August 7 First News:SFPS teachers to get 1.5% pay hike starting next week. (listen)

Pending final approval, Santa Fe Public School teachers and staff are poised to get an overall 1.5% pay raise, the first such hike in six years. The newly-negotiated salary increase of one-half a percent comes atop a 1% increase approved back in May.  The tentative agreement between the district and the National Education Association-Santa Fe represents the highest average salary increase in New Mexico. In contrast,  the Santa Fe Public School district remains one of the state’s lowest funded on a per student basis. The raises will appear on August 15th paychecks with a union vote for ratification around the same time.

A somewhat secretive Albuquerque gathering this week of Republican party heavyweights and their supporters was attended by Governor Susana Martinez. The event at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya resort featured House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Mitt Romney running-mate Paul Ryan. The confab is rumored to have been sponsored by billionaire Republican-party supporters David and Charles Koch. The resort blocked traffic from entering its grounds during the multi-day gathering and offered no public information.

The Santa Fe National Forest says it has completed aerial mulching operations over portions of the Tres Lagunas Fire burn scar. The area had been re-seeded and some 500 tons of straw was dropped over five days to hold moisture in place and aid in seed sprouting.  In addition to providing forest regrowth, the treatments will also help reduce rain runoff.

The City of Santa Fe says its Environmental Services Division will be changing the refuse and recycling service days for many city residents as part of the plan to phase in newly annexed collection areas. They'll begin tagging customer’s containers both tomorrow and Friday with the changes effective next week.

Tomorrow evening at 6PM, the Pojoaque Valley High School hosts an open house on the Pojoaque Basin Regional Water System. The US Department of the Interior's Bureau of Reclamation is proposing to construct a system to provide drinking water to the Pueblos of San Ildefonso, Pojoaque, Nambé, and Tesuque, and to County residents within the basin. The proposed project would divert water from the Rio Grande at the Pueblo de San Ildefonso as outlined under terms of the 2010 Aamodt Litigation Settlement Act. That law guarantees access to some 4,000 acre feet of water annually to residents of the basin.

Santa Fe County is reminding folks that the annual County Fair will begin Thursday, August 8th and run through Sunday the 11th. The event features numerous livestock shows and auctions as well as food and entertainment. It takes place at the County Fairgrounds on Rodeo Road between the Chavez Center and the Santa Fe Rodeo grounds.

Weather for Santa Fe – a 40% chance for scattered thunderstorms both today and Thursday under partly sunny skies with highs in the low 80s. Some of those storms this afternoon could produce bouts of heavy rain.