2020 was the year COVID-19 began. During the year lots of events were canceled to protect people from outbreaks of the virus. One event affected was The famous Balloon Fiesta. After taking the year off Balloon Fiesta made it’s return for the 2021 season.
Balloon fiesta park was filled with many spectators waiting to see the many balloons take off into the sky. This year 866,414 guests made their way to the park during the 9 day period.
The Balloon fiesta picked up right where it left off with a total of 588 balloons making an appearance this year. 671 pilots also made the trip from around the world for this years event. The Albuquerque community seemed full of life after the return of the Balloon Fiesta.
A full-time English instructor, Tammy Wolf, said that teaching online can be difficult because there is still work to be done explaining concepts of online classes.
In-person classes allowed her the ability to explain topics face-to-face, which can be easier, she said.
She added that teachers do not like sending students “out of the shell” because an ad can pop up, making it hard for students to stay focused.
“It’s not fair to the students either in some ways because if you don’t love reading, now you have to read all your instructions, you have to read all the support materials… which can be harder for students who don’t read as much,” she said.
The two groups she thought that were the most affected were students who have never learned online and teachers who have never taught online, she said.
She said her biggest obstacle has been isolation. Most of the time, she is at home in her office, grading, which she said could be overwhelming at times.
Wolf said it was not until Christmas last year that she realized the pandemic would not end quickly, and class would not be in person for a while.
She said she misses seeing students challenging one another’s ideas or getting that aha moment when everything starts to make sense. She said that is why she wants students to reply to one another on discussions and ask questions.
She also mentioned how students do not get to see the passionate side of their teachers.
“We just turn into this robot that you’re emailing.” A massive disconnect is present between teachers and students, she said.
Wolf adds that students are tired, and everyone is dealing with so much amid a pandemic, she worries about students who are losing their drive to continue.
Compared to in the beginning when she believed that students as well as teachers may have enjoyed having a break and being online for a little bit.
“Now we’re over it,” she added, “but students need to just keep going, it’s going to get better, just keep going were all in it together, and I know there’s a real divide between faculty and students, but we’re cheering you on, and we want to see everybody succeed.”
Construction on the Catering Brewery Facility at Robert P. Matteuchi Hall continues, and has entered the Black Phase, as pictured on September 28.
The project has already passed through yellow and light blue phases, but must undergo a metamorphosis into creamy white, before it is complete, according to architectural renderings prepared by FBT Architects of Albuquerque.
A rendering of the project, as finished, is displayed on a fence at the construction site on University Boulevard, just south of CNM’ s newly constructed Market Place.
General Contractor for the project is Brycon Construction of Albuquerque.
Behind sturdy fences, the former UNM student housing units, located on Buena Vista Avenue, await their future.
The units are located on a 13-acre parcel, that was recently sold by UNM to CNM. CNM has approved the acquisition for a price of 1.5 million, and UNM has approved the sale, according to CNM.
When the CNM Governing Board approved the acquisition in July, CNM officials said that they had not determined how they would use the property. At recent CNM meetings the idea that has been presented is to demolish the housing units, and build a state-of-the-art space for the applied technologies and trades programs.
But, as pictured on September 28, from Buena Vista Avenue, these unoccupied housing units, will have to wait to find out their precise fate.
While CNM students have seen the imposition of paid parking for their campus lots, UNM students are able to skate on charges by parking at the massive University Stadium parking lot, south of the CNM campus.
Of course, if there is an athletic event, like a home Lobo football game, paid parking goes into effect, according to lot attendants.
But on a beautiful weekday afternoon, the University Stadium is brimming with cars, whose drivers had to pay nary a farthing for their place in the sun. Shuttle buses are ready to ferry UNM students to their main campus as soon as the students park. It is about a mile walk that some students might not want to endure in the afternoon sun.
The red Lobo shuttle busses are highly visible as they go to and from the Stadium lot to Main campus, via University Boulevard.
Lot attendants are scooting about in their golf carts to monitor the situation, but everything seems peaceful and calm. There may be no such thing as a free lunch these days, but for UNM students there is free parking.
On a brilliant sunny afternoon of September 15th, at the UNM Duck Pond, the duck population is growing, and calling itself to order.
In midsummer, the duck population had fallen below 20 ducks. Now ducks are returning from their summer vacations in northern latitudes, and beginning to settle in for fall and winter.
