Letters to the editor (03/07/12)

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Peralta mayor honors excellent teachers
Editor:
The town of Peralta proclaimed March 2, 2012, as “Golden Apple Tribute to Teacher Excellence Day.”
On this day in Albuquerque, seven middle school teachers from around the state were recognized with the Golden Apple Award from the Golden Apple Foundation of New Mexico.
At the tribute to teacher excellence celebration, all teachers were recognized and honored for the very important work they do in all our classrooms, helping to prepare our children for success in life and inspiring them for lifelong learning.
Studies continue to show the most important influence on student learning is the quality of the classroom teacher.
Because of the impact quality teaching has on the future success of our children, Golden Apple Foundation is dedicated to the mission of recognizing, recruiting, and providing professional development for classroom teachers.
Golden Apple Award-winning teachers are committed not only to excellence in their own classrooms, but also to working hands on with new and aspiring teachers through the Golden Apple Scholars Program.
The Scholars Program enhances teacher preparation with a comprehensive program designed to equip aspiring teachers with tools for success in college and for beginning their careers.
For this reason, I proclaimed March 2, 2012, as “Tribute to Teacher Excellence Day” in the town of Peralta.
Let us all honor our community’s teachers and thank them for the difference they make in our children’s lives.

Bryan R. Olguin
Mayor
Town of Peralta

Tomé needs to find room for growth
Editor:
At the Feb. 8 county commission public hearing meeting, there was a large turnout of citizens in support of a new auto body business in Tomé.
It was an appellant reaction to the planning and zoning commission’s denial of the conditional use application earlier. Among the speakers were several Tomé residents and/or sympathizers who protested that such a business would be bad for Tomé and its culture.
Some of the arguments were based on the extra traffic that would result from the customers coming and going and the occasional tow truck that would bring disable automobiles.
I found the traffic arguments amusing and especially significant since we were hearing Tomé residents themselves telling us how congested and dangerous N.M. 47, their “farm to market road” was.
Although all of the east-side commuters have long been aware of the problems of a two-lane arterial, it is well known that the reason the highway has not been widened is because of Tomé’s ongoing crusade against such a widening.
The “farm to market” designation alone should tell everyone that such a road will sometimes be cluttered with large, often oversized slow, moving vehicles, all of which create serious traffic hazards when impatient commuters on their way to work and drivers on their way to doctors appointments take chances passing them.
There is no law prohibiting a “farm to market” road from being widened. Although Tomé residents understandably hate the idea of disturbing the area’s historically rural nature, they should come to realize that N.M. 47 is not a private driveway for them — it is a state highway.
It is the only arterial connecting the east side with Albuquerque. It could be the most dangerous stretch of road in Valencia County, and will only get more so.
Any new business along the road will add to the traffic burden, so the denizens of Tomé probably will fight against any grocery store, restaurant, filling station or any other business that desires to open near them or south of them. In doing so, they only perpetuate the economic stagnation of the area.
The east side of the county would long since have been thriving except for the narrowness of N.M. 47. It is time for Tomé to yield to progress and to aid in bringing prosperity to the county by stepping aside and letting east side growth happen naturally.
The beauty of the fields and trees along the river valley will not be lost by adding at least a turn lane and the farm vehicles will not have to be at war with the cars.
Tomé will not lose its heritage, and its relationships with the rest of the county will greatly improve.
The prosperity that will result from having a safe highway will benefit the economy of the whole county, and make the area very attractive to people seeking to settle here.
The Los Lunas Corridor Study already affirms that the northern part of the county is severely congested and that further development there only adds to the burden.
The southern part of the county is ripe for significant growth, but that is currently nearly impossible without an adequate arterial.
I would hope that the people of Tomé would respond to this letter to present their case to the public as to why N.M. 47 should not be expanded.

Clarke Metcalf
Belen

We should focus on what matters
Editor:
Amazing, absolutely amazing. (Several weeks ago) my favorite program was interrupted by a news alert.
Since that moment, the news has been totally inundated with news of Whitney Houston. I mean totally. The media was so absorbed with her death that everything else had been forgotten.
What has this country come to? I am totally amazed. We are in the midst of the most important election since WWII. We are in the middle of the most severe depression since the ’30s.
Unemployment is the worst since the Great Depression. Our debt is so staggering that the average American can’t understand the numbers.
Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan’s social problems are too intense to count.
The who country is totally consumed with the death of a drug addicted, yes, junky. A person who was endowed with such a great gift.
She was born with a voice, a musical talent which brought in such pleasure to the whole world.
She squandered it, she squandered her money, her talent, her life. You can’t blame others, but the truth is that was her life to live or destroy.
I have seen so many entertainers go the same way, and the media and the public react like they have in the past over these losers.
Meanwhile, there must be tens of thousands of famous people who have licked their problems and have done wonders for charity and society in whole, but are not recognized enough.
Eight years ago, I got a terrific scare. I got real sick, real weak, excreting blood. I have always been a person who loved life.
I enjoyed partying, drinking, smoking, gambling, fishing and family life, hardworking, in total, I enjoyed a great life until then.
Forty years of smoking, maybe 35 years of sensible drinking. But now I had cancer — stage three bladder cancer. On the way to the hospital, I told my wife, “I am going to smoke a cigarette — my last one. Whatever happens, I did not know I had cancer. I will moderate my drinking to one or two beers a week.”
I have kept my promise for eight years and I am having a great life.
My point is that I wish the media would encourage people to get interested in problems facing us, our leaders and our children and how to solve them.

Livy Montano
Los Lunas

Handicapped spaces are for handicapped
Editor:
I am continually shocked at the people in Belen of all ages who park in the designated handicap parking when, they themselves, are not handicapped.
I am handicapped, and without exception, every time I go to Walmart, Walgreens or various other businesses in Belen, there are always people parked in handicap parking with no visible handicapped placard or license plate.
Very often, I see people who do have a placard, but then they get out of their vehicle and practically run into the store. It is very obvious that they, themselves, are not handicapped and have no other person with them who is.
So I am left to believe that particular person is using someone else’s handicapped placard.
And then there are those who park in the designated handicap parking who may actually need  to park there, but have not gotten the proper parking placard or license plate. Those who do need it should go the N.M. Department of Motor Vehicles and get their placard just like the rest of us.
In most states, a person who parks in handicapped parking illegally receives a fairly large fine for doing so. Maybe New Mexico should consider doing the same.
I would also like to add that just because an individual has possession of a placard, which is not specifically for that individual, please, if you are able bodied, and do not have the person with you for whom the placard is intended, please don’t take up that designated parking space.
To do so is unethical and disrespectful to those who legitimately need the parking.
To those of you who say, “I’ll park wherever I please,” and are not themselves handicapped, please, I respectfully ask you to reconsider and save the designated handicapped parking for those who are actually handicapped. It will be sincerely appreciated.

Linda Rowe
Belen