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LCC Submits Show Cause Report

Special to KRTN 

Creating a symbolic coincidence, last week’s Super Moon marked a milestone for Luna Community College staff who celebrated the submission of the Show-Cause Report to the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The Show-Cause Order issued by the HLC in November 2017 required the College to submit a Show-Cause report no later than February 1, presenting a case for retaining its accreditation.

“With every milestone we meet, I grow in confidence that we can do everything the Higher Learning Commission has asked us to do,” said Luna Community College Interim President Ricky Serna.

The 126-page report, which is available for viewing on the College’s website, is a comprehensive document providing narrative and evidence that articulates how Luna complies with all criterion for accreditation. Included in the report are responses to the findings and concerns raised by the HLC in the Show-Cause Notification.

“This report is a plan that reflects what we’re doing now; it’s the basis on which we will get better,” said Serna.

Part of the report’s cover page reads, “Over the past several months, organizational change at Luna Community College has been expedited by a sudden realization that the institution could lose its ability to remain operational. As is the case with most life-altering experiences, being faced with dire consequences prompted changes to behaviors that have compromised the faith and trust in our collective capacity to prepare students for the rest of their lives.”

“Creating Opportunities for You!,” is so much more than a mission for Luna, it’s a moral responsibility to the rural, underrepresented and impoverished communities we serve. For so many students, Luna is the bridge between an aspiration to better themselves and the academic preparation and confidence that’s necessary to reach their goals. For many, it’s an institution that allows for them to earn a credential while raising a family, taking care of elderly relatives and sustaining a way of living that’s engrained in their identity.”

Several committees comprised of students, faculty, staff, administration and community members participated in preparing the report. Other sub-committees were tasked with addressing complex issues within criterion, for example, shared governance and transparency.

The College encourages the public to view the entire Show-Cause Order report on its website at www.luna.edu under the accreditation link.

The Higher Learning Commission will conduct a site visit on March 19-21 to validate the contents of the report.

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March Ballot SGRT Question for Raton Water Works

By Marty Mayfield

KRTN Multi-Media

 

The Raton Water Works faces many challenges in the coming years, none of which may be more important than funding and this March 6, 2018 you the voters will help make that choice when you go to the polls to vote on a supplemental gross receipts tax and bond question. (Link to Water Supplemental Gross Receipts Tax Question)

In less than a year from now the supplemental gross receipts tax that Raton voters overwhelmingly approved in 1982 for water infrastructure improvements, will expire. Raton Water Works is hoping the citizens of Raton will see the need to extend that SGRT at a lower level. The current tax is at 1% and should voters approve it, the new tax will be .75% or a quarter percent less than water users are paying now. Should this SGRT fail, water rates, that are currently some of the lowest in the state, will likely go up.

There will be two questions on the ballot. One for the gross receipts tax and one for the $7,000,000 bond question that the SGRT will pay for. In order to pass, both questions will have to pass. In others words the “For” box on both questions will need to be filled in for the tax to pass.  (Link to Sample Ballot March 6, 2018 Municipal Election)

By using this form of funding, a supplemental gross receipts tax, not only do the citizens of Raton pay for, but they get help from, all those tourist and travelers that pass through Raton and pay gross receipts taxes on meals and lodging which spreads the costs around.

The money from this tax will go for improvements to the aging Raton water system and only capital improvements on the system. The filter plant, built in 1946, is in need of major upgrades as well as meeting new government regulations concerning water quality. The Cimarron pipeline and associated equipment is now 35 years old and in need of work. Dan Campbell, Raton Water Works General Manager notes that it is time to replace those 35-year-old pumps and that is what the SRGT will be used for. Other infrastructure improvements will include transmission pipeline replacement and repairs in the Raton city limits.

A recent project to replace a pipeline on south First Street replaced piping that had been in the ground since the early 1900s. The transmission line that ran under Second Street was replaced during the street reconstruction project which allowed for improved water delivery through much of the town. These projects were paid for by the one cent supplemental gross receipts tax. Had that tax not been in place, projects like that and the Cimarron Water pipeline project may not have been a reality. Had Raton not had the Cimarron water source during the Track Fire it could have been very detrimental to Raton.

During the rehabilitation of the Lake Maloya water shed money from that one cent tax was used along with some federal money. Had Raton not had that one cent tax in place they wouldn’t have had money for those rehab projects at the lake nor gotten it done as quickly as federal monies were slow in coming. The speed that the rehab projects got underway greatly enhanced the return of water quality to Lake Maloya.

Raton's ball fields are watered with reclaimed water, another project made possible by the one cent supplemental gross receipts tax.

