Scandal in Arizona
by Meche' Williams '19
On Monday, January the 8th, 2018 a private prison firm agreed to pay $550,000 to be split with the 16 women who came forward and complained in 2012 as well as make multiple reforms to policies and training. Between 2006-2012 is the timeframe for the complaints of sexual harassment at the prisons that the female correction officers reported. The lawsuit stated that the female employees were forced to undergo pinching, kissing, and lewd positions, along with other abuses that happened at two correctional facilities for years in Florence, filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Arizona Attorney General’s Office. Also, the EEOC news said male guards used “scurrilous language” and putting the victims down or requested sexual acts.
Mary Jo O’Neill, the EEOC regional attorney in Phoenix said “sexual harassment had no place in the work environment… This kind of misconduct is degrading and inexcusable… We are proud of these women for standing up and helping to end this sexually hostile work environment.” In addition, a GEO group agreed to send letters to the 16 women of regret and employment references, review harassment policies, make sure complaints are properly investigated, and designate that some harassers are ineligible to rehire. A Florida-based GEO group watches over Central Arizona Correctional Facility and the Arizona State Prison West Facility where the misconduct happened. Also on Monday, GEO group stated they have “zero tolerance” for sexual harassment in all its facilities. Since then, they have implemented additional requirements including enhanced training, reporting, and monitoring. Arizona Republic found out that from 2009 to 2014 the department paid $2.55 million to settle harassment and other workplace complaints which is more than any other state agency.
New Mexico Crime Becoming Known
by Shawn McCraith '18
Crime is no joke, especially when a state climbs into the rankings of the highest crime ridden state in the country, or when they are referenced to in a rap song for clout purposes. Clout is a term rappers use to show they are the illest to spit, in other terms meaning they can rap and get away with certain actions. Rapping about crime is the exact way to build clout and New Mexico’s crime rate is no joke. The famous rappers Nicki Minaj and Futuristic included New Mexico on a verse about murders and it certainly fits. Crime in New Mexico has climbed in the past year due to Albuquerque’s crime rates. The FBI reported rising rates of violent and property crimes in one of New Mexico’s most populous cities, Albuquerque. A Supreme Court order that affected only the Albuquerque area is part of the reason why crime has risen so much since 2015. The order was to reduce the population in jails by moving through court cases quickly and inadvertently created problems for the Albuquerque Police Department. While the crime had risen in the cities of New Mexico, it had dropped in the suburban and rural areas throughout the state. Albuquerque has set the record for the highest number of homicides in a single year finishing the year of 2017 off with more than 70 homicides. The number of homicides has not been that high since 1996, where the numbers reached 70, but is considered to be higher because Albuquerque has 140,000 fewer residents today than in the 90’s. When it comes down to murders, New Mexico takes the cake and stomps any other runner up into the dirt, Nicki Minaj referring to New Mexico murders was meant for the danger that could be lurking in any city you visit.
Mother Murders Her Family
by Mariah Tso '21
In Galveston,Texas a mother killed her husband and two sons, then turned the gun on herself. The mother Flor de Maria Pineda, 37 shot her husband Mauricio Morales, 39, their 10-year-old son Mauricio, Jr. and 5-year-old son David. But only 3 of them are dead and 1 severely hurt. The Galveston police said the case was a murder suicide and they are not looking for anyone.They were shot at the San Luis Resort. Hotel authorities said they dispatched police to the room, who said they found a man and two children in the bed, unresponsive, and a woman on the floor who also appeared to be shot.
A guest in a nearby room was who called the police. The guest was on the eighth floor, the same floor the incident took place. The guest called police about 4:30 a.m. and reported popping sounds. The popping sounds were most likely from the gunshots that Flor de Maria Pineda shot her family with. When officers entered the locked room they found the man and two boys in bed with apparent gunshot wounds and the woman on the floor, also with a gunshot wound. But the police don't know what caused Flor de Maria Pineda to kill her husband and two sons. On People Crime they reportedly said the killer For de Maria Pineda was a religious woman who may have suffered from depression. They also said if anyone who they knew her was earnestly religious and she had been a member at Iglesia Cristo Viene which is located in her hometown Baytown, Texas.
Last Week's Poll Results
Last week we asked if you were for or against Trump's new tax reform. 50% said they were all for it, 25% said they were against it, and 25% said they don't care.
Feature: Federal Funding Cuts Affect Regional Spending
by Lucia Kezele '18
Right now, there is a lot of talk going on about federal funding and what that entails. This is primarily due to the new tax cuts that President Donald trump is trying to pass through the House of Representatives (House passed the bill on Wednesday, December 20th) and Senate (passed on Wednesday, December 20th). Many are worried about what these cuts will mean for not only our nation’s government but also for regional budgets. It is believed that the tax cuts would raise our federal deficit (possibly by as much as $2 trillion) within the coming decade. Within the bill, there are provisions made to lower the income tax rates while keeping the seven individual income tax brackets. All of the income tax rates would fall except for the lowest rate of 10% and the rate of 35%. These changes would go into effect in 2018 and would stay in effect until 2025. The bill would also raise the “standard deductions” for married couples, single filers, and heads of household (also expires in 2025.) The bill would suspend personal exemption and also end the portion of the Affordable Care Act that provides tax penalties for people who are unable to obtain health insurance coverage. By getting rid of this provision in the Affordable Care Act, our country’s federal deficit is projected to decrease by about $338 billion between 2018 and 2027 (Congressional Budget Office.) The measure for tax inflation would also change due to the bill. The bill would also raise child tax credits, limit mortgage interest rate reductions for married couple who file jointly, and stop the deductions for state and local taxes at $10,000. The bill would also affect corporations, estate holders, students, and those who sell goods overseas.
