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District 3

District 3 Newsletter, Edition #21

10/15/2020

In This Edition:

Message from the Commissioner
Contact Information
BernCo at Work
Community Resources
Things to Do
Interesting Reads


MESSAGE FROM THE COMMISSIONER:

“Your vote is precious, almost sacred. It is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have to create a more perfect union.”

Representative John Lewis - 2012, Charlotte, North Carolina

Ballots for the November 3rd, General Election are in the mail. If you haven’t received yours yet, you can track it by clicking here. Remember to complete the ballot as soon as possible. You can put it in the mail or cast it at any voting location.

We all know of the races at the top of the ticket but there are many important elective positions further down the ballot, including legislative and judicial offices. Also don’t forget to vote on the constitutional amendments and general obligation bonds.

I encourage you to vote in favor of the 6 Bernalillo County General Obligation Bonds on the ballot. Your vote in favor of the bonds will not raise your taxes:

Libraries~

$2.25 million for the acquisition of new material and replace outdated material and for the construction of the new library being built on east Central (International District). Remaining funds will be used for materials system-wide.

Public Safety, Fleet and County Buildings~

$13.45 million to replace aging building system in various county-owned buildings for the purpose of reducing energy use and maintenance costs and improving building safety measure and ADA upgrades.

Parks & Recreation~

$16.9 million for park and playground redevelopment, ADA upgrades, improvements to existing facilities and community centers. There are no planned projects in District 3 but all County Parks & Recreation facilities are available for use by all county residents.

Countywide Road Rehabilitation, Improvements & Development~

$4.3 million to build new facilities, repave existing roads, replace signage, improve traffic flow and build new bikeways, trails and sidewalks.

Senior and Disabled Multifamily~

$500,000 to improve the energy efficiency of county-owned housing units that are rented to low-income seniors and families with a disabled family member.

City of Albuquerque Gateway Center for Homeless~

$1,000,000 contribution to the city of Albuquerque Gateway Center to be used to rehabilitate existing rental units, acquire land, construct, manage and improve the quality of the housing.

For more information on the GO Bonds, click here.

There are two Constitutional Amendments on the ballot:

Amendment 1~

Constitutional Amendment 1 would make the PRC an appointed committee, rather than an elective office. It would also decrease the number of commissioners from five to three. The amendment would take effect on January 2023. The ballot measure would create a nominating committee to develop a list of candidates; the governor would appoint the three members from the list of candidates.

Amendment 2~

Constitutional Amendment 2 would allow the state legislature to adjust non-statewide officeholder elections and terms in order to balance the number of offices appearing on the presidential and gubernatorial general election ballots. It would also adjust office terms according to those date changes.

Also, on the ballot is a state bond package that would fund facilities for senior citizens, public libraries and public education. The total amount of these bonds is about $20 million.

These bond packages and constitution questions are as important as the elective offices for the future of the state. Don’t forget to vote the entire ballot. To see a Voters’ Guide, click here.

A final thought – with the up-tick in COVID19 cases in New Mexico and surrounding states and the infection of the President and Mrs. Trump(I wish them both a speedy recovery.), it is important to remember that we are still living during a pandemic, and that we all are vulnerable. Take care of and respect others, wash your hands frequently, keep your social distance and always wear a facemask when out in public – Jim Collie

GENERAL ELECTION TIMELINE:

October 6th – requested ballots will begin being mailed;
October 6th – in-person early voting begins at the county annex;
October 17th - October 31st – early voting and same day registration will take place. Absentee ballots can be dropped off at any polling site;
October 20th – last day to request an absentee ballot;
November 3rd – Election Day. There will be 71 polling location open from 7:00am-7:00pm.
NOTE – Don’t forget to sign and include the last 4 digits of your social security number on the security envelope.

Contact Information:

Important Telephone Numbers to Keep Handy

COVID19 hotline
1-855-600-3453

Non-health related COVID19 hotline
1-833-551-0518

For an updated one-stop source of COVID19 information, click here.

To see the past newsletters, please go to https://www.bernco.gov/District-3/district-3-newsletter.aspx
For the latest edition of the BernCo at a Glance, Click here
For information regarding the General Election, click here or here or call 234-VOTE, press option 1


BERNCO AT WORK:

County Commission

International District Library Funding
The Commission approved $80,000 in funding for the purpose of furnishing a Community Room in the International District Library.

