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Teen becomes town’s first female football player

In this Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018, photo, Hagerman High School's Miracle Rey poses for a photo after practice at the school in Hagerman, N.M. Rey is about to make some history in this southeastern New Mexico town. She’ll be the first female football player to don pads at Hagerman High School when the team faces off against Capitan on Aug. 24 to start the season. (J.T. Keith/Roswell Daily Record via AP)

HAGERMAN, N.M. (AP) — Miracle Rey is about to make history in her southeastern New Mexico town.

She will be the first female football player to don pads at Hagerman High School when the team faces off against the Capitan Tigers on Aug. 24 to start the season, the Roswell Daily Record reported Wednesday.

Rey has always loved watching football with her brothers and asked them to teach her how to play. She would play in the streets with them without pads or equipment. She didn’t mind getting scrapes and scratches.

Her mother gave her permission to play football in the eighth grade, she said.

Rey’s father was initially against her playing football, but he came around after watching her play.

“He told me to never cry and after he watched me play against Loving, he said, ‘Do what you have the skill to do and you’re doing it,’ ” Rey said.

Her teammates have treated her like she is one of the guys, and they don’t go easy on her just because she is a girl, she said.

One of her biggest challenges is lifting weights and getting the bar over her head. But Rey knows that she will need to get stronger in the weight room to play at a high level.

Her coach, Guy Rivers, said he believes that with hard work, Rey will be able to play and become a good lineman in time.

“I think she (Rey) has brought some of the ‘if a girl can do it, so can I,'” Rivers said. “She comes out here and sticks it out and pulls our ties — why can’t I. She is always smiling and talking, which is a positive.”

Rey’s dream is to become the first woman to play in the NFL.

UNM regents vote to uphold contested athletics cuts

State Rep. Patty Lundstrom speaks to the University of New Mexico regents about sports cuts. Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, in Albuquerque, N.M. (Jim Thompson/The Albuquerque Journal via AP)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Regents at New Mexico’s flagship university on Friday voted for a second time to cut men’s soccer and other teams, citing longstanding financial challenges within the troubled athletics department and failures by the school to meet federal gender equity mandates under Title IX.

The unanimous vote followed hours of public testimony that included emotional pleas to preserve the soccer team along with men’s and women’s skiing, beach volleyball and women’s diving.

Diving was taken off the table before the final vote after questions were raised by student regent Garrett Adcock regarding the facilities used by the team, the overall effects on the swim team and the minuscule savings that would result.

The move prompted cheers from some in the audience but many were still frustrated about the rest of the cuts.

University President Garnett Stokes said the reality is that a university the size of UNM doesn’t have the resources to support 22 competitive Division I teams and that the athletics department needs to get its house in order and not at the expense of the rest of the university.

“This is an incredibly difficult decision,” she said. “It is an incredibly emotional time for our students, our staff and for our faculty and for our leaders.”

Top legislative leaders urged the board to delay the vote, saying potential solutions could be hashed out during the next legislative session in January. University officials countered that a fix could require millions of dollars more in recurring funding and more uncertainty would only hurt the teams and student athletes.

The regents first voted on the cuts in July. That sparked public outcry and they came under fire from the state attorney general and others for alleged violations of state open meeting laws.

Friday’s special meeting was meant to address those concerns.

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller was among those who rallied in hopes that regents would reconsider — or at least delay — their decision to cut the teams. The proposal before the board also called for significant roster reductions within other programs.

“The decision to cut programs for students before the Legislature had time to bring better options to the table is short-sighted and will have a negative impact on the broader community that UNM serves,” Keller said in a statement.

Members of the City Council also weighed in along with candidates running for office. The political interest comes as Albuquerque prepares to see some return on its investment to boost youth soccer and bring a minor league team to town.

The UNM men’s soccer team has among the highest profiles nationally of Lobo men’s sports, with its numerous NCAA tournament appearances and a reputation for drawing prospective talent from around the world.

Top university officials argued again Friday that options are limited if the athletics department has any hope of turning around its finances and meeting Title IX requirements.

“Merely keeping up status quo is not a viable option,” athletics director Eddie Nunez said.

He called the process heartbreaking and said anything short of cuts would be unrealistic.

He and Stokes have pointed to an analysis of the university’s sports programs that found expenses have continued to increase, revenues have decreased and the operating budgets for each sports program have been incrementally reduced over the past decade.

The analysis also mentions shortfalls in budgeted ticket sales and fundraising efforts over the past two years.

The university this week also posted more documents online that officials say were used in making the decision on which sports would be eliminated and which would see roster changes as part of the proposal.

New Mexico unemployment rate drops to 4.7 percent in July


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico unemployment rate is down.

The state Department of Workforce Solutions reported Friday that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in July, down from 4.9 percent in June.

The department also says the state economy’s total nonagricultural payroll employment in July grew by 17,900 jobs, or 2.2 percent, from July 2017, when the unemployment rate was 6.1 percent.

According to the department, all of the year-over-year employment gain occurred in the private sector. It added 18,300 jobs while the public sector lost 400 jobs.

In the private sector, service-producing industries outpaced goods-producing industries in adding jobs by a nearly 3-to-1 ratio.

Leisure and hospitality was the industry adding the most jobs, with an increase of 6,500.

Albuquerque airport to get air service to Guadalajara


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Albuquerque International Sunport is finally getting an international flight after nine years.

Volaris, Mexico’s largest low-cost carrier, announced Friday that would begin twice-weekly, non-stop service from Albuquerque to Guadalajara, Mexico, in November.

It’s the first international service from the Sunport since AeroMexico ended service to Chihuahua City in 2009.

Officials said the new flight would provide tourism opportunities and economic development. Guadalajara, which is one of Albuquerque’s sister cities, is a hub for flights to elsewhere in Mexico and to Central America.

Former educator convicted in Mora schools forgery scandal


LAS VEGAS, N.M. (AP) — A woman whose public-education license was scrutinized as a result of investigations stemming from former Mora Superintendent Charles Trujillo’s arrest has been convicted of forgery.

The Las Vegas Optic reports Vanessa Sidransky-Montano was found guilty this week after a one-day trial.

Prosecutors say Sidransky-Montano knowingly obtained a falsified K-12 education license. She faces 18 months in jail. The charge stems from a multi-year New Mexico State Police investigation involving more than a half-dozen K-12 educators.

The 41-year-old’s case is connected to the fraud charges against her ex-boss, Trujillo. The former Mora and Pecos school district administrator recently pleaded guilty to one felony count of forgery.

A 10-month Optic investigation discovered seven instances where the state education department’s Professional Licensure Bureau awarded licenses to individuals who didn’t qualify for them.

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan dies at age 80

In this Thursday Aug. 2, 2012 file photo Kofi Annan speaks during a press briefing, at the European headquarters of the United Nations, UN, in Geneva, Switzerland. Annan, one of the world's most celebrated diplomats and a charismatic symbol of the United Nations who rose through its ranks to become the first black African secretary-general, has died. He was 80. (Martial Trezzini, Keystone via AP, File)

ACCRA, Ghana (AP) — Kofi Annan, a charismatic global diplomat and the first black African to become United Nations secretary-general who led the world body through one of its most turbulent periods, died early Saturday at age 80.

