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  • Around the Neighborhood

    4th of July Fireworks at Ladera Golf Course

    On Saturday, July 4, 2020, the City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County will launch fireworks from four locations in celebration of Independence Day. As the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of large group events, including the City’s annual Freedom 4th celebration at Balloon Fiesta Park, local leaders developed a plan to stage some fireworks displays around the metro area so that people can enjoy the shows from their homes and neighborhoods. The four launch sites include: Ladera Golf Course, Los Altos Golf Course, North Domingo Baca Park, and Tom Tenorio Park.  The fireworks displays are all scheduled to launch at 9:20 p.m. (weather permitting) and will last approximately 15 minutes. A musical soundtrack will be simulcast on local Cumulus Media’s KKOB AM and FM stations.

    Each launch site will be closed to the public prior to and during the launch of the fireworks. City and County officials are urging people to enjoy the shows from their own homes and neighborhoods and to avoid any large gatherings. The Albuquerque Police Department, Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, City Metro Security Division, and City/County Parks & Recreation departments will have personnel at each launch site.  Street parking immediately around each site will be restricted before and during the event. The City will handle public safety issues at and around Ladera, Los Altos, and North Domingo Baca. Bernalillo County will handle public safety issues at Tom Tenorio.   Please call 768-5353 with any questions and/or concerns in advance of the event. In case of a true emergency during the event, please call 911. Other non-emergency public safety concerns can be directed to 242-COPS (City) or 798-7000 (County).

     

    Abandoned Shopping Carts 

    We have had many inquiries on abandoned shopping carts and who to call.   Abandoned Walmart carts may be reported directly to Walmart at 2550 Coors Blvd NW, (352-1870, press 0). Walmart uses a collection service to retrieve scattered carts. Report Home Depot and other carts to 311.  Remember to have the names of the cross streets at hand.

     

    Resources for Mental and Emotional Stress During COVID-19 and Beyond

    The COVID-19 public health pandemic has created not just a physical health concern, but extreme mental and emotional stress as well. There are many resources available for residents who are feeling the anxiety and fear that are so common right now, and that may continue post-COVID. If you or someone you know is having anxiety, or thoughts of self-injury or suicide, the New Mexico Crisis Access Hotline is available 24/7/365 and you can reach it by calling 1-855-662-7474.  You can also visit www.nmcrisisline.com for many other online resources.

     

    Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill in the Summer Months

    Summer heat is already upon us, and with the higher temperatures come higher utility bills. Whether you have a refrigerated air system or a swamp cooler, there are ways you can lower your electric bill and stay cool at the same time.

    • Turn off your A/C when you’re not at home, or at very least, keep it between 78F and 80F
    • Use a programmable thermostat so you can set it to turn on and off at specific times and for your comfort and convenience.
    • Check your home insulation and windows, and replace if possible. Air leakage is responsible for many high electric bills, so caulking and weather-stripping your doors and                   windows is always a good idea.
    • Clean and replace air conditioner vents every season. Replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%.
    • Use your ceiling fan. They are great at lowering heat up to 4%. If you don’t have a ceiling fan, consider having one installed.
    • Naturally reduce heat in your house by opening doors and windows at night. We are fortunate to live in a climate where, in summer months, our temperatures do tend to                  drop. If you feel safe doing so, consider leaving windows and doors open overnight to bring your house temperature down.
    • Keep drapes and blinds closed during the hottest part of the day.
    • For more resources on conserving electricity, visit: pnm.com

     

    Northwest Area Command Community Policing Council Meetings:

    Held the third Tuesday of every month at 6:00 PM. The meeting is at the Northwest Area Command Substation located at 10401 Cibola Loop, NW 87114 across from Cibola High School.

     

  • Outreach and Assistance Events

     

  • What’s Going on in Albuquerque

    Board of Ethics Seeks New Member and You Are Invited to Apply
    The City’s Board of Ethics has a vacancy and you are invited to apply. The position is appointed by the City Council. The Board of Ethics works in conjunction with the Office of the City Clerk in elections oversight to ensure compliance with election
    related laws, including the Election Code and the Open and Ethical Elections Code. To apply, visit: https://www.cabq.gov/clerk/boards-commissions/boards-and-commisions-membership-application

     

    New Mexico Resource Directory 

    SHARE New Mexico hosts New Mexico’s largest, most up-to-date and comprehensive Resource Directory for community resources and social services. From child care to senior services, education to housing and beyond, ShareNM’s Resource Directory helps you quickly find the resources you need.
    https://sharenm.org/nm-resources

     

    Albuquerque City Council President, Pat Davis wants to know if you would like to see the Albuquerque Police Department defunded.

