Friday, February 26, 2021
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Helpful Links regarding COVID-19

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Local information
City of Roswell COVID-19 updates

Roswell-Chaves County Emergency Management
Roswell Link
Chaves Link

Latest health information and virus updates
New Mexico Department of Health
Link

World Health Organization
Link

Business Assistance and Information
Roswell-Chaves County Economic Development Corp.
Link

New Mexico District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration
Link

U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance Funding
Link

New Mexico Economic Development Department
Link

WESST (formerly Women’s Economic Self-Sufficiency Team)
Link

School updates
Roswell Independent School District
Link

Sidney Gutierrez Middle School
Link

Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell
Link

New Mexico Military Institute
Link

Dexter Consolidated Schools
Link

Hagerman Municipal Schools
Link

Lake Arthur Municipal Schools
Link

Free Meal Assistance
Roswell Independent School District—Grab & Go Extended Spring Break Meals
Link

New Mexico Senior Food Hotline
1-800-432-2080

Man charged in accidental shooting to be held without bond

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A man accused of accidentally shooting to death his sister while he was visiting her, and while her children were in the house, will remain incarcerated up through his eventual trial per order of a local judge.

Jack Salcido (Submitted Photo)

Jack Salcido, 31, of Roswell, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter; receipt, transportation or possession of a firearm by a certain person, felon; and two counts of child abuse, will be detained without bond while he awaits trial.

“The court believes the danger to the community and the danger, actually to the people the defendant is around, is extremely significant,” Judge James Hudson of New Mexico’s Fifth Judicial District Court said during Thursday’s pretrial detention and concurrent preliminary examination.

At Thursday’s hearing Hudson also determined that probable cause exists to believe Salcido committed the crimes he is charged with and as a result, his case will head to trial.

He added that of particular concern to the court is Salcido’s history of failing to comply with conditions of release and probation. Taina Colon, assistant district attorney who was arguing for Salcido’s continued detention, stated that hours before the incident, Salcido is alleged to have physically assaulted another family member at another location. She added that leading up to Sunday he was already out on conditions of release in a separate case.

“And there is a history of this type of behavior. More troubling is the defendant’s continued access to alcohol, when he is prohibited from doing that, and his access to a firearm,” he said.

Debra Lautenschlager, Salcido’s attorney, argued that if released, her client had a place to stay, would be willing to wear an ankle monitor and that he might be eligible to take part in a church substance abuse program.

Hudson though said he believed those measures were insufficient to prevent Salcido from reoffending.

The charges against Salcido stem from a shooting shortly before 9 p.m. Sunday night at the home of his sister, Crystal Smith, 35, of Roswell, in the zero block of B Street. Salcido is alleged to have accidentally shot Smith in the neck with a rifle while sitting at the dining room table talking to her. She was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Gino Basile, Roswell Police Department detective, who appeared as a witness for the prosecution at Thursday’s hearing, said that when he arrived Salcido was still at the scene. A rifle with .40 caliber rounds, as well as beer, vodka and other alcohol were also present.

Smith’s four children, ranging in age from 3 to 14, were also in the home when the incident occurred.

Basile added that he had interviewed Salcido Monday morning and the suspect reportedly said he had accidentally shot Smith and that he had consumed a lot of alcohol on the day of the incident.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext, 301, or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

Math challenge no problem for 3 Del Norte students

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Del Norte Elementary School fourth-graders Jett Lambert, left, Sean Lovato, center, and Amber Montgomery show certificates their teacher, Andrea Jordan, gave them for completing a total of 9,000 math problems as part of a month-long challenge to her class during virtual learning. (Juno Ogle Photo)

Del Norte Elementary School teacher Andrea Jordan likes to keep her students challenged, but even she was surprised at the results of a recent challenge she issued to her fourth-grade students.

While Del Norte was still in all-remote classes, Jordan found an online program for teachers that had thousands of math problems. She decided to offer her students a cash prize to whoever could do the most problems in a month. She expected her students would complete several hundred of the problems.

“I had no idea what these kids would do,” she said.

Three of her students — Amber Montgomery, Sean Lovato and Jett Lambert — blew away any expectations she had by finishing more than 9,000 problems combined.

“We would check a couple times a week and see who was ahead and who was trying to beat whom. In the end, I just couldn’t believe my eyes,” Jordan said.

When it was over, Amber had done more than 4,000 problems, Sean nearly 3,000 and Jett almost 2,000, Jordan said.

“They could do anything from any area of math. It was geometry, area, perimeter, multiplying, dividing. There was every kind of math problem they could pick and choose from,” she said.

On Wednesday, Jordan met with the students and their parents outside their school to present them with certificates and their awards.

All three of the students said they enjoyed doing math and were excited when she issued the challenge.

“I know what Sean was thinking about — money,” Jordan teased.

“I don’t care about the money, I care about the problems!” Sean replied.

Amber said learning more about math was what made her excited about the challenge. She spent an hour each night doing problems, and would even work on them on Saturdays and Sundays, she said.

“Almost every day you learn more and more about math,” she said. She’s learning division and said that and multiplication were her favorite types of problems to work on.

“Adding and subtracting was a little bit too easy,” she said.

Sean said he also liked division and multiplication, and Jett said multiplication was his favorite.

Sean and Amber said they didn’t keep track of their progress through the month.

‘I don’t keep track, I just go, go, go,” Sean said. 

“My mom, she made me keep track. She made me do a bunch,” Jett said.

Now that schools are in hybrid learning with in-person classes, Jordan has a new challenge for her students. They will be writing letters to Principal Kyle Alsup to persuade him to allow them to fly kites that they will build themselves.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

More county residents receive COVID-19 vaccine

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The number of Chaves County residents who have received COVID-19 vaccines has grown by several hundred in the last week, according to Thursday’s update on the New Mexico Department of Health’s online vaccine dashboard.

Since last Friday another 290 people received their first dose of vaccine and an additional 418 received the second booster dose, according to the dashboard data.

A total of 5,880 people, or 11.9% of the county population age 16 and older, have received the first dose. A total of 2,659, or 5.4% of the population, has received the second dose and is fully vaccinated.

The state has administered a total of 540,184 doses, with 349,747 of those the primary dose and 190,437 secondary doses.

The state has received 553,825 doses and 655,127 people have registered to receive the vaccine.

Also on Thursday, the state reported 299 new cases of COVID-19 in 23 counties and one correctional facility.

Chaves County reported 10 new cases.

The total number of cases in New Mexico is now 184,080, including 8,600 in Chaves County.

One local death related to COVID-19 was reported among the 13 in the health department’s daily update Thursday. The deceased was a woman in her 80s. 

Of the other deaths, four were in Bernalillo County, three in Sandoval County, two in McKinley County, and one each in Doña Ana, Lea and Socorro counties.

The state’s total number of deaths is 3,671 including 148 in Chaves County.

Chaves County is in the Yellow Level of the state’s Red to Green COVID-19 risk assessment system. From Feb. 9 to Feb. 22, the county had an average of 11.8 new cases of COVID-19 per day per 100,000 people and a test positivity rate of 3.22%.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.

Cross country season opens for Gateway Christian on Saturday

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The Gateway Christian cross country team will host a meet on Saturday at 10 a.m. at Gateway Christian High School. Other schools scheduled to participate include Quemado and Capitan. (Daily Record File Photo)

Marion Nulf

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Marion Nulf, 79, of Roswell, New Mexico, peacefully passed away at his home, on February 17, 2021 surrounded by his family.