*For a breakdown of every aspect of the tax reform bill, look at this article from the New York Times. They provide a chart with a breakdown of the allocation and cutting of funds.*
Looking at Trump’s proposed tax reforms, it can be easily noticed that the main beneficiaries of this bill are business owners as opposed to individual citizens. Looking at the benefits that individuals will receive, it is obvious that higher income families will benefit more than lower income families -- lower income families ($30,000 and lower) will be losing more money because the deductions and credits that they receive will not make up for the lower tax rate. Ultimately, all income levels will be paying more taxes by 2027 than we are now. Although Trump’s reforms will largely apply to individuals and businesses, these cuts in federal funding will ultimately affect regional funding as well.
President Trump’s budget would cut large amounts of funds for four very large entitlement programs. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as food stamps), Medicaid, the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). By 2027 these programs will likely have lost close to $346 billion in funding. The budget will also eliminate many different grants including: the Community Service Grant, the Community Development Block Grant, and the housing programs “HOME” and “Choice Neighborhoods.” The cuts would also end support given to after-school programs, home heating for low-income households, and cut many programs that directly help low- and moderate-income families who have children, seniors, and family members with disabilities. This budget will get rid of programs that assist with child care, job-training, education on adequate nutrition, and health care which will push people deeper into poverty instead of assisting in digging them out of poverty.
More locally, the tax bill will affect geographical locations immensely. The bill proposes cuts to many locations that were allocated funds in the 2016 tax reform. These include the Great Lakes, San Francisco Bay area, and the Gulf of Mexico. The bill also poses a huge threat to the Climate Protection Program because it will put an end to more than 14 of it’s initiatives—this is an attempt to “refocus” the EPA’s core statutory requirements. There are also cuts that will slash the funds for climate change research. For all of us in New Mexico, we will be affected greatly by one of the proposed budget cuts. Trump’s plan proposes cutting $0.6 billion in funds from the State and Tribal Assistance Grants which would leave the funding four our tribal lands at $3.5 billion. This is one of the largest of the proposed cuts, second only to $0.7 billion suggested to be taken away from Environmental Programs and Management.
In New Mexico, these budget cuts will cause our funding to completely cut any funding allocated to the departments of Interior and Agriculture. The budget will also leave our state government fundless for the new Albuquerque Rapid Transit Project. Many TV and radio broadcasting stations may have to close due to the elimination of budgets for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts. Programs such as Meals on Wheels, Head Start, and many of our state’s after school programs will lose vast amounts of funding due to the bill. The Environmental Protection Agency will lose thirty-one percent of it’s funding which could be critical to the preservation of so many of New Mexico’s natural parks: Rio Grande, White Sands, Carlsbad Caverns, etc. Ironically, New Mexican Senator, Tom Udall, was quoted as saying he believed the budget was “unconscionable” and would be “dead on arrival” into Congress. Contradictory to his statement, the bill has been passed by both the House and the Senate as of December 20, 2017. Udall believes that the Trump tax reform will cause huge losses in funding for “science, clean energy research and development, space programs, health research, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and the arts and humanities.” The proposed cuts to housing as well as heating assistance and community development would leave families in New Mexico freezing and could possibly increase the amount of weather related deaths within New Mexico. On the other side, one of New Mexico’s representatives, Steve Pearce, believes that the proposed budget cuts are “a great first step” and are a great way to start reigning in our country’s growing deficit and debt. Adversely, Pearce does recognize the potentially negative effects that the budget cuts could pose on lower-income and more rural states like New Mexico.
Positively, The National Nuclear Security Administration will receive an 11% increase in their funding. Consequently, this benefits New Mexico because this administration oversees the Los Alamos and Sandia laboratories, both based in New Mexico. Also, the Department of Energy environmental management has a suggested budget of $6.5 billion in the new plan. This is $300 million more than what was allocated in 2017. This could benefit New Mexico’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant which is located near Carlsbad. This budget would also benefit the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada. Despite these beneficial changes, there are still many negative changes that could affect New Mexico. The Interior Department’s budget would shrink by 12% which could cut or even eliminate some Native American programs as well as reduce payments that the federal government makes to many counties that contain federal, untaxable land. That would especially affect New Mexico because of the large amount of reservation land that is in this state. This land is untaxable locally and the government then provides a “pay out” of sorts to the state government because of that. The Agriculture Department would lose 21% of it’s budget which would greatly affect rural water projects and reduce staffing within county-level departments.
The approval of President Trump’s tax bill marks a period of great change within the United States. This bill could be our country’s ticket out of debt or it could be the reason that our country fails. Not only does this bill affect our country as a whole, but it also affects the many states and counties that make up our country. States with tribal lands will be affected greatly, they will lose funding that came in from the government because of these lands. Native Americans will lose many of their programs. Our national parks will be affected because of the cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency’s funding. The poor will lose more in taxes than they will gain with the decrease in tax rates while the higher-income families will benefit more as their income increases. However, many have spoken for this tax reform. Senators, Representatives, ad other government officials believe strongly that this tax reform will contribute to the reduction of debt and deficits within our country. Is that knowledge alone not enough to speak out for this reform? Trump is also using this tax reform to provide more funding for our troops which many can agree is needed in this period of uncertainty about whether or not our country will be joining another war anytime soon. At this point, the tax reform will most likely be happening. The Senate and the House have both approved it and not it is simply a matter of President Trump signing his name along the dotted line.
*Attempts were made to speak with New Mexico state representative Patricia Lundstrom and no response was received. *
*Attempts were made to speak with President Donald Trump and no response was received. *
Feature: Russian Bots Interference in America
by Shawn McCraith '18
The words “Russian bots” may produce thoughts about robots that are Russian, and carry out mechanical duties in a Northern country in Asia but that is not the case, their intentions are far more nefarious.They are more deceiving to the eye and more obscure than a simple metal exoskeleton wanting to take over the world. A bot is an account linked to social media outlets that sprout and spread the most falsely written stories to manipulate multitudes of people’s opinions.
