Here’s a look at some local news:

The Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments has been selected to participate in the U.S. Economic Development Administrations 2019-20 Americorps VISTA Program. The review team was impressed with the Council of Government’s project scope in the community and believes that the program will fulfill many local economic development goals. Since 1965, over 220,000 VISTA members have served with the mission to strengthen organizations that alleviate poverty. VISTA serves in each of the 50 U.S. States and in all U.S. Territories. VISTA members go where they are needed and make a difference through volunteering and the mobilization of resources. Locally, Priscilla Lucero, the Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments executive director, and Emily Gojkovich, economic development director, will lead the program.

The New Mexico State Legislature has awarded funding to Grant County to form a “intervention demonstration project” within the Grant County Detention Center. According to the Silver City Daily Press, five New Mexico counties were chosen to share a $2.5 million appropriation. The funding is provided to assist in behavioral health services in detention centers. In addition, the funds will help provide an added administrator.

Last Friday, at Bataan Park, U.S Forest Service personnel presented an event celebrating the 75th birthday of the iconic Smokey Bear. The event, featuring raffle giveaways, snacks, gift bags with Smokey Bear themed items and attracted many members of the community, including lots of children. Smokey Bear, the Forest Service’s famous mascot, was created on August 9th, 1944 when the U.S. Forest Service and the Ad Council agreed that a fictional bear would be the symbol for their joint effort to promote forest fire prevention. Then in the spring of 1950, in the Capitan Mountains of New Mexico, a young bear cub found himself caught in a burning forest. He took refuge in a tree, and while managing to stay alive was left badly burned. The firefighters who retrieved him were so moved by his bravery, they named him Smokey. According to the U.S Forest Service, he was soon given a new home at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Smokey died in 1976 and was returned to Capitan, New Mexico, where he is buried in the State Historical Park.