He was born to parents, Kenneth and Mabel Viola Nulf on January 3, 1942, in Wolflake, Indiana. Marion graduated from Wolflake High School.  Marion enlisted in the Air Force in 1961, after high school, and the Air Force brought him to be stationed at Walker AFB, Roswell, New Mexico.

In Roswell, Marion met the love of his life Elena Maria Nulf (Helen). He married Helen, the love of his life for 45 years, on November 7, 1964 and would raise two children, Elizabeth Nulf and Marion Nulf Jr.

He later received a Bachelor of Business Administration Major Accounting from Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, NM. He went on to take the CPA exam, first time sitting for exam he passed scoring in the top 10 percent Nationwide. He was presented with several offers for positions from several accounting firms but his lovely wife insisted on remaining near family in Roswell, New Mexico.

After working for CPA firm, Marion decided to open his own accounting business, which was in business in Roswell, NM for over 40 years. He enjoyed his work and pursued other business ventures over the years, he was the owner of a sign company and Old West Package Store. Marion was a member of the Assumption Catholic Church and loved the Lord. He made time out of his busy practice to read the Bible every night to his granddaughter Jessica.  Marion was also a member of the Roswell Sertoma Club where he served as President for a year and Treasurer for several years. Marion served on the Roswell City Council in the 1980’s and participated on the Economic Development Committee.

Marion was an avid reader, he woke to a stout cup of Maxwell House coffee and the Roswell Daily Record and in fact he would quiz his granddaughter on the children’s section published every Wednesday.

He enjoyed playing checkers and chess with his grandson Devan on the weekends.

Marion also enjoyed his annual deer or elk hunts with son Marion Jr. and his several nephews. Most often Marion enjoyed his clients, which over the years became friends, and mentoring his daughter who worked alongside him for thirty years.

Marion is preceded in death by wife, Helen, son Marion Nulf Jr, father Kenneth Nulf, mother Mabel Viola Nulf, brother Donald Nulf and brother Phillip Nulf as well as nephew and best friend John Garcia.

He is survived by sister Evelyn Nulf of Fort Wayne, Indiana, brother David Nulf and wife Nancy Nulf of Syracuse, Indiana, daughter Elizabeth Nulf, of Roswell, granddaughter Jess Sanchez and fiancé Adriano Lujan of Albuquerque, NM, grandson Devan Valenzuela and fiancé Tiffany Marie of Roswell, great-granddaughter Jayde Valenzuela and several nephews and nieces.

In remembrance of Marion Nulf, graveside services will be held at South Park Cemetery on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 11:00 AM.

He was greatly loved and will be greatly missed! In lieu of flowers, the family ask for donations to be made to the Susan G. Komen Foundation of New Mexico.

Robert Glenn Cain

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Robert Glenn Cain 81 years old went to be with Jesus on February 12, 2021. Robert (Bob) was born on April 28, 1939 to Denver and Ruby Cain in Fairmont, West Virginia.

Services will be Saturday, February 27th at 10:00 at Grace Community Church. In honor of Bob’s service and his love of his country, please feel free to wear patriotic attire.

Bob was a loving husband, father, grandpa, and friend. He never met a stranger and loved to give hugs. He was a mechanic extraordinaire and if it had an engine, he could make it run.

Bob joined the Air Force shortly after high school graduation. He was stationed at Walker Air Force base here in Roswell where he served for 8 years. Shortly after coming to Roswell, he met the love of his life Barbara at the roller rink where he fell at her feet, literally. He was quite the catch and could two-step and Waltz like no one else on those skates. They enjoyed 60 years of marriage together.

Bob enjoyed life and lived it to the fullest. He began driving a truck in 1965 and continued until just weeks before his passing. Bob loved old cars and his favorite of all time was his green 1940 Chevy. It was a pleasure to any car enthusiast to see him pull up at church on Sunday mornings.

Bob enjoyed hunting and fishing with his boys and his grandchildren. Many miles were walked up and down the mountains of Ruidoso looking for that perfect deer or elk. Summer weekends were spent on a boat with Barbara and the kids hoping to catch the big one.

Bob’s ability to build and fine tune an engine was remarkable thus came the legacy of Bob Cain Racing. From go kart racing with the grandkids to dirt track racing with his boys, Bob was most happy leaning over an engine or under the car giving it a final touch. His smile could fill a room when the race ended in a victory.

Bob was preceded in death by his parents Denver and Ruby Cain as well as the recent passing of his beloved daughter, Janice Palmer.

He is survived by his wife Barbara Cain. Children Denver Cain and wife Shanna, Bryan Cain and wife Holly, Melissa Smith and husband Daniel, Tom Palmer (son-in-law) Brother Bill Cain and wife Su. Grandchildren Megan Perez and husband Allen, AJ Palmer and wife Heather, Sara Hankins and husband Austin, Haley Loving and husband Deric, Bryson, Ashton, and Daci Smith. Great-Grandchildren Kason and Kyler Perez, Justin and Jocelyn Palmer, Rayleigh Hankins and the grandpups.

Dad, we love you and miss you so much. We know that Janice needed you in Heaven and that your work on this earth was done. We look forward to the day when we are in your arms in glory.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matt 5:4

Raul Leonardo Valderaz

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RAUL LEONARDO VALDERAZ, 53, passed away on Tuesday, February 23, 2021, in Roswell, New Mexico. Please take a moment and share a kind thought or memory with Raul’s family at www.andersonbethany.com.

SERVICES: There will be a Viewing at Anderson Bethany Funeral Home Chapel on Friday, February 26, 2021, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, followed by a Funeral Service at 2:00 PM. Interment will follow at South Park Cemetery.

On July 2, 1967, Raul was born to Antonio Valderaz and Lupe Garza Valderaz in Lubbock, Texas. He graduated from Lovington High School. Raul was a proud United States Army Veteran. After his military service, he attended the Law Enforcement Academy and later worked as a Deputy Sherriff for Chaves County. He retired as a Detective with the Chaves County Sheriff’s Department after twenty years of service. After retirement, Raul worked as a Safety Field Representative for Sweatt Construction. He was a member of the Church of Christ.

Raul’s most treasured moments were the times he would hang out with his family and friends. He enjoyed traveling, coaching softball, refereeing football games, dancing and spending time, joking, laughing, and acting silly with his kids, grandchildren, family, and friends. His smile would light up a room. He will be missed by all who knew and loved him.

SURVIVORS: Left to treasure memories of Raul are his wife, Monica Barraza; children: Bradley Valderaz, John Anthony Valderaz, Reyes Cruz Herrera, Andrew Rey Herrera, Nikita Valderaz, Jaclyn Ray Herrera, Ana Christine Herrera, Kassandra Barraza, and Angelica Barraza; sixteen grandchildren; parents, Antonio Valderaz and Lupe Garza Valderaz; siblings: David Valderaz and wife DeRenda Durr, Norma Hernandez and husband Rafael, and Soyla Marquez; as well as his brother-in-law, Salome Borunda.

PRECEDED: Raul is preceded in death by his father, Antonio Valderaz; Jonathan Valderaz, Tony Valderaz, Dolores Borunda, and Steve Valderaz; maternal grandparents: Librado and Mercy Garza; paternal grandparents: and Geronimo and Tomasa Valderaz.

