Monday, February 4, 2019

Navigating the Immigrant's Path - A Conversation with an Immigration Attorney

So, how much do you really know about the immigrant's path?  What are the complex and confusing legal obstacles? Join us for an education on this vital topic.

Our featured speaker this month is Sylvia Ontaneda-Bernales, Esq, whose practice covers all aspects of immigration law for local, national, and international clients. A native of Peru, she has a broad understanding of the cultural, ethnic, and legal nuances of life in Latin America.  A lecturer as well as a print and broadcast journalist, Ms. Ontaneda-Bernales produced the highly acclaimed documentary "Making a Difference: A Celebration of Women in Politics" in honor of the 75th anniversary of women's suffrage. She is an active participant in local civic and political organizations, and she has garnered many awards for her legal and cultural activities. She is also the founder and manager of American Immigration & Mediation Services.    

Ms. Ontaneda-Bernales suggests that members submit questions to  prior to the meeting so that she can best address the interests of our members. During her presentation she will also address any additional questions.

Our meeting location is at the:

South Valleys Library.
15650 Wedge Pkwy
Reno, NV 89511
[see map at Our Next Events page of the South Washoe DEMS website] 

There is no admission charge.  Our meetings start at 5:30 p.m. with a social time where we serve light appetizers. Donations are welcome to cover the cost of appetizers. Please invite your friends as we welcome both new and long time members to our meetings. We look forward to seeing you!
Our monthly meeting date is the first MONDAY of the month. 
SAVE the DATE: Monday, March 4th for our next meeting at the South Valleys Library on Wedge Parkway.

To suggest future topics, please email Carol Cooke. 
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Notes from The Chair -
Here's Spittin' at You, Kid!

Okay, I admit it. I did it. It wasn't exactly one my proudest moments – unceremoniously spitting into a little tube – but curiosity trumped decorum. After all, once done and mailed off, I was on my way to learning all sorts of interesting information about my heritage. 

I am far from alone. 23andMe claims over 5 million customers. recently touted they had surpassed 10 million users. And these are just two of a growing list of companies that offer DNA analysis services. Demand continues to grow. Apparently, we are obsessed with learning about our personal heritage and ethnicity. 

Why? Perhaps because we are a nation of immigrants. Unless your spit reveals the infinitesimally small probability that you are 100% Native American, your ancestors came from a foreign shore in search of a better life for themselves and – well, YOU. 

So, here's the irony. Why are we, the heirs of immigrants, so interested in reveling in the origin and journey of our ancestors, while denigrating those who seek to emulate them? Have we forgotten that our country's first emigres were people fleeing to escape religious and social persecution? Perhaps our own grandparents or parents were seeking safety, security, or simply better personal, professional and economic opportunities? Fact is, the door was open for them. Why does there seem to be so much backlash now?

Some might say, "Well our ancestors came here legally." That's probably true. But times are different. Have policies changed? Is it harder now? How difficult is the process today? How many immigrants apply? How many are accepted? How does immigration affect us – positively or negatively? This meeting's guest speaker can answer those questions and many more. In fact, you can actually submit questions on this topic in advance, if you wish (see above section).

Immigration is a hot-button issue right now. And while it helps to be reminded of our own immigrant past, we need answers to more than just 'Where did my ancestors come from?' Join us on Monday, February 4th for a fascinating, informative discussion about today's immigrants. 

Good news: no tube-spitting required.     

                                                                   ~ Barbara Twitchell, SWD Chairperson

Coming in March: South Washoe DEMS Annual Leadership Elections

It's almost time to elect our leadership for the next year, April 2019 – March 2020. At our next meeting on Monday, February 4th, our elections officer, Marissa Morningstaur, will present a Slate of Officers and take any nominations from the floor.

The elected positions are:
  • Chair
  • Vice-Chair
  • Secretary-Treasurer
  • Communications Coordinator
  • Program Coordinator
We are always looking for new leadership.  For more information about the duties of the positions, see our South Washoe DEMS website/By Laws section, Section III or contact anyone on the Steering Committee. All South Washoe DEMS members attending the March meeting will vote on the completed slate to choose our new 2019-2020 officers.  

If you would like to run for any of the elected positions please contact our elections officer, Marissa Morningstaur, to be added to the slate. These positions may be co-positions, so if job-sharing appeals to you, then let Marissa know. Marissa may be reached via email or cell phone: 541-610-8513 (will accept text messages).

Congratulations to the South Washoe DEMS: 
2018 Accomplishments  

The South Washoe DEMS enjoyed continued success in supporting our mission "to advance the goals of the Democratic Party of Washoe County within the community in the southern areas of Washoe County." See our list of 2018 Accomplishments in the South Washoe DEMS website, section What We Have Done, What We Did in 2018 tab. While there, you can see the accomplishments for each year since 2011. We sincerely appreciate your involvement - YOU make a difference!

