Here’s a look at today’s headlines:
The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) District One office along with Interstate Highway Construction continue with work on NM 90/Hudson Street Bridge. The contractor will be establishing a detour in order for Griffins Propane to access their property. They will continue operations which will include the installation of the waterlines under the bridge. The Bridge is scheduled to be CLOSED on April 9, 2015 where motorists will be alerted to seek an alternate route. The NMDOT will have traffic control advising motorists that the county Truck Bypass route will be available. The contractor will begin to remove the bridge on April 9th.
Governor Susana Martinez on Wednesday submitted a response to a petition filed last month by the Fort Sill Apache Tribe. The Oklahoma-based tribe petitioned to operate a casino on land near Deming. The tribe’s land hasn’t been federally approved yet for gambling. Martinez is asking the state Supreme Court to reject the request, saying that the tribe first has to have eligible land in New Mexico. The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled in 2014 that Martinez had to recognize the Fort Sill Apaches as a New Mexico tribe.
The state Senate this week passed a sweeping bill that would virtually eliminate the practice of civil asset forfeiture and on this issue leave New Mexico as the most Fifth Amendment-friendly state in the country. The bill would basically require a criminal conviction before police can take property associated with a crime. “Civil” asset forfeiture, by definition, allows law enforcement to seize and keep property without a criminal conviction. It often puts the onus on the property owner to “prove” that he or she obtained the property legitimately, or that it wasn’t used for criminal activity.
The sixth annual “County Health Rankings” by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute has been released and ranks New Mexico counties by health. The report bases its ranking on 30 factors that influence health; including education, housing, violent crime, jobs, diet and exercise. Grant County is ranked 19th in overall rankings in Health Outcomes – which includes length and quality of life – and 7th in Health Factors – which includes Health Behaviors, Clinical Care, Social and Economic Factors, and the Physical Environment.
Reserve Ranger District fire managers plan to broadcast burn in the Sheep Basin Project area beginning April 2015 and continuing throughout the spring as conditions allow. The Sheep Basin project is approximately 3,000 acres ten miles southeast of Reserve, NM off Forest Road 141. District personnel have also conducted burns within the Eckleberger Project, 20 miles southwest of Reserve, NM and Forest Road 141, one mile east of Rainy Mesa Ranch. Pile burning is also on-going when conditions are favorable.