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Non-Local News Releases

This category will feature news releases from out-of-area government agencies and representatives, as well as events that are not taking place in the four-county area of Grant, Catron, Hidalgo or Luna. For those events please visit Local News Releases.

Hobbs, NM (May 29, 2017) Congressman Steve Pearce today released a statement in honor of Memorial Day, and in memory of the brave men and women who never returned home from war.

Watch Rep. Pearce's Memorial Day Address here, or by clicking on the image below.

“Hello, I'm congressman Steve Pearce. I graduated from high school in 1965 from the small town of Hobbs, New Mexico. Of course, we were aware when we graduated that there was a conflict going on in Vietnam, the Vietnam War. None of us was quite sure what that meant - We didn't' know what it meant internationally, we did not know the significance for the nation, but we especially didn't know what it meant for us. We were to find out, us in the class of 1965, of the young men who did not come home from Hobbs - there were 9 of them - 5 were from the class of 1965. Kids I knew well, kids I hung around on the playground with.

So two years ago at my 50th reunion - that graduating class from high school - I made the comment that someone should do more at the 50-year reunion than just go to the cemetery. I didn't really have a clear idea of what that something would be, but over the next year I planned for a trip that would be my honoring - my consecration - my dedication to the memory of those who did not come home from Hobbs and from all small towns across America.

I flew my single engine airplane around the world, by myself, in one extended trip - 22 stops, 15 countries, 185 flight hours, and 15 days. That's about 12 hours a day sitting in the cockpit on average, some days it was as many as 20. That small four-place airplane; I had taken he two rear seats out, we put two 55 gallon drums behind me, filled them full of high octane fuel, and just chartered my way around the world. It was one of the most intense and the most difficult things I've done, but for me it was not nearly significant of the losses of those lives. It was my way of saying that I remember and I appreciate.

On those long lonely nights flying across the Pacific then up across Jakarta, Indonesia, into Thailand, across those air bases where we staged our missions out of - when we flew the combat missions in Vietnam from Thailand - I began to really understand the depth of loneliness, of the families who left loved ones there, who never got to see them grow to their full potential. In the rigors of exhaustion, I began to honor down to the deepest part of my being, those who gave everything - and that's what Memorial Day is all about, just remembering of those who died in conflict, not the ones who lived, but those who died.

Let us on this Memorial Day set apart time that we would remember the names on the wall, we would remember those who just were our average kids working on the block, playing with us on the sports teams, maybe they just went to school, but let's remember those lives that were cut short in the line of duty. You and I - we can consecrate that memory. That's my commitment for this Memorial Day, I hope that it's yours. God bless you. Thank you very much”

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Tom Udall issued the following statement in celebration of Memorial Day:

"This Memorial Day, we honor the men and women in uniform who have given their lives for our freedoms, our democracy, and our way of life. Many of these service members were young men and women with their lives before them. We honor these courageous New Mexicans and all others who have died in defense of the principles and values that make our country great - including tolerance and respect for all races, creeds, and colors. And we recommit to ensuring that our most vulnerable are cared for, that the men and women of our Armed Forces and our veterans receive the honor they deserve and the benefits they have earned, and to working even harder in our own communities and in our own ways to defend our country's best values."

New Mexico - Ahead of Memorial Day, Democratic Party of New Mexico Chair Richard Ellenberg released the following statement:

“On Memorial Day, we take time to honor our military service members who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. New Mexicans have an extraordinary sense of service to our communities, to our families and to our country. And Democrats recognize the deep commitment of our service members.

“We're proud of our elected Democrats who work everyday to ensure our veterans and their families receive the benefits they have earned. We stand with our neighbors and our communities to honor our service men and women on this special day.”

WASHINGTON - Today, ahead of Memorial Day weekend, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich called on the Trump administration to take concrete steps to address the reported decline in tourism to the United States as a result of President Trump's hostile rhetoric and harmful travel policies, which have created the perception that the United States is not a welcoming place for foreign visitors.

In a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Udall and Heinrich said that this "Trump effect" threatens to hurt the economy of the United States and of New Mexico, where tourists spend more than $6 billion annually and help sustain more than 90,000 jobs. Udall and Heinrich also noted that the "Trump effect" risks damaging the United States' leadership in science and innovation, as foreign scientists are reportedly considering skipping crucial science and technical conferences in the United States. As the senators wrote, President Trump has proposed eliminating Brand USA, which promotes the United States as a travel destination around the world.