Not a day goes when you see news about Russia, Trump or trouble in the Middle East and that is what pulls in the people that believe what they see or hear. Thousands of fake accounts linked to Russian bots and the slander they promote to Americans each and every day. There were multiple accusations and interventions throughout the years. From the year 2014 all the way until now these Russian bots are in the most remote corners of social media like Facebook and Twitter. They aren’t shy of twisting news or swaying public opinions to accomplish their mission. Bots out of Russia bring no good news to anywhere besides Russia who have denied that they are connected to the bots. They affect the world in many different ways, from public news all the way to an innocent person surfing the news feed of the internet. New York Times has said it is an “unprecedented intervention in American democracy.”
The beginning of the issue, starting with an early account of bots plaguing the interwebs, is one that you might not expect, but who expects to be targeted by bots over something that is seemingly harmless, a petition. In April of 2014, a petition appeared on the White House website that was for giving Alaska back to Russia. A former FBI Special Agent named Clint Watts was monitoring the petition because it had “gained more than 39,000 signatures in a very short period of time.” Clint is a senior fellow at the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security and Foreign Policy Research for George Washington University, so with the given positions it was an odd petition that specifically caught Watts’ knowledgeable attention. He stated that the were numerous accounts that were on other petitions also and that it “appeared to be the work of bots.” Hackers were connected to those accounts and these “observed hecklers” were seen in website defacements or data-breaches. These bots were associated with other accounts that were affiliated with Russian propaganda, which should have been a red flag that something quite fishy was taking place.
Now fast forward to the year 2015, the U.S. Intelligence were noticing that the bots that Watts had described and their target, which was the U.S. election system. At the same time now-President Trump announced that he was running for president as a Republican candidate. At the time Russia was trying to influence the people of the United States to get Trump elected. Many people doubted it was the Russians that were interfering and were wrong. A bot encounter by Watts showed that Sputnik and RT News posted false stories about a U.S. airbase in Turkey that was supposedly overrun by terrorists which was shared so much in a short amount of time and was found out to be a story that was posted on bot accounts that were linked to the Alaska petition ordeal.
In late 2016 President Barack Obama had been notified and warned Putin not to interfere with the U.S. election process. Then, Obama and former CIA director John Brennan spoke with Russian official personnel, in which they expressed the future outrage of the U.S. if they found out that Russia was interfering with the elections. American citizens today often blame Russia today for Trump’s presidency and show discontent with the nation for its wounding interference.There are debates and opinions thrown around loosely that deal with this subject and is how Trump was transported to the top. Russia’s Mr.Bortnikov obviously denied any malicious intent and said that of course Russia would be accused of something of that nature. With all the fight in the American citizens that fought to keep Trump out of office failed, he was then elected as the new President of the United States on November 8, 2016.
A new year has started, and in January of 2017, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper provided information that there was damage. Clapper informed the Senate Intelligence committee that “they have confidence that Putin ordered an influence campaign” for the U.S.election system which elected Trump as president. News has then plagued the United States and launched a probing investigation by Obama. Dilemmas have sprouted and the impeachment of Trump has been wafting in the air while many officials and associates of Trump have been fired or been dealt with legally which is questionable.
This type of new age technology has now spread to various countries around the globe inflicting damage to other governments and political systems, reported by the Freedom on the Net 2017 which is a human rights group. The United States was one out of eighteen countries to have their politics influenced by any bots that are foreign. While the U.S. was targeted, the bots were said to have “helped contribute to a seventh consecutive year of declining internet freedom.” A declination in internet freedom has occurred since the arrival of the bots and Trump’s presidency which has placed America in the fifth highest position in the world right after other countries that have declines in internet freedom too. Net neutrality under Trump’s term has been repealed and is pushing Americans to take a stand because technology is huge part of their everyday lives.
The work of bots is devastating and leaves social media users in a heat which is what the bot’s intended function and sways the opinion of the audience. Propagandic news shared on the internet is lethal considering the domino effect it starts just like the shocking election of Trump which could also be due to the public that made jokes about Trump. Some would consider that Russian bots are a “weapon” with a widespread range of damage. The definition of a weapon according to the Oxford Dictionaries is “a means of gaining an advantage or defending oneself in a conflict or contest.” Anyone witnessing the effects of the bots could classify them as a weapon because they do gain advantages and were instrumental in the defeat of well-known political figures just as James Clapper said the bots wanted to “harm secretary Clinton’s electability.”
Normal citizens have been the victims of accusations in which social media users thought that they were accompanied by a bot that was there to complete its function. Bots are used to amplify stories of Donald Trump and launch false stories to the public with special targets in mind. Bot accounts of people are known to have little information about themselves, share propaganda and share stories in unison with other fake accounts. Trolling is another way to describe bots where they don’t take a side but cause a reaction out of readers or users. Stressing the ideas of Trump and spreading so many false stories is a given for bots and will share them as many times as they can. Imagine a regular human being able to post as many times as a bot, it would be annoying yet discomforting which is what type of tactics bots use. Groups of Trump supporters were called bots because of their bot-like accounts. Stories and support for Trump is shared so many times that you would think is impossible for humans. It turns out that they are on the bots’ levels when it comes to sharing with the public and identify themselves as people who want to amplify the messages of Trump similar to a bot.
Identifying bots is not hard. Looking for certain giveaways like the lack of information in the social media accounts. The posts provided by the suspected bot are about Russia and also propaganda. For Twitter profiles the common words like “God, military, Trump, family, country, conservative, Christian, America and constitution” are what most likely a bot would use in a post or what they post about. Special Agent Clint Watts identified hashtags that are promoted by the bots which are “nuclear, media, Trump and Benghazi.” They are organized around infamous events like the Black Lives Matter protests, the Bundy Ranch Standoff and the Jade Helm Exercise.
In the end, damages have been done and some countries in the world have had their governments altered greatly. People have been accused and now the mention of bots instantly points toward Russia for the answer and invasion. It is a new wave of weaponry that is not instantaneous but will gradually increase throughout the years without proper internet security. Careful attention and a watchful eye will prevent the happenings of such events but we will not be outsmarted by bots.
