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loganYou could say that Christine Logan, Economic Development Representative in the Southwest region, likes to learn and likes school. With just a few breaks in between, she has attended New Mexico State University for 16 years. Her latest degree is a Doctorate of Economic Development (DED) which she received on December 8th.

While working full time with the Economic Development Department (EDD) she began taking economic development classes to increase her knowledge and because she enjoyed the subject. Her undergraduate degrees are not in business so she began by taking classes that didn't have prerequisites, just for fun. Once she had taken all those classes, she took the undergraduate economics classes which were required for the higher level economic development courses. At that point she decided to "go all the way" and was officially admitted into the DED program at the university.

zyana delgado and santa rsPictured with Santa is Zyana Delgado age 7 from Bayard, NM.
Photo by Kenton Smith
Submitted by Andrew Housley

Silver City Elks Lodge No. 413 held its third annual breakfast with Santa and Christmas Project with 40 families on Saturday December 17 offering them a free breakfast at the lodge and giving multiple presents away to more than 45 children, who also got to visit with Santa himself.

The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks is celebrating its 150th year of existence and the Silver City Lodge 413 is about to celebrate its 120th anniversary. Andrew Housley, Saturdays Christmas Project Manager stated the this project is just of the few ways that the lodge promotes the national organization's mantra, "Elks Care, Elks Share."

The 45 families came from nine elementary schools from around the county — five from each elementary school in both the Silver and Cobre school districts grades K-5. The Lodge works with each school nurse to help identify students who may be in need and would not have much of a Christmas without some assistance.

The hundreds of gifts, worth over $5,000, were funded through an Elks National Foundation Beacon and Gratitude Community Investment Program grants and donations from lodge members, and each child received a minimum of $105 worth of presents to take home this year.

The Order of Elks nationally gives nearly 1 Million dollars a day in cash and non-cash donations to charity. So far this year, the Silver City Elks Lodge 413 has given nearly $32,000 to the community.

For more information about Silver City Elks Lodge No. 413, visit silvercityelks.com.

scpd coat drive rsSilver City Police Department (SCPD) officers and staff recently completed their annual winter coat drive, donating some 60 coats to local school children in Grant County. Pictured here on coat delivery day at Harrison Schmitt Elementary are: (back row, left to right) Leslie Ormand, principal; Lt. James Cruzan; Sgt. Arthur Rascon; and Cpl. Joseph Aguirre. Pictured front row, left to right: Johnavan Silvas; Bryce Carrillo; Kiara Aguirre; Maria Rivera; and Victor Roman. The Department also distributed Thanksgiving food baskets to six local families in need, a culmination of the annual community food drive. SCPD has provided these special holiday donations to Grant County children and families for more than 10 years.

clothe a child rsSeated, from left are Phillip Sands, His Lady Beverly, Jason Hamilton, David Fischer. Standing, from left are Robert Baker, Debbie Hamilton, Carmen Brahm and Val Brahm. Just a few of the workers assisting the Children with their Saturday morning shopping spree.Last Saturday, December 16, Grant County Masons from the four Lodges in the County, with the assistance of some of their wives and other helpers, invited 65 Grant County children to shop for the Holidays. $110.00 in funds were allocated for each child, chosen by the local Grant County School nurses as those in need.

photo 1 rsSpring Street Makeover – beforeThe Silver City MainStreet Project received a grant from the New Mexico Resiliency Alliance to beautify downtown Silver City. The funds were used to replant the medians at the intersection of Bullard and College Streets and to completely rehab a block of Spring Street between Bullard and Texas Streets.

vicki johnsonVicki Johnson (left), founder of FBP, conducts a home visit with a family in Grant CountyThe First Born® Program (FBP) has its roots in Michigan and was established in l997 in Grant County by Vicki Johnson, with the support of several community members. The first home visit was held in Silver City in November of 1997.

milken award rsMath teacher and Western New Mexico University alumna Melanie Alfaro (pictured center) accepts New Mexico's 2017-18 Milken Educator Award and listens to applause at the surprise awards assembly at Deming Intermediate School last month.Silver City, NM – Melanie Maynes Alfaro, who earned her master's in education from Western New Mexico University, recently won New Mexico's 2017-18 Milken Educator Award and a $25,000 cash prize.

a j sandovalA.J. SandovalSilver City, NM: After a short hiatus, the Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition (YSAPC) returns this month, now aligned with a new nonprofit and led by a new coordinator, A.J. Sandoval.

