6:30 p.m. July 29, 2004
Cooper County Emergency Operations Center
White, Andrew Melendez, Janie Houf, Mayor Danielle Blanck, Jamie Thomson, Dr.
Christina Vasquez Case, Tom White, Art Schneider and Alfredo Jimenez.
September 16 Festival of Lights: Art reported he had been contacted by Roz Gordon and Marty Wimmer, co chairs of the Downtown Retail Festival, after they read the Boonville Daily News article on consideration being given to a Latino Night (Independence Day celebration Sept. 16. That is a night that they have designated agricultural Night. Art invited them to attend this evening's meeting.
Their concerns were that the agricultural focus already has been selected, that the agricultural community would be sensitive to Latino participation and not be receptive, and a concern that if a concert was part of the evening it would attract and hold potential customers. Events the retailers schedule are typically short so that customers visit several retail outlets in an evening. Art had suggested that if Del Alma was hired for the event, it could be scheduled to start at 8 p.m. The festival starts at 6 p.m. and concludes at 8 p.m. so this might be a draw for people near the end of the festival and it also might encourage older youth to attend. He noted the Mo-River.Net intern, when told of the possibility, cheerfully expressed “awesome” at having such a group. The youth, a senior at Boonville High school, suggested that there is a deficiency of experiences available for older youth during the Festival of Lights. Art had contacted Alfredo and Del Alma would consider playing for $600.
The mayor suggested that she has not found prejudicial attitudes toward Latinos. Art volunteered that the negative impact in agriculture by NAFTA has been on the Mexican farmer.
The mayor has contacted the Isle of Capri and it would be willing to prepare 200 small food samples as part of the evening and LaHacienda has expressed an interest in participating. The mayor thought that a Latino booth with the small food samples and a display for Latino countries would be sufficient. She noted that one of our objectives is to create understanding of the traditions and lifestyles and beliefs of people from Latino countries.
Art reported that he has not heard from the Latin student association, just the Brazilian, and that it is interested. He suggested there might be a need for several booths.
Tom mentioned that the county health nurse was planning a program September 9 and food was to be associated with it and that the downtown merchants were concerned. There are restaurants downtown and four or so outdoor food sale booths are permitted. They are spaced to encourage movement of pedestrian traffic.
Janie joined the mayor’s comments that cultural awareness and understanding benefited by contact with authentic Hispanics and foods.
The mayor added that food draws people.
Alfredo was asked about various schedules for the band, perhaps starting at 5 p.m. for an hour and then again at 8 p.m. He noted that one of the band members is on the faculty in St. Louis and starting early may be a problem. He also noted that it is important to be able to have a firm time and date because band members have daytime jobs and they need to make arrangements to be able to play. He is willing to be flexible. He would need to have a definite “go” or “no go” by Mid-August.
Several project members believed it important that young children be able to enjoy the band and see the booth(s). Thursday being a school night also mitigated against having the band start at 8 p. m. and conclude at 10 p. m.
Art reminded everyone that the project had no budget. Andy suggested that each person contribute $100 to bring Del Alma. That would leave $300 for future programming. Following a period of silence, it was suggested that another alternative be found.
Andy said he would see if the Thrivent Society with the Lutheran Church and Immanuel Lutheran would donate a total of $500 or so toward the band cost. Art suggested that $100 could be found to make up the difference.
Members who have attended the Festival said that most customers leave between 7:15 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. It was suggested that since the Sept. 16 date already has been designated for agriculture, perhaps another night be more suitable.
The mayor suggested a different time frame be considered. The city currently is working through a collaboration to put together a master list of events. She suggested there are times of the year in which few other activities are happening and that such a time could better promote the event. She suggested that Lesley and David Oswald might make Turner Hall available for a reasonable amount. The hall has a stage, a large floor suitable for dancing, and side porticos suitable for booths, She suggested this would allow time to seek support funds and that food also could be sold. Art suggested a free will offering. Andy said those can be effective if a person is present at the offering dish when patrons come in.
Consensus to scrub Sept. 16 and look at a date in January that does not conflict with M. U. basketball or the Super Bowl playoffs. Art will notify the Brazilian student group. There was some concern that Latino students at M. U. may be on winter break in this period. Art also will check this.
Brochure: Art distributed the brochure designed by Raquel. Per the last meeting, some information was deleted because of changes and some new materials added. Chris Angelo prepared the changes in Spanish. They were cut and pasted into the brochure.
Christina said that in her dissertation she suggested that materials have an English/Spanish translation and not just be one language. This would facilitate English as sole language speakers learning some Spanish and Spanish primary language speakers learning English.
Strong consensus this should be done.
Discussion how to do this (half booklet in English, half in Spanish, alternating pages?). Consensus to do alternating pages. Art has the English version at his office. For the additions and updates, he will contact Raquel for the English translations.
Latino/Hispanic employees locally: Art distributed a sheet of local major employers contacted. Having no Latino employees were Isle of Capri, Cooper County Memorial Hospital, Nordyne. Fuqua now has 22 Latino employees—more than double the number of a few months ago, Missouri Pacific Lumber in Fayette has three, LaHacienda has ten Latino employees. Information was not available from Huffstutter (which typically has quite a substantial number of migrants, but may have some permanent Latino employees) or from Caterpillar.