Feature: Hidden Figures of Gallup
by Meche Williams '19
"In what way does your business help give back to the community?"
“We help out the surrounding schools, that ask for help with getting new gear or helping to send a team to state, competitions, or when they need a gift card.”
“Jerry’s contribution, to the Gallup greater community and our surrounding neighbors is a daily endeavor. Jerry’s provides food, gift certificates, monetary donations and contributions across the board. Jerry’s tries its best to be a good neighbor. We believe in service work in contributing a small, but vital piece of the puzzle to help Gallup and its neighbors be a wonderful place to live and visit.
I’d like to add, that all Gallup family owned restaurants rally to help those in need. We are connected in someway or another and all contribute in the same manner.” - Archie (owner)
Mentmore Shooting Range/Bill's Reload
“We give to various clubs and do our best to teach and educate them on the proper ways to handle a gun.” -Bill Peterson
No one could be contacted for comment.
Contact did not return call.
El Morro Theater
“Our values and vision statement is to become more of a family friendly and reach out to the community to let them know they are welcomed.” -Everett Homer
“There’s so many ways we help the community, we intend to stay downtown. Organic food is important to keep our bodies healthy and full of nutrition. We try to give the best selection of food.” -Michael (did not give last name)
No one could be contacted.
Heartache at Aztec High School
by Meche Williams '19
On Thursday, December 7th, 2017 there was a shooting at Aztec High School with three known dead. Two high school student, Casey Marquez and Francisco “Paco” Fernandez as well as the gunman, William Edward Atchinson. Kassetas, Pete a Chief New Mexico State Police believed Atchinson walked in the high school about the time school was going to start and thought that he might be a student. Kassetas said Fernandez walk into the bathroom where Atchinson was gearing up and officials say they shot him immediately leaving him with a fatal wound. Then, Atchinson came out of the bathroom and ran into Marquez shooting her right on the spot. He eventually went into a classroom shooting the back walk where he knew they’re students in the back, but thankfully no one was injured. Once he went back into the hallway and saw the police officers he shot himself. Many of the teachers were thankful for the custodian’s bravery and courage because not only did he scream out there was an active shooter, but he also followed him, it possibly saved the lives of a lot more students. He did what he could to ensure the safety of the students and teachers. Later, law enforcement said that they found a thumb drive on Atchinson with a letter written two hours before the incident saying, "If things go according to plan, today would be when I die. I waited till the school buses are detected then head out on foot disguised as a student. I go somewhere and gear up, then hold a class hostage, then go ape****, then blow my brains out." Many of the parents and staff were grateful there wasn’t more casualties but are very said about the two students that were killed. Down below is a donation site for both students, if you want to help the families out with the funeral expenses.
Last Week's Poll Results!
Last week we asked Ambush! Poll takers if they thought Representative Franks crossed the line by asking his staffers to be a surrogate for him and his wife: 100% of poll takers said that they did not believe Representative Franks crossed a line.
Ambush News interviews new CEO of UNM-Gallup, James Malm
by Meche Williams '19
Surrogacy for Arizona Representative
by Shawn McCraith '18
Do you ever wonder about having a child and watching them grow up while you go through hardships for that child? Now, what about having a child for another man that isn’t your spouse? According to Arizona Representative Trent Franks, it was nothing too big of a deal to ask staffers that he worked with to be surrogate mothers for his child. As he was questioned about the situation it was said that he never had sexual contact with either of the two ladies that he had asked. Franks himself stated,”I do want to take full and personal responsibility for the ways I have broached a topic that, unbeknownst to me until very recently, made certain individuals uncomfortable.” He was sorry and apologetic for what had transpired since the two staffers had left their jobs since the odd incident. Trent said that he has been dealing with infertility with his wife for quite some time and have had two twins from another surrogate but they decided that they wanted more children.Even with the trouble of having children attempts were made but were futile and their twins had requested more siblings. Trent and his wife were trying many options and choices to adopt or find a surrogate mother to have children for them, according to a fertility clinic in California the couple from Arizona were struggling to have children for over 20 years. Franks was a member of many committees like a House Judiciary subcommittee, a House Freedom Caucus and has served in the House since 2003. While a new subcommittee was produced to investigate Franks, he and his family decided that is was best for him to resign for the sake of his workplace, friends and family. Trent Franks announced that his resignation will be effective on January 31st and that it will end the ethics investigation.
Atheist Billboard Causes Christmas Controversy
by Mariah Two '21
A billboard along I-25 in Albuquerque, near Montgomery, is causing some controversy.. It may have shocked some residents in Albuquerque NM.The billboard says “Just skip church it’s all fake news.” On the KRQE News 13 they asked several people about the billboard you could watch the video that's linked down below. Most of them said things on how wrong it is but they had evidence to back it up like this one “I myself am an atheist so gonna have to concur with that,” said Devon Gutierrez and they replied with “The billboard was put up by the American Atheists”. But underneath the billboard it says "Happy Holidays from American Atheists." If you don’t know what the American Atheists is American Atheists is a non-profit activist organization in the United States dedicated to defending the civil liberties of atheists and advocating for the complete separation of church and state.The billboard went up Wednesday, and it's not the only one. There are two in Dallas,TX and they say there are 5 more going up in Oklahoma.The billboard will remain up through December.
Last Week's Poll Results!
Last week we asked Ambush! Poll takers if they were for or against the reduction of the Bears Ears Monument: 50% of poll takers said they were for the reduction while the other 50% said that they were against it.
Utah Lowers the Legal Blood Alcohol Content
by Mariah Tso '21
The number of people killed in alcohol-related crashes reached a 10-year high in 2014 when 45 people were killed in Utah, nearly double the 23 killed in 2013, according to Highway Safety Office statistics.
