Thursday, August 04, 2011
8/5-7, 8/20: Baseball for Student Backpacks at Isotopes Park
Fidelity Investments and Mesa del Sol are partnering with the Albuquerque Isotopes to create a unique event in support of Albuquerque’s low-income students. Baseball for Backpacks will provide school supplies for students who attend Albuquerque Public Schools, including the APS Title I Homeless Program, which provides 6,000 homeless children and their families with enrollment assistance, school supplies, school uniforms and other services.
New school backpacks can be dropped off at the Isotopes box office during business hours through August 20. In return, donors will receive a voucher good for one Reserved Level seat good for any Sunday through Thursday Isotopes game. In addition, Fidelity volunteers will collect backpacks at all gate entrances during the games on Tax-Free Weekend (August 5-7) and at the August 20 game, when a school bus will be filled with all the donated supplies.
“Baseball for Backpacks is part of Fidelity Investment’s commitment to provide underserved students with the tools necessary for success,” said Leean Kravitz, Director of Government Relations for Fidelity Investments. “Our goal is to have every student start the school year with the tools they need to succeed.”
Thursday, June 02, 2011
Sen. Howie Morales: Let's Re-Evaluate Our Budget Priorities
This post is by State Senator Howie Morales, a Democrat who serves Senate District 28 in Catron, Grant and Socorro Counties.
During the past few years, New Mexico like most other states has fallen victim to the national recession. Our legislature has made many difficult choices to ensure that we pass a balanced budget, as is constitutionally required. In doing so, I have tried to protect the high priority needs of our most vulnerable citizens: educational opportunities for youth, and adequate services for senior citizens, veterans and those with developmental disabilities and mental health conditions. Programs designed to serve these citizens are severely underfunded, not because of a lack of support but because of a lack of money in the state's treasury. Through my experience in developing a budget, I understand the importance of every dollar that is spent on these citizens.
That is why I was disappointed, but not surprised, at comments made by NBA superstar Kobe Bryant during a recent interview aired on ESPN Sport Center. As Kobe reflected on his team's underachieving 2010-2011 season, including being swept in a Western Conference semifinal series, Kobe didn't mince words on his disappointment. "It was a wasted year of my life," he said in the interview. Kobe endured a "wasted" year that made him $25 million richer. To most, and certainly all individuals I know, this would not be considered a wasted year, by any stretch of the imagination, regardless of the disappointment.
Perhaps if he understood what $25 million could bring to many New Mexican children who deal with developmental disabilities, Kobe wouldn't be so flippant about what a "waste" of time the past year was for him. Perhaps if he put his situation in the context of what other people endure, he might better appreciate what $25 million means to many of our families: for each $1 million he makes, 22 New Mexico children could be taken off the developmental disabilities waiting list and begin receiving desperately needed services; with $25 million, 224 children could begin receiving services.
Throughout the current recession, the legislature has grappled with how to meet the increased demand for vital services with decreased revenue. We have been forced to make difficult choices and cuts that affect those on the waiting list, many of whom will remain on the waiting list. Unfortunately, our most vulnerable citizens will not receive the funding and protection they deserve.
Although they do not receive the millions of dollars that Kobe receives, it is doubtful that children with Down's syndrome, autism, or cerebral palsy will ever feel they "wasted" a year of their lives. While they have never experienced the pressures or joys of an NBA playoff game, it appears that Kobe has never experienced the invaluable lessons of gratitude these children teach us as they work at our local grocery stores or restaurants. For these children, each day is a gift and a blessing, regardless of the many challenges they face. They offer us an opportunity to quietly reflect on the gifts we are given, but tend to take for granted. If Kobe would take advantage of that opportunity, he might have reason to celebrate, even without winning a championship.
This is a guest blog by State Senator Howie Morales. If you'd like to submit a piece for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link at the upper left-hand corner of the page.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
The Fruit Does Not Fall Far From the Tree: Frank Maestas Memorial Scholarship Fundraiser
Click for photo album
This report is by Mary Ellen Broderick.
