Latest Launch A Success

sierra county

Spaceport America, the world’s first purpose-built, commercial spaceport, announced the successful launch this week of an UP Aerospace SpaceLoft™ rocket carrying several scientific and engineering experiments.
The launch took place from Spaceport America’s Vertical Launch Complex-1 on the East Campus. The launch represents Spaceport America’s 24th overall launch and the fourth from Spaceport America with NASA Flight Opportun-ities Program payloads…

Torres Captured

Police beat

Police reported this week that they stumbled upon Justin Torres in the Las Cruces area where he had reportedly wrecked a truck that belonged to a former fellow inmate. He was captured near the river on Monday, September 21.
Police state they were not following Torres, nor were they aware of his whereabouts. However, when they responded to the crash, officers quickly realized that Torres was a wanted man.
Torres was incarcerated in the Lincoln County Detention Center on a probation violation in Carrizozo when he was on cleaning duty and walked out the front door of the facility around 11 p.m. September 10.
Torres faces a number of felony charges in Ruidoso…

Spaceport For ARCA Launch Vehicle Testing

Spaceport America (SA) – the world’s first purpose-built, commercial spaceport – announced this week that ARCA Space Corporation has selected SA as the site for its space launch vehicle and high altitude autonomous aircraft testing.
ARCA Space Corporation was founded in the United States in July 2014 in Las Cruces, NM. ARCA will engineer, manufacture, test and bring to market innovative and affordable aerospace products such as the AirStrato UAS and Haas rocket series from its new global headquarters. ARCA was originally established in 1999 as a non-profit organization in Romania in the European Union In 2004, as part of the Ansari X Prize Competition, ARCA successfully launched its first rocket – Demonstrator 2B – followed by…

Did I Do That?

A Ft. Bliss, Texas man had to have help pulling Dodge truck from Elephant Butte Lake Sunday, August 23. A tow truck had to be called to wench the truck from the bottom of the lake after it had gone off into the deep waters south of Rock Canyon, sometime in the early morning hours.
According to officials the area beneath the water’s surface was very steep and the truck was estimated to be some 30 feet deep. With the help of a diver and tow truck, the Dodge…

EB Adopts ‘Red Lot’ Revisions

n their continuing effort to revise the city’s codes and regulations, members of the Elephant Butte City Council adopted revisions pertaining to so-called “red lots” during their regular meeting August 5.
As councilors addressed the proposed ordinance (#157), city planner Bradford Dyjak explained how lots within the city that have been identified to contain significant drainage and/or erosion issues have been designated as the aforementioned red lots.
Dyjak noted such properties are not situated within an established flood plain, but nonetheless contain areas that have historically been subject to significant drainage or erosion problems during periods of heavy rain. He also emphasized how the red lot designation focused on areas that were determined to pose a potential risk to neighboring and/or downstream properties,

Plane Crash Located Days Later

Police beat

Officials with the Federal Aviation Admini-stration (FAA) and National Transpor-tation Safety Board were on the scene of an airplane crash Wednes-day and Thursday, July 29 and 30 that claimed the lives of two men.
According to New Mexico State Police, Game and Fish personnel were doing wildlife surveys in Sierra County. Sometime Wednesday morning they located the crash sight about one to two miles…

Breaking Ground For Honored Veterans

Creating a path consruction

For more than a decade, New Mexico State Veterans’ Home (NMSVH) Administrator Lori Montgomery and a host of both state and federal officials have diligently pursued development of a much-needed Alzheimer’s and Skilled Nursing Unit for the Truth or Consequences facility.

Tuesday morning, July 21, Montgomery welcomed special guests, local officials, area citizens, as well as NMSVH residents and staff members

EB State Park Receives Exemplary Award

New Mexico State Parks honored staff, volunteers and partners during its annual awards ceremony on November 13 in Elephant Butte. A total of 21 awards were given and five retirees honored.
“State Parks had an excellent array of nominees and awardees for this year’s award banquet,” said Director Tommy Mutz. “I am honored to work with such talented and dedicated staff, volunteers and partners.”
The Division’s top honor, the Governor’s Award, went to Superintendent Daniel Gurule from Cimarron Canyon State Park. Gurule was the sole employee at the popular park during a very busy summer. Throughout, he continued to provide support to other parks in the area, provided First Aid and CPR training statewide and held great educational events at the park.
The Secretary’s Award went to Southwest Regional Administrator Melissa Torres. Torres was recognized for her dedication, attitude and great institutional knowledge when providing administrative, budgeting and procurement support to her region.
Four individuals were recognized with a Director’s Award, given for exceeding high standards while performing duties: Lauren Aguilar, marketing assistant in the Santa Fe Office for going above and beyond in providing excellent marketing materials and services; Ranger Leila Haver from Brantley Lake State Park for taking on management…