Raton’s ball fields are watered with reclaimed water, another project made possible by the one cent supplemental gross receipts tax.

 

some of the rehabilitation work done around Lake Maloya was done with money from the one cent supplemental gross receipts tax.

some of the rehabilitation work done around Lake Maloya was done with money from the one cent supplemental gross receipts tax.

 

Fire came close to very Lake Maloya, Raton's main water supply, because of the foresight of city fathers Raton built a water pipeline from Cimarron to Raton which made it possible for Raton to have drinking water during the Track Fire.

Fire came close to very Lake Maloya, Raton’s main water supply, because of the foresight of city fathers Raton built a water pipeline from Cimarron to Raton which made it possible for Raton to have drinking water during the Track Fire.

 

Money from the one cent supplemental gross receipts tax help to rehab the area around Lake Dorothy and Lake Maloya after the Track Fire.

Money from the one cent supplemental gross receipts tax help to rehab the area around Lake Dorothy and Lake Maloya after the Track Fire.

 

The Raton Filter Plant, much of the facility was built in 1946 and is now in need of upgrades and improvements to meet new water quality regulations for drinking water.

The Raton Filter Plant, much of the facility was built in 1946 and is now in need of upgrades and improvements to meet new water quality regulations for drinking water.

 

Raton Water Works crew putting in new water line just north of K-Mart.

Raton Water Works crew putting in new water line just north of K-Mart.

 

Raton Water Works personnel work on a water leak on First Street.

Raton Water Works personnel work on a water leak on First Street.

 

A valve at Legion Park sprung a leak. Valves and water lines are just some of the repairs that are needed and will be needed to be made in the years to come.

A valve at Legion Park sprung a leak. Valves and water lines are just some of the repairs that are needed and will be needed to be made in the years to come.

Raton/Springer Split Varsity Games

Close games were the order of the night at Raton Tiger Gym as Springer came to town to play on Tuesday, January 30 with the Raton girls winning 49 – 43 and the Springer boys winning 52 -47.

The girls game was close the whole way as the Lady Tigers and Lady Red Devils tied at 10 apiece after the first 8 minutes.  Raton lead by four at half on balanced scoring, but Springer came back to lead by two going into the fourth period.

Raton sank nine free throws in the fourth and was 19 of 25 from the line to win their second game in a row.

Raton was lead by Hallie Medina with 10, Anna Acosta with 9, Andie Ortega with 8, Jadeyn Walton with 6, Autumn Archuleta and Camryn Mileta each had 4, Natasha Ortega with 3, while Baylor Walton, Ginger Baird and Sydni Silva had 2 apiece.

Springer only suited up seven as senior Alicia Arias was sidelined with an injury.  Senior Hannah Burton led all scorers with 15, Odalis Tafoya had 10, Asley Saenz had 5, Kirsten Gurule, Shylow Saenz and Elena Maestas each had 3 and Katy Scott had 2.  Springer was 24 of 42 from the line.

The boys varsity game saw Springer lead the entire way, but Raton down by as many as 12 in the second half, rallied to cut the lead to three in the fourth quarter, but Springer had an answer for the rally and took the five point win on the strength of Gabe Garcia’s 23 points. Jose Urquijo netted 11, while Owen Burton and Bryan Romero matched each others 7 and Chase Casias put in 6. Springer kept Raton at bay by sinking 7 of their 12 made free throws in the fourth period.

Raton was led in double figures by Jose Archuleta’s 14 and Aden Vanderwater’s 12. Dustin Segura, Ismael Tafoya and Nathaniel Tarbox each had six, while Isaih Samora had 3. Raton shot less than 50% from the line making 6 of 16.

In the only JV game, Raton boys defeated Springer 57 – 36.

Next up for Springer is a District matchup in Des Moines on Feb. 1 and next for Raton is a District series for both boys and girls at Desert Academy in Santa Fe also on Feb. 1.

Raton’s games will be broadcast on KRTN beginning at 5:30 for the girls and 7:00 for the boys.  Both games will also be streamed on Network1Sports.com.

 

Commission Approves Ice House Beer/Wine Request

By Marty Mayfield

KRTN Multi-Media –

Raton City Commissioners, after no public objection, approved the Restaurant Beer and Wine License request for the Ice House at the special city commission meeting Tuesday afternoon, January 30th. According to co-owner Jessica Van Buskirk they will open the restaurant as soon as they get the license.

Commissioners approved Molzin Corbin for engineering services for Raton Crews Field. There were four proposals for engineering services and according to City Clerk/Treasurer Michael Anne Antonucci,  Molzen Corbin graded the highest in the process.

