Editorial content.

Silver City, NM (November 7, 2017) — In response to public outcry about a proposal that could put the Gila Wilderness and surrounding communities at risk, Holloman Air Force Base (HAFB) has agreed to host a public meeting on Nov. 14th at 6:00 pm at the Grant County Administration Building regarding their “Special Use Airspace Optimization Project.” While the public is invited to attend the meeting, public comments will not be allowed to be submitted either verbally or in writing. A public rally is planned at 5:00 pm at the Grant County Administration Building to show strong public concern over this proposal and process. This public rally will include local elected officials, business owners, sportsmen organizations, outfitters, veterans and conservation groups.

The 6:00 pm meeting in the Grant County Commission Chambers will focus on recently announced plans to conduct 10,000 fly-overs annually above the Gila National Forest, including the Gila and Aldo Leopold Wilderness Areas. Trainings will include low altitude overflights, at 500 feet above the national forest and 2,000 feet above wilderness. The proposal would drop 30,000 magnesium flares and toxic “defensive chaff” each year.

By New Mexico State Senator Howie Morales (D-28-Catron, Grant & Socorro)

Nov. 6, 2017

Residents of southwest New Mexico are just now finding out that big changes to their quality of life are being planned by the United States Air Force. Thousands of new training flights by supersonic F-16 fighter jets may soon be on the way over Silver City and other populated parts of Grant and Catron Counties, and also the pristine Gila and the Aldo Leopold Wilderness areas, if Holloman Air Force Base has its way on a proposed major expansion of its training airspace. The problem is, residents have had no say in the decision, nor did they even receive any prior notice of these far-reaching changes, even though federal law requires it.

To the Editor:
Compensation of WNMU President over half a million dollars

As part of his new employment contract the Regents paid President Shepard for all of his accumulated annual leave, 800 hours at $129.80 per hour a total of $103,842.16 paid on October 12, 2017.

To the Editor:
Comments on article “WNMU Dual Enrollment numbers contribute to overall enrollment drop”.

Western had a 10% drop in enrollment this semester, the largest ever. They contribute this to a new regulation from the Higher Learning Commission effecting Dual Credit Classes.

Eastern New Mexico has about the same number of Dual Credit students as Western and must abide by the same regulations as Western but this year its enrollment has actually increased. What is Eastern doing different than Western?

Dear Editor:

Just so people know, rotenone is not a "selective treatment" for invasive species of fish as stated in the subject piece, which can be read at http://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/news-releases/40049-temporary-closure-order-native-fish-restoration-activity-for-catwalk-recreation-area .

Rotenone kills fish, period, whether native, non-native, or invasive. Rotenone also affects other gill-breathing organisms such as immature amphibians and immature forms of aquatic insects. Working as a fishery biologist for the California Department of Fish and Game between 1960 and 1971, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, from 1971 through 1979, I was involved in many rotenone applications. I'm a little surprised that rotenone and potassium permanganate are still being used.

Roger Lanse

Silver City

By Brian Etheridge, MD, FAAP

New Mexico’s Human Services Department (HSD) wants to make changes to its Medicaid program that would not only hurt our state’s children and families, but would also place financial burdens on its healthcare workforce. As both a pediatrician and the president of the New Mexico Pediatric Society, I must voice my concerns. The draft plan, which is open for comments until November 6 and must be approved by the federal government, has some strong points, including pilot projects for Medicaid-funded home visitation, improved coverage for young adults who have aged out of foster care, and increased access to long-acting reversible contraceptives. These proposals not only make sense but have sound data supporting their efficacy.

There are, however, several elements in the plan that are not in the best interest of New Mexico’s children, would limit access to care, damage an already fragile health system, may actually cost more than they are supposed to save, and should be withdrawn prior to submission.

To the Editor:
Here are some numbers that give more information on President Shepard's contract.
These numbers do not include use of the President's house or any other non-cash benefit.
President Shepard’s old contract:
Base salary $270,000 plus guaranteed bonus of $25,000: Total $295,000
80% of premium for health insurance……$5,000
80% of employee’s retirement contribution…..$29,500
Education Retirement Board Contribution……$8,100
Car Allowance…..$10,800
Total cash benefits $53,400, total cash income $348,400.

President Shepard’s new contract
His base salary remains the same at $270,000.
His bonus now becomes a performance bonus increased from $25,000 to at least $50,000; the $50,000 can be increased to an unstated amount for exceeding expectations, an increase of at least $25,000.
A new annuity of $1,200 per month or $14,400 a year.
An increase to 100% of state retirement from 80%; worth about $10,000.
An increase to 100% for health insurance from 80% worth about $2,000.
His total increase is about $50,000 a year.
President Shepard's total cash income is now about $400,000 a year.

Other salary increases at Western for this year:
VP Academic Affairs From $152,085 to $196,000 increase of 29%
VP Student Affairs $113,760 to $130,000 increase of 14%
VP External Affairs $111,529 to $125,000 increase of 12%
Head of Financial Aid $50,779 to $70,000 increase of 38%
Head of Admissions $45,000 to $47,477 increase of 6%
Head Student Records $58,918 to $70,000 increase of 19%

Faculty and staff increase $0.

Alfred Milligan
Silver City, NM

Today conservation organizations joined by 2,500 people urged international mining giant Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc. (FMI) to support environmentally friendly diversion infrastructure on the Gila River in the Cliff-Gila Valley in New Mexico.

Gila Basin Irrigation Commission (GBIC) irrigators recently received a report from its contractor, Telesto, outlining three options for upgrading diversion structures, two of which will cause catastrophic impacts to the riparian ecology of the Gila River. One option, a U-shaped cross-vane rock weir, is the environmentally friendly option, as well as the most cost-effective alternative.

Live from Silver City

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Editor's Note

The Grant county Beat continues to bring you new columnists. New this past week are the Christian Corner, for those who are already Christians or are exploring the beliefs.

The second is a business-centered column—Your Business Connection by the New Mexico Business Coalition. The group works to make policy in the state of New Mexico better for all businesses, large and small.

The Beat has a new column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues. The first one posted is on Winterizing your houseplants and patio plants.

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