PVA Meeting Recap – March 24, 2011

Finding Common Ground: Educational Reforms

Paul Gessing of the Rio Grande Foundation spoke about governor Martinez’a goals for educational reform. He began by explaining that the RGF is fiscally but not socially conservative and observing that conservatives and liberals can agree that what we’re doing in education isn’t working. One of several educational reforms instituted by Florida, A to F grading for schools, passed in the 20ll New Mexico legislature.

For more information send email to Paul, call him at 505-264-6090, and visit the Rio Grande Foundation on the Web for extensive documents about the educational reforms the foundation is promoting.

Unified Action Update

Cheryl Frank reported that the Unified Action is off to an auspicious start in 2011. In January the request that Harrison Schmitt’s nomination be withdrawn was successful. In February Heidi was removed from immigration detention and returned to family members.

For more information send email to Cheryl.

Unified Action for March—Call the Governor About Bills that Are Good for Business

Elisa Cundiff of the Las Cruces Green Chamber introduced the March Unified Action, which is to ask Governor Martinez to sign three bills (SB63, SB237, and SB208) that would be good for New Mexico business. Full details are here.  Everyone is invited to participate in the Unified Action, whether or not you “take the pledge.”

For more information about this action send email to Elisa or call her at 575-201-3236. Business owners who would like to sign a letter to the governor can also contact Elisa.

What’s Not to Like About Sustainability?

City Councilor Sharon Thomas called our attention to a campaign of misinformation about the meaning of “sustainability.” A flier is being mailed to some homes asserting that the city’s Sustainability Action Plan is an example of UN Agenda 21. A copy of the flier is here. Reliable information about sustainability is here.

For more information send email to Sharon or call her at 575-521-9314.

Organizing University Professors

Martina Myers introduced herself as a paid organizer for the American Association of University Professors, working at the NMSU main campus as well as the community colleges. She announced that the group will be holding a nationwide Class Action event in April to demand quality higher education. The details will be forthcoming.

For more information send email to Martina, call her at 575-993-4549, and visit the Web site for NMSU-AAUP.


Jean Ossorio announced a special event all about the amazing, surviving bobcat.

April 12, 6 to 8 p.m.
Southwest Environmental Center (SWEC)

The event is sponsored by the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club, WildEarth Guardians, and SWEC. Featured speaker is Kevin Hanson, a biologist and bobcat expert, whose topic is “Bobcat: Master of Survival.” Details are here.

For more information send email to Jean or call her at 575-644-7389.

Green Chamber News

Gary Camuñez announced a special First Friday event including a free lunch. That’s right—a free lunch. Space is limited so register early.

Green Chamber First Friday
Curbside Recycling Kickoff
Friday, April 1, Noon to 1:30 p.m.
Las Cruces Convention Center

For more information send email to Gary or call him at 561-702-3772.

Life on the Border

Sally Meisenhelder of Amigos de Mujeres de Juarez announced that Las Cruces has a newly formed group to support Mexican refugees. She welcomed volunteers, and noted that there was always a need for Spanish-English translators. They are also in need of people who can provide psychological support for individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder.

For more information send email to Sally or call her at 575-650-9644.

Still Herding Cats

Alice Anderson announced that there will be public meetings to discuss the best way to handle the stray cat problem in Doña Ana County. If you would like to be informed of the meeting time, you can email your request to pdeal@las-cruces.org. Alice stressed that the trap-neuter-release approach is not succeeding to control the stray cat problem in Las Cruces.

For more information send email to Alice or call her at 575-523-5179.

Legal Services for Immigration Issues

Claudia Trueblood of Catholic Charities described the work of their Legal Services Program. They offer assistance with family-based petitions, citizenship, and naturalization. They provide emergency legal services to immigrant victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, and other violent crimes.

The nonprofit group is in need of donations to support their work and welcomes volunteers. For more information send email to Claudia, call her at 575-523-7577, and visit Catholic Charities on the Web.

Best Ever Shareholders’ Meeting Coming to Mikey’s Place

Paul Heiberger announced that Mountain View Co-op will be holding the world’s best shareholder meeting, aka food and drink will be provided.

