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Editorial

Editorial content.

Editor's Note: It has come to the attention of the editor that some of this information is misleading and non-factual. Reader beware. 

The purpose of the Foundation is to create, maintain and administer assets for the benefit of Western New Mexico University a state educational institution, located in Silver City, New Mexico

For years the WNMU Foundation has been an important source of scholarship money for students of Western. However, it now appears that the focus has shifted from providing scholarships for students to employment opportunities for selected people and funding the Presidential Discretionary Fund.

By U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich
August 1, 2017

New Mexico has long been at the center of technology innovation. Research and development at our national laboratories, universities and military installations has led to major breakthroughs in computing, energy, health care and national security.

The technology industry is a driving force in creating jobs and expanding economic growth. In 2016 alone, the technology sector contributed more than $1 trillion to the U.S. economy, employed more than 7 million workers and added more than 100,000 new jobs. Almost 50,000 New Mexicans work in the tech sector at both our federal research labs and in the private sector at innovative information technology, manufacturing and engineering companies. The average tech industry wage in New Mexico is $85,200 a year, which is double the average state wage.

To the Editor:

Why does Western cost so much?

If you were to guess “which state university in New Mexico is the most expensive to attend"—attend means tuition, fees, housing and meals—what would you guess? UNM, New Mexico Tech? Wrong, the most expensive university to attend is our little rural (applied) liberal arts university, Western New Mexico University.

Western has the highest cost of attendance in the state, $3,300 a year more expensive than Eastern, $2,250 more expensive than Highlands, $2,100 a year more expensive than NMSU, $1,820 a year more expensive that New Mexico Tech and even $400 a year more expensive than UNM.

The Gila community still has concerns and unanswered questions about our senior services. As you recall, Mr. Otero promised to return to Gila to address unanswered questions, such as specifics on how preparing meals in Silver City for Gila seniors and making a daily 60-mile round trip delivery would be more cost efficient than cooking it on the premises. He and Edith Lee also did not have answers to the health concerns regarding transporting cooked food that distance and the specific food safety concerns of older adults and people dealing with chronic illness. See: https://www.foodsafety.gov/risk/olderadults/index.html 

The Gila Senior Center has inadequate offerings compared to other senior centers. For example, Lordsburg offers a cold breakfast, a hot lunch at the center or delivered to home-bound seniors, frozen or shelf-stable meals delivered for weekends or holidays, Bingo, Zumba, holiday picnics and celebrations, nutrition education classes, and transportation for residents for errands, medical appointments, or shopping upon request. It also arranges field trips to facilities or events.

The Gila Senior Center has offered a hot meal cooked and served at the center and delivered to homebound seniors five days a week and a weekly Bingo game that takes place after lunch and extends until 3 in the afternoon one day a week. These meager services are being cut by HMS immediately after taking over the senior centers from the county. Currently, there is no driver to deliver meals to homebound elders in need. HMS is not allowing the extra hour one day a week for the only entertainment offered, and they are providing food that will be kept warm for an hour or more or cooked and cooled and reheated (they didn’t know exactly how they were going to do it when they were at the meeting in Gila). These cutbacks from little to less are happening despite objections by the community and many attempts to convince HMS that the community is willing to partner with them to maintain and possibly expand local services.

When I spoke with Ms. Hunter, Senior Services Program Manager, yesterday she commented that the local bingo players would “be mad” about the center closing at 2 in the afternoon on Bingo day. Rather than finding a way to keep the center open that one hour on that one day a week for Bingo and continuing to cook food on the premises, HMS is determined to move forward with a plan that is in direct opposition to the needs and desires of the community and HMS’s mission to "positively impact the health, well-being and quality of life for those we serve."

There does not appear to be sufficient reasons to expose people to greater risks. People in the community have asked HMS to demonstrate the need to transport food and to show how every possible precaution is implemented to address the added risks to this vulnerable population.