Tributes flowed in from around the world after his foundation announced his death in the Swiss capital, Bern, after a short and unspecified illness. The statement remembered the Nobel Peace Prize winner as “radiating genuine kindness, warmth and brilliance in all he did.”

He died “peacefully in his sleep,” the president of Ghana, where Annan was born, said after speaking to his wife.

At U.N. headquarters in New York, the U.N. flag flew at half-staff and a bouquet of flowers was placed under Annan’s portrait. Reflecting the widespread regard that won him a groundbreaking uncontested election to a second term, leaders from Russia, India, Israel, France and elsewhere expressed condolences for a man Bill Gates called “one of the great peacemakers of our time.”

Annan spent virtually his entire career as an administrator in the United Nations. His aristocratic style, cool-tempered elegance and political savvy helped guide his ascent to become its seventh secretary-general, and the first hired from within. His two terms were from Jan. 1, 1997, to Dec. 31, 2006, capped nearly midway when he and the U.N. were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001.

During his tenure, Annan presided over some of the worst failures and scandals at the world body. Challenges from the outset forced him to spend much of his time struggling to restore its tarnished reputation.

His enduring moral prestige remained largely undented, however, both through charm and by virtue of having negotiated with most of the powers in the world.

When he departed from the United Nations, he left behind a global organization far more aggressively engaged in peacekeeping and fighting poverty, setting the framework for its 21st-century response to mass atrocities and its emphasis on human rights and development.

“In many ways, Kofi Annan was the United Nations,” current U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said. “He rose through the ranks to lead the organization into the new millennium with matchless dignity and determination.”

Even out of office, Annan never completely left the U.N. orbit. He returned in special roles, including as the U.N.-Arab League’s special envoy to Syria in 2012. He remained a powerful advocate for global causes through his eponymous foundation.

Annan took on the top U.N. post six years after the collapse of the Soviet Union and presided during a decade when the world united against terrorism after the Sept. 11 attacks — then divided deeply over the U.S.-led war against Iraq. The U.S. relationship tested him as a world diplomatic leader.

“I think that my darkest moment was the Iraq war, and the fact that we could not stop it,” Annan said in a February 2013 interview with TIME magazine to mark the publication of his memoir, “Interventions: A Life in War and Peace.”

“I worked very hard — I was working the phone, talking to leaders around the world. The U.S. did not have the support in the Security Council,” Annan recalled in the videotaped interview posted on his foundation’s website.

“So they decided to go without the council. But I think the council was right in not sanctioning the war,” he said. “Could you imagine if the U.N. had endorsed the war in Iraq, what our reputation would be like? Although at that point, President (George W.) Bush said the U.N. was headed toward irrelevance, because we had not supported the war. But now we know better.”

Despite his well-honed diplomatic skills, Annan was never afraid to speak candidly. That didn’t always win him fans, particularly in the case of Bush’s administration, with whom Annan’s camp spent much time bickering. Much of his second term was spent at odds with the United States, the U.N.’s biggest contributor, as he tried to lean on it to pay almost $2 billion in arrears.

At the end of his Nobel acceptance speech Annan reminded the world why such pressure is necessary. “Beneath the surface of states and nations, ideas and language, lies the fate of individual human beings in need,” he said. “Answering their needs will be the mission of the United Nations in the century to come.”

Kofi Atta Annan was born April 8, 1938, into an elite family in Kumasi, Ghana, the son of a provincial governor and grandson of two tribal chiefs.

He shared his middle name Atta — “twin” in Ghana’s Akan language — with a twin sister, Efua. He became fluent in English, French and several African languages, attending an elite boarding school and the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi. He finished his undergraduate work in economics at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1961. From there he went to Geneva, where he began his graduate studies in international affairs and launched his U.N. career.

Annan married Titi Alakija, a Nigerian woman, in 1965, and they had a daughter, Ama, and a son, Kojo. He returned to the U.S. in 1971 and earned a master’s degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management. The couple separated during the 1970s and, while working in Geneva, Annan met his second wife, Swedish lawyer Nane Lagergren. They married in 1984.

Annan worked for the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa in Ethiopia, its Emergency Force in Egypt and the office of the High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva before taking a series of senior posts at U.N. headquarters in New York dealing with human resources, budget, finance and staff security.

He also had special assignments. After Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, he facilitated the repatriation from Iraq of more than 900 international staff and other non-Iraqi nationals, and the release of Western hostages in Iraq. He led the initial negotiations with Iraq for the sale of oil in exchange for humanitarian relief.

Just before becoming secretary-general, Annan served as U.N. peacekeeping chief and as special envoy to the former Yugoslavia, where he oversaw a transition in Bosnia from U.N. protective forces to NATO-led troops.

The U.N. peacekeeping operation faced two of its greatest failures during his tenure: the Rwanda genocide in 1994 and the massacre in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica in July 1995.

In both cases, the U.N. had deployed troops under Annan’s command, but they failed to save the lives of the civilians they were mandated to protect. Annan offered apologies but ignored calls to resign by U.S. Republican lawmakers. After becoming secretary-general, he called for U.N. reports on those two debacles — and they were highly critical of his management.

As secretary-general, Annan forged his experiences into a doctrine called the “Responsibility to Protect” that countries accepted — at least in principle — to head off genocide, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and war crimes.

Annan sought to strengthen the U.N.’s management, coherence and accountability, efforts that required huge investments in training and technology, a new whistleblower policy and financial disclosure requirements.

In 1998, he helped ease a transition to civilian rule in Nigeria and visited Iraq to try to resolve its impasse with the Security Council over compliance with weapons inspections and other matters. The effort helped avoid an outbreak of hostilities that seemed imminent at the time.

In 1999, he was deeply involved in the process by which East Timor gained independence from Indonesia, and started the “Global Compact” initiative that has grown into the world’s largest effort to promote corporate social responsibility.

Annan was chief architect of what became known as the Millennium Development Goals, and played a central role in creating the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the U.N.’s first counter-terrorism strategy.

Annan’s uncontested election to a second term was unprecedented, reflecting the overwhelming support he enjoyed from both rich and poor countries. Timothy Wirth, president of the United Nations Foundation, which disburses Ted Turner’s $1 billion pledge to U.N. causes, hailed “a saint-like sense about him.”

In 2005, Annan succeeded in establishing the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council. But that year, the U.N. was facing almost daily attacks over allegations about corruption in the U.N. oil-for-food program in Iraq, bribery by U.N. purchasing officials and widespread sex abuse by U.N. peacekeepers — an issue that would only balloon in importance after he left office.

It emerged that Annan’s son had not disclosed payments he received from his employer, which had a $10 million-a-year contract to monitor humanitarian aid under the oil-for-food program. The company paid at least $300,000 to Kojo so he would not work for competitors after he left.

An independent report criticized the secretary-general for being too complacent, saying he should have done more to investigate matters even if he was not involved with the awarding of the contract.

World leaders agreed to create an internal U.N. ethics office, but a major overhaul of the U.N.’s outdated management practices and operating procedures was left to Annan’s successor, Ban Ki-moon.

Before leaving office, Annan helped secure a truce between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006, and mediated a settlement of a dispute between Cameroon and Nigeria over the Bakassi peninsula.

