Local Man Wounded In Border Attack

Daugherty

As the country prepares to swear in a new president – elected largely on a promise to secure the southern border with Mexico – a local man is fighting for his life following a violent border incident that witnesses are claiming was allegedly committed by illegal aliens.
Last Friday, Jan. 6, Walker Daugherty, 26, of Chloride, was shot in the abdomen as he re- portedly tried to prevent what he and other witnesses say was an attempted kidnapping or murder by Mexican nationals on the U.S. side of the border at the Circle Doug Ranch near Candelaria, TX.

County Commission Votes To Vacate Road

Sheriff's Truck in Deep Water

Despite a Freeholders committee recommendation to leave an approximate one and a half mile portion of county road CO33 open for public use, Sierra County Commissioners rendered a majority decision May 27 to vacate the roadway.
The decision came after commissioners returned to their regular public meeting from a closed-door session, during which Vice-Chair Frances Luna said board members only discussed the potential dispensation of what is considered real property of the county and in which no action was taken…

Man Arrested After Rampage

behind bars

Sierra County Sheriff’s Deputies were called to a Lakeshore Highlands residence in the early morning hours of Wednesday, May 20 after an allegedly drunken man took an axe to a door at the home while his girlfriend was sleeping in the couple’s bed.

According to police, the woman had locked the intoxicated man out. In response, he took an axe to a door

EB Approves Code Changes

After conducting a formal public hearing, which included no comments from community members, the Elephant Butte City Council unanimously approved a series of revisions to the city’s code enforcement regulations on Wednesday, March 18…

Wolf EIS Completed

After reviewing extensive public comments, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has completed its evaluation of proposed changes to its Mexican wolf reintroduction program in Arizona and New Mexico that will allow greater flexibility to conserve one of the nation’s rarest mammals and greater responsiveness to the needs of local communities in cases of problem wolf behavior.
In releasing its Final En-vironmental Impact Statement (FEIS) on new provisions proposed under the Endangered Species Act in 2013 and revis-ed last summer, the FWS sets the stage for a final decision on the changes in the program in January 2015.
“We have received and analyzed more than 40,000 comments on the proposed changes as part of developing the Environmental Impact Statement, as well as consulted with state agencies, tribes, and other stakeholders,” said Ben-jamin Tuggle, the Service’s Southwest Regional Director. “We believe the preferred al-ternative strikes the best balance in terms of what is needed to re-establish a genetically diverse wolf population while supporting the interests of other stakeholders on a working landscape.”…

90-Million-Year-Old Turtle Discovered

In a second major archeological find for Sierra County this year, a Truth or Consequences man has found a 90-million-year-old fossilized turtle.
The Sentinel will not print the location of the find, since the fossil has not yet been excavated. The excavation will take place soon on Bureau of Land Management property.
Last June, a complete 3-million-year-old fossilized stegomastodon skull was found at Elephant Butte Lake, with the tusks intact. Another mastodon fossil was found in January in the San Andres Mountains. Jeff Dornbusch, a volunteer for Geronimo Springs Museum in T-or-C, found the turtle fossil two summers ago and didn’t know what it was, he said. He told how he was recently talking with BLM Archeologist Jim Renn about it, and Renn wanted to see it. Dornbusch took him there, along with a paleontologist with the New Mexico Museum of Natural History, and they confirmed the age of the fossil…

Feud Ends In Fatal Shooting

Police beat

Feuding that spanned nearly three decades is said to have come to a fatal end when a man allegedly shot and killed another in the roadway of Las Palomas Canyon Road. Sierra County Regional Dispatch Authority received a report of a man laying on the ground next to a backhoe off Las Palomas Road Saturday morning, June 21. A passerby found the man just after 11 that morning. According to the man’s statement to investigators, he stopped to render aid, but when he touched the man on the arm and neck he realized the man was lifeless…

Rock Crawling Event To Bring Hundreds

Sierra County’s abundance of vast and rugged public land is bringing hundreds of adventure enthusiasts here during one week this fall to spend their time and money. The Las Cruces Four Wheel Drive Club is bringing its 24th Annual Chile Chal-lenge to the Caballo Lake State Park Riverside Camp-ground on Oct. 15-18, with hundreds of registrants and spectators expected to attend. The event has been held in Las Cruces for the past 23 years, but designation of the Prehistoric Trackways National Monument, near where past events were held, has led to the number of trails available being cut and additional red tape for organizers. So this year, said Dan Petit, spokesman for the club, they are bringing the event here. Petit said the club limits the registered vehicles to 500, and already have about 175 participants planning to attend the upcoming event. Since registration doesn’t begin until July 4, there is no exact number of those who will be attending, but “In the past we have had 400 to 500 participants,” said Petit. “And with the anticipation of new trails for this event we think we will have a minimum of 250.” To be held in the Greer Canyon area east of Caballo Lake, the event will bring visitors here for four day…

County Lets Manager Go

sierra county

Following a closed-door executive Tues., May 13, Sierra County Commissioners re-opened the meeting to the public and in a unanimous vote approved a motion to terminate the contract with County Manager Mark Huntzinger, effective immediately. Commissioners then ac-knowledged County Human Resources Director Janette A. Monsibaiz would be handling the County Manager’s responsibilities, as efforts are initiated to fill the now vacant post.

