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Hidalgo County Herald
Lordsburg, New Mexico
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March 4, 2011     Hidalgo County Herald
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March 4, 2011
 

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HIDALGO COUNTY HERALD FRIDAY, MARCH 4, 2011 9 Op-Ed: New Mexicans speak out on Gila road closings hometowns--to tell their sto- ries. They tell me of a friend or family member who will lose access to their favorite corner of the world. They tell me of their memories of the Gila, and their hopes for future trips. They tell me that to preserve these, the proposed closures must be stopped. Some, like Reverend Mike Skidmore from Truth or Con- sequences, simply love escaping with their loved ones into the Gila. For Rev. Skidmore, the Gila is a place to enjoy nature and "get away"--an experience he has shared with his children, grandchildren, and even mem- bers of his congregation. He fears that road closures will force everyone to the same By Rep. Steve Pearce Many of us in New Mexico have fond memories of the Gila as a weekend paradise. We have spent Friday nights after work driving to our favorite spot, un- loading the kids, camping out, telling stories, and making memories before piling back into the minivan, pickup, or sta- tion wagon on Sunday. Our schedules don't allow us to spend days or weeks hiking in, but open access has always made this a treasure to be enjoyed by all. Now, the Forest Service wants to take away that freedom. Numerous New Mexicans have been contacting me--by email, phone, Facebook, meet- ings, and when I visit their LPD makes drug busts Above, Lordsburg Police Department officers seized 1.5 pounds of marijuana from a Florida man. Below, 7.5 ounces of metham- phetamines found in a vehicle resulted In the arrest of two Las Cruces residents. Courtesy photos crowded campsites, ending the days of quiet refuge and fellow- ship he always found there. Others have expressed con- cern for the elderly and dis- abled. The joys of the forest should be available to everyone, not just those with the physical ability to hike miles with a heavy pack. Charlie and Paula Stevens have camped in the Taylor Creek Canyon together for the past 35 years. The couple explained that as they grow older, they will become unable to access their spot witla- out roads. Restricted access could bring their lifelong tradi- tion to an end. This sort of dis- crimination against the elderly and disabled is unacceptable. Some worry about their families. Butch Morgan, a lo- cal small-business owner, shared his disappointment that his eleven grandchildren could be unable to experience the forest the way he did when he was their age. Restricting access could mean that fewer families have the time or ability-to make memories in this splendid for- est. Those who live in the Gila, including ranchers and farmers, are deeply concerned. Roads throughout the. Gila connect them to their livelihoods, their homes, and their backyards. Still others worry about safety. I share their concerns: any time roads are closed, it is important to ensure that emer- gency personnel, will not be impeded. When addressing pub- lic safety, minutes count. I will continue to ask questions and hold the Forest Service account- able to ensure that no time is lost. I share the concerns of my fellov New Mexicans, and will fight for their access to our na- tional treasures. But i can't do this alone. Attend local meet- ings. Call your friends and newspapers. Express your con- cerns to the rest of our congres- sional delegation, and to the Forest Service. Together, we can defend the freedom to en- joy the Gila for generations to come. DTMS Dogies of the Week Dugan-Tarango Middle School Dogies of the Week for the week of February 21-25, 2011 were Zander Preciado, Alexandria Silva and Tristyn Elias (not pictured). Leo Garcla, Principal of DTMS is pictured with the students. , Courtesy photo Rep. Martinez's bill to fund water projects in SW NM moves on to House floor Courtesy submission A bill that would allocate $66 million over the next ten years to fund vital water projects in southwestern New Mexico cleared its final committee to- day. HB 301a, sponsored by Rep. Rodolpho "Rudy" Martinez passed the House Ju- diciary Committee today unani- mo.usly with a vote of 11 to 0. Rap. Martinez said, "I am incredibly optimistic about this legislation, now that it has passed both committees with unanimous support. This rul- ing today enables this essential bill to move toward adoption by both the House and Senate and to become a reality for New Mexicans who will benefit from these important water projects." HB 301a would establish the New Mexico Unit Fund within the state treasury that will accept over $66 million of fed- erally allocated money over the next ten years. These funds are to be used specifically for wa- ter utilization for Catron, Grant, Hidalgo and Luna counties in southwest New Mexico. HB301a would provide an account for the state to receive annual federal payments of $6.6 million between 2012 and 2022. The federal payments result from the federal Arizona Water Settlement Act of 2004. They must be allocated by the New Mexico Interstate Stream Com- mission specifically to the Southwest New Mexico'Water Planning Region (Catron, Grant, Hidalgo and Luna coun- ties) to implement their region plan:. HB 301a will head to the House floor for a vote. >. depend I I I I: 'i ! I I " Every day. every famib/across the West reies on the power of etectncity. But for some farniUes, higher electricity bills coutd make for tough choices at home -- even being forced to cut back on essentials, tike groceries. At Td-State.we're working hard to address the challenges that threaten affordable electricity, inc[uding unreasonable regutations and policies. As a not-for-profit co-op, we're committed to protecting consumers today and in the future by providing affordab|e powerwhite investing in innovation. In keeping e|ectricity affordable, we believe life at home is that much better. Learn more about our commitment to affordabitity at www.TriState.coop. '1