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Hidalgo County Herald
Lordsburg, New Mexico
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March 4, 2011     Hidalgo County Herald
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March 4, 2011
 

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1 0 HIDALGO COUNTY HERALD FRIDAY, MARCH 4, 2011 EMRTC Lands $23 Million Contract for training program at Playas Submitted by THOMAS GUENGERICHI New Mexico Tech The New Mexico Tech Board of Regents learned of a new $23.5 million contract that EMRTC has secured through the State Department&apos;s program for Worldwide Protection Services. The new training program will be hosted at the Playas Train- ing and Research Center in Hidalgo County. Dr. John Meason, director of the Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center, briefed the board at its monthly meeting Tuesday in Santa Fe. "We are pretty excited," Meason told the board. "This can start any day and it's important for Playas, because, almost from the beginning [in 2005] is been feast or famine. We've either had a tremendous work load or noth- ing. This program will smooth out those peaks and valleys for the next five years." The new contract will in- volve five years of security train- ing for State Department security personnel, such as embassy secu- rity forces, at the Playas Training and Research Center, a subsidiary of EMRTC. Aegis Defense Services, a large defense contractor, won a competitive bid from the State Department valued at $10 billion. Aegis Defense Services is re- quired to hire eight subcontrac- tors; New Mexico Tech was se- lected as one of theieight subcon- tractors and will partner with Ae- gis to deliver training services in Playas. Regent Richard Carpenter asked Meason and other Tech ad- ministrators how dependable fed- eral contracts are, considering President Obama's tightening budget and the death of earmarks. University President Dr. Daniel H. L0pez said Tech's lob- bying team in Washington, D.C. - mainly.Vice President of Re- search Dr. Van Romero - started to work at the agency level sev- eral years ago. "There are always risks," he said. "But we're lucky to be in an area that will be affected less than others." " Romero said the state of New Mexico is losing political influ- ence in Washington, considering the impending retirement of Sen. Jeff Bingaman. However, Tech is not relying on political connec- tions to secure federal funding. "This contract wasn't won on politics," he said. "We can com- pete based on our merits. There's a lot of unrest in the world and that doesn't hurt us. It certainly helps our First Responder Train- ing Program." "We're focusing on the fund- ing agencies and trying to mini- mize anything to do with ear- mark's," Romero said. "But if and when [earmarks] come back, we'll be at the table with our hand out" Romero said Tech's two pro- grams that stand to suffer the most financially with the shrinking federal budget are the First Re- sponder program and the Magdalena Ridge ObservatorY. The First Responder pro- gram has been funded at about $23 million per year. In Obama's budget, the program is slated to receive only $12 million in the coming year. Romero said the program would be scaled back if the funding is cut. Regent Ann Murphy Daily asked about the defense and mili- tary work done at the Magdalena Ridge Observatory. Romero said the sponsors of the 2.4-meter telescope include the Office of Naval Research, which is concerned with space Students publish anthology, donate proceeds to Haiti Submitted by ABE VILLARREAL/WNMU Virtual classmates from 10 different states and two countries have come together to publish Wild Mustang Anthology: Experiments in Writing and Publishing at WNMU. The product of Professor Sharman Russell's graduate course Pub- lishing in the 21st Cen- tury, the anthology is cel- ebrating its first year in publication. Russell initiated the idea of a fundraiser for her class to participate in as a service-learning project: The publishing class developed a 260- page anthology of 19 written works in fiction, /aon-fiction and poetry. All proceeds will benefit victims of the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti. "Featuring national and international student voices, Wild Mus- tang Anthology creates a cross-section of twenty-first century per- spectives," Russell said. "The work mirrors the diverse and far-flung students of the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies program at .p Western New Mexmo University." Belinda Rodgers, a student of the class from California was ex- cited to participate in the first student anthology of its kind at WNMU: "We researched this but could find no project like Ours in which the authors and publishing staff were all