Virus and vaccines
As the number of new daily cases of Covid plummet across the state, vaccination distribution continues to expand. New Mexico still lead the nation in the percentage of population vaccinated, with at least half of its those over 16 having received at least one shot.
As of this Monday, anyone over the age of 16 is now eligible to register for the (go to the New Mexico Department of Health vaccine website to register). And despite concerns about the threat posed by the more contagious and less well understood variants, the numbers of which have expanded in some parts of the nation, according to CDC variant tracking by state, New Mexico has reported relatively few cases of variants so far. Amidst this wave of welcome news, San Miguel county has moved from the yellow to the “green” level, enabling more businesses to operate at increased capacity or with fewer restrictions. Read the full guidelines for each of the “red to green” levels.
Schools, Families, and Students
This is also the week in which many schools are opening for in person learning for the first time in over a year. With most teachers now fully vaccinated, campuses saw many of their students and staff return to classrooms on Monday, though some families chose to complete the school year in remote learning mode only. The Villanueva library will be joining students at Valley Middle and Elementary school in Ribera every Friday beginning this week to read books, tell stories, and engage students with the many resources libraries offer.
For those parents with young children not yet in school, the New Mexico Public Education Department is hosting an event focusing on supporting young parents and their children. The event will include presentation, workshops and small discussion groups on topics that include parenting practices, health and wellness, and positive relationship building. Designed like a local Town Hall meeting, this virtual event will take place April 28, 2021, 12:00 pm – 4:30 pm and May 5, 2021, 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm. You can view the event flier here. For more information, please contact Elizabeth Ratzlaff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And for the many El Valle seniors who have struggled through an unusually challenging senior year and are planning to attend college next fall, the El Valle Community Center is again offering the Barbara Hall Scholarship to eligible graduating students within the Center's service area. For questions about eligibility or application requirements, or volunteer hours, call 575-421-0808 or email email@example.com.
Businesses and job seekers
For the many businesses that have struggled to stay afloat during the past year, new assistance is available from micro grants made available by the Regional Development Corporation. Information about the grants, which range from $500-$2000, will be provided in a Zoom webinar scheduled for April 20th, from 10-11 a.m. The webinar will also provide information about other federal and state assistance opportunities, including loans to help cover the costs of payroll and other costs incurred by COVID. View the flier, register, or call Danny at 505-690-0988 for more information.
For the many who lost jobs during the pandemic and are now seeking employment in the re-opening economy, the thought of interviewing after a year of isolation may create significant anxiety. To address these and other interview issues, the El Valle Community Center and Villanueva Library, in partnership with Brainfuse JobNow, are offering a free live interview workshop on Wednesday, April 28 at 3 PM MST. During the workshop, you will learn strategies for acing your interview including tips about networking, attire, researching, answering questions, and interview follow-up. The workshop is hosted by Ashley Watkins, a Job Search Coach, Nationally Certified Résumé Writer (NCRW), and Nationally Certified Online Profile Expert (NCOPE) with Write Step Résumés.
This workshop is FREE but Registration is required.
You can register here.
The New Mexico Out-of-School Time Network announces the 2021 Scholarship for advancing Young Women in STEM. You can download a flier for the scholarship here. To access the application, go to the scholarship page of the NMOST Network website or click HERE.
Applicants for the Scholarships Must Be:
Awards are in the amounts of $500, $750 or $1000.
The deadline to apply is May 28, 2021.
On Sunday, March 28th, the El Valle Community Center and the Easter bunny hosted an Easter egg drive through event featuring the distribution of Easter eggs to families and children. Each family received a bag of eggs for them to fill with goodies for an Easter egg hunt at their own home. They were also given an egg carton of cascarones, paper confetti-filled eggs, for Easter day fun. The event allowed the Center and the community to celebrate Easter in a COVID-safe way. In coming years, the Center hopes to be able to again hold its traditional outdoor Easter Egg Hunt in which children and families can search for eggs outside.
As part of the Easter event, the library began it's spring library account drive. As vehicles entered the drive-through area, they were invited to sign up for a library account. Adults who signed up were automatically entered into a raffle for a free Kindle, which will be awarded in late June. Children signed up by their parents at the event were able to each receive a new children's book, chosen at an appropriate age-grade level. The gift of the books was made possible through the tireless efforts of an anonymous children's library volunteer and supporter, together with the generosity of the Las Vegas arm of the Literacy Council of Northeastern New Mexico. The library signed up 75 new accounts and distributed almost 50 children's books!