HONORARY PALLBEARERS: Bradley Valderaz, John Anthony Valderaz, Able Cabello, Rafael Hernandez, Jose, Gonzalo y Ramiro Medillen, and Salome Borunda.

PALLBEARERS: Jonathan Hernandez, Héctor Ramírez, Jessie Valderaz, Aaron Ochoa, Daniel Ornelas, Ray Campos, Albert Padilla, and Kassandra Barraza.

Fernando Soto

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FERNANDO SOTO, 51, passed away on Friday, February 12, 2021, in Lubbock, Texas. Please take a moment and share a kind thought or memory with Fernando’s family at www.andersonbethany.com.

SERVICES: There will be a Viewing at Anderson Bethany Funeral Home Chapel on Saturday, February 27, 2021, from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, followed by a Funeral Service at 4:00 PM. Interment will follow at Woodbine Cemetery in Artesia, New Mexico.

On May 22, 1967, Fernando was born to Toribio Soto and Maria Del Pilar Ornelas de Soto. He worked in the automotive industry as a mechanic. He was a member of the Apostolica Church of Artesia, New Mexico. Fernando’s most treasured moments were cooking out and spending time with his family. He enjoyed garage selling, traveling, listing to music, and fixing cars. Fernando will be missed by his family and friends.

SURVIVORS: Left to treasure memories of Fernando are his daughter, Zayra Nataly Soto; parents Toribio Soto and Maria Del Pilar Ornelas de Soto; siblings: Manuel Soto, Torivio Soto, Pablo Soto, Graciela Soto, and Lorena Soto; as well as many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and numerous close friends.

PRECEDED: Fernando is preceded in death by his brother, Arisko Soto.

PALLBEARERS: Orlando Soto, Fernando Rodriguez, Oscar Meraz, Elias Soto, Augustin Rodriguez, Viviana Meraz, and Justin Coburn.

Letter: Don’t let ‘loud, brash’ minority determine energy policy

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Power outages rolled across our neighboring state of Texas taking a toll of hardships and deaths. In New Mexico we seem to have dodged a bullet on this one. But do you think this dose of reality has provided a wake-up call for our leadership? From all outward appearances our Senate Conservation Committee remains unfazed. This shortsighted mentality is amplified by their recent vote (5-4) (see RDR, Feb. 19, 2021) to continue the financing mechanism that allowed PNM (Public Service Co. of New Mexico) to recover their lost investment in the coal-fired San Juan Generating Plant.

How did PNM recoup this so-called lost investment? The rate-payers get stuck with the bill. It goes like this. Cheap coal-fire and natural gas energy will be phased out and substituted with wind and solar energy with the public getting stiffed for whatever the cost of the conversion. This policy will continue as more and more of our energy comes from so-called renewable sources. Does it matter one wit to these “czars of power” that these sources of energy have serious shortcomings, i.e. the cold snap in Texas?

No, not to worry, after all these self-anointed wizards perceive themselves as saving the planet. Climate change — that old nemesis of mankind is supposedly being held at bay by this cadre of disciples, and the overall public will be required/regulated to participate in their plan. If this plan is flawed these bureaucrats will be held totally unaccountable for any unintended consequences that the general public will endure.

What the public really needs is protection from a political system that all too often fails to take into account the safety and well-being of all their constituents. Elected officials are often quick to respond to a loud, brash, flashy minority that have nothing more in mind than enhancing their own self-centered, grandiose plans.

Think our current energy policies reflect a political style of bumbling? For correlation of this same style of blundering take a look at our education system. It still ranks in the lower percentile in overall performance. Years of more money, political/union tinkering has brought about this current state of chaos. Rightfully so, some of this pathetic situation can be blamed on COVID-19; however, don’t be so quick to overlook the real culprits.

We cannot let the raucous rallying cry of “climate change” overcome common-sense energy policies. Don’t allow our energy policy to tumble into the same abyss our education system has.

Terry R. Koenig
Lake Arthur

Jet pilot reports unidentified object in New Mexico skies

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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — American Airlines has said one of its pilots flying a passenger jet sent a radio transmission reporting an unidentified object flying at high speeds in skies above northern New Mexico during a flight last Sunday from Cincinnati to Phoenix.

A recording of the pilot’s transmission was made by Steve Douglass, a self-described “stealth chaser” from Amarillo.

“Do you have any targets up here? We just had something go right over the top of us,” the pilot of American Airlines Flight 2292 told traffic controllers. “I hate to say this, but it looked like a long, cylindrical object that almost looked like a cruise missile type of thing moving really fast right over the top of us.”

Douglass said on his blog, Deep Black Horizon, that a reply is not heard because air traffic “walked over it.”

The Federal Aviation Administration did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment. But American Airlines confirmed the authenticity of the recording, saying the transmission came from the flight.

“Following a debrief with our Flight Crew and additional information received, we can confirm this radio transmission was from American Airlines Flight 2292 on Feb. 21,” American Airlines said in a statement. The statement referred further questions to the FBI.

“The FBI is aware of the reported incident,” the agency told the Albuquerque Journal. “While our policy is to neither confirm nor deny investigations, the FBI works continuously with our federal, state, local and tribal partners to share intelligence and protect the public.”

White Sands Missile Range spokesperson Scott Stearns told The Arizona Republic that the range in southern New Mexico conducted no tests on Sunday and that “we never test in that area.”

The range is the U.S. Department of Defense’s “largest, fully-instrumented, open air range,” according to its website.

“We have no knowledge of this. We’re not aware of anything,” said Lally Laksbergs, a spokeswoman at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque.

Douglass said that when the military conducts flight tests, it notifies the FAA, which makes sure there are no commercial airline flights in the area.

He added: “If the military can’t explain what it is, what’s flying out there that we don’t know about?”

Chaves County moves to Yellow Level, easing restrictions

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Chaves County is out of the red.

The county’s test positivity rate for COVID-19 dropped more than 4 percentage points to 3.22% in Wednesday’s update of the Red to Green risk assessment system, meeting the state’s target of 5% or less to move to the Yellow Level.

The county averaged 11.8 new cases of COVID-19 per day per 100,000 people, above the state’s target of eight or fewer cases per day, but only one of the metrics has to be met to move into the Yellow Level.

As a result, the county immediately moved to lighter levels of restrictions on businesses and activities Wednesday.

One of the biggest changes for Chaves and nine other counties that moved from Red to Yellow is indoor dining will now be allowed at restaurants that have completed the New Mexico Safe Certified training program at 33% of total capacity. Those that do not have the safe certification cannot offer indoor dining. All restaurants can offer outdoor dining at 75% capacity.

Houses of worship can increase capacity from 25% to 33%. Limits on mass gatherings increase from five people to 10, or from 40 vehicles to 80.

Essential retail businesses increase from 25% of capacity to 35%. Places of lodging that have completed the New Mexico Safe Certified training program can increase maximum occupancy from 40% to 60%. Those that have not completed the training remain at a 25% limit on occupancy.

The other counties that moved from Red to Yellow Level are Hidalgo, Lea, Lincoln, Luna, Rio Arriba, Roosevelt, San Juan and Socorro. Remaining at the Yellow Level are Bernalillo, Cibola, Colfax, Curry, Grant, Guadalupe, San Miguel, Sandoval, Santa Fe and Valencia.

Doña Ana County dropped from Yellow to Red, joining Eddy, McKinley and Otero counties.

Moving to the Green Level were De Baca, Los Alamos, Mora, Quay, Taos and Torrance counties.

