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DA & partners present new protocol

Silver City, New Mexico, February 3, 2014:  Last week, over 100 community members and service providers attended the launch of the new protocol for reporting and investigating sexual assault and child abuse in New Mexico’s 6th Judicial District, which comprises Grant, Hidalgo and Luna Counties.  The training offered three separate sessions throughout the day at Gila Regional Medical Center’s EMS Building.

Susan Teller-Marshall, a Steering Committee member for the Court Watch Program, attended one of the trainings, “We have a huge learning curve and this training was very timely.”

According to Distinct Attorney, Francesca Estevez, the updated protocol streamlines the process of investigation, evidence collection, and protects victims from multiple interviews by different agencies. Estevez says, “The protocol enables the prosecutions of sex offenders to be more consistent and successful.”

In New Mexico, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 20 men will be the victim of rape or attempted rape in their lifetime, according to Sex Crimes in New Mexico X.  The same report estimates that only 17 percent of rapes are reported to police in the State. In the 2012 Grant County Community Assessment, 22 percent of residents surveyed reported that they had experienced a sexual assault during their lifetime.

“Most importantly,” Estevez adds, “the protocol assures victims are surrounded by arms that care and offer services to promote their healing.” 

Grant County Sheriff Raul Villanueva shares Estevez’s sentiments on the importance of the protocol, “These are sensitive criminal cases and require that we give the victims, women and men, comfort and support.”  The protocol aligns the different agencies that would respond to a sexual assault so victims experience a seamless transition from the initial report to receiving health care, and are offered support and after care services.

Sheriff Villanueva urges victims of sexual assault to seek the services available in the community, “People are embarrassed, but they have been criminally violated and shouldn’t be embarrassed.  They need to receive comfort and help.”

Silver Regional Sexual Assault Support Services (SASS) is part of the protocol and offers advocacy, support and after care services for sexual assault survivors and their families. Departing SASS Executive, Colleen Boyd praised the protocol, “It is critical to ensure responders to sexual assault follow the same procedure, so victims receive the best possible response from the system.”

According to Estevez, the protocol also includes children’s physical abuse reports and investigations, because, in most instances, the same agencies respond to child abuse reports as sexual assault reports.

The protocol was created by the very agencies vested in the protocol: the District Attorney’s office, Grant County Sheriff’s office, Silver Regional Sexual Assault Support Services, Gila Regional Medical Center’s Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program, Silver City Police Department, New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Care Department’s Adult Protective Services, and New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department.

Estevez had special praise for the individuals who were involved in drafting the update: Undersheriff Kevin Flamm, Detective Christine Murillo, Colleen Boyd, Kristy Rogers, Cheryl Willagues, Andy Anderson, Shauna McCosh, and Stormie Flamm.

For more information or request a copy of the New Mexico 6th Judicial District’s Sexual Assault Protocol including Child Abuse call (575) 538-4050.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 February 2014 09:14

Children's Fiesta gets buggy

RHCF 2014Silver City, New Mexico, September 10, 2014:  Kids can explore the largest animal kingdom on Saturday (September 13, 2014) when the Red Hot Children’s Fiesta gets buggy with the Albuquerque BioParks’ Zoo to You from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be over 35 insect-inspired activities, and every participating child receives a prize as the Fiesta returns to its roots in the Community Built-Penny Park, 1305 N. Grant St.   Chris DeBolt, Coordinator of the Grant County Community Health Council, which coordinates the Fiesta, says, “The Children’s Fiesta is a wonderful event for families and children; it’s always great to give families the opportunity to play and learn together.”

Albuquerque BioPark Volunteer Educator, Mary Ramsey says, “We are very happy to be coming down after such a great turn out last year. The three-banded armadillo will be visiting again. We are anxious to talk to the kids about how our actions matter in keeping our environment healthy.” Also displayed will be insects, various animals and educational specimens from Zoo to You.

This year children can participate in cricket poetry, the Waterbug Adventure Course, create an edible insect, pick out an insect-themed book, and learn about the insects that pollinate flowers.

Health Council assistant coordinator, Kendra Milligan says, “We wanted to remind children that insects aren’t just creepy crawlies; they are beautiful and colorful butterflies, bees and beetles. Insects are an important part of our world.”

