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Letters to the editor: What's in a name?

Las Cruces Sun-News, N.M. — Las Cruces Sun-News Las Cruces Sun-News, N.M.

Aug. 02--

These letters published in the Aug. 2, 2020, print edition of the Las Cruces Sun-News.

Rincon Valley or Hatch Valley?

The New Mexico Geographic Names Committee has been asked by the U.S.Board on Geographic Names (USBGN) to respond to a proposal to change the official name of the Rincon Valley to Hatch Valley. The valley extends from Caballo Dam in the north to Tonuco Mountain in the south. Whatever name is approved by the USBGN will be the only name that may be used on federal maps and publications.

The proponent is a board member of the Hatch Chile Association and co-founder of The Hatch Chile Store. He states that "The Hatch Valley is a term used to describe the area around the town of Hatch in which 'Hatch Chile' is grown." The association is a group of local farmers who are attempting to certify the Hatch name and lmit its use to products grown in the area they call the Hatch Valley. The proponent's store website describes the association as "a non-profit formed to combat the prevalence of chile sold as 'Hatch' that isn't grown here in the Hatch Valley."

Opponents of the proposal claim that the Hatch Chile Association is attempting to market Hatch chiles as if they are a single variety only grown in one region. Multiple chile varieties are grown in the Hatch area. These writers also point to uSGS maps that show Rincon Valley, not Hatch Valley, so "no chiles can be designated as Hatch Valley chiles." Critics worry that the certification mark would prevent farmers just outside the potentially arbitrary "Hatch Valley" delineation but who grow the same chiles in the same soil would be excluded from the lucrative branding that could come from the Hatch certification, giving growers living in valley a competitive advantage.

It is not a practice of the committee nor the USBGN to make any decisions with the intent of influencing any commercial or intellectual property dispute; the primary goal of both is to ascertain which name is used and preferred by the local people. To this end, I am asking those who have an opinion about this to please contact me:

Zachary Stauber, chairman of the New Mexico Geographic Names Committee. Contact Stauber at 121 Tijeras Ave NE St. 1000, Albuquerque NM 87102-3400 | zachary.stauber@state.nm.us | 505-372-8476

Suggestions for what to name Oñate?

With the move to rename Oñate High School comes the task of coming up with a new name. The following suggestions came to mind;

Bataan Memorial High School: The connection to our national, state and local histories make it a fitting name.

Clarence H. Fielder High: Mr. Fielder was an educator who worked for the Las Cruces Public Schools and NMSU. He was a Korean War veteran and a community civil rights leader. He was a man of integrity who served his country and community with honor.

Antonio Rey Rodriguez High: To honor a young man and a generation of young people who have stepped up to serve our country and bring honor to our community.

I am sure that there are other worthy suggestions that will be made and I look forward to hearing them.

T. D. Tomlin, Las Cruces

Heritage taken away

My comment is not political. We are witnessing the destruction of our heritage as a nation which we celebrate every year on Independence Day. Our evolvement has not been perfect, nor has our current social unrest. I believe that all Americans, regardless of political affiliation, are growing weary and in some cases, scared at the free pass, look the other way, protect to destruct mentality engulfing our historical sites and neighborhoods.

Tearing down statues and renaming institutions we all grew up to respect and take pride in will not erase the history of our country, but should continue to stand as a lesson of struggles and adversity we faced then and now. We will never be able to sustain and recapture our heritage through "appeasement."

Fred A. Rosales, Las Cruces

Deputy saves a life

Kudos to Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Bayless for leading and making crucial life-saving decisions when confronting a suicidal person as reported by the Sun-News on July 25.

By developing a dialogue with the person he started a rapport and then by telling the person he was not going to shoot him he saved a life.

The takeaway for me is it does not work to point guns at a suicidal person and tell them to “get down on the ground” and that most suicidal people really don’t want to die -- they want to stop the pain.

This demonstrates how communication and innovative thinking works in these volatile situations and why mental health support teams are so important.

Pamela Field, Las Cruces

Admirable leadership

I am writing in support of Rep. Joanne Ferrary, whose op-ed appeared in the Las Cruces Sun-News on July 12. Rep. Ferrary continues to do outstanding work as our representative to the state legislature from District 37. In her op-ed, she praises our governor, who has shown admirable leadership in the campaign to combat COVID-19 in our state. Although we are currently experiencing an uptick in cases in Doña Ana County (mostly due to our proximity to Texas), New Mexico is ranked number 37 in cases of all the states.

Rep. Ferrary also does her part to keep New Mexicans safe during these troubled times. She consistently works to help people understand the importance of social distancing and wearing masks. She understands the science behind the efforts to control COVID-19. We are fortunate that Rep. Ferrary sits on the House Health and Human Services Committee, where she can participate in the ongoing, every day battle against this highly infectious virus. Going forward, we can trust her to make informed and effective decisions on how to safely open our schools and businesses. Please support Rep. Ferrary in our upcoming fall election.

