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View Sample Pages : Santa Fe New Mexican, April 28, 2005

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New Mexican (Newspaper) - April 28, 2005, Santa Fe, New Mexico THE SANTA FE Locally oiraed anil Serving New Mexico for 156 years THURSDAY APRIL 28 2005 FIFTY CENTS on flood watch Residents hope for cooler weather prepare for the worst Photos by Megan The New Mexican Drew Valdez and Cattlan Tafoya run across a bridge in Taos Puebto on Wednesday Residents have put up sand bags and built berms along the Rio Puebto to keep ft from overflowing its banks as spring runoff from nearby mountains increases The New Mexican TAOS In recent years the problem was drought and for est fires This spring however residents of some lowTlying areas of Northern New Mexico face a completely different threat flooding With streams already swollen by recent rains and the start of the annual spring runoff Taos County residents are beginning to stockpile sandbags build flood barriers and hope that cool temperatures slow the melting of this years heavy mountain snowpack For people who live near a waterway Taos County Emergency Preparedness Director Tomas Trujillo told The Taos News this week it wouldnt hurt to start preparing for some kind of occur At Taos Pueblo meanwhile earthen berms have been built along the swiftmoving Rio Pueblo which flows through the heart of the pueblos ancient adobe village The pueblos governor Ruben A Romero said memories of damage caused by a 1979 flood and last years mild flooding at Taos Pueblo are help ing to fuel worries about the potential impact of this years runoff Last years flooding caused a lot of damage around the Taos Day School and residential he said Sandbags are ready but we still need assistance from the state If we get warm days we are going to experi ence a big runoff from the Encebado Fire Romero said referring to more than acres scorched by a July 2003 forest fire that damaged the pueblos watershed One year fire one year water the governor said as he leaned back in his chair on Wednesday Louis Archuleta leader of the pueb los efforts to deal with the impact of the Encebado Fire said the tribe needs funding to build check dams to slow the water coming off the burned area and to keep sediment from building up in ponds behind reten tion dams One complication Archuleta said is the fired burned a culturally sen sitive area We cant bring the big machines in he said We need A retention dam built by Taos Pdeblo has created a pond in the Encebado Fire area The dam Is part of efforts to curb the flow of water from acreage damaged by a 2003 forest fire In the pueblos watershed to hire crews and that takes During the 2003 blaze only Ameri can Indian firefighters were allowed to battle flames in an area the pueblo holds as sacred Archuleta said the amount of water is currently manageable But if we have rain and snowmelt with high temperatures this would create a lot of In addition to road signs warning of possible flooding signs posted on com munity bulletin boards say all able bodied tribal members are expected to help form sandbag crews if flooding starts If the bell on St Jerome Church starts pueblo residents are told that means a flood has Please see FLOOD Page A5 POLITICAL WRANGLING House withdraws changes to ethics committee rules By MARY CURTiUS Los Angeles Times WASHINGTON The House overwhelmingly repealed controversial rules Wednesday night that had kept its ethics committee from functioning a vote expected to pave the way for a new ethics investigation of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay RTexas Lawmakers acted just hours after House Speaker J Dennis Hastert told reporters he had decided to recommend the repeal of ethics committee rules he had pushed through the House in January Democrats had retaliated against the changes which they said would make it too difficult to launch and conduct investigations of lawmakers by refusing to let the ethics committee organize Repeal of the rules was approved 40620 The una nimity of the vote masked the discord sparked by the dispute The standoff over the ethics panel had become a political embarrassment for Republicans in the face of mounting questions about DeLays foreign travel funded by outside groups Tom Delay House leader has has said he would welcome an investigation and his ties to a lobbyist who is under federal investiga tion DeLay has denied any wrongdoing and has said he would welcome an investiga tion by the ethics committee Hastert said clearing the way for such a probe was one of his motives for seek ing to end the impasse with Democrats I think there is a member especially on our side that needs to have the process move forward so he can clear his Hastert said Wednesday in an obvious reference to DeLay Democrats welcomed Hasterts move Its a very happy day for the said Rep Alan Mollohan of West Virginia the ranking Democrat on the ethics com mittee formally known as the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct It is the only House committee that is divided equally between Please see ETHICS Page A4 Santa Feans demonstrate against GOP filibuster ban By YASMIN KHAN The New Mexican The nuclear option can be a daunting term in an area so close to the birthplace of the nuclear bomb But locals nowadays are paying attention to its new political definition In Washington Republican senators might soon seek what they call the nuclear option to ban fili busters on judicial nominees a move that could ultimately impact such issues as abor tion rights GOP senators are anxious to vote on nine of President Bushs judicial nominees But Democrats who have allowed votes on dozens of other Bush nominees are using the traditional filibuster to block the votes prompting the Republicans threat to pass a change in Senate rules Filibustering allows the Senates minority party to force compromise by wearing down the major ity with marathon speeches While parliamentary pro cedure doesnt usually spark passionate exchanges the Inside debate and its Gore calls implications GOP moves have resonated a quest for domination Republi Page A4 cans unable to win their points persuasion or the strength of their arguments have turned to changing the rules as a way to said Jenny Felmley a political science teacher at Santa Fe Community College I think Americans know that chang ing the rules in order to win is On Wednesday about 50 local residents protested the rules change in front of the Courthouse in Santa Fe Waving handmade signs printed with ordinary citi zens keep rightwing only and no judicial rail activists spoke out against changing the rules to speed a vote on the con troversial judicial nominees The event was among 183 rallies put on by at courthouses around the country said Azlan White a local activist who organized Wednesdays rally Please see BAN Page A4 INDEX Annies Mailbox Business Local TbeWerfs Oldest Newspaper Four sections 28 pages 156th year Issue No 118 Publication No 595440 Late paper Classified ads News tips Main office 9863COO 9833303 INSIDE TODAY Todays forecast cloudy isolated showers High 63 low 37 PageB2 Todays obituaries Angelica T Chacon 83 Chili April 26 Helen B Marcy 90 Helen V Martinez 80 Santa Fe April 25 Jalro Gutierrez 30 Santa Fe April 18 James R Laird 62 April 22 Jose E Gonzates Pecos April 25 PageB2 Natures beauty pageant After a wet winter and a wetter spring wildflowers already are blooming in Southern New Mexico and the show will work its way north as temperatures rise Outdoors Cl Body found might be missing womans By JASON AUSLANDER The New Mexican The body of an elderly woman found Wednesday along a forest road near Espanola might be that of 80 yearold Helen Valdez of El Guache whos been missing since December police said The body was found just before noon along 31 Mile Road also known as Forest Road 144 about 10 miles west of Espanola Rio Arriba County Sheriff Joe Mascarenas said He said he didnt know who found the body but one of his deputies received a tip on the location of a body and it was located down an embankment next to the road and had been there The body wont be identified until an autopsy is performed Mascarenas said Valdezs family discovered her missing Dec 16 and a state police spokesman said at the time that foul play was suspected in her disappear ance Her purse and keys were found on her kitchen table a few drops of blood were located on the kitchen floor and her car was still parked in the driveway She had been seen at two locations around Espanola try ing to fill a prescription earlier in the day Mary Alice Garcia Valdezs daugh ter said state police officers came by her house Wednesday evening and said a body had been found and was about the right size and age to be her mother The body which was found three to four miles from Valdezs house will likely be identified today she said Were kinda hoping its her so we Please see BODY Page A5 Helen Valdez El Guache resident 80 has been missing since Police said at the time that foul play was suspected in disappearance ;