Organ Mountain Market Annual Shareholders’ Meeting
Saturday, April 9, 5 p.m.
Mikey’s Place

For more information send email to Paul, call him at 773-841-7285, and visit Mountain View Market Co-op on the Web.

An Artist Speaks Out for the Film Industry

With humor and a light touch, Bob Diven spoke of the current public concern over the tax incentives for the film industry. Perhaps, he suggested, there is some anti-art sentiment at work. From Bob’s point of view, it’s a good thing to encourage the film industry in New Mexico. Jobs have been created and Bob spoke of the possibility of his producing a film in Doña Ana county because the skilled workers are here now.

For more information send email to Bob or call him at 575-642-7445.

An Arts District for Las Cruces?

Jane Grider announced a meeting to get public input about the possibility of an arts district in Las Cruces. An official arts district would allow the city to apply for special funding and other benefits would accrue . . . or not, depending on your point of view. Therefore, the public input meeting:

Arts District Public Input Meeting
Wednesday, April 30, 5 p.m.
Rio Grande Theatre

For more information send email to Jane or call her at 575-526-5620.

Calling All Literacy Organizations

School Board Member Maria Flores asked, cryptically, for help in compiling a roster of absolutely all literacy providers in Doña Ana County so that they can be involved in a special project being put together by Maria, Terry Miller, and Steve Fischmann.

For more information or to report a literacy project, send email to Maria or call her at 575-644-9612.

OFA Updates

Tia Upchurch-Freelove of Organizing for America announced two events in the works. The first will be a phone bank, making calls to Democratic activists and asking them to call Governor Martinez and ask her to sign the NM Health Exchange bill.

Healthcare Phone Bank
Sunday, March 27, 4 p.m.
Democratic Headquarters

A second event will be a small business forum with the New Mexico leaders of Organizing for America. The forum will seek feedback from small business people and provide information about programs now available to small businesses in New Mexico.

Small Business Forum
Wednesday, April, 6 to 8 p.m.
Good Samaritan Auditorium

For more information send email to Tia or call her at 575-652-7027. Check out the OFA New Mexico on the Web.

Curbside Recycling Begins April 4—At Long Last

Al McBrayer, tireless recycling advocate, announced that the blue recycling cans have arrived and the first curbside collection of recyclables will take place April 4.

For more information send email to Al or call him at 575-541-9667.

Renewable Energy Program at DACC

Sandy Katayanagi announced that Doña Ana Community College will be hiring its first full-time instructor for renewable energy technology. She asked that we spread the word to potential applicants so that someone really good fills this position.

For more information send email to Sandy.

J. Paul Taylor Social Justice Symposium

Sally Meisenhelder reminded everyone of the seventh annual J. Paul Taylor Social Justice Symposium. This year the event will focus on the impact of incarceration and detention on children and families and will seek ways to improve policy on behalf of the children of incarcerated parents.

J. Paul Taylor Social Justice Symposium
Thursday and Friday, March 31 and April 1
Las Cruces Convention Center
Symposium Schedule

For more information send email to Sally or call her at 575-650-9644.

SWEC Has a Busy Calendar

Paul Heiberger of the Southwest Environmental Center explained that the Bobcat-palooza is part of a new plan by SWEC to present special events every second Tuesday.

Special activities are planned for every Saturday in April (see the SWEC calendar). June 11 is Raft the Rio, so start saving materials for your prize-winning raft. The Prius Raffle will take place June 16, and you can purchase your ticket online.

For more information send email to Paul or call him at 575-522-5553.

Another Education Reform Initiative

Leslie Piper expressed his conviction that schools should be open so “after hours” so that students can study with supervision. He spoke of the obvious but sometimes ignored need to put kids in touch with the information they should be learning.

For more information send email to Leslie.

Reading Foundation Coming to Las Cruces

State Senator Steve Fischmann announced—possibly letting the cat out of the bag?–that he is working with Maria Flores and Terry Miller to create a chapter of the Children’s Reading Foundation in Las Cruces. The focus will be getting parents and the entire community involved in literacy activities, so that all children learn to read early and well.

For more information send email to Steve.

Our next meeting will be
Thursday, April 28, 2011, 7 p.m.
Munson Senior Center
975 S. Mesquite


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