Udall and Heinrich requested that Ross reply, in writing, by June 30, 2017, with detailed explanations of the Department of Commerce's plans to ensure that the U.S. remains a world leader in international travel and tourism.

"Memorial Day weekend marks the start of the summer travel season," the senators wrote. "The travel and tourism industry contributes nearly $1.6 trillion to the American economy and supports 7.6 million jobs, including in rural areas with high rates of unemployment. International visitors to the United States spent over $246 billion in 2015, supporting a $98 billion trade surplus. The Department of Commerce recently projected annual growth in travel to the U.S. through 2021. Our home state benefits from tourism and welcomes visitors from around the world, including for popular events such as the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Visitors to New Mexico spend more than $6 billion annually, which helps sustain more than 90,000 jobs."

"So we are alarmed by reports that travel companies and destinations are noticing a decline in the number of leisure and business travelers looking to visit America," the senators continued. "A recent news report on an analysis of mobile payments indicates that America's market share of international leisure tourism declined an average of 11% between October 2016 and March 2017. Other reports indicate that the travel industry describes this as the 'Trump effect.' Business is down apparently due to unfortunate misperceptions abroad that our country is not a welcoming place for foreign visitors due to negative rhetoric and new travel policies such as the Executive Order signed on January 27, 2017...which many believe constitutes a Muslim ban. The president's adversarial remarks about Mexicans and policies toward Mexico are also likely contributing to the Trump effect on travel, particularly for border states like New Mexico."

The full text of the letter is available below and here.

Dear Secretary Ross:

We are writing in response to President Trump's proposal to eliminate Brand USA, which promotes the United States as a travel destination, and to urge you to publicly make clear that legitimate international travelers remain welcome to visit and do business in our country.

Memorial Day weekend marks the start of the summer travel season. The travel and tourism industry contributes nearly $1.6 trillion to the American economy and supports 7.6 million jobs, including in rural areas with high rates of unemployment. International visitors to the United States spent over $246 billion in 2015, supporting a $98 billion trade surplus. The Department of Commerce recently projected annual growth in travel to the U.S. through 2021. Our home state benefits from tourism and welcomes visitors from around the world, including for popular events such as the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Visitors to New Mexico spend more than $6 billion annually, which helps sustain more than 90,000 jobs.

So we are alarmed by reports that travel companies and destinations are noticing a decline in the number of leisure and business travelers looking to visit America. A recent news report on an analysis of mobile payments indicates that America's market share of international leisure tourism declined an average of 11% between October 2016 and March 2017. Other reports indicate that the travel industry describes this as the "Trump effect." Business is down apparently due to unfortunate misperceptions abroad that our country is not a welcoming place for foreign visitors due to negative rhetoric and new travel policies such as the Executive Order signed on January 27, 2017 ("Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States"), which many believe constitutes a Muslim ban. The President's adversarial remarks about Mexicans and policies toward Mexico are also likely contributing to the Trump effect on travel, particularly for border states like New Mexico.

We fear this Trump effect could result in negative impacts beyond the American jobs and economic growth linked directly to tourism and other international travel. It also creates risk for American leadership in science and innovation. According to numerous scientific and medical organizations, "scientific and technical conferences are a crucial part of the innovation process and help to maximize the return on taxpayer investment in scientific research." Reports indicate that foreign scientists may skip conferences in the U.S., which could lead to such gatherings being relocated elsewhere. Dr. Rush Holt, a former Congressman and current CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, observed that "Albert Einstein would have perhaps been unwelcome [to come to the United States] in today's climate."

There are certainly real threats to homeland security that demand unyielding vigilance. We are all committed to preventing individuals who wish to do us harm from being able to enter the United States. Maintaining security, however, should not prevent efforts to promote legitimate travel that supports American jobs. Nor should it undermine American efforts to welcome foreign students and exchange visitors, who spend $32 billion a year according to the American Council on Education. Moreover, business, leisure, and scholarly travel match the American ideals of a free and open society and serve as a form of public diplomacy that fosters good will and advances U.S. interests around the world. U.S. Travel Association CEO Roger Dow describes this as "stealth public diplomacy" since international travelers who come to America go home and encourage others to visit the U.S.

