Shiprock, Tuba City girls launch new rivalry

By Sunnie Clahchischiligi
Special to the Times

January 25, 2013

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(Special to the Times – Donovan Quintero)

TOP: Tuba City Lady Warrior Ashley Lomavaya (5) shoots the ball over Shiprock's Arantxa Curley (20) on Wednesday, Jan. 23 in Shiprock. The Lady Chieftains defeated Tuba City, 57-43.

SECOND FROM TOP: Shiprock Chieftain Ashley John (33) catches a pass as Tuba City's Ashley Lomavaya (5) defends her on Wednesday in Shiprock.

S HIPROCK, N.M. – Over the past few years there have been very few instances where Arizona basketball has stepped into New Mexico territory, but that changed a little bit this season.

One of the latest encounters was when the New Mexico Class 3A Shiprock Lady Chieftains hosted the former Arizona 3A North Tuba City Lady Warriors.

In this first-ever matchup between the teams, Shiprock took the win, 57-43, at the Pit on Wednesday, Jan. 23.

The two teams don't have much of a history playing each another, but with district play in New Mexico and sectional play in Arizona fast approaching, the teams are glad to see how they fared against one another.

Shiprock head coach Larenson Henderson said the game was a pick-up game for Tuba City but benefited his team as they gear up for their first District 1-3A game against Thoreau on Feb. 1.

"Arizona basketball is great, that's one thing I was hoping we'll get out of this before we make our district run…I'm excited about these Arizona teams coming in," Henderson added. "I want these girls to believe we're just as good."

Shiprock came out strong outscoring Tuba City, 13-8, in the first quarter.

Henderson said he knew Tuba City was a good shooting team so he decided to slow things down in the second and play a zone defense.

"I saw a lot of plays where they showed a lot of aggressiveness going to the basket, and for us I wanted to slow it down and see what they would do," Henderson said. "I didn't want them to get hot or anything, at the same time we wanted to be in their face, and I think the girls did a good job of doing that."

Shiprock entered the half up, 31-17, but Tuba City won the third quarter as they outscored Shiprock, 12-9, with an eight-point run at the end of the quarter.

"There are times when we do very well, we execute without layups and our free-throws, they're there, but when we miss them we miss them," said Tuba City coach Kim Williams. "That's our game, the execution, we'll make some changes and we'll be ready for them the next game."

Shiprock finished the fourth quarter strong as they pulled away from the Warriors.

"That's one thing I like about the girls, we don't get rattled," Henderson said. "We were slowly kind of kicking in the press after awhile, we wanted to see what we got, trying to get a good feel for them and the girls got a good rhythm against them in the end."

Williams, who is a 1984 graduate and former basketball player for Tuba City, said she doesn't remember Tuba City ever playing Shiprock.

"…This is the first year Tuba's played them, when they did play them it was just like summer leagues but it was never a scheduled game," she said.

Recently, teams from both states have schedule more interstate games.

For instance, Kirtland Central hosted Monument Valley's varsity teams last week. The Lady Mustangs defeated the Lady Broncos, 46-41, while the KC boys upended Monument Valley, 73-30. Earlier this season Shiprock girls traveled to Window Rock where they loss 51-40.

The Lady Chieftains will also host Page Sand Devils on Jan. 29, travel to Monument Valley on Jan. 31, and then travel to Tuba City for a rematch on Feb. 2.

Added Henderson, "Getting them on the floor getting them some game time is great for them right now. I think we're going to be really strong, we beat some Colorado teams this past year.

"Now we're headed out to Arizona, we basically beat all our 4A teams here so I think we're looking really good," he added. "That's one thing I'm excited for…I hope next year we get them on both sides again."

Audit: Sheep Springs Chapter officials disregarded policies created in 2007

By Bill Donovan
Special to the Times

WINDOW ROCK — An audit of the Sheep Springs Chapter found that chapter officials had circumvented a number of procedures.

The chapter is one of those that have been certified under the Five Management System in 2007, which was supposed to provide "reasonable assurances that chapter financial reporting is reliable and accurate."

But the findings by the auditor found problems in almost every area and the audit wasn't much better than ones done by the Office of the General Auditor for chapters that have not been certified.

The auditors discovered that since 2007, the financial system at the chapter has deteriorated and chapter officials have disregarded the policies that were set up in 2007.

