Recapping the 2018 Legislative Session

Fred, Kristina, Othiamba, and Susan

THINK NEW MEXICO

Think New Mexico’s legislation to encourage school districts and charter schools to maximize the percentage of their budgets that they spend in the classroom was introduced by a terrific team of bipartisan sponsors, led by Representative Larry Larrañaga (R-Albuquerque), ranking Republican on the House Appropriations and Finance Committee, and Representative Bobby Gonzales (D-Taos), a retired school superintendent. House Bill 180 also aimed to make it easier to get more dollars to the classroom by reducing unnecessary administrative paperwork. (Read our guest editorial about the bill.)

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Flu Still Widespread Across New Mexico but has Peaked

NEW MEXICO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) reports that although flu activity remains widespread across the state, it appears activity overall in New Mexico has peaked and will likely continue to gradually decrease for the remainder of the season which is expected to be several more weeks.

As of February 16, 2018, NMDOH reports 28 season-to-date flu outbreaks in long-term care facilitates, thirty-four flu-related deaths, all in adults, and 100 pneumonia-related deaths.

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Bandelier Hosting Great Backyard Bird Count, Friday, February 16

By Chris Judson

BANDELIER NATIONAL MONUMENT

Photo NPS

Bandelier staff and visitors will be looking for birds during the Great Backyard Bird Count on Friday, February 16.

This weekend, February 16-19, will be the 2018 Great Backyard Bird Count, which in 2018 is part of the Year of the Bird. Anyone who would like to participate can watch birds at home or come out to three locations at Bandelier National Monument – or both!  Sightings become part of observations to help track population density, health, and movements of birds worldwide.

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Sandoval County Hosts First Marketing Workshop for Home Office-Based Entrepreneurs

 Melissa Perez, Sandoval County Public Information Officer

SANDOVAL COUNTY

Sandoval County’s Office of Business Development and Tourism is working to help local businesses thrive by hosting the first marketing workshop for home office-based entrepreneurs on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at the El Zocalo Event Center from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Participation in the workshop is free and will be paid for with funds from a $10,000 grant received through the State of New Mexico Economic Development Department. The Feb. 28 workshop, with a presentation by Director of Marketing and Communications Tiffany Avery, from Sandoval Economic Alliance, will focus on how home office-based entrepreneurs can develop a custom business marketing plan. Specifically, the workshop will focus on the following topics:

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New Mexico Has Critical Public Health Issue

Sharon Kayne, Communications Director

NM VOICES FOR CHILDREN

A national report released last night by Child Trends using data from the National Survey of Children’s Health, shows New Mexico has some of the highest rates of children suffering from adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). ACEs are traumatic childhood events, and include suffering abuse and neglect, living with someone who has an untreated mental illness, the death of a parent, and living in extreme economic insecurity.

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Trump and Zinke Propose Gutting Methane Pollution Safeguard

By Camilla Feibelman, Rio Grande Chapter Director

SIERRA CLUB

The methane cloud that hangs over our heads.

Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released a proposal to gut a key safeguard that would limit methane pollution from oil and gas drilling operations. This is the first major air rule proposal to come out of the Trump administration.

The proposal effectively eliminates a standard put forth by the Obama administration requiring oil and gas companies operating on public lands to limit methane pollution. Methane is a greenhouse gas which is linked to increased levels of asthma and other public health impacts and is 87 times more potent than carbon dioxide during the time it remains in the atmosphere.

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Ms. Virginia Sandia Celebrates 20 years at the Walatowa Convenience Store

RED ROCKS REPORTER

Virginia Sandia.

For more than 20 years, the Walatowa Convenience Store has met the grocery and fuel needs of people in our local communities. From the beginning, Ms. Virginia Sandia has been a vital asset to providing the community with these necessities through her friendly greetings, helpful knowledge, and overall outstanding customer service.

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“Soup to Nuts” Food Tax Dead but “Deceptive Lottery Bill Must Die”

Fred, Kristina, Othiamba, and Susan

THINK NEW MEXICO

Good news: the more than 1,600 emails that New Mexicans sent to legislators and the governor made an impact. The bill to bring back the food tax on a wide variety of groceries (literally including soup to nuts) was tabled in the Senate Corporations Committee. (Read the Albuquerque Journal coverage here.)

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Sandoval County Assessor Offers Veterans Tax Exemptions

Melissa Perez, Public Information Officer

SANDOVAL COUNTY

Sandoval County Chief Deputy Assessor reminds veterans living in the county that they could qualify for exemptions that could reduce their property taxes.

“It breaks my heart when a veteran comes into our office who is eligible for these benefits but never knew about them,” said Chief Deputy Assessor Christie Humphrey.

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Legislation That Would Bring Back the Regressive Food Tax Back on the Table

Fred, Kristina, Othiamba and Susan

THINK NEW MEXICO

As you may have seen in the news (read the coverage in the Santa Fe New Mexican), Senator Cliff Pirtle has introduced Senate Bill 129, which would reimpose the food tax on all groceries other than meat, flour tortillas, and items eligible for WIC, the Women, Infants, and Children supplemental nutrition program.