Sharon Thomas, Las Cruces

Look into nursing homes

On July 12, Democrat State Rep. Joanne Ferrary, a candidate for reelection, published a self-serving column entitled “Good leaders adopt guidelines that save lives.“

She portrayed herself as a member of a House Health and Human Services Committee that is “battling every day” and “constantly looking at innovative ways to increase public health and safety.” The article praised “great leaders” such as the Democrat governor and her cabinet, and mentioned the virus mask mandate .

I feel compelled to point out that I have repeatedly called Rep. Ferrary’s attention to the plight of nursing home residents, but she has been unresponsive.

On July 23, 84 percent of the government-certified nursing home beds in Las Cruces were in homes rated below or much below average.

Conditions in three of the six homes were serious enough to warrant $208,151 in federal fines in 2018 and 2019.

As of March 25, 2020, the most recent annual health inspections at the four one- and two-star facilities in Las Cruces had resulted in 78 citations, or an average of 19.5 per facility. The average number for all government-certified nursing homes in New Mexico is 11.1 and the average for the U.S. is 8.0.

Medicare.gov recently had 122 pages of details on deficiencies and complaints about Las Cruces nursing homes. One home had 14 citations in 2017, 17 in 2018, and 21 in 2019. Another had 23 in 2017, 19 in 2018, and 24 in 2019.

The state health department is due credit for citing nursing home deficiencies, but residents need from state officials permanent corrective action for a chronic problem. See more at Nursing Home Monitor, https://www.facebook.com/nursinghomemonitor/

William Beerman, Las Cruces

No secret police in NM

As a long-time New Mexican and a former Portland, Oregon, resident, I strongly support Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's polite and reasoned refusal of Trump's unauthorized and unidentified storm troopers/secret police into our state.

After conversations with bright sources and good friends (one living very near the area Trump's goons have turned from peaceful protests into a combat zone) I am outraged at reports and videos of the use of gas, kidnappings by unidentified "officers" in unmarked vans and aggressive, unlawful and unwarranted violence toward peaceful protesters, bystanders and even the city's mayor.

Any such unconstitutional efforts, without prior consultation our governor has mandated here, should be met with authorization of local police to detain and arrest any such invaders who refuse to provide identification or who attempt to kidnap, detain or otherwise harm or violate First Amendment rights of our state's citizens.

I further suggest that Portland's Wall of Moms and other peaceful protesters carry and wave USA flags, thereby lousing up photo ops sought by Republicans desperately trying to distract us from Trump's failed and cruel policies that have resulted in the world's deadliest COVID-19 response, the loss of more than 140,000 American lives, and the sickening and job loss of millions of our fellow citizens. Our nation needs testing, financial aid, and in the case of our neighbor states, help with overwhelmed hospitals and sound medical aid, advice and personnel.

S. Derrickson Moore, Las Cruces

Shame on the governor

On July 23 during a press conference that has now been viewed thousands of times Gov. Grisham flashed a picture of a family in Hobbs, NM dining at a local restaurant. This was done ostensibly to show that New Mexicans were, “not taking the COVID seriously.” Does anyone see the problem of publicly shaming and “making an example” of a family exercising a fundamental constitutional right? If I as a teacher treated students like this I would rightly be fired.

I watched this with horror -- the highest government official, with all the resources of the state and media attention afforded her; publicly shamed a group of our fellow citizens. And what were these narcissists and psychopaths being shamed for? Enjoying a meal as a family and supporting a local business during a tough time. “Surely there will be an outcry." I waited for the articles explaining the impropriety and -- in the current social media climate -- dangerousness of this action. Maybe I’m not looking in the right place?

“Their faces were obscured” you might say. Give me a break! I grew up in a small town- we know each other by our cars, our pets, our haircuts. The segment showed 95 percent of this family’s physical being, not to mention the shaming of the establishment and its employees in which they were eating. A two-fer for the governor I guess. I have to hand it to Mrs. Grisham she is developing the tidy and efficient tactics of a dictator. If I were any of the people in these photos I would be on speed-dial to my lawyer. In the meantime -- during this crisis, may I ask the paper to at least address these oversteps as a service to the public? We have rights. No one deserves to be publicly shamed.

Krista Wierzbanowski, Alamogordo

Who should we listen to?

In response to Sen. Craig Brandt’s column in the Sun-News on 7/29/2020: I often wonder if politicians realize what words they’re actually saying. Quote from the fifth paragraph of that column: “When doctors are telling you to do something and a politician is telling you to do the exact opposite, it should be a no-brainer who to listen to.”

While I know that remark was directed at our governor, who is doing her best to contain the spread of the virus, especially among the most vulnerable New Mexicans, the quote equally refers to those Republicans in Washington, including and especially Mr. Trump, who are ignoring the medical facts in favor of efforts at re-election, in both the White House and the Congress.

Ignore the statistics; just read the medical facts, published in medical journals.

I would encourage the senator to take his shoe out of his mouth, put on a mask, and let the governor do her best for New Mexicans.

Michael Sackett, Las Cruces

This article originally appeared on Las Cruces Sun-News: Letters to the editor: What's in a name?

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