Las Vegas NM Community Foundation

Note: This is the first in a series of articles about how businesses, nonprofits and event planners are navigating the future post-COVID 19. Partial reopening is a first step, and there is no predicting the future should there be a resurgence of corona virus. Responses to these questions are from Elmo Baca, president of the Las Vegas NM Community Foundation.


Community Foundation

The Foundation and Its Mission

The Las Vegas NM Community Foundation was founded in January 2017 by Bob Mishler along with founding board members Felix Alderete, Elmo Baca, Cindy Collins, Doyle Daves, Bill Hendrickson, Donna Rivas, Jennifer Sanchez and Max Trujillo. Founding volunteer Jean Hill assisted with non-profit by laws and designation. The Las Vegas Foundation is a 501©(3) charitable organization created to support philanthropic giving for non-profit organizations in Las Vegas and the immediate region, including Mora County. The Las Vegas Foundation is an affiliate and partner of the Santa Fe Community Foundation, where Las Vegas Community Foundation funds are currently invested, ensuring the highest fiscal and programmatic integrity to its work. The mission of the Las Vegas Foundation is simply “Help Las Vegas Thrive.”

How has COVID-19 had an impact on the Foundation?

The coronavirus pandemic has had an impact in a few critical ways. After the state effectively closed businesses and other public venues in late March, the Board of Directors decided to postpone the “Chili Challenge” annual fundraising reception which was scheduled for April 30. Last year the Chili Challenge (so called because a chili pepper icon is used as a measuring gauge for donations) was well-attended by community members and raised over $17,000 to benefit the community. At this date the Chili Challenge event has not been rescheduled due to the continuing restrictions on public gatherings in New Mexico. After the serious economic impacts of the pandemic have mounted, the Foundation created an Emergency Grant Fund to provide support to local humanitarian nonprofit organizations, such as soup kitchens, health and community centers, and family assistance groups. The Las Vegas Foundation has had two rounds of grant making since April funding a dozen local non-profit organizations in Las Vegas, Mora and Villanueva with $10,125 in grants. The Foundation is prepared to consider future rounds of emergency grants as the pandemic continues to impact the community.

Bob Mishler’s Legacy

Bob MishlerThe sudden passing of founder Bob Mishler on May 24 was a tragic event that has affected the entire community, as Bob was involved in many projects and organizations. Bob had a great interest in people, their histories and social fabric. He was involved in historic preservation projects for nearly 50 years after his family moved here from Colorado in the late 1970s. He served for many years as Chairman of the City’s Design Review Board, Citizens Committee for Historic Preservation and the Friends of the Las Vegas Museum. Bob saw the need for Las Vegas to have a community foundation that could create an endowment for Las Vegas to support the vital work of nonprofit organizations and also collaborate with city and county governments on essential community projects. Bob worked tirelessly to attract volunteers and board members to the Foundation, raise funds, and provide its guiding vision. He was active in a review of an Emergency grant application on the day of his passing.

Eligible Grantees

The Las Vegas NM Community Foundation provides modest grants to local nonprofit organizations in good standing (properly filed corporate reports and tax forms). Eligible nonprofit organizations must serve the people of San Miguel and Mora Counties, be nondiscriminatory in staffing and services, and be at least one year old. The Foundation can’t contribute to capital campaigns or endowments, individuals, private school tuition assistance, religious projects or scholarships. The funding categories include Arts and Culture, Community Development, Cultural and Historic Preservation, Education, Health Care and Natural Conservation.

Application Process

The Las Vegas NM Community Foundation has offered grants to nonprofits for the past two years and is expecting its third annual cycle beginning in September with a public announcement of grant availability. Grant applications are available by emailing info@lvnmcf.org . We also notify nonprofit organizations directly via email of our grants program. Grant applications are due in mid-October, with announcement of awards in December. Funds are provided in early January. Also, as noted above, the Foundation may create emergency or project grant cycles at its discretion. Interested groups may see our website at www.lvnmcf.com, contact a Board Member or contact our Administrative Coordinator Linda Anderle at info@lvnmcf.org. Correspondence and donations may also be mailed to LVNMCF, P.O. Box 1002, Las Vegas NM 87701.

