Letters to the Editor: Feb 19, 2020
SJC’s Fleming Memorial Scholarship
A local career firefighter and paramedic passed away recently. An impressive ceremony was held at the Henderson Performing Arts Center to celebrate his life and service to the residents of the Four Corners. In addition, San Juan College created the Julian Fleming Memorial Scholarship to assist students entering the firefighting and paramedic fields.
Fleming served those in need on both sides of the Colorado-New Mexico state line. He was a first responder that aided those whose lives were in danger. As a firefighter, he was part of an effort that reduced damage caused by fire. Our community will always need professionals such as Julian Fleming to rescue the lives of loved ones and to protect our homes and property.
As of this morning, the Julian Fleming Memorial Scholarship fund amount is a mere fraction of what is needed to become an endowed scholarship fund at San Juan College. An endowed scholarship fund will continue in perpetuity to assist students, and cost $10,000. More donations are needed to reach this designation.
Considering the population estimates of Farmington and Durango, along with those of the smaller communities, the $10,000 really isn’t much money if enough people contribute.
I humbly request a small donation be made to the San Juan College Foundation at San Juan College regarding the Julian Fleming Memorial Scholarship so that students entering this important career will be able to concentrate on their studies, and less on money matters, in order to serve our community and region.
New Mexico True works
The “New Mexico True” campaign, combined with the incredible array of adventures offered across our great state, has been vital in significantly boosting our state’s economy. The New Mexico Tourism Department announced that in 2018, tourism saw 7 percent growth, well above the typical 3 percent growth nationally, according to the U.S. Travel Association. That’s a total of $7.1 billion being spent with New Mexico businesses and attractions as a result of destination promotion.
Increasing the NMTD’s budget will help New Mexico further enhance its visibility. By increasing visitation numbers and economic growth related to visitors, we can create sustained growth in other industries.
Farmington is known as a place where outdoor lovers and active families thrive, and we focus on bringing our brandline ‘Jolt your Journey’ to life, for visitors and locals. When we focus on promoting our destination in this way, we see increased local pride and support of local businesses, which results in a greater quality of life for our residents, as well as interest from businesses and individuals in relocating to Farmington.
We have seen a tangible connection between the tourism industry and economic growth. Economic diversification is occurring through a variety of ways, one being the Outdoor Recreation Industry Initiative (ORII), launched in 2018. ORII has brought together partners in a unified mission to grow outdoor recreation through guides, outfitters, activities, and outdoor gear manufacturing.
This cycle of business and industry growth creates high-paying jobs, allowing us to promote more offerings to visitors, attract new residents and provide career opportunities for the next generation of New Mexicans.
Efforts to promote New Mexico to new audiences are working. We see first-time visitors from all of the markets in which “New Mexico True” branding has been implemented, and we must continue these efforts in order to grow our economy. NMTD has proven a return on investment and can do more when given more. When we invest in the promotion of our state and its diverse offerings, everyone benefits.
Pollution limits needed
We must do more to limit pollution from oil and gas development and clean up our air. As New Mexico experienced record oil and gas drilling over the past decade, the state actually cut funding to energy and environment agencies whose mission it is to protect us from the industry’s impacts on health and the environment.
Ozone pollution from methane emissions poses a serious threat to the health of New Mexicans. It disproportionately affects children, Native Americans and those living in poor, rural communities. In fact, more than half of all Native Americans in San Juan County – about 24,600 people – live within a mile of a well site.
Navajo leaders and community members appreciate Governor Lujan Grisham’s commitment to cutting methane emissions and tackling climate change. However, the state legislature must be an equal partner in that effort by increasing funding for the regulatory agencies tasked with protecting New Mexicans and future generations from oil and gas pollution.