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Raton lays the foundation today for a sustainable future



October 19, 2016 by Colette M. Armijo Jessica Barfield, associate director of distance education; Liz La France, sustainability partner; and Erica Meadows, juvenile probation officer; share a light moment before the formal part of last Friday’s open house. Photo by Colette M. Armijo.RATON — On Friday, October 14, Raton’s Center for Sustainable Community hosted an open house for members of the public to become familiar with the premises, the courses being offered, and to meet the people who work together to make this all possible. The center’s mission is to provide leadership, build partnerships and enable the innovation necessary to re-establish local food and energy production. It also aims to strengthen educational systems, create new housing, and establish place making in our regional communities. The center will offer distance education classes in collaboration with Santa Fe Community College and Eastern New Mexico University, as well as various community education courses. In 1997, North Eastern New Mexico Educational Foundation (NENMEF) was incorporated with the purpose of providing higher education to adults in rural north eastern New Mexico. Through NENMEF, several persons obtained their associates, bachelors, and masters degrees. In 2008, the facility was given to Highlands University, which subsequently left Raton in 2015. Since then, NEMNEF has worked diligently to retrieve the building and revamp its offerings. What was the Learning Center is now the Center for Sustainable Community, to lead the community toward sustainability, food security, and energy independence all whilst bringing educational resources to the public. NENMEF’s board of directors bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the center. Janet Iacobelli (president and chairperson), Joann Sonchar (director), David Spradlin (director and secretary) and John Davidson (executive director and co-founder of NENMEF) have all served on the board since its inception in 1997. Linde Schuster (director), Shawn Lerch (director) and Kristie Valerio-Medina (director and vice-president) were appointed in 2015 to bring new energy to the future vision of the center. Should you or anyone you know be interested in reaching out to the Center for Sustainable Community, they are located at 130 Park Avenue in Raton and can be contacted via email info@sustainraton.org or phone 575-245-9000. Their website www.sustainraton.org has a great deal of invaluable information and their facebook page The Center for Sustainable Community is an excellent way to keep up with their day to day activities.

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