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March 28, 2014     Hidalgo County Herald
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6 HIDALGO COUNTY HERALD FRIDAY, MARCH 28, 2014 Hidalgo County Teen Day 2014 Submitted by HMSlLordsburg Lordsburg and Animss junior high and high school students participated in the Hidalgo CountyTeen Day on March 17, 2014. The event featured a wide variety of interactive activities reinforcing healthy choices and preparation for successful futures.The highly successful event was held at Lordsburg High School, with the support of 46 different agencies. This year's event focused on college and career readiness. There were representatives from various college, professions and potential em- ployers who shared information with the students and encouraged them to make choices that will qualify (rather than disqualify) them for their chosen future careers. The day included prizes, tee shirts, and learning while having fun. The event was coordinated by Hidalgo Medical Services and AmeriCorps. Pictured above is the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Department. Hidalgo County EMS SUVA i Bicycle Smoothies Border Patrol Explorers Western Bank NM State Police Dispatch New Mexico- Tying the minimum wage to inflation By TOM MCDONALD Sometimes, politics trumps everything. That's especially true for the perennial minimum wage issue. This year, however, it could have been different, at least in New Mexico. The facts, and the politics, are the same year after year. A minimum wage increase helps workers on the bottom rung by insulating them against inflation, but it also burdens employers who must come up with more money to meet payroll. And since the Democratic Party is more closely aligned with the workers and the Republicans with busi- ness interests, votes to increase the minimum wage are pretty much divided along party lines. Of course, reasonable argu- ments can be made on both sides of this issue, but when the debate makes its way into the political arena, hyperbole takes over. It turns into a partisan debate, with the truth taking a back seat to talking points and partisan rheto- ric every time. Here in New Mexico, we could have elevated the debate this year by considering a differ- ent approach -- if only our law- makers had found the political willpower to do so. This issue is essentially dead for the rest of the year, but it will resurface next year. In Washing- ton D.C., a divided Congress will almost assuredly remain dead- locked on the issue through the November election, while here in New Mexico all efforts to raise the state's minimum wage fell flat in the recently adjourned legis- lative session. The issue will re- surface later this year, but only as blame-game rhetoric for candi- dates seeking votes, so for all in- tents and purposes, an actual minimum wage hike is off the table until, at the earliest, mid- 2015. Still, let's remember what happened this year in the New Mexico Legislature. The only proposal to be considered wasn't a straightforward minimum wage hike -- those bills were essen- tially ignored -- but instead was a resolution to tie all future in- creases to the annual rate of in- flation. That ` .wa s Senate Joint Resolution 1.3, sponsored by Sen. Richard MartineZ, D-Espafiola, and it made it through the Senate but died on the House floor. If it had been passed by law- makers, Martinez's resolution would have placed the issue be- fore the state's voters as a consti- tutional amendment. It proposed to not only raise the state's mini- mum wage from $7.50 to $8.30 an hour but to also provide an- nual raises, up to 4 percent each year, based on cost-of-living in- creases. It raises a significant policy question: Should the minimum wage be tied to actual economic data or remain dependent on the prevailing political winds? The idea of tying the mini- mum wage to inflation may Little League registration continues Lordsburg Little League registration will be held on Fri- day, March 28, and Monday, March 31, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Special Events Cen- ter. Registration fees are $25 per player and $5 for each additional player per family. Parents should bring their child's birth certificate and three forms of proof of resi- dency. IN LOVING MEMORY Although they are now beyond the reach of our arms, they will always be within the embrace of our never-ending love and mem sound like a novel approach, but it isn't. Eight states already do it. Oregon tied its minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index as far back as 2002. The federal minimum wage was first imposed in 1955, and it's been raised 19 times. The long- est stretch without a wage hike is 10 years, from 1997 through 2006, followed by an eight-year stretch in 1981-89. The most re- cent minimum wage hike was in 2002, so while the issue may be dead in 2014, it'll surely come up again next year. In a Gallup survey last No- vember, a whopping 76 percent of Americans polled said they