Also on Wednesday, the state announced a modification of its Red to Green risk assessment system that adds a low-risk level and modifies the classification of entertainment and recreational venues.

The benchmark for the medium-risk Green Level is a test positivity rate below 5% and fewer than eight new cases per day. Counties that meet both of those metrics for four weeks in a row will move into the new Turquoise Level that includes provisions for expanded indoor dining and operation of venues such as theaters, bars and clubs, according to a press release from the Governor’s Office.

Four counties met the criteria Wednesday for the Turquoise Level — Catron, Harding, Sierra and Union.

The revisions also recategorize businesses that were considered “close contact recreational facilities.” That category originally included indoor movie theaters, indoor museums with interactive displays, miniature golf, amusement parks, concert venues, professional sports venues, bars, dance clubs, casinos, racetracks and other places of recreation or entertainment and others.

The changes announced Wednesday sort such facilities into three categories:

• “Large entertainment venues” are defined as publicly or privately owned venues that host large audiences for entertainment or amusement and include racetracks, concert venues, movie theaters, professional sports venues, and theaters or other performance venues.

These venues can operate in the Turquoise Level at 33% of maximum occupancy of any enclosed space on the premises and up to 75% occupancy of an outdoor space. At the Green Level, it’s 25% and 50% respectively. At the Yellow Level, occupancy is 25% of any outdoor space but indoor space cannot be open to patrons except to use a restroom. They are to remain closed at the Red Level.

• “Recreational facilities” are any publicly or privately owned facilities used for activities capable of bringing people within close proximity of one another. Those include basketball courts, baseball fields, bowling alleys, football fields, golf courses, skating rinks, museums, soccer fields, swimming pools, tennis courts, youth programs and zoos.

At the Turquoise Level, recreational facilities can operate at up to 50% of the occupancy of an enclosed space and 75% of an outdoor space. At the Yellow and Red levels, only outdoor spaces can be used at 33% and 25%, respectively.

• “Bars and clubs” are any businesses that generate more than half their revenue from the sale of alcohol for on-premises consumption.

At the Turquoise Level, bars and clubs can operate at 33% of an enclosed space’s occupancy and up to 75% of an outdoor space. At the Green Level, occupancy is 25% of an outdoor space. They are to remain closed at both Yellow and Red levels.

In Wednesday’s daily case update from the New Mexico Health Department, the state reported 448 new cases of COVID-19 including 19 in Chaves County. No local deaths related to the virus were reported among 14 in the state.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.

State budget passes House with bipartisan support

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New Mexico state lawmakers trickle into the Statehouse on Tuesday, Jan. 19 in Santa Fe on the first day of a 60-day legislative session. (AP File Photo)

Most local representatives vote in favor of the $7.3 billion House bill

With overwhelming bipartisan support on Wednesday, a $7.3 billion state budget coasted through the New Mexico House of Representatives.

House Bill 2 (HB 2) sets state spending levels for the fiscal year which begins July 1, and passed on a vote of 60-10. Local state Reps. Candy Ezzell, R-Roswell; Phelps Anderson, DTS-Roswell; and House Minority Floor Leader Jim Townsend, R-Artesia, all supported passage. Fellow state Rep. Greg Nibert, R-Roswell, opposed the measure.

It now heads to the New Mexico Senate for consideration.

The budget represents a $332 million, or 4.6% increase over the current budget, much of which goes toward funding items that were temporarily covered by federal stimulus dollars, state Rep. Patricia Lundstrom, D-Gallup, chairman of the House Appropriations and Finance Committee, said when introducing HB 2 to the full House for three hours of discussion.

“Our constitutional duty is to prepare a state budget, and I am incredibly proud of the work by HAFC members and staff, who’ve come together during one of the most trying times in our state’s history to get this budget done,” Lundstrom said in a press release circulated after the vote.

Anderson, who represents northeastern Chaves County as well as parts of Lea and Roosevelt counties in House District 66, said the budget is urgently needed as the state seeks to emerge from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Today is the day when House Bill 2 needs action,” Anderson said.

He added that the state is struggling to regain its footing, while New Mexico students having trouble with virtual learning are falling behind.

“This is not the way forward for New Mexico and I believe House Bill 2 provides a critical step forward to a fully functioning state government which is going to be part of turning this economy around and opening our schools,” Anderson said.

Much of the budget, or $3.39 billion, is directed toward public education, representing a 5.5% spike over the previous year. A summary of the budget from the Legislative Finance Committee said those items include $110 million of extended learning programs, $120 million for K-5 Plus programs for an extra 25 days of schooling for at-risk elementary school students, and $20 million for community schools.

Federal aid passed in December will also send school districts in New Mexico an additional $439 million to address possible school enrollment losses.

Ezzell, who like Anderson sits on the House Appropriations and Finance Committee, said part of the reason for public education taking up so much of the budget is because of the requirement that the state meet its obligation to provide sufficient funding to eduction as mandated under the Yazzie/Martinez v. State of New Mexico decision.

She also said the Appropriations Committee prioritized making funding available in order for New Mexico schools to reopen.

“The concern from most of the people who serve on that committee is that it is time they get back in school, our kids get back in school and our teachers start teaching in person again,” she said.

Ezzell added that she is glad the state Department of Transportation received $300 million in funding for local and state roads throughout New Mexico.

The bill though was not perfect for local lawmakers. Ezzell said she would have liked to see the state’s reserve levels higher. The budget places reserves, which help the state endure financial volatility, at 24% of expenditures.

Nibert, the lone member of the area House delegation to oppose the budget, said he was dismayed by the bill’s size.

“I just really am concerned that we continue to grow government,” he said after the vote was cast.

A hike in the budget for the New Mexico Environment is something Nibert said was contained in HB 2 that he opposed. He added he is worried that and other initiatives taken by the Legislature this session will send a negative message to the oil and gas industry, which the state relies on for a large share of its budget and is a crucial element of southeast New Mexico’s economy.

“I just don’t like increasing the role of government there and doing things there that are going to cause problems for our friends and neighbors,” Nibert said.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext, 301, or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

Bench warrant issued for woman charged in tractor-trailer theft

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Francine Douglas (Submitted Photo)

A bench warrant was issued Wednesday for a woman who faces charges after she was allegedly found last month in a stolen semi tractor-trailer.

Judge K.C. Rogers of Chaves County Magistrate Court issued the bench warrant for Francine Douglas, 41, of Albuquerque after Douglas failed to show up at 8:30 a.m. for a preliminary hearing, Emily Fry, deputy district attorney for Chaves County, said.

Douglas, who is charged with one count each of receiving a stolen vehicle or motor vehicle and resisting, evading or obstructing an officer was released by Rogers on her own recognizance Jan. 5.

Conditions of her release included remaining in Bernalillo County where she resides, maintaining contact with her attorney and showing up for her scheduled court appearances.

Court filings state Douglas, in the early morning hours of Jan. 20, was found by a Roswell police officer inside an Albuquerque Mail Services semi located in the south end of the Walmart Super Center parking lot in the 4500 block of North Main Street.

Roswell police had received a call at 3:42 a.m. from the Albuquerque Mail Service notifying police that the GPS on the semi — which had been stolen from an Albuquerque airport while hooked up to a 53-foot empty trailer — indicated that the semi at the time was in the Sam’s Club parking lot in the 4500 block of North Main Street.

