Mobile Home tossed over by Microburst in Columbus, NM July 23, 2013 (Photo Submitted)
(Deming) - Tuesday evening at about 10pm, a severe storm ripped through the Village of Columbus.
Luna County Sheriff’s Department Chief Arturo Baeza told KOTS/KDEM News that a microburst hit the Village of Columbus at around 10pm Tuesday causing mobile homes to overturn, ripping roofs off buildings, and causing power outages in the Village.
is described as a very localized column of sinking air, producing damaging straight-line winds
at the surface that are similar to tornadoes
. A microburst often has high winds that can knock over fully grown trees. They usually last for a duration of a couple of seconds to several minutes.
No serious injuries were reported but local property damage was extensive. Columbus Electric Co-op had power restored to most Columbus customers within hours of the storm. Emergency service organizations provided shelter at the Columbus Civic Center and the Red Cross gave vouchers for motel rooms in Deming.
Glory Johnson, Joanne Hethcox, Grisel Melendez
(Deming) – The Luna County manager was recently elected to a state board and three county staffers have become certified.
County Manager Kelly Kuenstler was elected to the New Mexico Association of Counties’ Multi-Line Self Insurance Pool board of directors.
Kuenstler will represent the southwest geographic district of Luna, Catron, Grant, Hidalgo, Sierra and Socorro counties.
She replaces Grant County Manager Jon Saari, who served on the board for six years.
And three Luna County staff members have graduated from the New Mexico EDGE County College.
The New Mexico EDGE – or Education Designed to Generate Excellence in the Public Sector – is an umbrella organization operated through the New Mexico Cooperative Extension Service under which the County College, founded with NM Association of Counties, the NM Certified Public Manager Program, and other continuing education certification programs are administered.
Joanne Hethcox, Glory Johnson and Grisel Melendez completed 54 hours of education and submitted an essay on government service to receive their certificates.
Hethcox, the county’s budget and procurement director, has worked for Luna County for 11 years. Johnson, whose titles include assistant to the county manager and special projects supervisor, has worked for Luna County for 10 years.
And Melendez, an accounts payable specialist and health care coordinator, has worked for Luna County for two years.
The three plan to continue their education through the state EDGE College in an effort to earn recognition as Certified Public Managers in the next year.
(Deming) – The Luna County Commissioners will meet in
regular session Thursday.
The first item of business will be the election of a chairman for 2013.The 2012 chair has been Jay Spivey.
Also on the agenda is a letter of support to Deming Public Schools pertaining to a new high school bond issue… an Interior Department request for comment on the Southwest Gray Wolf Management Plan… a vote on the county’s drug and alcohol policy… and a letter of endorsement for
New Mexico Partnerships for Success II… as well as a number of annual resolutions and several DWI agreements.
The meeting is set to begin at 9 Thursday morning in the commission chambers, located on the third floor of the courthouse.The meeting is open to the public.
(Deming) – Time is running out to participate in a pesticide applicator workshop being offered in Deming next week.
The workshop, being offered through the Luna County Cooperative Extension Service office, will take place this coming Tuesday, December 18th, at 9 a.m. at the La Fonda Restaurant.
Topics to be covered are diseases in New Mexico vegetables, pecan pests, diseases and disorders, insect issues seen at NMSU labs this year, managing for herbicide failure, soil fumigation recordkeeping requirements, and K-Pam usage with vegetables.
Presenters include specialists from the New Mexico Cooperative Extension Service, New Mexico State University, State Department of Agriculture and Amvac Chemical Corporation.
The workshop cost is $20 which includes lunch. Attendees must RSVP with reservation fee by Monday at the Luna County Extension Office, 210-B Poplar Street in Deming.
Five continuing education units will be awarded to attendees.
At 3 p.m., following the workshops, an NMDA official will administer the private Pesticide applicators test. There will be an additional $15 fee for the test.
For more information, contact Luna County Extension Agent Jack Blandford at 546-8806.
(Deming) – Officials from Luna County, the city of Deming and Deming Public Schools will meet jointly Friday morning.
According to the legal notice, the purpose of the meeting is to discuss Deming Public Schools’ continuous school improvement efforts.