At a farewell news conference, Annan listed as top achievements the promotion of human rights, the fight to close the gap between extreme poverty and immense wealth and the U.N. campaign to fight infectious diseases like AIDS.

He never took disappointments and setbacks personally. And he kept his view that diplomacy should take place in private and not in the public forum.

In his memoir, Annan recognized the costs of taking on the world’s top diplomatic job, joking that “SG,” for secretary-general, also signified “scapegoat” around U.N. headquarters.

Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke called Annan “an international rock star of diplomacy.”

After leaving his high-profile U.N. perch, Annan didn’t let up. In 2007, his Geneva-based foundation was created. That year he helped broker peace in Kenya, where election violence had killed over 1,000 people.

He also joined The Elders, an elite group of former leaders founded by Nelson Mandela, eventually succeeding Desmond Tutu as its chairman.

Annan “represented our continent and the world with enormous graciousness, integrity and distinction,” Tutu said Saturday in a statement, adding that “we give great thanks to God” for him.

As special envoy to Syria in 2012, Annan won international backing for a six-point plan for peace. The U.N. deployed a 300-member observer force to monitor a cease-fire, but peace never took hold and Annan was unable to surmount the bitter stalemate among Security Council powers. He resigned in frustration seven months into the job, as the civil war raged on.

Annan continued to crisscross the globe. In 2017, his foundation’s biggest projects included promotion of fair, peaceful elections; work with Myanmar’s government to improve life in troubled Rakhine state; and battling violent extremism by enlisting young people to help.

He also remained a vocal commentator on troubles like the refugee crisis; promoted good governance, anti-corruption measures and sustainable agriculture in Africa; and pushed efforts in the fight against illegal drug trafficking.

Like many in the international community he expressed alarm at the Trump administration’s decisions to back out of the Iran nuclear deal and move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Annan retained connections to many international organizations. He was chancellor of the University of Ghana, a fellow at New York’s Columbia University, and professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore.

His homeland of Ghana was shaken by his death. “One of our greatest compatriots,” President Nana Akufo-Addo said, calling for a week with flags at half-staff. “Rest in perfect peace, Kofi. You have earned it.”

Annan is survived by his wife and three children. Funeral arrangements weren’t immediately announced.

Italy’s leader demands safe roads; bridge toll rises to 43

Italian President Sergio Mattarella, right, meets relatives attending a funeral service for some of the victims of a collapsed highway bridge, in Genoa's exhibition center Fiera di Genova, Italy, Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018. Saturday has been declared a national day of mourning in Italy and includes a state funeral at the industrial port city's fair grounds for those who plunged to their deaths as the 45-meter (150-foot) tall Morandi Bridge gave way Tuesday. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

GENOA, Italy (AP) — Italy’s president demanded guarantees Saturday that all the nation’s roads are safe following the Genoa highway bridge collapse, after he hugged and comforted mourners at a state funeral in the grieving port city.

President Sergio Mattarella spoke quietly to victims’ families before the ceremony began on Genoa’s fairgrounds. Usually reserved in demeanor, Mattarella was embraced tightly for a long moment by one distraught woman.

He then took his place with other Italian leaders, including Premier Giuseppe Conte and the transportation minister, in the packed yet cavernous hall.

Afterward, Mattarella called the funeral, which took place on a day of national mourning, “a moment of grief, shared grief, by all of Italy.”

One mourner, a local man who would only give his first name, Alessandro, held a placard that read: “In Italy, we prefer ribbon-cuttings to maintenance” — referring to the country’s dilapidated infrastructure.

“These are mistakes that keep on repeating. And now, for the umpteenth time, angels have flown into heaven and paid for the mistakes of other human beings,” Alessandro said.

As the city honored its dead, the toll from Tuesday’s bridge collapse rose unofficially Saturday to 43 with the discovery of four more bodies in the rubble and the death in the hospital of the most severely injured survivor.

Firefighter Stefano Zanut told Sky TG24 TV they had extracted from tons of broken concrete the crushed car that an Italian couple on vacation with their 9-year-old daughter had been traveling in.

Zanut said the last body pulled out of the wreckage was that of a young Italian man, an employee of Genoa’s trash company, who was working under the bridge when it collapsed. The man’s mother had refused to leave a tent set up a few hundred yards away from the rubble until his body was found.

RAI state radio said authorities now believe there are no more missing in the tragedy.

Later, San Martino Hospital said a Romanian truck driver who had suffered severe cranial and chest injuries in the bridge collapse died Saturday evening.

The families of 19 victims their loved ones’ coffins brought to the hall for the funeral Mass led by Genoa’s archbishop, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, who said the tragedy “gashed the heart of Genoa.”

“The initial disbelief and then the growing dimension of the catastrophe, the general bewilderment, the tumult of emotions, the pressing “Whys?” have touched us yet again and in a brutal way showed the inexorable fragility of the human condition,” he said.

Among the coffins were those of two young Albanian Muslim men who lived and worked in Italy. Their remains were blessed at the end of the Catholic service by a Genoa imam, who drew applause when he prayed for God to “protect Italy and all Italians.”

Players and managers from the city’s two major league soccer teams, Genoa and Sampdoria, also attended after their weekend matches were postponed out of respect for the dead.

At other bridge funerals on Friday, angry mourners blamed authorities of negligence and incompetence for failing to keep the bridge safe.

During the state funeral, applause rang out and many fought back tears Saturday as a prelate read out the first names of some 30 victims who have been identified. The mourners also applauded Italian firefighters, police and volunteers for the civil protection department as they arrived.

Mattarella toured what’s left of the Morandi Bridge, which broke apart in a fierce rainstorm, sending a long stretch of roadbed crashing 45 meters (150 feet) into a dry river bed near several apartment buildings. Those buildings have been evacuated and authorities say they will have to be demolished.

After the funeral, Mattarella told reporters the bridge collapse “is an unacceptable tragedy.” He demanded that “responsibility be ascertained with rigor” for the collapse of the bridge, which linked two major highways, one leading to Milan and the other toward France.

Prosecutors say they are focusing their probe on possible design flaws or inadequate maintenance of the highway bridge, which was completed in 1967.

“I, too, have traveled over this bridge many times,” said Mattarella, demanding that authorities commit to carrying out their “duty to guarantee the safety of our roads.”

Responding to harsh criticism, the Italian highway company in charge of the collapsed bridge offered Saturday to build a new bridge in eight months.

Giovanni Castellucci, CEO of Autostrade per l’Italia, the company that manages Italian highways and bridges, told reporters it has a plan to demolish what’s left of the largely concrete 51-year-old Morandi Bridge and build a “less imposing” steel one.

Italy’s government, however, has begun procedures to revoke the company’s concession and has vowed that Autostrade per l’Italia will never again run the nation’s roads.

Castellucci declined to talk about the government’s stance. He said even though the cause of Tuesday’s bridge collapse hasn’t been determined “we apologize” since “perceptions count.”

Castellucci also said the company would provide funds to help the hundreds of people evacuated from apartment buildings in the shadow of the bridge.

But the Italy’s new populist government quickly spurned both the offer of help and the apology.

“Let’s be very clear, the state won’t take charity from Autostrade,” Deputy Premier Luigi Di Maio, who attended the funeral, said in a Facebook post. “We’ll insist on credible reimbursement, and there won’t be any bartering. The only road the government will follow is that of going forward with revocation procedures.”

