Thumbs: Our high country lowdown on the news

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By Optic Editorial Board

WELL DESERVED, AND A GOOD SIGN. New Mexico Highlands University employees who haven’t seen a pay raise since the fall of 2009 will get bonuses next month. On Monday, regents approved a proposal by President Jim Fries to give full-time employees who have been with the university prior to the first of this year a one-time $500 bonuses in April. Regular part-time employees will be given pro-rated bonuses.
There are two good reasons to celebrate these bonuses. One is that the employees deserve it for their dedication to the job during lean times. The other is that the school is in good enough financial condition to afford it.

HIGHLANDS POLICE DISPUTE. Meanwhile, over at the university’s police department, tensions are mounting between Chief Donato Sena and some officers who sent a letter to President Fries about some on-the-job concerns. the letter also served to notify the school of the officers’ plans for a no-confidence vote and to begin the process of forming a union.
At the center of the dispute are accusations of a hostile work environment and favoritism, a series of reprimands and what officers consider to be unreasonable expectations regarding nighttime security checks.
The process of resolving such differences will have to run its course. In the meantime, don’t let it have an adverse affect on the safety of Highlands’ students, staff and faculty. That would be a real crime.

UNSEASONABLY WARM ... Along with most of the nation, we are experiencing some mighty warm temperatures in these early days of spring, and it sure feels good. Contained winds and sunny skies sure can warm the heart.

... BUT TOO DRY.  Unfortunately, it’s been a fairly dry winter, with not a lot of moisture of late. Warm is nice, but wetter is better. Here’s hoping for a spring snow or some good rains.

NOT SO HOT. These being Wildfire Awareness Weeks (this week and next according to a proclamation by Gov. Susana Martinez), it behooves us to point out that the fire season is upon us — and with last year being such a terrible season for the Southwest, we’d like to issue a warning against carelessness and encourage caution.
Especially in the Gallinas Canyon, where nearly all of Las Vegas’ water supply comes from. Let’s be especially cautious this year.

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“I truly want to focus on representing the people that believe, not necessarily in my candidacy, but in the process of their right to choose through elections.” — Pete Campos, who said he wasn’t aware he needed to list his district when filing for re-election to his Senate seat. Instead of identifying his specific district by its number, Campos wrote “state Senate” in the space for the office he was seeking.

“I think you’re going to have trial attorneys jumping all over something like that when their clients get arrested ... for a law that went into effect the year prior, saying, ‘If this is the first time, then we should probably turn the other cheek.’ That’s a little bit problematic.” — Thomas Garcia, who filed to run against Campos. He’s served in the state House since 2006, but his district was eliminated by redistricting. He now plans to file suit to block Campos from the ballot.