    “If you look at APD’s budget, there are big chunks of their budget that don’t deal directly with 911 calls or investigating family disturbance or rape kits, lots of that work we have given to police because we didn’t have anywhere else to put it, so part of defunding police is taking those services out, like mental health services,” said City Council President Pat Davis.  Davis has posted a survey asking how you would want to restructure APD’s budget including if you would rather hire more officers or increase funding for community programs. It also asks which policies you would change to reduce the department’s budget including waiting longer for the police to respond to non-emergency calls.Critics responded online by saying
    it’s a bad idea in a city that has a crime problem. Councilors will review all the suggestions when they hold an APD budget hearing in July. To take the survey, click here.
    https://mailchi.mp/patforabq.com/lets-talk-about-blm-defund-the-police-what’s-next-for-abq?fbclid=IwAR02pMaeaBpubiam49wJXhrNtb-Wes4EuNHGvCWacW1ikuEzW21XYgjJKoc

    Census 2020 
    Are you stuck at home looking for something to do? Get Counted!  You can respond online, and it will take about 10 minutes.  It’s easy. It’s online. It’s important!
    https://2020census.gov/?cid=20003:2020%20census:sem.ga:p:dm:en:&utm_source=sem.ga&utm_medium=p&utm_campaign=dm:en&utm_content=20003&utm_term=2020%20census

     

    LearningExpress Library Offers Numerous Online Study and and Homework Resources
    LearningExpress Library is a great online resource that offers online tutoring, homework assistance in English and Spanish, test preparation, and career preparation for students of all ages!  Best of all, it’s free, all you need is a library card.
    Visit:www.learningexpresshub.com/productengine/LELIndex.html#/learningexpresslibrary/libraryhome?AuthToken=91614C7C-629D-4D6C-A8A2-8709C84561E0 to learn more!

     

  • Landscaping Tips

    Avoid water waste! Follow Time-of-Day Watering Restrictions from April 1 to Oct 31

    A lot of things have changed since last spring, but at least one thing is the same:  April 1 is still the date on which time-of-day watering rules go into effect for Water Authority customers in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County. That means sprinkler and spray irrigation is not allowed between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. from now until Oct. 31 in order to minimize losses to wind and evaporation.

    Using spray irrigation during the hottest, windiest part of the day is not efficient. Instead, water in the early morning or in the evening when it’s cooler. Another good way to avoid water waste is by troubleshooting your irrigation system on a regular basis to identify leaks and make sure water is directed properly to the plants. Follow these tips for a desert friendly yard:

    • For turf, follow the Water by the Numbers program and adjust your watering schedule as the season changes:  Two days per week in April and May, three days per week in the summer, and ramp down again in the fall.
    • Irrigate only when your plants need it, and water them deeply rather than too frequently.  Use a long screwdriver or soil probe to check soil moisture.
    • Add compost to your soil to increase moisture retention and boost soil fertility.
    • Mulch around plants to help retain moisture and reduce weeds.

    Grow strong and healthy trees by watering infrequently, to a depth of at least 24,” in a wide area around the tree’s canopy.  Many of our trees only need deep watering 1 -2 times per month (depending on the species and conditions).

    Water Conservation Phone Consultations:

    If you suspect you have an indoor leak, or if you have questions about your landscape and irrigation system, call our experienced staff for a free one-hour educational phone consultation. To sign up, visit https://rebates.abcwua.org/ or call 505-842-9287 and press option 4.

    Our staff will respond to your request and schedule a one-hour call between the hours of 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Monday – Friday.

    We will offer two types of educational phone calls:

    Indoor Leak Consultations consist of a full walk through, via telephone, on how to identify and repair leaks. We aim to educate you on the most effective method to check for leaks in your home. Topics include, but are not limited to:

    • How to read your meter
    • Identify and repair malfunctioning fixtures (tubs, faucets, toilets)
    • Identify and repair malfunctioning equipment (swamp coolers, water softeners, hot water heaters)
    • Finding underground leaks
    • Historical water use

    Landscape and Irrigation Consultations will answer many of your landscape and irrigation questions. We will also be able to troubleshoot specific situations and walk you through projects and offer advice and guidance where we can. Topics include, but are not limited to:

    • Irrigation scheduling and start-up
    • Maintaining and repairing broken irrigation systems (it’s easier than you might think!)
    • Plant identification and basic plant suggestions
    • Planting and irrigating edible landscapes, including vegetable gardens
    • Installing a drip system
    • The best way to water your trees (new or mature)
    • Plant health
    • Design strategies
    • Rainwater harvesting suggestions

    Spring Irrigation Startup:When do I start my irrigation system back up?

    Turn on your irrigation system after the last chance of freezing temperatures has passed (typically late March in the greater Albuquerque area, but possibly as late as mid-April). This will prevent damage to your irrigation system.

    1. Turn on your irrigation system. Then observe and listen.

    If you turned off the main valve for your irrigation system over the winter to prevent freezing, turn it back on slowly, only part way. Then wait a few minutes until the system is fully pressurized. If it is not leaking, turn it fully on.

    Caution: turning it too fast can create a water-hammer which could break pipes.

     

    Irrigation valve box with backflow preventers.

    • Check the backflow preventer for leaks by inspecting it and checking for wetness.
    • Open the valve box (it usually has a green cover) and make sure there is no water in the box itself. Look for leaks in the valves, connections, filters and pressure reducers.
    • Run each zone for several minutes (long enough to see every part of it up close). Walk along each irrigation system pipe and inspect all sprinkler, bubbler and/or drip zones.

