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District 3 Newsletter, Edition # 8

05/07/2020

In This Edition:

Important Contact information
Message from the Commissioner
From Senator Mimi Stewart
BernCo at Work
How You can Help
Community Resources
A Good Read, Listen & Look


IMPORTANT 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.


MESSAGE FROM THE COMMISSIONER:

As we begin the Preparation Phase of reopening New Mexico’s economy, I hope that everyone is continuing to practice social distancing, only going out when necessary, wearing a cloth face mask when in public and limiting groups to 5 people. Adherence to these public health orders will allow a further relaxing of restrictions on businesses in the coming weeks.

According to Governor Lujan Grisham a broader reopening of retailers, dine-in Restaurants, places of worship and offices can only happen when certain criteria is met, including a continued slowing of the spread of the virus, increased testing and contact tracing, following COVID safe practices (CSP). The Governor warns that entering the next Phase will be even more difficult because people will have to practice social distancing while spending more time outside their homes. It will require social responsibility and self-discipline by us all.

I believe that taking care of each other, especially the most vulnerable, is the most important part of our social contract. We must remember to always act for the greater good. Perhaps if we skip one trip to the grocery store, wear cloth masks when in public even though they are awkward and hot, one less person will be infected, one extra bed in an ICU will be empty, one more ventilator will be available.

We are hear this often, but it is true -- We are all in this together. And, we will get through it together and be stronger, more resilient and compassionate because of the experience.

Our hearts go out to our family, friends and neighbors in the Navajo Nation and McKinley and San Juan counties. We are sending our good thoughts, love, prayers and wishes for better days.

Take care, stay well and wash your hands. Don't forget to apply for your Absentee Ballot – Jim Collie

 

Click here to see the past newsletters.
Click here for the latest edition of the BernCo at a Glance.
Click here to apply for an Absentee Ballot.


FROM MIMI STEWART, New Mexico Senate, District 17:

A retired public school teacher, Senate Majority Whip Mimi Stewart serves as vice chair of the Legislative Education Study Committee. Prior to becoming a state Senator, she was in the New Mexico House of Representatives, District 21, for 20 years where she chaired the Education Committee. Senator Steward has lived in Senate District 17 for over 30 years.

Senate District 17 roughly stretches from San Mateo on the west, Tramway on the east, Constitution on the north, Southern on the south and includes a portion of County Commission District 3.

She would like you to know:

The Legislature will be coming into a special session sometime near the end of June to adjust our 2021 fiscal year budget which begins on July 1. Because of the closing of businesses and the global issues now with oil production, New Mexico has lost almost 2 billion dollars in revenue. We left the Legislative session last February with 25% reserves, which will help us maintain some of our budget priorities that were set during the last session. We will have to adjust spending priorities and because our loss of oil revenue will continue into the following year, we will have a huge hole in our budget for the next fiscal year. We will probably wait until next January to determine how to maintain our state revenues to insure a stable economy and state services.

Mimi Stewart, Senate Majority Whip


BERNCO AT WORK:

Bernalillo County Board of Commissioners

COVID-19 Small Business Help

Plans are being made and money has been approved by the Bernalillo County Commission to fund local organizations who will, in turn, assist small businesses with advice and direction, as unincorporated area businesses prepare to reopen post coronavirus (COVID–19).

The commission approved $500,000 from the county general fund for Economic Development programming to aid small businesses in the unincorporated areas of the county. Organizations that have demonstrated past excellence in workforce/entrepreneurial development for the creation, facilitation, and implementation of multi-pronged media and small business assistance are encouraged to submit a proposal for an award under the Small Business Assistance Program Administration Services Program.

BernCo Economic development and accounting administrators will evaluate the proposals and determine awards. The request for proposal will be posted on the county procurement site at http://www.bernco.gov/general-services/request-for-proposals.aspx.

CARES Act

Bernalillo County commissioners approved and accepted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) grant from the federal government.