ESL: Earlier the mayor had contacted Fuqua about offering English As Second Language (ESL) at the plant. The company is agreeable. This month Janie has followed up. She has successfully had classes for Latinos and Chinese this past two years. (She also attended Cambio de Coloris in St. Louis at her own expense and is strongly committed as a volunteer to this program.) Janie said that the increase in numbers would be considered in offering a class or classes this fall. She is looking at an October startup.
Mayor Blanck noted that while the city is without an administrator, her time is substantially limited. In February or thereabouts she would be available to assist in ESL. Her speaking Spanish would be an additional asset.
Janie has been able to secure funds for ESL books if participants are unable to purchase them. At past meetings there has been the suggestion that participants, if possible, should pay a portion of the cost. This will be discussed in more detail at upcoming meetings.
KUDOS to one of our own: At this point the record is to show that the project group congratulates Christina Vasquez Case on completion of her doctorate in rural sociology, She is currently hoping to find a position in central Missouri. We will talk with her about putting the dissertation on Mo-River.Net.
Sister City: Christina reported that her contact in Mexico is married to a teacher. She believed the teacher was fulltime, but actually is a substitute. In Mexico, substitutes sign one-month contracts with a school, so a substitute could be at a different school each month and this would not be able to provide continuity.
She is working on another contact in Tabasco, Mexico, who received a Ph.D. from M. U. and works for a private business. That individual’s wife may have a school linkage.
Christina suggested that the project consider Centro Latino in Columbia for a “sister city community” contact. She noted that the Latino has several computers and Internet access. She said more than 25 children from elementary through middle school utilize the Centro.
Strong consensus that this is a wonderful idea. This computer pen-pal relationship offers enormous benefits at this stage of the project’s development.
1) The youth at Centro are from several countries, so Boonville children (possibly schools in the county outside Boonville) could be exposed to many different cultures.
2) It would not require translators.
3) No fee would be necessary.
4) The short distance would allow for people from each community to visit and perhaps have student exchanges.
5) It could be a valuable resource to local teachers.
6) It is doable!
Christina will follow up with Eduardo Crespi at Centro. It was suggested that Ss. Peter & Paul, David Barton, and LSE schools be contacted about this and that the project meet individually with each school at the end of the school day so teachers would not have to come to a night meeting. After discussion, it was agreed that the meetings with the teachers should take place after the first week of September. So much is going on at the very start of school that this would be more respectful of the teachers.
This will be on next month’s agenda.
Issues Forum: The mayor had done yeoman’s work. She contacted 14 people, Andy Melendez two and Art Schneider three. Three more from the original list are still to be contacted.
During discussion, it was suggested that representatives from the following churches also be contacted and asked to send a representative: Nelson Memorial United Methodist, First Baptist Church of Boonville, First Christian Church, Ss. Peter & Paul Catholic Church, Presbyterian Church, Mary Harris of United Church of Christ at Billingsville.
Janie Houf suggested Sherri Kempf, Extension Council representative to the regional extension council. She will contact Sherri.
Jamie Thompson said she would contact Janet Gant, the mayor of Otterville.
Not on the list but to be added are:
Alfredo Jimenez, Christina Case-Vasquez, Andy Melendez, Janie Houf, Raquel and oim White.
Art asked what mailings need to be made before the meeting and also what materials are required, e.g. the booklet. Jamie said the summary sheet that listed the three perspectives should be sent. This will be mailed the first week of September (after Labor Day).
She said the books cost $3.95. They typically are handed out at the time. She did not believe these were essential. Art said his office might consider purchasing them, but if so, he would view them as “on loan.” Jamie will check with M. U, campus people.
The mayor suggested that books be brought to the meeting and sold. Art raised the issue that this would mean the books would need to be purchased to be available for sale. Jamie said she would bring a book to the next meeting.
Art asked what was need for the meeting site. Jamie said a television. Andy said only a small television was available. Tom White volunteered to bring the Emergency Operations Center projector.
Next meeting site and time: This meeting started at 6:30 p.m. Past meetings started at LaHacienda at 5:30. But the size of the group, limited space and the noise at that site made it difficult to conduct business. Some members expressed wish to have a light meal and start at 5:30 p.m. so they could be home by 7 p.m. or shortly thereafter (or o to another meeting that night).
Art mentioned there is a small meeting room August 26 at Taylor Bakery. The bakery officially closes at 5:30 p. m. but the owner said she stays until 7:30 p.m. for clean up and preparation for the next morning's business. Supper would be light, but also inexpensive.
Concurrence for Art to check on this. If it is not available, the meeting will be at the Emergency Operations Center. Meeting set for 5:30 p.m. August 26.
Best to the mayor: Agreement to wish the mayor well on her one month sojourn to the land down under.
CONFIRMED: NEXT MEETING AT 5:30 P.M. August 26, Taylor Bakery, 519 East Morgan.
Meeting adjourned at 7:57 p.m. by order of the mayor.