Alcohol-related traffic deaths jumped from 23 to 45, while drug-related traffic deaths dropped from 45 to 38 in the years 2013 to 2014, according to the 13th annual DUI report to the Utah Legislature. Drunk driving figured into nearly 18 percent of all fatal crashes in the state last year, also the highest in the past 10 years. In 2014 that number dropped to 67 percent, meaning drunk drivers cause more fatalities to people in other cars than themselves.
On March 9, 2017 Utah cut the legal DUI alcohol limit to lowest level in U.S, lowering the blood alcohol limit to .05 percent instead of .08 percent. Utah also restricts their supermarkets to selling only packaged beer. Liquor and wine can only be sold at state liquor stores.
Bears Ear Lawsuit
by Shawn McCraith '18
Many Navajo Nation constituents are commenting and speaking out against Donald Trump’s decision like the Navajo Nation Vice President Johnathan Nez, a council delegate Davis Filifred and an attorney general Ethel Branch. Nez is taken back by the proclamation and is willing to fight for the monument which is of great significance to the Navajo when the U.S. ordered the removal and relocation of the Navajo to Bosque Redondo known as The Long Walk. Not only is Bears Ears being reduced but also The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument will be reduced by at least 900,000 acres and ten environmental and wilderness groups will be suing Donald Trump.
The argument of the coalition filing the lawsuit is that President Trump does not have the power or authority to shrink the national monument. In the Antiquities Act that was passed in the year 1906 it enables presidents to specify and make locations national monuments for use like hiking or fishing. Legal scholars also argue that it gives the president the power to reduce the size of any national monument. Through the years there has been precedents of other presidents like Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt reducing the size of the Grand Canyon and the Mount Olympus National Monument which has never been challenged in its time. The willingness and defiance of the affected tribes will not go unnoticed for the battle of Bears Ears.
Last Week's Poll Results!
Last week we asked Ambush Poll takers what they would do if they were in Jamal Hinton's position: 100% of poll takers said that they would grub out.
NAU Men and UNM Women Take Home the Championship
by Shawn McCraith '18
The highly prestigious Northern Arizona’s Men Cross Country runners and New Mexico’s own Lady Lobos triumphed at the NCAA championships with a first place win on November 17th in Louisville, Kentucky at the Tom Sawyer Park. Northern Arizona blazed a trail made of yellow and blue, competing with some of the best Division 1 schools around the nation. Making this the second win because they also proved themselves as the best when they took the championship win for the 2016 season. Matt Baxter and Tyler Day are the dynamic duo from Flagstaff that led the way for the 10K but were bested by Syracuse’s Justyn Knight in the last 400 meters of the race. Although neither Baxter or Day attained the first place placing for individuals, their team won by a wide margin. New Mexico’s Lady Lobos were among the most difficult to compete with at the championship race and were not to be reckoned with because of Ednah Kurgat. Kurgat of UNM set a new record for the 6K race that was set by Betsy Saina of Iowa State in 2012, and in this action she placed her team first-- beating San Francisco by fifteen points. This was the team’s eighth straight top 10 win at the NCAA championships which is the longest active streak today in the NCAA. The Lobos were victorious with a score of 90 and; just like the NAU Lumberjacks, it was their second win within three years. This a huge victory for the southwest region that only pushes other colleges and competitive sport associations to better their programs to compete with the likes of NAU and UNM’s elite running athletes. Maintaining the constant running times and wins is no doubt tough but to be the best for two years and collect titles along the way must be amazing.
Accidental Thanksgiving Invitation
by Meche Williams '19
Last year a grandma named Wanda Dench from Mesa, Arizona sent out a mass text inviting her grandkids to come over for Thanksgiving Dinner at 3 p.m., but in reality the message she thought she sent to her grandson was actually sent to a teenager named Jamal Hinton, from Chandler, Arizona.
Hinton received the message in class and wasn’t sure who it was so he was confused as to who sent the message.
Hinton: Who is this? Dench: It’s your grandma.
Hilton asked her if she could send him a picture of herself, once he got the image he saw that it wasn’t his grandma. He sent a picture of himself back and asked if he could still come by and grab a plate. Shockingly she said, "Of course you can. That's what grandmas do...feed everyone!" On Thanksgiving day Hinton showed up to the dinner by himself even when Mrs. Dench invited his family -- turns out his family had to attend some other dinners so they couldn’t make it. Both of them were excited and enjoyed each other's company. They talked about his plans after high school, how his grades are, how he is doing, and even more. Mrs. Dench’s family was welcoming and didn’t treat him poorly; they opened their home to him willingly, as if he was apart of their family.
But that’s not all! Dench decided to invite Jamal again this year for Thanksgiving. He came back to join Wanda Dench for dinner once again and this time he brought his girlfriend and a homemade pumpkin pie. They all enjoyed the food and chatted about how they were doing. Last year’s crazy mishap ended up turning into good friendship and plenty more. Turns out that some mistakes can lead to something wonderful, such as friendship just like Wanda inviting the wrong person to her dinner may end up becoming a great new tradition they can continue for years.
Last Week's Poll Results!
Last week we asked Ambush! Poll takers if they knew about Senator Martin Heinrich's bill concerning the trade of Native American goods: 100% of poll takers said that they did know about the bill.
Veteran's Day Parade
by Alizay Chavez '21
Monday in October, but in 1975 President Gerald Ford changed it back to November 11th. In Europe, Great Britain, and the Commonwealth countries there is 2 minutes of silence at 11 AM on November 11th (History.com Staff, 2009). On November 11, 1921 the first Unknown Soldier was buried in the Arlington National Cemetery. On May 30, 1958 two Unknown soldiers were buried next to the unknown soldier from World War I. On May 28, 1984 an unknown soldier from the Vietnam War was buried in Arlington National Cemetery and was identified by DNA. His name was Michael Blassie, a 28-year- old pilot shot and killed on the border of Cambodia in 1972 (CNN Library, 2017). Veterans Day is an important holiday for many.
