Valencia County News-Bulletin

Vol. 104, No. 52
DECEMBER 25, 2014
Copyright © 2014, Valencia County News-Bulletin
LL woman
found guilty
of murder
Feliz Navidad
By Julia M. Dendinger
Clara Garcia-News-Bulletin photos
[email protected]
JAZLYN SANCHEZ, 8 weeks old,
and her brother, Marcus, 4, of
Belen, visit with Santa Claus at
the Belen Toys for Tots from Cops
event held at the Belen Police
Department last Friday. More
than 130 families participated in
the annual event, which served
a total of 366 children. The families who went to pick up their
toys were also able to hear Santa
sing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed
Reindeer” while eating cookies
and drinking hot chocolate.
Los Lunas
Seventh Day Adventist Church
in Belen performed “Away in the
Manger” during its Christmas
program Sunday evening.
Pictured, from left, are Joshua
Servantes, Rachelle Gutierrez,
Jaynee Jimenez, Anthony Tenorio,
Michelle Servantes, Jonah
Jimenez, Lillyana Tenorio, Noah
Jimenez and Chalito and Ismael
A Los Lunas woman was found
guilty of second-degree murder and
dueling, a fourth-degree felony, last
week for fatally stabbing her estranged
boyfriend in the neck in the summer
of 2013.
After just more than four hours of
deliberation, a 12-person jury found
Tammy Lynn Sanchez Tafoya, 49,
guilty of the two charges. On Aug.
8, 2013, Sanchez Tafoya stabbed and
killed her on-and-off boyfriend Keith
Miller, 45, of El Cerro, in the neck.
The two had agreed to meet earlier that day, but when they met on
the street, on the 500 block of Camino
del Ray in Los Lunas, words were
exchanged, knives were drawn and
Miller ended up lying in the street in a
pool of his own blood.
Sanchez Tafoya had been indicted
on first-degree murder and dueling.
Sanchez Tafoya’s attorney, Greg
Gaudette, argued that this was a case
of self defense, her actions that of a
woman scared for her safety and that
of her family’s. She told police during
the investigation that Miller had beaten
her numerous times during their relationship.
“This was self defense. She cooperated from the beginning. They want to
believe part of her story but not all of
it,” Gaudette told the jury in his closing arguments. “On the dueling charge,
there was no challenge and acceptance.
It was ‘Let’s do this,’ and then a knife
(drawn by Miller.) ‘This’ could have
been another argument, another beat
Gaudette told the jurors that after
he finished his closing remarks, the
prosecution would address them for a
second time.
“I suppose that is fair because the
state has such a heavy burden to prove,
beyond a reasonable doubt, every element of the crime. And they haven’t,”
See Guilty, Page 8A
VRECC director hoping to get funding to build new dispatch center
By Deborah Fox
[email protected]
Los Lunas
Valencia County might see a new 911 dispatch center as early as 2016. That’s the goal of
Shirley Valdez, director of the Valencia Regional
Emergency Communication Center.
Valdez aims to have a new facility built now
that the Los Lunas Village Council approved a
resolution to sublease land for the VRECC.
Last week, village councilors unanimously
approved subleasing 17.144 acres next to the
administrative building for the new 911 center.
Valdez is geared up to lobby for funding at the
upcoming legislature session, she said.
“They (legislators) know that Valencia
County, county wide, has approved building a
new dispatch center,” she said.
The stakeholders of the project include
the New Mexico Department of Finance and
Administration, the villages of Los Lunas and
Bosque Farms, the city of Belen and Valencia
The municipalities and the county list the new
VRECC facility on their infrastructure capital
improvement plans, she said.
The VRECC was created in 2007 and is
located in the Los Lunas Police Department but
it has outgrown the space.
Currently, there are nine work stations
equipped with monitors and mapping, but Valdez
needs to expand to 13 because of the volume of
inbound landline and wireless 911 calls.
Last year, there were 184,000 total calls, and
this year, the call volume is already at 248,000
into the dispatch center.
Valdez said there isn’t any space for a training
room or a conference room for board meetings.
“If I had 13 positions, this room cannot carry
that,” Valdez told the councilors of the current
facility. “Because I’m looking at another rack of
equipment to be installed, so for sure I couldn’t
put anything more into where we are currently.”
See Center, Page 8A
Commission approves $7.4 million in bonds for roads, equipment, etc.
By Julia M. Dendinger
[email protected]
With a unanimous vote, Valencia County commissioners
approved the sale of bonds that will put nearly $7.4 million into the
general fund before the end of next month.
Those funds will be used to purchase IT equipment, heavy
equipment for the public works department, vehicles and other
equipment and make much-needed road repairs.
Commissioner Mary Andersen, in the last meeting of her term,
said the bonds and consequent use of revenue from a newly implemented gross receipts tax to repay the bonds were “the financial
solution for Valencia County. Not only will it give the county
money to purchase equipment and fix roads, but it will put dollars in the general fund to increase employee salaries as soon as
This action was the culmination of months of work and debate
by the commissioners. It all started in February during budget
planning for next fiscal year and the dire warning from staff that
the county was looking at the very real possibility of ending this
fiscal year in the red.
Commissioner Alicia Aguilar said she was still concerned
Call us: 864-4472
Classified ...... 4B
Editorial .........4A
Databank .......2A
News Digest ...2A
La Vida .......... 1B
about ending in a deficit, despite the new revenues.
“Come the end of the fiscal year, are we going to be OK?”
Aguilar asked at the Dec. 17 meeting.
County Manager Jeff Condrey said this fiscal year was still
going to be tough, even with the projected GRT revenues.
“Those funds should be received around the fourth quarter (of
the fiscal year) and that money is already built into the budget
accepted by this commission and the (New Mexico Department
of Finance and Administration),” Condrey said.
Condrey predicted there would be “significant” budget adjustSee Bonds, Page 2A
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