District 3

District 3 Newsletter, Edition #24

In This Edition:

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


FINAL MESSAGE FROM THE COMMSSIONER:

Singing Everything - Joy Harjo, Muscogee/Creek Nation, 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States

Once there were songs for everything,
Songs for planting, for growing, for harvesting,
For eating, getting drunk, falling asleep,
For sunrise, birth, mind-break, and war.
For death (those are the heaviest songs and they
Have to be pried from the earth with shovels of grief)
Now all we hear are falling-in-love songs and
Falling apart after falling in love songs.
The earth is leaning sideways
And a song is emerging from the floods
And fires. Urgent tendrils lift toward the sun.
You must be friends with silence to hear.
The songs of the guardians of silence are the most powerful,
They are the most rare.

One of the exceptional events for me during this year as Commissioner was to participate in Bernalillo County’s Memorial Service for the internment of our county’s indigent and unclaimed citizens. The New Mexico constitution requires counties to bury unclaimed bodies. In Bernalillo County, this duty is a privilege. The community gathers, including all elected officials, to claim these unclaimed as our own, and to give them a proper memorial.

At this year’s farewell service, with her permission, I chose to share a poem by Joy Harjo. Ms. Harjo taught at UNM in the early 1990s and is presently in her third year of service as the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States of America. Joy’s poem is about transition and change – and the emergence of the new, of acceptance, understanding and peace. It is a pleasure to share it with you.

This is the final newsletter of my tenure as Bernalillo County Commissioner. And, it is with those mixed emotions so eloquently sung about in Joy’s poem that I plan my transition back to civilian life.

Less than three months after being appointed Commissioner, Governor Lujan Grisham declared her first Public Health Order. I watched as the County Manger quickly acted to protect the health of county employees and Bernalillo County residents. In ensuing months, I saw how county staff modified policy and procedures to make interacting with government easier and created new programs — from Zoom public meetings to Grab-and-Go Meals for students and seniors to Movies in the Parking Lot. The county held a safe and efficient Primary and General Election during a pandemic while dealing with record numbers of absentee, early and in-person voters and distributed millions of dollars of CARES funding to businesses and non-profits in both the unincorporated areas and within the city limits.

I have learned the most intimate details of the workings of county government. I have seen how committed the county is to improving the quality of life of all citizens and have been constantly amazed by the professionalism, ability and work ethic of the county manager, her deputies and the entire county staff.

I am glad to have had the opportunity to be involved in a successful census, the opening of the Tiny Home Village and Crisis Triage Center, and the disbursement of funds to businesses and residents financially harmed by COVID19. I am most proud of the part I played in the establishment of the Sheriff’s Advisory Board. In a time of social change and diminishing trust in law enforcement, the Board will allow citizens a safe and lawful platform to express their feelings and concerns. I even think that the Sheriff will come to value the input.

My only regret is to not have had the opportunity to have more personal interaction with the residents of the District. I have tried to stay in touch through Zoom meetings and the newsletter but have missed the monthly luncheons and talking to each one of you face-to-face.

I reread President Obama’s, click here, and Senator John McCain’s, click here, farewell speeches to the nation for advice on how to say good-bye. My service was not near as long or impactful as theirs, but I too am humbled by the opportunity to serve my community and grateful that I was given the chance. I am also optimistic about the future, believing the best is yet to come. Drop the Mic!

Commissioner-Elect Adriann Barboa with her deep roots in the community is prepared to continue on the progressive path begun by former Commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins, the path that I have (I hope) followed. There are many outstanding issues – homelessness, food and housing insecurity, unemployment, financial distress caused by COVID19, infrastructure needs, among others – which the county must confront. I foresee Bernalillo County facing them head on, making a sincere effort to deal with the difficult, but necessary, policy changes needed to move forward.

2020 is unlike any year in my memory, but I know I will look back and see it as one of the most exciting and satisfying of my life. I wish you all the joy and happiness of the Holiday season and all the promises that a New Year brings.

When we started the newsletter in March to stay in touch with the neighborhood leaders in Commission District 3, we thought that we would be able to resume the monthly luncheons in April, no later than May. Now 10 months later we are still fighting the COVID battle. There is a glimmer of hope on the horizon with the announcement of very effective vaccines, but this is not the time to let down our guard or to forget that we are still in this together.

So, for one final time —Remember to take care of yourself and others, keep staying well, keep your distance social, wash your hands frequently and wear a face mask — Jim Collie

PS – Congratulation to Senator Mimi Stewart on being nominated President Pro Tem, the top leadership position of the New Mexico State Senate. When confirmed by the Senate as a whole, Senator Stewart, a staunch supporter of Commission District 3, will have a statewide platform to use to work even harder for the citizens of New Mexico. Good Luck Senator!


