Mesalands trustee asks for advocats

By Chelle Delaney, Quay County Sun

A Mesalands Community College Board of Trustees member expressed disappointment in the lackluster support from fellow institutions in the fight to reinstate funding for Hispanic students.

“It gets me upset, nobody’s backing us up. It’s like we’re the Lone Ranger. We go to the Hill to help, but we don’t have any backing for us from Santa Fe,” said board member Jimmy Sandoval, who had recently been to Washington, D.C., on behalf of Mesalands.
There has been an $18 to $19 million cut in the Title V program, Sandoval said.

The Title V program helps higher educational institutions serve Hispanic and low-income students.

“It’s kind of hard to carry all the water all the time,” said Mesalands president Phillip Barry.

Barry said trips to meet with Washington lawmakers are important because, “If we don’t go we get overlooked.”
In other business before the board at its Thursday night meeting:

l Mesalands has hired Tracy Rascoe as an instructor for its Wind Energy Technician Program at its North American Wind Research and Training Center, effective Feb. 25. Rascoe is from Hot Springs, Calif., and has seven years experience in wind technology programs.
Mesalands is expected to announce next week when it will begin taking applications and the fees for center’s programs. Students are to be enrolled in August. The inaugural class also will benefit from the experience of seeing the center’s turbine installed in the fall, Barry said.

Related to the college’s wind center is the state’s Renewable Energy Transmission Authority or RETA, created by the Legislature, Barry said.
RETA is a state-level financing authority to develop, build and finance towers and lines to transport renewable energy.

Barry said he is working to create a coalition of local government officials who would advocate to RETA that transmission lines come through Quay County. The college is hosting a luncheon meeting on March 5 for interested officials.

Area wind energy advocates have said they are stymied because there are no transmission lines with enough capacity to handle the electricity from local wind power. Quay County wind energy advocates and landowners who see an opportunity for wind farms have the same concern as ranchers from the Corona area.

At a RETA organizational meeting last year, the ranchers said, “that it is difficult for them to decide among multiple competing contractual offers for wind development on their land unless they have a picture of transmission plans in the region that could deliver their wind to market,” according to RETA’s 2007 annual report.