I attended a fundraiser last night for the Frank Maestas Memorial Scholarship that funds a New Mexico Highlands University scholarship for journalism students. Frank Maestas, the legendary New Mexico sports journalist who passed away in 2006, worked for the Albuquerque Journal until 1990, and was a graduate of Highlands University. During his 30-year career as a sports writer, Frank covered virtually all sports in New Mexico. He took great pride in writing and promoting New Mexico high school teams, the athletes and the coaches. Many of his articles brought pride and a sense of accomplishment to numerous New Mexico families. As his son Rep. Antonio "Moe" Maestas said, “His articles were the type Grandmas would hang on their refrigerators.”
Held at the Ladera Golf Course banquet room, the mood at benefit was very festive, with lots of storytelling about Frank and his adventures and accomplishments. Many of the attendees were athletes whom Frank had once written about, the most notable being Don Woods, running back for the San Diego Chargers in the early 1970s. He was named Rookie of the Year in 1974. Many friends, family and a few politicos were also in attendance. Frank's son Moe Maestas, as well as his sister, aunts and cousins, were all there to celebrate Frank's life and legacy.
The special guest was Steven Michael Quezada, comedian, actor and TV star. He plays Gomez in the hit show Breaking Bad, which is filmed in Albuquerque. He, too, praised Frank for what he did for the community, and then he broke into about 30 minutes of great standup comedy. It is so cool that Steven is a home boy -- helping to support young journalists and writers in the community. Quezada is known for giving back to the community in many ways, and he performs regularly at various benefits for good causes. If you ever see that he's performing somewhere, I highly recommend going to watch and laugh.
There was an active and fun raffle going throughout the evening, all kinds of baskets and dinner coupons, and of course sports memorabilia, being raffled off and offered in a silent auction.
The open mic segment really allowed me to learn more about Frank and appreciate his life. As one of the presenters said, “He was not bashful.” He hated to fly ... and would sit in the back of the plane because “he had never heard of a plane backing into a mountain.” Many folks shared sports-watching memories of him, including his habit of screaming at the TV. Frank's favorite teams were Notre Dame for college football, and the Yankees for baseball -- and he was very passionate about both of them. The 16th hole at Ladera golf course was named in his memory, and many people shared how they think of him there, and smile.
I want to thank Rep. Moe Maestas for inviting me to his late father’s scholarship event. I find it interesting to see how families evolve. Moe’s Uncle Roberto Maestas, who was a founder of El Centro de La Raza in Seattle and a leading advocate for social justice, passed away this past September. I picture Moe’s grandmother and grandfather bringing two courageous souls into the world, and instilling in them the value of giving back to the community. And then I see Rep. Moe Maestas continuing on with that tradition -- giving back to the community, trying to pass bills in the legislature that will make a real difference in people’s lives.
The fruit really does not fall far from the tree.
If you care to donate to this scholarship fund: NMHU Foundation Box 9000, Las Vegas, NM 87701; for Frank Maestas Scholarship Fund.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
4/23: Join Lt. Gov. Candidate Lawrence Rael for a Day of Golf
From Lawrence Rael for Lt. Governor Campaign:
Please join Lawrence Rael, candidate for Lt. Governor, for a day of golf on Friday, April 23, 2010 at Santa Ana Golf Club. At 10:30, Registration and Practice Range Opens; at 12:00 Noon, Shotgun Start; at 5:30 PM, Awards Ceremony Reception at Prairie Star, Santa Ana Golf Club. Learn more or sign-Up today at 505.216.6853 or [email protected]
Monday, April 05, 2010
Stephen Jones: Another Opening Day
This is a post by contributing writer, Stephen Jones, who is a progressive political activist and a resident of Las Cruces, New Mexico.
I’m not much of a sports fan, generally, with one exception, that exception being baseball. Like many of us, I grew up with baseball in my veins. I love the rhythm of the game, the green grass of the field, the lack of a time clock, and the connections to the past that the game offers. “I see great things in baseball,” Walt Whitman wrote in the years following the Civil War. “It will take our people out-of-doors, fill them with oxygen, give them a larger physical stoicism, tend to relieve us from being a nervous, dyspeptic set, repair those losses and be a blessing to us.” On opening day anything seems possible. At times, anything has been possible.
