Here’s a look at today’s headlines:
At a recent meeting, the Grant County Community Health Council approved new Health Council sector members and adopted a resolution for End Hunter in New Mexico Week, coming up July 14th through the 18th. Health Council members also approved the Priority Plan, as well as a new Steering Committee member.
U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich today announced counties in New Mexico are set to receive approximately $37 million as part of the 2014 Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program, an over 8 percent increase from 2013. Grant County will receive over $2 million, Hidalgo will receive around $750 thousand, and Luna County will receive $1.9 million. PILT is administered through the Department of the Interior and provides funding for mostly rural counties that have a limited ability to levy taxes due to the amount of federal property in their jurisdiction, including Bureau of Land Management land, national parks and forests and military bases. Local governments use PILT funding to provide many crucial services to residents.
With thunderstorms settling over southwest New Mexico on Tuesday evening, and an estimated 2,000 lightning strikes in the region, dispatchers and fire personnel have been busy with numerous fire reports. Crews have been responding to every report of smoke and as of yesterday had responded to a total of 14 small fires, most of which burned less than a quarter of an acre. The largest, The Star Fire, was located 6 miles south of Wall Lake and reached about 5 acres. Despite the rain, fire officials remain concerned about the high fire potential that continues throughout the wilderness.