 Milligan adds, “Remember we are back in Penny Park on Grant Street this year due to the construction at Old James Stadium. Hopefully next year we will be back at WNMU, which will be fenced in and safer for families!”

The Red Hot Children’s Fiesta is the largest children’s resource fair in southwestern New Mexico. The Fiesta was begun 13 years ago by LifeQuest Early Intervention as a way to locate children in need of developmental services. The Fiesta soon morphed into a community child development fair and grew too large for one agency to effectively coordinate.

“Rather than see the event lost, the Health Council stepped in with a team of dedicated community members to see the Fiesta continued on,” says Milligan. “The Children’s Fiesta has so much going on because it is a great time for families and service providers meet up and get to know each other. Over 35 organizations and service providers have banded together to ensure the fiesta continues to be a success.”

Every child who participates on Saturday gets to choose from a variety of insect themed prizes and will be entered in the raffle for the insect explorer prize package or a $50 gift certificate.

Please no dogs in the park during the Fiesta as small children will be in attendance. Also, be aware that the portion of Grant St. in front of Penny Park will be closed off for the safety of attendees. Pickamania will also have street closures around Gough Park.

Attendees are requested to access the Fiesta through Pope Street by turning right onto 13th Street and proceed to Grant Street. The Fiesta is also accessible by heading east on 12th Street from the University and turning left onto Grant Street. Grant Street will open for traffic at 2:30 p.m.

The Fiesta is sponsored by the Health Council, Gila Regional Medical Center, Freeport-McMoRan Foundation, and Molina HealthCare of New Mexico . To learn more about the Red Hot Children’s Fiesta call the Health Council at 388-1198 ext. 10 or visit the website.

 

Last Updated on Sunday, 15 September 2013 09:41

Community survey has record response

Final-Assessment-2012Silver City, New Mexico, November 9, 2012:  Over 5,000 residents took part in the Grant County Community Assessment, “Your Home, Your Voice!”, a survey that gauged the health and wellness priorities of the county’s residents.  The incredible response by residents has surpassed the previous New Mexico record set by Bernalillo County for participation in a community assessment.  The survey was sponsored by the Grant County Community Health Council.

According to Health Council coordinator, Tiffany Knauf, the participation in the community assessment was unprecedented. “This level of community involvement is not only the highest number in the state, but also the best response rate New Mexico has ever seen from a single county.”  The previous record was set in 2007 by Bernalillo County with 5,000 responses.

During the current assessment, 1 in 4 Grant County residents over the age of 18 participated; a total of 5,055 respondents.  This was the fourth time the Health Council has surveyed residents since the council was established in 1999.  The previous survey, “Speak up, Grant County!”, also in 2007, had 2,219 residents respond and helped leverage over $15 million for Grant County by community partners.  

The assessment process includes focus groups, a resident survey, gathering of county statistics and a priority setting meeting by the Health Council.  The resulting priorities are presented to the Grant County Board of Commissioners for possible adoption as part of the Health and Wellness Plan for the county.

Health Council members were integral in the assessment process soliciting 1,789 surveys of the 5,055 received.  Health Council chair, Priscilla Lucero, and Health Council member, Mary Alice Murphy, collected the most surveys from the community.

Murphy said, “At public events, like the Fourth of July, I felt community members were quite willing to take a few minutes out of their day and fill out the survey.”

Lucero praised the community for its high participation rate in the survey, “This just reflects what a dedicated community we have to reach such a lofty goal.”

Knauf said of the survey results, “Now the county can validate its needs and priorities with concrete data from the assessment, and funding opportunities won’t pass us by.”

Preliminary findings from the survey will be presented to the Prospectors’ Legislative Session on November 30, 2012. Further survey results will be presented at the Health Council’s meeting on Monday, December 3, 2012 , at 3 p.m. in the Grant County Administrative Building , 1400 Hwy 180 East. The public is invited to attend.

The full survey results will be available to the public in January 2013 as part of the Health Council’s Community Profile at the web site www.gcchc.org . The Health Council will present specific community survey results beginning in February 2013. For more information on the community assessment contact Knauf at 388-1198 ext. 22 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 November 2011 09:34

Health Council wraps up county-wide focus groups

The Grant County Community Health Council wrapped up its final county focus group in Tyrone last week in an effort to begin gauging the health and wellness needs of the area. "This is the last of the nine focus groups we have conducted in the county," said Beverly Allen-Ananins, Health Council Coordinator.

