January 26th, 2015: Local Headlines

Here’s a look at today’s headlines:

The US House of Representatives recently passed the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abotrion Insurance Full Disclosure Act by an overwhelming vote for the bill.  Representative Steve Pearce issued the following statement concerning the vote: This common-sense legislation codifies the longstanding Hyde Amendment that no federal funding may be spent for abortions except in the case of rape, incest or where the mother’s life is endangered,” said Pearce.  This week, hundreds of thousands of Americans spoke up at the National March for Life in Washington, D.C., and at similar rallies like those in Santa Fe and Las Cruces. Staff and I attended the National March for Life in Washington as well as local events to lend our voice for the voiceless—the unborn. All human life is created in the image and likeness of God. No matter what the circumstance, life is always a blessing.”

Steven Morales, 36, of Silver City, charged with the death of Estevan Ortega on Wednesday, Jan. 14, was the subject of a search by law enforcement on Thursday, Jan. 22, north of Ridge Road and again on Friday, Jan. 23, when officers surrounded the Shady Grove area. However, in both instances, according to Grant County Sheriff Raul Villanueva, Morales was not found.  Villanueva said Crimestoppers is offering a reward for information leading to Morales’ arrest. Information can be left anonymously at Crimestoppers by calling 575-538-5254.

The Deming Luna County Chamber of Commerce recently held its 99th annual Luau to celebrate local businesses.  After a steak dinner was served, incoming president elect Jim Dye took over from outgoing president Lori Coleman, and announced the winners of the 2014 Community Achievement Awards.  The winners included: Agribusiness Persons of the Year – Kenny and Merrianne Treadwell, Education Person of the Year – Janean Garney, Outstanding Citizen of the Year – G.G. Gore, Business Person of the Year – Greg and Wendy Church, and New Business of the Year – Patricia Prince of The Cookie Jar.  Congratulations to all of the winners.

A New Mexico State Legislator on Friday proposed legislation that would expand the penalties for various child sex crimes in the state.  Under the legislation, a person in a position of authority, including a parent, relative, household member, teacher or employer, who coerces a child ages 13 to 18 to submit to sexual penetration would be guilty of a second-degree felony instead of the current third-degree felony charge.  The proposed legislation would also modify the statutes defining second- and third-degree criminal sexual contact, removing a requirement that a child between the ages of 13 and 18 must suffer “personal injury” as a result of the forced or coerced sexual contact.  Finally, the proposed legislation would make aggravated indecent exposure to a child a third-degree felony. Currently, it is punishable as a fourth-degree felony.  The bills were crafted with help from the New Mexico Children, Youth and Family Department.

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January 22nd, 2015: Local Headlines

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The Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument is seeking public comment on possible increases in the park’s entry fees.  The proposal is to raise the basic entrance fee from $3 to $5.  Anyone wishing to learn more about the changes, or make comments on them, is invited to a meeting that will be held next Tuesday, January 27th.  The meeting will take place at the Gila National Forest office in Silver City from 1 to 3 pm.  Interested persons are welcome to come at any time during those hours.  Further information about the information can be obtained by calling the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument at 536-9461 or by emailing hugh_hawthorne@nps.gov.  Public comment can be made at the National Park Service Planning, Environment, and Public Comment site at http://parkplanning.nps.gove/gilafeeproposal.

There will be a candidate forum for the Cobre Consolidated Schools Board of Education election this evening at 6 pm at Cobre High School.  Local news sources will be asking candidates questions about the upcoming election, what their plans are for the future of the district, and how, if they are elected, they will improve the district.  Community members are invited to attend and have their own questions answered.

In state-wide news, the World Property Journal recently selected Albuquerque as the top mid-sized American City to visit.  The online real estate newspaper praised the breathtaking view from Sandia Crest, as well as the museums, unique neighborhoods, excellent restaurants, and a vibrant tri-cultural ethnic mix.  Albuquerque was selected over other popular mid-sized cities including Portland, Oregon and Nashville Tennessee.

The National Weather Service in El Paso has issued a Winter Weather Advisory through Midnight tonight for the Southern Gila Highlands and Eastern Black Range Foothills including Silver City, Lake Roberts, Bayard, Hillsboro and Winston.  Periods of moderate to heavy snow are expected across the southwest mountains, with snow accumulations of 2 to 4 inches in elevations over 6500 feet.  Snow, sleet or freezing rain could cause traffic difficulties.  Be prepared for slippery roads and limited visibilities and use caution while driving.

