Celebrating a milestone!

Typically, The Independent covers the news, but this Friday, Sept. 14, they are part of it. Come be part of the celebration, too, as The Independent officially cuts the ribbon at 6 p.m. and welcomes the community to an Open House at their beautiful new office at 95 N.M. 344 in Edgewood.

Our region is very fortunate to have a locally-focused newspaper at a time when so many papers are disappearing. The Independent has been here and covering our region-wide news since 1999. Come show your support, celebrate this milestone, and enjoy refreshments, music, and community spirit from 5 to 9 p.m.

Linda Burke, Greater Edgewood Area Chamber


A stress-free commute thanks to public transit

How many of us, if offered the possibility to catch a few more minutes of sleep, would jump at the chance? For daily commuters riding on the “Blue Bus,” this is an actual reality! People have the option of getting work done on their devices, reading the news, listening to music or a podcast, or simply catching a few more winks of sleep on their way to or from the office. All of these possibilities allow the public transit rider to arrive at work rested, not frazzled, and less stressed than if they had to drive over two hours each and every day to get back and forth to work. And, the best part about this service is there is no out of pocket cost to the rider.

In our region, Edgewood has a bus route that goes northbound to Santa Fe in the morning and makes a return trip from Santa Fe to Edgewood in the evening. The bus makes its round trip every Monday through Friday. The Blue Bus (or North Central Regional Transit District—NCRTD—as it is more formally known) saves wear and tear on personal vehicles and saves commuters the cost of gas for what could be a 150-mile round trip. The cost savings alone are enough to reduce stress levels and increase quality of life for many of our community members in Edgewood.

In addition to aiding commuters, public transportation allows people without cars and those with disabilities to be more mobile. Public transportation is an inexpensive alternative to driving a car, as it helps keep vehicle gas and maintenance costs down. Our overall carbon footprint is reduced when public transportation is used as opposed to everyone driving solo in their personal vehicle. These are all facts that make public transit a huge asset to our community and a big draw for new families and individuals considering a move to the Edgewood area.

What many people don’t know is that the Blue Buses are funded primarily by taxpayers. In November, all voters will be asked to reauthorize the tax that helps provide this service. By showing your support and voting yes, it will not increase taxes, all taxes will remain the same as they are right now. Currently, approximately 68 percent of the NCRTD’s operation is funded by local taxpayer dollars. Frankly put, without a secure stream of ongoing funding, the route in and out of Edgewood could be cut. I believe this would make our region a much less desirable place to live, now and into the future. That is why I am encouraging everyone to vote for reauthorization of funding for the NCRTD.

Linda Holle, Edgewood Town Councilor


Thank yous and winners for Sanctuary Zone raffle

Thank you all for your support with the Sanctuary Zone raffle. A special thank you to all of the angels who helped sell tickets, even coming all the way from Texas!

Winners of the raffle: 1st Moises Lovato; 2nd Mel McNeil; 3rd D. Ben Baldonado; 4th Angie Halbert; 5th was Debbie Coss; 6th Edward Lucero; 7th Lorieann Martin; 8th Kyler Silva; 9th James Robison (he donated his prize to Baptist Children’s home); and 10th Natalio Hernandez.

Jim Summers, Estancia


Group seeking input on Mountainair housing

Friends of Mountainair is a group of people who live in and around Mountainair who came together after the devastating fire in downtown Mountainair in 2016. At that time, our purpose was to see what could be done to clean up the burn site and revitalize the local economy. Since then, the group has supported projects in Mountainair like the re-opening of B Street Market, the opening an adult education center, repairs to local parks, and a needs assessment of school students.

One of the identified areas of concern identified by the group is safe and affordable housing. Lately, as rents have risen in Mountainair, there is renewed interest in exploring this issue in more depth. Ideas have ranged from creating a Craigslist type of service that would list properties for rent and providers of home maintenance services all the way to establishing a community development corporation for the purpose of purchasing and rehabilitating houses for low income residents.

The purpose of this letter is to find out who else might be interested in this initiative. If it sounds like something you would like to be part of, please let me know. You can contact me at 505-847-2855 or tamrahays@gmail.com

Tamra Hays, Mountainair


Suicide Prevention Month and local events

Many people may not know this, but September is Suicide Prevention Month. It isn’t talked about widely in the community, but it was just as important as many of the other awareness campaigns. September is over, but that doesn’t mean that the risk of suicide—or the need to be aware—has decreased.

According to the 2015 New Mexico Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey (YRRS), 22.8 percent of Torrance County middle school students reported that they had seriously thought about suicide, 13.7 percent reported that they had planned suicide, and 8.2 percent reported that they had tried to kill themselves.

Of the high school students surveyed, 19.7 percent reported that they had seriously considered suicide. That number was an increase from 14.1 percent in 2005 and compared to the state rate of 16.5 percent. Of those surveyed, 18.1 percent reported that they had a suicide plan, 11.3 percent reported they had attempted suicide and 5.9 percent reported that they had injured themselves in a suicide attempt.

While this information may appear to just be numbers thrown at you, it represents real youth in our community. These are our children, our neighbors, our friends’ children, and the kids down the street. Our youth are in trouble and we need to be on the alert.

Even with all of the dire news as it relates to self-harm and risk of suicide in the Torrance County, Moriarty-Edgewood School District area, there is hope. The Torrance County DWI Prevention Program works closely with the Estancia Valley Youth and Family Council, the New Mexico National DWI Memorial of Perpetual Tears, and other organizations to provide prevention education in our community.

Although the details contained in this letter pertain to youth suicide, the risk of suicide does not discriminate. There is no sector of the community that is immune. It doesn’t matter how much or how little someone earns. It doesn’t matter the color of someone’s skin. It doesn’t matter how much or how little education someone may have. It doesn’t care if someone is young or old. The risk of suicide is present in every sector of our community.

Most of us have felt the impact of a suicide, whether it was the death of a family member, co-worker, friend or even a stranger. People can and do survive those losses, but not without their lives being forever changed.

If you, or someone you love, is struggling, please do not hesitate to reach out for help. Here are some resources through which you may find that help:

National Suicide Prevention Hotline


New Mexico Crisis and Access Line

855-NMCRISIS (662-7474)

Agora Crisis Center


Veterans Crisis Line


On Saturday, Sept. 22, the Torrance County Inaugural Suicide Awareness & Prevention 5k walk/run will be held in Estancia. The purpose of this event is to provide information, increase compassion and understanding, and reduce stigma. I encourage your readers to call my office to learn more.

Working together, we can make our community a better place for all of us.

Tracey Master, DPC

Torrance County DWI Prevention Program Coordinator

Certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor

Board Certified, Suicide Prevention