The new library is located in Commission District 3,on north side of Central Ave. between San Pablo and Charleston Streets NE, and will be accessible to all city and county residents.

Increase in the Minimum Wage
The County Commission approved the latest cost-of-living adjustment to the county’s mandated minimum wage. Starting January 1, 2021, the wage will be $9.35 per hour; an increase of 1.6% from the current rate of $9.20. The wage increase only affects the unincorporated areas of the county.

In 2013, the Commission approved the Minimum Wage Ordinance. That bill called for two consecutive 50-cent increases and then an annual cost of living increase beginning in 2015.

Bernalillo County CARES Rental & Utility Assistance Grant
The Commission unanimously approved opening the Bernalillo County CARES Rental and Utility Assistance grant for qualified county residents.

The county has identified $1 million in emergency relief monies to assist residents who are experiencing hardships due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and who are delinquent in their rents or utility payments.

Through this program, the county is offering up to $5,000 to qualifying residential renters located within Bernalillo County, including the City of Albuquerque.

The application process begins Wednesday, Oct. 14 at 8:00am. and runs through Wednesday, Nov. 4. More information and applications can be found at www.bernco.gov/housing.

Gender-Pay Equity Amendment

The Commissioners passed an amendment to the Bernalillo County procurement code that gives a 5% preference to businesses that have no pay gap between male and female employees.

The new amendment means that businesses that wish to garner a county contract can receive the 5% preference if they can show that men and women, performing the same work or that have similar positions, are paid the same amount for their work.

BernCo Behavioral Health Department

The Commission of Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) has awarded Bernalillo County Department of Behavioral Health Services a three-year accreditation for the following direct care programs, at the CARE campus:

  • Crisis Stabilization Unit
  • Detoxification Program
  • Supportive After Care Program

This is the first accreditation that the international accrediting body, CARF, has given to Bernalillo County. The County has been offering mental health and substance use services for the past 15 years. These programs have made a major impact in the community and are nationally accredited and recognized. Bernalillo County looks forward to collaborating with the City of Albuquerque as they develop similar services through their new Albuquerque Community Safety Department.

More information is available online at www.bernco.gov/dbhs.

BernCo Boards & Commissions

Bernalillo County is looking for volunteers to serve as one of the nine members of the new Sheriff’s Office Advisory and Review Board. The first appointments will be made during the Commission Meeting, Oct. 27, 2020.

The purpose of the board is to:

  • Improve public transparency
  • Improve Sheriff’s Office accountability
  • To have an opportunity for robust community engagement
  • To provide analysis and review of the Sheriff’s Office policies, practices, and procedures
  • To provide advice to the Board of Bernalillo County Commissioners, the Sheriff’s Office, and the public.

To find out more about the purpose and duties of the board, visit Sheriff's Office Advisory and Review Board.

Interested applicants must apply by submitting a resume at Apply to Serve to be considered.

For more information, contact Julie Anne Baca at 505-468-7083 or by email at jubaca@bernco.gov.

BernCo Extension Service

The Bernalillo County Extension Service will be hosting a 4-week long ZOOM series called “Kitchen Creations,” a cooking school for those with diabetes. In November, they will be hosting a class on healthy breakfasts. To register, go to their website.

NMSU/Bernalillo County Extension Service is staffed by experts who provide useful, practical, and research-based information to public residents, agricultural producers, small business owners, youth, gardeners, and others in our diverse New Mexican rural, urban and suburban communities. County Extension programs are designed to help people use research-based knowledge to improve their lives in the areas of agriculture, animals, horticulture, food, nutrition, wellness, family relationships, environment. community and economic development, and youth leadership.

General Services Division

Bernalillo County and Daniels Family Funeral Services honored 110 Bernalillo County unclaimed and indigent residents with a memorial burial ceremony. The burial service was held at Fairview Cemetery on October 1st.

In addition, on September 24th, unclaimed veterans were honored and laid to rest, with military honors, by Bernalillo County and the state of New Mexico during the Forgotten Heroes Memorial Burial Service at the Santa Fe National Cemetery.

The Bernalillo County General Services Division administers the Unclaimed/Indigent Cremation for deceased who have passed away within the geographical boundaries of the county. Because of COVID 19 restrictions, this year’s service was not open to the public.

BernCo Parks and Recreation

Bernalillo County Parks & Recreation is hosting Friday Night Frights the month of October in the parking lot at Isleta Amphitheater starting Friday, October 9th, weather permitting.