Branch Rickey was someone who also grew up with baseball in his veins. Rickey grew up in a typical rural community. An Ohio farm boy and the second of three sons, Rickey earned enough money to put himself through college by working odd jobs and playing baseball for some of the nearby semi-professional baseball teams that kept most American communities entertained in the days before radio and television. Eventually he would become a country teacher, then, as a graduate at Ohio Wesleyan College, an assistant teacher; eventually he would earn a law degree, but his heart was always with baseball. So Rickey took on the coaching job for the Ohio Wesleyan College baseball team.
On a spring day in 1904 the Ohio Wesleyan team, on a road trip, attempted to check into a South Bend, Indiana hotel. The clerk refused to allow the team catcher, Charlie Thomas, who was African American, to register. After arguing with the clerk, Rickey finally convinced the hotel to allow Thomas to sleep on a cot in Rickey’s own room.
After making sure the rest of his players were checked into their rooms and settled, Rickey went to his own room and found Charlie Thomas balled up in corner sobbing. “A day has never passed for me,” Rickey said forty years later, “when I haven’t heard that young man crying.” For four decades Branch Rickey waited, determined to do something about it. That opportunity came when Rickey became General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1946 he would sign Jackie Robinson to a major league baseball contract.
Jackie Robinson, who grew up in Pasadena, California, was an accomplished college athlete. Drafted into the military in 1942, he was assigned to a segregated Army unit in Kansas where he applied for Officer Candidate School (OCR). After several months of unreasonable delay he joined in an appeal, along with boxer Joe Louis, who was also stationed in Kansas, to the Secretary of the War. After the direct intervention of Franklin Roosevelt’s cabinet officer, Robinson was admitted to OCS. After finishing OCS, Robinson was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1943 and reassigned to Fort Hood, Texas.
At Fort Hood Robinson, ran into trouble after he failed to join a segregated Army bus line, and refused to sit at the back of the bus. For his insubordination he was court-marshaled. After Robinson refused to plead guilty to a lesser charge, a panel of nine white officers acquitted him. He was given an honorable discharge.
At the end of the war, in order to earn some money, Robinson signed on to the Kansas City Monarchs, a Negro Leagues baseball team, where he played shortstop for a season. It was at Kansas City that he gained the attention of Branch Rickey, who summoned him to Brooklyn.
On opening day in 1947 Jackie Robinson entered the field at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field in a Dodger uniform, standing alone, with the crushing weight of American history on his shoulders.
For Branch Rickey, signing Robinson was a gamble, of course, but also a statement of his values. For Robinson, Rickey’s baseball contract was only an opportunity. “I never had it made, but I had to try,” Jackie Robinson wrote. On opening day in 1947 Robinson and Rickey succeeded in changing history.
Most of us think of history as something which is made exclusively by elected officials, journalists, judges or the captains of industry. In fact history is made by average people like ourselves; sometimes by a veteran named Robinson and a farm boy named Rickey.
Every spring I look forward to opening day. I think of it as something of an un-official American holiday. A day when every team and every player is equal under the sun, and anything seems possible, just like it was in 1947.
To read more posts by Stephen Jones, visit our archive.
Monday, February 01, 2010
Hoops for Hope Legislative Basketball Game Nets $10,000+ for UNM Cancer Center
As I reported last week, the 2010 “Hoops for Hope” Legislative Basketball Game took place this past Friday to raise money for the fight against cancer in New Mexico. Turns out New Mexico House and Senate members helped raise an estimated $10,000-plus for the UNM Cancer Center.
The game was very close, but in the end, the New Mexico Senate team pulled ahead at the buzzer to win the game by 1 point, with a 43 (Senate) to 42 (House) victory. This is the first time the New Mexico Senate has won the competition (and legislative bragging rights) in the past 11 years. The Senate team wore University of New Mexico “Lobos” jerseys, while the House team wore New Mexico State University “Aggies” uniforms. Aggie fans, read it and weep.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Hoops Havoc Tonight: NM Lawmakers Revive Basketball Rivalry to Benefit UNM Cancer Center
Members of the New Mexico Senate and House of Representatives will “hit the hardwood” tonight, in the much-anticipated 2010 Annual Legislative Basketball Game. With the game billed as “Hoops 4 Hope,” players on the House team will be wearing New Mexico State University “Aggies” white home-team jerseys and the Senators will be suited up in the University of New Mexico “Lobos” cherry red away-team jerseys.