     

    For sprinklers:

      • Look for signs of a leak, such as at the risers to the heads, the heads themselves, the emitter lines, or the pipes.
      • Look for heads not spraying correctly, such as spraying in the wrong direction, spraying too low, or other signs of breakage or misalignment. It is very common for them to go out of alignment when the system was turned off for the winter.

    Spray head with minor leak

     

    For drip and bubbler systems:

      • Look for missing emitters and/or bubblers. Emitters or bubblers may be hard to see due to plant coverage so listen carefully. Hearing a whooshing sound means an emitter or emitter line has blown off.

    Drip emitter

    1. Re-check the valve boxes again for water leaks now that the system has been on for testing.
    2. Perform any necessary repairs and re-check for leaks after repairs are complete.
    3. Set the timer.

    Typical Irrigation Timer

    The key to irrigation is to supply enough water to replace evaporative losses from the ground root areas and from the leaves or stems. Too much or too little water can harm your plantsIt is important that you set the timer correctly.

    • Follow the water recommendations guide to help you set your timer. Mixed zones like lawns and desert friendly landscapes are hard to water together. They usually need different run times. Large trees do not do as well being watered as if they were a lawn. Lawns have shallow roots (1” to 6” is typical) so usually need less water per application than trees with their deep roots (up to 24”). They require longer, deeper watering. Sign up for a FREE Efficient Irrigation Consultation at 505-289-3003 for help with your timer settings.
      • Do not confuse start times with zone numbers. Remember that every start time (4 am, 11 am, 5 pm….) on a program (A, B, C…) will run all your zones in series for the program you are running.
      • Attach a written copy of your schedule showing programs, zone number and corresponding location to the inside of your controller box.
      • Sprinkler heads or emitters vary greatly as to how much water comes out per minute. A slow watering head may need 2 to 4 times the watering time of traditional faster water delivery heads. For example, emitters can be as low as ½ gallon per hour but could be as high as 14 gallons per hour. The same watering time will not work for all zones or all emitter types.
      • Bubblers typically deliver 1 or 2 gallons per minute, compared to emitters that can be 1 or 2 gallons per hour. Many people over water when using bubblers for small plants. If you see pooling, run-off or recognize the flow is too fast, then replace the bubbler with a smaller one.
      • After watering, test to see if you provided enough, too little, or about right amount of water to the plants. Use a soil probe or a long screwdriver to test soil moisture. Push the screwdriver into the soil about an hour after you’ve watered your plants. It will go easily into moist soil. Mark and measure how far it went into the ground. That will tell you how deep you have watered that plant. Every yard is different, but once you figure out how long it takes your watering system to water to certain depths, you’ll be set.
      • If your controller is getting old, you would be wise to install an up to date one. There are lots of options. Some are “smart” controllers and can do many irrigation tasks well and can be operated from your phone or home computer, allowing you anywhere, anytime control. Check out the Irrigation Efficiency Rebates here to help you with the cost.
    1. Observe your irrigation system the first month of the season.

    We suggest the run times for the first few weeks should be during times of day where you can observe the operation of the system. When you are sure everything is running well, then you can have the system run at times you would not normally be observing. However, we suggest manually running the system zones for a few minutes every two months just to stay on top of any problems that may occur.

    Many homeowners want to put a lot of water on at the beginning of the year to make sure the dry roots from the winter get thoroughly soaked. This makes some sense for the first watering of the year. Once the roots are soaked, you can go to shorter run times and number of runs per week to adequately irrigate your plants.

    If you are uncertain about the any of the start-up tips, or need help, contact us for FREE Irrigation Efficiency Consultations at 505-289-3003. Or consider hiring a landscape contractor to help you get your system up and running correctly.

     

  • Bernalillo County Happenings

    Here’s the newest Bernalillo County Newsletter at a Glance chocked full of the latest updates on most every important topic currently of interest to Bernalillo County residents.

    https://www.bernco.gov/uploads/FileLinks/cf0b01bcdc304ceab82093a8cc0c6fac/BernCoAtAGlance_June11_2020.pdf

     

  • 311 is Here for You

    311 Customer Service Survey Invites Public Feedback

    Have you taken the 311 Customer Service Survey yet? This online survey offers you the chance to give feedback and share ideas for making the City’s 311 service more open, accessible and accountable to the community it serves. To take the survey, visit:https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/S8TKMZV

    311 Citizen Contact Center

    Information about the 311 Citizen Contact Center.

    The 311 Citizen Contact Center is a centralized call center for the City of Albuquerque. The 311 service is a single telephone number for all non-emergency City of Albuquerque inquiries and services.

    We answer questions and respond to requests for service.

    Hours

    Monday through Saturday – 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

    Sunday – 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Animal welfare calls and fixed bus times)

    How Can We Help?

    There are several ways the City of Albuquerque and 311 can answer questions or requests for service.

    Click here for website

     

    The new City website link to report abandoned vehicles.

