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Mimbres, NM. July 8, 2021. The Johnson Fire on the Wilderness Ranger District is approximately 88,918 acres and 24% contained. The fire has received precipitation and is not showing any growth.

Forest Order 03-06-05-21-017 will be rescinded effective Friday, July 9 at 5:00 p.m. There are trails that are not recommended due to erosion, logs, and hazards from falling trees. Those include #182 Crest Trail, #153 Mogollon Trail, and #189 Rain Creek. There may be other trails affected by either post-fire effects or flooding from monsoonal rains. The Forest is posting signage at popular wilderness trailheads to remind people of hazards of hiking/recreating in recently burned areas.

Even when a fire is completely out there can be many hazards such as rolling rocks, soil erosion, flooding and falling trees. Make sure to look up and around while in the area effected by the Johnson Fire or any other recently burned area. See the attached handout "Burned Area Hazards" for more details of "watch out situations" while recreating in a burned area.

By Mary Alice Murphy

At the July 6, 2021, work session, Grant County commissioners heard and discussed the Bataan Memorial redesign.

Preceding the presentation was public input. Grant County resident Don Turner has been vocal and passionate about saving the memorial and redoing it. He had presented a design and worked with the architect and the county on his vision of the memorial. During public input, he seemed distressed: "Thanks for hearing us out. We are a few here today. Our friends and relatives wanted to be here to offer their support but were unable to be here. When we submitted our plans, I assumed that you had approved them. I understood the next thing was to get them signed off by an engineer or architect. Little did we know that out of the plans we submitted there would be so many drastic changes that nothing would remain of them. It is very disappointing to say the least. Most important there are no walls to honor our veterans and their stories, after they sacrificed four years of their lives on the line for our country. More than half of them didn't come home. The one thing we think is a good idea is the [inaudible]."

Mark Richard, architect, said he was contracted by the county to be involved in the design for the improvements to the Bataan Memorial. He also presented the history leading up to the Bataan Death March, which is memorialized at the Bataan Memorial Park. He said the Americans set up defense outposts in the Philippines prior to World War II to protect its main Pacific possession. "Within hours of the Pearl Harbor attack, the Japanese began to attack the Philippines, airbases, shipyards and harbors. The capital of the Philippines sits on Manila Bay, one of the best deep-water ports in the Pacific. It was for the Japanese the best re-supply point for their planned conquest of the southern Pacific. After the initial attack, 43,000 men of the Imperial Japanese 14th Army went ashore on Dec. 22, 1941. Gen. Douglas McArthur, commander of the Pacific forces, ordered the troops to retreat to the Bataan area until reinforcements arrived. However, the attack on Pearl Harbor interrupted the flow of men and supplies and left the troops on their own. The troops in Bataan resisted the Japanese from December to April 1942. On April 3, a Japanese flotilla brought a new surge of attacks. On April 9, thousands of troops, of which most were Filipino [some sources say 60,000-80,000 prisoners of war] and more than a third were wounded or sick, surrendered to the Japanese. Surrounded by the Japanese, the men were forced to walk 65 miles in seven days in tropical heat, with temperatures over 100 degrees and no food, no water and little rest. Thousands would die. The Japanese followed the code that surrender was shameful and death was preferable."

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Dow's campaign launch video strikes a firm contrast between New Mexican values and MLG's lack of character and direction for the state

TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES – Today, Rebecca Dow launched her campaign to unseat current Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham in a video that praises the character and grit of the people of New Mexico while contrasting the state's failed leadership and government policies.

Dow's launch video addresses some "hard truths" including New Mexico being ranked last in the nation in education and child welfare and ranked highest in unemployment. "These are the consequences of bad government," she says, using as an example Lujan Grisham breaking her own lockdown rules, wasting taxpayer money on lavish things for herself and settling her sexual harassment suit for over $60,000.

This bad governance contrasted with Dow's job-creating, people-centric career as a businesswoman, child and family advocate and state lawmaker leads to an obvious conclusion for Dow: "Our kids deserve better. That's why I'm running for Governor," she says.

In her video, Dow aligns herself and her values with the true character of the people of the state, as opposed to the Governor's radical agenda. "We are New Mexicans," she says. "When there's work to be done, we do it. When there are problems to solve, we solve them."

Luna County, NM - On July 2, 2021, at approximately 9:24 p.m., the New Mexico State Police investigated a pedestrian that was fatally struck on Interstate 10, near milepost 82, in Deming, NM. 

The initial investigation indicated a pedestrian, Lydia Gonzales (58) of Deming, NM, and another female pedestrian both attempted to cross Interstate 10 from south to north. For unknown reasons Gonzales stopped in the middle of the roadway and was struck by a westbound 2015 Freightliner Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV). Gonzales sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased on scene by the Office of the Medical Investigator. The other female pedestrian was uninjured.

Alcohol does not appear to a factor in the crash and seatbelts appear to have been properly used by the CMV driver. This crash is under investigation by the New Mexico State Police. 

Silver City, NM. July 6, 2021. The Gila National Forest has lifted campfire, welding and smoking restrictions effective Tuesday, July 6 at 0800 a.m. based on the apparent arrival of the seasonal summer monsoons, accompanied by higher relative humidities and lower temperatures which have reduced fire danger across southern New Mexico. The forest implemented Stage 1 fire restrictions on April 26, 2021 to reduce the risk of human-caused wildfire during extreme drought conditions, low fuel moisture levels and high fire danger.

Forest managers use several criteria to determine when to lift fire restrictions, including current and predicted weather, fire danger indices, fuel moisture, fire activity levels and available firefighting resources. The National Weather Service is forecasting "abundant monsoon moisture" with a daily pattern of scattered showers and thunderstorms and potentially continuing well into July. Please be aware that the active monsoon pattern in place also raises the risk of flash flooding, particularly in burn scars, arroyos and other low-lying areas.

"We want to thank the vast majority of our visitors who have been willing to comply with fire restrictions and forego their campfires in dispersed camping areas," Forest Supervisor Adam Mendonca said.

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Photo mosaic of photos by Mary Alice Murphy

A group of friends who enjoy riding together gathered to make the Fourth of July special for residents of Fort Bayard Medical Center. They circled the facility and then rode back into Fort Bayard National Historic Landmark and made a round of the historic structures.

Photos by Mary Alice Murphy

If you needed an art fix as one of your Independence Day activities on Saturday, July 3, 2021, the recently completed parklet behind the Aldea Gallery was your spot. To appreciate the full impact of the design, one needs to visit the spot at the corner of Texas and Yankie streets .

Photos by Mary Alice Murphy

The gallery, owned by the Flenniken and Farley families, with Brent and Donna Flenniken, the primary artists, had an unused space behind it that had formerly had a fence around it. Blake Farley, realtor and co-owner, said she noticed that Silver City only has a few places where people can find a bench or a place to sit and visit with friends. This seemed like an opportunity. She approached her artist friend, Jean-Robert Béffort of ASpace Art Gallery and asked him to design a planter and benches for the spot, which is nicely shaded by trees. Béffort designed it, keeping in mind David Farley's love of cars. He, with helpers, built the planters and benches also can be found in the location. Silver City Poet Laureate read a poem she had written for the occasion. Blake Farley will also put in a real estate office as part of the redo of the block-long building.

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