Gathering Of Nations Powwow Draws Thousands To Albuquerque, Mayor Pushes To Restore Urban Forests

Apr 27, 2019

Gathering Of Nations Powwow Draws Thousands To Albuquerque – Associated Press

One of the largest gatherings of indigenous peoples has drawn thousands of dancers, singers and artisans to New Mexico.

The 36th annual Gathering of Nations' powwow began Friday in Albuquerque. It concludes late Saturday after two days of traditional dancing, horse parades and pageant events for the Miss Indian World contest.

Mayor Tim Keller says the powwow draws people from more than 700 tribes. That includes those in the United States and Canada.

A highlight of the event each year is the twice-daily grand entry of dancers into Tingley Coliseum as they slowly spiral their way, one by one, onto and toward the center of the dance floor.

They are grouped by their type of dance — with men, women and children competing to win prizes in their categories.

Rate Of ER Visits Higher In Southeastern New Mexico– Associated Press

A new report says the rate of emergency room visits in southeastern New Mexico is significantly higher than the state as a whole, while the rate of visits in the Albuquerque area is lower.

The New Mexico Department of Health report evaluated over 812,000 emergency department visits at non-federal hospitals, finding a total statewide rate of 3,901 visits per 10,000 people.

The rate in the southeastern region consisting of Quay, De Baca, Curry, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Chaves, Eddy, and Lea counties was 4,903 visits, while the region consisting of Bernalillo, Sandoval, Torrance, and Valencia counties had a rate of 3,477 visits.

The department attributes the different rates partly to respiratory system diseases and to injury, poisonings and "certain other medical issues being more common in the southeastern part of the state."

Albuquerque Mayor Pushes To Restore Urban Forests – Associated Press

Albuquerque officials are calling for 100,000 trees to be planted in the city over the next decade to restore urban forests.

Mayor Tim Keller says Albuquerque is losing its tree canopy by nearly a percent per year, leaving the city increasingly vulnerable to heat, wind and climate change.

He says his administration will create a plan that includes establishing an assistant city forester position to help with the new initiative.

Albuquerque's "urban forests" include the Bosque, which is thick with cottonwood trees along the Rio Grande. Albuquerque is also bordered by national forest.

Officials say many trees in the city are 70 to 90 years old, and nearing the end of their life spans.

Former US Interior Secretary Manuel Luján Jr. Has Died– Associated Press

A former Republican congressman from New Mexico who as U.S. Interior Secretary drew fire from environmentalists for challenging the Endangered Species Act has died. Manuel Luján Jr. was 90.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who was a distant cousin, on Friday announced Luján's death. He had a long history of heart trouble and underwent triple-bypass surgery after a 1986 heart attack.

Luján represented New Mexico's 1st District from 1969 to 1989. He gained a reputation as an advocate for Native Americans, business and constituents in a majority-Democratic district.

As Luján's final term wound down, President George H.W. Bush tapped him for Interior secretary. Luján remained in Bush's administration until the president left office in January 1993.

Grand Jury Indicts Leader Of Armed Border Group– Associated Press

A federal grand jury has indicted on a weapons charge the leader of an armed group that has been detaining asylum-seeking families from Central America near the Mexican border.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Albuquerque on Friday announced the indictment against Larry Mitchell Hopkins on a charge of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition. The indictment cites previous criminal convictions against the 69-year-old resident of Flora Vista, New Mexico, for impersonation of a police officer and firearms violations.

Hopkins was arrested April 20 in Sunland Park, New Mexico, near the U.S. border with Mexico where his group has been stopping migrants, ordering them to wait and alerting Border Patrol.

Hopkins is scheduled for arraignment Monday. Defense attorney Kelly O'Connell is representing Hopkins and says his client intends to dispute the charge.

Santa Fe Will Not Shelter Asylum-Seekers– Associated Press

Santa Fe won't provide shelter for asylum-seekers who have crossed the border in southern New Mexico.

Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber said Wednesday that in conversations with leaders of local organizations and government officials, it was decided that Santa Fe would not best serve as a shelter location for some of the numerous migrants crossing the border and being dropped off in Las Cruces.

Webber says because most asylum-seekers are looking to leave the state to get to sponsors in other parts of the country, Albuquerque is considered to be a better central location because of its larger size and more transportation options.

Webber says Santa Fe will organize ways to provide money, clothes, blankets, sheets, nonperishable food, personal care items, and other goods, along with recruiting volunteers to help in Albuquerque and Las Cruces.

New Mexico Governor Fills 2 District Court Vacancies– Associated Press

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has appointed two judges to fill court vacancies in northern and southern New Mexico.

The governor's office said in a statement Thursday that Lujan Grisham has appointed Thomas E. Lilley to fill a vacancy in the Fifth Judicial District Court, which includes Roswell. Melissa A. Kennelly will become a judge in New Mexico's Eighth Judicial District Court, which includes Taos.

The governor says Lilley has been a Roswell attorney in private practice since 1986. He primarily has represented clients in personal injury cases.

Kennelly is Eighth Judicial District Court attorney. The governor says she was the first female police officer in the Broadview Heights Police Department in Broadview, Ohio.

Both Lilley and Kennelly are graduates of the University of New Mexico School of Law.