When officers encountered Douglas, she reportedly refused to exit the semi, despite being asked repeatedly to do so. Officers responded by opening a door on the truck, extracting Douglas and placing her in handcuffs.

After she was transported to the Roswell Police Department, Douglas was read her Miranda rights by one of the arresting officers before she began speaking in another language. According to court filings, Douglas refused to talk to the officer before allegedly telling the officer, in English, that she was going to rip his face off.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext, 301, or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

Sewer-line repairs planned for North Garden

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North Garden Avenue between East College Boulevard and Cherry Street will be closed to through traffic from Tuesday, March 2 to Friday, March 5 so sewer-line repairs can be made, according to a press release from the city of Roswell.

Some street excavation will be required. While through traffic will be prohibited, access to businesses and residences in the affected area will remain open.

Program to help New Mexicans cope with COVID-19

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SANTA FE — The New Mexico Human Services Department has launched a statewide mental health support line to help New Mexicans experiencing anxiety, stress or emotional challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a press release from the department, the Cope with COVID-19 Crisis Counseling program provides free and confidential short-term mental health services to New Mexicans. Anyone seeking free and confidential counseling to help cope with social isolation and other challenges brought on by the pandemic can call 505-954-1057.

The phone line is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The operator will connect callers with a crisis counselor within 24 hours.

“It can be helpful to talk to someone when you are facing anxiety, depression and stress, which are common emotions to experience when dealing with all the uncertainties of the pandemic,” said Neal A. Bowen, PhD, director of the Behavioral Health Services Division. “Through this program, we are connecting New Mexicans with crisis counselors who can provide support to those who are feeling overwhelmed and stressed.”

A June 2020 survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 40.9% of respondents reported “at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition,” including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress and substance abuse, with rates that were three to four times the rates one year earlier. Of the 5,412 U.S. adults surveyed, 10.7% reported seriously considering suicide in the last 30 days.

The Cope with COVID-19 Crisis Counseling program is funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and is designed to improve and lessen the emotional and behavioral trauma caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jesus “ Jesse” Jacobo Jr.

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JESUS “JESSE” JACOBO JR., 58, passed away on Sunday, February 21, 2021, in Roswell, New Mexico. A further announcement will be published when arrangements have been finalized.

Please take a moment and share a kind thought or memory with Jesus’ family at www.andersonbethany.com.                                                                                                                                            

George Garcia

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George Garcia, age 73 went to be with Jesus on Sunday, February 21, 2021.

George was born in Estancia, NM to Maria Garcia and Teofilo R. Garcia on September 26, 1947.

George is survived by his wife of 43 years, Timotea Garcia; his brother, Louriano “Brother Lou” Garcia and his wife, Alice; his sister, Lupe Petzold and her husband, Robert; daughters, Jessica Garcia and husband, James Maestas Jr.; Trisha R. Abeita and husband, Jose Abeita. His stepchildren, Roberta Roybal, Rebecca Martinez, Ramona Bustamante and her husband Stephan Bustamante, Rita Contreras, Antonio Urioste. George was also blessed with grandchildren: Rudy, Raquelle, Rheanna, Javier, Nevaeh, Selina, Nichole, Joey, David, Samantha, Michael, Stephan, Ambrosio, Ashley, Elizabeth, Mikaela, and Edward, also 8 great grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

George was a dedicated member of Church On The Move.

He loved reading his Bible and praying for anyone in need of prayer. He also enjoyed playing guitar, singing, and listening to music. He collected and displayed many family photos. He liked cooking and truly enjoyed eating his X-Hot green chili and his wife’s homemade tortillas. He was also an avid Dallas Cowboys fan.

George is preceded in death by his mother Maria, father Teofilo, brother Abelino, sisters Maria, Vita, and Mary.

In laughter

and in sorrow,

In sunshine and in rain,

I know you’re watching over me,

Until we meet again.

Arrangements are under the personal care of LaGrone Funeral Chapel. Online condolences may be made at www.lagronefuneralchapels.com

Council to discuss potential settlement in GRT lawsuit

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The Roswell City Council will have a special meeting Thursday afternoon to discuss a potential settlement in a lawsuit it joined with about 40 other plaintiffs against the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department, according to the mayor.

The meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m. Thursday in Meeting Room A of the Roswell Convention & Civic Center, 912 N. Main St. The main item on the agenda is a closed session to discuss attorney-client privilege pertaining to a lawsuit involving the Tax and Revenue Department.

No vote is scheduled after the closed session and a report or announcement from the city manager is the only other item on the agenda. The meeting will not be livestreamed.

Mayor Dennis Kintigh, reached by phone Wednesday morning, did confirm the lawsuit mentioned is one the city joined as a plaintiff in November 2019 over the state’s handling of gross receipts taxes.

The state collects GRT from goods and services purchased in the state and distributes a portion of it back to local governments each month.

The lawsuit, originally filed in 2018 by Albuquerque and three other cities in the 2nd Judicial District, alleges the state has not properly followed statutes in how it has collected and disbursed GRT, which are a primary source of funds for local governments.

By the end of 2019, the number of plaintiffs had grown to 44. Among the plaintiffs are the cities of Santa Fe, Farmington, Artesia, Alamogordo, Las Cruces, the village of Ruidoso, and the counties of Eddy, Roosevelt, Otero and Lincoln. Chaves County is not among the plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs seek compensation for what they believe to be unauthorized reductions in GRT.

In January 2020, Aaron Holloman, who was city attorney at that time, told the Roswell Daily Record the amount of GRT the city alleged it had lost could not be specified publicly but it was a significant enough amount to pursue the lawsuit.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

Homicide suspect charged in second fatal shooting

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Jeffrey Contreras (Submitted Photo)

A man already being held at the Chaves County Detention Center on criminal counts in connection with one deadly shooting was charged Monday in a second death.

The Chaves County Sheriff’s Office on Monday served Jeffrey Contreras, 25, with an arrest warrant on criminal counts related to the January fatal shooting of Johnny Pacheco Jr., 22, of Roswell, Undersheriff Charles Yslas said Monday.

In Pacheco’s death, Contreras faces one count each of first-degree murder, willful and deliberate; kidnapping, first degree, no intent to commit sexual offense; robbery; tampering with evidence; and aggravated assault, deadly weapon, according to court records.

Contreras is suspected of having fatally shot Pacheco once in the head in late January. Pacheco’s body was found Jan. 22 at 2:16 a.m. in an open field southeast of the intersection of Y.O. and Lupton roads. He was pronounced deceased on the scene.

Contreras also faces charges of first-degree murder, willful and deliberate; tampering with evidence; and receipt, possession or transportation of a firearm or destructive device, felon, in connection with the death of Anthony Vasquez, 57, of Roswell.

Vasquez was fatally shot in the early morning hours of Feb. 5 while inside an RV trailer with his girlfriend in the 600 block of South Missouri Avenue. Contreras allegedly fired several rounds from a rifle into the RV, one of which struck Vasquez in the back. The woman was not hit by gunfire.

When police arrived at the scene, Vasquez was still alive and was transported via ambulance to a local hospital where he subsequently died from his wound.

The District Attorney’s Office for New Mexico’s 5th Judicial District has filed an expedited motion for pretrial detention and concurrent preliminary hearing in both cases, court records state.

