Here’s a look at today’s headlines:

A small 1960 brass Forest Service badge was reportedly stolen from the Silver City Museum last week.  According to Jacqueline Becker, who is responsible for collections, the piece went missing from a mannequin after it was cut off the uniform.  The badge is valued around $100.  Anyone with information with any information in this case is asked to call the Museum at 388-5721, or to contact the Silver City Police Department at 538-3723.

Western New Mexico University’s campus-wide accreditation has been reaffirmed by the Higher Learning Commission.  The next reaffirmation is scheduled for 2022-23.  WNMU was found to have no accreditation issues identified in the 2014 Systems Appraisal, and the university was also credited with making improvements in all portfolio categories since the 2010 Systems Appraisal.  WNMU Provost Jack Crocker explained the importance of accreditation to colleges and universities. “Universities with a loss of accreditation are prevented by federal rules from providing financial aid to students. Other colleges and universities would not accept academic credits for transfer. Academic degrees would lose credibility. In short, a loss of regional accreditation could shut down a university.”

Three nonprofits in Silver City will be able to spend less on electric bills and more on providing essential services to clients after receiving a Reduce Your Use Grant from the PNM Fund, a division of the PNM Resources Foundation.  The 2014 Reduce Your Use Grants awarded $250,000 to help nonprofits throughout New Mexico complete projects that reduce their energy use and lower their utility bills.  Funded projects include solar panels and installation, new energy-saving windows and weather-stripping.  Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest received $5,000 to install six new windows in the Girl Scout Little House in Silver City. The new windows will save a significant amount of electricity, allowing Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest to spend more money on other programs.  Silver City Gospel Mission will also replace windows with its Reduce Your Use Grant, allowing more funds to be invested in the food pantry, shelters and clothing bank.  Thanks to the PNM Reduce Your Use Grant, the Volunteer Center of Grant County will install three solar panels to provide electricity to their well which supplies a half-acre garden and two greenhouses. The well was funded by a previous PNM Resources Foundation Grant.

Christmas tree permits will go on sale at Gila National Forest offices starting Monday, Nov. 24, 2014.   The public can start purchasing the permits four days earlier than normal. By providing the additional service, families can obtain the permit and cut their Christmas tree during the Thanksgiving holiday along with any visiting family or friends and avoid the after Thanksgiving Day rush.  Permits sell for $5.00 each with a limit of one permit per household, or free permits are available for the aromatic piñon trees. Any tree species up to 10’ high may be cut.