The audit issued a number of recommendations to bring the chapter back into compliance and auditors said they will review the chapter's financial records and if they find out that these recommendations have not been followed, the auditing office will make a recommendation to withhold future funding to the chapter until the deficiencies are corrected.

The chapter gets about $500,000 annually from the tribe.

Among the problems that were discovered:

- In examining a sampling of 20 expenditures made during that time, the auditors discovered that 18 had missing price quotations and 19 had missing receiving reports.

- There was no indication that chapter officials tried to find the cheapest vendor. As a result, the chapter could not fully justify expending $33,474 of the operating expenditures that were reviewed.

- The chapter has three rental units but does not consistently collect the rent. One of the renters moved out without paying the back rent and one of the others was more than a year behind in paying the rent and has essentially lived in the house rent-free for 15 months.

- Overall, the chapter's financial statements were unreliable and there was no assurance that the account glances in the bank were accurate.

- The chapter manager and administrative assistant gave themselves a $3,000 bonus when the chapter was certified, which was illegal since they were considered to be tribal employees at that time.

First LGBTQ symposium on the Navajo Nation set for Friday

By Shondiin Silversmith
Navajo Times

WINDOW ROCK — Tsehootsooi Medical Center's Methamphetamine and Suicide Prevention Initiative Project is hosting the Navajo Nation's first ever Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) Symposium in hopes of raising awareness on the issues that the LGBTQ community faces.

"It's really a historical event," said Jordon Johnson, regional community member of the Rainbow Naatsiilid Center who has been a part of the planning process since November 2012. "The idea is to raise awareness about LGBTQ to communities and surrounding areas on the Navajo Nation."

Community Involvement Coordinator Janet Deschinny said that the planning committee has set three goals for this event, which will be held today, Jan. 25 at the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

One is to "create awareness around the unique history and issues surrounding the LGBTQ community."

Two is to "provide information, resources and support for parents and relatives of the LGBTQ community" and the final goal is "to start the dialogue of leadership to address those disparities," according to Deschinny.

"We created this symposium to help with that issue," she said adding that the LGBTQ ommunity has one of the highest rates of suicide. "This is something we really believe will help people save someone."

The event will have three special guest speakers including Arizona State Senator Jack Jackson Jr. They will also have breakout sessions in the afternoon, followed with an open panel discussion.

"It's very exciting," said Johnson adding that after working so hard on bringing awareness and attention to LGBTQ issues, for "this to be happening is amazing."

Following the symposium a Rainbow Gala.

This event is free and open to the public but is limited to the first 200 people.

For more information: 928-729-8541

EPA Report: $100 million has been spent to clean up uranium contamination on Navajoland

By Alastair Bitsoi
Navajo Times

WINDOW ROCK – Since 2008, the five federal agencies involved in the clean up of uranium contamination on the Navajo Reservation have spent more than $100 million to address the legacy of the toxic waste from the Cold War Era, according to a report issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday, Jan. 24.

The report comes after congressional leaders requested in an Oct. 12 letter requesting summary updates on the progress of the five-year clean up plan from the federal agencies.

Those agencies are the EPA, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Department of Energy and Indian Health Service.

According to the report, EPA spent about $50 million since 2008 to cleanup mines, provide safety drinking water and demolish and replace contaminated homes.

Alongside the $50 million, EPA has used the Superfund law to compel responsible parties to perform an additional $17 million in mine investigations and clean ups.

Over the past five years, EPA has remediated 34 contaminated homes, provided safe drinking water to 1,825 families and provided cleanup at nine abandoned mines.

The EPA has worked with Navajo EPA, which performed field assessments of nearly 800 homes.

"This effort as been a great start to addressing the toxic legacy of uranium mining on Navajo lands," said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA's regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "The work done to date would not have been possible without the partnership of the six federal agencies and the Navajo Nation's EPA and Department of Justice."

The legacy of uranium mining and milling dates back to the Cold War Era in which four tons of uranium ore was extracted from the Navajo Nation from 1944 to 1986.

Although uranium development doesn't currently occur, the legacy of it remains with over 500 abandoned uranium mine claims and thousands of mine features such as pits, trenches, and holes that had elevated levels of uranium, radium and other toxic metals.

President Ben Shelly thanked the leadership of Rep. Henry Waxman and Congress, adding, "While there have been accomplishments that improved some conditions, we still need strong support from congress and the federal agencies to fund the clean-up of contaminated lands and water, and address the basic public health concerns due to the legacy of uranium mining and milling."

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