Fund Raising Campaigns

With Bob Mishler’s sudden passing on May 24, the Board of Directors has established two Bob Mishler Memorial Funds in his memory. The Bob Mishler Memorial Fund is a general donation fund with a primary purpose of building the endowment, as Bob had wished. The second fund is called the Bob Mishler Memorial Clock Fund. Bob rescued the historic Gordon’s Jewelers cast iron street clock, which stood on Douglas Avenue near the corner of Sixth Street for decades. After the passing of longtime owner Calvin Baker, the iconic street clock fell into disrepair. Bob bought the clock with the intention of restoring it. Bob had nearly finished the project when he passed. The Board of Directors have recognized the clock project as a fitting symbol for Bob’s community service and his philanthropy. The Clock Fund will provide the financial support to restore the clock and reinstall it. The Clock Fund will also create a “Pillars of the Community” Award program to honor deserving individuals who have made significant contributions to the community.

The Board of Directors is also considering Donor advised funds whereby generous individuals or families may support projects and programs of particular interest such as the arts or health care for example. Legacy gifts of property, financial equities, and other items of value to benefit the community are also encouraged. Donations may be made at www.lvnmcf.com and also through the Santa Fe Community Foundation by inquiring about the Greater Las Vegas Fund.


NOTE: I am featuring local businesses, nonprofits, and organizations in this series of articles about how COVID-19 has affected our community . If you would like to participate, email fsharon@msn.com for more information.


 

Mr. C Returns

Quick Fact

Mr. C is back and has taken up residence in my bladder. I know, TMI, but I’m sharing this information because bladder cancer is one of the most common cancers in the U.S., affecting about 68,000 adults each year. According to the Mayo Clinic website, it occurs more often in men than women. I appear to be one of the lucky women who has it. Bladder cancer can happen at any age, but it is more common in older adults. I’m 75, prime time.

Early detection – as is often the case – means treatment is likely to be successful. Someone asked me what stage the cancer is. You’d think I would know, but I don’t. I start treatment next week, one a week for six weeks, followed by two years of treatment, one every three months. With bladder cancer, frequent monitoring is a must as it – as my doctor said – is unlikely to go away permanently. The best course of action is vigilance.

The first procedure, before the treatment plan was determined, took place on May 6, delayed because of COVID-19 and the need for critical care facilities. The procedure determined the presence of tumors and the likelihood they were malignant. Further testing revealed there are tumors, and yes, they are malignant.

The good news is, I won’t have chemo; I’ll undergo an immunotherapy regimen, which is less intrusive and arduous than chemo. It is not without risk as the drug I will be taking contains TB cells, which creates a hostile environment in the bladder that prevents the cancer cells from growing. (I hope I got that right.) I won’t go into detail about what one must do once the drug is eliminated. Suffice it to say one must be VERY careful.

So, prayer is appreciated. No worrying allowed. I’m a tough old nut and have survived Mr. C’s other visitations to my body.

Because it is fairly common, I’m including some of the symptoms you might want to talk to your doctor about if you have them.

Bladder cancer signs and symptoms may include:
• Blood in urine (hematuria)

• Painful urination
• Pelvic pain

If you have hematuria, your urine may appear bright red or cola colored. Sometimes, urine may not look any different, but blood in urine may be detected during a microscopic exam of the urine.

People with bladder cancer might also experience:
• Back pain

• Frequent urination

Be well; stay healthy. As we age, it is ever more important to be alert to symptoms and see the doctor about concerns you may have. It – whatever it is – won’t magically go away, just because you want it to. It’s your health; be proactive. See your health care professional regularly.


I am an indie author of six books and two chap books of poetry. Check the BOOKS tab to find out more. Follow me at www.vandermeerbooks.com, https://www.facebook.com/vandermeerbooks, Amazon Author Central


 

Redesign

Sharon VI am so psyched! For the past several months I’ve been dragging my fanny, and it isn’t funny! I’m so not the sit-on-my-bum kind of person. As a writer, I have options most people don’t have:

  • I can work where I want.
  • I can work when I want.
  • Inspiration is a window, not a door.
  • I can take on clients to write for, or I can get creative with my own writing.
  • I’ve been working from home before it was a thing.

I could easily attribute my lack of productivity to life events that sort of stopped me in my tracks, not the least of which is the mad virus that has brought the world to a stuttering halt. That’s BS, a big BULL and big load of SPIT!

My method of handling life is to write about it, in my journal (which no one will ever see), and through poetry, fiction and essays. Some get publish; most do not.

Why am I psyched? I did a website redesign, or more truthfully, erased a lot of color giving it a cleaner and crisper look. Why does that get me going? This sort of comes under the heading of what COVID-19 has taught me.

  1. Like my website, I live with unnecessary clutter, yet fill my days with procrastination and guilt. The wouda-coulda-shoulda syndrome. I’m over it. One day at a time.
  2. I tend to equate busyness with productivity. So not true! In future, I hope to have the good sense to ‘finish’ one thing rather than half-assing five.
  3. I’m a more social person than I realized. I miss seeing friends and – really, folks – ZOOM is a crappy substitute.
  4. Hugging is healing. Virtual hugs are wonderful, but there is no substitute for a hug from a friend.
  5. When it comes to the virus and the future, nobody has ‘the’ answer. There are too many variables.

My daily prayer is that my friends in small businesses can survive and thrive and that the virus dies out, never to return.

So, why am I psyched? Because there is no alternative. Living in limbo waiting for the next alarming news report is a sad waste of time. I choose to count today as the best opportunity to be… well, me. And, yes, I am ever the optimist.

What COVID-19 has taught me more than anything is to live each day as best you can. We’ve lost so many to this breath-stealing monster. Don’t let fear rob you of the best life you can live, now.


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Truth be told

More from the April Writer’s Digest challenge, the brain child of Robert Lee Brewer, a WD editor and blogger at Poetic Asides. The first of these is personal, based on the prompt to write an ekphrastic poem, a poem inspired by a work of art – photograph, sculpture, or some other creation. Words of Art is based on a wooden wall hanging given to me by Kathy Allen for my birthday last year.


Kathy Gift 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

WORDS OF ART

“a good friend
knows all of
your stories,
a best friend
helped you write them.”
So reads the wooden wall hanging
given to me by a dear friend
for my seventy-fifth birthday.
On the backside she wrote,
“We’ve made many stories
during our 55 years
(and counting)
of friendship.
Let’s write more!”

Eight months later
she and her husband were gone.
A terrible accident,
one that took two amazing
people and the stories we
– and they –
would write.
They went from this life
to the most profound
adventure of them all.
Yet, I grieve still.
They were and are a part of my heart.
This crafty wooden work of art
carries wisdom and memories in equal measure.
Take no moment for granted.
Treasure those you love.


BEING OTHER

Change is a coin,
a thought,
a mind,
an idea,
a life.

Change suggests
being other
than we are now,
influenced by
opinions,
facts,
experiences,
truths and lies.

Being other
than who you are
right now,
can be better,
or worse,
an improvement,
or cataclysmic devastation.

Who decides if
you will be other
than who you are today?
Society?
Friends?
Enemies?

Surround yourself
with people who
challenge you
yet give you encouragement.
it is the melding of the two
that makes being other,
be you.


COMMUNICATION

If the missive is massive
the meat of the message
may get lost in translation.
Massive experience forms
intellectual confidence…
or does it form massive
pride and disregard for
opposite opinions?
When you communicate,
keep it simple
(not dumbed down)
but understandable,
relatable, perhaps
a touch compassionate.
A few words well said
may make a massive,
life-changing difference
to someone in need
of a voice whispering
in the light.



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April PAD Challenge

RoseI’m belatedly taking part in the Writer’s Digest April Poem a Day Challenge. Below are three new works. Enjoy.

QUIRKS WORK

Life at its best is quirky for you,
and at its worst, it’s quirky too;
you start with one thing in your head,
and life throws you a spanner instead!
A monkey wrench, if you will,
a quirk to give you a chill
taking over your plan for the day
in an annoyingly unexpected way.
Or… it brings a new quest
that shows you at your amazing best.
The outcome of quirks are up to us,
Disasters or adventures, no need to fuss.
Make the best of life’s quirks;
find in yourself what really works.


 

SOCIAL DIALOGUE

You asked me to dance.
I said, NO! Not a chance.
There are many things I’d like to do,
one of them is to NOT dance with you.
Why, you may ask,
am I not up to the task?
You are an elephant; I’m a giraffe
everyone would look at us and laugh!
This social dialogue ends with a grin,
animals talking, it’s my poetic whim.