Locals Named Among Healthiest Families In State

The “Top Healthy Families in New Mexico” were recognized and honored at the 3rd Annual New Mexico Healthy Family Award Banquet on Monday, November 17. When measuring family outcomes, New Mexico is often on the bottom of the lists. The New Mexico Coalition for Healthy Families celebrates the “good” of New Mexico by identifying families that exhibit and model the positive traits of a healthy family. Twenty-six nominated healthy families and their guests were invited to the Healthy Family Award Banquet. Over 250 people enjoyed the turkey and trimmings dinner, followed by the awards presentation. Research identifies six key elements of healthy families: nurturing relationships, stability and consistency, adapting to challenges, commitment and faithfulness, and spiritual well being…

Rule Changes Could Effect Marijuana Users

Drastic changes could be in store for the 158 people in Sierra County who have medical conditions that qualify them for a state-issued medical cannabis card. These changes, say some of the 23 state-licensed operators of the dispensaries, will put all but a handful of them out of business, and force extra costs on the people the program is supposed to serve, despite the fact recent surveys by the state Department of Health (DOH) found lack of producers is the biggest problem with the program. These patients suffer from one or more of the 13 debilitating conditions like cancer, chronic pain, HIV/AIDS, etc., that can qualify them to use the plant legally. The DOH notified the licensed producers last Monday, including MJ Expresso, a Sierra County-based dispensary, of proposed new regulations that include drastic fee increases for both patients and producers. Administrators with the DOH’s Medical Cannabis Program are recommending a 50 percent cut in the number of plants licensed patients can grow at home, from four to two plants. The agency is also proposing patients pay $50 for the annual patient registry identification card renewals, maintain ongoing relationships with their primary doctors and to pay for these recurring medical tests (see guest column, page A2). In addition, patients who grow two mature plants will have to pay a $30 application fee. The Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, adopted in 2007, requires producers, or dispensaries, to be non-profit. MJ Expresso was set up shortly after passage to have any profits benefit the Sierra County Seniors Program. After a survey of patients conducted last winter by the DOH found “chronic shortages” in the product, the agency notified the state’s 23 producers they would be allowed to grow more plants, but they would face “reasonable fee increases.” This week DOH officials notified producers it is proposing increasing their license fees from $30,000 to $90,000 — $20,000 for every 50 mature female plant up to 150 plants, as well as $10,000 for every 100 seedlings, up to 300 seedlings. The DOH also plans to limit THC/CBD to 60 percent for edibles and concentrated products, which are available to patients who are unable to smoke cannabis. The new regulations also increase plant-testing requirements, add new regulations on courier services and changes the responsibilities for the state Medical Cannabis Program’s advisory board. “Of the 23 producers statewide, only seven or eight, maybe, will not have to close their doors,…

Candidates Sign Up For Primary

Tuesday, March 11 was sign-up day for major party candidates seeking posts in the November 4 State elections. The following is a summary of local candidates who will be vying for available posts in Sierra County, as well as some of the premier state and federal races gearing up for the June 3 party primaries and some who already are looking ahead to November. A complete list of candidates and a wealth of information relating to the 2014 election is available through the Secretary of State’s website, located at


•County Commissioner (District 1) – Incumbent Democrat Bobby Allen is seeking another term and will be unchallenged in the June 3 party primary elections. Vying for their party’s support and to face off against Allen in November are Republicans Sherry L. Fletcher and Terry G. Taylor.

•County Commissioner (District 2) – Incumbent Democrat and current Commission Chairman Walter Armijo is term-limited in 2014. Democratic candidates Robert J. Parks and David W. Farrell will face off in the June 3 primary election and the winner will challenge sole Republican candidate Kenneth C. Lyon on the November 4 ballot…

Virgin Galactic Expects Delays

The estimated start date for launching commercial flights from New Mexico’s Spaceport America has again been pushed back, says officials with Virgin Galactic. Spaceport officials also say they’ll need more state money to make up for lost user fees and visitor revenue at the fledging project. The Spaceport’s director, Christine Anderson, says she plans to ask the legislature for $7 million to finish paving a road between the facility and Las Cruces because other expenses have eaten into her budget. The budget assumed that Virgin’s space flights would begin in February 2014, but they’re now slated for August. The spaceport’s visitor center was expected to open at the end of this year, but the center and its theme-park style, space-related experiences is a year behind. Virgin Galactic began paying its $1 million a year rent on the facility in January.