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January 21st, 2015: Local Headlines

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Yesterday, US Senator Tom Udall issued the following statement in response to the president’s annual State of the Union Address.  “the president laid out a strategy that would help New Mexicans – and all Americans – address challenges like access to fair housing and education that we must meet in order to ensure everyone has a fair shot at the American dream.”  “We in Congress may disagree about the solutions, but I hope we can agree about the need to debate proposals like those the president proposed tonight: to guarantee all workers paid sick leave and a fair family leave policy, make college more affordable, and help establish the foundation to create more well-paying jobs — including by investing in infrastructure and guaranteeing access to broadband Internet no matter where you live.”

Silver City Police were dispatched to the 500 block of Cooper Street last Friday in response to a dog bite complaint.  The jogger reported that the female pitbull had bitten him, latching onto his thigh, as he and his wife were passing the dog’s yard.  He struck the dog to get it to let go and attempted to reach out to someone in the house with no luck.  Police were also unable to contact anyone at the residence, and no one at animal control was available.  When police attempted to use a catch pole to capture the snarling dog, she charged at an officer and was shot three times, killing her.

On Saturday night, Silver City Police arrested a 25 year old man after a call was made to dispatch in reference to shots being fired and a possible domestic violence issue in progress.  The suspect, Ricardo Mendoza, had allegedly fired shots in the house and pointed the gun at his father.  No one was hurt in the incident.  Police questioned the suspect and, after he denied being in possession of a firearm, obtained a warrant and allegedly found a revolver hidden in the kitchen.  Mendoza was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a firearm by a felon, tampering with evidence, and negligent use of a deadly weapon.

The New Mexico Legislative session convened in Santa Fe yesterday at noon.  Governor Susana Martinez had an opportunity to present her ideas on what should be accomplished during the session: more investment ins small business and business recruitment, education reform, public safety and child welfare initiatives.  Other issues may include right to work, social promotion, and repeal of drivers licenses for the undocumented.  Democratic lawmakers have already introduced three separate bills calling for an increase in minimum wage.

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January 20th, 2015: Local Headlines

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Members of the Southwest New Mexico Quilters Guild recently presented local veterans with a Quilt of Valor.  These quilts are crafted by volunteers who put their hearts and souls into every stitch with exacting standards set forth from a national organization.  Special thanks go out to all those involved in getting the quilts for local veterans: to Carol Pickoring, president of the Southwest New Mexico Quilters Guild, Terri Sommers, long-arm quilter, and Jude Casco, QOV coordinator for the Quilters Guild. And of course the Veterans that received these quilts, Eugene Lewis USMC, Jep Housley USCG and Cliff Tavernier USAF.

The Cobre Consolidated Schools Board of Education unanimously approved a contract extension of two years for Superintendent Robert Mendoza at their meeting last week.  Mendoza will see an increase in salary under the contract extension.  Also at the meeting, the board heard from Tony Sosa, the district’s truancy prevention specialist, as well as student representative Jose Rubio.

Conservationists have sued the federal government over changes recently made to the Mexican Grey Wolf reintroduction program.  Under new changes, the wolves will be free to roam a much larger area of New Mexico and Arizona, from I-40 to the Mexican border, and more of the endangered wolves will be released from captivity.  The Center for Biological Diversity and Defenders of Wildlife say limiting the number of wolves to 325 doesn’t allow for species recovery, and believe the wolves should be allowed access to habitat north of the interstate.

Deming resident and racehorse trainer Umberto Belloc and trainer of JM Miracle, the thoroughbred who won the 2014 All-American Futurity on Labor Day last year, is up for the American Quarter Horse Association Racing Champions Award.  Belloc has been nominated for numerous awards including “2014 Trainer of the Year.”  The awards will be held tomorrow in Oklahoma City.  A live stream of the Awards will be aired at www.aqharacing.com at 5 pm Wednesday.

Southern New Mexico will be under a Winter Weather Watch Wednesday night through Thursday night as a pair of cold fronts push across southern New Mexico and far west Texas.  The system will result in scattered to numerous mountain snow showers and lowland rain showers.  The storm is expected to leave the area Friday morning.  The Winter Storm Watch will affect the southern Gila Highlands, Black Range, East Slopes of the Sacramento Mountains and the cities of Silver City, Lake Roberts, Fort Bayard, Kingston, and Hillsboro.

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January 19th, 2015: Local Headlines

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On Friday, US Senator Tom Udall delivered a speech on the Senate floor against a bill to mandate approval of the Keystone Pipeline.  Udall said that Congress should not intervene in approving a pipeline for a foreign corporation.  Udall then called on Congress to set priorities for developing a clean energy economy, with a broader energy policy that includes oil and gas, but also emphasizes renewable energy and new technology.

Gila Regional Medical Center recently announced the completion of the transition of Emergency Room care at the hospital to Innova.  Innova is a regional ER provider group that has been recognized as an innovator in patient care by using a physician staffing model to attract fresh, talented and leading-edge physicians to emergency departments.  The group has established new programs that measures the time it takes a provider to first see a patient in the ER.  Goals at GRMC include seeing each patient in less than 15 minutes on average, and to have an average length of stay in the ER of less than two hours.

