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Gila EDA Roundtable 101813, part 3, community updates

Mike Trujillo of the Gila Economic Development Alliance took over the Friday Oct. 18 Roundtable meeting, after President Jeremiah Garcia had to leave.

Trujillo reported on recent Gila EDA activities.

"Recently we had legislators in town for a jobs forum," Trujillo said. "We got lots of positive feedback. Mark Lautman was the facilitator. We have to study what the work force is like. The work force available right now is pretty thin. We have to make sure we have the work force if a company wants to relocate here."


Linda Smrkovsky, Luna County Economic Development director, said Deming is getting an I-Hop and a Carl's Jr., as well as a Holiday Inn Express that just opened and a Walgreen's that has broken ground.

"We are working on business expansion," Smrkovsky said. "We held a Manufacturer's Day and had 50 people and told 50 students that manufacturing is alive and well."

To a question about the movie theater in Deming, Smrkovsky said: "It is being managed by the county, who formed an LLC, which leased it from the county. It seems to be doing well."

Joseph Shepard, Western New Mexico University president, said credit hours are up, and enrollment is about the same as last year. He also announced the noon football game last Saturday.

Kim Clark, for Kathie Gilbert, who had to leave, said Gilbert wanted to make sure every one knows about the community survey being given by WNMU.

"We want to create a baseline to see if we're improving," Shepard said. "It can be accessed at http://www.wnmu.edu/survey/.

He said the university is going through accreditation, working on strategic plans and a master plan for five, 10 and 20 years.

Cissy McAndrew, Southwest New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce director, announced the Farm2Chef event at the Farmers' Market on Oct. 26. "We are ready to launch the Buy Local campaign again," she said. "For the Tamal Fiesta y Más on Dec. 7, the Murray Hotel is offering special $69 rates for the fiesta weekend. We are working with the Chicano Music Project. We're about celebrating our heritage. The museums report their visitor numbers are up about 20 percent and restaurants say they are seeing pre-2009 levels."

George Julian Dworin of the Silver City Arts and Culture District and Tourism said the groups partner with the Green Chamber to run the Visitor Center. "We are always looking for volunteers. It's rewarding to welcome people to Silver City. All of us are ambassadors for the town."

He also passed around copies of 101 Things to do in Silver City. "We are advertising in New Mexico Magazine, Zócalo, the El Paso Scene and in Albuquerque. The campaign has been well received."

Mary Stoecker of the Southwest New Mexico Energy and Green Jobs Task Force said she has volunteered at the Visitor Center. "We're seeing 40 or 50 people wandering in, who are grateful for the center being open seven days a week. There is a wealth and depth of information at the center."

McAndrew also touted the article in the New York Times, a link for which can be found at http://www.grantcountybeat.com/index.php/news/news-articles/12387-silver-city-featured-in-nyt . She also said the area has been featured in Money Magazine. "It's a matter of collaboration."

Dworin said Jean-Robert Béffort of A Space has been in their advertising, with a photo of his mural. "We have received a burst of mileage off our advertising of him painting the mural."

Kurt Albershardt, owner with wife Julianna of the Murray Hotel, said between 2000 and 2005 Silver City was mentioned in Modern Maturity and Sunset Magazine. "There is a glimmer of opportunity for us."

Clark, as a member of Prospectors, said the group is coming into its busiest time of year, November through January. "In December, we will hold the Legislative Community Forum, where community members can present to the legislators their funding requests and regulatory concerns. We create a notebook of information from these requests for the legislators to have the information readily available. Rio Rancho and Los Alamos want to follow our model."

"On Oct. 30, at 9 a.m., we will hold a capital outlay workshop at the Town Hall Annex," Clark continued.

Priscilla Lucero, Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments director, said the workshop is educational on the process of capital outlay and the requirements that must be met.

Clark said the Legislative Community Forum would be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 5, at the WNMU Besse-Forward Global Resource Center. "We Prospectors go over all the presentations and come up with five or six priorities. We put together a brochure to take to Santa Fe, and we set up meetings with the governor or lieutenant governor and cabinet secretaries to promote our priorities. Our reception this time will not be at La Fonda, because it was already booked. We will be in a tighter space, and although we will have no space for tables, we will have a slideshow."

The applications for the forum will be available Oct. 30, and the application deadline is Nov. 20.

Trujillo said Prospectors seeks donors to help defray costs of these efforts.

Maureen Craig, Mimbres Region Arts Council board member, announced last Saturday's folk series concert, as well as the Las Cruces Symphony concert, Oct. 25. "In November, we will have the Golden Dragons Acrobats, and it always sells out."

Skip Thacker, representing Bridge Community, said: "Eat dessert first at the Pie Auction to be held from 4-6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20, at the Presbyterian Church.

Kathleen Hunt of Border Area Mental Health Services said the behavioral health and Medicaid-funded services of BAMHS have been taken over by La Frontera out of Arizona. "We still have Border Area and we continue to provide DWI offender classes and services paid for by third-party insurance. We are still here, but we are re-inventing ourselves. I can talk to you about our needs, and we are looking for funding."

Bruce McKinney, Silver city businessman, said Engineers Inc. is moving to the old Holiday Inn on U.S. 180, so "we have 5,600 square feet available at the College Street Plaza. "

Tiffany Knauf, Grant County Community Health Council coordinator, said the council continues to send out the community calendar twice a week to more than 1,000 recipients. "If you want to be on the list, email me. Nov. 4 will be a Community Investment Fund training at noon, walking people through the process. On March 14, we will offer a training by local non-profits for non-profit organizations. Hidalgo Medical Services is training people on the Affordable Care Act and will set up a computer bank at the Grant County Business and Conference Center."

Dan Tressler, Silver City Small Business Development Center director, announced a communications training to take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21, at Watts Hall. On Nov. 5, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. a marketing training session will be held, and on Nov. 18, there will be, for businesses, an end-of-year taxes training. "We charge about $10 and you get snacks and materials."

Dave Thomas of Western New Mexico Communications reported the company "turned up 20 megabits of broadband capacity between Silver and Cliff Schools, which should be enough for testing requirements."

Dworin said Nov. 13, from 6-7 p.m. would be the lighting up of the Silco Theater Marquee. "The New Mexico Film Office, who will talk about opportunities to be in the movies, will be taking head shots for extras. We will also show a short movie on Silver City."

Le Gruber, co-owner with her husband David Del Junco of Syzygy Tileworks, said the bottom of the vacated Isaac's building has been leased by Little Toad Brewery.

April Ortiz of Wells Fargo Bank said 32 homeless students at Silver High School need cold weather clothing and single-serve food. Donors can take the items to Wagon Wheel Realty for distribution.

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