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Plane crash narrative with events leading to and analysis of reasons why, part 1

Editor's Note: This is part 1 of a series of articles on actions that led up to and took place after the fatal plane crash that took four lives on May 23, 2014.

By Mary Alice Murphy
For www.grantcountybeat.com

A lawsuit filed on behalf of three victims of a fatal plane crash that took four lives near Silver City, N.M., has resulted in a settlement among the parties.

On Friday, May 23, 2014, three Aldo Leopold Charter School students—Ella Myers, 16; Michael Mahl, 16; and Ella Jaz Kirk, 14—took a flight in a private plane piloted by Dr. Peter Hochla, a psychiatrist out of Albuquerque who contracted with the local Veterans' Administration Clinic to see patients on Fridays in Silver City.-- Continue reading

Family Statement on settlement in plane crash

Ella Kirk, Michael Mahl, and Ella Myers, were gifted writers, musicians, photographers, film makers, students, conservationists, and more, inspiring us all to do more, be better, and ultimately reminding us just how precious life is. They lived their lives fully. Together they were leaders at Aldo Leopold Charter School (ALCS) and in the community, showing us that truth is a fundamental part of leadership and community.

Our three children, Ella Jaz, 14, Michael Sebastian, 16, and Ella Sala, 16, were flying over the Signal Peak burn area in the Gila National Forest near Silver City, NM as part of their ecological monitoring internships at ALCS on May 23, 2014 when they were taken from us in a fatal plane crash.-- Continue reading

Final Settlement Agreement Reached Between Families and Aldo Leopold Charter School Following Fatal Plane Crash

Final Settlement Agreement Reached Between Families and Aldo Leopold Charter School Following Fatal Plane Crash

From left are Michael Mahl, Ella Jaz Kirk and Ella MyersThe families of three students from Silver City, New Mexico, who died in a small aircraft on May 23, 2014, have signed a settlement agreement with Aldo Leopold Charter School (ALCS) and the pilot’s estate addressing negligence in the accident.

The three students - Ella Kirk, 14; Michael Mahl, 16; and Ella Myers, 16 - were flying over the Signal Peak burn area in the Gila National Forest during their ecological monitoring internships at ALCS when the pilot of the single engine plane made several fatal decisions, leading to the crash.

The terms of the settlement include:-- Continue reading

New CFO at Gila Regional Medical Center

New CFO at Gila Regional Medical Center

From left are Michael Metts, new CFO at Gila Regional and Michael Rolph, interim CFOJanuary 21, 2016 – After a nationwide search, Gila Regional Medical Center (GRMC) has hired a new Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Michael Metts from Houston Texas has accepted the position which has been held for the past 6 month by Interim CFO Michael Rolph. Mr. Rolph temporarily performed the duties of CFO while the search was underway. “It has been a real treat working with Gila Regional over the past year,” said Mr. Rolph, “There are so many wonderful people working hard to do great things. I really enjoyed my time here.”

-- Continue reading

SANE Services Restored to Grant County

SANE Services Restored to Grant County

(Right to Left) Silver Regional Sexual Assault Support Services Director Kelli Sierras, LMSW, and Shauna McCosh, FNP and CNM, outside La Clinica Health and Birth Center where Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner services are now available by calling 1-866-750-6474.Silver City, New Mexico, January 25, 2016: Silver Regional Sexual Assault Support Services (SRSASS) has restored local medical treatment and trauma care for anyone who has experienced a sexual assault or abuse.

The newly restored Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program is available through a partnership with SRSASS, La Clinica Health and Birth Center and New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs, Inc. SANE offers services all day, every day to adults and children of all genders by calling the crisis line at 1-866-750-6474.

SANE services include emergency contraception, trauma response, sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment, and referral to further support services, besides the standard forensic medical care offered.

-- Continue reading

New Mexico-90/Hudson Street Bridge is anticipated to open Jan. 30

By Mary Alice Murphy

Brian Torres, New Mexico Department of Transportation project manager for the New Mexico 90/Hudson Street Bridge on the south side of Silver City, said: "What's holding us up is that the grade is not finished. "We are still placing embankment. The rain and the snows last week and a half slowed us down. We will work Saturday and maybe Sunday.

No representative of the bridge contractor Interstate Highway Construction was on hand to talk about the construction portion of the process, but Torres answered questions.

"We are on schedule to place asphalt next week," he said.

He said the approaches had been too wet. "The ground has to meet compaction guidelines."-- Continue reading

Silver School Board hears updates from Stout Elementary

By Margaret Hopper

The Silver District school board met January 19 at the Administrative Offices, with four of the five members present: Chris Arvidson, Arnold Torres, Mike McMillan and Frances Vasquez, president.

The meeting was called to order at 5:58 p.m.

Vasquez commented on December minutes, saying she had said she would look at Los Alamos to see how it handled the public/limited comments on its agenda, and Deming about the form it used. She asked that the minutes be amended to reflect the correction. The board complied with her request.-- Continue reading

Agriculture Resiliency session brings collaboration

Agriculture Resiliency session brings collaboration

Charlotte Pollard, New Mexico First deputy director, served as moderator for the Resiliency in Agriculture input gathering session.

By Mary Alice Murphy

At the Silver City meeting of the New Mexico State University County Cooperative Extension Service Agriculture Resiliency, New Mexico First joined with the extension service to seek input on a robust food and agriculture system.

Charlotte Pollard, New Mexico First deputy director, explained the catalyst for the meeting. "Thornburg Investment Management relocated to New Mexico. The company's foundation is most interested in a robust food and agricultural system, because it is important to the health and well being of residents of the state."

She said other partners working in the effort include the Cooperative Extension Service and New Mexico First, which convened the session, and the funders are the Thornburg Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, McCune Charitable Foundation, New Mexico Department of Agriculture, New Mexico Community Foundation and Presbyterian Healthcare.

"We, at New Mexico First, hold forums," Pollard said. "We write research reports and convene town halls. We work to advocate the recommendations and ideas we hear."

-- Continue reading

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