A recent study ranks New Mexico as one of the riskiest places to drive.  According to the report, people are driving too fast, not driving in the correct lane, and driving in the slow lane when they should be in the fast lane.  New Mexico is also known for worse offenses such as drinking and driving.  The study shows that New Mexico nearly tops a list of states for uninsured driving.

Candidates for the Deming Public School Board recently gathered to introduce themselves and answer questions from the public.  District 4 incumbent Anderson Bayne spoke of the challenges the schools currently face, including single mothers, grandparents raising families, drug and alcohol abuse and teacher shortages.  He also reported the districts high national rating and the improvements in schools which had previously received low scores.  District 4 candidate Fred Williams said he would like to see a school readiness program in Luna County.  District 5 candidate Ruben Torrez wants to ensure all of Deming Public School students go on to graduate from high school.  Francine Jacobs, District 5 candidate and graduate of a large school system, offers a different viewpoint on how to better local schools.  The third District 5 candidate, Don Heacox, wants to tackle community issues such as discouragement and respect.  John Staehle, District 3 candidate, hopes to see more participation on the board itself and Matt Robinson, also District 3, says he would like to see the school get involved with advancing technologies, programming and computer science courses, and improved communications with the community.

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January 16th, 2015: MRAC Presents Dan Bern


The Mimbres Region Arts Council is pleased to present Dan Bern as part of the 2014/15 Indie Folk Series.  ‘Dan Bern is best known for his prolific songwriting and electric and live persona. He has released eighteen albums since 1997 and built a loyal following based on prodigious touring and output of songs in all forms. Since 2007, Bern has also focused his talent and sharp wit on writing songs for movies and other projects. He composed over a dozen songs for the Jake Kasdan/Judd Apatow spoof-biopic Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story and composed songs included in Apatow’s Get Him to the Greek, starring Russell Brand.’

Dan Bern will perform Saturday, January 17th, at 7:30 pm at the Buckhorn Opera House in Pinos Altos.  Tickets are available at mimbresarts.org, and additional information about the artist can be found at danbern.com.

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January 16th, 2015: Local Headlines

Here is a look at local headlines:

A Silver City man was found dead in his vehicle on Radio Tower Road. Esteban Ortega, 22, was found about 1pm on Wednesday.  The death is being treated as a homicide.  Anyone with information about Ortega’s death should call the Grant County Sheriff’s office at 575-574-0100.

Also, on Wednesday what began as a traffic stop by police in Silver City near the intersection of 19th street and North PA road, turned out to be much more.  Aaron Rickard, 36, attempted to resist arrest, according to the report. He was allegedly carrying a stolen 9 mm Glock handgun and tried to pull the weapon on authorities.   After the arrest was made, Rickard was taken to Gila Regional Medical Center, where he caused damage there in an attempted escape.  Rickard was charged with one count of possession of a firearm by a felon, two counts of receiving stolen property, two counts of resisting, evading and obstructing an officer, one count of unlawful carrying of a deadly weapon, one count of criminal damage to property, and one count of escaping custody of a police officer.

In regional news, in Las Cruces police are looking for a gunman who shot and injured a man on Thursday.  The victim was flown by air ambulance to University Medical Center in El Paso after suffering at least one gunshot wound. Police are looking for the shooter who is believed to be a Hispanic man, between the ages of 20 to 25, 5 feet 5 inches tall, weight around 160 pounds.  Anyone with information about the shooting that occurred in the 300 block of Karen Avenue yesterday about 5:30pm should contact Las Cruces authorities.

This weekend, area residents will have the opportunity to hear Dan Bern perform at the Buckhorn Opera House.  Dan Bern is the third event in the Mimbres Region Arts Council’s Folk Series.  Bern is best known for his prolific song writing and electric live persona.  For information on tickets, contact MRAC.

In other music news, a debut album, “Influences,”  is being released by WNMU professor, Danny Reyes.  He shares that he has worked on this album for three years. The eight track album is described as contemporary jazz with a little hip-hop and rock influence.

WNMU will once again hold a celebration commemorating the Martin Luther King Jr legacy on Monday, January 19th. This year’s event will take place at 9:30am in the Mustang Dining Hall.  More than 200 students from elementary, middle and high schools in Grant

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January 14th, 2015: Local Headlines

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New Mexico State Police were alerted on Monday afternoon that a suspect wanted for capital murder and carjacking in Mississippi was in Lordsburg.  State Police located D’Juan Holloway, 23, on I-10 east of Lordsburg around 5 pm Monday and attempted to pull him over.  Holloway allegedly attempted to evade police, leading to a pursuit involving four departments.  The suspect then fired shots at the officers, leading to a shootout on I-10.  According to reports, he was wounded and taken into custody, and transported to an El Paso Hospital and is reported in stable condition.