At the state funeral, the names of the dead were placed on each coffin before the altar. Photographs, flowers and on one coffin a signed sports jersey, a sports trophy and a stuffed animal added personal touches.

Players from a local team in Italy’s Serie D soccer, Campi Corniglianese, came to pay tribute to one of their own. Among the two Albanian dead was Marius Djerri, 22, who played for the team and was on his way to work for a cleaning company along with his compatriot when their truck plunged into the abyss.

“(Marius was) a golden boy. Maybe not the strongest player on the pitch, but as a person, I would like all players to be like him,” team president Augustus Pintus said.

German prosecutors probe Yazidi woman’s claim about IS man

19-year-old Yazidi refugee, Ashwaq Haji Hami talks about her experiences in Germany, saying she has now returned to her homeland of Iraq for fear that her alleged Islamic State tormentor could harm her in Germany, during an interview at Essian refugee camp in Iraq, Friday Aug. 17, 2018. Hami says she was enslaved by Islamic State militants in 2014, but escaped and went to Germany where she ran into her captors again, so has emigrated to Iraq for safety. German prosecutors said Saturday Aug. 18, they are taking Ashwaq Haji Hami's claims seriously, but say they need more information to identify him. (AP Photo)

BERLIN (AP) — German prosecutors said Saturday they are taking seriously a Yazidi refugee’s claim that she ran into her former Islamic State captor twice in Germany, but say they need more information to identify him.

The case of 19-year-old Ashwaq Haji Hami made headlines this week after she was quoted telling the Iraqi-Kurdish news portal basnews that she returned to her homeland of Iraq for fear that her alleged tormentor could harm her in Germany. Several reports in foreign media suggested that German authorities were unwilling to act on the woman’s claims.

“The young woman was interviewed but the information (she provided) wasn’t precise enough,” Frauke Koehler, a spokeswoman for federal prosecutors, told The Associated Press on Saturday. When authorities tried to follow up, the woman had already left Germany, Koehler said.

The AP, however, spoke to the woman at a camp for displaced people near Shekhan in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

Hami said she was captured by the Islamic State group in August 2014, and enslaved and abused by an IS member called Abu Humam, whose real name she said was Mohammed Rashid. After managing to escape from IS, she says she allegedly encountered her tormentor in Germany in 2016 and again in February this year in the southwestern German town of Schwaebisch Gmuend.

“I recognized his face very clearly and whenever I see him I can recognize him … because of the beatings he gave us,” Hami told the AP. “We saw him 24 hours a day. So anytime or anywhere I see him, I would be able to identify him.”

Hami said she reported the incidents to German police, but — citing fears for her safety — she moved back to Iraq in June.

“I am not ready to sacrifice my honor in Germany,” she said. “If I was kidnapped or killed in Germany, who would find out who did that to me?”

Koehler rejected suggestions that German authorities weren’t interested in the case.

“If we’d seen an opportunity to arrest someone, we would immediately have done so,” she said, noting that German federal prosecutors opened a special investigation several years ago into alleged war crimes committed by Islamic State militants with the aim of bringing perpetrators to justice. One of the investigation’s elements is the killing of thousands of Yazidis by IS militants in 2014. Many more were taken into captivity, often kept as sex slaves.

About 3,000 Yazidis still remain missing, most thought to have been killed in the war that rolled back IS control in Syria and Iraq in the last three years.

Jan Ilhan Kizilhan, a German doctor who helped bring hundreds of Yazidi women to Germany in 2015, told public broadcaster ARD on Friday that seeing people who look like their tormentors can sometimes trigger traumatic memories.

Koehler said while the case was difficult, “if we get any further information to firm this up, we will pursue this.”

To do so, Hami would need to return to Germany, which she is legally entitled to do, said Koehler.

“Our powers end at the German border,” she said.

Putin dances at Austrian wedding; talks with Merkel on Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, congratulates Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl as he attends the wedding of Kneissl with with Austrian businessman Wolfgang Meilinger in Gamlitz, southern Austria, Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018. (Roland Schlager/pool photo via AP)

BERLIN (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin made a flying visit to Austria to attend the wedding of the country’s foreign minister Saturday before heading to Berlin for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Austrian authorities imposed tight security measures around the site of the ceremony near the southern border with Slovenia, where Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl married her partner Wolfgang Meilinger, a businessman. Kneissl, an independent, was nominated by the pro-Russia Austrian Freedom Party, whose leaders also attended the wedding.

Photos showed Putin dancing with the bride, who was dressed in a traditional Austrian costume. According to Austrian public broadcaster ORF, Putin also brought a small Cossack men’s choir along to entertain about 100 guests at the wedding.

Austrian lawmaker Joerg Leichtfried of the opposition Social Democratic Party criticized Kneissl’s decision to invite Putin to the wedding, saying it called into question Austria’s role as a neutral intermediary in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, where Russia-backed rebels are battling government forces. Austria currently holds the European Union’s rotating presidency.

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian news agencies that the Russian president spent about an hour at the wedding. Putin gave the newlyweds a cold press oil machine, a traditional Russian samovar and a landscape painting that “depicts the place where the groom hails from,” according to Peskov.

Peskov said Putin said “quite a long toast in German in which he said he was thankful and happy that he got a chance to visit the hospitable Austria.”

Speaking hours later alongside Merkel before the two leaders held bilateral talks at the German government’s guesthouse in Meseberg, north of Berlin, Putin said they would discuss bilateral ties, economic cooperation and Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline beneath the Baltic Sea.

The United States and some European countries have criticized the pipeline, saying it could increase Europe’s energy dependence on Russia, harm Ukraine — currently a major gas transit country — and pose an environmental risk.

Germany imported 53 billion cubic meters of Russian gas last year.

“Nord Steam 2 is purely an economic project and it doesn’t close the door to shipping gas through Ukraine,” Putin said. Transit fees for Russian gas are an important item contributing to the Ukrainian budget.

With protesters audible Saturday outside the guesthouse in Meseberg, Putin also raised the issue of humanitarian aid and funding for international reconstruction in Syria.

“It’s important to help those areas that the refugees can return to,” he said. “I think it’s in everyone’s interests, including Europe’s.”

Germany, which has taken in hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing the war, has in the past insisted it wouldn’t contribute to the reconstruction of Syria before a political settlement to end the war has been reached.

Merkel said the talks would also touch on the possibility of establishing a United Nations mission to help bring about peace in Ukraine.

Another trial looms for ex-Trump campaign chairman Manafort

This courtroom sketch depicts U.S. District court Judge T.S. Ellis III speaking to the lawyers and defendant Paul Manafort, fourth from left, as the jury continues to deliberate in Manafort's trial on bank fraud and tax evasion at federal court in Alexandria, Va., Friday, Aug. 17, 2018. Third from left is Manafort's attorney Kevin Downing. (Dana Verkouteren via AP)

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — As jurors weigh Paul Manafort’s fate in a sprawling financial fraud case, the former Trump campaign chairman still has another trial looming in the nation’s capital — and prosecutors there have a whole new set of charges and a huge volume of evidence.

The trial now underway in Alexandria, Virginia, is the first case brought by special counsel Robert Mueller to go to trial. The jury will return Monday to begin a third day of deliberations on 18 counts, including tax and bank fraud and failure to disclose foreign bank accounts.

