Front Page News

By Mary Alice Murphy

A virtual meeting on a "new vision for the old Grant County Jail," was held on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 to hear from the members and consultants of Groundwork Studio and to hear from members of the community what their questions and concerns are.

Amy Bell, landscape architect with Groundwork Studio, led the discussion. [Editor's Note: Yes, if you listen to the recording, she called out this editor for pointing out that her children and her husband could be heard in the background and replied: 'It's just the way things are nowadays. I hope it's not too distracting."]

The New Mexico Environment Department and Grant County are engaging with Groundwork Studio in the process to develop a judicial complex and community center at the site of the old jail behind the Grant County Courthouse.

Department of Health Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins, Human Services Department Secretary Dr. David Scrase, and Aging and Long Term Services Department Secretary Katrina Hotrum-Lopez spoke to New Mexicans on April 7, 2021 about the progress the state is making against COVID-19.

"Let's start with our vaccine update," Dr. Collins said. "Fortunately New Mexico remains the fastest state for vaccine administration." Dr. Collins added that 50% of New Mexicans that have registered to receive the vaccine have gotten their first shot, and 31% are fully vaccinated.

At this time, all New Mexicans over the age of 16 are eligible to receive the vaccine.

"100% of in-state Phase 1 registrants have received an invitation to a vaccine appointment," Dr. Collins said. "If you have been invited and haven't been able to attend an appointment, you will receive another invitation." Dr. Collins said the DOH continues to prioritize those that are over 75 and seniors with chronic conditions.

Incident Overview Margo Fire

There was no change in acreage or containment overnight, but firefighters are GPS'ing the perimeter of the fire to get a better size up; remains 500 acres and 20% contained. Today, firefighters will continue working to secure the open fire line on the south side and keep the fire within the Gila River bed, north of the agricultural fields, east of the two-track boundary, south of San Pedro Road, and west of the town of Dudleyville. Firefighters are also actively engaged to protect values at risk, including the town of Dudleyville, which includes hundreds of homes and commercial structures, San Carlos Power and Electric infrastructure, Salt River Project infrastructure and State Route 77.

GO status (evacuate) remains in place for the town of Dudleyville and incident command will reassess repopulation efforts later Friday. Power lines were deenergized Thursday for firefighter safety now those lines must be assessed for damage before they can be turned back on safely. When it is safe to allow residents to return home, the Pinal County Sheriff's Office will make notifications to residents. Approximately 200 residents were evacuated due to unsafe conditions, high fire activity, smoke impacts, and proximity of involved fuels. A shelter remains open at Ray High School in Kearny.

A fire investigator with the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management arrived on the incident Friday morning. Approximately 100 personnel are assigned to the fire, including DFFM, local cooperators, the Tonto National Forest, the Coronado National Forest, and the Bureau of Land Management. Aircraft will be utilized again today to help with suppression efforts.The Arizona Department of Transportation reopened SR 77 late Thursday night. Drivers in that area need to use caution as firefighters are working off the roadway.

Two additional COVID-19 deaths

SANTA FE – New Mexico state health officials on Friday announced 126 additional COVID-19 cases. Per the state Department of Health, the most recent cases are:

61 new cases in Bernalillo County
2 new cases in Chaves County
1 new case in Cibola County
1 new case in Colfax County
12 new cases in Doña Ana County
1 new case in Eddy County
4 new cases in Grant County
3 new cases in Lea County
1 new case in Luna County
3 new cases in Otero County
1 new case in Quay County
4 new cases in Rio Arriba County
14 new cases in Sandoval County
6 new cases in San Juan County
1 new case in San Miguel County
6 new cases in Santa Fe County
1 new case in Sierra County
1 new case in Socorro County
1 new case in Taos County
2 new cases in Valencia County

The Department of Health on Friday reported two additional deaths in New Mexico related to COVID-19:

2021 04 08 16.02.43.161 cdtAir attack photo from https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/photographs/7370/