No action will be taken.
The joint meeting is set to begin at 9:30 a.m. Friday in the board room of the Emmett Shockley Administration Building, 400 Cody Road.
The work session is open to the public.
(Deming) -- Luna County's unemployment rate was down again in September, although we still top the state in the number of residents out of work.
Preliminary figures from the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions show Luna County with a September unemployment rate of 11.7%.
That figure is down from the August revised rate of 13.1%, and down from last September’s rate of 13% even.
Following Luna County in the list of New Mexico counties with the worst unemployment is Mora County with 10.9%.
Those were the only two counties in the state with unemployment greater than 10%.
Rounding out the top five are Guadalupe at 8.2%, Taos at 7.9% and McKinley at 7.6%.
n our area: Grant County had 6.2% unemployment in September, Hidalgo County had 5.6%, and the Las Cruces area had 6.1%.
The county with the least unemployment remains Los Alamos with 3.2%.
The state unemployment rate for September – at 6.4% – was down slightly from the August revised rate of 6.5%.
The New Mexico labor force estimates show Luna County with a labor force of 13,279 – with 11,719 employed and 1,560 are unemployed.
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(Deming) – Luna County small business owners are eligible to
apply for money through a revolving loan fund supported by USDA Rural Development.
New Mexico’s Community Development Loan Fund just received an obligation of $400,000 to be used to expand small, rural businesses in rural New Mexico.
“The Loan Fund,” as it’s known, is a national Intermediary Relending Program which provides financial support in rural areas of 25,000 people or less.
The revolving loan program is designed to provide financial assistance for various types of projects including community development projects, and the opening of new businesses or
the expansion of existing businesses, with the goal of saving or creating new jobs in rural areas.
“The Loan Fund” will use the $400,000 Intermediary Relending Program loan to target the financing of renewable energy systems owned by ag-producers and small businesses, and to
provide other financial support to rural small businesses.
(Deming) – Charges have been dismissed against a former Luna County warden accused of approving inmate furloughs without judicial authorization.
Sixth Judicial District Court Judge Daniel Viramontes Thursday granted a motion to dismiss all 14 misdemeanor charges filed in January on former warden John Krehbiel.
Viramontes ruled that the furloughs in question were granted as part of the county’s Recidivism Reduction Program – a program already in place before Krehbiel was hired as warden.
Inmates were sentenced to the program by judges, and furloughs were earned through good behavior and compliance with provisions such as attending substance abuse prevention and anger management classes.
Viramontes found that the furloughs were not a violation of the state statute governing release of prisoners, since the furloughs technically extended the boundaries of the jail and were not a release from custody.
All 14 of the inmates in the questioned furlough cases returned to the jail upon completion of their furloughs.
The 25-count motion for dismissal was filed in May, and heard by Viramontes in August.
(Deming) -- The popular home-made solar electricity course is again being offered at the Luna County Cooperative Extension Service office.
The class introduces students to the specialized vocabulary of solar electricity plus how to harness the sun's energy to pump your well, power part or all of your house or small business, save money on household energy expenses, and make your electric meter spin backwards or remove it all together.
Reportedly, the course is geared to present solid technical information with real-life examples, and is described as a wide-ranging, fact-filled, introductory course.
The five-week class will meet on Thursday evenings beginning October 18th, and will run through November 15th. A field trip to some local solar installations is scheduled for Saturday, November 17th.
No college credit is earned through the course. Enrollment is now open and only 12 participants will be accepted.
The course costs $50 to cover books and handouts. To register, contact the Luna County Extension Office at 546-8806.
Starmax Entertainment Center 333 N. Country Club Rd.
(Deming) – A county media release says new Starmax Facilities Director Ira Pearson is organizing a “Clean Up Starmax” day this Tuesday beginning at 8 a.m. The public is invited to participate in the business cleanup and coffee and donuts will be provided.
Also, anyone interested in serving on a Starmax community advisory committee is invited to submit a letter of interest to County Manager Kelly Kuenstler by October 4th, for consideration at the October 11th county commission meeting.
And the media release says Kuenstler, Pearson and the new Starmax management team are seeking public comments and suggestions. Input may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org