The investigation into the case of a man who was found dead in a burned-out trailer home last month in Nogales remains ongoing, according to Police Chief Roy Bermudez.
In a text message, Bermudez said his department is still searching for a “person of interest” to interview about the Feb. 8 incident on Peter Anthony Avenue.
The chief declined to release any additional information about the case until that person is interviewed, citing the ongoing investigation.
A 911 caller reported the fire shortly before 5 a.m. on Feb. 8. After extinguishing the blaze, firefighters discovered a deceased person who was later identified as 49-year-old Luis Antonio Rodriguez-Ibarra.
Paz to step down as city’s development director
Samuel Paz will step down as the city’s development services director after a three-year stint in the position. His last day is Friday, Feb. 24, according to City Manager Edward Dickie.
On Feb. 17, the City of Nogales posted a notice on its website allowing individuals to apply for the soon-to-be-vacant position.
A community development director, as described by the city’s job posting, oversees planning and zoning projects in Nogales. The position involves reviewing construction permits, monitoring the department’s budget, and meeting with the city’s planning and zoning commission. The annual salary of the new director will start at $90,464.
The director will also be responsible for facilitating residential development undertakings, including affordable and multi-family housing projects.
Weekly COVID-19 case count at 14
The number of new confirmed cases of COVID-19 remained low in Santa Cruz County during the past week, according to data posted by the County Health Services Department.
During the week ending Wednesday, March 1, the department confirmed 14 new cases of the disease among county residents. The figure was 15 during the previous week and 17 the week before that.
As recently as early December, the county was seeing more than 100 new cases of COVID-19 reported per week.
The county health department added four new hospitalizations coronavirus-related hospitalizations to its dashboard during the week ending March 1, but no new deaths.
County appoints members to Workforce Development Board
The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors approved a slate of five new members to its local workforce development board during a Feb. 21 meeting.
The new board members include Skylie Estep, representing mining company South32; Jessy Fontes, representing Mariposa Liquidation Store; Fernando Sandoval, representing the customs warehouse Martinez Group; Guillermo Othon, representing Interstate Freight Brokers; and Greg Lucero, representing Santa Cruz County Provisional College. The supervisors received letters of recommendations endorsing each candidate.
The board holds meetings, open to the public, every other month.
All board members are volunteers.
The recent board appointment is the second role Lucero has taken on in recent weeks with Santa Cruz County.
Earlier in the month, Lucero also began working as a consultant for the county at a $70 hourly rate to engage in projects “such as workforce development plans and local coordination with stakeholders,” Deputy County Manager Jesus Valdez told the NI in an email.
BLM plans burns at Las Cienegas NCA
The Bureau of Land Management says it will conduct a multi-day prescribed fire on the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area at some point from mid-March to early May.
The so-called “Airstrip Prescribed Fire” will cover approximately 758 acres of BLM-managed land located seven miles north of Sonoita. The precise date of the burn pending appropriate weather and seasonal conditions, the BLM said in a news release.
“Prescribed fires are intended to mimic natural fire frequency and intensity,” the news release said. “They improve the health of the land by stimulating growth of desirable grasses, reducing invasive plants, and managing fuel loads so that natural fires are less destructive.”
The Airstrip Group Site, Airstrip Day Use Area and Empire Gulch Day Use Site will all be closed during the burns, and dispersed camping will be forbidden on the LC-6902 road from the junction with LC-6901 to the junction of LC-6905. Several other roads will be closed from 6 p.m. the day before each burn to 6 a.m. the day after each burn is completed.
For more information, contact June Lowery at (520) 258-7223.