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June 17, 2014

"New Mexico wildfire rages through Native American reservation" – Reuters

A wind-whipped wildfire on the Navajo Reservation in northwest New Mexico raged for a fourth day on Monday, forcing the evacuation of sheep-herding residents in the Chuska mountains, officials said, but no injuries were reported.  The blaze, nicknamed the Assayii Lake Fire, has so far burned up more than 11,000 acres of land and remains uncontained despite the deployment of hundreds of firefighters and aerial sorties, said Jacey McCurtain, president of the Crystal Chapter on the Navajo Reservation. – 6/17/2014

June 13, 2014

"Doña Ana County issues drought proclamation, firework restrictions" – Las Cruces Sun News

The Doña Ana County Commission has issued a 30-day proclamation declaring an extreme drought and firework restrictions. The county has banned the use of all fireworks in areas partially or completely covered by timber, brush or native grass. Permissible fireworks can only be discharged in areas that are paved, barren or have readily accessible water sources. – 6/13/2014


"Adios, Kit Carson" – Albuquerque Journal

Taos Town Council has voted to change the name of Kit Carson Park over concerns by critics that the famed scout and explorer was cruel to American Indians.  Council passed a resolution Tuesday to rename the downtown park Red Willow following a presentation from activists. – 6/12/2014

June 10, 2014

"Audit: 1,000-plus NM vets await initial VA medical visits" – Las Cruces Sun News

More than 1,000 veterans have been waiting three months or more for initial medical appointments within the Veterans Affairs Department's health care system in New Mexico, according to the findings of an audit released Monday.  The wide-ranging audit covered hundreds of VA hospitals and clinics across the country, including the medical center in Albuquerque where officials previously said more than 3,000 patients were assigned to a doctor who didn't actually see them. – 5/10/2014

June 5, 2014

Chester Nez, the last of ‘Original 29′ Navajo Code Talkers, dies at 93” -- Albuquerque Journal

Chester Nez, the last of the “Original 29″ Navajo Code Talkers who developed and implemented a top secret code that confounded the Japanese in World War II, died Wednesday at his home on Albuquerque’s West Side. Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly on Wednesday issued a proclamation directing all flags on the Navajo Nation to be flown at half-staff in Nez’s honor from sunrise today until sunset Sunday. -- June 5, 2014


May 29, 2014

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Museum has a new exhibit, “POSTERity: America’s WPA Art Legacy & America’s Public Lands”.  The exhibit features nearly 50 silk screened prints associated with 36 national parks, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Interior Museum. The DOI has also posted a YouTube video about the exhibit.  From 1938 to 1941, the National Park Service employed artists via the Works Progress Administration (WPA) who produced 14 promotional posters for national park sites.  The Bandelier National Monument poster was the last of the original 14 WPA posters and is featured in the YouTube video.  With the onset of World War II, production ceased and the posters were lost to history until the early 1970s when a seasonal park ranger, Doug Leen, happened upon an original.  Just over 40 of these rare national park posters have since resurfaced and are in National Park Service archives, the Library of Congress and with private collectors.  New posters are now being created in the original style, such as the recent posters for Chaco Culture National Historic Park.


"New Mexico politicians praise $400 million Union Pacific rail facility in Santa Teresa" – Las Cruces Sun-News

New Mexico politicians showered Union Pacific officials with accolades Wednesday during the official christening of the railroad's new, $400 million, 2,200-acre rail facility in Santa Teresa, which officials expect to bolster economic development in this region for years to come.  The state Legislature's passage of a bill exempting Union Pacific from paying locomotive fuel tax was a key piece to get Union Pacific to build the facility, officials said. – 5/28/2014

May 28, 2014

DOD is ready to accept SunZia project“ – Albuquerque Journal

The U.S. Department of Defense agreed Tuesday to drop its opposition to the SunZia transmission project if developers agree to bury five miles of line on the northern flank of White Sands Missile Range and other concessions.  In a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said burying three select sections of SunZia at White Sands’ “northern extension area” would allow low-altitude flight operations.

See also: Bureau of Land Management’s SunZia Southwest Transmission Project website


"Revenue Report: New Mexico Lags in Fiscal Recovery" – KUNM News RoundUp

A national report says New Mexico's tax collections haven't fully rebounded from the recession and only three other states have experienced a slower revenue recovery.  According to an analysis by The Pew Charitable Trusts, New Mexico's tax revenue in the fourth quarter of 2013 was nearly 18 percent below the state's inflation-adjusted revenue peak of $1.5 billion in the final quarter of 2006.  Tax collections in 26 states remain below pre-recession peaks, but the report says only Alaska, Wyoming and Florida have rebounded less than New Mexico.  Lower natural gas prices have hurt New Mexico's energy revenue collections.  The report also points to federal cutbacks and job losses as a factor in the state's lagging revenue recovery. – May 28, 2014

May 23, 2014

New Mexico projects included in the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps: Developing the Next Generation of Conservationists grants

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today announced $6.7 million in grants to support conservation employment and mentoring opportunities for young adults and veterans at 43 projects on public lands (Department of the Interior Press Release, May 22, 2014). Two New Mexico projects are included in the grant list: “Youth Crew Restoration Outreach Along the Bosque,” Valle De Oro National Wildlife Refuge and adjacent Reclamation and State lands, Albuquerque, Talking Talons Youth Leadership, awarded $97,344, and “Expanding Youth Outdoor Education and Employment in Cuba,” Cuba and Jemez Ranger Districts of the Santa Fe National Forest, Forest Guild, Inc., awarded $118,735.



"Census: Carlsbad, Hobbs fastest growing cities in New Mexico"– Las Cruces Sun News

Carlsbad and other oil patch communities in southeastern New Mexico are the fastest growing in the state, the Census Bureau reported Thursday.



New Mexico’s River Stewardship Program Proposal Phase to Open in Early June

Governor Susana Martinez and the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) announced that the River Stewardship Program Request for Proposals will open in early June, with submission due in mid-July. Proposals will be considered from towns, cities, counties, state agencies, soil and water conservation districts, irrigation districts, and community watershed groups, as well as Indian Nations, Pueblos, and Tribes. Additional groups that work to restore river habitats are also encouraged to apply. Full details are available from the NMED’s New Mexico River Stewardship Program website. – 5/23/2014