Congress understood that America can protect its borders while also welcoming international visitors to our country when it enacted the Travel Promotion Act (P.L. 111-145) seven years ago. Motivated in part due to a decline in international tourist travel following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, this law directed the Department of Commerce to work with the travel and tourism industry to maximize the economic and diplomatic benefits of travel to the U.S. by promoting America to travelers from around the globe. This led to the creation of Brand USA as a public private partnership that serves as the destination marketing organization for the United States. This initiative now supports marketing and promotion campaigns in more than 30 countries to increase travel to the U.S. Underpinning these policies is the understanding that America can protect its borders while also welcoming international travelers to our country. So we are deeply concerned that President Trump proposes to eliminate Brand USA in his fiscal year 2018 budget request.

Please respond in writing by June 30, 2017 to the following questions:

  1. How many foreign tourists, business people, students, scholars, scientists, and others does the Department of Commerce expect to travel to the United States this year compared to the last five years?
  2. What does the Department of Commerce expect will be the travel and tourism industry's contribution to U.S. gross domestic product this year compared to the last five years?
  3. How much does the Department of Commerce expect the travel and tourism industry will contribute toward U.S. services exports this year compared to the last five years?
  4. Does the Department of Commerce still project that international travel to the U.S. should grow by 3 percent annually through 2021? If not, what increase or decline is expected and what is the reason for the change?
  5. What does the Department of Commerce estimate the overall economic impact of travel and tourism to the U.S. will be this year and how does that compare to the last five years?
  6. What misperceptions exist around the world regarding United States entry policies?
  7. What steps will the Department of Commerce take this year to help the United States remain a world leader in international travel and tourism exports?
  8. Will you commit to finding opportunities to communicate clearly to the world that that the U.S. remains a welcoming place for foreign tourists, business people, students, and scientists?

Thank you for your assistance and reply. We look forward to working with you to enhance the international competitiveness of the U.S. travel and tourism industry which creates jobs and supports economic growth across the country.

Sincerely,

White Sands Missile Range Notification
For information regarding closures you may call WSMR at 678-1178 or 678-2222 for updates.
Traffic updates are posted on the NMDOT traffic advisory web-site at http://nmroads.com and can be retrieved through our automated system at 511 in New Mexico or 1-800-432-4269 from any line.

I-10, Mile Marker 91.7 to 94.5, Deming CN 1101250
The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) along with La Calerita Construction (Contractor) continues with bridge rehabilitation and roadway reconstruction operations on Interstate 10 (I-10) in Luna County. Interstate traffic will continue to encounter a detour while work is being performed. All interstate traffic will be detoured off the eastbound lane and onto the westbound lane encountering temporary wall barrier along the detour. An 11' width lane restriction is in effect. Motorists are asked to reduce speed, obey posted signs, and use extreme caution, as well as continue to be cautious of personnel in the area. Construction is expected to be completed by summer 2017.

US 70, N Main, Solano, 3 Crosses, Mile Markers 149.2 to 149.5, Las Cruces LC000120
The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) along with AUI, Inc. (Contractor) will be performing roadway Reconstruction, Lighting and Signalization operations on US 70 / Solano Dr. / 3Crosses Ave. / N Main St. intersection in Dona Ana Co. Construction expected to be completed by summer 2018. A 12' width lane restriction is in effect. Traffic will encounter detours as well as lane drops at times. Barrier wall has been placed on the passing left lanes on US 70. Motorists are asked to reduce speed, obey posted signs, and use extreme caution, and be cautious of personnel in the area. Construction will be from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday thru Friday.

US 180, Mile Marker 47.4 to 164.4, Cliff, Silver City, Deming CN9900725
The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) along with San Bar Construction (Contractor) will begin a signing and post replacement project along US 180, starting at the intersection of US 180 and NM 159 (Mogollon turn off) and will progress southbound along US 180. Traffic will encounter a flagging operation at times while work is being performed in areas with no shoulder. Motorists are asked to reduce speed, obey posted signs, and use extreme caution, and be cautious of personnel in the area. Hours of operation will be Monday through Friday from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm.

NM 90/Hudson Street Bridge - Silver City
The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) along with Interstate Highway Construction (IHC) (Contractor) will be performing bridge jacking operations on May 30th in order to repair bearing assemblies. The contractor will utilize single lane closures with reduced speed during jacking operations. Traffic will be allowed across the bridge in each direction. Please call the Project Office (575)544-6561 with any questions or to confirm any wide loads during the time frame of May 30th through June 16th.