 

WANDER ON A CROOKED ROAD

In the way of life on the dusty road,
it turns and twists, wanders here and there,
gives rise to questions without answers.
The chatter of dissenting voices mirrors the road,
turning and twisting, giving rise to answers for questions unasked.
The road bends and dips, throwing life onto a battered field,
knocking it cold but for the hot tears that stream from life.
What is that shooting up from the ground
where salty tears touched the soil?
It is a flowering vine, that quickly grows,
turning the field into a meadow,
lush and abounding with life.
Life shakes off despair and sets off once again
to wander on the crooked road.


More later this week. Please let me know what you think. Like, comment, share.


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Friday

When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified. Matthew 27:31 NLT

The Hill

I don’t like to think of the crucifixion, but then, who does? It brings up a lot of questions, not the least of which is, “Why would a loving God allow such a heinous injustice to a sinless man, his own son, at that? The Trinity is as inexplicable as it is Holy and essential. God suffered on our behalf through his human/divine self, his beloved son. We don’t get it; we never will. God “got it” that we needed saving grace and provided a means by which we could and do achieve redemption. God saw the road ahead and – I believe – wept at his Son’s suffering. I believe the Holy Spirit watched with tears streaming. Jesus. His agony laid the ground work; resurrection planted the garden of universal grace. I am not a theologian, but this is what I believe after a lifetime of trusting God.


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Have a laugh…

I confess, I outright plagiarized this from another source, but it had been forwarded and reposted so many times, it’s impossible to identify who wrote the original. With gratitude to my friend Sharon Caballero for sending it to me, I pass it along to raise your spirits.

Joy

When this is over –
• Half of us are going to come out of this quarantine as amazing cooks. The other half will come out with a drinking problem.

• I used to spin that toilet paper like I was on Wheel of Fortune. Now I turn it like I’m cracking a safe.

• I need to practice social distancing from the refrigerator.

• Still haven’t decided where to go for Easter, the Living Room or The Bedroom

• PSA: Every few days try your jeans on just to make sure they fit. Pajamas will have you believe all is well in the kingdom.

• Homeschooling is going well. Two students suspended for fighting and one teacher fired for drinking on the job.

• I don’t think anyone expected that when we changed the clocks, we’d go from Standard Time to the Twilight Zone

• This morning I saw a neighbor talking to her cat. It was obvious she thought her cat understood her. I came into my house, told my dog; we laughed a lot.

• So, after this quarantine, will the producers of My 600 Pound Life just find me or do I find them?

• Quarantine Day 5: Went to this restaurant called THE KITCHEN. You have to gather all the ingredients and make your own meal. I have no clue how this place is still in business.

• My body has absorbed so much soap and disinfectant lately that when I pee it cleans the toilet.

• Day 5 of Homeschooling: One of these little monsters called in a bomb threat.

• I’m so excited; it’s time to take out the garbage. What should I wear?

• I hope the weather is good tomorrow for my trip to Puerto Backyarda. I’m getting tired of Los Livingroom.

• Classified Ad: Single man with toilet paper seeks woman with hand sanitizer for good clean fun.

• Day 6 of Homeschooling: My child just said “I hope I don’t have the same teacher next year.” I’m offended.

Better 6 feet apart than 6 feet under


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A Rooster Tale

RoosterWhen I was a kid, we lived in a trailer house on my grandparents’ place. They had a farm with requisite chicken coop, cows, and garden. It was also the residence of the meanest rooster God ever created. It had wild red eyes that glowed in the dark, sleek reddish-brown and dark green feathers, oily with evil.

I hated that bird and was thoroughly terrified of him.

I was about five when the rooster from hell crossed my path for the first time. My brother was six. To this day I believe that rooster lurked in the yard, waiting for my brother or me to come outside. He was a sneaky creature, full of cunning.

Seventy-plus years have not dimmed my memory of the terror I felt the first time that cannonball of pure wickedness homed in on me. All I could do was stand there and scream my head off. Fortunately someone, probably my grandmother, came into the yard and scooped him up before he could fly into my face and peck my eyes out! Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I swear I can still smell that bird’s chicken yard breath!

