Evaluations now as they should be

It took two rounds of evaluations and lots of listening sessions, but the New Mexico Public Education Department has changed its protocol for rating new teachers, as well as for those who teach subjects not covered by standardized tests. And despite the union line that it creates an unfair two-tier system — “a shell game” […]

McDonald: Nice to wave goodbye to drought

Seems New Mexico’s drought is over. Let the flooding begin. The drought actually began to noticeably subside a couple of years ago, and has now disappeared altogether in nearly all of the eastern side of New Mexico. The U.S. Drought Monitor, which was covered in blood red (the color used for exceptional drought) just a […]

New donations to foundation no coincidence

If you believe in coincidence, that would explain the flood of new donations so far this year from powerful and politically connected people to the Clinton Foundation just as Hillary Rodham Clinton is ramping up her presidential campaign. An Associated Press analysis of donors for the first half of this year shows those increasing their […]

Sloan: Shouldn’t call the fuzz on this one

Editor’s Note: Dear Cuzins is written by cousins Chef Juandel, The Anglo Mariachi Cowboy and Bootlegger Sloan. While attending a funeral in east Texas, an apparent garage-sale-veteran pilfered my lawnmower from my carport. If they’d mow my yard once a month, I wouldn’t mind. Thankfully, they left my 32-inch bicycle. Should I contact the fuzz? […]

Wilson: This heat makes me wonder

When it gets hot like this, I find I can barely hold a solid thought in my head. But, I can wonder: • As the cashier rang up my lunch a few days ago, he made the friendly chit-chat, “How’s your day so far?” Not having much conversation ready, I answered honestly. “Hot. Your air […]

Letters to the editor — Aug. 5

Chandler not suitable for judgeship Do our elected leaders truly have the citizens’ best interests at heart when they make the decisions that affect our lives? One automatically assumes they are making decisions based on the needs and desires of the constituency that they represent. I doubt Gov. Susana Martinez even knew the names of […]

Faithful will still gather to pray despite bombing

The notion that churchgoers, gathered together in a place of peace, would have their Sunday worship shattered by a bomb blast is unthinkable. Yet on Sunday, two churches in Las Cruces faced such a violation. The FBI is investigating, and little is known about why bombs were placed by the churches. Thankfully, no one was […]

McDonald: Local partisan politics ineffective

Sometimes I edit myself too tightly. Last week’s column, on how party politics plays itself out in some of the smaller cities around the state, is one example. I meant to expound on my point that partisan politics is often ineffective in local decision-making, but I pulled up short. As a result, I was criticized […]

Sloan: Be there for those who have lost

Recently, I drove 1,200 miles round-trip to the funeral of the 85-year-old father of three sibling friends from high school. I admired their hard-working father and his wonderful late wife, but did not know him particularly well. So why did I go? Because when my mother died in 2010, his oldest daughter went above and […]

Wilson: Cream soda underrated, Trump isn’t

I’ve got a friend visiting in a few weeks for his job. We’ve known each other around 15 years, and I’m guessing our distance is the only way we’ve remained friends. We have different upbringings, political beliefs, etc., and the things we agree on boil down to: The problem isn’t gay marriage; the problem is […]

Education key to preventing drug overdoses

New Mexico has a nasty habit of landing at or near the top of the list of states with the highest drug overdose death rates, and the state Health Department isn’t making any headway toward reversing that trend. Despite some recent efforts to lower that statistic, our state still has the second-highest number of per […]

Letters to the Editor — July 12

Hatred can be attached to any symbol South Carolina has declared the Confederate States of America battle flag is no longer to be flown on state capitol grounds. Odd that this action has stirred more emotions than any outrage regarding the slaughter today of civilian Christians in the spread of ISIS terrorism and ISIS’ destruction […]

Boy Scouts can choose what they want to do

So the Boy Scouts of America have ended their ban on gay adult leaders and the nation is celebrating/gnashing teeth, depending on perspective. From The New York Times: • “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is deeply troubled by today’s vote,” said a statement issued by the church moments after the Scouts announced […]

McDonald: Politics run north to south here

Last week I heard a DJ on the radio talking about a list of the most liberal and conservative cities in the U.S., so I looked it up online. Turns out it’s a dated listing, from last August, but I’d say it’s still applicable. And, hey, it’s a “Top 10” list and that always gets […]

Sloan: Book includes many eye-openers

My book-of-the-month-summary for July is “The Blank Slate” (Viking, 2002) by Steven Pinker. It is impossible to summarize 509 pages in 300 words, but Pinker says being born a blank slate is a myth. Discoveries in the sciences of mind, brain, genes and evolution debunk “fantastical beliefs flaunted as proof of one’s piety” that moral […]

Wilson: Good art can change destinations

I didn’t think much when the red envelope showed up, because I’d forgotten what I put on my Netflix queue. And then I saw Ethan Hawke staring me down on the disc cover. “Predestination,” the movie I received, seems destined for bargain bin DVD treatment, and it deserves more than that. Without spoiling it, the […]

Legislator trips, even comped, can carry large price tag

Had more of the state lawmakers who have traveled to Azerbaijan on the former Soviet republic’s dime been more willing to talk, one might be able to argue that Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen is simply naive when she says those paying for the 10-day, 14,000-mile trips expect nothing in return. At the […]

Editorial: Ankle bracelet only works if defendant wants it to

The fourth time was the charm for longtime lawbreaker Steven V. Trujillo who, after being turned down three times in his bid to get out of jail, convinced 2nd Judicial District Judge Jacqueline Flores to lower his bond and release him – albeit with an ankle monitor to track his whereabouts and his hollow promises […]

McDonald: Homelessness has no easy fix

It’s easy to see homelessness as more of an urban problem, since that’s where it’s more visible. But it’s a problem in smaller cities and towns too, and New Mexico is no exception. Earlier this month, a group in Silver City took up the issue by hosting a talk about the problems that surround homelessness. […]

Sloan: I had an awesome dream

With months of vegetarianism (interrupted by a brief hiatus on the Texas coast just for the halibut) probably making me unrealistically idealistic, I had a surreal dream about Rush Limbaugh. Here are a few chestnuts I hallucinated him bellowing: “I urge the good folks in Clovis and Portales to replace those Democrats-murdering-babies and hating-on-Hillary signs, […]