Mar. 19 First News: Santa Fe School Board Ok's Private Program Targeting Drop-outs (Listen)

Mar 19, 2014

Florida-based Atlantic Education Partners has received the go-ahead from the Santa Fe School Board to launch its program targeting high school dropouts and getting them to meet the requirements to receive a high school diploma. The Board voted four-to-one Tuesday night in favor of the deal to fund the “Engage Santa Fe” effort. Atlantic Education Partners will be implementing its program for students aged 16-21 next January.

A proposal before Santa Fe County's Development Review Committee tomorrow involves re-zoning 50-acres of La Bajada Mesa from residential to mining use. The owner of the parcel, Buena Vista Estates, is looking to sell the acreage. Gravel mining requires lots of water to control dust, and Kim Sorvig, an assistant professor at the University of New Mexico is concerned. Sorvig says Santa Fe County has agreed to sell three-quarters of a million gallons of water annually—he's critical of the lack of conditions that would go along with that usage, particularly during periods of drought. *****031914-Sorvig-1 :30***** Sorvig's comments came during KSFR's Santa Fe Radio Cafe with Mary-Charlotte on Tuesday. The Development Review Committee is set for tomorrow at four-pm at the Santa Fe County Courthouse.

Reports from the Carlsbad area indicate that new air sampling data from the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant show there's been another small release of radiation. Department of Energy officials say a monitoring station picked up elevated radiation readings around WIPP last week. A leak reported in February contaminated 17 workers and shut down the nation's only repository for nuclear waste from Department of Energy nuclear weapons facilities across the country.

A portable and smaller replica of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Wall will be on display at Fort Marcy Field in Santa Fe later today. Viewing of the replica, called, “The Wall That Heals” is permitted 24 hours a day from four-pm today through Monday at six p-m The monument’s official welcoming ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. on Thursday. Organizers will conduct a candlelight vigil and reading of the names of all 398 New Mexican veterans who are on the wall takes place at 5 p.m., Saturday.

There is new evidence New Mexico’s bat population is recovering. Officials at El Malpais National Monument say a recent check of the Junction Cave there shows the bat population has doubled in recent months from about 90 bats to 180. KRQE-TV reports the Junction Cave and dozens others across the state were closed to the public over the winter to allow the bats to hibernate. The animals have dwindled in number in recent years because of drought, fire, and disease. When the animals are in distress it makes them more susceptible. The goal is to reopen the caves to the public by the end of the month.

A study conducted by the Tax Foundation finds that when it comes to combined state and local sales taxes, New Mexicans pay some of the highest rates in the country. The New Mexico Business Journal reports the study concludes that New Mexico’s average combined state and local sales tax rate was just-more-than seven and a quarter percent for a 16th place ranking among the states.

Santa Fe Weather: Sunny today, with the high close to 49. Clear tonight, the low 26. Tomorrow, expect sunny skies with a high near 60.