UP thumb ... SUNNY DAYS AHEAD. Colorado-based Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association announced this week that it is planning a 500,000-panel solar photovoltaic power plant in the plains between Springer and Cimarron. Tri-State has entered into an agreement with the Tempe, Ariz.-based First Solar Inc. to develop the plant, which is expected to produce enough electricity for about 9,000 homes.
Construction is expected to begin in April 2010, with energy production by the following August. It’s a job creator and a step forward for the economy of northeastern New Mexico — by utilizing one of our great advantages, lots of sunshine. Plus, it’s a great step forward in this nation’s need to become cleaner and more energy efficient.
DOWN thumb ... TOO MANY UNINSURED. A study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has found that 1 in 4 New Mexico workers between ages 19 ad 64 were without coverage in 2006-07. That places the state at the top of the national list of the percentage of workers without health insurance.
But nationally, it’s not THAT much better. Nearly 1 in 5 workers were uninsured. That bodes poorly compared to the mid-1990s, the number of uninsured workers in the U.S. was 1 in 7. And what do you want to bet that in the Recession of 2009, the numbers will be even higher.
This is why we support President Obama’s effort to take on health care and other issues, rather than focusing exclusively on the banking crisis. When it comes to everyday Americans — including New Mexicans — economic hardships are a multifaceted, interrelated problem.
UP thumb ... NEW CONTRACTS, SAME PAY RATES. The West Las Vegas Schools board voted last week to renew Superintendent Jim Abreu’s contract. We’re glad to see it; Abreu’s been doing a good job. Plus, we’re glad to see that no raise was given — these are hard times for many, and that’s a worthwhile gesture.
Same goes for Rick Romero, East’s superintendent. Thanks for not pressing for a raise during these difficult times.
UP thumb ... OFF TO A GOOD START. It appears that Las Vegas City Manager Tim Dodge has the confidence of the mayor and City Council after his first couple of weeks on the job. Part of that may be because he seems open to considering all sides of the issues facing the city. We hope he will bring some unity into City Hall — something we haven’t seen since, well, when exactly was the last time we saw unity at City Hall? Good luck, Mr. Dodge, we’re rooting for you.
DOWN thumb ... ANOTHER BUSINESS LEAVES. It’s not exactly a good economy for anyone, but it’s even worse for certain businesses, which probably explains as well as anything why Blockbuster Video Superstore is closing its doors in Las Vegas. Netflix and other video-renting options are making it difficult to continue this kind of brick-and-mortar enterprise. Here’s hoping a new business will open up soon in this choice location.
• • •
AND WE QUOTE
“It seems like the water issues that are being dealt with are already known. I don’t think it takes a special task force to go into these water issues.”
— Councilor and Community Water Board President Andrew Feldman, criticizing the mayor’s formation of a task force to look at the city’s water needs.