Gates will open at 5:30pm and the movies will start at 7:30pm and are first come/first served. Movie-goers are asked to bring non-perishable food as a donation to the Roadrunner Food Bank. Food trucks will be available on site. No alcohol is permitted, and facemasks must be worn outside of vehicles. For more information, click here

Movie Schedule:

  • October 16th, A Nightmare on Elm Street
  • October 23rd, It
  • October 30th, Halloween (2018)

BernCo Office of Senior and Social Services

The Bernalillo County of Senior and Social Services has supported seniors by providing meals, wellness checks, transportation and more throughout the pandemic. They are now inviting all older adults (60 and over) to participate in a continuing series of special programs in progress now through the end of December.

These programs are available online or by phone. Each week the Senior affairs Facebook page an YouTube channel will be updated with videos on a range of topic, including health, fitness and how-to’s.

For more information and details of the program, contact Veronica Cordova, by e-mail or on Facebook or visit the city website or the county website

BernCo Sheriff’s Office

The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office announced the beginning of “Operation Educational Encouragement,” initiating countywide welfare checks to ensure students are attending their online classes, as well as focusing on investigating incidents of abuse and neglect.

Sheriff’s deputies are following up on at least 70 referrals. Joining them are deputies from the Safe Child Unit, Special Victims Unit, and Gang Recognition and Intelligence Patrol Unit. The objective of this operation is to be supportive and not punitive.


COMMUNITY RESOURCES:

Department of Veterans Affairs

The Department of Veterans Affairs has taken two steps to help veterans during the COVID19 pandemic:

Debt Relief – The VA is extending financial debt relief through the end of the year by suspending collection action and extending payment terms on existing debts.

Call the VA Debt Management Center,1-800-827-0648, for information on benefit debts. Call Health Resources Center, 1-866-400-1238, for health care debts

Emergency Housing – the VA has earmarked $400 million in COVID relief funding for veterans who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless. In addition, the VA is providing $88 million for the Grant and Per Diem Program and $10 million for the Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program.

If you and your family need housing assistance, click here.

For more information on all VA programs, click here.

Flu Vaccines

The city of Albuquerque has announced a partnership with the City Environmental Health Department and the New Mexico Immunization Coalition to make voluntary flu vaccinations easily accessible for all Albuquerque residents. Flu shots will lessen the severity of flu symptoms and save hospital resources for COVID19 patients.

There are several upcoming events at which residents can get free flu shots. The city has launched an interactive online tool to find shot clinics around the city. Click here for more information and to find a nearby clinic.

Health Insurance Options Available for New Mexico Residents

BeWellnm, the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange, has teamed up with Medicaid and the New Mexico Medical Insurance Pool to make sure every New Mexican has access to health coverage during COVID-19. Depending on income and family size, you may qualify for Medicaid through the New Mexico Human Services Department. If you don’t qualify for Medicaid, you may qualify for special enrollment through beWellnm. Special enrollment circumstances include life changes like job loss and income change.

Don’t wait to find out if you qualify because you only have 60 days from when you lost coverage! If you need another option, you will qualify for the New Mexico Medical Insurance Pool. Call toll-free at 1-833-862-3935 or visit https://bewellnm.com/qualify-for-coverage for more information.

Household Hazardous Waste Collection

The City of Albuquerque’s Department of Municipal Development, Engineering Division; Solid Waste Management Department; Bernalillo County, and Advanced Chemical Transport (ACT) are sponsoring a FREE household hazardous waste collection event, Saturday, October 24, 2020 from 10am to 3pm, Balloon Fiesta Park, 5000 Balloon Fiesta Parkway NW, Albuquerque, NM 87113

PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED!

Residents of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County are encouraged to bring their household hazardous waste on this drop-off day. Examples of household hazardous waste include those items that can burn easily (flammable), corrode or irritate the skin (corrosive), or poison humans and animals (toxic).

Participants are required to register online prior to the day of the event.

Participants are required to wear a face covering when providing their name in line.

Participants must have all items visible in the trunk or back seat of their car.

An Advanced Chemical Transport employee will remove the items from participant’s vehicles and the participant will continue driving through the line.
Click on the link below to register, print, and fill out the event form prior to the day of the event.

https://www.oneabqvolunteers.com/

New Mexico Small Business Development Center Network Offers Free Online Workshops

The New Mexico Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is offering a free webinar on “Basic Steps to Starting a Business in New Mexico”, Wednesday, October 21, 11:30 a.m.