students" Rodgers said. "We could find no class that compared to Professor Russell's Publishing in the 21st Century." Rodgers and her classmates carried out the project completely online. The entries were submitted by students and all the steps lead- ing to the publication were student-led. "WNMU has been on the forefront of online education, espe- cially in the writing field" Rodgers said. "We expect WNMU to con- tinue to be a leader and anticipate that projects such as tho anthology will help build a community of writers that will last long after gradu- ation." The book is available on Amazon.com. Information about the authors and charity can be found at www.wildmustanganthology.com <http://www.wildmustanganthology.com> . situational awareness. "Space is a critical compo- nent of warfare," Romero said. "[The United States] controls space and we want to continue to do that. So, we need tle most lat- est and up-to-date equipment. The MRO is an integral part of what the Department of Defense intends to do in the future. The problem is that the MRO has lived as an earmark project. We need to find other resources." The Regents officially ap- proved the selection of Studio D Architects to design a new dor- mitory. The contract is for $502,200. The company was one of 11 bidders. Director of Special Projects Miguel Hidalgo also reported that the university will issue bonds for up to $14 million for construction and design. The ini- tial cost estimate for a new dorm is $9 million to $11 million. Hidalgo said the bond approval process will take about three months. Dr. Lopez updated the board on his activities during the 2011 Legislative Session. He said he and his team are tracking 57 bills - 29 in the Senate and 28 in the House, all of which would have a negative impact on universities. - "We need to make sure none get through," he said. "I'm work- ing with the House Legislative Finance Committee to make sure all those bills go through that committee." Unlike previous years when Tech would request funding for up to 1O capital projects, the uni- versity is only requesting funds for two projects: $1.2 million for road improvements in Playas and $1 million for security, equipment on the main campus. In other agenda items: * Lopez reported that the donation of about 2,200 acres of land near Playas, N.M., from Freeport-MacMoRan is nearly .fi- nal. * The Regents learned of nine purchases of more than $100,000 using restricted funds o EMRTC is paying $519,435 to Command Post Tech- nologies for planning and execu- tion of a live-action, military role- playing exercise at Playas. o EMRTC is paying $167,706 to Strategic Operations Inc. for a training exercise in Pla- yas. The company provides role- players for live action drills. o EMRTC is paying $244,568 to Basic IDIQ Inc. to construct two metal buildings that will be used in border secu- rity work. o EMRTC is paying $157,890 to Strategic Operations Inc. for second training exercise in Playas. The company provides role-players for live action drills. o EMRTC is paying $7.354 million to SAIC to sup- port the First Responder Training Program in Socorro and Playas. o The Playas TrAining and Research Center is paying $275,915 to the Gordian Group and LC Structural Contruction to build two nomadic villages for live-action, role-playing military exercises in Playas. o EMRTC is paying $1.145 million to Command Post Technologies for consulting work at Playas in improving role- player exercises o EMRTC is paying $385,229 to Strategic Operations Inc. for a live-action, role-play- ing exercise at Playas. k .... i ii . OFFER PROFESSIONAL : :TAX PREPARATION SERVICES ; , ,: AT AFFORDABLE PRICES. KKEEPIN 575-542-3125 i 212 E. Motel Drlve00*: Sulte A * Lordsburg DTMS Science Classes to attend Science Fair Ms. Grijalva's science classes at Dugan-Tarango Middle School have been busy preparing different projects to enter in the Southwestern New Mexico Regional Science and Engineering Fair which will take place on Saturday, March 5, 2011 on the NMSU campus in Las Cruces, NM. The projects presented must be about science, engineering or mathematics in order for the students to partici- pate. Courtesy photo DTMS Students Attend National History Day Twenty students plus their sponsors, Mr. Tom Stidham and Ms. Raquel Montiel, traveled to Las Cruces on Wednesday, March 2, 2011 to participate in National History Day. The event was held at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Museum. This year's project was titled "Debate and Diplomacyi Successes, Failures,Consequences. The students presented their projects in groups and were interviewed about their content. Students who place in this competition are able to compete in the state competition which will be held in Albuquerque in April. Courtesy photo