If, following a concurrent pretrial detention hearing and preliminary examination, it is determined that in one or both of the cases Contreras represents a danger to the community or individuals — and no reasonable conditions of release can ensure the safety of the public or potential witnesses — he will remain held without bond up through his trial.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

Firefighter surveys aftermath of controlled burn

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A firefighter with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stands in a still-smoldering area after a controlled burn at Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge late Tuesday afternoon. The burns help control invasive species of grass, promote the germination of the endangered Pecos sunflower and reduce accumulation of fuel for wildfires, according to a press release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (Juno Ogle Photo)

Measure addressing emergency powers clears committee

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In this November 2019 file photo, State Rep. Greg Nibert, R-Roswell, speaks to the audience at a meeting of the Chaves County Federated Republican Women. House Joint Resolution 6 (HJR 6), sponsored by Nibert and state Rep. Daymon Ely, D-Albuquerque, would place on the ballot a proposed constitutional amendment requiring the governor to call the Legislature into special session if an emergency declaration or emergency public order needs to be in place for more than 90 days. (Daily Record File Photo)

A proposed state constitutional amendment that would give the Legislature more of an opportunity to weigh in on future emergency public health orders and state emergency declarations last week moved one step closer to being sent to voters.

The House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee last Thursday voted 5-0 to forward House Joint Resolution 6 (HJR 6), sponsored by state Reps. Greg Nibert, R-Roswell, and Daymon Ely, D-Albuquerque, to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.

If ultimately approved by majorities in both the state House and Senate, HJR 6 would place on the ballots of New Mexico voters a proposed constitutional amendment requiring that all emergency public health orders or emergency declarations expire after 90 days, unless the governor calls the Legislature into special session before that deadline.

During such a special session, lawmakers would have the opportunity to amend, terminate or suspend the emergency or order, if they can get the three-fifths majority of members in each legislative chamber to do so. If the three-fifths majority in each chamber does not take action, the emergency would be extended for another 60 days.

Should the governor at the end of the period feel the need for another extension, she would again call the Legislature into special session. The pattern would continue every 60 days thereafter until either the declaration or order is allowed to lapse or the governor or Legislature takes action to end the emergency.

Nibert and Ely have each said that the legislation is not meant to limit the executive branch’s ability to respond to a crisis, but to ensure the legislative branch can participate in the response to a public emergency order.

A similar proposal passed the House State Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee earlier this month in the form of House Bill 139 (HB 139).

Ely during Thursday’s hearing said the only differences between HJR 6 and HB 139 is that a constitutional amendment can require three-fifths support for an action to be taken, whereas legislation requires a simple majority. He added that unlike legislation, which requires the governor’s signature to become law, a constitutional amendment needs a majority in both houses to get onto the ballot.

Nibert said Monday he and Ely are seeking to have both HJR 6 and HB 139 go before the House Judiciary Committee, of which he and Ely are both members, where he said he is 100% confident they will be heard.

“It will be scheduled with House Bill 139 and we are going to do them at the same time,” Nibert said.

He added that it is quite likely that one of the two proposals will make it to the floor for a vote by the full House before the session ends in March.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext, 301, or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

City looks to expedite construction of new landfill cell

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The Roswell Municipal Landfill is taking measures to slow down the fill rate of the cell currently in use while the city expedites the construction on a new cell.

Cell number 4 will reach capacity in about five and a half months, according to the city’s landfill consultant, Albuquerque engineering firm Sauder, Miller and Associates, Abraham Chaparro, solid waste and facilities director, told the Roswell Daily Record.

“We did some topographical surveying in the area and our engineering consultant raised the red flag. The cell’s filing up faster than what we thought and we need to start moving quickly” on the bidding process, he said.

On Monday, the Roswell City Council members of the Infrastructure Committee, Jacob Roebuck, Margaret Kennard, George Peterson and Savino Sanchez, all voted to recommend and forward to the Finance Committee a $162,316 professional services agreement for the bidding and construction administration of Cell 5A to Sauder, Miller and Associates.

The firm has assessed the city is receiving 14,800 cubic yards of trash in the landfill per month and has 109,500 cubic yards remaining in the cell, Chaparro said.

Cell 4 is filling up faster than anticipated, he said, for more than one reason.

The amount of refuse collected has increased since state health orders have kept more people at home, he said.

Chaparro has also been working to increase efficiency of collections since starting the job about eight months ago, he said.

“We’re becoming more efficient in how we run our routes, and our tonnage is going up as well, so it’s a little bit of both,” he said.

He said the city ending its recycling program is not a factor in the increase.

A new heavy compactor is helping to mitigate the fill rate for Cell 4, Chaparro told the Infrastructure Committee.

“The compactor came into play to help us slow that down and give us a little more time,” Chaparro said.

The Roswell City Council approved the $1.2 million purchase of the Caterpillar 836K compactor in December to replace a heavy compactor that had broken down. The landfill staff was using a light-duty compactor in its place.

“That added another almost 60,000 pounds of weight of crushing power to help us get a higher compaction rate,” Chaparro said.

The landfill is also covering the trash most days with a 100-foot by 100-foot canvas rather than a 6-inch layer of dirt. State and federal regulations require landfills to cover waste at the end of each day to control odors and prevent trash from blowing out of the landfill. Dirt will be used once or maybe twice a week, Chaparro said.

Use of the canvas was approved by the state as an alternative daily cover, Chaparro said.

Roebuck asked Chaparro and City Engineer Louis Najar if they believed the construction of the new cell could be completed before Cell 4 is filled.

Sauder, Miller and Associates was already under contract for the design of Cell 5A and expects to submit it by next week to the New Mexico Environment Department for approval, Najar said.

Bidding for the construction would likely be advertised in mid-March with bid opening at the beginning of April. Bids will go directly to the full City Council for approval at its April 8 meeting, Najar said.

“So we could get going in a hurry,” he said.

The hole for Cell 5A has already been started, Najar said, and Sauder, Miller and Associates has designed it to be constructed in two phases.

“We could probably get the first phase of the project done, certified by New Mexico Environment Department and start using it before we’re finished with the other part,” he said.

Chaparro said Cell 4 will stop being used before it reaches its capacity. When Cell 5A reaches the same elevation as Cell 4, both will be filled until they reach capacity.

Also from Monday’s Infrastructure Committee meeting:

• The committee voted unanimously to recommend for approval by the full council a resolution to complete a Water Utility Asset Management Plan within four years, a requirement to be eligible for funding from the New Mexico Water Trust Board. The committee also unanimously voted to recommend approval of repair of the Waste Water Treatment Plant Digester roof to Speir Construction, Artesia, for $153,740.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

Only 2 new local cases of COVID-19 recorded Tuesday

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Chaves County recorded only two new cases of COVID-19 in the daily update from the New Mexico Department of Health on Tuesday. No local deaths related to the coronavirus were reported.

The state reported 314 new cases in 25 counties and three correctional facilities.

The state’s total is now 183,335 including 8,571 in Chaves County.

Nine more deaths related to COVID-19 were reported statewide. Bernalillo County reported three deaths. Curry, Doña Ana, Lea, McKinley, Otero and San Juan counties each reported one.

The total number of deaths in the state is 3,644 including 147 in Chaves County.

As of Tuesday, 261 people are hospitalized in the state for COVID-19.

Vaccination data for Chaves County remains unchanged on the health department’s online vaccine dashboard, with 11.3% of residents age 16 or older partially vaccinated and 4.5% fully vaccinated.

The state has administered 506,384 doses, almost 5,000 more than reported on the dashboard Monday. That includes 331,496 primary doses and 174,888 booster doses.