A Grant County native, Sandoval is a graduate of Cobre High School and Western New Mexico University. "I'm glad to be returning home," said Sandoval, who previously worked for the New Mexico Department of Health as the Health Promotion Specialist for Hidalgo and Luna Counties.

Sandoval studied Environmental Health Science at the University of Arizona, after receiving a Master's Degree in Public Health from New Mexico State University. He is also a Certified Health Education Specialist.

Previously, Sandoval volunteered as chair of the YSAPC subcommittee which reviews area schools' policies on substance abuse. YSAPCs other subcommittees focus on media and prescription drug education. In his new role as CHI program specialist, dedicated to coordinating the Coalition, Sandoval hopes to have an impact on the health and well-being of the community that reared him.

Sandoval is positive about the YSAPC's future, "The momentum is still there, and we plan to run with it by creating new strategies to address emerging issues."

Funded by a grant from the New Mexico Human Services Division Office of Substance Abuse Prevention (OSAP), the YSAPC focuses on prevention of underage drinking and youth prescription drug abuse through policy change in Grant County. The grant was recently transferred to Southwest Center of Health Innovation (CHI) from the Town of Silver City.

"CHI is no stranger to substance abuse prevention and we recognize the importance of continuing these efforts in Grant County," said Susan Wilger, CHI Associate Director.

"Our staff has been involved in the consortium coordinating a regional response to substance abuse and behavioral health needs, the Continuum of Care Coalition, since its inception in 2003. Currently, we oversee Doña Ana County's OSAP program, the Unified Prevention Coalition, and formally oversaw Catron County's OSAP program until funding was cut in 2016."

Wilger added, "We are thrilled to have A.J. join the CHI team, because he brings a wealth of experience in public health and substance abuse prevention. He is so well known in the Grant County community."

CHI hopes to continue the success of YSAPC programs like working with the schools, WNMU and law enforcement to deter substance use among students and young adults.

Previously, the YSAPC partnered with the Town of Silver City and Bayard Police Department to install MedReturn kiosks in both municipalities. The green kiosks offer free disposal for unused over-the-counter and prescription medications. Over 500 pounds of medications have been safely disposed of by Grant County residents since the program began two years ago.

Sandoval said the kiosks are an example of public health policy in action, "Getting the drugs out of people's homes when they aren't needed makes for safer community for everyone."

The Coalition invites the public to attend their upcoming meeting on Tuesday, December 19, 2018, from noon to 1:30 p.m. in Hidalgo Medical Services Silver City Community Health Center's Community Meeting Rooms, located at 1007 N. Pope St. At the meeting, the public can learn more about YSAPC efforts while enjoying a complimentary lunch.

The YSAPC is composed of 25 service providers and invested community members dedicated to creating an environment that cultivates healthy productive lifestyles through policy and advocacy change that promotes resilient and empowered youth.

For more information on YSAPC contact (575) 534-0101 or email: asandoval@swchi.org.

About the Southwest Center for Health Innovation (GENERAL ORGANIZATIONAL INFORMATION)
The Southwest Center for Health Innovation (CHI) is a nonprofit focused on bettering community health in underserved and underrepresented populations. CHI empowers groups and individuals at a local, state and national level to determine the future wellbeing of their communities through the development and implementation of innovative policies, strategies and evidence-based models. Founded in 2015, CHI is headquartered in Silver City, with additional offices located throughout New Mexico. For more information, visit www.swchi.org.

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Editor's Note

The Grant county Beat continues to bring you new columnists. New this past week are the Christian Corner, for those who are already Christians or are exploring the beliefs.

The second is a business-centered column—Your Business Connection by the New Mexico Business Coalition. The group works to make policy in the state of New Mexico better for all businesses, large and small.

The Beat has a new column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues. The first one posted is on Winterizing your houseplants and patio plants.

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