Former Mariano Lake CSC appears in court

By Bill Donovan
Special to the Times

Window Rock, April 9, 2013

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B rian Chee, the former community services coordinator for Mariano Lake Chapter, finally appeared for a hearing on charges that he wrote $17,600 worth of checks to himself during his last of days working for the chapter.

The hearing was held Thursday at the Navajo Nation Office of Hearings and Appeals during which Chee apologized to chapter officials for his actions, saying he violated their trust in him.

Chee admitted writing out four post-dated checks to himself just before stepping down from his position last September.

The chapter was not aware the checks had been written until they received notification from the bank.

Chee stressed at the hearing that he wanted to make amends to the chapter by repaying the money as soon as he could. He agreed to pay the tribe's Ethics and Rules Office $250 within the next 30 days then $200 a month.

Unlike other officials who had been found guilty of stealing money from a chapter or a tribal program, Chee was not put under sanctions that would prevent him from working for the tribe or running for office.

Vernon Roanhorse, the Ethics and Rules Office director, said the sanction was not enforced because Chee is looking for employment and that would have made it difficult for him if sanctioned.

Roanhorse said he was glad Chee showed up voluntarily for the hearing since the Ethics and Rules Office has been trying for the past few month to get him to appear.

Chee failed to show up for his first hearing then failed to respond to attempts by the Ethics and Rules Office to get him to respond to their notices.

"We did everything we could but he would not answer his door," Roanhorse said.

The Ethics and Rules Office also sent several notices to his address and published his failure to attend in the local newspapers.

"We were pretty close to getting a default judgment in the case," Roanhorse said.

The Office of Hearings and Appeals set a deadline as to when Chee would be able to respond and he showed up on the day the deadline ended, Roanhorse said.

N.M. man convicted of involuntary manslaughter

By Bill Donovan
Special to the Times

ALBUQUERQUE – A Cudei, N.M. man was sentenced to prison?on April 4 after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

Jervis Wilson, 20, was sentenced to 37 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his involuntary manslaughter conviction.

In November 2012, Wilson pled guilty to killing Herman Willeto, a 52-year-old Navajo man, while driving under the influence of alcohol on March 2, 2012 on U.S. Highway 64 outside of Shiprock, N.M.

According to court records, on March 2, 2012, Wilson drank alcohol and then drove a vehicle recklessly. As he attempted to pass other vehicles at a greater rate of speed than the flow of traffic, Wilson struck a Jeep, causing property damage but not injuring the Jeep's two occupants.

Wilson continued driving at a high rate of speed and sideswiped a Dodge sedan, causing moderate damage to the sedan and minor injuries to the driver.

As Wilson continued to drive, his vehicle struck a Ford truck that was towing an excavator on a flatbed trailer.

Willeto, the driver of the truck, was killed on impact. Wilson's blood alcohol level was 0.23 when his blood was drawn within three hours of the collision.

NTC selected to participate in Homeland Security program

CROWNPOINT, N.M. - U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has selected Navajo Technical College in Crownpoint to participate in the Department of Homeland Security Campus Resilience Pilot Program, according to a press release.

The Department of Homeland Security will work with NTC and six selected colleges and universities from across the country to draw on existing resources and collaborate with federal, state and local stakeholders to identify new innovative approaches to promote campus resilience and emergency planning procedures.

Following the April 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech, NTC developed an emergency management response team that implemented a detailed emergency response handbook, which was approved by the NTC Board of Trustees in August 2007, that provided a system to protect students, staff, faculty and facilities during emergencies.

The handbook is used by NTC Campus Security Services and is periodically updated to incorporate current emergency management response protocol.

In a statement, Napolitano said, "Navajo Technical College will serve as a valuable partner in our efforts to help colleges and universities prepare for, respond to, and recover from crisis and emergency situations."

In addition to NTC, the other colleges and universities selected for the pilot program are:

Drexel University in Philadelphia

Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic, Conn.

Green River Community College in Auburn, Wash.

Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas

Tougaloo College in Jackson, Miss.

University of San Francisco in San Francisco

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