Today there are more than forty ducks, paddling about, or watching from the pond’s edge, where they naturally line up in rows to observe the turtles, sunning on pond rocks, and humans who recline in the shade of trees, or sit on benches surrounding the water.
It’s a far cry from the hundreds of ducks the pond regularly hosts in the winter, and certainly not enough to impress the turtles, who are rock-solid residents of the pond year around. Yes, indeed, the turtles are hard to impress.
Skies are blue–albeit a bit hazy– as the Fall Semester at CNM kicks into gear.
The parking lot is full in front of the Student Services center. Meanwhile, students are able to get directions and information from a booth set up as part of “Suncat Days,” by the stairs near Max Salazar Hall.
Across University Boulevard, construction on the Catering Services/Brewery at Robert P. Matteuchi Hall continues, and is going through a light blue phase (as if to match the skies). On the North side of Main Campus, a billboard on E Building beams out a strong message in blue: it looks like “E” stands for being “exceptional” at CNM.
The CNM Dental Assisting Program has a positive impact for students and dentists alike.
When Dr. Fielfer Murga bought his practice, Dental Wellness, he knew that the staff he would be hiring would need to be a good fit for the team, so he reached out to CNM to help him.
“When I purchased the practice, the previous doctor told me that he had some connections with CNM. Then a graduate of the program came in to apply and we liked her and her work, so we contacted CNM that we wanted to work with their students,” Dr. Murga said.
One such student is 2018 CNM graduate Leyra Leyva. She said that it wasn’t until after she started attending CNM that she decided to enter the Dental Assisting Program.
“Once I started the program, I really realized how important it is to take care of your teeth,” Leyva said.
Leyva was sent to Dental Wellness for her second clinical assignment, and she has been employed there since that time, she said.
Dr. Murga said, “That’s why I like the program, because sometimes you can tell if a potential employee is a good match for you. Every dentist is different, so sometimes there is a match for me and sometimes not. If it is definitely a match, we will hire them on the spot!”
2019 CNM graduate Gladis Sanchez, said she knew before she started taking classes that she wanted to complete the Dental Assisting Program.
Her first clinical assignment brought her to Dental Wellness, and she was hired.
“I have learned a lot here. I love it!” Sanchez said.
Dr. Murga said that the people he likes to hire are those that love to ask questions and who are curious.
CNM graduate Jennifer Medina received her certificate just a couple of weeks ago and is happy to be a part of the team at Dental Wellness, she said.
“Once I took the dental science class at the beginning of the program, I thought it was really interesting and I knew that this was the program for me,” Medina said.
When it comes to staffing his practice, Dr. Murga said that CNM has been, and will continue to be, a great resource for him.
The signs are up for the new Starbuck’s at CNM’s Marketplace, but the store has not announced an opening date, as the campus prepares for the onset of the Fall Semester. While the Marketplace Bookstore is open to patrons wearing masks, construction was continuing on the interior of the Starbucks, as of Friday, August 27. Signage on the Starbucks University Boulevard entrance indicates that Starbucks will be “coming soon.” Outdoor tables are already placed on a patio, marked by the familiar Starbucks emblem on a wall clearly visible from University Boulevard.
The Zoom Governing Board meeting held on Wednesday August 8th which consisted of Chairman Thomas Swisstack, Pauline Garcia, James Chavez, Annette Chavez y De La Cruz, Nancy Baca and Robert Schoenfelder voted, in a roll call vote, to approve CNM President Tracy Hartzler’s plan for a vaccine and mask mandate as presented on the CNM website– A Vote to Affirm the Mandatory Covid Vaccination Policy for Faculty Staff, and Students.
In casting his vote, Swisstack said the measure was necessary to protect folks at CNM from “the more contagious Delta Variant” (of the Covid-19 Virus.)
Baca applauded President Hartzler for her hard work in putting together the policy.
No other questions, comments, or discussion, on the mandate were discussed at that time measure.
At its Public work meeting of August 4, the board had asked President Hartzler to consult with legal counsel as to whether a board vote was necessary to make the mandatory vaccine policy effective, or whether she had authority to implement the policy on her own.
The meeting on August 8th was originally scheduled for in person at Smith-Brasher Hall, but Swisstak said he switched it to remote, because, under President Harztler’s policy, the board members would have been required to wear masks, and that he has a hard time hearing people speaking through masks.