Convo Starters: What Las Crucens are Talking About Right Now

October 11, 2017 pixelmark

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Avenue L: The Newest Art Corridor

While Downtown Las Cruces has long been the city’s centerpiece arts corridor and home to the monthly First Friday Downtown Art Ramble, a collection of businesses and galleries along Lohman Avenue hope to add to the city’s ever-growing arts community through a partnership called Avenue L.

On the third Friday of each month, beginning September 15, a cluster of businesses centered around Arroyo Plaza (2001 Lohman Ave.)—Big Picture Digital Image Experts and the Gallery at Big Picture, NMCO Media and MDC Computers, Picture Frame Factory Outlet and Gallery, and Wild Birds Unlimited— will host joint artists’ receptions and exciting new exhibits from some of the area’s best visual artists.

Avenue L logo“NMCO media has always been very involved with the arts in Las Cruces,” notes NMCO’s Christina Ballew. “We expanded our offices in the Arroyo Plaza last year, and from the beginning, thought it would be great if there was a sense of community in this area. Luckily, Jim Turrentine from the Big Picture moved in next door! He has taken his experience and passion with the downtown Art Ramble and put Avenue L in motion.”

Jim, Christina, and Lucky Gonzales, also of NMCO Media, hope Avenue L will be a boon for the local arts community. “I hope that artists will feel like they have more options and opportunity to display their work,” Christina explains. “I really advocate for anybody that is trying to encourage art economy here, it’s challenging. But we need it and if we all work together we can give the community multiple experiences with Las Cruces artists.” –Zak Hansen

The Gallery At Big Picture

Nmco Media

Picture Frame Factory Outlet And Gallery

Wild Bird’s Unlimited

Save the Sheep!

In March 2013, the New Mexico State Legislature declared our native New Mexico Dahl sheep the only state recognized Heritage Live Stock Breed. This regal cross between Rocky Mountain Bighorn and Francisco Vasquez de Coronado’s hair sheep of 1540 went feral and clung to survival for almost five centuries in the High Sierras. On the brink of extinction, these animals are making a gradual comeback with the help of museums like the historic Gutierrez Hubble House museum ( dahlsheep) in Albuquerque, which built a permanent exhibit for these majestic animals.

Historical and culturally astute ranchers, like Donald Chavez y Gilbert of Terra Patre Farms ( in Belen, are also helping with the efforts. “I am almost seventy years old and need all the help I can get to assure there are enough breeders to guarantee these heritage sheep will not go extinct,” he says. The farm has been in Donald’s family since 1740, and he now runs it in the tradition of his ancestors, taking special steps to make it available to the community and local schools as a teaching farm. The long-term plan is to place the farm in a perpetual trust as a Spanish Colonial Heritage Park dedicated to teaching generations of New Mexicans about how the Old West began and how the first cowboys and ranchers lived.

3 images of sheep side by side

For the People, By the People

New Radio Station Reflects the “Voices in the Community”

KTAL4 two men sitting at a radio stationKTAL-LP Community Radio Station at 101.5 FM is on its way to becoming Las Cruces’ first public radio station for the people and by the people. Its call letters are pronounced “Quetal,” which means, “How’s it going?” in Spanish. KTAL has a mission: “We want to be reflecting the issues in the community and we want to be reflecting the voices in the community,” Board Chairperson Nan Rubin says, pointing to what she calls the four “E”s: economy, education, environment and entertainment. “Those are the kinds of issues that cut across the community.”

Nan is enthusiastic about the current programming from 8am to 10am, Monday through Friday. Topics covered range from local politics and economics to health issues, cultural events and animals, all hosted by Las Crucens. And KTAL is open to suggestions for program ideas, on-air talent and community involvement. So preset your number 1 button to KTAL, at 101.5, and take Las Cruces everywhere you go through the magic of radio airwaves. –Susie Ouderkirk

Las Cruces Is A Community That Cares

Most Las Crucens are aware that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and that pink is its signature color. But did you know that October is also Liver Cancer Awareness Month (ribbon color: emerald green) and that November has been established to raise awareness about pancreatic (purple), stomach (periwinkle), and carcinoid (zebra stripe) cancers? Yoli Diaz, president and executive director of CARE Las Cruces ( explains, “So many of our community members are affected by cancer and there are so many forms of cancer out there that people just aren’t aware of. That’s where CARE comes in.”

Not only does the nonprofit organization aim to provide resources and general education on cancer, they also provide financial assistance to local cancer patients and their families for expenses going well beyond medical bills— think gas cards, lodging, and travel expenses incurred traveling to and from treatment.

CARE’s annual The Big Event…A Community that CAREs will take place this year from September 21 – 24, with a variety of events and entertainment scheduled throughout including a parade and a bike, run, and car show.

Read on to hear how this amazing organization is truly making an impact and then visit to see a full list of awareness months and ribbon colors and to read more about the experiences of Jaymee, Belsan, and Christa.

CARE’s annual The Big Event…A Community that CAREs will take place this year from September 21 – 24, with a variety of events and entertainment scheduled throughout including a parade and a bike, run, and car show.

young woman in green shirt sitting on a couchJaymee Fiskum
Diagnosis: Anaplastic Large T-cell Lymphoma
“I was diagnosed in 2013 with Anaplastic Large T-cell Lymphoma. I survived six rounds of chemo and received a stem cell transplant from my sister, Kaitlin, that saved my life. About a year later the cells from the transplant started attacking my body so I had to go back to Houston for over a year and now travel back there every three to six weeks. CARE helps us with the expenses. Traveling back and forth becomes very expensive, so it is nice to get help when we can.” –Jaymee Fiskum

man on his shirt and jeans standing by a treeBelsan Chavez
Diagnosis: Retroperitoneal Sarcoma (Rare Cancer of the Connective Tissues Covering the Abdominal Organs)
“Cancer is a terrible thing, and it is difficult to deal with. The hardest part is not knowing. You can go months without a diagnosis, or have a diagnosis and think everything is fine, but then that feeling is shattered. Having cancer brings on so many emotions you didn’t even know you had. You become a different person. All my friends offered me so much support. And of course Yoli at CARE really made a difference by helping with the bills as I was getting treatment in Phoenix. CARE is so awesome and life changing.”–Belsan Chavez

mom and her daughter looking at a distance smilingChrista Gabriel
Diagnosis: Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma (Thyroid Cancer)
It’s not uncommon for my family to travel two hours each way just to be there with me for a 45-minute appointment. My family and my husband’s family have been with me every step of the way, offering support in any way they can. The financial aid offered by CARE was a huge help too. Dealing with a cancer diagnosis is stressful all on its own, but then you compound that with the financial burdens and it can become a nightmare. CARE relieved some of that burden, allowing me to focus more energy on my well being. I was surprised to find that other communities don’t have organizations like CARE which recognizes that, after all the medical bills have piled up, there are still expenses in traveling to and from doctors’ appointments, hotel stays, meals, and making sure utility bills and mortgages are being paid. We are fortunate to have an organization like CARE in Doña Ana County.” –Christa Gabriel

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