        Report Abandoned Vehicles at: https://www.cabq.gov/report-abandoned-vehicles/report-abandoned-vehicles

     

  • Safety

    Sign Up for APD’s Security Camera Analytical Network! Does your home or business have a security camera? Register it with the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) Security Camera Analytical Network (SCAN) network at: www.cabq.gov/scan. Connecting your street-facing security camera to the SCAN network can help counter crime in your area and helps APD with visual surveillance and information in the event a crime was captured on camera.

     

     

  • Check out the latest Neighborhood Newsletters

    From the City, the County and APD - just go to our "Neighborhood News" page!
  • Archives

July 4 Fireworks Restriction Message From AFD

Thanks to our friends at Ladera Heights Neighborhood Association for the following information:

In anticipation of July 4th, the Albuquerque Fire Marshall’s Office has put together a flyer which they are distributing to all vendors who sell fireworks within Albuquerque city limits specifying the types of fireworks they are allowed to sell and penalties for selling illegal fireworks. That flyer is below.

2020Fireworks

The Fire Marshall’s Office has asked that you, as neighbors, also be vigilant about what types of fireworks you might buy, and if you observe any illegal fireworks around the City, please report them immediately using the ABQ311 web app at: https://www.cabq.gov/311/abq311/311-web-app.  You can also download the ABQ311 app to your smartphone and report illegal fireworks in that manner. NOTE: when reporting illegal fireworks, remember to enter the address where the illegal fireworks are being used and not your own address.

With the current public health order still restricting large gatherings, the City will not be hosting the annual Freedom 4th event at Balloon Fiesta Park this year, and it might be tempting to buy your own fireworks to use at home. But please also remember that many of them are illegal, as clarified on the attached flyer, and that setting off fireworks can not only be dangerous to you and your family, but can also cause extreme stress for those with post-traumatic stress, and also for pets and animals in your vicinity. As well, remember that we live in the desert and that drought conditions are always a consideration when using fireworks, so be sensible and use common sense.

NEIGHBORLY TIP OF THE WEEK: HELP ELDERLY NEIGHBORS!

A couple of weeks into the Corona Virus crisis, I received an email from membership chairman, Elmer Jackson. He said this is a wonderful neighborhood. Eight neighbors concerned for him, at his age, had offered to get supplies for him. The City of Albuquerque, Office of Neighborhood Coordination gives us ideas on ways we can help our seniors in the Neighborhood Weekly E-news Tuesday, March 9th, 2020.

“Do you have a neighbor who is elderly? Why not check on them and ask if there is anything you can do to help them out? Many senior citizens have difficulties with grocery shopping, taking out trash and recycle bins, pulling weeds or simply driving. You can help by taking out and putting back trash bins, delivering groceries, organizing other neighbors to help pull their weeds, and driving them to appointments.”

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ATMs are to modern people, as watering holes are to animals in the Serengeti. These are convenient places for predators to wait and attach. In the March 2020 The Communicator, the monthly newsletter from the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office we learn how to carefully approach our ATMs.

“Because of the variety of ATMs, the unique characteristics of each installation, and crime considerations at each location, no single formula can guarantee the security of ATMs.  Therefore, it is necessary for ATM customers to consider the environment around each ATM and various procedures for remaining safe when using an ATM.

Criminals select their victims and targets, focusing on the unaware or unprepared.  Criminals are also drawn to environmental conditions that enhance the opportunity to successfully  complete their crime. The attitude and demeanor you convey can have a tremendous effect on potential assailants. There are a number of things you can do to increase your personal             security and reduce your risk of becoming an ATM crime victim.

THE FOLLOWING CRIME PREVENTION TIPS CAN HELP MAKE THE USE OF ATM’S SAFER FOR EVERYONE:

WALK  purposefully and with confidence. Give the appearance that you are totally aware of your surroundings.

BE AWARE  of your environment and what is going on around you. Criminals tend to avoid people who have this type of demeanor.

PERFORM  mental exercises and plan out what you would do in different crime or personal security situations.

FOLLOW  your instincts. If you feel you are in danger, respond immediately. Remember that your personal safety is the top priority.

ATM SELECTION CONSIDERATIONS:

Whenever possible, select an ATM that is monitored or patrolled by a security officer.

Always watch for suspicious persons or activity around an ATM. Be aware of anyone sitting in a parked car in close proximity to or at a distance from the ATM location.

If you notice anything strange, leave and return some other time. Even if you have already started a transaction, cancel it and leave.

Maintain a small supply of deposit envelopes at home, in your car or office. Prepare all transaction paperwork prior to your arrival at the ATM site. This will minimize the amount of time spent at the ATM.

Maintain an awareness of your surroundings throughout the entire transaction. Do not become so involved with your transaction that you are not aware of changing conditions in the area.

Do not wear expensive jewelry or take other valuables to the ATM. This is an added incentive to an assailant.

If you get cash – put it away immediately. Do not stand at the ATM and count it.

Never accept offers of assistance with the ATM from strangers; ask the bank for help.

Never lend your ATM card to anyone; treat it as if it were cash or a credit card.

If you use a drive-up ATM, ensure your vehicle doors and windows are locked.