In the District of Columbia, Manafort is scheduled to go on trial in September on charges including conspiracy to defraud the United States, failing to register as a foreign agent, money laundering, witness tampering and making false statements.

Neither case involves allegations of Russian election interference or possible coordination by the Trump campaign, which are at the heart of Mueller’s larger investigation. But President Donald Trump has expressed a keen interest in Manafort’s fate as he seeks to publicly undermine Mueller’s probe.

The charges in D.C. could result in an even lengthier sentence than what Manafort faces in Virginia. In a status report filed back in February, prosecutors did a preliminary calculation of how federal sentencing guidelines would apply to Manafort if convicted on all charges. In Virginia, they calculated a sentence of roughly eight to 10 years on the tax fraud charges plus an additional four to five years on the bank fraud. In the District, they calculated a guidelines range of 15 to 20 years, and that was before prosecutors brought the witness tampering charge.

Those guidelines are only rough estimates and will be officially calculated by a probation officer before sentencing. And sentencing guidelines are not binding on the judge.

The fact that Manafort faces a second trial is entirely of his own choosing. Prosecutors preferred to bring all the charges in the District of Columbia, where their investigation is based and where all other defendants have been charged. But prosecutors lacked venue to bring the tax and bank-fraud charges against Manafort anywhere but Virginia, where Manafort owns a home.

Prosecutors requested that Manafort waive his venue rights so all charges could be brought in D.C., but he refused.

In some ways, the decision to face some charges in Virginia appears to have paid off for Manafort.

Judge T.S. Ellis III has expressed skeptical opinions about the government’s case from the outset. In a pretrial hearing, he speculated that prosecutors only decided to bring charges against Manafort to pressure him to “sing” against Trump. He also questioned the fairness of a special counsel law that has allowed Mueller to commit millions of taxpayer dollars to his investigation.

During the trial, prosecutors have been frustrated by comments Ellis has made in front of the jury about the evidence and his frequent exhortations to move the three-week trial along at a quicker pace.

Despite those frustrations, prosecutors were able to introduce hundreds of documents, including emails from Manafort himself seeming to acknowledge some of the financial misdeeds prosecutors say are at the heart of the case.

In the District, meanwhile, Manafort will face a judge who has already seen fit to put him in jail ahead of trial. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who will oversee the criminal trial in Washington, ordered Manafort jailed because of concerns about his alleged efforts to contact two witnesses. Prosecutors filed witness tampering charges against him in June.

Initially Manafort was confined to a “VIP” jail in Warsaw, Virginia., where his cell had a private bathroom and he had phone and computer access. But after Manafort’s lawyers complained about lengthy 100-mile trips to meet with him, Ellis transferred him to a stricter holding facility in Alexandria. Once a familiarly dapper figure in political circles, known for jet-black dyed hair and a tanned complexion, Manafort is now gaunter and grayer.

Officials have not said whether Manafort would be transferred to a jail in the Washington area in advance of the September trial.

In the D.C. trial, Manafort may face an even taller stack of evidence. In a court filing Thursday, Manafort’s defense lawyer, Kevin Downing, said the special counsel’s office has sent him “well over 1,000 proposed exhibits — most of which have not been a part of the trial before Judge Ellis,” for review ahead of the September trial in the District.

Center relaunches inpatient treatment program

Jose Gurrola, hospital administrator for the New Mexico Rehabilitation Center. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

The region has an additional tool in its efforts to help people overcome their addictions to alcohol and other chemical substances.

The New Mexico Rehabilitation Center has re-instituted its 28-day inpatient substance abuse treatment program, said Jose Gurrola, administrator of the facility for about 14 months.

Gurrola said the inpatient treatment option began again in July and has 16 beds available.

“The NMRC has continually offered substance abuse programming here in this facility,” said Gurrola, a Roswell native who holds a master’s degree in heath care administration.

He explained that the inpatient treatment option is only part of a ladder of addiction treatment services available at the state-administered center, part of the New Mexico Department of Health and a “Gold Standard” care facility as determined by the Joint Commission for Hospital Accreditation. It is located on Gail Harris Street near Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell.

In addition to the inpatient program, the center also offers a four- to seven-day residential medical detox program for those who are still using drugs or going through withdrawal from the chemicals, the only program of its kind within about 200 miles, and it has a 16-week intensive outpatient treatment program. The amount of time someone spends in those programs can be lengthened if care providers deem that necessary, Gurrola said.

Medical detox and the outpatient programs have proven effective through evidence-based models on a national level, Gurrola said, so they had been top priorities for the center during the past few years. But the Department of Health and the center decided that the inpatient program was a needed and useful component of the equation, so it made the decision to relaunch it.

The inpatient program is the only one within about 90 miles and is for those who are sober but in need of intense, eight to nine hours a day of counseling, educational offerings and medical treatment so that they can return to their normal routines without returning to drugs.

“There they can receive education, further treatment options, case management services about where they can receive services next — psychologists, psychiatrists, other care of their choice,” he said. “Making sure they receive that care is part of our program.”

Gurrola said that the center’s doctors, nurses and counselors see patients addicted to a number of chemicals, including alcohol, opioids and heroin, methamphetamines and cocaine.

The southeast region of New Mexico has fairly high levels of alcohol and illicit drug dependency, according to a 2017 substance abuse epidemiology profile by the Department of Health that presents data collected from several sources. According to the state report, 6 percent of the population ages 18 to 25 indicated experiencing illicit drug abuse or dependency from 2012 to 2014, while 12.2 percent of that age group responded that they had abused or become dependent on alcohol. The report also indicated that Chaves County had an alcohol-related death rate of 5.9 per 100,000 population from 2011 to 2014 and an illicit drug death rate of 22.1 during the same period.

Gurrola said the center’s programs are all voluntary, and patients must go through intake to determine which level of care is appropriate to them. For that reason, hospitals, not the center, are the place for people experiencing a crisis at night, threatening suicide or otherwise in need of immediate care, Gurrola said.

People must choose treatment for themselves, but they often are urged to seek help by courts, probation officers, care providers, social workers, homeless shelters or concerned family and friends.

“We are considered a starting step in a person’s sobriety,” he said. “As a community, our local hospital, our local providers and other agencies in our community, it is really our responsibility to come together to treat these people.”

Jeneva Martinez of the Roswell Homeless Coalition said she considers the center a great partner to address community and individual problems.

“It’s a valuable and useful resource for the type of population that we serve,” she said, “because there are some people that experience substance abuse. We aren’t staffed with people having medical backgrounds, so it is important that people have somewhere they can go for medical detox and treatment so that they come into the shelters clean and sober and ready to deal with their problems.”

Medical detox and inpatient care costs $650 to $670 a day. Outpatient treatment, which is normally three hours a day, three times a week, is about $60 a day. The medical detox program is covered by Medicaid, Medicare and most private insurance plans. The outpatient treatment is covered by Medicare and private insurance. Inpatient is covered only by private insurance now, although the Rehabilitation Center can sometimes offer other financial assistance to patients in need.

Gurrola said the industry expects federal legislation to be considered in early 2019 that would authorize Medicaid and Medicare coverage for inpatient treatment as well.