The Health Council conducted focus groups in every corner of Grant County during September and August, including: Bayard, Cliff/Gila area, Hachita, Hurley, Mimbres, Santa Clara, Silver City and Tyrone. Connie Hostetler, Senior Life Cycle coordinator for the Health Council, conducted some of the focus groups, "People were happy we came out to their communities, sometimes the outlying areas of the county feel forgotten. They were grateful to have their voice heard."

Carmen Ortiz, a Mimbres resident, was impressed by the focus group held in her community at the Mimbres Roundup Lodge, "The major concern was the lack of a law enforcement in Mimbres, which has been a long time issue. Also the need for more activities for teens out here." Ortiz has partnered up with other people to create a playgroup for toddlers and a support group for those caring for young children be they parents, grandparents or guardians. "I learned so much that was happening in Mimbres at the focus group and it inspired me to become more involved in my community," Ortiz said.

Tara Rose participated in the Silver City focus group; "I found it so exciting that everyone was on the same page. People shared their personal concerns that all fit into the bigger picture. A lot of good ideas came out of the group."

Rose said the major concern in her group was the lack of funds to support change, "In order to manifest great ideas the community needs money." Hopefully the focus groups and the upcoming survey will aid in securing funds. The last Health Council county assessment in 2001 helped leverage over $18 million for the community. Allen-Ananins hopes that with more resident participating in the 2006 survey, the more positive outcomes will be seen by residents. "If the county can validate its needs and priorities with concrete data then funding opportunities won't pass us by," said Allen-Ananins.

The last assessment aided in securing funds for the Family Support Centers and the Volunteer Center. Community health has a wide scope of interest according to Allen-Ananins who reported funds went to such diverse works as sidewalks, public transit, and community health centers. "

The focus groups are part of the `Speak Up, Grant County!' initiative to assess Grant County's concerns for the Department of Health and to aid the Health Council in setting its priorities for the next four-years. The focus groups' input will aid in the creation of a county survey that will be mailed every home in Grant County with a stamped returned envelope in September. The Health Council is also partnering with area businesses and municipalities to distribute surveys to employees. To reach everyone the Health Council will have a booth at local events like the Red Hot Children's Fiesta and the Farmer's Market were residents will be able to fill out a survey.

For more information on the community assessment call the Health Council at 538-0200.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 August 2006 01:00

Hot Mamas win Spring Fitness Cup Challenge

Spring-Fitness-Cup-ChallengeThe Hot Mamas of Fort Bayard Medical Center strode to victory this spring in the Grant County Health Council's Fitness Cup Challenge. Team winners were announced at the awards ceremony at Penny Park on Friday. The Lean Cuisine team of Gila Regional Medical Center were second; Step Ups ranked third; the 32nd St. Misfits continued their substantial progress from last year to hold fourth place and the Pressing On team rounded out the top five overall winners.

During the Fitness Cup Challenge, county residents clip on pedometers and count their daily steps to see who will take home the coveted Fitness Cup. This year medals were also handed out to the Best Stepper and Most Improved in each team. The Grant County Community Health Council and the Public Health Department joined forces to ensure this year's Challenge was bigger and better than ever. Last year teams walked over 100,000 miles in the two challenges held. This year the 29 teams averaged up to 350,000 steps a day with 270 challengers reporting in. That is over 2 million steps a week from the participants, or over 1,500 miles a week in walking.

All that walking helped many residents stride towards better health. Kay Stailey of the T.O.P.S. (Taking off Pounds Sensibly) team said the Challenged positively impacted her health. All of her steps helped lowered her blood pressure by 40 points, and cut her medication in half. Stailey said, "The Fitness Challenge is great for the community and brings us all together; more people should join to experience the benefits better fitness can bring to their lives."

Sunny McFarren of the Gila Regional Medical Center's Sugarfoot team tripled her daily steps over the course of the six-week Challenge to win the Most Improved member of her team. McFarren said she started with small changes in her daily routine to accomplish her win, "I started by taking the stairs at work, parking further from my office, and then when I saw my steps increase I started to walk to work on days I didn't need a car." She plans on keeping up her strides to participate in the Fall Fitness Cup Challenge.