The city will apply for a loan from DFA to purchase three new police vehicles. The loan will be for $82,620 for four years. Law Enforcement Protection fund monies will be used to equip the new vehicles.  Commissioners also approved the disposal of the old dispatch consoles as surplus equipment. Chief John Garcia noted the new ones are being installed and should be finished soon.

Commissioners also approved the appointment of individuals to staff the polling places for the March 6, municipal election as well as the compensation for the long day of work.

Commissioners approved budget adjustment #7 for FY18. Antonucci wanted to go ahead and pay vendors for the equipment while they wait for USDA to make payment to the city for the grant monies. (Link to Budget Adjustment #7)

Raton City Commissioners will meet again on February 13, 2018 for their next regular meeting, which will be broadcast on AM KRTN 1490.

 

 

 

LCC Continues on Accreditation Path

Special to KRTN –

Luna Community College is seeking comments from the public about the College in preparation for its evaluation by its regional accrediting agency. The College will host a Show-Cause visit March 19-21, 2018, with a team representing the Higher Learning Commission. Luna Community College has been accredited by HLC since 1982. The team will review the institution’s ongoing ability to meet HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation.

The public is invited to submit comments regarding the college to the following address:

Public Comment on Luna Community College

Higher Learning Commission

230 South LaSalle Street

Suite 7-500, Chicago, IL 60604-1411

The public may also submit comments on HLC’s website at www.hlcommission.org/comment.

Comments must address substantive matters related to the quality of the institution or its academic programs. Comments must be in writing.

All comments must be received by Feb. 19, 2018.

 

Following a report by the Higher Learning Commission which underscored a number of concerns with how the institution is being governed, the LCC Board of Trustees has approved a significant number of policy revisions and adoptions over the past month. The majority of changes are aimed at enhancing the processes by which the faculty, staff and students contribute to the well-being and strength of the institution.

At their Dec. 19 meeting, Trustees unanimously approved the by-laws and constitution for the newly recognized staff advisory senate. The Senate was established as part of the College’s new Shared Governance Policy that was approved on Dec. 12. The shared governance policy sets the principles for engaging Luna Community College constituents in the process of informed decision-making.

The Staff Advisory Senate will serve as a source of input on issues and decisions at the college relating to all regular full-time/part-time, non-faculty staff at the main campus and its satellites and site. The Senate will report to the College president and the staff senate president shall serve on the Governance Council along with leadership from student and faculty senates. In addition, the Senate shall promote the general well-being of Luna Community College by assisting the college in achieving its goals.

Also on Dec. 19, the Board participated in a workshop led by consultants Dr. Hugh Prather and John F. Kennedy of Cuddy and McCarthy, LLP. This, and other upcoming trainings, are geared to enhance the Board’s understanding of its roles and responsibilities, collective effectiveness, and ability to achieve the institution’s goals.

“We are working diligently to make things better at Luna Community College,” said LCC BOT Chairman Dan Romero. “We respect the Higher Learning Commission’s recommendations and are very serious about solving these issues.”

Policy changes included revisions to the College’s nepotism policy which states that the President shall not hire or approve the hiring of a person who is the spouse, partner and/or significant other, father, father-in-law, mother, mother-in-law, son, son-in-law, daughter, daughter-in-law, brother, brother-in-law, sister or sister-in-law of the President or of a member of a Board of Trustees of Luna Community College.

On Jan. 9, the Board also approved policy revisions that disconnect the employee performance appraisal process from the contract renewal process.

The Higher Learning Commission Board of Trustees issued the Show-Cause Order based on its findings of non-compliance following a Higher Learning Commission Advisory Visit to the College in June 2017. A Show-Cause Order is a procedural order that shifts the burden to the institution to demonstrate that it is in compliance with all the requirements associated with its Higher Learning Commission accreditation.

Luna Community College is required to present its case for accreditation in response to the Show-Cause Order in a Show-Cause report by Thursday, Feb. 1.

Luna Community College will then host an on-campus Show-Cause Evaluation Visit conducted by Higher Learning Commission peer reviewers from March 19 to March 21.

 

 

Raton Police Officer Charged

By Marty Mayfield

KRTN Multi-Media

New Mexico State Police charged Andrew Sanchez age 25 of Raton with one count of 3rd degree sexual penetration and one count of battery after an incident on January 8, 2018 on Highway 526 near Lake Alice according to a criminal complaint filed in Magistrate Court on January 23, 2018.

According to court records Sanchez and the victim were in a relationship. Sanchez and the victim had driven out on Highway 526 where in an intoxicated state he forced himself on her. He had then slapped and choked her, after she had asked him to stop.