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
Make sure to look at the NMConnect smartphone app, click here. NMConnect is an app with worlds of important and helpful information about connecting with resources in NM. If you watch the video, you will want to download the app to your phone!
If you missed the Behavioral Health Town Hall, you can still watch it by clicking here.


BERNCO AT WORK:

County Commission

BernCo Economic Development
The County Commissioner voted to use an additional $2 million in CARES funding in Small Business grants for non-profits and the businesses in the unincorporated area of the county. This funding must be disbursed by December 30, 2020.

For businesses to qualify, they must have a physical establishment located outside the City of Albuquerque limits, but within Bernalillo County. A non-profit organization must be physically located within Bernalillo County, including those located within the City of Albuquerque. They have 1-50 full-time employees (or equivalent part-time employees) or be a non-profit corporation in Bernalillo County.

Additionally, businesses and organizations must not have received more than $3 million in taxable receipts per annum. Priority will be given to businesses and organizations that did not receive funds from the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), Federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), or small business assistance funds from the State or City of Albuquerque. Reimbursement is not required for grant recipients.

For an application and more information, click here.

County Manager’s Office

New Transparency Portal - NextRequest
Bernalillo County’s Inspection of Public Records Unit introduces the new NextRequest Portal for Inspection of Public Records.

NextRequest makes public records requests easier, more efficient and more convenient for the public. It also makes fulfilling the requests faster, more effective and allows a more organized, centralized response for Bernalillo County.

Governmental agencies of all types and sizes use NextRequest to receive, coordinate, and fulfill record requests all in one place. The software works cross-departmentally to streamline requests so that no request goes unanswered.

NextRequest allows the public to search prior requests for the same information and obtain it directly from the portal rather than having to submit a formal IPRA request.

New Countywide Communication System - govDelivery

Bernalillo County’s subscription-based information system called govDelivery, is now available for public sign up.

GovDelivery allows subscribers to choose and receive news and information about county departments and events.

In the initial phase, participants can receive information from these departments: Behavioral Health, ABC Community Schools, Office of Senior and Social Services, Assessor’s Office, Treasurer’s Office, Public Art

Program, Gutierrez-Hubbell House, Open Space, Natural Resources and other Bernalillo County Events.

Sign up for govDelivery is available at: https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/NMBERNCO/subscriber/new

To’hajiilee Water Line Agreement Update

After more than two years of trying to negotiate a deal the Navajo Nation satellite community of To’hajillee, Western Albuquerque Land Holdings (WAHL) and the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (ABCWUA) has reached an agreement for the easement needed to build a new water pipeline into the village.

Five of the six wells that serve the community of roughly 2,000 have already failed, and leaders say the remaining well is insufficient, problem-prone and produces poor-quality water. There have been to three outages in the past five years.

The need for a reliable water supply became more urgent with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In April the Commission instructed county attorneys to pursue land condemnation if necessary.

Construction on the project, which has a total price tag of about $8 million, could begin by next summer.

BernCo Sheriff’s Office Body-worn Cameras

The County Manager has signed a five-year service agreement with Utility Incorporated out of Georgia to supply and service body-worn cameras, front and rear vehicle HD cameras and communication hubs for the BernCo Sheriff’s Office.

The initial services agreement totaling slightly more than $3.8 million for 363 body-worn cameras and 148 front and rear-facing HD cameras for vehicles. The service agreement also includes installation, software, training and maintenance for five years.

BernCo Department of Behavioral Health

The Bernalillo County Department of Behavioral Health Services and the Department of Housing are working collaboratively to help fill the gaps in the housing continuum. The expansion of housing will assist persons and their families with serious mental illness, who are homeless or precariously housed, and have been unsuccessful in maintaining housing, and currently lack alternative supporting housing options.

The purchase of a downtown property for housing will provide clients convenient access to a variety of services and transportation. The new single site facility is located downtown at Sixth and Coal, and will have 45 mixed units. This site will serve the families and veterans and provide programming to promote family reunification, stability, and recovery through supportive housing. Through the use of clustered on-site services, residents are able to easily access much needed supports including case management, medical and behavioral health services, non-medical transportation, counseling, employment, family and educational services, and group therapy.

The property is being purchased through the Bernalillo County Affordable Housing non-profit and will be renovated and provide programs through the Behavioral Health Initiative. Operating costs for property management, security and maintenance will be the responsibility of the property owner, and the county will provide supportive services for this location.

