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Hidalgo County Herald
Lordsburg, New Mexico
November 7, 2014     Hidalgo County Herald
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November 7, 2014

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VOLUME 14 ISSUE 45 FRIDAY NOVEMBER 7, 2014 75 ¢ Hidalgo County SmallTown Papers 217 West Cota Street Shelton, WA 98584 I,l,,I,,I,,I,l,l,,I,,I,,I,ll,,I LOCALLY O't0000EB & opEP,00'r='j) - 575-494-1385 Haunted house collects items for the needy The 2014 Haunted House, hosted by La Frontera NM and the Lordsburg Elks Lodge, was held at the old hospital last Wednesday and Thursday. The event, entitled Nightmare on DeMoss Street, also featured a Halloween Carnival for younger kids.The focus of the event was drug awareness as part of Red Ribbon Week and youth were given information at both areas. Admission was a canned good, jacket or coat or a new toy forToys forTots. According to organizer.s, nearly 1,000 items,were collected, all of which will be used in Hidalgo County. Pictured above are the majority of the characters who scared the masses at the Haunted House, all representing various community agencies and organizations. For more photos, see Page 2 of this week's edition. Herald staffphoto Warren Walter, Marrianne Stewart deliver big upsets in Tuesday's General Election More than 1,500 Hi.dalgo County voters cast their ballots in this year's General Election, resulting in some big upsets in Hidalgo County• The biggest upset was in the race for Hidalgo County Sheriff• Voters voiced their disapproval with the cur- rent administration and have ousted in- cumbent Democratic Sheriff Satqrnino Madero. Filling his shoes in January 2015 wilrbe newcomer Warren D. Walter, Republican• Walter garnered 797 votes to Madero's 675, securing 54.14% of the vote• Hidalgo County Commissioner, Po- sition 1, incumbent Eddy H. Kerr (Rep) is also on his way out of office after be- ing beat by area rancher Marianne Stewart (Dem) by a mere 18 votes (unof- On November 8, 2014 The City/ County PRIDE clean up event is sched- uled from 8 A.M. to noon. Volunteers are encouraged to meet at Short Park to reg- ister and pick-up trash bags. This is a good time for businesses, organizations and individuals to challenge each other to help clean up Lordsburg. After the cleanup, we will meet back at The Lordsburg Special Events Center for lunch and drawing of prizes. Beautiful things can happen when a coinmunity, residents and businesses ome together and work in harmony. The aesthetic beauty of a community sends a clear message to potential businesses, industry, residents and visitors that we want them here and that we have pride in our community• I appreciate your help and the pride iyou take in helping keep our commu- nity clean. And to the few who litter..•you are being watched and other citizens will report you. I also would like to thank the busi- nesses who support our community• With- out their generosity, keeping our com- munity clean would not be possible. Thank you to Lordsburg and Hidalgo citizens that are not expecting someone else to make their community a better, safer and fun place to raise their fami- lies. You are making it happen your- selves• Great job! ficially), 663-645. Independent candi- date Nick Varela Ruiz secured 155 of the 1,463 total votes cast in this race. Incumbent Hidalgo County Com- missioner Dan" Reynolds Shannon (Rep) held onto her Position 2 seat, beating Joseph J. Salines 830-611. Republican incumbent Hidalgo County Assessor Jody Lynn Hatch se- cured.61.25% of the votes with 879 bal- lots cast in her favor, as oppose8 to 556 for her opponent, Democrat Martin L. Neave. Carmen Acosta (Dem) will be serv- ing as Hidalgo County's new Probate Judge, after beating Independent candi- date Sara Saenz 979 to 428. • Mark Thomas (Dem) was unopposed in his bid to continue as Hidalgo County Magistrate Judge, receiving a total of 1,224 votes. All county offices hold four year terms. At the Legislative level, Dianne Hamilton (Rep) beat Terry Fortenberry (Dem) for the District 38 State Represen- tative seat and Dona G. Irwin (Dem) will continue in her District 32 State Repre- sentative seat after beating Tom Bill Black (Rep). At the state level, voters in Hidalgo County and statewide g5ve Susana Martinez (Rep) and John Sanchez the nod for the governorship, defeating Gary King (Dem) and running mate Debra