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Pack 708

Members of Pack 708 show up proud and happy. (back row) Andres Vigil, Jeremy Radtke; (middle row) Brandon Garcia, Loren Downing; (front) Carmello Barber

Banquet launches new Scout year

—Suzann Owings

“In March, Pack 708 will have a fun night for new boys and their families to check out our pack,” says Pack Master David Gardner. “They will set up the Pinewood Derby track and have extra cars for the newcomers to join in the fun.”

The date for the get-together will be set at the Pack’s monthly planning meeting, the fourth Tuesday of the month at 6:00 p.m. at the Placitas Community Library. At that time, the Pack will decide when to hike up the Placitas hills. The parents and friends of Pack 708 will revel in the fun they had at the Blue and Gold Banquet.

“Our annual Blue and Gold Banquet could be a time to view our Pack’s successes and set goals, but our scouts and their families just come together and have fun,” said Snow Watson who has assisted Pack 708 for seven years.  This year’s B&G Banquet was no exception.

Among the successes for Pack 708 was their February food collection. They collected twenty-four bags of food, which were donated to Casa Rosa and the Roadrunner Food Bank. They want to thank the generous residents of Placitas Heights who gave so generously.

Pack 708 has scouts competing in the District Pinewood Derby races on March 2.

Pack 708 meets each Friday that school is in session, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m., at Placitas Elementary School. For further information, contact Tori Tafoya at 414-1885, or Snow Watson at 867-2047. Carroll Elementary School’s Pack meets 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Tuesdays at CES.

Senators launch effort to employ youth to help restore public lands

—Marissa Padilla

On February 15, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich reintroduced legislation to expand job training and educational opportunities for youth, while helping repair and restore the country’s public lands.

The Public Lands Service Corps Act of 2013 improves on the existing Public Lands Corps by expanding the scope of projects to reflect new challenges. It would also add incentives to attract new participants, including Native Americans and veterans that suffer from disproportionately high rates of unemployment. 

Currently, several agencies, such as the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service, work with national nonprofit organizations and more than one hundred service corps to hire and train young people to build trails, perform maintenance, and assist with conservation projects.  

Specifically the senators’ bill would do the following:

  • Amend the Public Lands Corps Act of 1993 to raise the priority of service corps in the Interior and Agriculture Departments (including such agencies as the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Forest Service)
  • Establish an Indian Youth Service Corps so that Indian Tribes can start corps programs to carry out priority projects on Tribal lands, which Udall has worked to include in legislation since 2009
  • Authorize the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the Department of Commerce to participate in the program, which would allow Corps members to work on restoring coastal and marine ecosystems
  • Establishing residential conservation centers to house and train corps participants
  • Expand the scope of eligible projects to include working with agency professionals on activities including historical, scientific and cultural research, visitor services, and interpretation
  • Allow agencies to provide noncompetitive hiring status for Corps participants for two years after completing service. Current law allows such status for only 120 days
  • Expand the age range for the program is to youth aged 15 to 25, and participants may serve either in crews or as individuals.

 The legislation was also introduced by Sen. Udall and retired Sen. Jeff Bingaman during the 112th Congress and it cleared the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

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