Though Violent Crime Dropped in 2023, Assaults and Burglaries Are Up

Chief Portillo Suggests "Broken System"

Silver City -- All violent crime in Silver City, including homicide and rape, dropped in 2023, though assaults and burglaries of homes and businesses - especially in the southwestern quadrant of the city, which includes the historic downtown business district - increased, according to annual crime statistics compiled by Silver City Police Chief Freddie Portillo.

There were no murders in 2023, compared to two the prior year, and rape was down 14%, but assaults, both simple and aggravated, were up 49% and 40%, respectively. Aggravated assaults include the use of, or the threat to use, a weapon. Home and business burglaries, or breaking and entering, also increased. Silver City Police officers responded to 63 home burglaries, an increase of 29%, and 42 burglaries of a business, representing a 35% increase over 2023.  All larcenies, including shoplifting, theft from autos and other private property, were down 8%.

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ALCS Students Explore Renewable Energy

ALCS Energy(Bottom to top) David Pecotte, Kyra Shay, Gracie Hould, Abbey Beckworth, and Mia Cook. Photo by Antoinette Castanon
Teachers Pete Rankin, Molly Gibson, Ray Cressler, and Antoinette Castanon visited the Macho Springs Wind Farm with 9th grade students and the mixed grade level economics class to learn about career pathways, future growth potential, and sustainability issues within the renewable energy sector of the economy.

Students considered the full lifecycle of energy including energy generation to transmission to consumption, the American electric grid, and the basics of wind power.  In their reflection activity Rankin put the terms of electricity into context. One person working all day on YCC trail crew will generate about 70 watts/hour. An average household consumes 11,000 kilowatt/hours per year. Small power plants will produce at the scale of megawatts and the large hydro dam spanning the Yangtze River known as Three Gorges in China produces 2.2 gigawatts or 2.2 billion watts.

9th grader Mya Arrey-Gomez says, “I was surprised to learn that working at a wind farm offers the opportunity to travel and great health benefits.”

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WNMU Board of Regents Meet, Vote to Maintain Current Tuition Rate

SILVER CITY, NM – The Western New Mexico University Board of Regents met on Thursday, March 28 on campus in Silver City. Present at the meeting were Regent President Dr. Mary Hotvedt, Vice President Dr. Lyndon Haviland, Student Regent and Secretary Treasurer Trent Jones and Regent Dal Moellenberg.

WNMU President Dr. Joseph Shepard ceded some of his time to Faculty Senate President Scott Smith, who reported that currently 70% of university classes are taught online, while 20% are taught face-to-face, and 10% are taught in a hybrid format. The faculty are forming a committee to assess whether the number and kind of face-to-face classes are appropriately meeting student needs.

Staff Senate President Adele Springer and Associated Students of WNMU President Elizabeth Gonzales also reported on recent activities in their areas.

In his report to the board, President Shepard noted that the university is up 24% in applications over the same time last year.

The regents heard an update on the policy and procedure review process from Director of Professional Development Bobbi Dodson. Dodson indicated that the review committee is examining approximately 130 documents from across the university and is assessing them for consistency and for their alignment with HLC requirements. She said that the committee's work should be completed by June 2024.

Under old business, the board heard a summary of the 2022-2023 financial year audit report from auditor Scott Peck and Vice President of Business Affairs Kelley Riddle. The auditors examined a sample of the university's financial transactions, and while there were some minor findings, the audit was largely sound. The board voted unanimously to accept the audit report.

Under new business, the board voted unanimously to accept a recommendation from the Associated Students of WNMU to adjust student fees, resulting in an overall reduction of the amount students will pay in fees each semester.

The board also voted unanimously to accept a recommendation from President Shepard and Vice President Riddle to keep tuition at its present rate for the coming academic year. Shepard noted the WNMU is likely the only university in the state to have an overall reduction in combined tuition and fees this year.

