Meeting Roundup: San Juan County will discuss choosing a new senator following Pinto's death

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — State Sen. John Pinto, D-Gallup, represented the people of San Juan and McKinley counties for more than four decades.

Now the two counties must decide how to replace the longest serving state senator.

Pinto died on the morning of May 24 at the age of 94.

The San Juan County Commission will discuss the process for replacing Pinto on the state Senate during its upcoming meeting at 4 p.m. June 4 in the county administration building at 100 S. Oliver Drive.

Pinto's senate district includes Shiprock, Sanostee, Newcomb, Sheep Springs and Naschitti.

Other topics on the agenda include a presentation about the gaps in behavioral health care in San Juan County and a presentation about an app that allows people to report where trash is dumped on public lands.

State Sen. John Pinto receives an honorary doctor of public service degree from Navajo Technical University on May 17 in Crownpoint.

Water commission discusses Lake Nighthorse releases

By early June last year, local cities began placing restrictions on water use as river levels dropped. Only a trickle of water remained in the Animas River last year as it meandered through Farmington.

The dry conditions persisted through the summer and into the fall, leading the City of Farmington to request a release from Lake Nighthorse, a recently completed storage reservoir in Durango, Colorado.

A trickle of water is seen in the bed of the Animas River April 27 along the Among the Waters river trail in Farmington. Drought conditions nearly dried up the Animas River over the summer, prompting Farmington and Aztec to issue water restrictions.

The release was ultimately canceled when storms rolled through the area in early October, but the drought emphasized the need for a plan to get water from Lake Nighthorse.

The San Juan County Water Commission will discuss draft requirements and procedures for requesting a water release from Lake Nighthorse. The water commission meets at 9 a.m. June 5 in the water commission building at 7450 E. Main Street in Farmington.

Kayaks sit on the shore, Monday, May 14, 2018 at Lake Nighthorse in Durango, Colorado.

NAPI, NMSU seek approval for hemp research project

The Navajo Nation Council will consider a bill to authorize a research project for industrial hemp between Navajo Agricultural Projects Industry and New Mexico State University.

Hemp is a strain of the Cannabis sativa plant species that contains a lower concentration of THC, the active ingredient of cannabis. It is used in commercial products like rope and clothing.

The project's purpose is for research and development. The plant would be grown on land leased by NAPI to NMSU and occupy 200 square feet of land, an area approximately the size of a single car garage.

The project would fall under provisions set in the federal farm bill enacted in 2014 and it would be exempt from a tribal law that prohibits the growth of hemp, according to the bill.

The NAPI Board of Directors backed the project in a resolution passed on April 20.

The bill has received "do pass" recommendations from the council's Resources and Development Committee and the Naa'bik'íyáti' Committee.

The special session will be at 2 p.m. on June 5 at the council chamber in Window Rock, Arizona.

Also on the agenda is a request for $3 million to fund summer youth employment programs at the 110 chapters. The amount is a supplemental funding request from the Unreserved Undesignated Fund Balance.

Another bill seeks approximately $1.37 million to fund the unmet need for chapter official stipends and worker's compensation.

Reporter Noel Lyn Smith contributed to this report.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at

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John Pinto