News from the WashoeDEMS 

NV Electronic Legislative Information System ("NELIS") Training 
The 80th Nevada Legislative session begins on February 4, 2019. Learn how to navigate the NV Legislative website to track bill drafts, bills, committee hearings and reports. The training will be beneficial to all citizens and particularly to those who are planning to be citizen lobbyists. Amber Joiner, former Assemblywoman from AD 24 and UNR professor, will conduct the training on January 29th. Larry Jackson, former NV Dems executive Board member from Churchill County, will conduct the training on January 30th. Participation is encouraged, especially now with our historic majority in both the Senate and Assembly and a Democratic governor!

Training sessions will be held at WashoeDEMS Headquarters, 1465 Terminal Way Suite #1 Reno, NV 89502:
January 29, 2019,  6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
January 30, 2019,  Noon - 1:00 pm
January 30, 2019,  6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Democratic Toastmasters Club Forming - Demo meeting on January 31st
If you are interested in improving your public speaking skills and in helping elect Democrats in 2020, come learn about forming a Democratic Toastmasters club. A Demo Toastmasters meeting led by a regional division director for Toastmasters, Tina Machado, has been scheduled on Thursday, January 31. The meeting will include both a detailed discussion on chartering a new club and the Toastmasters training.

 Date:  Thursday, January 31, 2019
 Time:  6:00 pm
 Location:  Washoe DEMS Headquarters
 1465 Terminal Way, Suite 100
 Reno, NV
 RSVP:  Sarah Mahler

If you are interested but unable to attend, you can contact Tina with questions by phone or email at 530-308-4083 or

WashoeDEMS Annual Crab Feed

The annual "Crabbing with Democrats" event is February 23, 2019!
Although limited time will be allocated for speeches by local officials and candidates, this evening's emphasis is for socializing with fellow Democrats while enjoying Dungeness crabs, Veggie Lasagna, Garlic Bread, Salad and Dessert . There will also be a raffle/silent auction during the evening. 

Event Details:
 Date  Saturday, February 23, 2019
 Time  Doors open at 5:00 PM, Dinner at 6:00 PM
 Location  City of Sparks Parks and Recreation Department
 98 Richards Way
 Sparks, NV
 Pricing  $75/person or $600 for an 8-person table
 Extras  Beer and wine for purchase
 Raffle/silent auction
 Purchase Tickets  Online
 Mail or drop off your check, payable to
 Democratic Party of Washoe County
 1465 Terminal Way, Ste. 1
 Reno, NV 89502 
 Attn: Lisa Haughn, DPWC Treasurer
 Questions     /Information  Washoe Dems office: 775-323-8683
 ~or ~
 Wendy Jauregui-Jackins, DPWC 2nd Vice Chair, at 775-544-2363


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South Washoe DEMS Book Club
February 7, 2019

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, February 7, 2019 at 6:00 pm hosted by Joyce Destefanis and Dave Penning. Their home is located in the Saddlehorn community at 14210 Powder River Court (from Thomas Creek Road, turn west onto Saddlehorn Drive and then south onto Powder River Court.) See map inside our Book Club webpage.

Our next book is The Doctor's Prescription for What's Ailing America by our own South Washoe DEMS member and former candidate for Congressional District 2, Vance Alm, MD. Vance will be a guest at this meeting and will make this a very special SWD Book Club meeting!

Complacency is Killing Healthcare! We have watched as costs have risen, access has decreased, and quality has deteriorated. We've allowed these things to occur without discussing alternatives. Dr. Alm has spent over twenty years in medicine and believes that it is time to make dramatic changes to medical care provided in the United States. First, he discusses why a change is needed; including a broad discussion of key indicators of health and the staggering costs to the US taxpayer. He presents his plan for how the medical system in the United States could be improved. He presents how care could be provided by the federal government. Providing care through federal facilities by federal employees would provide better care, more effectively and more efficiently. The presentation points out differences in his plan and the current healthcare system; included is discussion of who would be affected if this plan were implemented, both those positively and negatively affected. A primary idea runs throughout the book: there are more problems to the current healthcare system than just who will pay for healthcare. Dr. Alm is concerned about these other problems and addresses physician training, research, need for rural healthcare facilities and the extremely important lack of mental healthcare in this country. This book is not just an effort to point out the problems in the system but also a possible solution to the issues facing healthcare in America. He finishes with some things that the reader can do to improve their own healthcare.
The book is available in paperback from your local or online bookstores.
Please email Joyce for updates or details. For more information about our current book, a list of articles, and past books we have reviewed, visit our Book Club webpage.

Save The Date...

  • February 4th - Monthly SWD Meeting
  • February 7th – Book Club
  • February 23rd – Washoe DEMS Crab Feed
  • February 24h - Record Street
  • March 4th - Monthly SWD Meeting