CARES payments to states, local, and tribal governments are designed to offset the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Government entities that accept the CARES grant agree that the money will be used for directly related coronavirus expenses as follows:

  1. Necessary expenses due to a public health emergency.
  2. Expenses that were not allocated for in the most recently approved budget – fiscal year 2021 budget approved by the County Commission on March 27.
  3. Expenses that are incurred during the period from March 1 – Dec. 30, 2020.

As required to receive reimbursement from the federal government, the Bernalillo County Finance Division has been tracking all expenses including equipment and supplies, employee work hours dedicated to COVID-19, and all other expenses related to the coronavirus.

States, counties and cities with a population above 500,000 qualify for the grant. The amount distributed is based on the population within the jurisdiction of the government. Bernalillo County has more than 500,000 residents, but a majority fall within the city limits. Of the almost $200 million allocated in Bernalillo County, roughly $32 million went to the county with the rest going to the City of Albuquerque.


HOW YOU CAN HELP:

Support Local Farms and Food Producers

East Central Ministries, Urban Farming is open for curbside pickup. Buy your flowers and vegetables this year from Central Ministries. Their retail space is closed on the Governor’s public health order but you can arrange for pickup. For more information and to see the available plants, click here.

The Rail Yards Market continues "Farm to Car" on Sundays. People will be able to pre-order from their favorite food and farm vendors online and orders will be prepared with the utmost attention to safety. For pick-up, simply drive (or bike) up, show your receipt, phone or name, pop your trunk, and the markets friendly staff will place your order right in your car (or basket). "Farm to Car" will take place on Sundays until further notice. Click here for more information.

The Downtown Grower's Market is offering pre-orders from multiple vendors and pickup on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. until further notice in the Fusion Theatre parking lot located at 708 1st St. NW. This arrangement connects community and local growers while supporting physical distancing. Visit http://www.downtowngrowers.org/ for pre-ordering instructions. Vendors will be updated weekly.

Both the Rail Yards Market and Downtown Grower's Market participate in the Double Up Food Bucks Program through EBT/SNAP so the most vulnerable families can get fresh healthy food, and their SNAP go twice as far.

Other local culinary vendors offering safe shopping:

New Mexico Ferments offers online pre-orders and curbside pick up of Kombucha, Planty Sweet bundt cakes, BlueFly Farm's sparkling waters, and other select items from local vendors. They are also offering weekly delivery in the Albuquerque area of pre-orders for those who are sick and/or do not feel comfortable leaving their homes at this time.

Silver Leaf Farms has new offerings of bread, cheese, meats, jam, and coffee from various vendors. Pre-orders can be made at https://www.silverleaffarmstand.com and picked up at the farm stand at 125 Old Church Rd. in Corrales.

Skarsgard Farms is taking pre-orders for delivery of products from local and regional growers and food producers.

https://Visitalbuquerque.org has an extensive listing and map of restaurants in Albuquerque that remain open for take-out and delivery.

For Coffee Lovers

You can still enjoy that great New Mexico Pinon Coffee by either making it at home or visiting the New Mexico Pinon Coffee drive through! The company ships bags of coffee to anyone in the U.S. Right now, you can purchase a 2-lb. bag and get a second one free. Order online.

Villa Myriam Coffee is open for curbside pickup, local delivery and shipping. Don't miss the chance to try the new Salted Caramel Coconut Latte, served in a can for your consumption convenience. If you use the code WOOF10 this week, receive 10% off all items. Call 505-336-5652 or visit https://vmcoffee.square.site to place an order.

For Lovers of New Mexico Wines: You can purchase your favorite locally produced wine either on line or by curb side delivery. Please go to https://www.nmwine.com to find what wineries are open and special promotions.


COMMUNITY RESOURCES:

Explora Offers Virtual Programming

From Toddler Story Time to animal feedings to STEM activities that can be done at home connect with the museum to see the many ways they can help you keep your children engaged while spending time at home. You can follow Explora on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter to stay up to date with their events and programs. Click here.

