August 21 First News: SF School Board ratifies teacher pay raise. (listen)

Teachers throughout the Santa Fe Public School District have had their first pay raise in six years ratified by the school board. They, along with some other staff, are getting a one-and-a-half percent increase in wages. 1% of that was made possible by state lawmakers during the legislative session in a raise for all state workers. The additional half-percent pay bump is expected to cost the school district about $400,000 annually.

A jury in state district court has found a Santa Fe man guilty of aggravated battery in the 2011 death of 39-year-old Sebastian Gordon. Eresmo Baca, age 60, now faces up to three years in prison for his actions during a fistfight on the Santa Fe Plaza. Baca claimed he had acted in self-defense after being accosted by the man seeking to sell him jewelry. Witnesses for the prosecution testified that Baca was no longer being threatened when he delivered a blow that knocked Gordon to the ground causing fatal injury.

After one year on the job, Santa Fe Community College President Ana "Cha" Guzman has received support of her efforts thus far from the school's governing board and members of the public. Tuesday evening heard a summary performance review evaluation, Guzman's first since taking over the post from former president Sheila Ortego. The board will continue her four-year contract at $196,000 annually with another review to take place in six months.

Voters in Rio Rancho have rejected a measure that would have halved the amount of the city’s gross receipts taxes directed toward higher education facilities. Tuesday's special election was a single item ballot and the city's first to employ a voter photo ID requirement enacted last year.

The Santa Fe Association of Realtors is out with a poll of likely voters for the upcoming March 2014 municipal election and the following November's general election. The Association says it conducted the survey at the end of July that canvassed public opinion on a number of topics from some 400 people. The majority of those surveyed said they are generally satisfied with life in Santa Fe. Among respondents’ top priorities were creating new jobs and spurring economic growth followed by crime prevention and public safety matters along with water conservation efforts.

Santa Fe-based immigrants rights advocate, Somos Un Pueblo Unido, is set to release a study showing that employers steal wages from 1 out of 4 Mexican immigrant workers. Furthermore, only 12% of these wage theft victims report the crime or attempt to recover their stolen wages. The independent study was performed by UNM Professor of Political Science & Sociology Andrew Schrank and UNM doctoral student Jessica Garrick. The full report will be distributed tomorrow at Attorney General Gary King’s Albuquerque office with some victims of wage theft and other workplace abuses recounting their experiences.

Santa Fe County advises residents that a series of public meetings begins next week on capital improvement projects. Both late morning and early evening sessions are scheduled to facilitate participation by the general public and hear their suggestions.  The projects comprise a wide array of categories including roads, housing, water quality issues and community services.  The first meeting takes place Monday at 11:30AM at the Edgewood Senior Center.

An Albuquerque anti-war group called Stop The War Machine plans a demonstration at 8AM this morning at UNM’s Bookstore Plaza to coincide with the military’s delivery of sentence for Private Bradley Manning. Private Manning was arrested in 2010 for passing huge quantities of classified information to the website WikiLeaks. He was found guilty last month guilty of 20 criminal charges including espionage.  Prosecutors have asked for a 60 year sentence.

Weather for Santa Fe – mostly sunny today through Friday with highs in the low 80s. Each day brings a 20% chance for isolated late afternoon and early evening thundershowers.