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A Wish List For Las Cruces In 2022

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Peter Goodman
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Commentary:

Dear Santa,

For our community, please send more rain. (I promise to be better conserving water!) I’d also ask:

Bumper crops for produce vendors at our vibrant Farmers Market, more people buying healthy, tasty local food – and growing some at home; and McDonalds ceasing to sell, so-called “nutritious” junk food that contributes to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Removal of the eyesore on Main, between Lohman and Amador, a developer’s giant middle-finger to city government, which officials keep promising is being dealt with. (And could you remove Amador Live, or at least lower its noise volume to sane, healthy levels?)

Meaningful, evidence-based discussion of school policies, with folks on all sides actually listening.

More water!

A higher vaccination rate, both to boost community health and to minimize disruption to our economy, health, recreational pursuits, and hanging out with friends and family.

More pickleball courts. Pickleball is a joy for all ages, despite the silly name. It’s great exercise, with minimal injury potential (being non-contact). It’s fast-growing, with many Las Crucens addicted to the game. With the new Apodaca Park courts so crowded at times, other outdoor sites are essential, particularly for folks who want to play without unnecessary hobnobbing with strangers.

Continued printing of our local daily newspaper, the Sun-News – and continued success and support for radio stations KRWG and KTAL, our NPR-affiliate and our local community radio station, respectively. They all help the community talk to itself, which is ever more critical as other meaningful discussion fora disappear. And I promise to help all three.

Help also for so many fine local nonprofits, including Community of Hope, Jardin de los Niños, La Casa, and Wildlife for All.

More opportunities to eat at The Shed, Luna Rossa, Willow and Blaine, Habañero, Nopalitos, La Nueva Casita, Aqua Reef, The Mix, and other wonderful local restaurants – and to drink good coffee at Milagro, Nessa’s, Beck’s, and the Bean.

Leisure to watch the mountains come alive in the afternoon sun, then grow that unbelievable red, then become black shapes outlined by a rising moon; to swap stories and discuss the issues of the day with pals at those coffee houses; and to visit the Bosque del Apache and watch thousands of bright white snow geese rise from the water, bathed in dawn’s rich light, and watch sandhill cranes return at dusk, their spindly legs hanging down as they try for a steady landing in the shifting winds.

A victory (or two!?) for the Aggies in the NCAA basketball tournament. Chris Jans is a hell of a coach, and senior Johnny McCants is a Cruces kid.

State legislative action on predatory lending, a state bank, strong support for early-childhood education, and whatever sensible, constitutional steps could decrease gun violence; and “business-development” efforts that recognize the significance of the arts. Federal help for Downwinders. And more water, and fewer pecan orchards.

And, Santa, a lump of coal for Joe Manchin, or leave him and the energy companies that own him the grace to face up to the incredible suffering their short-term greed and “politics-as-usual” could cause their own grandkids – and ours.

But, above all, grant me further opportunities to express gratitude to this community and the caring people (whether or not we agree on issues) who breathe life into it, our independent spirit. Also, the best-ever bone for Foxy, who’s hoping I’ll stop scribbling and toss her ball.

Happy Everything to All!