Also under new business, the board voted unanimously to accept a proclamation naming the new WNMU Deming center the John Arthur and Janette Smith Educational Center.

The Board of Regents will next meet on April 29, 2024.


Since 1893, Western New Mexico University has served the people in its region as a comprehensive, rural, public body. As a Hispanic-Serving Institution and the state's only public Applied Liberal Arts and Sciences university, WNMU is committed to developing cross-cultural opportunities that encourage people to explore new experiences. The WNMU student body represents every segment of southwest New Mexico's diverse population.

Tour of the Gila Bicycle Race Seeks Volunteers, Host Families

Silver City, NM — The iconic bike race that showcases southwest New Mexico while attracting some of the world’s top talent invites people to experience Tour of the Gila from behind the scenes—as volunteers.

The five-day stage race based in Silver City, New Mexico, has been made possible for over 36 years by dedicated citizens who generously give their time and talent, open their homes to bike racers, and provide essential support in the form of sponsorships and donations. The 37th edition of Tour of the Gila again asks the community to join in making the race possible. Tour of the Gila 2024 runs from Wednesday April 24, through Sunday, April 28. Positions needing to be filled include course marshals, drivers, medical personnel, and housing hosts.

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No Limits: Kinesiology Major Finds EdVenture at WNMU

ItzelaDarkenwaldKinesiology major Itzela Darkenwald (right) has discovered a passion for outdoor leadership during her time at WNMU. She is seen here at the Catwalk Recreation Area with fellow students Isabella Medina (left) and Aubrey Lozoya (center) during production of “The College TourItzela Darkenwald is a featured student in the Amazon Prime TV episode of “The College Tour” that recently premiered at WNMU. Link to article at the end

Kinesiology major Itzela Darkenwald comes by her love of adventure honestly. “My family is a huge part of who I am and why I am here today,” she said, “My father is a pilot, so I grew up travelling the world. … And my mom is from Panama and is a massage therapist, so that gives me another international connection as well as my interest in the human body and how it works.” From her parents, she said, she gets “a lot of my aspiration and drive for new adventures and new things.”

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Grant County DWI Program Purchases Supplies Local Law Enforcement

GCLaw1Pictured from left to right: GCSO Captain Steven Gallegos, Sheriff Raul Villanueva, Grant County DWI Program Coordinator Daniel Graves, and GCSO Chief Deputy Anthony Bencomo.With DWIs being an ongoing issue throughout the state, reducing DWI events and the people impacted is important to the people here in Grant County.  To aide in this battle the Grant County DWI Program recently purchased new PAS IV Flashlights for the three law enforcement stations in our county, Silver City Police Department, The Grant County Sherriff’s Department, and the Bayard Police Department.  These flashlights are able to detect alcohol that is present in the ambient air and can help aid in DWI arrests.

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NM Opportunity Scholarship Sets Former Food Service Worker on Path

DorrieDennisonDorrie Dennison was an understudy for the Mustang Edition of “The College Tour,” which premiered on campus Thursday, March 21. The episode is available online and will be released by Amazon Prime in May. Article link at the bottom.

NM Opportunity Scholarship Sets Former Food Service Worker on Path to Become an Accountant

Dorrie Dennison had been working in food service for many years when she heard about the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship, a scholarship that allows college students pursuing their first degree to attend tuition-free. “I wasn’t sure I wanted to work in food service my whole life,” she said, “I wanted something more.”

So at the age of thirty-six, Dennison, who is originally from Austin, Texas, decided to enroll at Western New Mexico University. “I honestly never thought I would attend college,” she said, “but then I learned about the Opportunity Scholarship . . . and decided that I was ready to have a professional career.”

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Revision-2- Thanks Providers for National Doctors' Day

GRMC Thanks Providers for National Doctor's Day

March 30, 2024 ­– Happy National Doctors' Day from Gila Regional Medical Center. Thank you to all physicians for your selfless dedication in caring for our community!

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