would support a federal minimum wage increase from $7.25 to $9 per hour, while 69 percent said they'd support tying future mini- mum wage increases to inflation. Gallup also broke it down by party and found that Democrats overwhelmingly supported both proposals (91 percent favored the increase to $9 and 92 percent sup- ported tying the minimum wage to inflation) while the Republi- can side was more divided (58 percent supported the increase to $9 while 43 percent liked the in- flation provision). That certainly shows a partisan split, but it's worse in the New Mexico legis- lature, where not a single Repub- lican lawmaker voted in favor of Sen. Martinez's resolution. Obviously, the Democrats are solidly behind both a wage hike and tying future increases to in- flation, while the Republicans are split between the Mitt Romneys of the party, who see the value in tying the issue to inflation, and others who don't even believe the nation should have a minimum wage. I don't know about you, but I'm tired of the same old disin- genuous arguments, pro and con, when it really comes down to party politics. Martinez's pro- posal would upset the status quo -- and let "we the people" de- cide on whether a whole new ap- proach for New Mexico is war- ranted. We'll see if it resurfaces in the next session. Tom McDonald is editor of the New Mexico Community News Exchange and owner-manager of Gazette Media Services LLC. He may be reached at 505-426-4199 or tmcdonald@ gazettemedia services, com. Dolan Ellis "Song of Spring" at AFP March 29-30 Courtesy submission Spring in Arizona means warmer weather, wildflowers, and "Song of Spring," Dolan Ellis' tribute to our beautiful state. Ellis, a trans- plant from Kansas who grew up watching cowboy movies and long- ing to be an Arizonan, got his wish right after college. Now the "Ari- zonan at heart" is an Arizonan for real. And Ellis is not just a regular Arizona citizen: he has been recognized by every Arizona governor since 1966 (that's 48 years!) as Arizona's Official State Balladeer. Ellis has traveled more than a million miles throughout the state of Arizona, documenting the back roads and byways in spectacular pho- tos and original songs. The theme song for this weekend's concerts, "Song of Spring," will be accompanied by Ellis' stunning photos of Arizona wildflow- ers. Some of the original songs featured will be "Wildflowers, " com- paring the beautiful and enduring qualities of Arizona's cowgirls to the beautiful and durable qualities of desert springtime wildflowers; "Nature's Children," a song about the streams and waterfalls of Havasu Canyon and singing for the native people who live there; "The Lake Powell Song;" and "Son of the Desert" a semi-autobiographical song of Ellis' love and passion for the austere beauty and hidden mysteries of the Sonoran Desert. Other favorites and special requests will also be included. Ellis' photos, displayed on the large screen in the beautiful per- formance space of the AFP, will illustrate his songs. 13otter than any television travelogue, this concert will whet your appetite for a visit to some of these Arizona treasures. A visual as well as an audio treat, Ellis' multimedia spring concert is a unique way to welcome the new season. ;' You'll want to allow extra time before or after the concert to enjoy spring from the spacious deck at the AFP, under the shade of a 200-year-old sycamore tree. A hidden treasure just a few miles from Sierra Vista, the AFP and its scenic location in Ramsey Canyon will take you away from the everyday for a few hours. Make your reservations soon - you won't want to miss this spe- cial performance. If you go: Doors open at 1 p.m., with performances starting at 2 p.m. For reservations, call 520-378-6165, or email reservations@ arizonafolklore.com. Admission is $15.00 for adults and $6.00 for children 17 and under. To get there: Go 6 miles South of Sierra Vista on Highway 92 to Ramsey Can- yon Road. Turn fight (west) on Ramsey Canyon Road, drive 3.3 miles into the canyon, and watch for the AFP entrance and sign to the left. About the Arizona Folklore Preserve: Tucked off the beaten path in beautiful Ramsey Canyon, the AFP offers an intimate, appealing theater seating just 60 guests. The rus- tic, comfortable performing space also boasts excellent acoustics and a state-of-the art sound system. The AFP bookstore stocks CDs by featured artists as well as Western-themed books and art, along with handmade jewelry, pottery, and soaps. Beverages and snacks are avail- able for purchase to enjoy during the performance. Coming soon: Upcoming performers at the AFP include harmonica virtuoso Garry Allegretto on April 5 and 6, followed by the Western musical group Way Out West on April 12 and 13. For more information, including performance schedules and additional information on featured art- ists, visit the AFP website, www.arizonafolldore.com, or call 520-378- 6165. ' All Arotr Jewelry I Tcbo  I Turquoise Cowgirl Lor00burg Fire I Duano l00oece and featured in f.ho