The property purchase is underway, and renovations are anticipated to begin spring of 2021.

BernCo Office of Community Services

Grab & Go Meals

All eight Bernalillo County community centers are offering grab-n-go lunches for children under the age of 18 from 10:30am to 1:00pm. Please observe COVID-safe practices while picking up lunches.

Bernalillo County community centers are located at:

  • Los Padillas Community Center, 2117 Los Padillas Rd. SW
  • Los Vecinos Community Center, 478 1/2 Old Hwy. 66
  • Mountain View Community Center, 201 Prosperity SE
  • Paradise Hills Community Center, 901 Paradise Blvd NW
  • Raymond G. Sanchez Community Center, 9800 4th St. NW
  • South Valley Multipurpose Senior Center, 2008 Larrazolo Rd. SW
  • Vista Grande Community Center, 15 La Madera Road
  • Westside Community Center, 1250 Isleta Blvd. SW.

Public Art

Bernalillo County’s Public Art Board is supporting the creative economy through its proposals process as artists continue to face the economic challenges caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The deadline for submitting proposals for the 2020 calendar year is Dec. 31.

Artists can submit proposals for a variety of media and styles including two-dimensional and three-dimensional works. There is a limit of three artworks per artist proposal. Submissions received through Dec. 31 will be reviewed at the February Arts Board meeting. Submissions received on or after Jan. 1, 2021 through May 31, 2021 will be reviewed at the July Arts Board meeting.

New Mexico is known throughout the world for its diverse and innovative creative community and the county’s art in public places ordinance sets aside 1% of the budget of capital improvement projects for works of art. Additionally, surplus funding from capital projects goes towards the 1% for the arts common fund which allows the county to purchase art for publicly accessible facilities through an unsolicited proposals process.

Artists can find the information and criteria to submit at: https://www.bernco.gov/community-services/public-art-program.aspx.

In 2021, the Bernalillo County Public Art program is moving forward with capital improvement projects for works of art. Projects include the second phase of the “Outposts” public art project, the South Valley Pool, Bernalillo County @ Alvarado Square, Bridge Boulevard and the Sunport Boulevard reconstruction project.

For more information about the unsolicited proposals process or the Bernalillo County Public Art Program, contact Kent Swanson, Bernalillo County public art coordinator, kswanson@bernco.gov.

Office of Senior & Social Affairs

Grocery Distribution
Bernalillo County and Silver Horizons will be distributing groceries to seniors age 60 and older from 10 a.m. to noon from the parking lots of:

December 21st, Rio Bravo Seniors Center, 3910 Isleta NW and
December 22nd, Sheriff’s Posse outdoor facility, 10308 Second Street NW.

Seniors picking up groceries are asked to wears masks and remain in their cars. For more information, call, 468-7650.

BernCo General Services Office

The New Mexico Recycling Coalition has recognized Bernalillo County’s Recycling Diversion Initiative as Project of the Year.

BernCo created a county-wide initiative to reduce the physical paper footprint of the county. The project, led by Emmanuel Rodriguez, Records Manager and Diane Chavez, Special Projects Coordinator, along with Lisa Sedillo-White and Gina Ortega of Bernalillo County, included recycling of paper through secure document destruction practices and COVID-safe community ‘spring cleaning’ drop off events. Bernalillo County also improved efficiency by reducing unnecessary document creation and accumulation by departments. It was reported that in the 3rd quarter of 2019, Bernalillo County worked together to recycle an additional 40 tons of paper based on this initiative.

New Mexico Recycling Coalition is a non-profit, member-supported organization that serves as a recycling advocate working with a diverse group of stakeholders, communities, businesses, schools and grassroots activists to help build sustainable and efficient recycling programs. To learn more, visit https://www.recyclenewmexico.com.


Community Resources

Kirtland Air Force Base Research Laboratory

The Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) Scholars program is now accepting applications for its 2021 summer session.

The program provides an opportunity for students ranging from high school to university graduate students interested in STEM careers, to work alongside top scientists and engineers. Educators in STEM fields are also accepted into the program, providing an opportunity for professional development.

The program takes place at AFRL locations around the country. The deadline to apply for the AFRL Scholars Program is Jan. 12, 2021. Visit https://afrlscholars.usra.edu/application/. Select the “Contact Us” email link on the AFRL Scholars website: AFRL-Scholars@usra.edu.

PNM

PNM is offering bill assistance for eligible customers. The deadline to apply is December 31, 2020.