Sherry Klements of the overall winning team, Hot Mamas, was elated with her team's victory, "We all walked together. It helped to keep the team motivated." Klements was also awarded Best Stepper of the Hot Mama team. Eva Purcell was awarded the Most Improved member for the Hat Mama's team. Their team averaged a weekly individual step total of 22,097, roughly 7 miles a day. The Hot Mamas will proudly display the Fitness Cup at Fort Bayard Medical Center until the next Fitness Cup Challenge when they will defend their ownership of the award against all challengers.

Gary Stailey, co chair of the Grant County Community Health Council was astounded at the results. "Last year the teams walked equivalent to three times around the earth. This year we will see if we can make it far enough to reach the moon." Stailey thinks the county teams can span the equivalent distance between the earth and moon, which is over 256,000 miles. The thought isn't impossible at all with the teams walking over 66,000 miles during each of the previous four Challenges. Hopefully, by the end of the Fall 2006 Challenge participants will span that vast distance of space in just 42 weeks of walking, over a 3-year period.

The Fall Fitness Cup Challenge will begin in September 2006. For more information on the Fitness Cup Challenge call Melvyn Gelb at 538-5318 ext 112. For more information on the Health Council call 388-9708 ext. 13.

Photo: Sherry Klements (left) and Eva Purcell show off the strides that carried their team, Hot Mamas, to victory in the Health Council's Fitness Cup Challenge at Penny Park.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 June 2006 01:00

Community Enhancement Fund announces awardees

Two local centers are the first awardees of the Phelps Dodge/Community Health Council's Community Enhancement Fund. The Restorative Justice Center and the Volunteer Center will both be hosting international educators in Grant County thanks to the fund.

Dates will be announced.

The Community Enhancement Fund was created by a $100,000 donation from Phelps Dodge from money received by the company for the local filming of the mining-drama North Country. The fund seeks to bring renowned speakers and training events to Grant County, allowing the entire community to be enriched by events that focus on the Health Council's five priority areas: economic development, family resiliency, fitness and nutrition, domestic violence and substance abuse.

The Volunteer Center will be bringing renowned poverty educator, Ruby K. Payne of Connecticut to address the economic development issue in Grant County. Payne's philosophy on poverty, according to Alicia Edwards, executive director of the Volunteer Center, "discusses the extent of which an individual does without specific resources and resources can be diverse, including: financial, emotional, mental, spiritual, physical, support systems, relationships/role models, knowledge of hidden rules and coping strategies."

Payne contends that poverty is something more complex than just a lack of money in her training.

The program, "Bridges out of Poverty: Strategies for Professional and Communities," is tentatively planned to take place at the Global Resource Center at WNMU.

The second grant recipient will involve training and education in restorative justice and conflict resolution, a new response to crime that recognizes the harm done to victims. Stephane Trustoroff Luchini, program coordinator of the Restorative Justice Community Center of Grant County, explains the concept as, "providing victims an opportunity to meet the offender to express the impact of the crime, ask questions, and seek meaningful reparation. It provides offenders the opportunity to take meaningful responsibility for their actions and make agreements to repair the harm. "

The program, "Circle Processes for Restorative Justice and Conflict Resolution," will be taught by internationally known restorative justice trainer and scholar Kay Pranis of Minnesota this fall. The grant will help make this training available to staff of local schools and social service organizations, as well as practitioners of the restorative justice model.

The Community Enhancement Fund is currently seeking proposals. Preference will be given to proposals that include the following components: Health Council priorities; enhances or improves the Mining District region of Bayard, Hurley and Santa Clara; supports core team and Life Cycle activities; and offers diverse population participation. The Fund helps to defer costs for speakers that are leaders in their fields and training programs. It aims to expand the community's knowledge and base of information allowing for partnerships and growth of services as a whole county, not one person at a time.

The Community Enhancement Fund next submission of proposal deadlines is Friday, July 7, 2005. Future submission deadlines are: Oct. 6 and Jan. 6, 2007. Notification of award will be two to four weeks after the proposal submission deadlines.

Proposals are available at the Health Council's web site http://www.gcchc.org at the Health Council's office at 1310 E. 32nd St. or by calling Kendra Milligan at 388-9708 ext. 13.

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 November 2013 00:51

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