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Features

  • If you can read this, be thankful. Many in San Miguel County and across the nation can’t read, and many more still cannot read at an adult level.

    Nearly half of New Mexico’s population reads at or below a benchmark standard called Literacy Level 2. Level 2 literacy is that level of reading and comprehension skills expected from children in the fifth through seventh grades. Nearly two-thirds of all jobs require literacy skills above this level, but in San Miguel County, 59 percent of our residents fall at or below Level 2.

  • We all think of a forest as millions of acres of green-topped mountains where water and wildlife rule the land. But there’s a forest right in our own backyards that sometimes gets overlooked — the urban forest.

    An urban forest includes trees, vegetation, and associated natural resources within and around the inhabited area of a community. Urban Forests include trees in parks, tree-lined streets, trees that dot our neighborhoods and any trees within the wildland-urban interface between communities and adjacent forest and rangelands

  • What to plant first? Most people who decide they want to have a garden  just go out and plant their flowers or veggies.

    When the plants don't do well, or even die, they conclude that they don't have a "green thumb" and move on to other things.

    Their problem is that they began at the end of the process. There are other things which must be cultivated first.

  • Hang out in organic gardening circles or read the publications and you will soon hear the high praises of compost tea. In its simplest form, compost tea is simply water in which a scoop of mature compost has been added and allowed to set. I have often wondered what the great benefit of this is — after all, the nutrients in the tea are just the nutrients in the compost, dissolved to facilitate rapid uptake by plants.

    It turns out though, that the real deal is something more robust, with a different purpose. Properly brewed compost tea is a microbial innoculant.

  • “We succeeded beyond my wildest expectations,” said Emelie Olson, organizer of the Solar Homes Tour on Feb. 7.

    “Over 100 people visited each of the three houses during the tour, far more than any of us expected.” 

    Most of these visitors apparently attended all three houses, each of which conducted their tours somewhat differently. At Linda Halouzka’s house, she showed people around her house and yard informally.

  • Back when I was a young fella, and attending public schools, the little bit we were taught about ecology, biology and the laws of nature could be summed up as follows: “Everything competes, the strong eat the weak, survival of the fittest is the rule, and the devil takes the hindmost.”

    This was the conventional take on Darwinism, and when used to justify laissez faire economics and cutthroat capitalism, such thinking was called “social Darwinism.”

  • Of course, recycling is all the rage, but now I must be the heretic once again and point out that recycling is the LAST resort of the responsible consumer.

    Let your mantra be the four Rs,

    Refuse

    Reduce

    Reuse

    Recycle

    These Rs are ranked in order of energy and resource consumption. Best to refuse; if you can’t refuse, reduce; that which you do use, try to re-use as well, and when all of that is done, recycle.

  • People on the street are hurrying by, collars turned up against the chilly February wind.  But you’re basking in the sun in shorts and a tank top, the air freshened by green foliage.   How can this be?  Think greenhouse.  Think sunroom.  Think passive solar.

  • Does your life sometimes feel like it’s on repeat every day? For a long while my life felt like that. Every single day almost seemed the same. At the same time every day I would wake up and get ready for school, I would leave for school at the same time, the lectures at school all sounded the same. (It kind of sounded like the teacher from Charlie Brown....Blah Blah Blah Blah.) After school I’d come to work. Every single day was basically the same schedule, and I never really noticed any of this up until recently.

  • From the many Good Samaritans in Las Vegas six nominees have been chosen for a Good Samaritan Award. This honor will be presented at the United World College’s Benefit to be held on Thursday, Jan. 29 at the UWC Montezuma Castle Cafeteria.

    United World College students are sponsoring this fund-raiser with international foods, special activities and international musical performances in support of Samaritan House and the Cold Weather Shelter.  

  • So who has bragging rights that they are the First Ever New Mexico Hispano Music Associations    “ Youth Group of the Year?” Mariachi Pantera de Pecos Schools. The seven members of Mariachi Pantera competed on Nov. 29, 2008, at the Ohkay Convention Center for the NMHMA Children and Youth Competition. The students performed the song Cariño in front of an audience of almost 400 people, and were judged on performance, technique, and appearance. They competed against two other groups, Mariachi Sol de Valle, and a Mariachi Group from Questa.

  • ‘Small communities all over the world have the power to help each other,” said Jomkaun (Lynn) Theprungsirikul from Thailand and a student at United World College. “Hands reaching out, people from many backgrounds, the great variety of people—this will be a really big event,” said Laura Angeline Pastores of the Philippines, another World College student. “The government may not be working hard to help and that’s why we need people to help,” said Elizabeth Villalobos Zamora from Costa Rica.

  • Let me begin with a confession — although I am trying to live green, I still watch TV. Being a contender for “cheapest man alive,” I have abandoned cable and dish, and I now watch TV for free through several internet television sites, most notably Hulu.com and Fancast.com. I get to watch all sorts of great stuff, but that’s not what this column is really about.

  • The Las Vegas City museum is seeking suggestions for improvement, and has created a community blog to encourage community members to offer their recommendations for change.

  • Imagine walking outside your door and seeing nothing but peace. There’s nobody out there cussing and yelling at each other. Nobody is fighting. Imagine having a world with no race. Everybody full of peace, love and no judgment. Sounds all like a dream, right? It really isn’t; it’s within arm’s reach but nobody seems to realize it.

  • Las Vegas is a community with a heart. When an act of arson caused two valued members of the community to suffer a loss, some of the most talented people in the Las Vegas area joined to put together a fundraising benefit.

    A concert suited to every taste will be presented on Sunday, Jan. 25 at 3 p.m. in the Presbyterian Church, 1000 Douglas Ave.

  • Virtuoso song-and-piano team Jane Voss & Hoyle Osborne will present “I Want to Be Bad: The Flapper and Her Song” at the Kluge Auditorium of United World College-USA in Montezuma, New Mexico, on Friday, January 23rd, at 7 p.m. 

    This free concert-lecture is part of the New Mexico Chautauqua and is made possible by the New Mexico Humanities Council and the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs.

  • It’s the windy and freezing cold. It’s the constant drills. It’s the continuous monotony of buildings needing repair and animals needing care and feeding.

    There are perhaps 500 dogs wandering around the fort.  Soldiers number as many as 1,600. With civilians the total human population rises to 3,500. Food is so bad that when the soldier threw his dinner meat to a dog, the dog just turned away and left it. The officers steal from the men and the men steal from each other. 

  • So finally 2009 is here. This has been a year I’ve been anticipating for a really long time. This is the year I finally start my life. Graduation is around the corner and so are all the opportunities that lie ahead.

    I have to say, bringing in the New Year was not so shabby. All my family was together and having a blast. Now I don’t think you could call my aunty’s party a party — a fiesta sounds more like it.

  • Silver/goldsmith Tito Chavez is the featured artist during the January 10th Second Saturday festivities at Tito’s Gallery on Bridge Street in Old Town Las Vegas. He will demonstrate techniques such as fusing, popcorn casting, and water casting of silver at intervals throughout the day between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. The public is welcome and there is no charge.