A. Haaland. Federally incumbents representing Hidalgo Cqunty will continue in their positions. Steve Pearce (Rep) beat Roxanne "Rocky" Lara (Dem) for the United States Representative seat, Dis- Elks Veterans Thanksgiving Dinner Nov. 15 The Lordsburg Elks Lodge will host a Thanksgiving Veterans dinner on Sat- urday, November 15, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. If you are a veteran and would like to attend, please RSVP to the Hidalgo County Herald, 575.542.8705 or Brenda Hood at 575.590.0377 (leave message) or email lordsburgelks@yahoo .corn or contact Julie Montenegro at 575.590.0179. Veterans of all ages and a guest are invited to attend this free event. trict 2. Tom Udall (Dem) was able to edge out opponent Allen E. Weh (Rep). All judges on the Hidalgo County ballot were retained by voters, and all amendments and bonds passed statewide. Less than half of Hidalgo County's 3,326 registered voters made it tO the polls this year. The 1,501 who did cast a ballot represented 45.13% of the county's registered voters. Statewide, only 39% of registered=voters cast a bal- lot in this year's election. At the federal level, Tuesday's election resulted in an overall Repub- lican dominance in both the House and the Senate, the first time since the sec- ond re-election of George W. Bush in 2004 For complete precinct results, see next week's edition of the Hidalgo County Herald. Former manager slaps county with discrimination lawsuit Jose J. Salazar, form'er Hidalgo County Manager, has filed a federal law- suit against the Hidalgo County Board of Commissioners, making a variety of claims, including breach of contract, vio- lation of the New Mexico Whistlebower Protection Act and racial discrimination. According to the amended com- plaint filed in the United States District Court for the District.of New Mexico October 3, 2014 Salazar makes claims that the Board of Hidalgo County Com- missioners, specifically Darr Shannon and Ed Kerr, constructively discharged him for several reasons, including end- ing purchases of gasoline from Commis- sioner Darr Shannon's company at in- flated prices, reporting gross incompe- tence in office, refusing to violate the Anti-Donation Clause of the New Mexico Constittition, reporting viola- tions of the Open Meetings Act, report- ing and opposing discrimination and reporting and recommending that the County undertake mandatory Fourth Amendment training. Salazar was initially hired by the County in July 2011 and his contract was renewed for three years in July 2013 at a rate of $80,000 per year. Ultimately, Salazar is claiming that he felt he was forced by the" Commission to quit his job. The 17-page complaint outlines numerous actions by. Salazar that he feels led to him being forced out of his posi- tion by the Commission, including: • His ending the county's practice of pur- chasing gasoline from Commissioner Shannon's company at an inflated price. • His reporting and opposing discrimi- nation against him, the first Hispanic County Manager in Hidalgo County. • His reporting and recommending that the County take mandatory Fourth Amendment training and eliminate the practice of cavity search warrants and re- porting that there should be additional tainingin light of recent police abuse litigation. • His reporting that County accounts should be udited. • His reporting that Commissioner Kerr had a conflict of interest regarding serv- ing on the Commission and represent- ing a power company. • His reporting working in an unsafe en- vironment after both Commissioners Shannon and Kerr "threatened" him. This was reported to all three commis- sioners and was not taken seriously, ac- cording to the complaint. • His refusal to violate the Anti-Dona- tion Clause • His refusal to terminate a county em- ployee when legal counsel advised that it was not necessary. • His reporting that Commissioners Sh- annon and Kerr had an illegal quorum to discuss his termination. The lawsuit further claims that these actions by Salazar led the Defendants, specifically Kerr and Shannon, to take retaliatory action against him by, among other things, threatening him with ter- mination, holding an improper review of his job performance, bypassing him in his official duties and refusing to ef- fectively investigate death threats they alleged were being made against him by a Hidalgo County Sheriff's deputy. Salazar claims that these retaliatory