According to Chief Garcia, once he was informed of the incident, he put Sanchez on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. Once charges were filed Sanchez’s employment with the Raton Police Department was terminated. Sanchez had been employed with the Colfax County Sheriff’s office before returning to the Raton Police Department late last year. Sanchez was on an eight month probationary period when he was terminated.

Below is the press release that KRTN Received from the New Mexico State Police.

 

PRESS
RELEASE 
Officer Ray Wilson 
New Mexico State Police
Public Information Officer
Ray.Wilson@state.nm.us
Susana MartinezGovernor
Scott Weaver
Cabinet Secretary
Pete N. KassetasNMSP Chief of Police
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 24, 2018
State Police Investigate Rape Allegations against Raton Police Officer

 

On January 8, 2018, the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau was asked to investigate an alleged rape that took place in Colfax County, New Mexico.  A female victim reported that she was raped by Raton Police Officer Andrew Sanchez while he was off duty.
During the investigation, NMSP agents obtained evidence that on the morning of January 8, 2018, RPD Officer Sanchez sexually assaulted the victim as the two were alone together. When the victim was later able to contact police she reported the incident.
The New Mexico State Police filed a criminal summons today for Mr. Sanchez to appear in the Raton Magistrate Court. Mr. Sanchez was charged with Criminal Sexual Penetration (3rd Degree Felony) and Battery (Misdemeanor).

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Commissioners Hear Shuler Report and Strategic Plan Tuesday Evening

By Marty Mayfield

KRTN Multi-Media

 

Raton City Commissioners spent the better part of their regular meeting Tuesday evening hearing from Retha Shiplet and the city’s department heads about the strategic plan for the city that was developed over the last few months.

 

Billy Donati with the Shuler Restoration Committee reported to the commission that after a couple of minor bugs that things at the Shuler are going quite well with the new digital film equipment. According to Kerry Medina with the El Raton Theater they have seen an increase of 40% in movie going attendance. The purpose for the digital equipment was to help the El Raton compete for first run movies by providing them with a second screen.

 

City Manager Scott Berry then introduced the commission to the 2018 City of Raton Strategic Action Plan that began in March of 2017. The plan outlines seven focus areas for the city which include 1. Strong and Effective Strategic Partnerships. The other focus points are 2. Youth Development, Entrepreneurship, New Generation, 3. Family Friendly Community 4. Enhance Economic Vitality with Innovative Approaches, 5. Ensure Vital Resources, Safe and Attractive Neighborhoods, 6. Position the City for the Future and 7. Operational Excellence.

 

The plan outlines processes and goals to accomplish these seven focus points. The report then goes on to outline what the different departments goals are and how they intend to accomplish those goals. Commissioners then adopted the plan and will be looking forward to hearing how the different departments achieve their goals.  (Link to the City of Raton Strategic Action Plan 2018)

 

Commissioners approved the agreement between Engineering Analytics and the city for engineering services. Karen Sterns told commissioners that most all the work they have done for the city was done out of the Raton office on the various projects around town. Some geophysical work was done out of the Ft Collins office where they have that expertise.

 

Commissioners approved a resolution supporting the Raton Chamber’s efforts to collect signatures on petitions for keeping the local K-Mart open. The chamber plans to present Sears Holding with the petition and many letters of support in an effort to change their minds about closing the local store.

 

Commissioners approved the extension of the contract with the Raton Country Club to manage the city’s liquor license for special events.

 

The Lodger’s Tax Board recommended that the commission approve $878.39 for the Chamber to send the tourism coordinator to the 2018 Trends NMHA Conference in Santa Fe January 29th and 30th.  $215 for the Chamber to purchase literature bags for tourist who come into the visitor’s center.  They also recommended that a full-page ad be purchased in the New Mexico Vacation Directory for $2920. Commissioners approved all three recommendations with Mayor Pro-Tem Neal Segotta recommending that since the requestors were on hand that the lodger’s tax board should have a representative present to answer any questions the commissioners might have regarding their recommendations.

 

Commissioners approved a budget adjustment for the Juvenile Justice grant from the girl’s fund to the boy’s fund after seeing a 30% increase in referrals to the boy’s program.

 

Commissioners approved the second quarter financial report hearing that once again the gross receipts are about 5.2% above budget. Michael Anne Antonucci will be getting with K-Mart in the near future to try and come up with a figure on how badly the store closing will affect gross receipts income. The city’s budget could take a big hit late in the fiscal year and will have a big impact on next year’s budget. The store is scheduled to close near the end of the fiscal year about the time the city begins working on the next year’s budget.  (Link to FY18 2nd Qtr Financial Report)

 

Scott Berry had a short report noting that he and several others made it to Santa Fe January 18 where they met with legislators concerning the capital improvements plan as well as the Lake Maloya Dam projects.

