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Scouts help feed the community

—Suzann Owings

“Before our Blue-and-Gold Banquet is the perfect time to replenish the pantries at Casa Rosa and the Roadrunner Food Bank,” says Cub Master David Gardner. Pack 708 will again roll out the “Scouting for Food” program in Bernalillo and Placitas.

On February 1, cub scouts will visit several neighborhoods in Placitas and Bernalillo. The scouts will ask the people in these neighborhoods to collect canned food in the bags they scouts leave. The scouts will return for the filled bags on February 14 and take them to Casa Rosa and the Roadrunner Food Bank.

“When we come together at our annual Blue-and-Gold Banquet on February 19, the scouts will have a very good year to celebrate,” Gardner says.  The winners of the Pinewood Derby will be announced at the banquet, as well as promotions and awards.

Causes for celebration at the banquet include the great growth the pack has experienced and the pack’s successful annual rechartering with the Coronado Optimist Club’s sponsorship.

Scout meetings continue at Carroll Elementary, on Wednesdays, at 3:00 p.m., and at Placitas Elementary School, on Fridays, at 3:00 p.m.

To find out other Pack information, contact David Gardner at 867-4689.

BHS student earns college softball scholarship

—Bernalillo Public Schools

Bernalillo High School softball player Demitria Magdalena has signed a national letter of intent to continue her playing career at Trinidad College in Trinidad Colorado.

Magdalena, a standout pitcher, is the daughter Peter Magdalena, senior coordinator of the Sandoval County Native American Voting Rights Program. With her college plans set, Demitria Magdalena is looking forward to what is expected to be another outstanding season for the Bernalillo Spartans. She posted record-setting numbers in 2013, striking out more than 270 batters and recording five shut outs and two perfect games.

Multiple members of Magdalena’s family came to Bernalillo High School to watch her sign the letter that will lead to playing for Trinidad coach Steve Swazo, who also attended the event. Coach Swazo said he’s looking forward to watching Magdalena develop as both a player and person at Trinidad, which is a two-year college, and he’s confident she will then be able to continue pitching at a four-year institution.

Alan Tapia, superintendent of the Bernalillo Public Schools system, attended the signing and said it was not only a great day for the Magdalena family, but a message to all Bernalillo students that hard work and dedication pays off.

Given the last word at the event, Demitria Magdalena thanked her family and coaches for their support over the years and told her teammates, who were there watching as well, they still have a lot to accomplish this upcoming season.

Job creation initiative

—Think New Mexico

Between 2007 and 2011, over three thousand businesses and 43,000 jobs vanished from New Mexico. In 2012, the state’s economy grew by only 0.2 percent, the forty-seventh slowest rate in the nation, while the economies of all of our neighboring states grew at least ten times as fast. As a result, over 137,000 New Mexicans (14.7 percent of the workforce) were unemployed or underemployed in 2012, and an increasing number were leaving the state to seek work elsewhere.

In response to this crisis, Think New Mexico launched an initiative in 2013 focused on improving the climate for job creation in New Mexico. We published a report recommending that the legislature and governor enact three specific reforms. On December 16, 2013, Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen (D-Las Cruces) pre-filed three bills to implement Think New Mexico’s jobs proposals.

The first proposal, Senate Bill 8, aims to attract more entrepreneurs to New Mexico by creating a scholarship that allows international STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and Business students to pay in-state tuition at New Mexico’s public universities. Research has shown that international students improve the language skills, cross-cultural fluency, and quantitative performance of local students, and they are statistically more likely to start new businesses that will employ their classmates. Yet only 2.2 percent of the undergraduate students at New Mexico’s research universities are currently international, in part because our out-of-state tuition is relatively expensive compared with public universities in other states.

The second proposal, Senate Bill 9, aims to reduce administrative burdens on businesses by creating a one-stop business portal for all fees and filings, similar to those in 18 other states. (This proposal builds on our successful initiative to consolidate the PRC’s corporate reporting division with the Business Services unit at the Secretary of State’s Office, a reform that reduced the number of state agencies most businesses must regularly interact with from four to three.)

The third proposal, Senate Bill 10, seeks to establish a post-performance incentive that offers businesses a rebate of up to thirty percent of the new tax revenue they produce when they relocate to or expand operations in New Mexico—but only after new jobs and new state revenues have been created.

Finally, to pay for these reforms, Think New Mexico has identified seven special interest tax loopholes that we recommend closing, including ending tax breaks for cigarette distributors, ATVs and RVs, horse racing, and boxing, wrestling, and martial arts competitions, among others.

Think New Mexico will be championing legislation to implement our proposed reforms during the 2014 legislative session

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