Editor's Note: This is the final article on the Monday meeting of the Grant County Community Health Council.
At the Monday Grant County Community Health Council meeting, Health Kids, Healthy Communities Coordinator A.J. Sandoval reported the group received a Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. Community Investment Fund award to fund the Fit Families obesity intervention program.
Fit Families includes physical fitness, nutrition, food and meal planning, with a mental health component. "We are taking enrollment now," Sandoval said.
He also reported the Trails Group will bring in a trainer on how to use and promote the trails in the area. "The more people on the trails, the less obesity," Sandoval said.
Health Council Coordinator Tiffany Knauf said as partners for Success II, the health council hopes to hire one staff person.
In committee reports, ByLaws and Policy Committee Chairwoman Mary Alice Murphy, due to an allergy-impeded voice, ceded to Knauf.
Knauf said the Grant County Commission had approved a memorandum of understanding for the health council to assist the county with applications for funding.
Tony Trujillo, Membership Committee chairman, said a meeting would be scheduled soon to fill out the remaining two vacancies on the council.
Knauf reported on the Community Enhancement Fund Committee. "We have not received additional funding, and we have about $50,000 left. You should apply this calendar year. The next application deadline is April 19."
During sector reports, Evangeline Zamora, representing mental health, said LifeQuest has moved its early childhood intervention program into a building across from the hospital. "We did a lot of advocacy at the legislative session. Our issues were rated as No. 6 in the Prospectors' priorities."
Terry Anderson, representing the early childcare sector, said this year marks the 10th anniversary of the Community Partnership for Children, which she helped start. "Now I've become a member to keep it connected with the Health Council. I foresee good work."
"Now that I'm retired, I am consulting for the New Mexico Association for the Health of Young Children," Anderson said. "New Mexico is working in early intervention, with home visitation and pre-kindergarten programs. In the middle is childcare. This project will see how it fits into the spectrum. I'm not really retired. My advocacy continues. Some things are exciting where Grant County can take off."
Ed Reynolds, representing law enforcement, said: "We've been battling."
He said he is using the Health Council to become more involved in the community. "We don't have people giving information on crime. The Health Council can help with organizing Neighborhood Watches, for instance."
Giving a look at statistical information, Reynolds said last year was the second worst year for crime, with a 25 percent overall increase. "We're extremely busy, coupled with the Sheriff's Department with a 30 percent increase in crime. Last year we made more than 1,200 arrests and filed the second most charges. We don't get the community involvement we need. We don't get the Crime Stoppers tips we need. We're partnering with the District Attorney's office to enhance the investigation of crimes. We are also partnering with the Sheriff and with State Police and ICE to a lesser extent. Although we have decreased the overall number of crimes, property and personal crimes continue to climb. We have seen a reduction in documented gang members. We have a small amount of individuals doing a large amount of crime."
He said the Southwest New Mexico Task Force in Deming does narcotics investigations in Grant County, although his department has two officers dedicated to narcotics investigations. Statistics on the city's crimes are listed back to 2001 on silvercitypublicsafety.org. "We also post monthly statistics. With the Health Council, we would love to work to educate citizens to make them more proactive."
Health Council member Mike Trujillo asked Reynolds if he sees outside influence.
"No outside influence, but some who were put away in the late 1990s have come back and are causing trouble," Reynolds said. "Friday night, a shooting from one vehicle at another vehicle was gang-related."
Tony Trujillo suggested perhaps the Forum Committee should set up a forum on law enforcement issues.
Kanuf gave the Silver Regional Sexual Assault Support Services report in place of coordinator Colleen Boyd, who was in a class. Activities will be held during April for Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Health Council Chairwoman Priscilla Lucero, who represents the economic sector, said the Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments, as the economic development entity for Grant, Hidalgo and Catron counties, she or a staff member has attended trade shows and replied to potential recruitment opportunities. "We average $3 million to $5 million for construction projects. That's economic development. We're trying to set up workshops for local businesses to qualify as state-certified vendors, so local entities can buy from local vendors, without having to go out for bid."
Mary Stoecker, representing public health, said several of the Health Council members are also members of the Southwest Energy and Green Jobs Task Force, which will bring its strategic plan forward within the next couple of weeks. "We are looking at economic development issues."
Mike Trujillo, representing the financial sector, said April would be AmBank Customer Appreciation Month. "We will have a clean up day using staff and the Western New Mexico University football team to clean up the highway coming into town."
Cindy McClean of the DWI program said April 20 at the Grant County Business and Conference Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. will be a DWI program. "We need three costumes filled, Vince, Larry and Buckle Bear." A poster will be an educational tool, and we will have a texting-while-driving simulator to show how dangerous it is."
The same date, April 20, is Earth Day, and the Health Council will have plants for giveaways. Jump Into Summer is the next event in June.
Winn Taylor of Court Appointed Special Advocates said she is looking for court-appointed advocates to help abused children. "We need volunteers." She invited those interested to call her at 388-4747 or visit the office at 609 C. Street.
Sandoval said HKHC also supports bicycle advocacy and received a grant for the purpose.
Zamora said LifeQuest has begun its yard cleaning service and spots fill up quickly. She invited those interested to call 388-1976.
The next Health Council meeting will take place at 3 p.m. June 17.