Sincerely,

Joanne DeMichele

Gila, NM

By D. Dowd Muska

However well-intentioned, the activists suing the state for failing "to meet its constitutionally mandated responsibility to provide all public-school students the programming and supports necessary to succeed" have a profound misunderstanding of government education's ability to compensate for severe social pathologies.

The key assumption behind Yazzie v. New Mexico and Martinez v. New Mexico, consolidated into one case and currently before Judge Sarah Singleton, ignores mountains of research. Clear-eyed policy analysts have long understood that greater subsidization of government schools generates little, if any, progress in student ability and achievement.

In the 1960s, sociologist James S. Coleman undertook an enormous, federally funded study of race and education. His conclusion? "Per-pupil expenditures, books in the library, and a host of other facilities and curricular measures show virtually no relation to achievement if the social environment of the school - the educational backgrounds of other students and teachers - is held constant. ... Altogether, the sources of inequality of educational opportunity appear to lie first in the home itself and the cultural influences immediately surrounding the home; then they lie in the school's ineffectiveness to free achievement from the impact of the home."

Several years later, two Harvard scholars concurred. Mary Jo Bane and Christopher Jencks wrote that the belief that "if schools could equalize people's cognitive skills this would equalize their bargaining power as adults" was erroneous. Children, they concluded, "seem to be more influenced by what happens at home than by what happens at school," with "what happens on the streets" and "what they see on television" as additional contributors. "Neither the overall level of resources available to a school," Bane and Jencks averred, "nor any specific, easily identifiable school policy has a significant effect on students' cognitive skills."

In the early 1990s, researchers at the Educational Testing Service studied the connection between non-classroom factors and student achievement. They found that 91 percent of the difference among the performance of the states' government schools could be explained by five factors, including the amount of time students spent watching television and the presence of two parents in the home.

Closer to home, there is not a morsel of evidence that New Mexico spends an inadequate amount of tax dollars on K-12 schools. Census Bureau data show that the Land of Enchantment surpasses each of its five neighbors in per pupil expenditures on government schools. New Mexico spends a whopping 48 percent more than Utah, where students generally excel. From class-size reduction to expanding preschool, the state has embraced every trendy, expensive fad pushed by the education establishment, with pathetic results. What's more, the "fairness" and "equalization" financing dreams of the educrat lobby have essentially been attained here - just a few states post a lower shares of school spending covered by local taxpayers.

Sadly, New Mexico is a - perhaps the - national leader in self-destructive behavior. Illegitimacy, domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, refusing to work, welfare dependency, mental illness, substance abuse and DUI carnage are at alarming levels, and have been for decades. Perhaps that's why the sue-for-better-schools movement prefers to place blame for poor educational outcomes on inadequate taxpayer "investment."

Lawsuits aren't the answer to fighting family fragmentation and the chaos it spawns. Work is. Ron Haskins of the liberal Brookings Institution recommends a strategy of "increasing work and reducing welfare use" as the best tool to fight poverty. New Mexico labor bureaucrats' recent finding that three-quarters of employers with at least one job opening are struggling to find hires - in a state with one of the worst "unemployment" rates in the nation - was irrefutable evidence of a dire problem: Too many of our fellow citizens prefer the dole to the dignity and pride of productive activity.

When making "no judgments" is the rule, not much can be done to address the true cause of underperforming students - and real solutions aren't explored. Seeking greater school spending through litigation is a dangerous distraction. Our state's time and resources would be better spent on a discussion of the undeniable role that government plays in perpetuating life decisions that are damaging to individuals, families and society at large.

D. Dowd Muska (dmuska@riograndefoundation.org) is research director for the Rio Grande Foundation, an independent, nonpartisan, tax-exempt research and educational organization dedicated to promoting prosperity for New Mexico based on the principles of limited government, economic freedom and individual responsibility.

By Rebecca Dow, New Mexico Representative, District 38

Earlier this month, the Annie E. Casey Foundation released its annual “Kids Count” report on the status of child well-being in each state. The news for New Mexico was disheartening.