NM 427 "Florida St."/Iron St. intersection, Deming
The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) along with Southwest Concrete & Paving (Contractor) will begin north side ditch grading, east of and including Iron St/Florida St. intersection. Traffic will encounter equipment on the shoulders and a closure on Iron St. will be in effect. Motorists are asked to reduce speed, obey posted signs, and use extreme caution, and be cautious of personnel in the area. Hours of operation will be Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

NM 159, Mile Marker 8 to 10, Mogollon CN ER14103
The NMDOT along with La Calerita Construction, LLC, (Contractor) will perform Roadway & Drainage Improvements on NM 159 with expected completion fall of 2017. The only traffic that will be able to go through NM 159 will be the Mogollon residents and supplies for the Mogollon residents during the week. Construction operation hours will be from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Saturday. Please use caution in this area when workers are present. NM 159 will be CLOSED during construction hours.

NM 427 "Florida St." at Iron St. intersection, Deming
The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) along with Southwest Concrete & Paving (Contractor) will begin north side ditch grading, east of and including Iron St/Florida St. intersection. Traffic will encounter equipment on the shoulders and a closure on Iron St. will be in effect. Motorists are asked to reduce speed, obey posted signs, and use extreme caution, and be cautious of personnel in the area. Hours of operation will be Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Chip Sealing - Las Cruces and Dona Ana County

NM 478 "S. Main St.", Las Cruces
The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) will be performing minor pavement preservation (Chip Sealing) operations on NM 478 "S. Main St." from mile post 9 to mile post 20 on both lanes. No center stripe and loose gravel on roadway, striping to begin in June. Motorists are advised to use caution and reduce speed while nearing and passing through the work zone being cautious of trucks turning and workers in the area.

NM 228 "Mesquite Rd.", Las Cruces
The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) will be performing minor pavement preservation (Chip Sealing) operations on NM 228 "Mesquite Rd." from mile post 0 to mile post 1.8 on both lanes. No center stripe and loose gravel on roadway, striping to begin in June. Motorists are advised to use caution and reduce speed while nearing and passing through the work zone being cautious of trucks turning and workers in the area.

Las Cruces Projects - City of Las Cruces

Brown Road
From Valley Drive to Circle Drive will be closed to through traffic. Access to residents will be maintained at all times. Motorists will be asked to decrease speed through the construction zone and should proceed with caution.

Calle del Sol
From Brown Road to Avenido Blanco will be closed to through traffic. Access to residents will be maintained at all times. Motorists will be asked to decrease speed through the construction zone and should proceed with caution.

E. Cambridge Drive
From Main Street to end of cul-de-sac will be closed to through traffic. Access to residents will be maintained at all times. Motorists will be asked to decrease speed through the construction zone and should proceed with caution.

Farney Lane
From Hixon Drive to Apollo Drive to Hixon Drive will be closed to through traffic. Access to residents will be maintained at all times. Motorists will be asked to decrease speed through the construction zone and should proceed with caution.

N Reymond Street
Open to through traffic.

Roadrunner Parkway
Open to through traffic.

Three Crosses
From Alameda Blvd to Spitz Avenue will lane closures to through traffic. Access to residents will be maintained at all times. Motorists will be asked to decrease speed through the construction zone and should proceed with caution.

Utah Avenue
From El Paseo Road to Mesquite Street will be closed to through traffic. Access to businesses will be detoured for full access. Motorists will be asked to decrease speed through the construction zone and should proceed with caution.

El Paso Projects - Go 10/Border West Expressway
Closures are posted on the TxDOT website: http://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/media-center/local-news/el-paso.html.

PLEASE NOTE: Conditions are subject to change without notice. Double fines for speeding in work zones are in effect.

For more information log onto www.nmroads.com or call 511.

WASHINGTON, May 26, 2017 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is inviting applications for grants to support economic development in rural communities.

"These grants will support partnerships between community development groups and rural communities to develop essential facilities and create jobs and business opportunities," USDA Rural Development Acting Deputy Undersecretary Roger Glendenning said.

USDA is making grants available under the Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) program to strengthen the rural economy. Qualified intermediary organizations receiving RCDI grants will provide technical assistance and training to help nonprofit organizations and communities develop their capacity to undertake housing, community facilities or economic development projects. Applicants must have capacity-building experience for these types of projects and must provide matching funds at least equal to the RCDI grant. Grants range from $50,000 to $250,000.

Eligible recipients are nonprofit organizations, low-income rural communities or federally recognized tribes. RCDI grants are not provided directly to businesses or individuals.