The Margo Fire is burning in the town of Dudleyville in Pinal County, along the river bottom through dense tamarisk. As of 1:30 pm all residents of Dudleyville have been placed in GO mode by the Pinal County Sheriff's Office. An emergency shelter has been sent up at the Ray High School in Kearney for residents impacted. The Arizona Department of Transportation has closed NB State Route 77 at mile post 128. 
Multiple ground and air resources, including a Very Large Air Tanker, Large Air Tanker and Air Attack are assisting with suppression efforts. Thursday's afternoon winds will challenge firefighters as sustained westerly winds of 20 miles per hour with gusts up to 35 are predicted per the National Weather Service. 

Silver City, NM. April 8, 2021—Warmer temperatures and high spring winds are increasing fire danger on the Gila National Forest. 

A fire danger rating of HIGH is defined as “all fine dead fuels ignite readily, and fires start easily from most causes.”  Unattended brush and campfires are likely to escape. Fires spread rapidly, and short-distance spotting is common. Fires may become serious and their control difficult unless they are attacked successfully while small. Outdoor burning should be restricted. 

Fire managers consider several factors when elevating the fire danger level. Data from Remote Weather Stations (RAWS) located across the forest are aggregated together, producing the Energy Release Component (ERC). As live fuels cure and dead fuels dry, the ERC will increase and can be described as a build-up index. Each daily calculation considers the past 7 days in calculating the new number. Fire managers and planners have found that the ERC can be used as a decision tool to prepare for an approaching fire season. This data is evaluated in addition to the number of human-caused fires, red flag and critical fire days.

Eleven additional COVID-19 deaths

SANTA FE – New Mexico state health officials on Thursday announced 266 additional COVID-19 cases. Per the state Department of Health, the most recent cases are:

94 new cases in Bernalillo County
2 new cases in Chaves County
8 new cases in Cibola County
2 new cases in De Baca County
42 new cases in Doña Ana County
13 new cases in Eddy County
5 new cases in Grant County
3 new cases in Lea County
2 new cases in Lincoln County
2 new cases in Luna County
2 new cases in McKinley County
11 new cases in Otero County
3 new cases in Rio Arriba County
1 new case in Roosevelt County
13 new cases in Sandoval County
26 new cases in San Juan County
1 new case in San Miguel County
9 new cases in Santa Fe County
4 new cases in Sierra County
3 new cases in Socorro County
1 new case in Taos County
1 new case in Torrance County
16 new cases in Valencia County
2 new cases among New Mexico Corrections Department inmates at the Lea County Correctional Facility

The Department of Health on Thursday reported eleven additional deaths in New Mexico related to COVID-19:

Three additional COVID-19 deaths

SANTA FE – New Mexico state health officials on Wednesday announced 222 additional COVID-19 cases. Per the state Department of Health, the most recent cases are:

  • 60 new cases in Bernalillo County
  • 1 new case in Catron County
  • 4 new cases in Chaves County
  • 3 new cases in Cibola County
  • 4 new cases in Colfax County
  • 38 new cases in Doña Ana County
  • 6 new cases in Eddy County
  • 7 new cases in Grant County
  • 1 new case in Guadalupe County
  • 4 new cases in Lea County
  • 2 new cases in Lincoln County
  • 2 new cases in Los Alamos County
  • 5 new cases in Luna County
  • 7 new cases in McKinley County
  • 7 new cases in Otero County
  • 1 new case in Rio Arriba County
  • 4 new cases in Roosevelt County
  • 28 new cases in Sandoval County
  • 17 new cases in San Juan County
  • 2 new cases in San Miguel County
  • 6 new cases in Santa Fe County
  • 1 new case in Socorro County
  • 2 new cases in Taos County
  • 10 new cases in Valencia County

The Department of Health on Wednesday reported three additional deaths in New Mexico related to COVID-19:

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