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Juneteenth celebrated in Gallup

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The words “Disarm Racism” will grace Coal Avenue between June 19 and the end of the first week of July.

The mural designed by Navajo painter Jerry Brown is being completed overnight June 19 with a team of painters, as part of a celebration of Juneteenth, the oldest national commemoration of the ending of slavery in the U. S.

The mural translates the message into several languages.

The street mural and a “Bring Your Own Chalk” event are temporary art installations.

Sacred Together

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The largest Indigenous Pride gathering adjusts to pandemic

From starting with about 250 attendees at the Window Rock Flea Market in 2017 to pulling in over 6,000 visitors over two days in 2019 at the Window Rock Tribal Park and Veteran’s Memorial, Diné Pride has become the largest Indigenous pride event in the United States.

When plans to host an even larger event this year had to be scrapped due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Alray Nelson, executive director and one of the co-founders of Diné Pride, said the event was redesigned to be the largest virtual Indigenous pride gathering in the country.

The theme for this year’s event is “Sacred Together.”

“We thought we...

Embattled RMCHCS CEO ousted

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The Board of Trustees of Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services announced the termination of Chief Executive Officer David Conejo in a press release June 11.  Conejo’s firing is effective immediately. The Board also severed ties with his company, Healthcare Integrity.

Conejo was facing issues on many fronts, including complaints that the hospital was ill-prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic, and calls for more and better personal protective equipment, and concerns about overloaded staff.

On May 4, RMCHCS Employed Providers signed a Letter entitled “Vote of No Confidence in David Conejo.”

Conejo also felt the pressure from the Office of the State Auditor, to turn over...

Alcohol sale ban overturned by city council

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In April, the Gallup City Council adopted an ordinance banning the sale of alcoholic beverages at convenience stores because they were concerned people were going into the stores, purchasing the product, then sharing it with others, and in so doing putting multiple people at increased risk for COVID-19.

“We really didn’t have any system in place at the time to deal with isolating and quarantining homeless individuals who had been exposed to or tested positive for COVID when we adopted the ordinance,” City Attorney Curtis Hayes said. “Now we have resources to deal with that population.”

The ban of alcohol sales in convenience stores was uncharted legal territory, Hayes...

County commissioners vote against fireworks restrictions

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The McKinley County Board of Commissioners revisited a potential ban on the sale of certain fireworks ahead of the summer during a June 8 special meeting. The item had previously been tabled to gather public comment and to await updated drought conditions.

Deputy Fire Chief Richard Austin called into the meeting to speak about the item.

“The vast majority of McKinley County is under severe drought conditions,” Austin said, referencing the latest drought monitor maps that were released June 4.

Those maps show the county is abnormally dry. These conditions have been the same for about three weeks.

County Manager Anthony Dimas Jr. read one of the comments the board received from...

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