Mired in Lack of Details
During the commission’s regular session, board members heard a brief report from newly appointed Flood Commissioner Jim Goton. In response to a query from Commission Chairman Walter Armijo, Goton confirmed he had officially accepted the resignation of former Flood Director Barry Ragsdale submitted during the previous week’s special meeting. He later affirmed action had already been taken to advertise for candidates to fill the flood director vacancy. Goton told commissioners his immediate plan to address flood damage repairs throughout the county were focused on the “orderly dispersal of flood funding in the most cost efficient manner, with available information.” He then qualified this statement by stressing, “We have no information, and the GPS numbers do not work.” Goton explained he was unable to correlate areas slated for repairs with coordinates established on the approved Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) worksheets. He noted at least three separate project sites were designated by identical coordinates and told commissioners his efforts to clarify this issue with FEMA officials was thus far without results. Goton went on to relay how much of the on-going repair work was beneficial. While stating he felt the present contractors were doing their best to address their respective project assignments, Goton said his inspection of worksites found a number of efforts were being focused on areas that differed from those designated in the FEMA worksheets. The flood commissioner reemphasized he was unable to properly direct repair efforts without accurate information and relayed how his discussion with a FEMA official in Louisiana served only to direct him to a Google Earth KMZ file which he had yet to be able to access as of the morning’s session.

County Manager Huntzinger explained how the aforementioned files were created with Google Earth, but were not accessible through the Google website. He indicated efforts would be made to aid Goton in accessing the appropriate files. Commission Vice Chair Frances Luna expressed dismay at Goton’s inability to obtain accurate details from FEMA authorities. She noted how former Flood Director Ragsdale had maintained regular communications with FEMA officials and questioned why these contacts and information conduits were not relayed to Goton. The Goton said he queried Ragsdale about this information, but received no response. Luna then questioned why the coordinates could not be located through old school methods; utilizing current maps and emphasized she felt the flood commissioner should be making a more concerned effort to acquire necessary information from FEMA authorities. In a brief statement from one of the contractors presently working on Flood Commission projects, commissioners learned the FEMA worksheets provided only with most basic directions regarding how contractors were to address designated areas of concern. Goton indicated this reinforced how a lack of detailed information was inhibiting the ability to effectively deploy contractor resources told commissioners and said while contracted firms were offering diligent efforts; they were doing so without any direct supervision in the field. Commissioner Bobby Allen questioned the latter statement to which Goton relayed how the responsibility of contractor oversight rested with the flood director’s position and was not included in the flood commissioner’s job description. Goton said he was scheduled to meet with Army Corps of Engineer authorities Wed., May 14 and suggested this session might provide information that would allow him to more effectively coordinate repair efforts. While commissioners considered no formal action regarding the flood commissioner’s report, Luna confirmed administrative assistance would be given to Goton pertaining to the acquisition of more detailed information from FEMA authorities and suggested the board should include regular monthly reports from the flood commissioner on future agendas. Chairman Armijo acknowledged the current tax levy presently provided the county with approximately $300,000 to fund Flood Commission activities. After noting Sierra County was one of only three New Mexico counties with an established flood commission, he suggested alternatives were available and indicated the annual funding could be more directly applied toward addressing flood repairs and…

Emotions Flood Meeting

After initiating their May 5 special meeting, Sierra County Commissioners opened the floor for public comments and were immediately confronted with an onslaught of concerns centering on newly appointed Flood Commissioner Jim Goton and recent flood mitigation actions taken by long time Flood Director Barry Ragsdale. Flood Director Ragsdale was first to address commissioners and in prepared statement, began by noting he has been forced to operate without an appointed Flood Commissioners for three of the seven plus years he has held the position. In responding to the September 2013 floods which ravaged areas along Animas Creek and several other major watersheds throughout the county, Ragsdale relayed how he met with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials and how, over the past seven months, he has been working through mandatory application processes to acquire funding to address flood damage repairs. Ragsdale stressed his efforts have been focused on providing safeguards for area residents and addressing related property concerns in the best manner possible. Following Governor Susana Martinez’ April 29 appointment of Jim Goton to fill the long vacant Sierra County Flood Commissioner post, Ragsdale …

County Tends To Fire And Flood Issues

While significant focus was placed on the Sierra County Commission’s consideration of flood mitigation contracts, topping the board’s March 18 meeting’s action items was the initiation of fire restrictions for all unincorporated areas of Sierra County. Local residents may recognize this as a yearly measure adopted when rising temperatures and spring winds combine to create the often dangerous wildfire conditions. This year, so far, most of NM has experienced less than average amounts of precipitations, prompting state authorities to implement fire restrictions earlier than usual. During the commission’s Feb. 18 session, Sierra County Sheriff Joe Baca encouraged the board to implement fire restrictions. The sheriff explained how many areas of the county were very dry and said formal measures would allow him and his deputies to begin enforcing tighter control on inappropriate activities. As commissioners addressed proposed Ordinance No. 14-001, County Attorney Dave Pato acknowledged the standard measure included time constraints relating to restrictions on the sale and use of fireworks. Because of these established time limits and the early move to implement the fire ordinance, Pato suggested commissioners omit the normally included moratorium on fireworks, section 5-D, and address it as a separate measure on a future agenda. Commission members agreed and unanimously supported a motion to initiate an immediate moratorium on open and controlled burning including trash barrel burning. Agricultural burning may st…

Ash Canyon Closed

Flooding

After heavy overnight rains filled Sierra County’s Ash Canyon and began undercutting the adjacent road surface Thursday morning, September 12, authorities with the New Mexico State Police and NM Department of Transportation’s District One office moved to close New Mexico Highway 51 through the area until the road could be repaired. With forecasts of additional storms on the horizon, officials advised motorists to seek an alternate route and to utilize caution when traveling through low-lying areas throughout Sierra County.