During evening hours consider taking a companion along, park close to the ATM in a well-lighted area and lock your car. If the lights around the ATM are not working properly, do not use it.

When leaving an ATM location make sure you are not being followed.  If you are being followed, drive immediately to a police, sheriff or fire station, crowded area, well-lighted location or open business. Flash your lights and sound your horn to bring attention to your situation and call 911.

If you are involved in a confrontation and the attacker is armed with a weapon and demands your money or valuables, GIVE IT TO THE SUSPECT. Do not resist, property may be recovered later or replaced.”

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NEW WATER AUTHORITY REBATES: EASY WAY TO BOOST YOUR LANDSAPE IRRIGATION EFFICIENCY

The Water Authority can help you plan and plant a beautiful yard. There website gives list of landscaping tips and well-adapted plants. Part of a beautiful yard is watering. Types of irrigation are also described on this website at http://www.505outside.com/ . The March 6th, 2020 Monthly Landscaping Newsletter, 505Outside, told us about rebates for new irrigation projects. The rebate forms are available on the website.

“Having a healthy and functional (and desert friendly) landscape is about making smart horticultural and irrigation decisions. Burqueños know that water conservation is a way of life — and an important responsibility in this beautiful high-desert region. By working together, we can continue to ensure a reliable water supply and keep Albuquerque landscapes colorful and beautiful.

Watering your yard efficiently is one of the best and easiest ways to conserve water. More importantly, proper watering will keep your plants healthy throughout the year. The trick is to give your plants enough water – but not too much. Fortunately, improvements in irrigation system technology are making it easier to do just that – and the Water Authority is rolling out new rebates in April to help you add the latest in irrigation tech:

WaterSense-labeled controllers allow watering schedules to better match plants’ water needs.

A WaterSense labeled controller can automatically or manually reduce watering times or the number of days when the system operates. That means less water is delivered to the plants during cooler months or when it has rained recently. As outdoor temperatures increase or rainfall decreases, WaterSense labeled controllers increase irrigation systems’ watering run times or schedule to compensate. Some of these controllers are equipped with smartphone friendly irrigation technology that allows the user to set watering times remotely. Replacing a standard irrigation timer with a WaterSense labeled irrigation controller can save up to 30% in outdoor watering. Customers can choose from a list of pre-qualified controllers.

Irrigation flow sensors measure the speed at which water travels through an irrigation system and sends that information to the Smart Irrigation Controller. This helps detect issues and conserves water. For example, if water is flowing at an unusually high rate (because of a line break or broken sprinkler), a flow sensor works with the controller to take corrective action. Such action could include stopping the water flow or sending alert messages to your device. Additionally, some flow sensors can quantify how much water is used in a landscape, making it easier to stick to a landscape water budget.

Pressure regulation devices increase the efficiency and performance of your sprinkler and drip system by reducing the water pressure to a set, optimal rate. This is important to improve water distribution uniformity and avoid underwatering or overwatering. The three most common pressure regulating devices are pressure reducing valves, flow control valves and pressure sustaining valves.

These devices provide pressure regulation at each individual spray head. The sprinkler body is the exterior shell that connects to the irrigation system piping and houses the spray nozzle that applies water on the landscape. WaterSense labeled spray sprinkler bodies with internal pressure regulation can reduce water waste by providing a consistent flow at the sprinkler nozzle. When the sprinkler body maintains pressure near its optimal operating pressure, the connected nozzle is better able to generate the right amount of water spray and coverage for more uniform distribution of water across the landscape. Customers can choose from a list of pre-qualified spray sprinkler bodies.”

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CYBER HARASSMENT SAFETY IS PART OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS

The end of a relationship could trigger unwanted behaviors, like cyber harassment. On Monday, October 24th, 2019, Albuquerque’s Office of Neighborhood Coordination gave us some safety suggestions for this kind of harassment in the Neighborhood Weekly E-news. As usual, please forward this blog to your family and friends that will find it useful.

“Breaking up is hard to do, as well all know, but can be dangerous for survivors of abusive relationships. Even if you’re able to physically leave the relationship, the abusive ex-partner can still cause harm online and using social media. As part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, here are some safety suggestions for avoiding and dealing with digital abuse:

Clearly tell your ex to stop harassing you, if you feel safe doing so. If you send a text message or an e-mail telling them to stop harassing you, keep a copy of your electronic communication and DO NOT respond to any messages they might send you afterward.

Save all electronic communications. You might want to delete them, but it’s better to save them somewhere safe online, either in another e-mail folder, or by keeping screenshots of text messages. Make sure the date and time are included in the saved messages.

Increase your online privacy. Set your social media profiles to the maximum privacy settings, change passwords, block or “unfriend” your ex, and don’t provide details of your social plans or whereabouts, such as checking in on Facebook or using apps like Foursquare.

If your ex is harassing you via e-mail, create a separate e-mail account with a difficult-to-guess password and only use it with people you trust.

Let people in your support system know you’re being harassed, and ask them to help by not “tagging” you on social media or otherwise mentioning your location online.

