Here’s a look at today’s headlines:

On Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016, crews mobilized to the Catwalk on the Glenwood Ranger District to begin repair work. In the initial construction phase, rock slides will be cleared from the trails and large boulders will be removed from the creek. Silt traps and other debris traps will be set up to minimize impacts to the stream and surrounding area during construction.  The work will be monitored by Forest Service personnel to ensure there are no adverse effects to the surrounding area and historic artifacts are preserved.  Per the project schedule, work is planned to be completed by May 27, 2016.  During the reconstruction project, the Catwalk National Recreation Area will remain closed for public safety. This will allow for the work to be accomplished as quickly and safely as possible.

Silver City Ranger District fire management personnel are planning to burn slash piles beginning Jan. 12 and continuing until Feb. 28 2016 as conditions allow. The piles are located along Forest Road 149, (Meadow Creek Road) approximately five miles north of Pinos Altos. The objective of the prescribed burning is to reduce hazardous fuels.  Smoke will be visible in the areas where the burns are being conducted and may linger at night and early morning, but normally will decrease as temperatures rise during the day. The area will be signed and posted for public awareness.  Please drive slowly and be alert to personnel and equipment while traveling in this location.

The Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act, WIOA, which replaces the 1998 Workforce Investment Act was passed by congress and President Obama signed it into law in July, 2014.  The bill itself is over 800 pages long. It involves the Department of Labor, the Department of Education, and the Department of Health and Human Services. It’s intended to improve coordination between the primary federal programs that support employment services, workforce development, adult education and vocational rehabilitation activities. The idea is to get more people back to work. There will be changes in programs, data tracking and funding at the state and federal levels.  WIOA will eventually affect some of our community partners, like Workforce Solutions, WNMU’s Adult Basic Ed programs, and possibly the New Mexico Coalition for Literacy.

In October of last year, Bennie Dooley, 63, formerly of Silver City, was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the World Association of Benchers and Deadlifters, with a Lifetime Achievement Award. The ceremony took place in Las Vegas, Nev., in October 2015. According to a friend, during the induction ceremony, he was introduced as one of the best Master Benchpressers of all time. The WABDL is the largest power-lifting federation in the world, Dooley said.  He graduated from Silver High School in 1970. After attending Western New Mexico University for one year, he went to work for Phelps Dodge. Dooley spent 17 years at PD, becoming an electrician.

Representatives Paul Pacheco and Andy Nunez pre-filed legislation that will end the dangerous practice of giving driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. The bill, HB 99, is a two-tier compromise that would provide REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses to New Mexico citizens and driving privilege cards to undocumented immigrants.  The proposed bill would create two distinct forms of identification: a driver’s license that is REAL ID-compliant for citizens and residents with lawful immigration status and a driving privilege card for undocumented immigrants. The two cards would have different colors and designs to distinguish the driver’s license from the driving privilege card. The license would be valid for federal identification purposes and the driving privilege card would not.