Gurrola said the need in the community is clear. The center has treated 224 patients in its medical detox program during the past two years and 500 patients in the outpatient programming during the past four years.

Staff make it a point to follow up with patients to monitor progress, he said, and have found that in 2018 only seven former detox patients returned for more treatment during the year and only about 43 outpatient clients. The chemical dependency program also is rated well by patients, with a recent quarterly survey finding that 94 percent were satisfied with their treatment.

The center, which has grown in revenues from $1.6 million in fiscal year 2017 to $3.9 million for fiscal year 2018, also has a medical rehabilitation unit with 15 beds to treat people who have experienced strokes, brain injuries or severe physical injuries due to illness or accidents. Patients can receive physical and speech therapy, along with medical care, with the goal that they will be discharged able to care for themselves or without needing such intense care. An outpatient component of that unit is expected to reopen in early 2019.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

Hagerman’s rally shows heart

From left to right: Brian Erickson, representing Hagerman EMS ambulance team, Hagerman Police Chief Rachelle Bateman and Liliana Marquez, representing the Hagerman Fire Department. The first responders will have their vehicles at the Hagerman Blowback Rally, which is a joint community fundraiser between them and the community. (Submitted Photo)

First responder and community fundraiser event will benefit two storm victim families

The first responders and community of Hagerman invite the public to the Blowback Rally on Aug. 25 at the Hagerman Community Center, 501 E. Argyle St. The event is a fundraiser for the two families who lost their homes in the June windstorm.

As reported in the Roswell Daily Record on June 6, the storm that went through Hagerman hit the small community with 60- to 80-mph straight-line winds leaving damage and destruction. Fortunately, no one was injured, but two families lost everything they had, including their homes.

The first responders of Hagerman and surrounding areas are inviting everyone to come out, meet them and enjoy a day of fun and entertainment. Police cars and fire trucks will be on location and kids and adults can learn how they function.

Showing a sense of humor, there will be a dunk-a-cop or -firefighter station. A friendly competition of shield versus hose takes place at 3:30 p.m.

At 8 a.m., a sand volleyball tournament will take place — four versus four with six to a team. To register or for more information about the tournament, call 575-840-4864.

At 11 a.m., teams compete in throwing horseshoes. To register in advance, call 575-626-8813. Registration of teams and payment can also be done that morning.

The Runyan Petting Zoo is bringing its animals. They will be staying from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Children will have fun during the day in the bouncy house, with face painting from Let’s Play Entertainment. Comic characters from “Fame One” are waiting to shake hands and give hugs and the Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest are putting up an explorer station.

Cowpie bingo gives every player a chance to win cash prizes of $5,000 and $1,000 at 2 and 5 p.m. A huge bingo grid will be made consisting of 200 squares with numbers from one to 200. Then a cow will be led onto the grid. Whoever holds the ticket with the number matching the square where the cow deposits its pie wins the cash prize. Ticket owners do not need to be present to win.

For tickets, call 575-626-8813. Tickets can be purchased at the Hagerman Police Department, which is located next to the Hagerman Community Center. Tickets can also be purchased from the Hagerman Varsity Cheerleaders and at the Hagerman Town Hall, 209 E. Argyle St.

There will also be a photo booth, donut-eating contest and a pop-with-a-cop station.

Throughout the day, refreshments and snacks are available for purchase. The Hagerman Lions Club is selling hamburgers and hot dogs at noon and the women of St. Catherine’s Church prepare enchilada plates starting at 4:30 p.m.

There will also be an indoor bingo from 6 to 8 p.m. and at 8:30 p.m., a movie in the park ends the day. There are no benches in the park, but everyone can bring blankets and chairs.

The schedule is subject to change.

All proceeds of the event will be divided in half and given to the two families to help rebuild their homes.

The organizers are still looking for donations to help funding. For updates, donations or to volunteer, visit the Hagerman Police Department’s Facebook page or call 575-626-8813.

Christina Stock may be contacted at 622-7710, ext. 309, or at vision@rdrnews.com.

Local Democrats open party headquarters on Southeast Main

People eat in Suite A at 1701 SE Main Street Thursday night during the opening of the campaign office of the Democratic Party of Chaves County. The party and Democratic campaigns will use the space through the November elections. (Alex Ross Photo)

Local Democrats kicked off the election season Thursday night with the opening of their campaign office.

The party faithful dined on Mexican food, mingled and heard from two candidates in down ballot races in the two-room space in Suite A at 1701 SE Main Street. The space will function as the office for local Democrats through the November election.

The space was until recently the office of the Roswell Hispano Chamber of Commerce.

Paul Romero, chair of the Democratic Party of Chaves County, said he and others in the party looked at a few locations, but said the space was the most efficient.

“We looked around and it seemed like one of the better deals,” Romero said.

The same location was used as the campaign office by Democrats in the 2016 election cycle, he added.

The offices will be open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m to 6 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Races for the U.S. Senate, U.S. House, governor and a host of other statewide, state legislative, judicial and county races will be decided in the coming election.

Romero said that people he would never think would vote Democrat have expressed a willingness to do so this year. Candidates this year have also been willing to come campaign in Chaves County, a Republican stronghold.

Romero told the audience that after the election in 2016, he lost hope, but they cannot undo the past.

“We move forward until November and then we write a new chapter in politics,” he said.

Michael Trujillo, a candidate in the District 1 race for the Chaves County Commission and Kevin Sanders, candidate for the District 2 seat on the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, also spoke at the gathering.

Trujillo, a former two-term county County Commissioner, will go up against former state Representative Dara Dana, a Republican, in the fall for the seat now held by James Duffy. Duffy is unable to run for re-election due to term limits.

Trujillo said his background makes him a good fit for the seat.

“I am the candidate who has experience,” he said. “We need a Democrat up there and I’m going to be your voice.”

Trujillo added that going forward he wants to ensure the county sheriff’s office and fire departments have the best equipment. Fixing county roads and economic development are other issues that he said he hopes to work on if elected.

Trujillo said that he and volunteers have campaigned door-to-door in district one.

“We’ve been hitting about 100 houses in two hours,” he said.

Kevin Sanders, the Democrat in the race for the District 2 seat on the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, said that while races for governor and U.S. Senate get all the attention, the contests further down the ballot, such as his, also have an impact on everyday New Mexicans.

“People need to focus more on these local races because it effects them and how much they pay on their utility bills,” he said.

Sanders, an attorney from Tucumcari, will face Republican Jefferson Byrd in November. The winner will represent District 2, which encompasses eastern New Mexico and is the largest of the commission’s four districts.

The district is now represented by Patrick Lyons, a Republican, who is unable to run for re-election because of term limits.

Sanders said no Democrat has ever represented District 2 on the commission so he has his work cut out for him. He added that the energy sector is at a crossroads, moving from oil to alternatives such as wind and solar.

He said New Mexico needs to look at what other states are doing in the field of renewable energy. He said there are also other tools, such as federal grants that the state can take advantage of.