The state has received 518,535 doses, and 646,596 people have registered to receive the vaccine.

Chaves County is in the Red Level of the state’s COVID-19 risk assessment system with an average of 28.6 new cases per day per 100,000 people and a test positivity rate of 7.26% from Jan. 26 to Feb. 8. That data is scheduled to be updated Wednesday.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.

Municipal Court to be closed Thursday

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The Roswell Municipal Court will be closed to the public on Thursday, Feb. 25 for a staff administrative day, according to a press release from the court.

Staff are available to conduct court business over the phone at 575-624-6725.

Arraignments of defendants held in the Detention Center are scheduled for 9 a.m. Members of the public wishing to view arraignments can contact the court, and access to the courtroom will be provided.

Minnie Rae Carrillo

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Minnie Rae Carrillo, 49, passed away Sunday, February 21, 2021, in Roswell, NM.  Please take a moment and share a kind thought or memory with Minnie’s family at www.andersonbethany.com.

On October 5, 1971, Minnie was born to Mary De Los Santos and Manuel “Nele” Carrillo in Roswell, NM.

Those left the cherish her memories are her parents, Mary and Nele; brother, David; children: Joseph and Jessica, Denise and Steven and Lexi; and two grandbabies: Joseph and Matthew.

Minnie is preceded in death by her brother, Roger Carrillo; maternal grandparents: Juanita “Mona” and Dave Hidalgo; and her paternal grandparents: Urbano and Rosita Carrillo.

Pallbearers will be Harv Vazquez, Junior Vazquez, Matthew Hidalgo, Gregory Hidalgo, Steven Montgomery, and Fernando Acosta.

Our mom loved spending time with her family and especially her grandbabies, who she loved the most. Her smile, laugh, and energy was so contagious. She is so loved and will be forever missed.

There will be a Viewing for Minnie at Anderson Bethany Funeral Home on Thursday, February 25, 2021, from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM, followed by a Funeral Service at 2:00 PM. Interment will follow at South Park Cemetery.

Minnie’s tribute was written in her honor by her family.

Richard Barton

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A loving husband, father and grandfather, Richard Edward Barton, 79 passed away on Saturday, February 20th, 2021 in Roswell, New Mexico. Please take a moment and share a kind thought or memory with the Barton family at https://www.lagronefuneralchapels.com/obituary/Richard-Barton

A funeral service for Richard will be held at 3:00 PM, Thursday, February 25th 2021 at LaGrone Funeral Chapel.

On November 11th, 1941 Richard was born to Ray Barton and Grace Baker in Albuquerque New Mexico. Richard grew up on the family ranch in Dunlap, New Mexico and graduated from Fort Sumner High school where he excelled in playing football, basketball and running track for the Foxes. From there he attended NMMI in Roswell to play football on a scholarship and then from NMMI he continued his football career at Western Colorado University in Gunnison Colorado where he graduated from college with his bachelors degree.

Richard met Julie Mask in Roswell NM. They married February 10, 1968. They had two sons, Bart and Buck. Throughout the boys life they supported them through school and all sports. Richard was very proud of his sons.

Richard got to live the American dream and became a self made business person. Richard owned car dealerships throughout his lifetime in Texas and New Mexico. His first dealership was a Volkswagen store in Corpus Cristi with a sister store in College Station. When he moved back to Roswell, he purchased the Toyota and Buick Dealership. He owned and operated dealerships in Roswell for 21 years. He was well known and took pride in owning these stores.

Richard supported and helped start many local businesses in Roswell. Richard had a passion for the youth of Roswell and believed in giving back to support the youth and the youth athletics. This ranged from little league teams to both Goddard and Roswell High Schools. He had a passion for all sports and what they did for young people. As time went on, he would buy and sell several dealerships in Farmington NM, Clovis NM and Slaton TX before eventually slowly retiring around 2009 and moving back to Roswell.

Those left to cherish unforgettable memories of Richard are Julie Barton his wife of 53 years and their sons; son Bart Barton and wife Krystle Barton and their children Reagan Crenshaw and Trey Barton of Edmond Oklahoma; son Buck Barton and wife Katie Barton of Edmond Oklahoma and their son Jackson Barton.

Richard is proceeded in death by his father Ray Barton, mother Grace Baker, sister Gail Dinwiddie and brother Robert Barton.

Arrangements are under the personal care of LaGrone Funeral Chapel. Online condolences may be made at www.lagronefuneralchapels.com

Airport Authority report due to be presented

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Recommendations about a possible airport authority to manage the Roswell Air Center are scheduled to be presented to city councilors Thursday. (Daily Record File Photo)

A report that includes citizens’ input about what would be entailed in the possible formation of an airport authority to manage the Roswell Air Center is scheduled to be presented at a public meeting Thursday afternoon.

The Airport Authority Steering Committee report has been placed on the agenda for the Roswell City Council Legal Committee meeting at 4 p.m. Thursday.

The meeting will occur at the Roswell Convention Center, 912 N. Main St. Due to continued COVID-19 restrictions, the public is asked to participate online. The city plans to stream the video live on its website, www.roswell-nm.gov., and also lists options on its meeting agenda about how people can participate through an online and phone software application.

According to the July 9 Roswell City Council resolution that established the citizens’ steering group, the “City Manager shall provide a report of the discussions (of the steering committee), develop a suggested framework to include draft city code establishing an authority and governing procedures of the Authority, and present any conclusions and recommendations” to the Legal Committee.

City Manager Joe Neeb chose not to release the report in response to a request, saying last week that the draft was still being worked on.

The committee has involved Neeb, former and current Chaves County managers Stanton Riggs and Bill Williams, as well as citizens chosen by them. Neeb did not identify the committee members.

He announced the Legal Committee meeting to Roswell City Councilors on Feb. 11 and said that Chaves County Board of Commissioners also have been invited to the meeting, which Williams also mentioned at the Feb. 18 Board of Commissioners meeting.

The creation of an independent governing authority to own and manage the Roswell Air Center assets has been suggested a few times over the years, including by consultants who developed economic feasibility studies in 1998 and 2017 outlining their ideas about how the Air Center could become a more powerful economic and job creation engine. Both studies recommended an independent governing authority, which numerous other former military bases in other states have formed.

In 2017, the Roswell International Air Center Task Force was formed, having a name reflecting the former moniker of the airfield and its related properties. Its members worked to draft and introduce a bill into the New Mexico Legislature allowing former military airports in New Mexico to create special economic districts with appointed officials from the region. The districts would own, manage and market the airports as hubs of commerce. They also would have the ability to issue bonds or borrow money. After the bill was vetoed in 2018, a revised version was signed into law by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in February 2019.

The city then prepared a “separation” report that outlined the numerous financial, legal, operational and regulatory issues that would be involved in transferring the city-owned, city-financed and city-run airport to another entity.

Although city elected officials had signed resolutions approving the RIAC Task Force and its legislative efforts, after the city analysis was completed in June 2019, several city councilors were wondering if an authority was a good idea or even feasible. Councilor Jacob Roebuck made a presentation about how the Air Center could be managed by a separate advisory group under the authority of the city manager.

The Steering Committee was formed to ensure that the interests of business, economic development and regional groups were represented in decisions.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

County’s COVID-19 risk puts Arbor Day, other events in question

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The county’s COVID-19 risk could mean changes to or even cancellation of upcoming events, including the city’s annual Arbor Day giveaway.

