Story and photos by JASON K. WATKINS / For the Herald
HIDALGO COUNTY - A ceremony to mark the bloody Battle of Chiricahua and the 33 men who were awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism drew nearly 200 people Saturday afternoon in Rodeo at the Chiricahua Desert Museum.
Former Hidalgo County Sheriff Bill Cavaliere introduced the speakers, which included members of the Chiricahua Apache tribe and elected officials from Arizona and New Mexico, before a casual luncheon and indoor presentation finished the event. Bill Tooahyaysay Bradford, attorney general of the Chiricahua Apache Nation, said the land where the battle took place is now sacred ground. “This was a battle like all of our battles,” Bradford said. “It was forced upon us. The U.S. was fighting a war of choice and a war of aggression ... This was not a war that we wanted.” People from all over, including Lordsburg, Douglas, Phoenix, and as far as Bend, Oregon, attended the dedication.
The Battle of Chiricahua took place on October 20, 1869 in a pass near the Arizona-New Mexico border when two army companies encountered 100 Apaches led by famed warrior Cochise. A 5-hour battle followed with an unknown number of casualties; 33 men would go on to receive Medals of Honor to mark their bravery in battle.
The Medal of Honor is the highest award given by the United States for heroism. Only 66 living veterans have received the medal. In attendance at the event was Lordsburg war hero, Fred La Marca, who was awarded a Bronze Star, the nation’s fourth highest honor, for actions in Vietnam. The Chiricahua Desert Museum has displayed legendary Indian chief Geronimo’s bow and arrows. The Cochise County Historical Society sponsored the event.
House Budget Would Put Unprecedented State Revenues to Work for New Mexicans with Responsible Investments in Education, Public Safety, Clean Energy, and Economic Development
Santa Fe, NM- Today the New Mexico House of Representatives passed HB 2, the General Appropriations Act, with a vote of 56 to 13, demonstrating strong bipartisan support for the proposed state budget. The budget proposed for fiscal year 2023 totals $8.47 billion, up 13.8% from last year while maintaining a robust 30% reserve.
“Our unprecedented revenues mean we have the chance to make a real difference in the lives of New Mexicans, and people are counting on us to work together this session to deliver results,” said House Appropriations and Finance Committee (HAFC) Chair, Representative Patricia Lundstrom (D-Gallup). “But we also have to do that smartly and responsibly. I am incredibly proud of the smart, responsible investments in this budget.”
The budget invests $3.87 billion in public schools and calls for 7% raises and other incentives to help our state recruit and retain talented teachers. It also includes $14.9 million for the Indian Education Fund and $43 million for culturally and linguistically appropriate instructional materials.
“This summer, as Co-Chair of the Education sub-committee I spent months listening to families, teachers, and administrators, and I am proud this budget reflects their priorities and concerns,” said Representative Candie Sweetser (D-Deming). “This is a historic investment in our future because it is a historic investment in our children.”
To make streets and communities safer across New Mexico the budget includes funding for a multifaceted approach to addressing crime, including 16% raises for state police, $4.89 million for police training, and big investments in behavioral health and violence intervention programs to address the root causes of crime.
“This year’s budget improves public safety by prioritizing treatment and prevention, ensuring justice for serious violent crime, and responding to the needs of victims and communities who have suffered from the failure of the existing criminal justice system,” said Representative Meredith Dixon (D-Albuquerque).
The budget invests in job training programs and local businesses, including $6 million in the Job Training Incentive Program and $25 million in funding for the Local Economic Development Act, to help attract business and create jobs statewide.
Additionally, the budget supports the state’s transition to a clean energy future with environmental protections and by leveraging $125 million in federal funds for public private partnership hydrogen energy hubs, contingent upon passage of legislation during the session.
“Our budget aims to diversify our state’s economy and create good-paying sustainable jobs for New Mexicans, while also addressing the impacts of climate change and supporting our transition to a clean energy future,” said Representative Nathan Small (D-Las Cruces), Vice-Chair of HAFC.
The House budget also includes major investments in infrastructure and healthcare, including fully funding Medicaid and eliminating the long waitlist for people with developmental disabilities to receive in-home care.
The Roundhouse is open to the public for the session. Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination will be required to enter the building. Members of the public can view floor sessions and committee meetings on the New Mexico legislature’s Webcasts tab, and provide comment via phone or Zoom as directed on the daily schedule.