Here’s a look at today’s headlines:

Quemado Ranger District fire managers plan to burn slash piles northwest of Mangas Mountain starting the week of January 25 and continuing into early February.  There are approximately 150 acres of piles to burn.  The piles are composed predominately of limbs and branches from pinon and juniper trees generated during commercial wood cutting activities. The timeframes for burning depend on the appropriate environmental conditions such as temperature, wind, fuel moisture, ventilation and humidity being met and New Mexico Environment Department Air Quality Bureau approval.

Compass Manufacturing in Deming is working in conjunction with Luna County 4-H to help promote the Junior Livestock Show during the Southwestern New Mexico State Fair. The electronics firm will sponsor a rabbit or a goat to the winner of an essay contest hosted by the 4-H.  The contest is open to all Luna County 4-H members who plan to show an animal for the first time at the fair. It is also open to youth interested in joining Luna County 4-H.

The Cultural Properties Review Committee and the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division, Department of Cultural Affairs are seeking nominations for state preservation awards that will be presented in May during Heritage Preservation Month.  Heritage Preservation Month is held nationwide each year so communities can showcase how they are preserving historic places that matter to them. HPD and the Cultural Properties Review Committee facilitate preservation statewide and present awards to recognize achievements in architectural preservation, archaeology, publishing, and work by organizations and individuals who have made a difference saving part of their community’s past.

Yesterday, on the first day of the state legislative session, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich sent a letter to the leaders of the New Mexico House and Senate, formally calling on them to work together to improve the well-being of New Mexico’s children. Specifically, Udall and Heinrich urged legislators to bring up and pass a measure that would allow voters to amend the constitution and invest a portion of the state’s Land Grant Permanent Fund in the most effective early childhood programs.

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) announced his nominees to the United States Service Academies. A nomination is required to attend the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy–the Coast Guard Academy does not require a nomination. Being nominated is a significant honor. The application process is rigorous, and only the most qualified and meritorious candidates receive a nomination.

The New Mexico House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee is where any debate about gross receipts tax reform begins. Rio Rancho State Representative Jason Harper chairs the powerful Committee. Harper, who was elected in 2012, says he quickly discovered the panel’s work was about granting exemptions and deductions. The Republican says he sees the tax in its current state shifting the tax burden and making a much higher tax for citizens and small businesses.