On Saturday November 11, 2017 Gallup High School JROTC Bengal Battalion participated in the Veterans day parade. They had a color guard made up of 4 cadets. Two had rifles and the other two were carrying the colors (flags). The rest of the cadets that showed up were marching. Some of our staff members showed up. Cadets who are on staff are juniors and seniors. These cadets run the battalion. Color guard was in front of the whole battalion as the presented the flags to the people who showed up to watch the parade. The staff members that showed up was behind the color guard. The executive officer (xo) Annalise Nez was commanding the color guard and the staff members. The rest of the battalion was behind staff. Dylan Silversmith our S-1 was commanding the rest of the battalion. Our executive officer is the second in charge when the battalion commander is not around. This weekend she was in charge of commanding the battalion, as well as, telling the battalion what they need to do to succeed. She assigned Silversmith to command the battalion.
Bengal battalion marched with other groups as well. Some of these groups were both of the high school bands. There were a few other military type groups along with the battalion. One of these groups were J.P.S.A. "J.P.S.A" stands for Junior Public Safety Academy. There were many veterans that participated in the parade as well. There was another color guard made up of all veterans. There were also many veterans in the crowd. All in all, the Veterans Day parade went well.
by Kurstan Benally (Cadet)
The Fight About Grand Canyon Mining
by Meche Williams '19
Arizona officials (such as the Forest Service) proposed lifting the 20 year ban on uranium mining at the Grand Canyon that was established in 2012 during the Obama-era. Arizona officials, as well as Utah officials, say that the ban is unlawful and has economic opportunities for the mining industry, and are urging the Trump administration to roll back the ban. Many of the supporters of the uranium mining ban believe that if they do allow new mining in the area, it will increase the risk of uranium-contaminated water flowing into the canyon. Based on the past experiences, they know about mining the region leading to polluted sites among the Arizona Navajo population causing serious health problems, such as kidney failure and cancer. One of the supporters that is trying to fight back the Arizona officials to keep the Grand Canyon from new mining projects in the Grand Canyon Trust. The Grand Canyon Trust is trying to work together with other conservation groups and is suing the U.S Forest Service on decision of allowing new ming without the tribal consultation. Allison Melton, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity was appalled by the Forest Service recommendation to lift the ban. She believes it threatens to destroy one of the world’s most breathtaking, beautiful views and just give it as a free hand out to the mining industry. Ms. Melton said, “The Trump Administration’s willingness to sacrifice our natural treasures to polluters knows no bounds. But this reckless, shortsighted proposal won't be allowed to stand”. The Havasupai Tribe, “Havaasu Baaja” or “People of the Blue Green Water” are a federally recognized Indian tribe, their homeland is mainly comprised of the Grand Canyon as well as the plateau lands south and east of it. The Havasupai Tribal Chairman, Don E. Watahomigie said the uranium industry is motivated by greed and profit, “they are now seeking new mines when this industry has yet to clean up the hundreds of existing mines all over the landscape that continue to damage our home. We should learn from the past, not ignore it.”
Independent Newspaper published Monday, November 6, 2017
Martin Heinrich Pushes Legislation to Sagfeguard Native American Items
The following is a letter sent from Senator Martin Heinrich
Dear Friend,I hope you can take a moment to read and share the article below from the Gallup Independent on my legislation to safeguard sacred Native American items. The Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony (STOP) Act received a key hearing in the Senate Indian Affairs Committee last week. I am proud to welcome growing bipartisan support for the STOP Act, and I am hopeful that we can pass this important bill into law.
I will continue working with tribes in New Mexico and across Indian Country as we build on this momentum so we can repatriate stolen culturally significant items back to their rightful owners.
United States Senator
The following article is from the November 14th issue of the Gallup Independent
Federal bill aims to protect tribal objects
Fate of Acoma shield in diplomatic Limbo
By Frances MadesonFor the Independent
November 14, 2017
WASHINGTON - Pueblo of Acoma Gov. Kurt Riley appeared before the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in Washington Wednesday to offer oral and written testimony in support of the enactment of the Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony Act of 2017.
Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., introduced the STOP Act to prohibit the sale in foreign markets of Native cultural items smuggled out of the United States for trafficking abroad and to strengthen certain domestic protections as well.
The proposed bill is meant to reinforce and supplement the three already existing federal laws governing Native cultural objects - the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the Archeological Resources Protection Act, and the Antiquities Act - in three key ways:
"Tribes in New Mexico and across the nation have been forced to pay a ransom or had to stand by and watch the sale of their priceless religious and cultural items in international markets," he said.
‘Stop Cultural Genocide'
Heinrich's involvement in this issue started with the near loss of a sacred shield - a painted leather ceremonial shield from the Pueblo of Acoma. Taken illegally from the tribe in the 1970s, after a tortuous journey of decades' duration, it arrived in Paris, France, at The Eve Auction House, where in the spring of 2015 it was put up for sale.
By happenstance, the shield did not sell at auction. But despite moral appeals and legal challenges from Acoma, it was slated again for sale in 2016. Again it was not sold. Heinrich is credited with intervening, and through diplomacy, the U.S. State Department was successful in having the shield pulled from the auction.
Other tribes' objects, however, could not be similarly rescued: 12 sacred Kachina masks were lost to the art market for a price of $129,000, even as Natives protested outside the auction house with signs bearing forceful messages such as: "Stop Cultural Genocide."
No protection under law
In the discussions with the French government, France argued that the U.S. did not have a law sufficient to ban the export of the Acoma shield, or similarly culturally significant items. Five weeks later Heinrich was ready to go with the STOP Act in order to remediate that perceived gap in U.S. law. But time ran out on the original version, and it was not voted on in the last Congress.
Tribes as well as organizations representing dealers and collectors of Native artifacts were both vocal about the need to protect sacred Native objects from the Paris auctions, but differed on the details on how best to accomplish the goal. Both sides took advantage of the pause to open up the dialogue about what an optimal STOP Act could look like when reintroduced, as Heinrich had committed to do. Two separate public discussions were hosted in Santa Fe this spring by the School for Advanced Research's Indian Arts Research Center and ATADA in order to engage their constituencies, air the issues that were dividing them and seek solutions.