Residential: call 855-364-2950 or visit HELPNM, www.pnm.com/ayuda
Click here for PNM COVID-RELIEF PROGRAM FOR SMALL BUSINESSES & NONPROFITS

Scams increase during the Holiday Season, don’t be a victim. Beware if:

  • Scammer has a caller ID that reads PNM or if is calling at odd hours, the weekend, or on a holiday
  • Scammer may know your name and address
  • Scammer will claim you are past-due on your PNM bill
  • Scammer will claim a technician is on their way to disconnect your power within 1-hour
  • Scammer will demand you pay over the phone to prevent power from being disconnected
  • Scammer will only take payment over the phone and will only accept a pre-paid card

What to do if you suspect that you have received a scam call:

  • Check and verify your bill balance and/or initiate a CALL to PNM at 888-342-5766
  • Check the time and date (it’s a scam if it’s a holiday and/or outside of regular business hours)
  • Never provide banking information via phone/email (unless YOU initiate the call to a legitimate number)
  • Never pay a PNM bill by: gift card, wiring money, pre-paid card
  • Report the scam call to PNM at 888-DIAL-PNM (342-5766) and the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.

Emergency Housing

Bernalillo County, the City of Albuquerque, the state of New Mexico, UNMH, Presbyterian, Lovelace, and numerous non-profit organizations have agreed to coordinate on confronting the challenges the unhoused population face during the current public health crisis.

According to the CABQ, there are four hotels sheltering 630 people including families and seniors. This is three times the amount of people being served this time last year. A fifth hotel is opening for people seeking shelter.

People staying in the hotels have access to three meals a day, resources to find permanent housing, and Wi-Fi for students to do schoolwork.

If you or someone you know needs help, call Westside Emergency Housing Center at 505-595-6402 or 311 for more information.

Roadrunner Food Bank

Until further notice the Roadrunner Food Bank’s weekly food distribution site has moved to Expo New Mexico. Those needing food donations should enter Expo New Mexico though Gate 3 at San Pedro and Copper NE. The

food distributions are on Tuesdays; gates open at 7:00am and distributions begin at 9:00am. Food recipients can register in advance, click here, which will reduce wait time and help speed up food distribution. All food recipients must follow public health regulations, including wearing a mask and staying in their cars.

The food bank is also in need of monetary and food donations. Go to RRFB, click here for more information on how to donate. If you can volunteer, click here, to schedule a time and fill in a health questionnaire.

State of New Mexico Workforce Development

The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (NMDWS) offers free virtual Resume Skills workshops every Wednesday at 9:00am. If you or someone you know needs to brush up on your resume writing skills, this online workshop is ideal! You can reserve a spot at: https://bit.ly/3pJX4ss

CABQ Economic Development

CABQ’s Economic Development Department is administering economic relief to local small businesses within the city limits affected by the pandemic through a $10 million Small Business Economic Relief Grant Program. One-time grants of $10,000 will be available to small businesses. To see your eligibility and to apply, visit: www.cabq.gov/economicdevelopment. Please note that applicants must be in the city limits.


HOW TO HELP:

Donations

After almost 10 months of living under public health regulations, our local businesses and non-profits are struggling. Here are some ways to help:

  • One Community Auto, a local used car dealer whose mission is to support our community, is accepting donations of anything on wheels, running or not. Rather than selling your vehicle at auction, they will repair and refurbish it and try to sell it at their local Albuquerque locations. You will receive a tax donation and One Community Auto will contribute to a local non-profit. The dealership now helps support 53 area non-profits, ranging from educational programs, to assistance for the homeless, to our veterans and seniors. In the seven years since the program began, they have raised more than $1 million for local charities. For more information on the program and on how to donate, click here.
  • Chello Grill, 5010 Cutler NE, and Revel Burger, 4720 Alexander NE, are collecting in-kind donations and thanking donors with certificates for a free burger or gyros. Donations of hygiene and cleaning products can dropped off at either location during regular business hours through December 20th. The donations will give given to the local non-profit Crossroads for Women. A list of needed items in available at Crossroadsabq. For more information, locations and hours of service and menus, click here and here.
  • Tiny Home Village, the newest establishment to assist those experiencing homelessness, is scheduled to open soon. Donations are used to furnish residents with life necessities such as toiletries, towels, and slippers along with home needs such as pillows, linens, cooking utensils, cleaning products, and even pet supplies for those who have service animals.
    Donations of food or durable goods, such as those listed above, are not accepted from individuals due to the limitations of storage space at the village.
    Those wishing to make a monetary contribution to the operation of the Tiny Home Village on Giving Tuesday should go to https://abqindiancenter.org/tiny-home-village.
    The Tiny Home Village is on track to have its group of core residents in place by the end of December.
  • The Salvation Army has removed its iconic red kettles in from of stores this year due to COVID19. They expect serving 155% more people nationwide and need you help to “Rescue Christmas.” Your gift to the Salvation Army Southwest Division will help feed, clothe, provide rent & utility assistance and put presents under the Christmas tree for families in New Mexico. To give online, click here
  • Vitalant is hosting a Virtual Blood Drive through December 14th. Due to public health orders, on-site blood drives are not possible but the need for blood is still with us. Sign up here to become a blood donor. You will receive an e-mail from Vitalant which will allow you to schedule an appointment. Maintaining the blood supply is critical for saving lives in New Mexico.