Examples of eligible projects include homeownership education, minority business entrepreneurship, strategic community planning or assistance to access alternative funding sources. A grant awarded to Habitat for Humanity Virginia in 2016 shows how the RCDI program is helping rural communities. The organization used a $150,000 grant to train Habitat affiliates across Virginia to rehabilitate homes as an alternative to its traditional model of building them from the ground up. Increasing the capacity of Habitat affiliates to rehabilitate dwellings will greatly increase their ability to serve more low-income families in Virginia's rural communities.

For more information on how to apply, see page 24281 of the May 26 Federal Register. The deadline to submit paper applications is July 25, 2017.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; homeownership; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) introduced legislation this week that would allow states to collect their own mineral royalties, protecting money that is rightfully owed to the states. The bill would effectively eliminate a collection fee charged by the federal government, which amounts to around $40 million per year.

The State Mineral Revenue Protection Act is cosponsored by Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).

"With New Mexico facing a budget crisis, the royalties our state earns from the extraction of natural resources are needed more than ever to help fund public education and other essential services," Udall said. "I am committed to working on a bipartisan basis to enable New Mexico to access the full share of revenue from mineral extraction that our state is owed and badly needs."

"Mineral royalties are supposed to be split 50-50, but by charging an unfair collection fee, the federal government is squeezing the states for more dollars to pad its own coffers," Enzi said. "By empowering states to collect their own mineral revenue, they would no longer have to worry about the federal government snatching up mineral royalties that are rightfully theirs."

The Mineral Leasing Act provides that the continental states be paid 50 percent of the revenues resulting from the leasing of mineral resources on federal public lands within their borders. These royalties are used by states to fund such necessary items as public school systems, community colleges, emergency response activities and basic infrastructure projects.

Currently, the federal government charges states a 2 percent fee, claiming it is necessary to cover collection and disbursement costs. This legislation would ensure that states can continue to receive their 50 percent share of mineral royalties by giving them the option to administer their own programs.

U.S. Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) introduced identical legislation in the House.

SANTA FE, NM - The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) offers tips for residents to stay safe and healthy this Memorial Day weekend and throughout the summer, while enjoying all the outdoor activities New Mexico has to offer.

With warmer temperatures, there are increased concerns with heat exposure, hydration, safe food handling when in the outdoors, and the return of mosquito season. There are a variety of ways to reduce your health risks:

Avoid Heat Induced Illness - There were 137 emergency department visits in New Mexico for heat stress June 2016, the most for any month in the year. Heat stress is a heat-related illness that with inadequate fluid replacement and continued exposure to high temperatures, can progress to more serious conditions such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. To protect yourself from the heat, take the following steps:

  • Stay cool indoors; do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device.
  • Drink more water than usual but avoid alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar.
  • When going out, wear lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Do not leave children or pets in cars.

To learn more, go to: https://nmtracking.org/health/heatstress/Heat.html

Handle Food Safely - Foodborne illnesses affect an estimated 48 million people every year in the United States. Proper handling and storage of foods is important for reducing your risks for foodborne illness.

  • Cook meats on the grill thoroughly using a thermometer for correct temperature.
  • Wash your hands, and be careful not to cross contaminate when preparing meats and other foods.
  • Don't eat cold or hot foods that have been held at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

More information can be found on NMDOH's website at https://nmhealth.org/about/erd/ideb/fdp/.

Avoid Mosquito Bites - So far this year, there has been just one reported case of West Nile Virus and no reported cases of Zika Virus in New Mexico. However, we are entering the 2017 mosquito season. With increased time spent outdoors, it is important to act to reduce your risk of mosquito bites.

  • Create a barrier by wearing insect repellent, long sleeves, long pants, and a hat.
  • Reduce the amount of time spent outdoors when mosquitoes are most active (at dusk and dawn).
  • Use screens to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
  • Empty or eliminate water holding containers (where mosquitoes lay their eggs) such as tires, flower pots, toys, and buckets.

To learn more about West Nile Virus, go to https://nmhealth.org/about/erd/ideb/zdp/wnv/.
Zika Virus information can be found at https://nmhealth.org/go/zika/.

The New Mexico Department of Health works to promote the health and safety of all New Mexicans and provides resources for keeping yourself and those around you safe.
For places to go and things to do in the Land of Enchantment this summer visit https://www.newmexico.org.

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