A new and changed version of the STOP Act was introduced by Heinrich in June, which jettisoned two provisions of the original bill: a twoyear amnesty period for individuals who voluntarily return all of their illegally possessed cultural objects to the appropriate tribes, and a provision to direct the General Accounting Office to quantify the trafficking on illegal objects in a report.
10 pages of testimony
Riley submitted 10 pages of testimony in support of the new version of the STOP Act. Stating that "existing laws are not enough" Riley praised the STOP Act's international focus, "... where we have been the most powerless to gain the repatriation of our cultural heritage." His testimony states that "... foreign governments, including France, have consistently told the Pueblo and federal officials that they will not facilitate the return of our tribal cultural heritage because United States law does not explicitly prohibit its exportation."
Gregory A. Smith, Acoma's D.C. attorney and lobbyist concurs that this has been a sticking point.
"According to (the U.S. Departments of) State, Justice and Interior, the STOP Act is essential to securing the return of items from overseas. This is based on extensive discussions they have had with the French government, which, like others, does not see a real ban in U.S. law."
There is already a "smuggling law" on the books of US Customs law - 18 U.S. Code § 554 - that says: Whoever fraudulently or knowingly exports or sends from the United States, or attempts to export or send from the United States, any merchandise, article, or object contrary to any law or regulation of the United States, or receives, conceals, buys, sells, or in any manner facilitates the transportation, concealment, or sale of such merchandise, article or object, prior to exportation, knowing the same to be intended for exportation contrary to any law or regulation of the United States, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.
But because none of NAGPRA, ARPA or the Antiquities Act contain explicit export restrictions, the prevailing interpretation is that these laws cannot be used in conjunction with 18 U.S. Code § 554.
New law not a panacea
Nonetheless, Kate Fitz Gibbon, attorney for ATADA, does not think a new law will offer much of a panacea, writing about STOP via email that "it will do little to further the return of objects. It will have no impact on items already overseas, and is no more likely to be enforced in France than dozens of export laws from Africa, Asia and South America, which have no effect there."
ATADA is also concerned about consumer confusion. Fitz Gibbon wrote: "After 140 years of trade, how is a current owner to know if an object might be claimed as sacred by a tribe or claimed as coming from federal or Indian lands by the federal government?"
Riley's testimony addressed ATADA's concern, reminding the committee the protected objects are already defined in NAGPRA, ARPA and the Antiquities Act, and that as a practical matter, if anyone's confused, answers are available.
"It is paramount that, if collectors or dealers are unsure if an item quali fies as protected tribal cultural heritage, that they contact the tribe for more information."
Additional written testimony was entered into the hearing record from two other advocacy organizations: Global Heritage Alliance and the Committee for Cultural Policy (which Fitz Gibbon heads) that largely echoed concerns raised by ATADA. CCP offered suggestions to improve "the flawed legislation of the STOP Act" such as "legislation to moreefficiently bring objects and ancestral remains already under federal government control back to the tribes, to ensure adequate funding for National NAGPRA, to fund tribal culturaloffices," among others.
Finally, the bill creates a Tribal Working Group to be comprised of representatives of Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organization to generally advise and make recommendations on related matters to the federal government, which Riley hopes "will lead to more collaboration."
The bill now moves to a mark-up and vote in the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and if passed out of committee, to a full Senate vote.
Sacred shield still not home
Meanwhile, the sacred shield that prompted the STOP Act's creation has not yet come home to Acoma.
"As recently as late September, the Department of Justice responded to further inquiries from the French government about the shield, so the matter of the status of the shield remains an active matter of discussions between the two countries," advises Acoma D.C. attorney Greg Smith.
Riley has described its status as "pending." His testimony to the Senate Indian Affairs Committee included this statement: "The Pueblo asks this Committee to not think of these sacred and ceremonial objects in property rights terms, like title and ownership ... if these objects are merely treated like other pieces of property, their true significance is lost. Instead, it is important to move beyond the Western view of property rights and consider this issue as one of human and cultural rights."
Last Week's Poll Results!
Last week we asked Ambush! Poll takers if any of their family members are veterans: 80% of poll takers said that they did have family members that are veterans while the other 20% said that they did not.
Interview with Zuni High School Senior, Josh Waseta, about Sha'lako
by Meche Williams '19 and Shawn McCraith '18
by Mariah Tso '21
Today and the days after, we depend on our soldiers to keep our country safe. Every year we have a special day for our veterans. On November 11th we honor our brave young men and women who served our country and who risked their lives to protect our freedom. The first veterans day was originated on November 11th, 1919. The first anniversary was at the end of world war one. Veterans day became a national holiday beginning in 1938. We shouldn’t just honor our veterans on November 11th, but we should honor them every day because they fight and sacrifice their lives for us, Americans. Veterans fought for us during some of the nation’s most difficult times and in honor of them we respect them and have a national holiday for them.
Last Week's Poll Results!
Last week we asked Ambush! Poll takers what they thought of the Next Gen Science Standards: 50% of poll takers said that they did not care while the other 50% said the standards were stupid and they did not understand why they were being changed.
What do the Next Gen Science Standards mean for New Mexico?
by Meche Williams '19
The New Generation Science Standards is adopted by at least 20 other states and New Mexico is interested in adopting it as well, but they wanted input from community members, teachers, or anyone who was lives in New Mexico to give their opinions and concerns on the possible changes to the curriculum. David Peters, the president of NMAS wrote a letter and sent it into the Albuquerque Journal giving his support to the Next Generation Science Standards. Some are still uneasy and skeptical about the NGSS because the public has no idea what they want to put in for the standards they are disposing of. The APS Board Policy Committee also shares some the same concerns about why the New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) may want to alter the NGSS, New Mexico APS feels that altering the standards before it is fully adopted is a bit drastic. It is still an ongoing issue whether the New Mexico PED will get their way and get to alter the standards or if APS blocked them and got the motion denied.
