Two months after the EPA accidentally released a flood of contaminated water into a tributary of the Animas river during a routine abandoned mine inspection, things are finally looking up for the polluted waterway. According to a story in the Durango Herald, the EPA has begun operating a portable water treatment plant at the site which is capable of removing heavy metals, such as cadmium and zinc, from up to 800 gallons of water per minute. At this rate, the treatment process is expected to last for up to 42 weeks.
PARCC exam scores released
This week, New Mexicans got their first look at scores from high school students’ PARCC exams and, well, we’ve got some work to do. According to a news release from the New Mexico Public Education Department, only about 42.2 percent of students statewide reached “proficient” scores in Algebra I, while more than 50 percent met or exceeded expectations in English. The PARCC exams, which play a role in determining whether students are eligible for advancement and graduation, were implemented last year despite parent and student protests.
The job wagon
Even as Mayor Berry’s administration took steps to dismantle homeless encampments last spring, his team announced a program that would seek to help homeless people better their situation. One aspect of the “There’s a Better Way” campaign is now attracting national attention. Since September, the city, in partnership with St. Martin’s Hospitality Center, has used a 16-seater van to pick up panhandlers and offer them temporary jobs cleaning public lands at $9 an hour. According to an article on theblaze.com, between 10 and 12 people are given employment during each day of the van’s twice-a-week operation. However, some people have refused the offer, saying that they can make more money panhandling.
Two weeks ago, the New Mexico Department of Health issued medical marijuana growers’ licenses to 12 new producers. However, one of the potential producers whose application was passed over is now filing a petition with the state Supreme Court asking for reconsideration in light of the fact that their operation would service patients in the western portion of the state, an area currently unserved by growers or dispensaries. Karen DeSoto, who filed the original application for licensure, argues that the lack of medical marijuana providers in the Grant, Hidalgo, Catron and Cibola counties amounts to discrimination against patients in those areas who qualify for therapeutic cannabis.