You can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and you can visit:  http://www.thehotline.org/help/tech-social-media-safety-2/ for more ideas about online safety.”

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TIPS FOR AVOIDING SCAMS

When it comes to scams research and time are our best friends. The City of Albuquerque, Office of Neighborhood Coordination’s Neighborhood Weekly E-news Tuesday, March 9th, 2020 gave us strategies to protect our finances.

“Don’t send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request, whether it comes as a text, a phone call or an e-mail.

Google a product name or company with words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam” if you receive a financial request.

Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see aren’t always real. If someone calls asking for money or personal information, hang up, or verify with family and friends.

Someone might call and ask you to pay in advance or send a fee for things like credit and loan offers, prizes or a job. Just hang up immediately. Don’t engage.

Con artists want you to make decisions in a hurry. They might threaten you and play on your fear. Slow down, check out the story, do an online search, talk to someone who might know. Before you give up your money or personal information, talk to someone you trust.

Consider how you pay for something. Credit cards are safest. Wiring money through Western Union or MoneyGram or using a reloadable or gift card is risky because it’s nearly impossible to get your money back. Using your debit card is the riskiest so avoid if possible.

If you answer the phone and hear a recorded sales pitch, hang up. These calls are illegal, and often the products are bogus.

Some companies use free trials to sign you up for products and bill you every month until you cancel. Before you agree to a free trial, research the company and read the cancellation policy.

For more information on consumer protection and avoiding scams, contact Karen Meyers, Director of the City’s Consumer financial Protection Initiative, at: kmeyers@cabq.gov .”

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TIPS FOR REDUCING SITTING TIME

Are you getting the exercise you need to stay healthy? Have our social distancing orders kept you from your regular exercise routines? My mother-in-law recently told me that her neighbor runs an hour a day without leaving the backyard. Even with social distancing, that sounds extreme on several levels. But, exercise is an important part of our lives. On Tuesday, February 4th, the City of Albuquerque, Office of Neighborhood Coordination’s Neighborhood Weekly E-news gave us ideas to keep us moving.

“Like many people, you may have a fairly sedentary job sitting behind a desk and staring a computer screen most of the time, or you may just sit a lot at home! Because sitting requires less energy than standing or moving, sitting for long periods of time can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol levels and back pain. Try these tips for being more active at work or home:

  • Set a timer/reminder every 30 minutes to take a break from sitting
  • Stand or pace as you talk on the phone
  • Take the stairs if possible
  • At your office, take a short walk after you eat lunch and try not to eat at your desk too often
  • Park far away from your office or from the store and walk
  • Stand and stretch when sitting for long periods at your computer
  • Schedule walking meetings with colleagues instead of the traditional conference table meeting
  • Get up to refill your water bottle every hour
  • Try to stand for a minimum of two hours per day and four hours for optimal health.”

And, for a chuckle: when I was organizing my office, we had to frequently contact another department by phone. We knew we were going to have an hour’s wait. So, my employee, Hank, would volunteer. Then, he would stand with his headset on and dance to the music. That’s a good memory for me. That music was horrible. He made lemonade from the lemons.

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SUICIDE AWARENESS IS KEY IN PREVENTION

With our current social distancing and stay at home orders, we are stuck watching the news. And, too much of the news these days could lead to depression. Even those of us not contemplating suicide could use these ideas to lift our moods. We encourage you to take a walk/safari around the neighborhood to stay fit and break out of a stressful routine. We can connect with friends and family through technology. (Find something to laugh about.) This article from the City of Albuquerque, Office of Neighborhood Coordination’s Neighborhood News of September 2019 gives us ideas on ways to keep our spirits up, as well as, those of our friends and family.

“You don’t need special training to help prevent suicide, and even simple actions of support can make a real difference… through a difficult time. For instance, asking how a” friend “is doing and really listening – shows you care.”

“Other thoughtful ways you can Be There include:

  • Calling an old friend to say hello
  • Sending a text to check in (for example, “Hey, we haven’t talked in a while … how are you?”)
  • Reaching out and sharing resources when you read a social media post that may indicate thoughts of suicide
  • Sharing positivity on social media. “

If you are concerned for the health of someone due to depression, call the AGORA Crisis Center at 505-277-3013 or visit the website at http://www.agoracares.org/ .

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Ways You Can Help Seniors In Our Community

See the list of items and places to drop off here:

Senior Affairs is collecting food and other necessities for distribution to seniors in
need such as shelf-stable food, toilet paper and personal hygiene items.
Items can be dropped of police substations in Albuquerque or at the Department of
Senior Affairs offices. A list of locations, addresses, phone numbers and items can be
found at cabq.gov/seniors.

