Are we really making progress on environment?

Where are our brains, environmentalists? The big thing today is “Save the oceans!” They show piles of plastic gathered on the beaches with dire predictions of us ruining the planet by our overuse of plastic. Plastic straws being the worst offenders, along with plastic bags, cups and containers. A novelty catalog featured a stainless steel “straw” you could get for $19.99 that you could take home and wash to re-use every time you come to your favorite restaurant.

Don’t consider the process of manufacture of the stainless tube. Aren’t there any folks old enough to remember what we used before plastic? No, not straw, but paper, spiral wrapped and glued. It worked fine, and quickly decomposed in the trash. Same with paper bags, cups and containers. Remember waxed paper? You could burn it if you didn’t want it in the landfill. (Gasp)

Is it too simple, or is it that there isn’t millions to be made on such a simple solution? Are we really making progress when we leave our common sense behind? My Buick just needed a headlight replaced. The dealer wanted $300. What ever happened to the $8 sealed beam units you could replace in 15 minutes by taking out four screws? But that’s for another time.

Fred Jensen, Moriarty


A Democrat who voted for Donald Trump

After reading Merritt Hamilton Allen’s column “The state of the Allens, the State & the Union” (Feb. 7-13, 2020), I am astounded at The Independent’s assertion that it is independent. You really should change your name to the “Democrat Scandal and Gossip Rag.” I’ve subscribed to The Independent since 2015 and had read it for years before that. The Independent has always been one-sided.

I have been a Democrat for 53 years and since I have been able to vote. Regardless, I vote for the best candidate in my humble opinion. I voted for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton because of the Clinton scandals; Whitewater in 1992, Travelgate in 1993; Vince Foster’s Death in 1993; Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky in 1994; Filegate in 1996; Benghazi in 2012; the Clinton Foundation in 2015 and Her Private Email Server in 2015. Given that he was running against a proven corrupt candidate, he seemed to be the safer choice.

The Allens decry President Trump’s tribalism but seem to accept it from his opposition. Do you remember the cry, “Not My President” that arose after Donald Trump was elected? It went on for weeks and still echoes off walls of the Democratically held Congress. Calls for President Trump’s impeachment are as old as his presidency. The obvious hatred of the Democrats for President Trump is about the man and not his presidency. Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton who “was supposed to win” and he did it without winning the popular vote (but he did it by the rules). Oh the humanity …

Stop defending Speaker Nancy Peloci, who has prayed for (or is it preyed on) Donald Trump. She threw a childish temper tantrum when she tore up the State of the Union speech. That is what happened and for you to say otherwise is to condone that kind of behavior, but only for your side. Your prejudice is showing.

As I said, I am a Democrat. Let’s talk about our party. Barack Obama increased the national debt by 74% while he was in office. He had the distinction of having spent more money than any other person in history. Bernie Sanders is calling to spend $60 trillion on his platform. Warren is calling to spend only $52 trillion. Are these people crazy? The United States will go bankrupt during their first term and then nobody will have anything. We Democrats need to stop trying to buy votes (yes it is, don’t lie to yourself) and consider the fiscal health of the country.

I support legal immigration. Setting up sanctuary cities tells the world that you don’t believe in the rule of law. You only support the laws that you like and feel free to break the ones you don’t. If you don’t like the laws, change them.

Get off of the socialism kick. I love our nation. I like the idea that I can work hard and get ahead. I contribute to several charitable organizations on my own. I want to be able to do that how I want to. I want to choose who I share with, not give it to the government and let them choose. They don’t do a good job. I celebrate Christmas. If you want to celebrate Winter Holidays then be my guest; just leave my Christmas alone. My pronouns are the same pronouns that they have always been. What you are doing is unnecessary and confusing. Grow up.

Forget about anti-Trump. Come up with a platform—one that benefits everyone; not just the Democrats. It is OK to benefit the Democrats but we can’t ignore roughly half of the population to only care about the other half. We are all Americans. Our policies should benefit Americans.

I want to remind everyone that our morality is that set of rules that we hold ourselves to. Not what we tell everyone else it is. Remember our true values and we will do well.

Cass Tyler, Willard


East Mountain High School’s open enrollment opens

I am pleased to share that East Mountain High School is having a fantastic 20th school year. As we enter the enrollment phase for the 2020-2021 school year, I want to share some of our past successes and what we are looking forward to in the future. We hope that all families in the East Mountains will consider sending their student to our safe, inclusive, innovative school in Sandia Park.

As a small charter school of about 360 students, we don’t have access to the resources of a large school district. However, what we lack in those resources, we make up for in innovation. Our faculty are offering a rigorous college prep curriculum. Over 90% of our students are accepted into their first-choice college. Our graduation rate remains steady in the 92-95% range. And our test scores continually rank EMHS among the best public schools in the state.

We know that academics are not always a family’s only concern when choosing a school, that’s why we are proud to offer a wide range of extra-curricular programs. We are one of the only charter schools in the state that offer a comprehensive athletics program. There are 13 varsity NMAA teams that students can participate in, and many of those teams have won district and state championships, including team championships in baseball, cross country, and nine state titles in Bowling. We also boast a wide variety of activities from Model UN, Drama, and Student Council to MESA, NHS, and Robotics. We have an internationally recognized Speech and Debate program, and we are also starting exciting new programs like e-Sports. EMHS has developed a top-notch music program that is now being modeled by other schools, and we offer several art and humanities-based electives.

We are extremely proud of our recognition as a 2018 U.S. Department of Education National Blue Ribbon School. We are also proud of our “A “rating from the NM Public Education Department every year. However, we also are seeking out new areas of growth and opportunity. We are embracing the challenge posed by the NMPED to make education more accessible. We have formed an Equity Council that will be examining our curriculum and programs. This group of students, faculty, parents, and community members will offer recommendations for improvements to ensure equity and access across the board. We believe that EMHS can continue offering a world-class college prep curriculum while simultaneously serving all students in the East Mountain area. This dual-focus mission is challenging, but with the right staff, we feel that we can achieve it.

I’m convinced that the secret to our success is a caring faculty that build meaningful relationships with our students. Our teachers are not only focused on the academic needs of our students, but we also take the social-emotional learning needs of our students seriously.

If you would like to learn more about our school, please join us at Meet EMHS on Thursday, February 27 at 6:00pm. You can also join us at 8th Grade Day on Friday, March 13. Information on both events can be found at our website at You can also follow our school on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Our open enrollment period runs from February 10-March 13. During that time, you will enter your student’s name into the lottery process.

We want to thank our local community for your great support of our school. We could not achieve this success without you! Please share our story with your family and friends and please reach out if we can answer any questions.

Trey Smith, EMHS Principal