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Jemez Ranger District Slash Pit Prescribed Burn Planned for February

Bruce Hill Jr ., Public Affairs Officer, Forest Service

SANTA FE NATIONAL FOREST

To take advantage of favorable conditions, to include fuel moisture levels, air quality and weather forecasts, fire managers on the Jemez Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) will evaluate weather conditions between now and February 28 to burn the community slash pit and reduce accumulated slash.

The burn is expected to be completed in one day.

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The Next Step Plan for Cougar Graduates 2017-2018 Walatowa High Charter School Gear UP Senior Information

Document developed by G. Toya, WHCS Consultant, F. Garcia WHCS Gear Up Coordinator, G Minthorn, WHCS Instructor and Dr. A. Wilkinson-WHCS Executive Director.

The Next Step Plan is a personal, written plan that is developed by each student at the end of grades 8–11 and during the senior year (grade 12). The purpose of the plan is to target the student’s postsecondary interests and set forth the studies he or she will complete during high school in order to be on track for graduation. The student reviews and updates his or her NSP annually, and each year’s plan must explain any differences from the previous year. Quarterly meetings will be scheduled in August, December and May.

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Some Improvement and Some Decline in Child Well-Being as High Rates of Child Poverty Persist

Sharon Kayne, Communications Director

NEW MEXICO VOICES FOR CHILDREN

Several indicators of child well-being are showing improvement in New Mexico, but a persistently high rate of children living in poverty continues to cast a pall over the state. That is the overall conclusion in the 2017 New Mexico KIDS COUNT Data Book, released today at 10am at the Roundhouse by New Mexico Voices for Children to coincide with the start of the legislative session.

The theme of this year’s report is “At a Crossroads: Choosing the Path to Child Well-being in New Mexico” to reflect unprecedented changes at the federal level as well as the fact that this year New Mexico voters will elect a new governor because the current one is term-limited.

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Bandelier National Monument Gets Valuable Help from Friends Group

By Chris Judson

BANDELIER NATIONAL MONUMENT

 

Photo NPS

Ever since 1987, the Friends of Bandelier have supported the park, providing funding for projects that couldn’t have been done within Bandelier’s regular budget. With money raised from members all over the country and beyond, through the years these projects have included biological surveys, post-fire recovery studies, handicap ramps for the parking area, campsite upgrades, archeological surveys, mapping ancient trails, pueblo crafts demonstrations, and more.

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Winter 2017 At Last

By R.W.

Last light of a passing season, last night.

This morning at 9:28 a.m. was the Winter Solstice, first official day of winter in the calendar and the shortest day of the year. Last night autumn made a brilliant exit, the setting sun briefly lighting up the sky in a “thank you and goodnight” display.

My apologies for not posting for so long; I have been set back by ailments and such-like setbacks, which you will be very disappointed to hear I have chosen not to write a long essay about. But, I will continue to be restrained with posting until about the middle of January, while still putting up Jemez and similar “local” news releases and material that is sent to me.

Sandoval County Spends $62,000 on a Oil And Gas Study They Do Not Plan To Use?

Contact:

Mike Neas, PLACITAS RESIDENT, mikneas@aol.com, (505) 269-4261

Miya King-Flaherty, SIERRA CLUB RIO GRANDE CHAPTER PUBLIC LANDS FELLOW, miya.king-flaherty@sierraclub.org, (505) 301-0863

Why is  Sandoval County spending $62,000 to pay for an oil and gas resource assessment of Sandoval County if it does not plan to use it?

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History Museum and Santa Fe Opera Present New Mexico’s ‘Atomic Histories’

NEW MEXICO HISTORY MUSEUM

The New Mexico History Museum and the Santa Fe Opera will each feature presentations exploring New Mexico’s Atomic Histories during 2018 and 2019. The History Museum’s Atomic Histories exhibition opens June 3, 2018 and runs through May 2019. The exhibition will highlight American artist Meridel Rubenstein’s artwork including two photo/video/glass/steel installations from the traveling exhibition Critical Mass (1993-97) and “Oppenheimer’s Chair” (1995) commissioned by the first SITE Santa Fe Biennial to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first atomic test.

“To enhance understanding of the legacy of the Manhattan Project, the New Mexico History Museum is developing an interpretive exploration of our state’s atomic history,” said Andrew Wulf, executive director of the New Mexico History Museum.

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Final Update on the Guadalupe Fire in the Jemez

JEMEZ RANGER DISTRICT, SANTA FE NATIONAL FOREST

 

The human caused Guadalupe Fire near Forest Road 376 on the Jemez Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest that burned 6.3 acres is now 100 percent contained.

The fire consumed mostly logging slash and pre-made piles, but produced enough thick smoke to be visible from as far as Rio Rancho. It was first reported to the Jemez Ranger District office on Friday, Dec. 8 at 12:27 p.m. and was contained on Sunday, Dec. 10.

