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Home | Tag Archives: dona ana county

Tag Archives: dona ana county

Doña Ana County Formally Submits Letter Supporting Organ Mountains National Monument

Doña Ana County has formally submitted Resolution 2017-61 supporting the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument to the U.S. Department of the Interior.

“My colleagues and I listened to hours of emotional and impassioned input before reaching our decision,” said Doña Ana County Commission Chairwoman Isabella Solis. “Reaching the decision was both challenging and informative. We ask Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and President Trump to support the commission’s decision to keep the Organ Mountains/Desert Peaks National Monument protected as it is today.”

“Our communities have worked for decades to protect nationally significant resources on federal lands in our area, while continuing our multiple use tradition on those lands.  The Organ Mountains/Desert Peaks National Monument designation does that, and has greatly benefited the residents of Doña Ana County,” Garrett said

In addition to supporting the monument, the resolution also opposes “any reduction, rescission, or attempt to harm the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument” and supports the continued protection under law of valid existing rights including private property rights within the monument.

The Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners voted 4-1 on June 27 to support the resolution, which was drafted by District 1 Commissioner Billy G. Garrett. District 3 Commissioner Benjamin L. Rawson cast the lone dissenting vote.

The Department of Interior is taking public comments until July 10 as part of President Trump’s review of 27 national monuments.

Document Found by Doña Ana County Clerk’s Office Employee Name Pat Garrett’s Murderer

For decades, historians have been hungry to determine whether any official document existed that assigned blame for the murder of former Doña Ana County and Lincoln County Sheriff Pat Garrett – the man who gained fame and notoriety for tracking down and killing Billy the Kid.

Late last year, a Doña Ana County Clerk’s Office employee came across that document in a box of unarchived materials.

Dated February 9, 1908, the handwritten Coroner’s Jury Report – signed by seven jurors – reads as follows: “We the undersigned Justices of the Peace and Coroners Jury have attended the investigation of the body of Pat Garrett who was reported dead within the limits of Precinct No. 20, County of Doña Ana, territory of New Mexico on about five miles northeast of the town of Las Cruces and find that the deceased came to his death by gunshot wounds inflicted by one Wayne Brazel.”

“Finding the Pat Garrett document is exciting for our community because it enriches New Mexican history,” said Doña Ana County Clerk Scott Krahling. “We’re excited to launch our project to preserve this collection of documents ranging from 1854 to 1963.  Historians note that we are sitting on a gold mine of rich historical documents waiting to be discovered.  Our goal is to provide full access to the public, so we are seeking more funding to complete the project. Since family roots run deep in Doña Ana County, our hope is that these documents enrich our stories and get more people excited about our history and culture.”

Arizona State University Professor Emeritus Dr. Robert J. Stahl estimates the value of the document in the tens – perhaps hundreds – of thousands of dollars if it were to be sold on the open market, and he has written a strong letter of support for the Doña Ana County Clerk’s Office to receive additional grant funding to catalogue its remaining documentation.

“Not only will these documents add to, fill in, and correct bits and pieces of New Mexico and Doña Ana County histories,” Stahl wrote, “they will raise the prestige and esteem of your Office, its Historical Preservation Grant Team, and the County Government. What has been completely overlooked in your County’s view of these files is that once they are found, filed, and made available, hundreds of historians, genealogists, and just ‘plain folk’ will come from all over the world and spend millions of dollars each year to get their eyes on what you have. You are sitting on a gold mine in more ways than one.”

Krahling said the Garrett document was found by a staffer last November and was soon placed into a safety deposit box for protection. He said the circle of people who knew about the document was kept small until a plan could be put in place for a public unveiling. He said the office also needed to make plans for the expected deluge of interest once the knowledge of the document’s existence became widely known.

“We are still cataloging documents from the late 1800s and early 1900s,” he said. “As we find and catalog them, we will work with historians like Dr. Stahl to determine which have enduring value – both historic and monetary – to safeguard the integrity of the documents while making them available for inspection by interested parties.”

Krahling said the Garrett document will be unveiled to the public at a special ceremony on June 16 in the Commission Chambers of the Doña Ana County Government Center. Thereafter, his staff will schedule one-hour, supervised appointments with people interested in viewing archived historical documents.

Ultimately, he said, the most prized documents found during the archival process will be turned over to the state’s Records Center and Archives in Santa Fe for long-term maintenance and preservation.

Krahling said he and his staff expect to find out this week whether additional grant funding will be allocated to continue the archiving initiative, which began in 2015.

“We know some of what we have, and it’s pretty exciting,” he said. “What we’re certain of is that we will find more documents that rival the Garrett document in their value and importance, and we’re eager to get to work on cataloguing each and every one of them. There are thousands of historical documents still to be reviewed.”

Dona Ana County Officials warn of Property Tax Scam

Doña Ana County Chief Deputy Treasurer Eric Rodriguez is warning property owners not to fall for official-looking letters from a company calling itself Desert Cardinal Properties of Cedar Park, Texas.

Rodriguez said several property owners have reported receiving the letters in recent weeks, offering to take ownership of the properties for a nominal fee, plus back taxes owed.

“You should never do business with someone who claims they are acting on your behalf in a situation that involves back taxes,” Rodriguez said. “If you receive one of these letters – or a similar one from a different ‘company,’ – you should call our office at (575) 647-7433 to determine if you actually do owe back taxes, and, if so, what remedies are open to you without selling or relinquishing your property.”

The letters being received by area property owners are official-looking and include formal legal descriptions of the properties in question. They also set a date by which the transaction must be completed to be valid.

“Even if you do owe back taxes,” Rodriguez said, “chances are that we can work with you to address the matter in a way that allows you to keep your property. We strongly advise that if you receive one of these predatory letters, you contact our office immediately and throw the letter away.”

Dona Ana County changes ordinance regarding dogs kept on chains

Beginning Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, dogs throughout Doña Ana County will get some relief from chains and tethers as a portion of the county’s new animal-control ordinance takes full effect.

Following a nationwide trend to abolish or severely limit the amount of time dogs can legally be chained – as well as the conditions under which limited chaining remains allowable – the Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners has approved the following revisions, which Animal Control personnel in the field will be empowered to enforce.

* A person owning or having charge, custody, or care over a dog on his or her premises may use a tether as a temporary means of restraint only.

* A person shall not tether a dog to a stationary object for more than two hours in any 12-hour period.

* A person shall not tether a dog to a running line, pulley, or trolley system for more than four hours in any 12-hour period.

* A person shall not tether a dog in an unenclosed area where people or other animals are able to wander into the proximity of the tethered dog.

* A tether used to restrain a dog shall be at least 12 feet in length.  Such tether shall not enable the animal to reach beyond the owner’s property.

* A tether used to restrain a dog shall be affixed to a properly fitting collar or harness worn by the dog.

* A person shall not wrap a chain or tether directly around the neck or other body part of a dog.

* A tether used to restrain a dog shall not weigh more than one-eighth of the animal’s body weight.  The tether weight shall include any additional objects attached to the dog or tether, such as locks or fasteners.

* A tether used to restrain a dog shall have working swivels on both ends and shall be fastened so that the animal may sit, walk, and lie down using natural motions.

Critical definitions associated with the law include these three:

     Tether: To restrain an animal by means of a chain, lead, runner, cable, rope, or similar device attached either to a stationary object or to a running line, pulley, or trolley system.

     Physical Restraint:  A person owning or having charge, custody, or care over an animal shall keep the animal under humane physical restraint at all times.

     Owner’s Premises:  A person owning or having charge, custody, or care over an animal on his or her premises shall restrain the animal either by a secure enclosure or by immediate control.

Dona Ana County Clerk’s Office sets new privacy safeguards

Acting on the recommendations of a bipartisan Blue Ribbon Panel, the Doña Ana County Clerk’s Office has begun implementing a series of new steps designed to enhance the security of sensitive information belonging to registered voters in Doña Ana County.

The panel was convened after the June arrests of a Clerk’s Office employee on various charges related to the theft of registered voters’ names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth for illegal private gain. Three others were arrested for improperly notarizing documents.

            County Clerk Lynn J. Ellins said the newly implemented policies are as follows:

  1. Employees may only work outside of regular office hours if a member of the leadership team is present to monitor their activities.
  2. Paper records containing sensitive information will be under lock and key at all times they are not needed for specific and pre-approved work-related reasons. Only selected members of the leadership team will have access to the keys.

In addition to the two new policies, Ellins said the state vendor responsible for the Voter Registration Electronic Management System has provided an option to mask Social Security numbers from screens showing search results.

 “We believe the steps we’ve taken establish Doña Ana County as a leader in the state in terms of providing the most protection possible for keeping identities safe going forward,” Ellins said. “We will continue to work with the prosecutors to ensure that the former employees who betrayed the public trust are held accountable. The new steps are a giant step toward ensuring that nothing like this ever occurs in this office again.”

Ellins said he also is implementing a rigorous annual training program related to ethics, safe practices and keeping the public trust.

“We have modeled our training going forward on both the hospital and banking industries,” Ellins said. “Each employee will undergo the training, and each year, each employee will sign an acknowledgment of the laws and ethical principles that apply to this office as a condition of employment.”

Ellins said he is working with the Doña Ana County Information Technology Department to upgrade video surveillance and workplace-monitoring systems, and a new camera will be positioned to monitor access to the voter-registration documents that are kept on file.

Ellins said he is hopeful other clerks’ offices across the state will adopt similar models.

“I want to thank the individuals who gave their time, energy and ideas to help us develop these enhanced safeguards,” Ellins said. “The expertise and advice of Russell Allen, Dr. Paul Deason, Gwendolyn Hanson, John Hummer and John Muñoz was invaluable, frank and straightforward. They have produced a detailed report that we will reference frequently as we move forward. We’ll also share the document with other New Mexico county clerks and the Secretary of State’s Office to continue the conversation about vulnerabilities that still need to be evaluated at a broader level than just our office.”

Highlights of the committee’s report were presented today to the Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners, and copies of the full report are now available to the media and the general public, Ellins said, adding that the report will be added to the county’s website soon.

Author: Dona Ana County

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