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Monday, June 24, 2024

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America's 'Radical Elders' continue their work for fairness, justice; SCOTUS upholds law disarming domestic abusers; Workplace adoption benefits help families, communities; Report examines barriers to successful post-prison re-entry in NC.

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A congresswoman celebrates Biden protections for mixed status families, Louisiana's Ten Commandments law faces an inevitable legal challenge, and a senator moves to repeal the strict 19th century anti-obscenity and anti-abortion Comstock Act.

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A Minnesota town claims the oldest rural Pride Festival while rural educators say they need support to teach kids social issues, rural businesses can suffer when dollar stores come to town and prairie states like South Dakota are getting help to protect grasslands.

NM ambassadors travel east to advocate for West's Gila River

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Monday, March 18, 2024   

New Mexico has one of the nation's last "wild" rivers, free of human-made structures and community representatives will be back in the nation's Capitol this week to advocate for its protection.

A delegation of tribal leaders, local elected officials, veterans and community leaders will urge members of Congress to pass the M.H. Dutch Salmon Greater Gila Wild and Scenic River Act. Passage would protect nearly 450 miles of the Gila and San Francisco Rivers and their tributaries.

Harry Browne, a commissioner in Grant County, said local residents have championed the legislation for nearly a decade.

"This region is among the nation's most economically challenged," Browne pointed out. "We deserve the benefits of Wild and Scenic Designation, increased tourism, increased investment by small businesses in outdoor recreation activities."

After four introductions, the bill passed out of a Senate committee last year with bipartisan support. As negotiated, it would allow grazing operations to continue on surrounding areas. Nonetheless, some landowners oppose the bill, worried it might restrict their Gila water use and lead to lawsuits.

In 2011, the Fort Sill Apache Tribe of Oklahoma, Arizona and New Mexico won the right to establish a reservation on homelands in southern New Mexico.

Pamela Eagleshield, vice chair of the tribe in Oklahoma, said many of the remaining 800 members hope to return and enjoy the pristine environment.

"Because our petroglyphs, our carvings, our culture, our history; everything that we have is there," Eagleshield emphasized. "If it's changed in any way, that's something that directly affects the spirituality of our people."

Browne noted the Grant County community-driven proposal will benefit people of all kinds.

"That is why my family and I moved here back in the early '90s," Browne stressed. "It would be devastating to see what we have here diminished by un-careful development."

New Mexico's outdoor recreation industry generates just over $2 billion in consumer spending by directly employing 28,000 people.


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