from local chefs, New Mexico wines and beers, live music, a silent auction, and, last but definitely not least, the chance to hang around with a lot of environmentally involved people.

For more information send email to Jason, call him at 575-522-5552, or visit SWEC on the Web.

Fractured Fairy Tales

The Children’s Reading Foundation of Doña Ana County will present Fractured Fairy Tales, an afternoon of music and storytelling for the whole family.

Fractured Fairy Tales
Saturday, October 15, 2 to 3:30 p.m.
Rio Grande Theatre

Children are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite book character for a story book parade. There will be a mime, face painting, and performances by Monica Mojica, Fred Bugbee, and the Improvsters.

Tickets are on sale at various locations in Las Cruces, at the door, or online.

For more information send email to Maria Flores or call Jan Reed at 575-373-0197.

Building community, 300 jobs, and renewable energy

Councilor Nathan Small invited everyone to join him on Saturday, October 1, to plant along Picacho Avenue, starting at Valley Drive and moving westward.

Beautify Picacho/Build Community
Saturday, October 1
Valley Drive and Picacho

Councilor Small noted that Pro’s Ranch Market will be interviewing from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. September 27 to 30, to fill 300 jobs in Las Cruces. The fast-growing Hispanic supermarket chain will open their Las Cruces store at 320 Wyatt Drive.

For his third item of good news,, Nathan put in a plug for the clean energy conference sponsored the New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce.

Renewable Energy and Clean Technology Conference: Expanding Opportunities in New Mexico
Friday, September 30, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Advance tickets are $15/20 at the door
Rio Grande Theatre

For more information and to purchase tickets go here.

Teen birth rate declines in Doña Ana County

Earl Nissen reported on impressive gains for teen pregnancies. Six years ago Doña Ana County had the highest teen pregnancy rate of any county in New Mexico. [New Mexico and Texas were tied at that time for highest teen birth rate among the 50 states . . . so that made Doña Ana the worst county in the worst state.] Today teen pregnancies are down 22% in Doña Ana County, making it 25th of 32* New Mexico counties instead of dead last. (*Harding County didn’t report.) Comprehensive school-based health centers have been established, and they include contraception and comprehensive sex education, i.e., more than abstinence only. Thanks to the efforts of State Representative Mary Helen Garcia, a health class is now a graduation requirement for New Mexico students.

You can explore teen birth rates and other sobering health indicators for our county at a Web site created by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

For more information send email to Earl or call him at 575-496-3405.


Our next meeting will be
Thursday, October 27, 7 p.m.

Munson Senior Center, 975 S. Mesquite

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