Here’s a look at some news:
The Bayard City Council heard from Retired Air Force Col. Susan Beck, who gave an update and some insight on the Air Force’s proposed environmental impact statement regarding F-16 tests flights over the Gila National Forest. Her report included: the number of pilots that will be trained; that most flights are planned for high altitude;, and that the decisions are coming from the Air Force and the Pentagon, not Holloman Air Force base in Alamagordo. Col. Beck, also discussed concerns over an economic impact and loss of tourism to the area because of the possible flight paths.
Luna County Commissioners have voted 2-1 to have the County revert back to a five-day work week that will become effective on Monday, August 13th. The commissioners received increasing complaints from residents and business owners that it was inconvenient to have county offices closed on Fridays of each week. In addition, the commissioners approved the 2018-19 budget comprised of $35 million including grants, gross receipts, tax revenue, $10.5 million in general fund obligations, and funding from outside agencies.
According to New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, New Mexico’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.9 percent in June 2018, down from 5.1 percent in May of this year and 6.1% percent from a year ago. The national unemployment rate in June was at 4.0 percent, up from 3.8 percent in May but down from 4.3 percent in June 2017. According to the preliminary June 2018 rates: Luna County is at 9.0%, down from 10.5 in May and 12.0% June of 2017; Grant County is at 5.1%, up from 3.9% in May and down from 6.8% in June 2017; and Hidalgo County is at 4.0%, up from 3.0% in May but down from 5.5% in June of 2017.
The Gila National Forest Plan Revision Team began a process if identifying and evaluating land that may be suitable for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System. The four-step process concludes with a determination whether to recommend any of the evaluated lands to Congress for wilderness designation, whereby Congress reserves the authority to designate wilderness through legislation. After considering stakeholder feedback, the Gila National Forest has adjusted and finalized the inventory map as the first step of the four-step process. For the second step of the process, the draft evaluation report (link) is now available for public review and comment. The Gila National Forest welcomes comments on the wilderness characteristic rankings and rationales given to each area. In addition, comments on the draft evaluation report are most useful if received by August 24th. For more information, visit go.usa.gov/xnDRD.