All proceeds from the event will go to the University of New Mexico Cancer Center, the State of New Mexico’s official cancer center based on the UNM campus in Albuquerque, which has a statewide cancer care network with outreach clinics in Las Cruces, Santa Fe and Farmington.
The Legislative Basketball Game allows New Mexico’s state Representatives and Senators the opportunity to leave policymaking in the Roundhouse and play basketball for a good cause. Due to the tremendous popularity of this event, the 2010 Annual Legislative Basketball Game will take place at a new location. On Friday, January 29, the game will be held at the St. Michael's High School gym, 100 Siringo Road, in Santa Fe. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 PM. Tickets cost $5.00 per person and may be purchased in advance by calling (505) 272-6744 or at the door the evening of the game.
“The UNM Cancer Center is thrilled to be the sponsor and recipient of the proceeds from the basketball game,” said Dr. Cheryl Willman, director and chief executive officer of the UNM Cancer Center in a statement released about the game. “Cancer is one of the leading causes of death for New Mexicans, second only to heart disease. In fact, based on a recent study, one in five people die annually from cancer in the state.” More than 8,800 New Mexicans will experience a life altering cancer diagnosis this year, according to statistics from The New Mexico Tumor Registry, housed at UNM Cancer Center.
A wood stove will be raffled off during the basketball game. The stove was refurbished and donated by Pete Bushman, a former patient at the UNM Cancer Center. Bushman, who lives in Espanola, was diagnosed with melanoma by his physician about two years ago and was referred to the UNM Cancer Center, which “saved my life,” said Bushman. He has donated the wood stove in gratitude for the treatment he received. The proceeds from the raffle will go to the UNM Cancer Center, and raffle tickets will be available at the game.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Guest Blog on BikeAbq's 'Can You See Us NOW' Ride: Pay Attention, Drivers
Can you see us NOW?
Every bicyclist or motorcyclist who has ever been in a collision with a car or truck, if conscious at the time, has heard these words, “But I didn’t see him (or her) officer.” Granted, bicycles and motorcycles are harder to see than, let’s say, a semi, but we’re not invisible.
I’m both a long-time motorcyclist and bicyclist. Although I’ve never been wrecked on my bicycle by a motor vehicle, I have had more than my share of collisions on motorcycles – and, as my scars are my proof, I have heard some version of that line every time some jerk runs a stop sign to ruin my life for the day or the next several months.
Whereas I have endless scars, a fused ankle, a messed up back and countless expensive hardware in my body; others have not been so lucky. I have had too many two-wheeling friends killed by careless drivers. If you’ve been riding either kind of bike for any length of time, I know you hear me and feel my pain. For the rest of you, take my word for it: You don’t want to hear, “But I didn’t see him officer,” as you or a loved one is being hauled into the ambulance.
With something like this in mind, a group of bicyclists met in the parking lot of High Desert Yoga at the corner of Jefferson and Copper NE Sunday afternoon.
Their message: Can you see us NOW? / PAY ATTENTION when you drive!
It was a beautiful day for a bike ride. Not too hot, not too cold, not too windy and not a cloud along the designated route.
In the crowd were world class racers, daily commuters, weekend warriors, friends and family of riders lost to collisions with motor vehicles, kids being pulled in trailers and a pouty teen-aged girl whose mom made her come.
We were all there to remember our fallen comrades, friends, family members, riding buddies, roommates and lovers – the 100 bicyclists who were taken from us too soon by motorists in the past 20 years. The event was organized by BikeAbq, an Albuquerque-based bicycling advocacy group.
Jennifer Buntz, an organizer for the event and long-time racer, lost her close friend and training partner, Paula Higgins, to a careless driver in 2006. Every time I spoke with Jennifer during the event, she seemed to be on the verge of tears. Just before I met Jennifer in 1985, she had been in a serious wreck with a car and I know this event meant a lot to her for more reasons than I could imagine – and she and Paula were REALLY close.
