(Deming) -- Luna County's unemployment rate remains below 20-percent -- but just barely. Preliminary April figures from the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions show Luna County with an unemployment rate of 19-point-five percent.
That figure is down from the March revised rate of 20-point-five percent, and also down from last April's rate of 21 percent.
Following Luna County in the list of New Mexico counties with the worst unemployment is Mora County with 13-point-one percent unemployment. Those were the only two counties in the state with unemployment greater than 10-percent.
Rounding out the top five are Guadalupe at nine-point-five percent... Taos at nine-point-one percent... and McKinley at seven-point-eight percent.
In our area... Grant County was at five-point-nine percent unemployment in April... Hidalgo County was at five-point-six... and the Las Cruces area was at six-point-six. The county with the least unemployment remains Los Alamos with two-point-seven percent.
The state unemployment rate for April-- at six-point-nine percent -- was down from the March rate of seven-point-two percent.
The New Mexico labor force estimates show Luna County with a labor force of 11-thousand-786 -- with nine-thousand-482 employed... and two-thousand-304 unemployed.
Thieves Caught Taking Sign Batteries
(Deming) -- Two Deming men were caught taking batteries from lighted traffic signs off the Silver City Highway, and one of the men was still recovering from a gunshot wound he sustained in a residential break-in.
Thirty-year-old Abelardo Contreras and 32-year-old Justin Hull were stopped by Luna County Sheriff's Department deputies Tuesday after they were seen by witnesses taking four batteries and cable from traffic signs off Highway 180 near milemarker 162. Contreras was arrested on charges of larceny and causing criminal damage to property. Hull is facing a charge of conspiracy to commit larceny, but was not immediately arrested because he is still recovering from gunshot wounds to his stomach and right leg he received in February after breaking into an unoccupied home off Amapola Road Southeast.
Hull was shot by the property owner, a 62-year-old man who was staying in the home after discovering that the home had been broken into previously, and property had been piled in rooms ready to be loaded.
Sheriff's officials said the sign batteries were recovered after deputies followed tire tracks which led them to the stolen items.
(Deming) -- Here's the area crime report: Bradley Brown, age 34, was arrested on two Magistrate warrants... Carlos Munoz, age 34, was arrested on a Magistrate warrant for failure to appear and on a Municipal warrant for failure to pay fines... and three rolls of five-foot cattle fencing and fence posts with a combined value of nearly 500-dollars were taken from a location off Leghorn Road.
(Deming) -- Here's the area crime report:
Randy Morales, age 21, was arrested for larceny over 250-dollars... and Juan Quezada, age 20, was arrested on a Magistrate warrant for failure to pay fines.
Also... a 60-year-old Deming man reported being the victim of fraud after purchasing a vehicle on eBay for over 12-hundred dollars and never receiving the vehicle... a bicycle valued at 250-dollars was taken from a location off East Pine... a tractor battery and cables valued at over 200-dollars were taken from a location off Highway 418 Southwest... a loss-prevention employee at a business off East Pine reported a cash embezzlement of nearly 200-dollars... and a window valued at 150-dollars was broken on a business off West Pine.
(Deming) -- A Stars-N-Parks astronomy program will take place this Saturday at Rockhound State Park.
Rockhound State Park is located east of Deming in Luna County.
Attendees will view highlights of the spring sky, such as Venus in the west... Mars on the meridian at program start... and Saturn high in the east by program start.
The event begins with a night sky tour... followed by views of deep sky objects though a high-powered telescope. Sally Allen will be the presenter.
The program is viewed in a dark sky setting beginning at 9:05 p-m... and attendees should arrive at the park at sunset, which is at about 7:55 p-m, so they can become familiar with their surroundings before nightfall.
The program will end at about 10:35.
(Deming) -- As part of New Mexico Heritage Preservation Month, Pancho Villa State Park in Columbus is having an event this Saturday called "Remembering the Past." Heritage Educator John Read said the event will be held in the Pancho Villa State Park exhibit hall from 10 a-m to 2:30 p-m.
The presentations will begin at 10 Saturday morning with Kirtland Air Force Base Archivist Stephen Watson talking about the role of aviation before, during and after the punitive expedition in pursuit of Pancho Villa into Mexico in 1916. At 11... young Columbus students will perform with Ballet Folklorico Korimi in traditional costumes. And at 11:30... interim Park Manager Alex Mares will talk about General John "Black Jack" Pershing's forgotten Apache scouts. Also... the Desert Nursery will have cactus plants for sale.