Junior Achievement Offers Resources for Students

While you're at home with your children, engage them in conversations about how to plan and prepare for their future success. Junior Achievement of New Mexico offers resources designed to help you with these conversations. Check out The Money Jar, a podcast that teaches kids how finances have strong effects on their futures. In addition, JA also offers JA My Way, which includes free tips for tools for high school and middle school students to put their careers on the success track. For more information click here.

Residential Spring Green Waste Pick-Up

Solid Waste Management continues Spring Green Waste Collection through Friday, May 15. Please have your green waste at the curb by 7:00 a.m. on your regular trash/recycle collection day. All green waste must be placed 5 feet from trash and recycling containers. Green waste such as leaves, grass and brush must be placed in trash bags with each bag weighing 40 pounds or less. Green waste should not be placed in your recycle cart. To learn more, visit: www.cabq.gov/solidwaste

Water Utility Authority Offers Free Phone Consultations

The Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (ABCWUA) is offering free 1-hour telephone consultations to their customers! Got a question about landscaping or irrigation? Have an indoor leak? ABCWUA is here to help! Schedule your free phone consultation by calling 505-842-9287 (option 4) or visit https://rebates.abcwua.org.

CARES Act Extended Unemployment Benefits

An additional 13 weeks of benefits is available to individuals who have exhausted their regular state Unemployment Insurance claim with a benefit year that ended on or after July 1, 2019.

These benefits are for individuals who have exhausted 26 weeks of regular Unemployment Insurance benefits; are able to work, available to work, and actively seeking work; or are partially unemployed.

Eligible individuals will receive the same amount of Unemployment Insurance benefits as the previous weeks they received. They will also receive Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), an additional $600 to their weekly benefits up until July 25, 2020 (Max. $1,061 in New Mexico).

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), FPUC, and PEUC benefits are 100% federally funded and employers will not be charged for any benefits paid under a CARES Act program.

Go to www.jobs.state.nm.us for more information or call 1-877-664-6984. The department will continue to operate under extended hours for the Unemployment Insurance Operations Center with the hours of 7am - 7pm Monday through Friday.

If an individual qualifies for benefits under regular state unemployment Insurance they will not be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

New Mexico Office of the Superintendent of Insurance

The state insurance office has set up a call center for people with health insurance questions related to COVID19. The call center will be staffed from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Please call 1-833-415-0566 to learns your rights regarding testing and treatment without cost.


A GOOD READ, LISTEN & LOOK:

New Mexico can do it right! New York Times, "How New Mexico Flattened the Coronavirus Curve" -- Click here

We even knew what Social Distancing was before there was Social Distancing -- click here

Want to start Exercising while at home. Here is some good advice, click here

How to Hike Safely & Responsibly During Coronavirus - click here

Nervous about touching anything at the grocery store? Don’t be. Your biggest risk isn’t actually the food; it’s being inside the store with other shoppers. Sanitizing packaged food will only drive you nuts. And please, don't use disinfectant on your produce. Here are a few more tips for your next trip to the market.

Want to learn Watercolor Painting, Photography, and More with a New Free Art Class Every Saturday? Spend your Saturday afternoons taking art classes with the pros. Art.com, an online art and decor shop, is now offering free classes through the new Art.com Studio, click here for more information https://apple.news/AGS8GqXIIQK-DWgVglOA5vw

From the World Wildlife Fund: Watch daily nature webinars
Our friends at Natural Habitat Adventures enlisted 150 guides and WWF experts from around the globe to inspire you through these challenging times. Tune in every weekday at 1pm MT for a virtual escape. Upcoming topics include wildlife watching tips, snow leopards of the Himalayas, and zero-waste tips from WWF's Erin Simon.

Watch Our Planet on YouTube
Netflix has released all eight episodes of the Our Planet series—created in collaboration with Silverback Films and WWF—on their educational YouTube playlist while schools are closed. This is an exciting chance to watch (or rewatch) the spectacular nature documentary series and understand how to protect our planet.

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