MON: Judge Halts Hemp Operations On Navajo Nation, + More

Sep 21, 2020

Navajo Judge Halts Operations At Hemp Farms Near ShiprockAssociated Press

A Navajo Nation judge is halting operations at nine hemp farms in northwestern New Mexico as part of a legal fight between a businessman and the tribe's Department of Justice.

The judge issued a preliminary injunction against Dineh Benally and two of his businesses following a hearing Friday.

The tribe sued Benally and the companies in June, alleging that he was illegally issuing permits for foreign entities to cultivate and grow industrial hemp on tribal land near Shiprock.

Navajo lawmakers have yet to approve and adopt a regulatory system for industrial hemp, so tribal code currently prohibits the growth, development, possession or propagation of the plant.

Oliver Whaley, head of the tribe's Environmental Protection Agency, testified Thursday that there were no licenses issued for operations including the use of septic tanks, a cesspool and possible use of large water hauling tanks to store gasoline for generators. He also claimed there were violations of the safe water drinking act.

Some residents complained about hemp farm operations damaging corn and alfalfa crops, along with the odor of the hemp affecting their personal health.

In June, Navajo authorities began warning people against illegally growing marijuana and hemp. Tribal police issued the initial warning after confirming that officers were investigating complaints about marijuana or hemp being grown near Shiprock.

New Mexico Governor Says Trump 'Botched' Pandemic Response - By Morgan Lee, Associated Press

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is sending campaign emails that accuse President Trump of single-handedly botching the nation's coronavirus response.

Governors including Lujan Grisham and California's Gavin Newsom have been noticeably reluctant at times to criticize Trump publicly since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, as their state's rely heavily on aid from the federal government to respond to the crisis and balance budgets.

That tone shifts in a campaign email from Lujan Grisham that says Trump refused to take action "while knowing how deadly and dangerous COVID-19 would be."

State Rapid Response Teams Respond To More Virus OutbreaksAssociated Press

State health officials responded last week to an increased number of virus outbreaks associated with work settings that trigger assistance for testing, disinfection and tracing of possible virus exposure.

The Environment Department said Monday in a weekly report that so-called rapid response incidents increased to 223 for the week of Sept. 14-20, up from 128 responses the previous week.

Related workplaces ran the gamut from Los Alamos National Laboratory to big box retailers, a junior high school, fast food outlets and a farmers market.

Food industries accounted for 36 new rapid responses to COVID-19 cases, with 24 incidents at restaurants and nine at grocery stores.

Since the start of the program in May, the health care industry accounts for the largest portion of rapid responses from health officials, followed by retail and wholesale businesses, and then restaurants.

On Monday health officials reported 106 new COVID-19 cases and two additional deaths.

That brings the total number of cases since the pandemic began to 27,683. The number of deaths related to the virus are 851.

Las Cruces Police Officer Arrested For DWI After SpeedingLas Cruces Sun-News, Associated Press

A Las Cruces police officer has been arrested or allegedly driving while under the influence.

The Las Cruces News-Sun reported Monday that 25-year-old Lourdes Hernandez has been released on her own recognizance after being booked for aggravated drunk driving and other charges.

New Mexico State Police say Hernandez was stopped on Interstate 25 early Saturday for going nearly 20 mph above the 55 mile-per-hour speed limit. According to authorities, Hernandez showed signs of impairment.

She identified herself as a police officer and said that she had her on-duty firearm with her. Hernandez then refused to take a Breathalyzer test.

A police spokesman says she is on administrative leave.

New Mexico Utility, Lab Partner To Make Grid More Resilient - By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

New Mexico's largest electric utility and Sandia National Laboratories is teaming up to make the electric grid more resilient as the state gears up to add more renewable energy to the mix.

The research and development partnership was announced Monday.

Lab officials say the agreement between Sandia and Public Service Co. of New Mexico will address energy challenges not just in New Mexico but across the U.S., as a safe and reliable electric power system is critical to national security.

