YOUR DAILY UPDATE FOR THURSDAY APRIL 24, 2014
White Sands free this weekend
Go wild for the gypsum dunes, sunset strolls, hiking trails, and night sky at White Sands National Monument during National Park Week, April 19 through 27. To get the celebration going, White Sands will waive entrance fees Saturday and Sunday, April 19-20.
Learn more about White Sands and join a ranger for our nightly sunset strolls. Enjoy a leisurely one-hour ranger-guided walk through sand dunes and learn about the geology, plants, and animals of this unique area. Program starts at the sunset stroll sign along Dunes Drive about five miles from the visitor center. During National Park week, the stroll begins at 6:45 pm. Program is free, and monument entrance fees apply.
Visit www.nationparkweek.org for more information about what is going on at White Sands National Monument and other National Park Service sites throughout the country. You can share your park experiences and photos on the website: www.nps.gov/whsa.
Minimum wage proposals offered
As the series of Great Conversations wrapped up this week, two proposals are being brought forth for raising the minimum wage in Las Cruces.
At the City Council meeting Monday, April 7, Bernie Digman, owner of Milagro Coffee y Expresso, and Vince Vacarro, owner of Lorenzo’s restaurant, said local businesses – especially those in restaurants, are willing to accept raising the minimum wage to $8.50 with future increase guided by a capped index for inflation.
The $10.10 rate being proposed by Comunidades en Acción y de Fé (CAFé) “is a frightening number to a lot of us,” Digman said.
At the last Great Conversation on the minimum wage, Tuesday, April 8, Jerry Nachison of CAFé said the final proposal for a ballot referendum the group is proposing would be $8.40 an hour ($3.36 tip wage) starting Jan. 1, 2015, then increasing to $9.40 an hour ($4.70 an hour tip wage) in January 2016, then increasing again to $10.10 an hour ($5.60 tip wage) by 2017 and after 2018 the minimum wage would be indexed to the cost of living.
See this week's Bulletin for a full story.
High School Basketball Championships
Tuesday night, the Mayfield High School girls defeated Eldorado 44-38 at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho. The Trojans, now 26-3, will face Cibola, 25-2, Thursday in Rio Rancho in the Class 5A state championship semifinals. Game time is still to be determined.
Wednesday morning, Clayton defeated Mesilla Valley Christian School 44-38, in Rio Rancho in the quarterfinals of the Class 2A state championship quarterfinals. The loss snaps the SonBlazers' nine-game winning streak and they finish their season, the first under head coach Jeremy Roman, with a 22-7 record and the champions of District 3-2A.
Las Cruces High School was scheduled to tip off at 9:45 a.m. Wednesday at the Pit in Albuquerque in the quarterfinals of the Class 5A state championship quarterfinals.
Centennial High School faces Kirtland Central at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Pit in the quarterfinals of the Class 4A state championship quarterfinals.
Scott named DACC president
Dan Howard, executive vice president and provost of New Mexico State University announced Wednesday, March 12, that Renay Scott will be the new president of Doña Ana Community College (DACC).
Scott is vice president and provost of academic services at Owens Community College in Toledo, Ohio. She previously served as the dean for the School of Arts and Sciences at Owens. Scott completed her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from Wayne State University, her Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from Michigan State University and her Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies Education from Calvin College. Scott will start on June 1 on a 12-month appointment with a base salary of $175,000.
The other two presidential candidates were Lydia Tena of El Paso Community College and interim president Andrew Burke.
Howard said Scott is a respected scholar, teacher and administrator with broad experience in a community college setting.
“During the course of the extensive interview process, she impressed virtually everyone she met with her openness, vision and willingness to tackle difficult problems.” Howard said. “She is a consensus builder and brings the ‘can do’ attitude and willingness to consider innovative solutions that I was seeking in the next president of DACC. I am sure that she will embrace this community and will be embraced in return.”
Pearce: MIT study sides with WSMR
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory released its report on the effect of the proposed SunZia high-power transmission line on White Sands Missile Range testing to federal officials Tuesday, March 11.
U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce said he was at a briefing on the report and the MIT study confirmed the Department of Defense’s concerns that the proposed above-ground route of the line. This means that SunZia must agree to run its line further north or bury it, Pearce said.
The MIT study found that the line’s height, electromagnetic fields and project debris would compromise the kind of testing conducted on a section Bureau of Land Management property sometimes used for testing of low-flying weapon systems, commonly referred to as the northern call-up area of the range.
SunZia has asserted that its $1.2 billion, 515-mile line project could not afford the additional cost of moving the line.
U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, who also attended the briefing, said “there are pragmatic solutions to allow SunZia and White Sands Missile Range to mutually exist. The Administration should issue the record of decision on SunZia’s NEPA process. This is about diversifying New Mexico’s economy, lessening our dependence on federal dollars, and charting a course for a more prosperous future. SunZia should get built.”
Pearce said he also is supportive of the SunZia project, but not in a way that would compromise WSMR’s testing mission.
Heinrich said he, too, supports WSMR, but “it is also important to find common ground that does not preclude one national priority over the other when both priorities can be realized, especially when it means so many jobs for New Mexicans.”
A longer story will be in this week’s Bulletin.
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