County’s El Zocalo Center Hosting Rural Economic Development Forum

SANDOVAL COUNTY

The last in a series of forums focusing on economic development in rural central New Mexico communities will take place in Bernalillo on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017.

This forum will focus on the challenges, barriers, smart goals, and assets to formulate a concise framework for the drafting of a regional economic development plan. The meeting is part of a collaborative effort among officials from Sandoval, Los Alamos and Bernalillo Counties.

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O’Keeffe’s Desert Abstraction (Bear Lake) Finds “Forever Home” at the New Mexico Museum of Art

NEW MEXICO MUSEUM OF ART

Image result for O’Keeffe’s Desert Abstraction (Bear Lake)

In honor of the New Mexico Museum of Art Centennial year celebration, the Museum of New Mexico Foundation made permanent its long-term loan of Georgia O’Keeffe’s Desert Abstraction (Bear Laketo the Museum. With this move, the 1931 O’Keeffe piece, becomes part of the Museum of Art’s permanent collection.  The painting is currently on display in the Governor’s Residence.

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New Tool Helps Residential Consumers Understand Transactions for Rooftop Solar Energy Systems

By New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas
AG Balderas is seeking comments from the public, consumer protection advocates and industry representatives.
As a component of his consumer protection initiatives, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas has released a draft of a powerful tool aimed at helping New Mexico consumers better understand purchasing solar power systems for their homes: Distributed Generation Disclosure Statement.

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December Events at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts


Brown Bag it with MoCNA: IAIA Artist-in-Residence Talk

Friday, December 8 | 12noon-1:30pm
2nd Floor MoCNA Project Lab

 

Bring your lunch and join IAIA Artists-in-Residence as they discuss their artistic practice. All artists conclude their month of participation in the IAIA Artist-in- Residence program on the IAIA campus with this event. Featuring IAIA A-i-R artists, Athena LaTocha (Hunkpapa Lakota/Keweenaw Bay Ojibwe), Frank Buffalo Hyde (Nez Perce/Onondaga), Jason Reed Brown (Koyukan Athabascan)and Wanesia Spry Misquadace (Fond du Lac Ojibway).
This event is free to the public.

Connecting Tribal Communities to High-Speed Internet

By U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich

For some Americans today, logging on to the internet is as easy as going home and turning on the lights. And access to high-speed internet is becoming increasingly essential for economic and educational opportunities. However, in parts of New Mexico, and especially in tribal communities, a lack of access to high-speed broadband internet is leaving far too many of our children unable to learn and compete on an even playing field.

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Update on the Guadalupe Fire

The latest report on the Guadalupe Fire has it at 6.2 acres and 40 percent contained. By 6 p.m. fire crews had established a line around the fire, said Forest Service spokesman Bruce Hill.

John Fredlund wrote on the Jemez Post Facbook page:  USFS was all over it and they are doing a great job. LCVFD was asked to bring water, and they put us to work patrolling/improving the line. I am optimistic that they caught it and will be able to keep it inside the lines – keep fingers crossed.

It has been determined that the fire was human caused by someone setting it in the logging slash and pre-made piles. These are not the same as the stick structures reported to be appearing on the Jemez Ranger District (and Sasquatch is not a suspect).

Wildfire Breaks Out in the Jemez

An uncommon event this time of the year, a wildfire has broken out in the Jemez.

First reported today at 12:27 p.m., the wildfire, now named the Guadalupe Fire, broke out near Forest Road 376 on the Jemez Ranger District, consuming about 2 to 3 acres so far. The cause of the fire is as yet unknown and it is mostly burning through logging slash and pre-made piles.

The fire is producing heavy smoke which is which visible as far south as Rio Rancho, and starts to loom as an alarming site for travelers approaching the Jemez along U.S. Highway 550.

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N.M. Highway 4 Still Slick And Dangerous In The Mountains

NMROADS warns travelers on N.M. Highway 4 going north toward Los Alamos and Bandelier that the roads in the higher elevations remain icy in shaded areas and wet in other areas,and are expected to freeze with lower temperatures after sunset.. Visibility is good during daylight hours, but watch out for ice, drive with caution and obey all posted traffic signs. This event will be updated on the NMROADS site as conditions change.

Shooting at Aztec High School

The Farmington Daily Times reports that two Aztec High School students were shot to death this morning by another student who was later shot by police officers. The families of the victims were notified immediately and most other families had heard from their students. There were no other injuries reported.

Schools in Farmington, Kirtland, Shiprock and Bloomfield have been placed in lockdown.

“Our hearts break for the victims and their families. We pray for the survivors, and are grateful to the brave first responders for their heroic actions on the scene,” said Attorney General Hector Balderas in a statement. “We have offered Office of the Attorney General resources to support the victims, the Four Corners community, and first responders during this horrific tragedy