Luna County inmates sentenced for assaulting corrections officers

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Jacob Merkel, 23, and Victor Sanchez, 25, were sentenced in federal court on May 16 after pleading guilty to assault upon a person assisting federal officers involving physical contact.

Merkel, who pleaded guilty on Feb. 7, was sentenced to one year and three months in prison, with nine months consecutive to his prior sentence of 13 years and 10 months for robbery and discharge of a firearm. Sanchez, who pleaded guilty on Feb. 9, was sentenced to one year and nine months in prison, with 12 months to run consecutive to his prior eight-year sentence for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

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BLACK FIRE UPDATE Tuesday, May 16, 2022 9 a.m.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2022
9:00 a.m.

Location of Origin: 24 miles north of Mimbres in the Gila National Forest
Start date: May 13, 2022, 9 p.m. MDT
Size: 56,132
Percent Contained: 0%
Cause: Undetermined
Resources Assigned: 153 personnel 11 crews, 3 helicopters, 5 engines, 1 water tender
Closures: Partial closure in effect for portions of Forest Road 150, Forest Service Trails 708, 713, 716
Safety: Please use extreme caution when using a source of spark or fire. With very low humidity and gusty winds, any new wildfire start can grow very quickly.

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Grant County Commission holds work session 042622, part 1

[Editor's Note: This is part 1 of a multi-series of articles on the Grant County Commission second work session of April, held on April 26, 2022. This begins with the first two presentations.]

By Mary Alice Murphy

The first presentation of the Grant County Commission work session on April 26, 2022 came via Zoom from Marilyn Alcorn, volunteer Grant County Community Health Council chair. "As we close out the first year of the Covid equity grant we received, we are planning to form a seamless relationship with the new county Health Coordinator. County recommendations will help us toward fulfilling our grant requirements and to solidify community partnerships. Their strengths show us where the council can improve. We will return to open and public meetings, and we will hold them in person and via hybrid meetings. We plan to hold a quarterly public meeting and smaller monthly meetings to increase health care awareness of what we will need to do for the public."


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Black Fire grows update 051622

Map showing perimeter of Black Fire Click here for full size 

2022 05 16 cdt
The Black Fire has grown to 18,762 acres and is expected to have another large growth day, due to continued low humidity and wind. The fire that had spread to the east of Forest Road 150 near Meown and a new spot fire north of Meown have established in South Diamond Creek, with both making significant runs yesterday to the east and north. Due to extremely low humidity active burning continued through the night. The fire is expected to continue to burn towards the Black range crest in the Sheep Mountain and Diamond Peak area. A Southwest Type 2 Incident Management Team has begun mobilizing to take over management of the firefighting operation.

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Photo added: Four photos of eclipse progression

Photos by Mary Alice Murphy

Of the total eclipse on Sunday, May 15, 2022 The first is about half an hour before totality The second about 5 minutes before totality, and the third a minute or two before totality. The last one, just added today is of totality. 

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The WNMU Great Race 042322

The first few photos are by Lynn Janes and so marked. The rest are courtesy of Western New Mexico University.

Earth Day 042322

Photos by Lynn Janes

Black Fire update 051522, with recent acreage update  

2022 05 15 cdtfor full-size fire location, visit 

[Editor's Note: I'm getting conflicting information on the acreage! So it's either 1174, as it was yesterday evening or it has grown to 4476.]

The Black Fire was discovered Friday evening, May 13, at 9:30 p.m. and is located off the NorthStar, FSR 150, road, west of Meown workstation and north of Black Canyon. It is estimated at about 1,041 acres and burning in grass, juniper mesas and occasional pine springers in the Gila wilderness area. Fifty-five firefighters are on-scene with more resources on order.

Today, firefighters are expecting to see high temperatures of 88 degrees, low humidity, and light variable wind.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Stage 1 Fire restrictions remain in effect on the Gila National Forest to reduce the risk of human-caused wildfires.

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