ac- tions forced him to resign, thereby ter- minating his three-year contract, because he feared for his physical safety for him- self and his family. If Salazar is victorious in this civil suit, he is not only asking for compensa- tory damages for past and future eco- nomic and non-economlc losses, but also punitive and exemplary damages, along with interest, attorneys fees and appli- cable statutory, civil penalties and liq- uidated damages allowed by law. No spe- cific amount was set forth in the com- plaint, although under the count involv- ing the New Mexico Whistleblower Pro- tection Act, Salazar is seeking actual damages in an amount equal to two times his damages, plus interest on-the back pay, along with reinstatement or equi- table relief in lieu of reinstatement. Furthermore the lawsuit is seeking to require Hidalgo County to provide mandatory and meaningful training to all managers and employees regarding the New Mexico Whistleblower ProteC- tion Act and ordering a monitoring pro- gram to ensure the Commission ceases" to engage in unlawful conduct. Hidalgo County's attorney on this case, Deena B. Williams, of Ray, McChristian & Jeans, PC, did not return email requests from the Herald for a com- ment on the case. Hidalgo County has not yet officially answered accusations laid out in the lawsuit. Law EnforcementDay held in Lordsburg The Lordsburg Border Patrol Station hosted a Law Enforcement Day at their facility west of Lordsburg on Saturday, October 25. Those who attended were able to meet local, state and federal law enforcement officer and learn how their missions and partnerships can positively affect the community. Advice was given to those interested in a law enforce- ment career. In addition, law enforcement horses, ATVs, K-9s, vehicles and equipment were all on display for public view. Agencies that participated included the U.S. Border Patrol, New Mexico State Police, Hidalgo County Sheriff's Depart- ment, Lordsburg Police Department, NM Department of Public Safety and the Border Patrol Exporers. For more pho- tos, see Page 9 of this week's edition. Courtesy photos UPCOMING EVENTS Rodeo Farmer's Mkt 11/12 The Rodeo Farmer's Market will be held on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at Ned Hall Park from 3 to 7 p.m. For more information contact Paula Ylarraz at 575-519-2005. Arts & Crafts Festival The Rodeo Arts and Crafts Festival will be held Saturday November 22nd from 9 am till 3 pm. Please join us for your Holiday Gift shopping and a Green Chile Stew Lunch. If you would like to reserve a vendor table, please call Donna @ 557-1400• BYA Tutoring The BYA will be open for tutor- ing Tuesdays- 4th-6th grades from 4 to 6 pm and 7th -12th grades from 6-8 pm. Please bring books and be prepared to think! Lordsburg Bountiful Baskets The Bountiful Basket food co-op program has begun in Lordsburg. Recipi- ents receive fresh, high quality produce baskets every other week. Other items, such as bread and season produce, are available. Organic baskets are available. For more information or to sign up, visit or call Shan- non Graham at 575-519-0361. Team Kids Team Kids youth group will be meet- ing every Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Lordsburg, cor- ner of 3 'd and Animas Streets. Team Kids is open to kids grades 1-6. HMS collecting glasses Hidalgo Medical Services is cur- rently accepting eye glasses that are no longer being used. They will be recycled for needy patients. If you would like to donate, drop them off at the Family Sup- port Department at HMS. DTMS to Honor Veterans Tuesday, November 11, Dugan- Tarango Middle School will hold Veteran's Day" Recognition Ceremony at 10:00. Efforts have been made to con- tact veteran's throughout Hidalgo County, but many are unreachable. Please call Mrs. Arambula, DTMS Secre- tary (542.9806), to add your name to the list. Lighted Christmas Parade The Lordsburg Fire Department Moonlight Madness and Lighted Christmas Parade is scheduled for Fri- day, December 5, 2014 at dusk. Indi- viduals, businesses and organizations are encouraged to participate in this annual event. 70s reunion meeting A reunion is in the planning stages for the Lordsburg High School classes of 1970-1979• A meeting will be held at the E1 Charro. Restaurant on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. A repre- sentative from each class is encouraged to attend. Continued on Page 3