Seniors are one of the populations most impacted by the outbreak of the novel
coronavirus (COVID-19) in New Mexico. Many are choosing to avoid stores
or other public locations to limit their exposure and many simply struggle to
afford necessary items. That’s why we are encouraging you to help seniors in
our community by donating needed items, money or your own time. Below are
some ways you can support the Department of Senior Affairs:
Donations of Items:
Senior Affairs is collecting food and other necessities for distribution to seniors
in need such as shelf-stable food, toilet paper and personal hygiene items.
Individuals and organizations that wish to support these efforts can drop off
items at police substations in Albuquerque or at the Department of Senior
Affairs offices. A list of locations, addresses, phone numbers and items can be
found at cabq.gov/seniors.
Encouragement:
Notes of encouragement to seniors are always welcome and can be included at
these distribution points or emailed to jenifergonzales@cabq.gov. Senior
Affairs Home-Delivered Meal program drivers will distribute these notes
to seniors when they receive their meal and they will be available at meal
locations, in addition to on our Facebook and Instagram pages: @cabqseniors.
Donations of Time or Money:
Organizations in the community that support seniors are also looking for
monetary donations and volunteers at this time. For example, Meals on Wheels
is looking for volunteer drivers who are under the age of 50 to help meet their
increase in demand. The Meals on Wheels service is a home delivered meal
program, similar to the Department of Senior Affairs Home-Delivered Meal
program.
For a list of partner organizations, visit cabq.gov/seniors.

311 Community Contact Center Committed to Improved Caller Experience, Better Results

Thank you to our friends at Ladera Heights Neighborhood Association for sharing the following information.  We hope you find it helpful and informative.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Jessie Damazyn | 505-259-0650

2/10/2020

311 Community Contact Center Committed to Improved Caller Experience, Better Results

Leaders outline challenges, progress at community information hub

 

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M — In front of a backdrop of 311 specialists taking calls from the public, City of Albuquerque leaders outlined steps they’ve taken to improve the service and additional targets for improvement in 2020.

 “311 is a problem-solving center: we answer questions for the public and use information the public gives us to get out there and fix issues,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “But it’s also had its challenges, some of which we have solved, and others we are working to solve to improve service for our residents.”

 “At its best, 311 makes government accessible and easy to navigate, improving quality of life for residents,” said Carrie Prothero, 311 Contact Center Division Manager. “When residents contact us, they don’t have to navigate the complicated system of who at the City does what and where. With one call they have the correct information or we’ve sent their request where it needs to go.”

 311 takes nearly 900,000 requests for service or questions per year through the call center, on mobile platforms like the OneABQ app, or online at www.cabq.gov/abq311. In 2018, the City added the convenience of using Amazon Alexa to contact 311. Representatives also attend dozens of events per year to interact in person.

In January of 2020, the most common calls were for bus information (17, 731), missed trash pickup or other solid waste (12,218), animal welfare (6,402), municipal development or street repair (2,363), and planning or code violations (1,515).

 311 sends service requests to departments by sending a case ticket. The department then fixes the problem and closes the ticket. Based on a high number of unresolved tickets when he took office, Mayor Tim Keller instituted a monthly reporting process of unresolved reports.

 The Mayor’s office prioritized getting departments to take action on unresolved issues or, in some cases, simply come into alignment by reporting completed work back to 311. In two years, unresolved tickets across the City have dropped by almost 90%. Those numbers are led by a 99% drop in Animal Welfare, part of a major turnaround in that department, a 93% drop in transit, and an 85% drop in Solid Waste.

 311 also closely tracks how long it takes to answer calls and the quality of calls, factors driven largely by staffing levels. This year the center has met its staffing goals for the first time since tracking began at the start of the Keller administration. 90% of calls are now answered within 30 seconds, and each agent has the capacity to focus fully on the quality of each call. Additionally, 311 has five Spanish speakers to eliminate language barriers to service.

 The City has examined the possibility of keeping the call center open around the clock. Staffing the center 24 hours a day, seven days a week would add about a half million dollars to the 311 budget. In the meantime, the One Albuquerque app makes it possible to get information and report issues 24 hours a day.

 “While we are excited about the progress we’ve been able to make in the last two years, we have also identified longer-term issues that we will continue to tackle, and that’s our focus moving forward,” said Brian Osterloh, whose Department of Technology and Innovation oversees the 311 systems.

Call Response Times

The 311 contact center is now fully staffed and on track to meet this service level for the 4th month in a row, something that has not been accomplished since 2015. Over the last few years, the City has added at least 10 new staff members to 311. The City decreased the time to hire at 311 from about 180 days to about 85 days, effectively giving 311 three additional full-time employees without adding budget.

 

Closing Out 311 Call

Handoffs to Third Parties. Callers to 311 are persistently frustrated when they find the City does not control the issue they are reporting. In the past, callers were referred to the outside agency that could help and the call was closed. While that may be appropriate in some cases, the public should be able to rely on the City to track some issues, like broken streetlights.

PNM owns streetlights in the oldest parts of town. With the conversion of City-owned lights to LED, a third-party provider named Citelum handles repairs. In the past, broken streetlight callers were told to call one of two secondary service providers. Now, 311 simplifies the process for residents by identifying right away whether it is a City or a PNM-owned light. They then send a ticket to the Department of Municipal Development (DMD) to take over the process of working with the responsible party. 

