Letters to the editor (07/18/13)

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Rail Heritage Day successful
Editor:
I would like to thank the community of Belen for a wonderful Hub City Rail Heritage Day here at the Library on May 4. So many people contributed to a delightful and educational event.
Special thanks to Debbie Woodward, art teacher at Gil Sanchez and La Promesa elementary schools, and to her many students who helped decorate the entire library. The students and their teachers used the month of April to create the art work and learn about trains, railroads and railroad work in anticipation of the day.
And thank you to musician/poet Gair Linhart, musician/author Debbi Miller Gutierrez for their performances in the patio, and for the performance by the New Mexico Special Orchestra under Gair’s direction.
We also wish to thank the authors signing books they had authored, Dr. Richard Melzer, John Taylor, Annmarie Pearson and Georgia Santa Maria.
Marla Segura provided information on the Rio Metro’s programs and the Rail Runner, and the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Harvey Girls were represented by Heidi Green and Pam Turner, complete with period costumes.
We would like in particular to thank the Mansion Players, who performed their original musical play “How the Trains Came to Belen.” The play combines entertainment with a revealing review of Belen’s history. The lyrics to one of the songs sums up the incredible spirit of the day:

Belen, Belen
Where everyone fits in.
You might come here a stranger
But you go away a friend.
And everyone who visits here
Is sure to come again.
‘Cause everyone is someone in Belen.

Belen has the one exceptional asset that makes it a better place to live than anywhere else — wonderful people. We would like to thank all of those who made the heritage day special.

Deborah Graham
Director
Belen Public Library

Let’s all clean up Belen
Editor:
This is written to give my full support for the letter Mr. Ed Padilla contributed in the May 16-22 edition.
In it, he expresses his concern with trash and weeds that can be found on Belen’s streets and neighborhoods. I agree with him fully, and as one citizen, pledge to try to make the city I love a more pleasing one to the eye.
I also ask you, neighbor, to join me in the following endeavor. What can we do?
How about this: Every time you venture to a local business, church, the post office or home, pick up a piece of trash and deposit in an appropriate container. Yes, just one piece of garbage; it’s just that simple.
Our population is about 8,000. Imagine if one half of us, every day, pick up one paper or pull one weed. In a week, our community would be so much more appealing to visitors and residents.
If you see someone doing this simple act, thank them for being so positive. This small gesture could regenerate and make Belen an example for surrounding communities in Valencia County.
What do you think? Can we count you and your family in?
Thank you for supporting Belen, and Go Eagles!

John Padilla
Belen
Getting the best teacher
Editor:
To parents of public school children: It is becoming abundantly obvious that, either by design or default, the political will of New Mexico legislators to significantly improve public education while your children are in school will probably not happen.
For those who cannot afford private school or home-school, the only possible alternative for concerned parents is to demand a great teacher every year for every child through the existing public school system.
After all, since taxpayers are providing $10,963 for each student in the Los Lunas Schools, it seems only reasonable to expect a great teacher.
Although we just ended a school year, now would be the time to get started in selecting your child’s teachers for the fall.
To its great credit, Los Lunas Schools has made available on their website a slide presentation of performance data at each of the schools in the district. In addition to a lot of great information on the school, the last several slides include data on teachers in each class.
Although the names of teachers are not included, these slides should be helpful to parents in their quest to find the best teacher for next year.
Go to www.llschools.net. In the top left corner, point to “Schools” and select elementary, middle or high schools. Click on the school your child will be attending next year. From the left column menu, click on “Performance and Data.” If you click on the little Acrobat Reader icon at the very top (Performance and Data 2012-13), you will be able to scroll the entire slide presentation.
All the slides are very informative, but the last slides includes performance of teachers in both SBA test results and MAPS test results. As a side note, if you are looking at elementary schools, other than Bosque Farms or Sundance Elementary schools, you might be interested in checking out those two schools for comparative purposes.
Although, as you will see, matching the names of the best teachers to the data will present a challenge, but I do trust that the school principal would be cooperative in helping you achieve your goal.
Even though  school is out of session, principals, central office staff,  school board members and your state legislators are available throughout the summer month.
Remember, your child has only one shot at next year’s grade level. Please make the best of the opportunity.

Dennis Schlessinger
Los Lunas