Despite inclement weather and a year of disruption, schools in San Miguel County are headed towards a successful year’s end, with learning on multiple platforms continuing. With a rise in vaccination numbers and a drop in reported cases, the state announced on March 8th a move to allow schools to re-open for in-person learning during the final months. West Las Vegas Schools has returned to in-person learning, though the option for continuing in remote learning mode only for the remainder of the year remains an option for parents and families mode. Valley Middle and Elementary School is set to resume in-person classes beginning Tuesday April 6th. And while Luna Community College and Highlands University campuses remain closed to students, the College Library at Luna is open for curbside pick-up and Highlands is moving forward with student services and other events via Zoom.
Snow and drought
Even as the remains of the most recent spring snowfall transforms to wet ground and muddy puddles, most of New Mexico remains in severe or extreme drought. In response, the City of Las Vegas recently moved to water conservation Stage IV. As noted on the city website, Stage IV restrictions include prohibitions against all outdoor watering, filling or adding water to private swimming pools, and offering water at restaurants unless it has been requested. Read the Public Service Announcement regarding Drought Contingency and Emergency Response for more details. According to the United States drought monitoring website for the Western region, over 80% of New Mexico is experiencing extreme drought and over 50% is facing exceptional drought conditions. As a recent report on KRQE news makes clear, drought conditions build over time and even a foot of snow may do little to improve those conditions, especially when followed closely by warm and windy days. Water managers in New Mexico have already warned that farmers, especially those in the southern part of the state, where irrigation depends on the Rio Grande, are especially likely to feel the impact of these shortages as the season develops.
In celebration of the new beginnings that spring promises, the Villanueva Library at the El Valle Community Center is encouraging every one to sign-up for free library digital accounts. A library account lets you check out books at the library and or online through Overdrive. Overdrive gives you access to thousands of online books, resources, and newspapers to keep you inspired. All you need is valid New Mexico address and an email account.
To help inspire you to celebrate and apply, ALL NEW APPLICANTS WILL AUTOMATICALLY BE ENTERED IN A DRAWING TO WIN A FREE KINDLE E-READER. If you already have a library card, contact the library with your your name and we’ll add you to the drawing. And parents - don’t forget to sign up younger family members for a library card as well. The first 30 children signed up will get ALSO get a free children’s book.
You can complete an application online or download an application, complete, sign, and return it via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be announcing the winner of the Kindle e-reader before the last day of Spring. The winner will be notified via email and will have three days to claim the prize.
Vaccines and virus
As the winds continue to blow and vaccines continue to be distributed, New Mexico continues its outstanding response to vaccine delivery. According to the New York Times, the state leads the nation in number of doses used and percentage of population vaccinated with at least one shot. This rapid vaccination rate, combined with the effectiveness of the state’s COVID safe guidelines, has allowed the number of cases in New Mexico is steadily decrease, with 126 cases reported statewide for Monday March 8th. Currently, anyone can register for the vaccine, but only essential frontline workers, healthcare providers, those over 75, and those at risk of complications are receiving shots.
As counties move from red to green and more businesses are able to open at increased capacity, lives and activities are beginning to feel less constrained. The New Mexico Department of Health and the CDC still urge the importance of following mask, social distancing, and gathering size guidelines to prevent surges in case numbers and to limit the spread of new, more contagious, variants.
Technical assistance program from Los Alamos and Sandia Labs – Learn more!
The New Mexico Small Business Administration is offering a webinar tomorrow, March 10th, from 10-11 a.m., devoted to discussion of how Sandia and Los Alamos labs can support local businesses with enterprise or agricultural technical assistance and expertise (no direct financial assistance is provided). The information session will take place via Zoom. To join, click on the Zoom link and login.
You can also participate by phone with the information provided below:
346-248-7799 OR 408-638-0968
Meeting ID: 949 0906 0015
Library resources for teachers and learners
The Villanueva Library continues to offer digital resources for teachers and students. These include a full range of activities and project ideas for learners of all ages, as well as curated resources for teachers. Check out our Learning Center offerings that now include a growing section on storytelling for students and a new list of project ideas to help teachers take advantage of the Gale Learning resources that are available through El Portal at the Villanueva Library.
To explore the new teacher and storytelling resources, click on the Learning Center page and scroll down.
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