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FARMINGTON Four Corners Economic Development has hired an Ohio man as the group's first chief executive.

Ray Hagerman will take over as CEO beginning April 1.

He most recently served as vice president of investments for the Dayton Development Coalition in Dayton, Ohio.

"He's got a pretty extensive experience in a variety of areas in economic development," said Sally Burbridge, board chairwoman of the Farmington-based group. "He's got a great financial background, which will be very beneficial for the organization as it moves forward, as well as the whole community."

Four Corners Economic Development, also known as 4CED, was formed last year out of its predecessor, San Juan Economic Development Service, or SJEDS.

The group came about because of a desire by business and civic officials to diversify the local economy beyond the volatile oil and gas and coal industries that have been the main employers here for decades.

Business leaders also wanted to increase private-sector investment in economic development efforts. SJEDS ran on a budget of about $100,000 that was funded mostly by local governments.

Steamworks managers to open new restaurant

DURANGO A new restaurant backed by longtime Steamworks managers is slated to open in late May, on Memorial Day weekend, at 945 Main Ave.

Construction is under way on El Moro Spirits & Tavern. The location was most recently Rain Dance Gallery.


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"This will be an "approachable' upscale restaurant, celebrating our local agricultural community, as well as the history of Downtown Durango," said Kris Oyler, a principal in the new restaurant.

Sean Clark, who transformed the menu at Steamworks, will serve as executive chef at El Moro. It's conceived as a gastropub.

"At El Moro, we will be able to and do look forward to working with our regional farmers and creating new dishes even daily, celebrating what is fresh and in season," Clark said in a news release. "This will be a farm-to-table restaurant."

El Moro also will feature plenty of microbrews.

"We will carry a large variety of craft beers from around the world," said General Manager Dave Woodruff. "In fact, the entire beverage program will be equally as broad, with a fine wine list and sophisticated spirits to be poured as well. Our servers will be well-versed in pairing beverages with our menu items."

The restaurants also will have an extensive list of creative cocktails, El Moro backers said.

U.S. Highway 64 construction begins April 1

FARMINGTON The New Mexico Department of Transportation will be working on U.S. Highway 64 on the west side of Farmington from April 1 to August. The roadway being rehabilitated extends from La Plata Highway to Troy King Road, a length of just over a mile.

The project will be undertaken by contractor Four Corners Materials and will consist of roadway rehabilitation, cold milling, a new curb and gutter, permanent signs and striping and traffic control measures.

Work hours will be Monday through Friday from 30 minutes after sunrise to 30 minutes before sunset. Some night work is anticipated to minimize traffic delays.

The Department of Transportation urges motorists to proceed through the area with caution, observe traffic control signs and reduce speed to posted limits.

Northwest NM governments receive $180,000

FARMINGTON The Northwest New Mexico Council of Governments will receive $180,000 through the Economic Development Administration to assist with efforts to increase private capital investments and job creation in the region.

"A comprehensive strategy to promote economic growth is essential in the effort to attract businesses that can create jobs in the private sector," said Rep. Ben Ray Luj n, D-NambŽ. "These important federal funds will assist the Northwest New Mexico Council of Governments in its ongoing efforts to support our communities and lay the foundation for a stronger economy and a brighter future in northwest New Mexico."

The Economic Development District Planning investment will support efforts to establish a comprehensive economic development strategy for the region served by the Northwest New Mexico Council of Governments, which is comprised of Cibola, McKinley and San Juan counties.