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The COVID-19 case rate (cases per 100,000 people per week) increased by 48 percent across New Mexico between July 7-12, according to the town of Taos, which referenced data from the New Mexico Department of Health and Johns Hopkins University.

The case rate increase in Taos County from the previous week was nearly three-fold, jumping from 34 to 92. The county case rate had peaked in November 2020 at 627 cases per 100,000 people per week.

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Even as the pandemic has taken a turn for the less-severe this year - with vaccination rates rising and economies beginning to show signs of recovery - mental health professionals throughout the world have seen clear indicators of a coming psychosocial crisis. One of their biggest concerns is how this problem impacts our kids, who had even fewer outlets to vent their pandemic-related anxieties than adults did.

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With vaccine rates rising, and positivity numbers dropping, Taoseños are ready to get out and about. And what better day to enjoy the world and the community than Earth Day. From local residents hitting the streets to clean up trash, to activists waving flags and marching, to families gathering together to dance, Earth Day 2021 was a major sigh of communal relief.

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As COVID-19 vaccination rates increase, several events were organized around Taos County on Earth Day (April 23). Arroyo Seco Live hosted an Earth Day livestream with performances from Red Willow Dancers and Hail Creek Drum Group. Closer to town, Rev. Yusen Yamato led a small group in the 26th annual Global Peace Walk from Taos Visitor Center to Kit Carson Park. Throughout the county, Taoseños grabbed their gloves and plastic bags for trash cleanups organized by Taos County, Amigos Bravos, the Unitarian Congregation of Taos and Taos Initiative for Life Together, among others. 

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Despite the global pandemic and the upheaval it brought with it, high school graduation rates were up 2 percent across the state in 2020, according to the New Mexico Public Education Department.

Nearly 77 percent of New Mexico’s high school seniors graduated in four years last spring, with female students graduating at a rate of 81 percent and male students at a rate of 73 percent.

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College is expensive.

An average full-time semester at the University of New Mexico costs around $7,500. For a bachelor's degree, a student must attend eight full-time semesters. That's $60,000 dollars for a bachelor's degree.

This figure fails to take into consideration textbooks. In the past 30 years, textbook prices have increased by over 800 percent. In fact, more than half of students choose not to purchase a required textbook for at least one class because of cost. It is advised for students to set aside $1,200 a year for class materials alone.

Students pay their tuition - so why aren't materials included in those costs?

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Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham spoke during an online press conference Thursday (Feb. 25) about the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and introduced new metrics in her ‘red to green’ strategy for reopening.

The governor announced that as of Feb. 24, 19 counties were in ‘yellow’ level, six counties were in ‘green’ level and four counties were in the newly introduced ‘turquoise’ level.

“I like to refer to this as green-plus, which really shows that we are as a state managing COVID,” said Lujan Grisham about the new ‘turquoise’ level for counties that have maintained ‘green’ level and significantly lowered risk.

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Dear Mr. President: In an effort to diminish the impact of climate change, President Joe Biden signed an executive order late last month placing a 60-day halt on oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters. On Thursday (Feb. 18), members of the state House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee debated a measure that would waive that ban in New Mexico.

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Taos County moved Wednesday (Feb. 10) into the “yellow” phase outlined in the state’s ‘red to green’ framework for reopening as novel coronavirus cases decline. Taos County had been in the “red” since the phased framework began early December 2020.