Recapping the 2018 Legislative Session

Fred, Kristina, Othiamba, and Susan


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


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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Talk by Kristen Honig: Photographing Wildfires


Photo Kristen Honig.

On Tuesday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. Kristen Honig will discuss her observations, show her photographs, and give you a behind the scenes look at what it is like to be a wildfire photographer. Honig’s wildfire photos have been recognized by National Geographic and featured in numerous magazines and publications, including Popular ScienceOutside MagazineHigh Country NewsWildland Firefighter MagazineFire Management Today, and in the novel On the Burning Edge. This special presentation at the Los Alamos Nature Center is free and made possible thanks to the Los Alamos Photo Club and the Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC).Continue reading

IAIA Artist-in-Residence Workshops: Christa Cassano and Wayne Nez Gaussoin


Friday, February 23,  9:30 a.m. – 12 noon and 2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. 2nd floor MoCNA Project Lab

Join IAIA Artist-in-Residence Wayne Nez Gaussoin (Navajo/Picuris Pueblo) in a jewelry workshop from 9:30am-12noon. Gaussoin will discuss his practice and participants will be guided through a creative process with the artist. This event is limited to 10 participants with a fee of $10 for materials.

Join IAIA Artist-in-Residence Christa Cassano (Confederated Tribes of Colville, Arrow Lakes Band) in a drawing workshop from 2-3:30pm. Cassano, will discuss her practice and participants will create a self-portrait of either hands, feet or face with the guidance of the artist. This event is limited to 15 participants with a fee of $10 for materials.

Bandelier Hosting Great Backyard Bird Count, Friday, February 16

By Chris Judson


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’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


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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Compelling Narratives

By Matthew J. Barbour, Regional Manager




While the Jemez and Coronado Historic Sites are focused primarily on the preservation and interpretation of ancestral Pueblo villages, the staff is also tasked with providing information on all aspects of Spanish history. Specifically, the Historic Sites focus on the impacts of Spanish conquest and colonialism on the Native American peoples.

Written texts, especially primary sources, can inform upon the Spanish discovery, conquest, and colonization of the New World. A primary source is a letter, diary, manuscript, autobiography, or a recording that was created at the time under study. Often these primary sources are a subjective look at the events that took place through the author’s eyes. They reveal a great deal not just about a particular event, but about the background, motivations, and mindset of the individual writing the account.

Here are five primary sources readily available to the public which provide a great deal of insight into the history of Spanish America and the impact conquistadors and colonists had on the indigenous populations:

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Trump and Zinke Propose Gutting Methane Pollution Safeguard

By Camilla Feibelman, Rio Grande Chapter Director


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


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


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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“Snatchers” to film its Second and Third Season in New Mexico


The digital series “Snatchers,” produced by Stage 13, a division of Warner Bros. Digital Networks, and streamed on Verizon’s go90 media brand, will begin principal photography in early February through mid-March in Albuquerque.

“We’re proud to welcome “Snatchers” to New Mexico as part of our growing platform of web-based series’,” said New Mexico Film Office Director Nick Maniatis. “New Mexico’s powerful incentive, robust film infrastructure and incredible natural beauty make us a perfect fit for these productions, as we continue diversifying our economy.”

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Bandelier Celebrates February of Year of the Bird: Great Backyard Bird Count

By Chris Judson


Photo NPS

Sandhill Cranes.

Join Bandelier in February as the park continues to celebrate the Year of the Bird!  This year is the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the most powerful and important bird-protection law ever passed. Throughout 2018, we will be joining National Geographic, the Audubon Society and numerous other organizations around the country in recognizing this milestone by celebrating the Year of the Bird.

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Guided Eight-Mile Hike in White Rock Canyon

By Sandra West


Photo Paul Arendt

Thunderbird Rock.

Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC).PEEK offers a challenging hike in White Rock Canyon to see petroglyphs, springs, and the beauty of White Rock Canyon in the winter. On Saturday, February 17, Paul Arendt will lead an eight-mile loop hike connecting the Red Dot Trail to the Blue Dot Trail. This rugged, outing will start at 9 a.m., and it will take the group about six hours to complete the loop. Space is limited, and registration is required for this hike, organized by PEEC.

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Early Childhood Constitutional Amendment Passes NM House of Representatives

Jessa Cowdrey, Public Policy Advocate


St. Joseph’s Children congratulates the New Mexico House of Representatives for passing HJR1, the Early Childhood Constitutional Amendment.

Our State Representatives understand the deep plight of our children and they have taken bold action to make systemic change for the betterment of our state. Today, the State Representatives have shown a deep respect for the voters of New Mexico by passing this Constitutional Amendment.

Our State Representatives believe that this proposal to improve child well-being is worth a public debate. We now encourage the State Senate to pass HJR1 so it can indeed go to the voters. The status quo is unacceptable and we can enact change by updating the distribution formula of the Land Grant Permanent Fund to support the science behind brain development, that learning begins at birth.

Investing in our children is a responsible approach to ensure the success of children today and tomorrow.

Sandoval County Assessor Offers Veterans Tax Exemptions

Melissa Perez, Public Information Officer


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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Native Student Success Vital to New Mexico’s Future: We Must Do Better

By Representative Derrick Lente, (D-Sandia Pueblo)

Rep. Derrick Lente

Although New Mexico has the fourth largest Native American population in the country, services for Native students remain significantly low. Across the state, Native students continue to fall behind and lack the necessary resources to succeed.

Last year, the legislature passed my bill to ensure Native students have the support to succeed with bipartisan support, but Governor Martinez vetoed it.

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Late Winter Activities in Bandelier – A Star Party, Birds and the Park’s Birthday

By Chris Judson


On February 11, 1916, then-President Woodrow Wilson signed legislation creating a new park out in a largely unknown area of the largely unknown State of New Mexico.  This year marks the 102nd birthday of Bandelier National Monument, which, with about 200,000 visitors a year, is not nearly as unknown now as it was in 1916. It’s not exactly isolated out in the wilds of New Mexico any more either, since it has two more National Park Service areas, the Valles Caldera National Preserve and the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, as neighbors.  To celebrate the 102nd, there will be cookies at the Bandelier Visitor Center starting at 1:00 p.m.

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This Time Last Year; The Pronghorns Are back



Image ScienceBlogs

Eclectic animal, the Pronghorn, here with all its derived parts explained.

(This was first posted February 5, 2017)

40 or so Pronghorns  are being reintroduced to their historic rangeland along the Interstate-25 corridor between Albuquerque and Santa Fe on Santa Ana Pueblo reservation land, within the daily track of many travelers from the Jemez to lands beyond our nook. The Pueblo tribal council looks forward to establishing a sustainable population over the coming years.

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Looking Back & Moving Forward: The Northern Region of New Mexico Historic Sites

By Matthew Barbour


Photo Patrick Moore.

Jemez Historic Site Light Among the Ruins.


The Northern Region of New Mexico Historic Sites includes: Coronado and Jemez Historic Sites. Coronado Historic Site was opened preserve the ancient village of Kuaua and to interpret the Coronado Expedition, while Jemez was established to preserve and interpret San Jose de los Jemez Mission and Giusewa Pueblo. They are two of the five original State Monuments established in 1935, the others being Abo, Quarai, and Pecos. Both are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the State Register of Cultural Properties. On October 16, 2012, Jemez Historic Site was also designated a National Historic Landmark.

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

Fred, Kristina, Othiamba and Susan


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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