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

Student artists recognized at board meeting


Niki Gibson and Abigail Cano, both age 10, point to their artwork featured in the Roswell Independent School District’s board room. Gibson is a student at Berrendo Elementary School and Cano attends East Grand Plains Elementary School. Forty-five students were recognized at the school board meeting on Tuesday. “I think it is just a testament to the need for arts in education and integrating those, helping our kids make those connections with what they are learning and being able to express that so beautifully and so creatively through their artwork,” Superintendent Dr. Ann McIlroy said. Abbie Smith, Arts Connect principal, said it is “plain to see the amazing talent of students” and the staff that guides it. Smith and the staff gave certificates and ribbons to the students after the recognition. (Alison Penn Photo)

Teacher earns Golden Apple Award


Jessica Sanders, a Berrendo Middle School (BMS) science teacher, was recognized as the Golden Apple Award recipient at the Roswell Independent School District’s school board meeting on Tuesday night. Licia Hillman, principal of Berrendo Middle School, said Sanders has been able to reach “all types of learners” and that she is proud of Sanders’ accomplishment. “The goal is to go beyond yourself, beyond your district, beyond your city and to bring education back to the classroom for experiences our students wouldn’t normally have,” Sanders said. Sanders said the bar is set high and she is honored to bring back a “world-experience” to BMS. (Alison Penn Photo)

Nonprofit talks about park upgrade

The Keep Chaves County Beautiful group expects to finish repairs and upgrades to Cumberland Park in Midway by early December. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

The only park owned by Chaves County should look a lot different by early December if the plans of a local nonprofit go forward.

A group of about 30 people met Thursday night at the Midway Volunteer Fire Department Station to talk about efforts to fix up Cumberland Park, which has fallen into disrepair since it was established sometime around 1980 as a place where the community went for church gatherings, movies and other events.

The park is located at the corner of Templeton and Day streets in the unincorporated area of Midway, a community of about 700 people. The project to spruce up Cumberland is happening now because the Keep Chaves County Beautiful organization has received a $20,000 grant from the Keep America Beautiful-Lowe’s Community Partner grant program.

“How often do you have $20,000 thrown at you to do something productive with? Very rare. We have an opportunity here with essentially free money,” said Sean Davis, president of the Keep Chaves County Beautiful group.

The group took up the project after Chaves County staff asked them to consider it as a future effort. The group is now aligned with Chaves County, but was once the Keep Roswell Beautiful group formed in 1986. According to Keep America Beautiful guidelines, its affiliated nonprofits must be associated with a governmental entity.

Davis told meeting attendees that the grant money can be used to pay for products and goods, but not labor or services. At this time, the organization plans to build a new fence; add some lights; resurface and repaint the basketball court; install a privacy screen around two large county waste bins; purchase and install park benches, picnic tables, grills and trash receptacles; create horseshoe pits, a small soccer field, a volleyball area, and a walking path; build a colorful children’s play area from recycled tires; and plant flowers, trees and shrubs.

Items are expected to be ordered by the end of August, with materials available in about 30 days. Then volunteer work can begin, with the bulk of efforts expected in October and November.

Davis said that he hopes volunteers will come not only from the Keep Chaves County Beautiful group but from the Midway community, the Roswell Job Corps and area school groups.

Experienced welders are especially needed, Davis said, and the group also is looking for donations of sand for play areas and pea gravel or crushing fines for the walking trail.

Chaves County is helping with the project as well. It has repaired the well so that it can be used for light watering or irrigation, and it will dig the walking trail.

“I think it is great,” said David Sutherland about the plans for the park. He was one of the community members at the meeting and has three younger children who he thinks will play in the park once it is upgraded.

“I grew up here,” he said. “The park used to be a lot better when I was a kid. I would like to see it where my kids will use it.”

More information about the project is available on the group’s Facebook page or by calling 575-317-5661.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

Dunn rejects federal agency’s offer for state trust land ‘trespass’


New Mexico State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn has rejected an offer of about $8,700 from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency that he said was made to remedy an alleged trespass on state trust lands.

According to information released Wednesday by the State Land Office, Dunn launched an investigation in February that determined that the federal agency had constructed a portion of the controversial border wall, and was maintaining a road on state trust lands east of Santa Teresa, without acquiring the necessary right-of-way. About seven acres were affected.

Shortly thereafter, according to Dunn, Customs and Border Protection officials acknowledged the trespass, and the two agencies began a dialogue to remedy the situation, with the federal agency agreeing to appraise the land to determine how much it would offer to redress the situation.

“After nearly six months of evaluation, we hoped to sell the one-mile wide stretch of land for a reasonable price,” Dunn said. “The federal appraisal was for $8,736.”

Dunn said he was unwilling to sell the land for less than his office would receive for an easement. A 60-foot road and access easement for the same acreage would generate almost $20,000 over the course of a 35-year lease, Dunn said, and $54,310 over the course of a 99-year lease agreement.

“I’m disappointed with the federal government’s confiscation of state trust lands and the compensation offered,” he said. “President (Donald) Trump continues his push to funnel billions of dollars to construct a border wall, yet his administration seems bent on shortchanging our beneficiaries. I just cannot accept it.”

“CBP takes its relationships with stakeholders very seriously,” said Roger Maier, a public affairs specialist with Customs and Border Protection. “To that end, CBP has been and continues to coordinate very closely with the State Land Office. CBP does not have any comment on those on-going discussions. To date, there have been no impacts to CBP’s border security operations.”

The affected mile-long section of land, located east of the Santa Teresa Port of Entry in Dona Ana County, was conveyed to the Territory of New Mexico under the 1898 Ferguson Act and continues to be held in trust solely for public schools.

Interior Dept official visits Chaves County


A deputy director of the U.S. Department of the Interior is visiting the area for a few days to tour Chaves County.

Tim Williams, deputy director of the Office of External Affairs, said he was not authorized to talk with news media, but he was introduced at the Wednesday meeting of the Chaves County Board of Commissioners meeting by Chair Robert Corn.

“He is one of the few guys that comes out of Washington and comes out and looks at the landscape and tries to understand whenever we are visiting with him back in Washington what we are talking about,” Corn said. “He was one of the folks who gave us a little visit at the White House, Commissioner (Will) Cavin and I, a couple of weeks ago, and we got to meet with him and asked him to come out and he took us up on our invitation.”

After the meeting, Corn explained that Williams, some county staff and a commissioner or two will take private tours of some of the county together, including public lands that have been proposed to be designated as Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) and Lands with Wilderness Characteristics (LWCs) by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which is part of the Interior Department.

The visit comes at a time when the county is one of several suing the Interior Department and the BLM over how it engages in land and resource planning. One of the major allegations of the lawsuit is that the agencies are not abiding by federal regulations that require them to coordinate with counties in the planning process, not just inform them of what is occurring and seek their input.

Some county commissioners also have voiced concerns with the BLM’s revision of the Carlsbad Resource Management Plan, which covers portions of Chaves County. The recently released draft plan, which is now open for public comment, has recommended that some BLM parcels in the county be designated as ACECs and LWCs, which would limit their availability for livestock grazing, public access or business activities.

NMMI head coach resigns to become a Lobo

Former NMMI Coach Ralph Davis gives instructions to his players during a game this season. Davis resigned on Friday to take a job with the University of New Mexico basketball team. (NMMI Sports Press Photo)

A lot of folks ask, what can New Mexico Military Institute do for a cadet? Well, take a kid from the inner city who is used to the fast-paced life of New Jersey and New York City and ask him to adopt the regimented lifestyle of the military. Talk about shock and cultural change. Nine years later, that same kid turned out to be former NMMI head coach Ralph Davis. Davis is glad he came here and happy with the direction his path in life has taken him.