“We just want motorists to slow down and pay attention (to bicyclists) – even if sometimes it means waiting to pass (a bicyclist),” she said. “The people who have been taken from us makes it personal.”
John Vance and I (and Jennifer) had a close friend named John Dunn who everybody loved. He wasn’t a spectacular racer, but he had fun and he was fun to be around. We lost John in 1994 to a speeding motor vehicle driver.
Not too long before that crash, Vance gave Dunn a cycling jersey he picked up in England while visiting family.
“I’m wearing his jersey,” said Vance. “After his funeral they said we could take anything from his closet and I took the jersey I gave to him.”
John Vance is somewhat stoic, man in his mid-forties who doesn’t often express his feelings, but he was pretty choked up when talking about our long-dead friend.
“He was taken from us too early . . . . By all rights, this jersey should have been worn out and tossed by now,” he said.
The rag-tag peloton, if it could be properly called a peloton, stretched for blocks along Central Ave. going into Nob Hill from the East. It was made up of colorfully clad racers, cyclists dressed in street garb and cyclists dressed in far-out, designed to take notice of attire. Nearly all wore race numbers, with the names of those they’ve lost, on their backs. Jennifer wore her old friend’s race number from the Record Challenge Time Trail, an event Paula, and her husband Jerry Kiuttu, made nationally famous. Two weekends ago Jennifer raced in the event. It’s now called the Paula Higgins Memorial Record Challenge Time Trial.
Jennifer’s partner, Steve Mathias, rode in the event as the Ghost Rider – all in white symbolizing those who’ve passed on. Craig Degenhardt, BikeABQ President, rode a three-wheeler that carried a white bicycle.
Everyone had fun, but some were a little reserved in their fun – especially when the names of our fallen were read at Tiquex Park.
When I interviewed Jennifer there were a few things she wanted to make certain I got across to riders and motorists alike:
Our safety, be it car drivers or bicyclists, is up to all of us.
The most important thing is that we pay full attention when we drive.
The thing is that what the Can you see us NOW? crowd is asking of motorists will save their lives too.
So please pay attention when you drive. One second of inattentiveness is enough to get someone killed. That person could be a stranger you will remember for the rest of your life or you or someone you love.
This is a guest blog by Danny Hernandez. If you'd like to submit a piece for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link on the upper left-hand corner of the page.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Interior Dept. Launches Partnership with All-American Rhodes Scholar for Innovative Health Program at Indian Schools, Including Two in NM
Announcement today: Kevin Skenandore, Acting Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs; Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar; Football All-American and Rhodes Scholar Myron Rolle; Rep. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico; and Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Larry Echo-Hawk.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today was joined by college football All-American and Rhodes Scholar Myron Rolle to announce a new partnership that will introduce an innovative physical fitness and health program into Interior-funded American Indian schools. According to a statement released about the effort, two of the five schools in the initial program are in New Mexico: San Felipe Pueblo Elementary School (San Felipe Pueblo) and Isleta Elementary School (Albuquerque).
“Our objective in this initiative is to inspire American Indian and Native Alaskan students to live healthier lifestyles through exercise, outdoor activity, and proper nutrition,” Secretary Salazar said in the release. “The program developed by the Myron Rolle Foundation will celebrate the uniqueness of their heritage and identity in curriculum, develop trust amongst peers, train leaders and involve the community to ensure their needs are met.”
“The Bureau of Indian Education-funded schools are excited to participate in this initiative,” said the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk. “They look forward to implementing the innovative features of this program that encourages children and their families to incorporate physical fitness and healthy choices into their daily lives.”
“I am inspired by the way American Indian tribes have persevered and thrived, while retaining their cultural heritage and identity,” Rolle said. “There are, however, significant health concerns that challenge this population -- in particular diabetes and obesity. Through the Our Way to Health Program, our goal is to encourage and help American Indian children in middle school to begin managing not only their own diet and exercise but, hopefully by extension, influence the adults in their lives to also begin adopting healthy life style changes.”