Under the agreement, researchers will be working over the next several years on everything from energy storage systems to artificial intelligence and new sensor technology that can support the grid.

As New Mexico and other states mandate that more electricity come from solar, wind and other renewable sources, utilities and regulators have acknowledged that demand can outpace supply when the sun isn't shining or the wind isn't blowing.

Earlier this summer the utility asked customers to reduce their electricity use, saying cloud cover was affecting solar generation as a heat wave threatened to increase demand.

Battery storage is one option for ensuring the reliability of the grid and will be among the systems that Sandia and PNM will be working on.

Researchers also will be looking at how artificial intelligence and new sensor technology can bolster the grid.

Missing Hiker Is Found Dead In Sandia Mountains Associated Press

The body of a missing hiker has been found in the Sandia Mountains, Albuquerque police said Sunday.

They said the death of 40-year-old Gilbran Hernandez-Avila is being ruled as accidental.

Police said the body was located Saturday.

A missing person’s alert was issued for Hernandez-Avila on Sept. 15, two days after he went hiking and sent his last known communication to his family.

The search was a combined effort involving Albuquerque police, New Mexico Search and Rescue and State Police.

Ramps, Rails Shape New Skate Park In Navajo Community - Noel Lyn Smith, Farmington Daily Times, Associated Press

Many communities on the Navajo Nation lack skate parks or designated areas where skateboarders can master fundamental techniques like ollies, flip tricks, slides and grinds.

The closest facility for many used to be in Farmington, but a new skatepark has opened at Shiprock’s Nizhoni Park.

The skate park was built by the New Mexico Youth Conservation Corps’ San Juan County branch and opened last week on a 65 feet by 100 feet concrete slab with ramps, rails and grind boxes.

Shiprock used approximately $35,000 from revenue generated by a tax placed on unhealthy foods.

Since April 2015, foods that have minimal to no nutritional value – such as chips, candy and soda – have been subject to an additional 2% sales tax when purchased from retail locations on the reservation.

The revenue is deposited into the Community Wellness Development Projects Fund then distributed by the Division of Community Development to chapters for projects that promote fitness and health.

New Mexico Reports 67 New Coronavirus Cases, 2 More DeathsAssociated Press

Health officials in New Mexico on Sunday reported 67 new confirmed coronavirus cases with two additional deaths, increasing the statewide totals to 27,579 cases and 849 known deaths since the pandemic began.

Of the 67 new cases, New Mexico Department of Health officials said 14 cases were in Chaves County with 12 in Dona Ana County and 11 in Bernalillo County.

According to Johns Hopkins University data analyzed by The Associated Press, the seven-day rolling average of daily new COVID-10 cases in New Mexico and daily deaths both decreased over the past two weeks.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks.

But for some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

Navajo Nation Report 12 New Coronavirus Cases, No DeathsAssociated Press

Navajo Nation health officials report 12 new confirmed cases of coronavirus but no additional deaths.

The Navajo Department of Health said Sunday the number of known COVID-19-related deaths remains at 548 since the pandemic began. The total number of confirmed cases is now 10,119 on the vast reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

Tribal health officials say 102,195 people have been tested for the coronavirus and 7,232 have recovered. The Navajo Nation enforced another 32-hour partial weekend lockdown, which ‪‪began at 9 p.m. Saturday and ended at 5 a.m. Monday,  to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Navajo Nation Report 17 New Coronavirus Cases, 4 More DeathsAssociated Press

Navajo Nation health officials report 17 new confirmed cases of coronavirus with four additional deaths.

The Navajo Department of Health says there now have been 548 known deaths since the pandemic began and 10,107 confirmed cases on the vast reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

Tribal health officials say 101,899 people have been tested for the coronavirus and 7,230 have recovered as of Saturday.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

The Navajo Nation’s 32-hour partial weekend lockdown ‪‪began at 9 p.m. Saturday and will last until 5 a.m. Monday to help control and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

 

Tags: