AlamogordoTownNews.com Settlement Agreement Executed between EchoMail and Otero County

As thousands of travelers trapse the byways to come enjoy the beauty of Otero County and Alamogordo this weekend, and the spectacle of the Thunderbirds and other awesome displays of military pride at Holloman Airforce Base’s Air Show, the murmurs of spectacle also are running amuck around Couy Griffin and a planned Monday May 9th “Special Meeting” of the Otero County Commission. 

In a news article released by The Paper, Tierna Unruh-Enos is the publisher at The Paper.

In an article Published May 5th, 2022, at 2:27 pm it suggests that “EchoMail has canceled the contract with the county and finds NO Election Fraud.”

“The “audit” of the 2020 general election in Otero County is facing a setback. According to the Otero County Attorney RB Nichols, the software company EchoMail has canceled the contract with the county. EchoMail was given the contract by Otero County at the urging of a volunteer group of citizens called the New Mexico Audit Force. The group is led by former NMSU professor David Clements and his wife Erin Clements.

In January, the Otero County Commission approved an election audit contract of $49,750 with EchoMail. The EchoMail software has been used in other election audits such as the ones in Maricopa County, AZ, led by the Cyber Ninjas. Election officials in Maricopa disputed nearly every claim found in the audit.

Contract for Services Not Rendered

EchoMail received its first payment of $24,875 from Otero County in February per the terms of the contract. On March 17, the House Congressional Oversight Committee launched an investigation into the Otero County audit and the EchoMail contract. That same day, EchoMail demanded that the balance of the contract be paid in full after turning in a 13-page document of charts and graphs with no actual analysis. The County disputed the claim, saying that they didn’t receive the services they paid for. On April 15, EchoMail returned $15,125 to the county and canceled the remainder of the contract.

Legal documents show that EchoMail contended that it had completed its contract and found no election fraud as a result of its services.

County Commissioner Couy Griffin has scheduled a special commission meeting on Monday, May 9 to discuss the audit — and to propose getting rid of voting machines in the county.”

Questionable Donations

Since the cancellation of the contract, New Mexico Audit Force has been left to its own devices to complete the audit and analysis on its own. They are not contracted by the county, nor are they a registered business in the state of New Mexico.

Couy Griffin has already gone on the defensive with a tweet to discredit the story and promising a spectacle at Monday’s Commission meeting.

In the meantime, the commission needs to tread lightly to prevent the county from having to expend taxpayer funds to defend its actions in hearings before the courts and or before Congress. 

As the Santa Fe New Mexican has reported, “Complaints of harassment and intimidation by volunteers going door to door in Otero County as part of a group that says it’s auditing the county’s 2020 presidential election results prompted Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver and Attorney General Hector Balderas to issue a voter risk advisory”

Otero County is under investigation after spending $50,000 on election audit by various legal entities and may have to defend its actions in court or via fines.

In the US Congress the House Oversight Committee has launched an investigation into a partisan ballot review in Otero County, New Mexico, where an “audit force” is going door to door and questioning voters.

The Committee is investigating whether the company’s audit and canvass in New Mexico illegally interferes with Americans’ right to vote by spreading disinformation about elections and intimidating voters,” House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, N.Y., and Jamie Raskin, Md., the chairman of the subcommittee on civil rights and civil liberties, wrote in a letter addressed to V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, the founder of EchoMail.

According to an article released today by Daily Beast; “The audit came under state and federal scrutiny after EchoMail’s CEO and allies were found to have promoted wild election conspiracy theories. But after a financial dispute with the county, EchoMail packed its bags up early.

“EchoMail fulfilled their obligations under the Contract and found No Election Fraud as a result of their services,” EchoMail’s attorney told The Daily Beast via email.”

All the rhetoric aside; the facts are that a Settlement Agreement has been executed between the County of Otero, New Mexico and EchoMail signed by the CEO of EchoMail and the County Chairperson of Otero County.

A Settlement Agreement has been executed by EchoMail and Otero County ending the relationship and with a demand for a refund for failing to deliver services agreed upon. 

A copy of the signed and executed settlement agreement is contained below…

https://agendasuite.org/iip/otero/file/getfile/23035

Let’s hope Monday’s Special Commission Meeting does not become the national news spectacle that it potentially could. 

Let’s hope rhetoric is kept at bay and the real spectacle reported is the results of a successful Air Show this weekend with 1000’s of happy shoppers spending many dollars in Otero County and contributing positively to growth and prosperity of this beautiful community. 

Let’s put our best foot forward daily, for a county that works together for mutual prosperity, and happiness, where positivity prevails, so too comes integrity in governance and in its people. 

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AlamogordoTownNews.com National Small Business Week on Alamogordo’s MainStreet New York Avenue

May 1st through 7th is the official week of Small Business designated by the Small Business Administration as Small Business Week.

Sherwin Williams Paint Store, GloBug, Elite Memories Boutique, Blush Hair Salon, Showcase Carpets and Tile, New,Mexico Influence Magazine, Renefit Southeast New Mexico Influence Magazine, Fitness, AlamogordoTownNews.com, 2nd Life Media, Emanuel Lydia Productions, Our Little Country Store at Roadrunner Emporium, the Local Bodega, Del Ora Goldsmith, Rocket City Game Lounge, Mission Billiards, MoniCakes, Barbies New York Avenue Salon, D & H Stamp and Sign Company, Capped, Flickinger Center, Country Corner Kitchen, Believe It Nutrition, StrangeLove Tattoo, Alamo Jump, Picacho Peak Brewing, Good News Thrift Store, and new shops coming – this is the New York Avenue business district and this is Alamogordo MainStreet and that is Small Business. 

Alamogordo’s Main Street Business District of New York Avenue represents the largest concentration of small businesses in Alamogordo.

From the cultural arts, classes,  live music and antiques of Roadrunner Emporium, to fine entertainment at the Flickinger Center, to a higher end Fine Art experience at New York Art and Music, to finest in fashions at Elite Memories Boutique, beauty and fashion at Blush Salon, Fine speciality gifts at Victoria Alamogordo, finest in quilting supplies and fabrics at Pins and Needles, excellence in locally procured selections at the Local Bodega, trivia and beer at Picacho Peak Brewing Company, late night gaming at Rocket City Game Shop, billiards play at Mission Billiards, tile and flooring, paint supplies, nutrition needs or a hot breakfast each can be found in the New York Avenue business district of Alamogordo’s MainStreet.

The Alamogordo MainStreet organization is concentrated on revitalization and partnerships to reinvent this important corridor and in community partnership with the Alamogordo Center of Commerce, the city of Alamogordo and New Mexico MainStreet; it celebrates Small Business Week with a reminder of this important corridor to the economic vitality of Alamogordo, Otero County and Southern New Mexico. 

Alamogordo MainStreet Executive Director Nolan Ojeda via a press statement concerning Small Business Week reminds Alamogordo citizens; “Alamogordo MainStreet is Small Business. The partnership businesses of Alamogordo MainStreet are the heartbeat of Alamogordo and is exactly what the SBA seeks to highlight with Small Business Week May 1st thru 7th. As the Executive Director of Alamogordo MainStreet, I’d like to personally invite you to our district, this week and (of course every week), as we celebrate Small Business Week and cap it off with our Downtown Nights Celebration this Friday with most stores open till 8 pm. This Friday night we will have a live radio remote from KALH radio at Roadrunner Emporium, a DJ spinning music in front of Victoria some special street vendors and special pricing and events at most of the stores till 8 pm.” 

Nolan continued, “We also welcome all of those coming in this weekend for the Holloman Air Show and invite them to see what makes Alamogordo’s MainStreet the New York Avenue district so unique.”

Rene Sepulveda partner in Roadrunner Emporium explained that the partnership between him and Chris Edwards, is so excited with the momentum of Alamogordo MainStreet and the New York Avenue business partnerships; “that we deepening our partnership with Emmanuel Renteria and Lydia Aspen and their New York Art and Music Studio and investing into the district idea of creating a cultural arts sub-district.  The first example of that investment partnership was our joint Evening Under the Stars Event this past weekend. That event was the tip of the iceberg in showing the potential of arts on New York Avenue. This event resulted in several thousands of dollars worth of art to be purchased by collectors and showcased musical talent with multiple performances throughout the evening.”

The small businesses of New York Avenue have two events scheduled for May Downtown Nights is Friday May 6th with merchants open till 8 pm and Atomicon is Saturday the 14th with a full array of costumed fun similar to a traditional ComiCon event with the street closed off from 8th Avenue to 12th and to include a Hobbit Village at Patrons Hall that evening.

Alice Weinman the owner of Victoria Alamogordo and the veteran business owner of the district says of Small Business Week, “we’ve been in Historic Downtown Alamogordo for 37 years, still here and still moving onward.” 
Alamogordo Small Business is moving forward which is evident every day with the renewed energy of Alamogordo MainStreet and New York Avenue. Come on down and join the multiple small businesses for Small Business Week! 

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AlamogordoTownNews.com The Magic of Wool, Wood, Clay and Oil

The Magic of Wool, Wood, Clay and Oil

Artists Susan and Scott Goewey with Georgia Stacy to show at Otero Artspace beginning this Friday 

On the First Friday of the month, May 6, from 5 – 7 pm, Otero Arts will host a reception for Susan Goewey, weaver and painter along with her husband Scott Goewey, potter. Also showing with the couple is Georgia Stacy sculptor and ceramist. The Artspace is located at the corner of 12th St. and Indiana Ave. in Alamogordo. The exhibit will be open from 1 to 4pm Thursday through Sunday until the show closes on May 31st.

Susan Goewey has been a spinner, weaver, dyer and painter for over 40 years. Her work reflects her closeness to nature.

Scott Goewey creates sculptural pottery that draws the viewer to want to touch and hold the pieces.

Georgia Stacy is a sculptural woodworker and ceramist. Her carvings tell of the human experience. Her ceramics lend themselves to stimulate our imagination.

We hope you will join Otero Artspace at the Womens Club 1118 Indiana Avenue, Alamogordo 

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AlamogordoTownNews.com Influence Magazine New Mexico Features 7 Local Women of Power & So Much More

2nd Life Media AlamogordoTownNews.com Influence Magazine New Mexico Features 7 Local Women of Power & So Much More

With its origins; the historic cultural arts and commerce zone of New York Avenue in Alamogordo, New Mexico, conceived by New York Avenue entrepreneur and editor Meike Schwarz; the new May/June 22 edition of Southeastern New Mexico Influence Magazine has many articles showcasing what is diverse and cool about the region. This newest edition of the print edition of the magazine launches with a launch party May 13th at Picacho Peak Brewing Co. on Friday, May 13th, at 6:00 pm at 3900 W. Picacho Avenue, Las Cruces, NM 88007 phone (575) 647-4797 RSVP’s for the party are required E-mail info@influencenm.com to reserve your seats. 

This author contributed three stories; one highlighting the Ghosts of New York Avenue and Alamogordo titled “Spirits from the Other Side” that is sure to enlighten and intrigue the reader, another spotlighting, “The Understated Influence of Alamogordo’s Black Churches” and a final article in collaboration with Meike Schwarz exploring the world of art from the abstracts of Bob Lombardi to other fine artist and to include the fine jewelry to journaling artisan creations of Joanne Blumenthal, resident artist of Roadrunner Emporium Fine Art, Antiques and More, Alamogordo. 

There is story of hope and wellness titled “Capped from Treatment to Wellness.” Of special interest is a very enlightening story highlighting the “Day and the Life of a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner” by Jazmine Valencia with the lead story of significant interest is titled “The Right Money, Rodeo Phenom Shad Mayfield” by Vince Alexander.

The feature story showcased above photos and below explains the influence of “7 Women of Power” by Meike Schwarz and Andrew Jacquin to include: Machienvee Villanueva Lammey, Michelle Perry, Wahanama Robinson, Danii Sedillo, Tva Parks, Major Brittany “Blitz” Trimble and Alamogordo Mayor Susan Payne. Congratulations to these inspirational women for being showcased. How awesome it is to see so many talented and inspiring individuals showcased in this beautiful magazine showcasing diversity and influence and what is positive and right about Alamogordo and our region of Southern New Mexico.

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AlamogordoTownNews.com New York Avenue’s Pins and Needles New Owner Susan Bollinger

Pins and Needles New Logo 913 New York Avenue, Alamogordo, New Mexico AlamogordoTownNews.com

On April 1st Alamogordo’s Main Street New York Avenue welcomed a familiar face, but in a new role, as a new business owner in this historic Alamogordo Main Street District. Pins and Needles at 915 New York Avenue, transitioned its ownership from Victoria Alamogordo’s proprietor Mrs. Alice Weinman, to that of her former “fabrics manager” Susan Bolinger and her business partner Penny Maurer.

Mrs. Alice Weinman is the veteran of Alamogordo’s New York Avenue having begun her adventure on New York Avenue almost 40 years ago. Mrs. Alice Weinman’s adventure in Alamogordo and on New York Avenue began as a result of the oil and gas bust of the mid 1980’s. She first set foot on New York Avenue in Alamogordo, New Mexico in October 1985. She said because she has been running three large ladies ready to wear stores in Texas she was bored to death after arriving in Alamogordo.Alice Weinman Owner Victoria Alamogordo 

Alice Weinman owner Victoria Alamogordo 915 Néw York Avenue AlamogordoTownNews.com

According to Mrs. Weinman also known affectionately on the street as “Mrs. Alice” when she came to Alamogordo, the Victoria store was already in operation but not doing well. She said she went into the store and said, “Hi, I am Alice Weinman, and I am here to help you.” The owner at the time responded, “Hi, I am Jatonne and I can’t pay you.” Ms. Alice says when she left the store that day, she had “the keys in her hand.”

Several years later she purchased Victoria at 913 New York Avenue. Over the next 37 years the business evolved and prospered and became a family business that included her husband, son and daughter Barbara; each assisting and working the business to grow. The business did indeed evolve and grow.

Alice and her family are the longest continuously operating business owners on New York Avenue, with businesses that have grown, survived and prospered, over almost 4 decades.

Ms. Alice has modified and tweaked the business over the years to ensure sustainability with the evolving taste of her customer base. That evolution has continued over the decades and in October of 2019 she had the idea of getting into the fabrics and the quilting business. She converted the vault area of her store into a sales area focused on quilting and fabrics. She hired a “fabrics manager” Susan Bollinger to lead the new part of her business. 

Susan Bollinger is an Alamogordo native that worked in a frame shop for many years. She had an eye for art and colors, is a hobbyist artist and always admired Ms. Alice and wanted to go to work with her. That opportunity came about in October of 2019 when Ms. Alice hired her to manage to lead the “fabrics section” in the vault. The business was a success and grew and they made the decision to make Pins and Needles at Victoria into a separate business and acquired the building at 915 New York Avenue and renamed it simply, Pin and Needles.  
Susan Bollinger the new owner of Pins and Needles Alamogordo, New Mexico. 

Susan Bollinger new owner of Pins and Needles Alamogordo #AlamogordoMainStreet AlamogordoTownNews.com

Susan Bolinger continued to run the business and expand it under the watchful eye and mentorship of Ms. Alice. 

The new store opened in January of 2021 offering an expanded line of the highest quality fabrics and more, and to include quilt making classes from quality experienced quilting and sewing educators. 

Both businesses evolved and prospered, and both survived the turbulence of Covid-19 with tweaks to the business offering along the way. 

Pins and Needles 913 New York Avenue, Alamogordo New Mexico #AlamogordoMainStreet AlamogordoTownNews.com

Ms. Alice’s daughter Barbara jokes, but is correct in her assessment, that the Roadrunner Emporium and the Local Bodega, both newer businesses on the street, that market themselves as small business incubators, are indeed incubators; but that her mother, “Ms. Alice was incubating and mentoring before it was a trendy buzzword on New York Avenue.”  Brenda Barber continued that, “she is excited and proud to see Susan fly the coup, so to speak, having been incubated by Ms. Alice and the family operators of Victoria.”

Susan Bolinger is very complimentary of her relationship with Ms. Alice and the family operation of Victoria Alamogordo. She says that she always admired Ms. Alice’s grit, stamina and the care she shows for her staff and her customers. “Ms. Alice is one very special person and a treasure to New York Avenue and to Alamogordo,” according to Susan.

Susan Bollinger came to New York Avenue to assist Ms. Alice and grew under her leadership and mentoring. Susan has partnered with Penny Maurer in the acquisition of Pin and Needles. “Penny brings her accounting background to assist in our growth which helps me a lot,” according to Susan Bollinger.Shoppers at Alamogordo Main Streets Pins and Needles

Susan says that her “years of framing experience, the mentoring by Ms. Alice and her eye for color is what provides her the strength to want to own and build upon the brand of her own business.”

It appears that Susan is also making the business a “family affair” in the transition to her ownership that took effect April 1st. She is hitting the ground running with a store that is busy and as of today has new signage and a new logo. Susan’s daughter Meg Bolinger designed a brand-new logo and sign that was installed in the front window today. The new logo for Pins and Needles is sleek, trendy and current but with a nod to “the love and compassion of the art of sewing.” The needle threading a heart in the new signage is symbolic of Susan’s love of quilting and needle arts.New Pins and Needles Sign created by Meg Bollinger

Both Susan and her business partner have the bug for quilting and needle arts. Her business partner Penny Mauer started sewing and quilting during the Covid-19 lockdown and caught the “quilting bug” about two years ago.

When asked what makes Pins and Needles such a success, Susan said, “it is absolutely about providing the highest quality fabrics that are not found in big box retailers at the mall or online, and it’s about getting to know the customer by name and understanding their needs and their projects.”

Pins and Needles, Alamogordo, at 915 New York Avenue, offers classes and workshops, it is focused on a quality offering that cannot be found online nor at big box stores. Individual attention, knowing the customer’s name, understanding their project and how to help facilitate that project is what makes Pins and Needles successful and sustainable for the long run.

Congratulations to Susan Bolinger and her partner Penny Mauer on acquiring Pins and Needles, Alamogordo. Congratulations to Alice Weinman for her mentorship of this business venture. Congratulations to New York Avenue, for having another business success, that is transitioning to the next generation of business ownership that has the wisdom of history, traditions and an appreciation for the artisan skills of quilting and the art of the needle. 

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AlamogordoTownNews.com Alamogordo MainStreet Appoints New Executive Director & Upcoming Main Street Events

Alamogordo MainStreet, in a press released today, announced that Nolan Ojeda has been hired as the new Director for the nonprofit focused on economic development in Alamogordo’s downtown historic district. 

Mr. Ojeda has hit the ground running during his first week in the position by working with the board in its monthly board meeting, conducting several one-on-one meetings with merchants and today meeting with the senior leadership of the City of Alamogordo. 

According to the press release from Alamogordo MainStreet…

Mr. Ojeda is originally from Las Cruces; Ojeda’s passion lies in community building. As a downtown merchant on New York Ave., Ojeda and his wife run The Local Bodega, a shop and small business incubator that features local makers and artisans. Ojeda’s experience also includes Mechanical Engineering and Project Management with the US Navy. This background makes Ojeda uniquely positioned to understand the needs of the downtown businesses and implement Alamogordo MainStreet’s Economic Transformation Strategies through the New Mexico MainStreet Four Point Approach -Economic Vitality, Promotion, Organization and Design.

Cindy Boylan, President of Alamogordo MainStreet, is excited to welcome Ojeda, “The Alamogordo MainStreet Board of Directors was unanimous in our decision for a new Executive Director. We are looking forward to Nolan’s leadership in facilitating an aggressive agenda and multiple events, starting with our Atomicon Cosplay Event on May 14th.”

Ojeda’s hiring comes as the nonprofit is poised to bring back the first full calendar of in person events since the start of the pandemic, as well as implementation of the Great Blocks Grant Program and creation of an Arts and Cultural District, both of which have the potential to bring major monetary investments into the local economy.

Ojeda is also very excited for his new role, “I’m thrilled to be a part of the efforts to revitalize downtown. I look forward to working with our passionate and talented board, as well as New Mexico MainStreet and the City of Alamogordo, to get closer to creating a space downtown for people to enjoy and small businesses to thrive. I’m up for the challenge to move the organization forward on its ambitious goals and a transition that will make the community proud.”

Alamogordo MainStreet and the Downtown Merchants of New York Avenue have several events planned the end of April and into May to entice and entertain the community…

April 30, New York Avenue from 1oth Street to 12th Street will be closed off for an “Evening Under the Stars” Gala Event with is an arts and culture event sponsored by Roadrunner Emporium, New York Art and Music Studio and Patron Hall which is a free to the public street party showcasing live music, art, culinary arts, a street beer garden, food trucks, live radio remote, live performance art and more.

There is a VIP ticket for a special Patrons Hall wine and appetizers events showcasing Lacy Reynolds on the Harp, belly dancing demonstrations and more. 

May 6th, New York Avenue Presents Downtown Nights Alive After 5, Most of the New York Avenue Businesses will be open from 5 pm to 8 pm with special pricing and events. This event under the leadership of Alice Weinman of Victoria Alamogordo is a merchant driven event to drive awareness of the New York Avenue businesses after 5. This month there will be a live radio remote, live music at some storefronts, food trucks and more.

May 14th, Atomicon Alamogordo sponsored by Alamogordo MainStreet.  ATOMICON is Alamogordo’s version of “Comic-Con”

Comic-con is an international comic book convention and nonprofit multi-genre entertainment event that is normally held annually in San Diego, California.

A comic book convention or comic con event has a primary focus on comic books and comic book culture, in which comic book fans gather to meet creators, experts, and each other. Main Street is in hopes to try and gather as many fun-filled themed vendors, performers, and guests dressed in costume as possible to fill the streets!

Guests, vendors, and MainStreet merchants dress up and decorate and join in the fun of the event. There will be a costume contest, entertainment, vendors, food trucks, live music and much more!

There will be live music by Rosewater Blues & Doso Dirtbags & beer gardens located throughout the streets

Live entertainment by:

OddLab (neon light parade) http://www.odd-lab.com/

Ghostbusters impersonators

RAD Studios (Dance performers)

Belly Dancing performances

Burlesque show (After hours 18+)

Children’s Music Theater (CMT) will be presenting the live performance of “The Hobbit” that same night as Atomicon at The Flickinger Center for Performing Arts @ 7pm – (event link posted) https://www.facebook.com/events/506869514251934/506869524251933/?active_tab=about

Patron’s Hall will be turned into “Hobbiton” to showcase the hard work put into the performance and to coincide with the comic theme, there will be photo ops and fun activities for the whole family!

Alamogordo’s New York Avenue, the New York Avenue Merchants, Arts Community and AlamogordoMain Street are all collaborating in a renewed effort to showcase the best of history, culture, arts and commerce at heart of Alamogordo – New York Avenue.

Come shop the local businesses in the MainStreet district and stop by the Alamogordo MainStreet office to congratulate Nolan – that is, if you don’t find him walking downtown and chatting with the MainStreet business owners or walking the streets during the upcoming 3 street festival and shopping events.

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AlamogordoTownNews.com Judge Ellen Jessen Announces Candidacy and Meet the Candidate Events www.electjudgejessen.com

Judge Ellen Jessen declared her candidacy for the 12th Judicial District, Civil Division II on March 8, 2022. 

Judge Jessen has served as a civil Judge since July 2020, after being nominated by a bipartisan Judicial Selection Commission, made up of judges, attorneys, and members of the community. She is no stranger to the 12th
Judicial District, having served as a Domestic Relations Hearing Officer from 2017 to 2020. Previously in private practice in Alamogordo and Cloudcroft, she specialized in civil and domestic relations law. As an attorney for COPE from 2008 to 2012 she represented hundreds of clients in domestic violence, divorce, and parentage cases.

Judge Jessen credits her 25 years’ experience in civil and domestic relations law for Division II providing swift access to justice. She holds a Juris Doctor degree from the Catholic University of America and a degree in Business Administration from Wheeling Jesuit University. As for her philosophy, Judge Jessen says: “Swift access to justice is essential. Fair and impartial rulings are part of the fabric of our Constitution. It is my commitment to see that your rights, guaranteed by the Constitution, are protected and defended.”

The primary election will be held Tuesday, June 7, 2022. For further information on registering or updating to voter information, please contact www.NMVote.org. To learn more about Judge Jessen and her candidacy visit her website for “Views from the Bench and more at 

www.electjudgejessen.com 

To meet the candidate in person she has the following appearances scheduled…

Easter in the Park, April 16, Washington Park, 10 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

4th Friday at the Zoo, April 22, 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Friday at the Zoo, May 27, 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Earth Day, April 30, 10 – 6

Couy Griffin Guilty 1 Count, Acquitted on 1 Count

The elected New Mexico, Otero county commissioner and pro-Trump grass-roots group leader was convicted at bench trial by a Trump-appointed judge. He was acquitted of a second count of disorderly conduct

An elected Republican county commissioner representing  Otero County, New Mexico  posted a video on Facebook of himself on the inauguration stage within the barricaded perimeter of the Capitol grounds during the Jan. 6 riot that forced the evacuation of lawmakers meeting to certify Joe Biden’s election victory. Griffin, 48, turned down an offer to plead to a lesser charge and probation, waived a trial by jury and bet his freedom on a bench trial that started Monday before U.S. District Judge Trevor N. McFadden of Washington.

The conviction gave the Justice Department its second victory at trial in the Capitol riot probe, affirming its decision to level misdemeanor charges punishable by up to one year in jail against hundreds of defendants. A jury earlier this month found a Texas militia movement recruiter, Guy Reffitt, guilty of five felonies, including obstruction of an official proceeding, witness tampering and interfering with police in a riot.

Donald Trump who injured scores of police, ransacked Capitol offices and caused Congress to evacuate as it met to confirm the 2020 election results, Griffin was not accused of violence or entering the building — one of the few such defendants among more than 750 people federally charged in the Capitol siege investigation.

Defense attorneys David B. Smith and Nicholas D. Smith have said U.S. authorities targeted Griffin for prosecution based on his protected speech. McFadden rejected that contention, finding that Griffin’s alleged leadership role, more blatant conduct and position as an elected official might rationally merit different handling by prosecutors.

McFadden, a 2017 Trump appointee, said video showed Griffin climbing over a stone wall marking the Capitol’s security perimeter, walking over other plastic mesh fencing and metal bicycle rack barriers that had been pushed down, and spending more than an hour on the front railing of the inaugural stage with a bullhorn.

The law requires that offenders act knowingly to disrupt a government proceeding. Griffin was recorded saying that he thought Vice President Mike Pence had already acted and that the certification was over at the time, McFadden said. Prosecutors said that Congress was only in recess and still in session to certify the election, and their evidence showed that members of the crowd around Griffin were chanting “Decertify!” even as their presence delayed Congress’s return to vote until that evening. However, McFadden found that although Griffin “could have thought business was still taking place, . . . the burden was on the government” to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.

The judge set sentencing for June 17, after his attorney, Nicholas Smith, declined the judge’s offer to immediately sentence Griffin on Tuesday.

Upon Griffin’s return he faces two new lawsuits filed against him in New Mexico, one calling for his removal from office and one for campaign finance violations.

We requested a statement from Mr. Griffin and have not received one as yet. If he provides us commentary we will update the article upon receipt. 

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AlamogordoTownNews.com: DC Court Case Begins, Additional Lawsuits File Against Couy Griffin in New Mexico

As the case commences in Washington DC, Monday 3/21/22 on Federal charges and Griffin decides not to ride up to the courthouse by horseback as discussed previously, two other lawsuits back home in New Mexico have been filed against Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin…

New Mexico Court Case 1:

Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin is now facing criminal charges in New Mexico. The “Cowboys for Trump” founder has been embroiled in a legal battle with the secretary of state since 2019 when she defined his group as a political committee.

That meant Cowboys for Trump had to register with the state and identify its major donors. Griffin sued, arguing that was a violation of his first amendment rights. A federal appeals court threw out his lawsuit.

Now, the New Mexico attorney general has filed a misdemeanor charge against Griffin for failing to register a political committee. 

The criminal complaint that was filed by the attorney general can be found here…

https://acrobat.adobe.com/link/review?uri=urn:aaid:scds:US:4dd6abbc-469…

The AlamogordoTownNews.com staff contacted Couy Griffin for a comment on this pending case upon his return from Washington DC and his statement is as follows…

I’d like to say that if Hector Balderas was not a political hitman using his office to destroy political opponents he would be advocating for the extradition of Prince Andrew!! Prince Andrew traveled from England to New Mexico with the single objective to sexually abuse underage girls.”  Mr. Griffin continued, “Yet the Santa Fe Sheriff and New Mexico AG remain SILENT!!! Such a disgrace.”  Mr. Griffin concluded his comments with, “Absolutely print this. That POS Prince Andrew flew into our great state and sexually abused young girls who were under the age of consent. All orchestrated by Jeffrey Epstein at Zorro Ranch! The ranch formally owned by NM Governor Bruce King!!! But yet he abuses girls in our state and the Sheriff and AG let him walk?? And then the arrogant blue blooded a——  pays the girls so it shows the world if you have enough money and power you can get away with being a PEDOPHILE? America starves for justice. An no better place to state with the pervert uncle Andrew.”

New Mexico Court Case 2:  Lawsuit Filed to Remove Couy Griffin from Office

“Otero County, New Mexico Commissioner Couy Griffin must be removed from office and disqualified from holding future public office under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution based on his participation in the January 6, 2021 insurrection”, according to a lawsuit filed today by a group of New Mexico residents. 

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the New Mexico-based law firms of Freedman, Boyd, Hollander and Goldberg, P.A, Dodd Law Office, LLC and the Law Office of Amber Fayerberg, LLC serve as co-counsel on the case, which also seeks a court order declaring the January 6th attack on the Capitol and the events surrounding it an insurrection under the 14th Amendment.

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, also known as the Disqualification Clause, bars any person from holding federal or state office who took an “oath…to support the Constitution of the United States” as an “officer of any State” and then “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” or gave “aid or comfort” to insurrectionists.

Griffin has served as an Otero County Commissioner since January 2019. Upon taking office, he swore an oath to “support and uphold the Constitution and laws of the State of New Mexico, and the Constitution of the United States.,”  per the lawsuit filed. 

Link to complaint filed in the courts:

https://www.citizensforethics.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Griffin-Qu…

Exhibits filed against Couy Griffin in the second case per above:

https://www.citizensforethics.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Griffin-Qu…

WASHINGTON DC Update as of 6 pm Eastern Time

Meanwhile Couy Griffin’s federal trial began in Washington DC today. For the first time, a U.S. Secret Service agent testified publicly Monday about the underground loading dock where Vice President Mike Pence and his family were evacuated on Jan. 6.

The testimony came late in the day during the trial for Couy Griffin, a commissioner in Otero County, New Mexico, and the founder of “Cowboys for Trump” who was indicted on two misdemeanor counts in connection with the riot. Griffin chose to forgo a jury in favor of a bench trial in front of U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, which began Monday morning.

Though Griffin was charged with some of the least serious offenses among Capitol riot cases, the trial was an important test for how much the government may have to disclose to other defendants about former Vice President Mike Pence’s whereabouts on Jan. 6. Jurors in the first Jan. 6 trial of Guy Reffitt saw a brief video of Pence and his family being evacuated from a ceremonial office in the Senate Wing. But Griffin’s attorney, David Smith, pushed for far more information to be made public – arguing the vice president’s exact location at the time he entered Capitol grounds was critical to determining his guilt.

In a contentious back-and-forth, Smith asked Hawa about who decided on the security perimeter around the Capitol on Jan. 6 and whether the restricted area extended underground or would move with the vice president. After repeated objections from the DOJ, Smith angrily claimed prosecutors were attempting to stop him from asking legitimate questions — prompting assistant U.S. attorney Janani Iyengar to suggest they “bring the temperature down.”

McFadden upheld the DOJ’s objections and advised Smith to move on, telling him he’d failed to show Pence had left the restricted area — likely dooming that prong of his defense strategy.

Smith spent significant time developing a second prong, however, with the prosecution’s primary witness, Matthew Struck. Struck, a freelance videographer, traveled to D.C. with Griffin on Jan. 6. Under an immunity agreement, Struck provided the DOJ with dozens of videos of Griffin on Jan. 6, including many showing him on Capitol grounds. In one video, Griffin appeared to say Capitol Police had told members of the crowd not to enter the area being prepared for President Joe Biden’s inauguration. In another, Griffin could be heard saying things would become “less and less” peaceful if, as he believed, election laws continued not to be followed. He also lamented on multiple occasions that, “Mike Pence sold us out.”

But Struck’s testimony was far from the nail in the coffin prosecutors might have hoped. He downplayed Griffin’s involvement at the riot – saying he’d just been there to look for a place to pray – and repeatedly said he either couldn’t remember or couldn’t hear potentially inflammatory statements on video. Under cross-examination from Griffin’s attorney, Struck said Griffin told him Pence had already certified the election before they got to the Capitol – which, though not true, proved Griffin thought Pence had already left the building, Smith said.

Smith also focused in particular on questioning U.S. Capitol Police Inspector John Erickson, who the prosecution called to outline the restricted area on Jan. 6. Smith pressed Erickson on the exact contours of that area, how USCP handles Secret Service protectees and whether the Capitol Visitor’s Center was part of the building. Much of Smith’s questioning fell to objections from the DOJ, however, including a statement from another USCP officer he attempted to enter describing the U.S. Capitol Visitor’s Center – which is in the lower level of the Capitol – as being separate from the building. That would have been particularly helpful for Griffin, since, as Hawa testified, the vice president and his family were in the visitor’s center loading dock while Griffin was on the Capitol grounds.

Federal Court in DC ended for the day shortly before 6 p.m. with no resolution. McFadden called Hawa back for closing arguments Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m.

Article is a collaborative sourced article with AlamogordoTownNews.com. WUSA9, Citizens for Responsible Ethics, US Department of Justice and Couy Griffin provided commentary.

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AlamogordoTownNews.com Ronda Merrick’s Crusade to Bring Low-Cost Veterinary Care to Alamogordo

The Alamogordo City Commission meeting is scheduled for 3/8/2022 and County Commission Meeting on 3/22/22 at 9 am, Ronda Merrick and others are seeking public support for her comments to be presented to seek a solution for affordable care for Alamogordo’s dog and cat population. The community has an extreme issue of over population of dogs and cats leading to strays and at-risk animals. Further there is no local emergency vet service in the area nor affordable alternatives for individuals that may be elderly or on fixed incomes to provide affordable health care to their animals.

Per Mrs. Merrick, “The local shelters remain full most of the time. Even with the rescue agencies doing the huge job of removing animals from our local shelters and getting them to no kill shelters we continue to find our animal control facilities full.”

Alamogordo has no emergency vet available around the clock and in an emergency, citizens are advised to go to El Paso or possibly Ruidoso which is often too far to transport a sick or injured animal and in cases of those with limited incomes or some elderly too far to transport nor affordable. 

The facts are the average spay and neutering is $400 at most local vets but for low/fixed income vets charge $100 but typically limit the number at this rate per month.

As Alamogordo’s population continues to age and the number of retires moving to the town increases then the need for this service becomes even more important.

It is a fact that animals help with the mental health of the elderly, shut ins and at-risk youth.  It is shameful for a community not to offer affordable health care for animals to the elderly, shut ins and at-risk communities. Studies have shown that the bond between people and their pets can increase fitness, lower stress, and bring happiness to their owners. Some of the health benefits of having a pet include decreased blood pressure, decreased cholesterol and triglyceride levels, decreased feelings of loneliness and increased opportunities for socialization.

Per the American Medical Association, “having a pet helps elderly get out of the house, exercise, meet new people, reduce stress, etc. For elderly pet owners, who often live alone or in group facilities, pets can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, increase social interaction and physical activity and help them learn.”

Dogs and Cats can help ease anxiety by motivating one to get better. Studies have shown that animal-assisted therapy can decrease anxiety and pain, lower blood pressure and help alleviate depression while offering welcome companionship and a positive distraction from treatment schedules and worries. Caring for a 4-legged friend can help distract you the day-to-day realities that may lead to depression you deal with while being sick.

A study conducted with head and neck cancer patients at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City found that although their physical well-being deteriorated during chemotherapy, patients who spent time with a therapy dog or cat before each treatment reported an increase in their emotional and social well-being.

An example of loss…

Shortly after Bobby’s father died of kidney cancer, his mother’s golden Labrador retriever mix – was diagnosed with a rapidly growing tumor of the blood vessels. The pup had been healthy and suddenly health problems, Bobby and his mother was distraught. They proceeded to find a local vet to see the animal, but none was available for over a month. They talked to one on the phone and he said once an appointment is made tests would run upward of $5,000 and no guarantee of success in saving the pup. 

That’s not an uncommon scenario in veterinary medicine especially in rural communities,” said Dr. David Owens, veterinarian and professor of clinical pathology in the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis.

If you ask most veterinarians the hardest thing they do, it’s telling the senior man or woman that comes in, having just lost a significant other or spouse or partner, that now their animal, dog or cat and an important part of the family is sick as well and that it is probably above their means to pay for a fix to the animals health,” he said. “Those conversations … they just tear the heart out of you.”

What choices do the elderly, lower income individuals and those needing the companionship of animals have in Alamogordo or Otero County for affordable health care for their animals?

Alamogordo has limited options at best, but Ronda Merrick is presenting an alternative to the City and County to work in collaboration with a non-profit or private individuals and create a real solution with city and county government leadership. Per Ronda’s proposal, “the city and county should work together and hire a City/County Vet that would be affordable for the elderly and those individuals on fixed incomes to provide spay and neutering services and emergency services for animals. An option would be for local vets to participate as well and rotate in as on call emergency vets at the agreed to affordable rate for services. There is a property located at 19 Acoma Rd off of Zuni once used by Animal Rescue Mission. Per the Secretary of State’s Office filings, the non-profit owning the building is NOT in good standing with the state and possibly the city and county should investigate a joint purchase of the shelter facility as an alternative to provide relief to the local overrun shelters with an affordable and well thought out facility as an alternative.”

The fact is Alamogordo has a problem with affordable emergency care for the fur babies of those with limited financial means. Our 4-legged friends provide emotional health support for at risk and the elderly as well as a larger population in Alamogordo. Alamogordo needs affordable options and Ms. Merrick is presenting a solution for consideration. Public feedback on this concerning issue is requested. Please attend the city and county commission meetings and or send emails and comments into your local city commission representatives and county commission leaders.

Alamogordo City Commission Contact Information:

Paul, NickDistrict OneEmail Nick Paul805-728-5715
Melton, KarlDistrict Three RepresentativeEmail Karl Melton575-214-9347
McDonald, SharonDistrict Five RepresentativeEmail Sharon McDonald575-446-9910
Payne, Susan L.MayorEmail Susan L. Payne575-214-0024
Rardin, JoshDistrict Four RepresentativeEmail Josh Rardin575-434-0720
Burnett, StephenDistrict TwoEmail Stephen Burnett
Wright, DustyMayor Pro-Tem, District Six RepresentativeEmail Dusty Wright575-430-3395

Alamogordo County Contact Information:

Let’s support solutions to affordable health care for our fur babies. 

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