 

Commissioners then went into executive session to discuss collective bargaining between the city and the AFSCME Local 1601.

 

The Raton City Commission will meet in a special meeting on January 30 at 5:00 p.m. Then on February 13 for their next regular meeting.

 

Retha Shiplet was present Tuesday evening to talk about the Strategic Action Plan that she helped department heads develop for the city.

Retha Shiplet was present Tuesday evening to talk about the Strategic Action Plan that she helped department heads develop for the city.

Colfax County Receives Risk Awareness Program (RAP) Award

NEWS RELEASE

New Mexico Association of Counties • 444 Galisteo St. • Santa Fe, New Mexico • 87501
(505) 983-2101 Office • (505) 983-4396 Fax

January 22, 2018 for Immediate Release

Santa Fe, New Mexico – The New Mexico Association of Counties (NMAC) presented Colfax County with a Risk Awareness Program (RAP) Award during the 2018 NMAC Legislative Conference January 16-18, 2018 in Santa Fe, NM. The county completed their second year of RAP decreasing workers’ compensation claims by 27%, multi-line claims by 62%, auto claims by 91%, and law enforcement claims by -50%. This award is offered through NMAC’s Risk Awareness Program (RAP), a workplace risk control educational program that aims to reduce the frequency and severity of county claims through better risk awareness and safety practices.

Colfax County Manager Mary Lou Kern and Commissioner Landon Newton receiving Risk Awareness Program (RAP) Award. Photo courtesy of Desiree Silva.

Colfax County Manager Mary Lou Kern and Commissioner Landon Newton receiving Risk Awareness Program (RAP) Award. Photo courtesy of Desiree Silva.

The New Mexico Association of Counties is a non-profit, nonpartisan association representing and serving New Mexico’s 33 counties. As a professional association of county elected officials and employees. NMAC supports and promotes the idea that all county elected officials and professional county employees should have the opportunity to act together to solve problems and to work for the progress of county governments in New Mexico. NMAC provides numerous programs and services to counties including legislative representation, self-insurance, legal assistance and professional development. For more information and updates on our events, programs and other initiatives, visit www.nmcounties.org

 

 

Carjacking Suspect Captured

The suspect in a Raton carjacking was apprehended in Union County. Norman Michael Simpson was captured without incident by Union County Sheriff Deputies and NM State Police and was transported to Union County Detention Center awaiting multiple charges.

Police were looking for a suspect in a Sunday (1/21/18) afternoon carjacking in Raton. Norman Michael Simpson allegedly pulled a crowbar on a family in the Raton Country Club area at about 4 pm and took their vehicle.  There were no injuries in the incident.

Simpson is known to be suicidal and possibly homicidal as he has made threats to police. Simpson is described as a white male, 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighing 200 pounds with light colored hair.

Simpson’s began his day by eluding police in Pueblo, CO in a black KIA sedan and police chased him south on I-25 all the way to exit 451 where they either lost him or disengaged in the chase. Simpson was reportedly stuck in his vehicle off of Hiway 555 and eluded officers again where he accessed the  Gardner Road and car-jacked the vehicle by brandishing a crowbar and threatening the family.  No one was injured in the car-jacking.

Public Meeting on Controlled Pile Burn Near Eagle Nest

Public meeting will discuss plan for controlled pile burn near Eagle Nest

news banner bw logo

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Public contact, Information Center: (888) 248-6866
Media contact: Dan Williams: (505) 476-8004
dan.williams@state.nm.us 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, JAN. 18, 2018:

Public meeting will discuss plan for controlled pile burn near Eagle Nest

EAGLE NEST – The Department of Game and Fish will conduct a public meeting Monday, Jan. 22 in Eagle Nest to discuss a controlled pile burn in the Colin Neblett Wildlife Management Area west of Eagle Nest Lake.

The meeting will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Eagle Nest Community Center, 151 Willow Creek Drive, in Eagle Nest. Participants will learn what to expect from the pile burn.

The pile burn is the second phase of a project to prevent catastrophic wildfire and improve wildlife habitat.

The burn window opens Jan. 29 and will be conducted only if certain weather conditions are met, such as two to six inches of snow on the ground and wind speed below 15 mph.

For more information, please contact Jacob Davidson, the department’s habitat manager, at (505) 476-8112.

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