Our Way to Health provides incentive-based learning experiences, team-building physical activities in the outdoors, health education and diabetes awareness sessions. Rolle initially developed the curriculum for American Indian fifth-graders at a charter school in Okeechobee, Florida, when he was working with the Seminole Tribe. Rolle was an All-American safety for Florida State University in 2008-2009, but has delayed entering the National Football League to pursue studies as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford.
Initially, Interior will expand the Our Way to Health program to five Bureau of Indian Education-funded schools. Besides the two in New Mexico, three schools in Arizona will participate: Hotevilla Bacavi Community School (Hotevilla), Tuba City Boarding School (Tuba City) and Keams Canyon Elementary School (Kearns Canyon). The program will begin this Fall at the five schools.
Features of the program include two visits to each school by Myron Rolle and a visit at the end of the semester to a National Football League or collegiate sporting event. The curriculum will allow the Bureau of Indian Education to reach students in a new and direct way. The program is competitive, fun, rewarding and will be tailored to meet each school’s individual needs.
Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education serves 42,000 students in 183 schools and dormitories across the country on 64 reservations in 23 states. The mission statement of BIE reflects its commitment to “manifest consideration of the whole person by taking into account the spiritual, mental, physical, and cultural aspects of the individual.”
Photo by Rick Lewis, NPS. Click on image for larger version.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Danny Hernandez Guest Blog: Can You See Us NOW?
This is a guest blog by Albuquerque's Danny Hernandez, who has been involved with local politics for many years, as well as serious bicycling.
Long before I became involved in local politics, I was an avid bicyclist and a bicycling advocate. In a word, I was a bicyclist.
What this meant then as it does now is that I was part of a tight-knit community that spent many hours together every week – about elbow to elbow fifty miles at a time together. On race weekends we often traveled in caravans and shared motels rooms. Many of us even lived together in bicycling households.
What this nearly daily interaction created was rich camaraderie that didn’t end even when some of us moved on.
At the time, most of my friends were “racers,” and we talked about racing, training, the latest wizbang equipment and occasionally about crashing.
It was not unusual for some of my friends, or me, to be roadrashed and bruised after a race or off-road training ride. Occasionally one of us would even break a collar-bone, a rib or a wrist. We all have glory days stories of that tree branch that jumped out of nowhere or that white stripe that became slippery in the rain.
You don’t get out of bicycle racing unscathed, but scars are one thing – losing friends is a totally different experience.
My mortality as a cyclist first hit me in 1994 when John Dunn; my friend, long-time riding buddy and former roommate; was killed on Singing Arrow on his way to train out in Tijeras Canyon. Although John was not the first cyclist I knew to be killed by a motorist, he was the first cyclist I knew really well who was killed by a motorist.
Not for the first or last time, our community was devastated.
If you have been riding for any time, you have your own tale to tell. If you don’t, consider yourself fortunate.
This Sunday, a bunch of us cyclists will be doing what we do in commemoration of the 100 New Mexican bicyclists who have been killed in crashes with motor vehicles in the past 20 years. Please join me this Sunday to say, “Enough is enough!” We don’t want to lose any more friends to careless motorists.
The ride starts at 4:00 p.m. at High Desert Yoga (Jefferson and Copper) and will slowly wind itself west to Tiguex Park in Old Town.
If you ride a bicycle and want to help us make a statement, please join us. for more information: www.nmcycling.org
This is a guest blog by Danny Hernandez. If you'd like to submit a piece for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link on the upper left-hand corner of the page.
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Photos of the Day: Ted Kennedy Tosses First Pitch at Fenway
Lookin' snappy. Senator Ted Kennedy threw the ceremonial opening pitch at the Boston Red Sox season opener at Fenway Park today, accompanied by much jubilation in the crowd. The Red Sox went on to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-3. The Kennedy family has a long relationship with the Red Sox going back to Ted's grandfather, former Boston Mayor John F. “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald, who also served two terms in the U.S. House. Honey Fitz and a friend started the first Red Sox fan club, the Royal Rooters, in a Roxbury bar called The 3rd Base Saloon.