The SBDC offers a wide variety of free trainings, webinars and other resources for anyone wanting to start a small business or who owns one already. For more information and to register, visit: http://www.nmsbdc.org/workshop-and-events.aspx

PNM

PNM has set aside $2 million for new COVID Customer Relief Programs to help struggling residential and small business customers pay their past due electric bills.

To receive financial assistance under the new PNM COVID Customer Relief Program:

  • Residential customers assistance is based on household income
  • Qualified customers must pay at 25% of the past due balance
  • Applications must be received before December 31, 2020. Assistance is on a first come/first served basis

For more information, click here or call 1-855-364-2950, Monday-Friday, 7:30am-6:00pm.

Sandia Ranger District of Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands

The public is invited to offer comments on the proposed Mountain Coaster to be located on the Sandia Ranger District of Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands(CNF). The proposed project area would be at the Sandia Peak Ski Area. This project proposal was developed to increase multi-seasonal recreational opportunities and includes construction of a mountain coaster and a concessions building. Information regarding this project is available on the CNF project website: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=56985. An interactive viewer is also available: https://arcg.is/1mLXfi.

Comments will be accepted until March 30, 2021.

For more information, contact the project leader, Bryan West, at bryan.west@usda.gov or 303-275-5276.

New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions

The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions will start requiring that claimants receiving unemployment benefits must document at least two work search activities per week, starting Sunday, October 18. Verifiable searches must be reported during the weekly certification process. To learn more, visit: dws.state.nm.us

Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge

Bernalillo County residents are invited to participate in a community art project for Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is looking for participants to help create art for behind the welcome desk at the new Visitor Center. No special art skills are necessary, and the refuge will send you all the materials needed. To find out more about the project and to see examples of art work, click here.


THINGS TO DO:

CiQlovia

CiQlovía is re-envisioned this year as an interactive virtual and physical event that celebrates the many ways people use our streets, sidewalks, trails and parks to be physically active while strengthening their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sunday, October 18 between 10:00AM and 3:00PM select streets, sidewalks, trails and parks in Albuquerque will be dedicated to safe, fun, connected walking and biking activities for all ages and abilities. Please see the CiQlovia facebook page for updates.

Green Chile Country Jamboree

The Inaugural Green Chile Country Jamboree will be held at Balloon Fiesta Park, October 24th. The Jamboree will be an open-air drive-in concert with live entertainment, featuring New Mexico’s own Chevel Shepherd, winner of the 2018 The Voice. This is a COVID safe event. Tickets at gcjamboree. For a 10% discount, use the code VENUE.

Gathering of Nations

Gathering of Nations has gone virtual. Tune in on October 31st, 6:00pm and on November 26th, 1:00pm, for live streams and video rewinds from the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow vault. For more information, click here.

19th Annual Tour de Acoma Virtual Bike Event

The Sky City Cultural Center invites you to participate in a 100., 50 or 25 mile cycling ride at a location of your choice. Set your own pace and enjoy the scenery. There are incentives for all registered participants and all proceeds go to the Haak’u Museum. For more information, click here or contact Melvin Juanico, mjuanico@skycity.com

11th Annual Dulcimer Fest

The 11th Annual New Mexico Dulcimer Festival takes place virtually this year on October 17th. The festival includes mountain and hammered dulcimer workshops during the day and pre-recorded evening concerts. Activities take place from 9:00am-6:00pm. For more information, click here.


GOOD READS:

Miscellaneous Interesting Articles~

Articles On Pandemics
Self-Care Tips to Help You get Through the Pandemic, from the Washington Post
Meet the Woman who gave the World Anti-Viral Drugs, from National Geographic
When Schooling went Outdoor, from Smithsonian Magazine
Facemask Dispensers are now a thing, from fastcompany.com
How the Pandemic will finally end, from Politico
A 'herd mentality' can’t stop the COVID-19 pandemic. Neither can a weak vaccine, from National Geographic

Article On the Supreme Court
President Washington and the Character of the first Supreme Court, from Governing Daily

Articles on Presidents, Voting and Transitions
How Mail-In Voting Began on Civil War Battlefields, from National Geographic
Looking Back on Presidential Transitions and Sore Losers, from Governing Daily
How Past Presidents have Battled Illness in Office, from Apple News

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