We were all saddened to learn of the death of former N.M. Senator and Western Commerce CEO Don Kidd, who passed away on Aug. 27. Graveside services are scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Don started working at a grocery store when he was 10, and he rarely missed a day of work between then and now. He worked hard his entire life and continued to advocate for education.
Don and his family moved to Carlsbad in 1972, and he soon became the president and chief executive officer of Western Commerce Bank. Under his watch, the bank became a major financial player in the region. He was appointed to the Board of Regents at New Mexico State University in 1985 and successfully ran for New Mexico Senate District 34 in 1992.
As a legislator, he was proud of his financial bills, including one that directed income from New Mexico’s lottery to a scholarship program. He was also the co-author of a state law to protect citizens from predatory lending.
He has also been a strong supporter of the Carlsbad Literacy Program and established a literacy chair at NMSU.
Don was one of our community’s many excellent examples of a self-made man. He worked his way up and always found a way to better himself. This community and the entire state were very fortunate to have him. He will be missed.
As expected, the Governor announced that, starting Saturday, restaurants can now open at 25% indoor capacity Thursday and 75% of their outdoor seating capacity. Churches are now allowed 40% capacity.
Additionally, museums are now allowed to open at 25% capacity in the new public health order, and the definition of what is considered a “mass gathering” has been raised from more than 5 to more than 10. This is a very significant change. The City of Carlsbad will examine the new health order and will let you know what changes we plan on making in future updates.
Probably the biggest surprise of Thursday’s press conference, however, was related to schools. The ability of a school district to enter into a hybrid mode (in which students attend school in person for two days a week) has now been linked to two COVID-19 variables related to the county where the school district exists. Those two variables are case positivity – the number of positive COVID-19 tests compared to the total number of COVID-19 tests administered, and number of positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people. The stated goal is to ensure the safety of teachers and students by making sure that the case count in the area is low before re-opening. It’s the same formula being used to determine whether nursing home visitations are allowed.
According to the Governor’s press conference, Eddy County currently does not meet those benchmarks. Most of the counties in the state not meeting the benchmarks are in Southeastern New Mexico. Many residents of this area are again frustrated. We were told “We’re all in this together,” during a period in which we had no new COVID-19 cases for weeks and begged for the decision-making processes to be based on region or county. We certainly support making sure our teachers and students are safe, but consistency is always important.
That issue aside, we all want the number of positive cases in our area right now to go down. Eddy County is pretty close to meeting both targets, according to Thursday’s data. As we’ve stated in the past, we believe our residents and businesses have largely done a very good job of protecting each other by social distancing.
Let’s work together as a community to get those numbers down so our kids can get back to school.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway