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Patricio Lovato checks to see who won the race between him and Bernalillo Officer Tom Carter to see who would be fastest down the new slides in Athena Park. Close behind Lovato is Logan Lowe.
Photo credit: —Bill Diven

Town staff adds playground to Bernalillo park

~Bill Diven

Athena Park, on the east side of Bernalillo, continues to grow with the recent addition of playground equipment.

"Ten or 12 years ago this was just a bunch of weeds creating fire danger," town Councilor Dale Prairie said during the playground ribbon cutting. "Neighbors were complaining… The town stepped in and bought the property. We're going to have happier and healthier kids."

Town Public Works Department crews and other town staff were recognized during the ribbon cutting for their work installing the $35,000 in playground equipment, funded by a state grant. The shaded playground includes enclosed tube slides and a platform swing, compliant with the Americans with Disability Act.

"They transformed this patch of kind-of grass into a real park for kids," Mayor Jack Torres said adding about the swing, "I know it's a tiny thing, but it's a huge step in what we want to get done."

In developing the park over the years, the Eastern Sandoval Arroyo and Flood Control District lowered a section of it to act as a holding pond with buried drains to return water to the aquifer. Athena is the only park on the east side of the railroad tracks that divide the town.


“Drop sugary drinks!” project hits home

~E. Gary Gum, Clinical Services Director, Health and Wellness Department, San Felipe Pueblo

The Pueblo of San Felipe recently received a $30,000 grant from the Notah Begay III Foundation (NB3F) of Santa Ana Pueblo. This award will support the efforts of the Pueblo of San Felipe’s “Drop Sugary Drinks!” project.

Over the next ten months, the Pueblo of San Felipe will develop and conduct a community health assessment to understand the landscape of early childhood programs, policies, and systems to plan programs for childhood obesity reduction that incorporate the elimination of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs). The goal is to raise awareness of the long-term effects of SSBs and to inspire healthy habits and behaviors across all age groups.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, SSBs, such as soft drinks, fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweetened milk, or milk alternatives, and any other beverages to which sugar has been added, are the largest source of added sugar and an important contributor of calories in the U.S. diet. The Drop Sugary Drinks! Grant will invest in Native-led strategies to keep our children healthy, stated Olivia Roanhorse, director for NB3F’s Native Strong program.

Children are consuming nearly twice as many calories from sugary drinks today than they did thirty years ago. The high consumption of SSB’s has been linked to obesity and nutrition-related diseases. Native American children, in particular, have been disproportionately affected. This grant is focused on changing this trajectory by removing sugary beverages from our children’s diets and creating healthy habits for our children in their earliest years of life.


Stress-busting program for family caregivers

~Sharon Lynette Lewis

Do you provide care for a loved one with a chronic illness or disorder? You are not alone. Being a family caregiver is stressful and can lead to total exhaustion and burnout. If caregivers do not take care of themselves, their own health is put in danger.

The Stress-Busting Program for Family Caregivers provides education and support for family caregivers of people with chronic illness. The program teaches caregivers stress management strategies and ways to cope better with their lives. Join other family caregivers for a nine-week session, ninety minutes per week.

If you are interested in participating in the caregiver group or being trained to facilitate these groups, contact Sharon Lewis at 830-377-1484 or slewis2@unm.edu. Classes will start as soon as enough participants register in Placitas.

 
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