Gila National Forest crews are preparing to conduct pile burning on the Silver City Ranger District in the Meadow Creek Area.  Ignitions may begin January 20th and continue throughout the winter as weather conditions permit.  Smoke will be noticeable around the project.  The area will be signed and posted for public safety.  The objectives of these burns is to reduce wildfire threat by removing fuels created from past and ongoing thinning projects and return important nutrients to the soil.

The Grant County Community Health Council recently met to discuss several agenda items.  Dr. Darrick Nelson was recommended as a member to represent the physician and community health sectors.  The committee also recommended changing the name of the agriculture and ranching sector to the Grant County Extension Service, and to give emeritus status to Dam Redford and Dr. Don Johnson, who served on the council for many years.  The status would allow them to attend meetings and events at any time.

The Deming Fire Department announced Raul Mercado as the new Fire Chief at Monday’s City of Deming Board Meeting.  Mayor Benny Jaso swore in Mercado, as well as new Fire Battalion Chief Heather Sosa and new firefighter David Becerra. Also at the meeting, council members approved a resolution authorizing approving submission of a complete application for financial assistance and project for the Colonias Infrastructure Fund, and approved Buckeye Street Drainage Improvements for repairing the drainage avenues along Buckeye Street.

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January 13th, 2015: Local Headlines

Here’s a look at today’s headlines:

The US Department of Agriculture announced yesterday the availability of over $18 million in funding to help educate, mentor and enhance the sustainability of the next generation of farmers.  The support is available through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program.  The program awards grants to organizations implementing programs to train beginning farmers and ranchers, including workshops, educational teams, training, and technical assistance.  Eligible applicants are collaborative, state, tribal, local, or regionally-based network or partnership of public or private entities.  Additional information is available at www.usda.gov/newfarmers.

The Silver City Police Department recently arrested a 37 year old man accused of breaking into Billy’s Barbecue and stealing to large-screen televisions, among other items.  Bryan Grabbe, a former employee of the restaurant, was identified using surveillance video and, after a search of his home on January 5th, he was arrested by Silver City Police on January 7th after police found probable cause to arrest him.

Police are also investigating a robbery which occurred last Thursday afternoon at Smokey Joe’s West Smoke Shop.  Surveillance tapes showed three suspects taking items and stuffing them in their jackets while the store clerk had his back turned.  $1,000 in merchandise, including signs, some shirts, and juice for e-cigarettes were stolen.  Anyone with information regarding this crime is asked to contact the Silver City Police Department at 388-3723.

After a major change to the wolf reintroduction program, Mexican Gray Wolves will soon be allowed to roam from I-40 to the Mexican border in Eastern Arizona and Western New Mexico.  Currently, 83 wolves roam an area of around 7 million acres of federal, private and tribal land, but a population of between 300 to 325 wolves is expected to be reintroduced and maintained with the expansion of the land.  The Mexican Gray Wolf will also be listed as an endangered subspecies.


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January 12th, 2015: Local Headlines

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The Gila National Forest Reserve Ranger District plans to conduct pile burns beginning tomorrow, January 13th, at various locations as weather conditions permit.  Burns may be conducted at the Rancho Grande Subdivision, Sheep Basin, Reserve Administrative Site, Negrito Fire Base, SU Slash pit, Five Bar Subdivision, Cruzville Interpretive Site, Highway Department piles along the north side of State Highway 12 and US 180, and Willow Creek Mesa.

The US House of Representatives on Friday passed the Keystone XL Pipeline Act, which approved construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.  The measure put an end to the lengthy delay of the project.  According to Congressman Steve Pearce, the bill will provide jobs for Americans and increase American energy independence.  Energy development in New Mexico and the western US is critical to local economics and job growth, especially in small towns and rural areas.

During Thursday’s regular Grant County Commission meeting, Commissioners voted to maintain Brett Kasten as Commission chairman.  Other business included consideration of a state-mandated approval or disapproval of a tax rebate to benefit low-income property owners, which was not approved.  Commissioners then approved granting a franchise for cable services to Comcast.  The third piece of business during the public hearing addressed an ordinance governing the connection to public sanitary sewer in the extraterritorial area surrounding the town of Silver City, within Grant County.

Early voting for the Silver and Cobre School Board elections began on Friday, with election day scheduled for February 3rd.  Two school board candidates recently spoke at the Republican Party of Grant County meeting to share their plans and credentials for the board.  Incumbent Trent Petty said his stated aims were to reduce bullying for students and provide a vocational tech school.  Both are in progress, but not fully established.  Frances Gonzales, running for the Cobre board, voiced concern that the school’s food service and maintenance departments were outsourced, and that the standards were too hard for students with disabilities.

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