Everyone is invited to attend the "Remembering the Past" event this Saturday at Pancho Villa State Park in Columbus.
(Deming) -- The Deming Post Office letter carriers will gather donated food on Saturday as part of the 20th annual National Association of Letter Carriers National Food Drive, the largest one-day food drive in the nation.
Diane Jackson, president of the Deming chapter of the National Association of Letter Carriers, said the donation drive will work the same as years' past.
All food collected in Deming and Luna County will be delivered to Luna County shelters and soup kitchens.
Anyone interested in donating should place a box or can of non-perishable food next to the mailbox before their letter carrier delivers mail this Saturday.
The letter carrier will collect the food and take it back to the post office, where it will be given to Helping Hand for disbursement to families in need.
Again, the letter carrier food drive is this Saturday, May 12th. Please place your can goods or other non-perishable donations next to the mailbox before your letter carrier delivers the mail Saturday.
(Deming) -- Deming events Saturday begin with the Great American Cleanup, hosted by Keep Luna County Beautiful.
Volunteers of all ages are invited to participate in the neighborhood cleanup and beautification, which will be followed by a cookout for participants.
The cookout is hosted by Aramark and will be free to cleanup volunteers.
Anyone interested in helping should meet at the Luna County Courthouse Saturday morning at 8. Volunteers will be provided trash bags, gloves and water. Then the Community Health Fair, sponsored by the Luna County Health Council, will run from 10 a-m to 2 p-m at the Mimbres Valley Learning and Special Events Center.
This year's theme is "Let's Move"... and there will be door prizes and youth bicycles given away.
The Community Health Fair is free of charge and open to anyone interested.
(Deming) -- The Luna County Commission will meet in regular session Thursday.
Included on the agenda is a presentation by Luna County Extension Agent Jack Blandford on the plant African Rue... an inducement resolution relating to the proposed Industrial Revenue Bonds for the Macho Springs Solar Project... a resolution pertaining to taxable fringe benefits... two contract renewals for services at Healthy Start... an amended organizational chart which moves security for the judicial complex under the Sheriff's Department... a public hearing for a Planning Department variance... and the call for an ordinance establishing a five-percent Luna County procurement preference.
Also... a service award will be presented to David Townsend for 10 years with the Detention Center. The meeting is set to begin at 9 a-m Thursday in the commission chambers, located on the third floor of the Luna County Courthouse. The meeting is open to the public.
An executive -- or closed -- session to discuss the disposal of the former Western Furniture building at 110 North Gold and limited personnel matters pertaining to the detention center will follow the open meeting.
(Deming) -- Here's the area crime report:
Raymond Smyer, age 43, was arrested for aggravated D-W-I... Patsy Hernandez, age 25, was arrested for breaking and entering, causing criminal damage to property and on an Adult Probation and Parole Office arrest order for a probation violation... Raul Mercado, age 20, was arrested for two counts of theft of identity, theft of a credit card, fraudulently signing a credit card, fraudulent use of a credit card and forgery... Matthew Schipper, age 29, was arrested on an Adult Probation and Parole Office order for a probation violation... Lisa Parrish, age 44, was arrested on a Municipal warrant for failure to pay fines... Eva Pacheco, who was already incarcerated, was served with a Municipal warrant... and Jorge Nevarez, age 30, was cited for possession of drug paraphernalia. In juvenile news... three boys -- ages 13, 14 and 15 -- were charged with breaking and entering. And in other news... a water meter was taken from a location off East Maple.
(Deming) -- There will be a public meeting in Deming Wednesday so local residents can offer input on a proposed high-voltage power line that would run through New Mexico and Arizona.
The Bureau of Land Management has scheduled a series of open house meetings in both states on an electrical transmission line that could provide up to 25-hundred megawatts of electricity.
Southline Transmission is proposing building the line in two segments. The first segment would stretch 225 miles from a substation in Afton, New Mexico -- south of Las Cruces, to one in Apache, Arizona -- south of Willcox.
The second would be an upgrade of 130 miles of an existing line between Apache and a substation outside of Tucson.
The line would cross federal, state and private lands.
The Deming meeting will be held this Wednesday from 5:30 to 8 p-m in the Mimbres Valley Learning and Special Events Center, 2300 East Pine Street.
The format will be an open house with project specialists available for questions. A presentation on the
project begins at 6 p-m. The meeting is open to anyone interested.