New Skate Park Delayed; DIY Skate Park Begins
by Shawn McCraith '18
The plans for the Gallup skate park have been delayed and will be pushed back to the summer of 2018; even being a Tony Hawk Foundation recipient did not speed up the process of the skate park being built. The Gallup youth are avid skateboarders and are not too happy about the delay of this park because the skate park allows them to skate freely without being hassled by property owners or policemen. Gallup’s old skate park was demolished this past summer and now there is no place for this town’s skateboarders to skate and socialize with other skaters. On the north side of town some local supporters of skateboarding decided to build a D.I.Y. (Do-It-Yourself) skate park and have used their own funds to produce a box and ramps to grind or skate on. When the old skate park was being torn down the local skaters asked the demolition crew to utilize the “pyramid” which is a metal, pyramid shaped object and it can now be skated on at the D.I.Y. spot.
Last Week's Poll Results!
Last week we asked Ambush! Poll takers if they would be attending this year's Balloon Rally: 33.33% of poll takers said yes they would, 33.33% said they would not be attending the event, and 33.33% said they might attend the event.
Interview with Bill Lee, CEO of Gallup Chamber of Commerce and Head of Gallup Balloon Rally
By Lucia Kezele '18, Meche Williams '19, and Shawn McCraith '18
Last Week's Poll Results!
Last week we asked Ambush! Poll takers what events the city should hold for younger children and 67% said more arts and craft events while the remaining 23% said a Halloween festival downtown.
Code Talker Passes Away
by Shawn McCraith '18
On October 8th the United States Marine Corps lost a valued and famous radioman of the Navajo Code Talkers, David E. Patterson. He served in the USMC during World War II, and ultimately helped win the war for the Allies. These radiomen were the best at what they did, which was decoding and sending coded messages in their native language, Dine Bizaad. Patterson served in 1943 and has been pushing through life ever since, his passing on has definitely been felt in the Navajo community. The Code Talkers played such a pivotal role in obtaining the islands in the Pacific Ocean. They are a tangible representation of why the learning and sustenance of any culture’s language is significant. He is a role model for the younger generation to push the Navajo language upon them. A Navajo Code Talker is special to the Navajo Nation because of their special missions in Japan during World War II. While he was alive, Patterson affected many people and helped in the educational decision of a fellow coworker. Not only will he be remembered as a well-known soldier but also for bowling, his Catholic faith, and the love for his family. The Catholic faith was important, and vital to David E. Patterson, just like learning the Code, it was a drive for him to learn the indecipherable code. For his duty Patterson received the silver Congressional Medal of Honor back in 2001, but it wasn’t one of his proudest moments.. Pat Patterson the son of David said to remember his father as a “funny guy.” After David finished his service as a Code Talker it left him with an interest in other languages in which when he met people from other countries he tried to speak to them in their native language. He was a protector of the Navajo language.
*Photo From Navajo Times*
by Mariah Tso '21
In the state of California there are 22 major fires burning. Central California and Santa Rosa and Napa Valley hit hard that has destroyed over 1,500 structures. At least 42 people have died due to aggressive wildfires in Northern California's Napa, Sonoma, Yuba and Mendocino counties. The fires have destroyed at least 5,700 homes and business. An estimated 100,000 people were ordered to evacuate, and early 70,000 have been allowed to return to their homes. The Sonoma police department said,“They received more than 1,700 missing person reports” caused by the fires but officials have been able to track down nearly all of those people.
Throughout the weeks the situation has started to improved and firefighters have been able to control the fires better which has allowed some of the evacuations to be done with. In Buttle County southeast of Oroville 5,800 acres were burned and only 45% are under control. This fire has destroyed about 17 structures and has damaged about 5 damaged and has threatened thousands of structures. The fires have left a lot of people homeless because of their homes burning down but even before the fires California had a housing crisis but now there are a lot more people homeless. There valuable things have been burned because of these fires some people are lucky enough to grab their values and run out. Bay Area residents have limited being outdoors they keep everything closed in the last few weeks they have noticed that high levels of pollution from the California Fires.
*Photo from the LA Times*
Crafty Kids Program
by Meche Williams '19
Every Thursday, the Octavia Fellin Library hosts a program called, “Crafty Kids,” run by Henrietta Etsitty. It starts at 4:00 pm and goes until 5:30 pm, all ages are welcome and they do crafts that are centered around the event or celebration of that month. For example on Thursday the 19th, they worked on Halloween luminarias, using 2 small paper bags (one was brown and the other was white,) halloween cut outs, scissors, pencils, tape, and a tea light you can get at Family Dollar. The week before they made a tissue roll pumpkins.
Henrietta Etsitty is not a staff member at the Octavia Fellin Children’s Library but works at the Adult Octavia Fellin Library.A staff member of the children’s library approached her about running the Crafty Kids program 4 years ago. She didn’t hesitate to accept the offer. She leaves her work around 3:00 pm every Thursday and prepares the supplies and crafts, then around 4:00 pm the kids come in either with their parents or grandparents. Once they’re settled in she gives them the instructions on how to make the project, after they gather the needed materials she walks around to make sure everyone knows what they're doing or, and to see if any kids need her help.
I asked her if she enjoys her job and what the best part of it is.
Henrietta: “I do enjoy it, the best part would have to be working with the kids and being able to keep them busy by doing some fun crafts. I don’t have any kids but I have a lot of nieces and nephews.”
She is a very kind and helpful lady, who loves to spend her Thursdays at the children's library to show the kids some exciting new crafts. She loves to do the same with her sibling’s kids. Etsitty has a good and close bond with most of the parents and kids that attend, because the families keep coming back.
Last Week's Poll Results!
Last week we asked Ambush! Readers what they would do if someone stole their cheeseburger and 100% of poll takers said that they would react the same way that Anthony Frazier had.