Here’s a look at today’s headlines:

Western New Mexico University will host a Founders Day celebration next Wednesday, February 11th, in honor of the 122nd birthday.  Visitors are welcome to enjoy cake and live music.  WNMU was established on February 11th 1893 by legislative action, as has grown from a teacher’s college to offering over 70 fields of study.  WNMU has served the state of New Mexico and surrounding areas as a comprehensive, regional, rural, public coeducational university and serves a diverse student body with variations in age, culture, language, and ethnic background.

In the legislative session:

Legislation that would end the failed policy of social promotion cleared the House Education Committee today.  Social promotion passes kids onto the next grade level even when they cannot read.  Among other things, the bill would help teachers identify struggling readers and provide them with the targeted instruction they need to catch up to their peers.  The bill also emphasizes parental involvement by giving strategies to help their child improve his or her reading skills.  Studies show that students are four times more likely to drop out of school if they are unable to read proficiently by the third grade. The bill will now go to the House floor.

The House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation that will require cell phone and pager companies to issue Amber Alerts to their customers.  The bill will expand Amber Alerts to all cell phone and pager services that do business in New Mexico at no charge to customers.  The Amber Alert System is designed to alert people about a missing or abducted child, and is credited with finding and saving nearly 500 children nationwide.

Legislation that would significantly reduce workers’ compensation in cases when the employee’s death or injury is the result of being drunk or high on the job passed the House Judiciary Committee on Monday.  Currently, when alcohol or drugs contributes to injury or death, the employee is eligible to receive 90 percent of his or her worker compensation.  The new bill would reduce that to 85 percent.

A recent online review ranked Silver City #4 in the 50 Best Small Town Downtowns in America.  The ranking list defines a small town as 15,000 or fewer citizen, and while the median income of the town, median price of home and median age of residents were generally taken into consideration, the ranking was primarily based on the general appeal to the downtown area – including general appearance, festivals or special events, dining, shopping, entertainment, arts and culture, parks, proximity to airports and hotels amenities available.