For days afterward I wouldn’t leave the safe haven of our house. My parents had little patience with slackers, and threatened me with dire consequences if I didn’t do my chores, which meant at some point, going outside.

With quivering, wet-noodle legs barely holding me up and a belly watery with anxiety, I opened the door carefully, scanned the yard to see if the evil one was anywhere around, then stepped outside, watchful and alert. About the time I started feeling easy in my mind, that foul fowl came cartwheeling right at me, a flurry of feathers churning up dust. An awful squawk raised the hair on my arms and neck. After one breathless second of terror I was off like a shot heading up the steps to the house screaming, “ Mama, Mama, Mama!”

My mother hated that bird almost as much as I did, but she wasn’t afraid of him. She hauled out the broom and went after him with a vengeance. “Shoo, shoo! Out of here or it’s into the pot for you!”

My father didn’t hate the rooster, but he didn’t like the fact that my brother and I were terrorized by something with feathers. Dad told us to yell or throw rocks at the rooster to scare it off. “You’re bigger than that bird, don’t let him scare you.”

As I recall, I wasn’t bigger. In my mind I was about the same size and I didn’t have spurs.

Nevertheless, with my father’s words as a motivator I made up my mind, no crummy chicken-legged piece of poultry was going to keep me prisoner in my own house. My brother and I started carrying a stick or a broom with us when we were outside. The yard became a battlefield, one we defended resolutely, usually with me standing behind my brother as he did battle for both of us, until one night something got into the hen house and the rooster met its end. I’ve always suspected my dad had a hand in that, but maybe not. Dad insisted it was a fox.

That rooster, as much as I despised him, and my father’s insistence that we couldn’t let a silly bird whup us, taught me a lot about not allowing fear to rule my life.

In 1941 President Franklin D. Roosevelt said in a speech to Congress:

In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression – everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way – everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want – which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings, which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants – everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear – which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor – anywhere in the world.”

There are a lot of roosters in the world, stirring up hatred and violence in every barnyard around the globe. Freedom from fear is something we lack in this anxiety-filled world. We’re afraid to speak out; we’re afraid not to speak out. We’re afraid we won’t have enough money to live. We’re afraid of terrorism – domestic and global. We’re afraid of illness. We’re afraid of death. We’re afraid nobody will like us. We’re afraid we won’t or can’t live up to the expectations of others. We’re afraid to marry. We’re afraid not to marry. We’re afraid our leaders are dolts. We’re afraid our homes are vulnerable to thieves. We’re afraid we are vulnerable to violence. We’re afraid of millions of problems that can arise in an instant over which we have absolutely no control.

The good news is that we have at our disposal two weapons to overcome that fear, much like the stick and the broom we used to defend ourselves against that wild-eyed rooster. We have courage and vision. It begins with courage based on wisdom and discernment, and is under-girded by a vision of ourselves as winners, not victims. Courage gives us confidence, vision gives us possibilities.

Be courageous and visionary. Don’t let the roosters win.

___________________

 Updated and reprinted from an opinion piece written by me in the Hermit’s Peak Gazette in January 1999. Given the state of the world, this seems as relevant today as the day I wrote it 20 years ago. Interestingly the words of President Roosevelt from 1941 resonate as well.


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Abundance

I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10

LightJesus didn’t show up out of the blue, and nothing about his time on earth was a cake walk. These cliché observations reflect random acts and living the high life. Christ came – and comes – at just the right time so we, frail and flawed humans, may live abundantly. Not next week, next year or when we get to Heaven, but now. So, what does that word “abundant” mean? Not being a theologian, I don’t recommend taking my thoughts as gospel, but I think it means making the most of who you are, where you are and what you are doing right now. You can never know what a difference you make by speaking a kind word, smiling instead of frowning, sharing instead of hoarding, laughing instead of crying, being faithful and having faith in the face of doubt.  Live abundantly and pass it on.


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Shadow Dance

Shadow Trees

Spindly and bare,
trees striped and spare,
look at them dance
and boldly prance
in shadows that flow
across fields of snow.

Spindly and bare
trees striped and spare,
Beautifully arrayed
this woody brigade,
rooted yet wild
like a sturdy child.


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I am a writer and I have a writing business. Contact me for free consultation about your writing needs. Write Stuff Writing Services