THINGS TO DO

Route 66 Shop & Glow

The Route 66 Shop and Glow is a new experience that will provide shoppers with illuminated curbside eating, shopping and pick-up along Central Avenue in Nob Hill.

The city of Albuquerque has installed River of Lights sculptures to light up Albuquerque businesses. Also, local artists have been commissioned to design and install illuminated art displays in shop windows. Shopped can pick up their holiday gifts and dinner as stroll through the lights from 5:00-9:00pm through the Holidays.

For more information, click here.

Songs of the Season - From the Santa Fe Opera

The Santa Fe Opera is hosting a Winter Concert video presentation featuring tenor Joshua Dennis, mezzo-soprano Briana Hunter, pianist Robert Tweten, along with the Young Voices of the Santa Fe Opera.

Enjoy selections of “Nessun Dorma” from Puccini's opera Turandot, Morten Lauridsen’s “Sure on this Shining Night” based on a poem by James Agee, and “Pilgrims' Hymn,” from Stephen Paulus's opera, The Three Hermits. The program was filmed at familiar Northern New Mexico locations, including Las Placitas Presbyterian Church, Old San Ysidro Church, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi and the Santa Fe Opera. This video will premiere on December 6, 2020 at 3:00pm on the Santa Fe Opera YouTube channel, and will be available anytime thereafter.

Please enjoy these beautiful musical moments wherever you find yourself this season by clicking here, SFO YouTube Channel

For more information about the event or about the 2021 season, please visit santafeopera.org.

Albuquerque Museum

“30 Americans” Exhibition Drop-in Discussion
On December 12th and December 19th, join discussions facilitated by museum docents concerning select artworks from the 30 Americans exhibit. Discussion will take place on Zoom and advanced registration is required to participate. The exhibit will remain on view through January 3, 2021.

Contact Jody to register.

Film Viewing – “Black Panther”
December 19th, in conjunction with the 30 Americans exhibit the film Black Panther will be available all day for viewing online. To register to view the film, click here. There is no charge to register.

New Mexico Gay Men’s Choir

Saturday, December 17th, the NM Gay Men’s Choir will host a YouTube Premiere of holiday favorites and new songs. For more information go to NMGMC.org.

Lights of Enchantment

Lights of Enchantment will host a drive through Christmas Light Show featuring over 300 light displays. Visit lightsofenchantment or call 1-505-357-0339, for more information.

Moonlight Makes

Moonlight Makes is hosting virtual crafting parties. Take a break and make a peppermint bath bomb, marbled coasters, or felted ornaments. When you register, you will receive a box containing everything you need. In addition, you will receive a private link so that you can join the crafting party in person or take a tutorial later. To register or for more information, click here and click on “crafts”.


A GOOD READ:

Our Democracy is both fragile & complex~
When Alexander Hamilton Tried to Steal the Election of 1800, from Governing Daily.
Why the Electoral college was Created, from History.com.
Why Does The U.S. Take So Long To Change Presidents?, from NPR.
Why Did John Adams Skip Thomas Jefferson’s Inauguration?, from Governing Daily

Miscellaneous~

5 Things You Should Never Do First Thing In the Morning (If You Want to Be Incredibly Productive), from Inc.com

A Few of the Things I Love About New Mexico-
The 10 best U.S. LEED hotels, from USA Today
Latest US Food Trends include a return to the 50’s carhops, from CNN
Best Farms in all 50 States, from Food and Wine
Best Bar-b-que in all 50 States, from Food and Wine
The Best Hikes in Every State, from Travel & Leisure
The 6 Most Dog-Friendly Cities in the U.S., click here.
National Geographic’s “Best of the World” List includes New Mexico’s pueblos, click here.

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