While our state showed improvement on most measures, we are not keeping up with other states. Once again, we came in at 49th overall, placing ahead of just one state, Mississippi.

Reports like this one motivated me to start AppleTree Educational Center in Truth and Consequences back in 1999. I believed New Mexico could do better, and I felt that focusing on early childhood education was the key to helping our state's children overcome any circumstances.

AppleTree serves hundreds of families with children prenatal through twenty-four in Sierra County each year. Our evidence-based programs have positively impacted many key health and wellbeing indicators for our county. More kids are entering school ready, avoiding risky behavior, graduating on-time, and going to college. Yet in 2015, Sierra County become the poorest county in the state.

My organization and others like it do everything we can to give kids a good start in life, and I am proud of our work. But I also recognize that we will not see the results of our efforts for another generation, and there are urgent challenges facing New Mexico that we must fix now.

After working in the field of early childhood and family support services for the past 24 years, I am convinced that until we address the root causes of poverty in New Mexico, we will not be able to address the effects of poverty. Our state will continue to struggle until we strengthen our economy and improve the quality of life for all New Mexicans.

Too many families in our state are living on the edge. 141,000 children in New Mexico - 29 percent - live in poverty. There are 22,659 families in our state that do not have a parent in the workforce. In 2014, 111,000 kids experienced one instance of food insecurity meaning that for at least one day that year, their families were not sure they would be able to put food on their tables.

Meeting the full needs of children obliges us to create healthy families, safe environments, and thriving communities. We cannot build a better future for our children unless we create more economic opportunities for New Mexicans.

Much of this work will require common-sense policies to take the shackles off the state's economy. For example, our tax code is a mess. Its industry carve-outs benefit the big guys while our mom and pop businesses are stuck paying the bill. We also have too many redundant regulations and overlapping governing authorities that unnecessarily increase the cost of doing business in New Mexico.

Changing New Mexico's economic climate requires us to make every operation of state government efficient and effective. To increase business activity in our state, we need to make it easier to do business.

Fortunately, there are some programs already in place to help businesses grow and thrive. Efforts like the Local Economic Development Act and the Job Training Incentive Program can help businesses train new workers, expand operations, and help New Mexicans create their own opportunities.

Over the next few weeks, I will highlight some of these programs, explain what they do, and provide contact information so you can learn more about what they have to offer. Many communities have used these programs to create jobs and new energy in their area, and I know we can duplicate some of these successes here.

These programs are a start. But if we want to change the long-term fortunes of our state, we must shift our focus on policies that will increase hope and opportunity. Too often we center on treating the outcomes of poverty rather than curing poverty itself. Now is the time to take strong actions and improve New Mexico's economy before we fall further behind. We cannot wait another twenty years for things to get better.

http://www.heritage.org/article/president-trump-rolls-back-obama-administrations-misguided-cuba-policy

"President Trump's plan to fix the problems created by the Obama administration in Cuba is a much-needed first step toward true reform. The facts are undeniable: in return for President Obama's unilateral concessions, the Cuban dictatorship has stepped up the oppression of its people, drastically ramping up religious intimidation and political repression. By making it more difficult for the Castro family and the military to fund their reign of terror and intolerance, the Trump administration's new policy better advances American national and regional security interests, while sending a clear message to the Castro family, the regime and its cronies: business as usual will no longer be tolerated by the United States government."

This tank car has been placed by the railroad employees in Hurley, NM.

Most graffiti on the cars are on the lower portions of the cars. This stinks as an inside job by employees who have access, and I believe it has been placed here on purpose.
I tried to report it to our local police and the town clerk.

They informed me that it was private property and they couldn't do anything about it unless the company reported it.

After the mass shooting in Virginia earlier this week, I think the company should paint over the sign and move the car.

I just think we should have more respect for the office of the people we elect to represent us. Such a shame.

Rebecca Spann
Hurley, NM

[Editor's Note: The offending word has been partially blocked out.] 

Live from Silver City

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