The sad part about Friday came the announcement by NMMI that Davis is leaving to take a job with the University of New Mexico basketball team as a video coordinator.

“I was presented with this opportunity,” Davis said. “I have nothing but good things to say about NMMI. Not only was I a coach there for the past nine years, but I was also a cadet there as well.”

Davis feels that the time is right for him to move on, he was an assistant coach under Sean Schooley and coached by Reggie Franklin. He felt like the teams he played on played to a high level of basketball in the Western Junior College Athletic Conference (WJCAC). As an assistant, he was charged with recruiting players and developing them to get to the next level in college.

“The things I learned playing under coaches Franklin and Schooley,” Davis stated, “was to play hard and take care of my business. Two years with them really meant a lot to my career.”

Davis cannot give enough credit to NMMI as it helped him grow into a man. It not only helped him on the basketball court but off of it as well — he had to learn to study and do things in a military manner and handle his time. One of the biggest things he felt NMMI instilled in him was to use time management skills in his favor and to get the most out of every minute of the day to help him succeed. This trait has not only helped him academically but as a coach and recruiter as well.

“My second year at NMMI was easier than my first,” Davis said. “I had a great time there; this is a unique place. I enjoyed being here enough that I decided I wanted to come back to work here. I’m sad to be winding down my career here.”

As a player at NMMI, Davis started every game his sophomore year and was WJCAC Honorable Mention selection his sophomore year. Davis would leave NMMI with an Associate of Arts degree.

Jose Barron, NMMI’s athletic director, felt a closeness to Davis because both were in their first year at NMMI together. Davis as a player and Barron as an athletic director. Barron could see the hard work Davis put in as a cadet, and as an assistant coach before getting the head coaching job at NMMI.

After graduating from NMMI, Davis went on to play for Texas A&M Kingsville, where he was a standout. He played so well that his coach Pete Peterson offered him the chance to become a graduate assistant for two years. Davis would graduate with a degree in criminology and a master’s in sociology.

“One of the things I learned from coach Peterson was attention to detail,” Davis said. “I learned to coach the small things that I had to learn as a player. He (Peterson) was very influential in my career.”

Davis got the urge to become a coach at NMMI because of Franklin and Schooley, who helped develop his passion for coaching.

“I have always wanted to impact as many lives as I can,” Davis said. “My focus has always been to do the best job I can in whatever situation I’m in and to impact as many kids for positive going down the road I’m on. If your intentions are pure and clear, I think things will work out for you.”

Barron felt all along that Davis would one day be in this position to go to the next level and just like the recruits that come to NMMI to play at the higher level, he wants his coaches to do the same if they choose to take their career in that path.

“To say that I’m happy for Ralph (Davis) is an understatement,” Barron said. “He’s done well for us. He’s certainly paid his dues at this level as a coach. I’m very proud he’s moving up to the Division I level, which is probably every coach’s and every player’s dream.”

Barron has already hired Davis’ replacement. Barron is bringing back former NMMI basketball coach Sean Schooley on an interim basis.

“Schooley is obviously a more-than-capable coach,” Barron said. “He has held the coaching job previously and knows no. He has served in various roles for the past few seasons. I don’t think we’ll miss a beat with him at the helm, and I’m looking forward to having him back on the bench.”

Davis coached at NMMI from 2015-2017 going 38-53 overall and 15-33 in the WJCAC.

“I’m so thankful to NMMI, the administration,” Davis said, “the staff and faculty. NMMI has been a part of my adult life and the same thing with the city of Roswell. I have nothing but positive things to say about this area. I’m from New Jersey, but this is home away from home.”

Ryan impressive in Falcons’ 28-14 preseason loss to Chiefs

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) passes against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

ATLANTA (AP) — After a dismal showing in the first preseason game, Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons found their offensive rhythm Friday.

Ryan guided the Falcons right down the field for a touchdown on their first possession, hooking up with Austin Hooper on a 4-yard scoring pass , and led another impressive drive before calling it a night in a 28-14 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Ryan finished 5 of 7 for 90 yards, looking very much like the quarterback who won the MVP during the 2016 season even though two of his top weapons, receiver Julio Jones and running back Devonta Freeman, were held out for the second week in a row.

It was certainly an encouraging contrast to the preseason opener, when the Falcons (0-2) were blanked 17-0 by the New York Jets and Ryan played only one brief series .

With a resting Jones watching from the sideline, Calvin Ridley got a chance to shine for the Falcons. The first-round pick from Alabama hauled in the first touchdown of his professional career on a 7-yard pass from backup quarterback Matt Schaub .

Ridley finished with three receptions for 49 yards.

Kansas City’s new starting quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, had an up-and-down game. The second-year player was intercepted on a deep throw by Falcons safety Damontae Kazee , who drifted over from the middle of the field to pick a ball intended for Sammy Watkins.

Mahomes caught a break when another ill-advised throw into the end zone was dropped by Falcons cornerback Blidi Wren-Wilson, allowing the Chiefs to salvage a field goal.

But, with just 17 seconds left in the first half, Mahomes made the most of his final pass. Three Atlanta defensive backs inexplicably allowed Tyreek Hill to get behind them, and Mahomes delivered the pass in stride for a 69-yard touchdown .

Mahomes was 8 of 12 for 138 yards.

Chad Henne took over for Mahomes to begin the second half. He connected with Gehrig Dieter on a 27-yard touchdown that put the Chiefs (1-1) ahead for the first time, capping a 10-play, 76-yard drive.

Ben Niemann finished off the scoring with a 26-yard interception return for a touchdownafter picking off a baffling throw by Atlanta’s third-string quarterback, undrafted rookie Kurt Benkert.

While many Atlanta fans were still backed up in security lines outside Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Ryan began his impressive showing by converting on third-and-11 with a 29-yard pass to Hooper.

Tevin Coleman, the other half of the Falcons’ dynamic 1-2 punch at running back, broke off a pair of 15-yard runs before Ryan rolled to his left and hit Hooper on the short scoring pass. The tight end showed impressive athleticism, hurtling into the end zone over cornerback Steven Nelson .

After the Chiefs went three-and-out, Ryan guided the Falcons deep into Kansas City territory once again. The big play was a 36-yard completion to Ridley , who beat David Amerson to haul in the pass.

On fourth-and-2 at the Chiefs 20, the Falcons passed on a field goal attempt, which was essentially irrelevant since 43-year-old kicker Matt Bryant skipped his second straight preseason game. Ryan’s pass for Ridley was broken up by Kendall Fuller, halting a seven-play, 69-yard drive.


Nelson was kneed in the head by Hooper on Atlanta’s first touchdown and staggered off the field. He was evaluated for a possible concussion.

Another Kansas City player, linebacker Terrance Smith, sustained an ankle injury.

The Chiefs also were missing star safety Eric Berry, who didn’t dress while he continues to nurse a sore heel.


There were no apparent protests during the national anthem.


Chiefs: Hit the road again to face the Chicago Bears on Aug. 25.

Falcons: Travel to Jacksonville that same day to face the Jaguars in a matchup between 2017 playoff teams.


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