For City-owned lights, DMD routes the issue to Citelum and closes the ticket. Citelum then reports back monthly to DMD. We are developing a system wherein Citelum will report back immediately each time they fix a light.  For PNM-owned lights, DMD sends PNM a notice and then closes the ticket. There is no current system in place for PNM to report back to the City when a light is fixed, but the City is working on an MOU that would require lights reported to PNM be repaired within 72 hours.

Handoffs to Other Internal Systems. Over time the City implemented various systems across departments to manage work orders. There is a program called Chameleon for Animal Welfare, Posse for Planning, and Yardi for Parks and Recreation.

311 was closing tickets when the issue was referred to any one of these other systems. That led to an issue with calls showing as closed in the 311 system before the problem was actually fixed. To fix this, 311 worked with individual departments to connect, and sometimes create, interfaces between each of these other systems and our 311 system.

Just 10 days ago, the City integrated the Posse system used by the Planning Department, and now, requests that go to Planning stay open in both systems until it has been resolved. Once the ticket has been resolved at Planning, it is closed in both the Posse and 311 systems. 

Using Data to Drive Change

While the City’s goal is to respond to every resident’s issue as quickly as possible, each request that comes in is balanced against all the other ways City resources are being used. Using 311 data, decision-makers are identifying problems when they are on the rise and using that data to change how resources are used. When resources are limited, call center specialists can be clear about what residents can expect when they report an issue.

Missed Trash Pickups. Missed trash pickups are a frequent driver of 311 calls. Over 2,100 of the roughly 12,000 calls for Solid Waste were for missed trash pickups.  Based on data from 311, Solid Waste hired an extra staffer dedicated to managing missed trash pickups. In addition, 311 changed the script for missed trash pick-up calls, which ensures callers have an accurate expectation for when their missed trash pickup will be collected.

Homeless Camp Triage. Formerly, reports related to homelessness were universally routed to 242-COPS. Working closely with departments, 311 found it was more efficient to triage these calls based on location. Now, encampments on City property are routed to Family and Community Services’ (FCS) Outreach Coordinator. Debris under highways were once routed to the New Mexico Department of Transportation, but are now referred to Solid Waste.

This change made it clear the City needed more resources for encampment clean up. The Family & Community Services Department hired a full-time outreach manager for homeless encampments, which also helped ensure that people who are camping illegally are connected to services and shelter.

Cracked Streets. The City also receives dozens of calls per day about cracked streets, but does not have crew capacity to respond to each call in the moment. Instead, departments take a data-driven approach. When the crack is not in need of an immediate fix, DMD uses 311 data to help set priorities for its annual streets maintenance plan.

The City also changed the 311 script so the caller knows if their call is being addressed through the annual planning process.

Sharps. In analyzing unclosed tickets, the new administration found that multiple departments were specifically responsible for picking up sharps. By making Parks and Recreation the lead agency for sharps, the administration increased efficiency and accountability in an important public safety area.

Sharps calls also took a lot of time to respond to, because if they were reported in a location like a park, it would take a worker quite a bit of time to find and remove it. Now reports of sharps can be made through the One ABQ app, where you may also submit a photo of the location. That helps the City respond to those calls more quickly.

Abandoned Vehicles

Duplicate and ghost tickets, which refer to multiple calls on one issue, or calls on an issue that is resolved by the time a department goes out to check on it, are also consistent issues. This was especially a problem with abandoned vehicles. The Keller administration inherited a list of unresolved abandoned vehicle reports that numbered in the thousands, many of them several years old.

Abandoned vehicle calls must be verified in person. It quickly became evident that personally checking each of these old calls was not the best use of taxpayer time and money. In March of 2019, the City closed old outstanding tickets. Responders were then able to prioritize handling and closing the remaining tickets more efficiently. Since we closed the old cases, we have received over 3,000 new cases. As of February 5, 2020, only 467 of those cases remained.

A multi-department task force including DMD Security, Parking Enforcement, APD, and 311 is tackling the remaining backlog and managing new reports as they come in. Using a report generated by 311, the team compares cases to eliminate clear duplicates before sending inspectors out to the field. Of the 275 referrals for Abandoned Vehicles in January, 116 vehicles were tagged, and 14 were towed. Vehicles on public property are referred to the Abandoned Vehicle Unit, vehicles on private property are referred to code enforcement. The process to remove a vehicle from private property is considerably more time-intensive.

 Fourth of July

 In 2019, miscommunication between Albuquerque Fire and Rescue and 311 led to both department call centers being closed on the Fourth of July. While the 311 website and One ABQ app were still available, frustrated residents could not call in a report of illegal fireworks. That’s changing this year, as 311 will remain open and serve as the official point of contact for these non-emergency reports. In the event of a fire or other emergency, residents should, as always, call 911. And, as in many areas, the One ABQ app remains the most efficient way to make those reports when the technology is available.

  

As more trends demonstrating the needs of the community are revealed and the City continues to collaborate interdepartmentally and with community partners, 311 will continue to update and improve their practices in supporting all departments, divisions, and the public.

 

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JESSIE DAMAZYN

public information officer | mayor’s office

O 505.768.3029

m 505.259.0650

cabq.gov