The state wants a halt on activities funded by state grants that would require people to leave their homes in counties in the Red Level of the COVID-19 risk assessment system, Thalia Pantoja-Gruis, marketing coordinator for the city of Roswell, told the Keep Roswell Beautiful board of directors in its virtual meeting Monday.

That could include the city’s annual Arbor Day event as well as volunteer cleanup activities that Keep Roswell Beautiful organizes or assists with, she said.

Chaves County is in the red, but has shown improvement in its gating criteria since the beginning of the year. The most current assessment, on Feb. 10, showed the county with a test positivity rate of 7.26%, just a little more than 2 percentage points above the 5% threshold for the Yellow Level. That data will be updated Wednesday.

Keep Roswell Beautiful received a $23,155 grant in August from the New Mexico Tourism Department’s Clean and Beautiful program to fund events such as the annual Arbor Day celebration and the Great American Cleanup.

The funds were also used to purchase cleaning supplies the organization loans out to other local groups wanting to conduct cleanup events.

“So any of those kinds of cleanup things, the Great American Cleanup, Arbor Day, are all within question right now,” Pantoja-Gruis said.

Pantoja-Gruis said she would be speaking to state officials later in the week to clarify if the events could still be conducted in a COVID-safe manner.

If Chaves County is in the Yellow or Green levels, the activities will be allowed, she said.

The city has conducted Arbor Day events including a tree and shrub giveaway and educational programs starting 30 years ago, when it became the first city in New Mexico to receive the Tree City USA designation from the Arbor Day Foundation. Last year, with pandemic health orders in effect, a drive-through giveaway at Cahoon Park was organized.

Arbor Day is April 30 this year.

The Great American Cleanup, coordinated by Keep America Beautiful, is March 20 through June 20 and includes a variety of community cleanup, education and recycling projects throughout the country.

If a county remains in the Red Level, organizations with state grants can make a budget amendment request to divert money to COVID-safe events, Pantoja-Gruis said, but she will wait to make that move, especially with the Arbor Day event.

“I’m really pushing to wait as long as possible to see if we can or cannot host the event before we move any of those funds over,” she said.

She did give the board several ideas to consider diverting money to if public events do have to be canceled, however. She said the amount could be between $7,000 and $8,000 depending on what events are cut. That would likely be enough to hire an artist for a mural project, she said.

More beautification projects at the Spring River Zoo, such as helping finish pollinator gardens, would be another possibility, she said.

Meredith Hildreth, planning and zoning administrator for the city, suggested yard signs to recognize residential or business properties that have cleaned and beautified the property.

Pantoja-Gruis also told the board an intern has been hired. An announcement will be made when all the paperwork for the paid position has been completed, she said.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.

Man charged with involuntary manslaughter in death of his sister

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A man who is believed to have unintentionally shot his sister to death Sunday evening while at her home has been charged in her death.

Jack Salcido (Submitted Photo)

Jack C. Salcido, 33, of Roswell faces one criminal count each of involuntary manslaughter and felon in possession of a firearm after police obtained an arrest warrant for him Monday on those charges.

According to a press release from the Roswell Police Department, officers responded Sunday at about 9 p.m. to the shooting that happened in the zero block of B Street in south Roswell.

Police believe that Salcido accidentally shot Crystal Smith, 35, in the neck while the two were seated at the dining room table in her house.

When officers appeared on the scene, they determined that Smith was deceased, and Salcido, who officers encountered when they arrived, was subsequently taken into custody, according to the RPD press release.

Salcido reportedly called 911 immediately following the shooting. Investigators believe Salcido was drinking and possibly intoxicated when he fired a rifle without realizing he had fired it at his sister. Smith’s four children, whose ages range from 3 to 14, were also in the house at the time of the shooting.

The RPD press release states that as of Monday, Salcido was being held at the Chaves County Detention Center without bond while awaiting his initial appearance in Magistrate Court.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext, 301, or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

Anderson splits with other local reps on abortion law repeal

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State Rep. Phelps Anderson, DTS-Roswell, speaks to attendees at a Nov. 2019 meeting of the Chaves County Federated Republican Women. Anderson on Friday voted with 39 House Democrats for Senate Bill 10 (SB 10), which repeals a dormant 1969 law that criminalizes most abortions in New Mexico. All other local legislators voted against the measure. (Daily Record File Photo)

Legislation to repeal a 52-year-old dormant law that criminalizes most abortions has passed the New Mexico House of Representatives in a 40-30 vote, garnering the support of state Rep. Phelps Anderson, DTS-Roswell, but the opposition of all other Chaves County lawmakers.

Following hours of debate marked by heightened emotions, Senate Bill 10 (SB 10) cleared the House of Representatives Friday. All House Republicans, including local Reps. Candy Ezzell and Greg Nibert of Roswell, and House Minority Leader Jim Townsend of Artesia, voted with six Democrats against passage. The Senate had voted 27-15 to pass the bill on Feb. 11.

SB 10 removes from state law a 1969 statute that makes performing most abortions a fourth degree felony. Since 1973, when abortion was legalized by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, the law has been unenforceable. Proponents of SB 10 though say they worry that if Roe v. Wade is overturned, protections afforded to women in terms of access to abortion would be stripped away and the 1969 statute’s restrictions could go back into effect.

After the vote, Anderson said in a statement late Friday, that “misperceptions abound on the impact of this repeal for New Mexico.” He said the law does little more than maintain the safeguards related to abortion services women are currently afforded by the Roe v. Wade decision.

“A 1969 unconstitutional law was repealed and as a result there is no effect whatsoever on abortions in New Mexico,” he said.

In recent weeks, Anderson has come under heavy fire from some Republicans for casting a vote in the House Health and Human Services Committee for HB 7, which like SB 10 would have repealed the statute outlawing abortion. Outcry over his vote from conservatives prompted Anderson to change his party affiliation from Republican to “Decline to State” and local and state Republican Party officials have since called on him to step down from his House District 66 seat, where he represents eastern Chaves as well as Lea and Roosevelt counties. So far, Anderson has refused to do so.

Opponents of SB 10 said they worried repealing the whole law would also remove protections in the law which keep medical professionals who are opposed to abortion on moral grounds from having to perform one. State Rep. Cathrynn Brown, R-Carlsbad, said she heard from many of those who work in the healthcare field, who have moral objections to abortion, who said that they were considering leaving the state if SB 10 becomes law.

“They don’t want to live in a state where they don’t feel respected and valued. And that respect goes to their personal convictions about the wrongfulness of abortion,” she said.

Supporters of SB 10 though said there are already existing federal and state laws in place that allow medical providers the right to opt out of performing an abortion if it conflicts with their moral beliefs.

Nibert, whose district is comprised of parts of both Chaves and Lincoln counties and who has described himself as “pro-life,” said voting against SB 10 was not a difficult decision.

He conceded that the 1969 law probably needs to be looked at and maybe modified, but SB 10 would have repealed the statute completely.

“And so for me it was an easy vote that we continue to have a law on the books that prohibits abortion, even though as proponents (of SB 10) point out it is unenforceable for the most part, in light of Roe v. Wade,” he said.

Nibert added he believes the fears of SB 10 supporters that Roe v. Wade will be overturned or significantly altered are overblown, and that any legal challenges taken up by the court will involve late-term abortions.

“For the most part, the Supreme Court in my opinion is not going to want to venture into these decisions,” he said.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext, 301, or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

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