The 10th Anniversary of Wreaths Across America held at the Fort Bayard National Cemetery last Saturday, was the first time that every grave and marker was adorned with a fresh holiday wreath. Dr. John Bell, who served as emcee of the ceremony, gave the history of the wreath ceremony at Fort Bayard that started out with just seven wreaths in 2009, to 4,491 total wreaths laid this year. Recently retired Navy Captain, Diane Leblanc, addressed the attendees and spoke of the symbolism of the wreath and the traditions of crowning heroes and honoring the brave. In addition, the color guard presented colors the Hi Lo Silvers performed several songs. Also on Saturday, the town of Hurley held a wreath laying ceremony in their cemetery honoring 43 veterans buried there.

In the case of Luna County Manager, Ira Pearson, all honorable judges in the Sixth Judicial Court District have recused themselves as being unqualified to arbitrate the case. Each judge in the District has claimed a lack of impartiality or conflict of interest and must agree on a judge from another district to take on the case. Pearson has been charged with four fourth degree felonies for taking part in alleged county corruption. If Judges, William J. Perkins, Jennifer E. DeLaney, J. C. Robinson and Jarod K. Hofacket, can’t find another judge to take over the case, the New Mexico Supreme Court will appoint a one of their own choosing.

A Datil New Mexico rancher has been notified by the U.S Forest Service that his grazing permit has been revoked due to pleading guilty in knowingly taking the life of an endangered Mexican gray wolf in February of 2015. Rancher, Craig Thiessen, has 45 days to appeal or remove the cattle from the Gila National Forest where he has been permitted to graze his cattle.

The Early Childhood Teach Preparation program at Western New Mexico University received a $42,000 grant from the Brindle Foundation. The funds will assist in the development of a master’s degree and salary structure to incentivize staff members to continue their education. According to Executive Director of WNMU’s Early Childhood Programs Shannon Rivera, “There is a demand for high-quality early childhood educators in New Mexico, especially with the additions of home-visiting programs and various state-funded initiatives like pre-kindergarten. Research says educators with higher levels of degrees are better prepared to support improved outcomes for children.” Over the next couple years, WNMU will use this award to create an Early Childhood Master of Arts program and to set up a salary structure similar for recruiting and retaining staff at WNMU’s Child Development Center and Growing Tree Infant/Toddler Program.