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Farmington sergeant killed in Afghanistan

A Farmington family is mourning the loss of their father and husband after the police sergeant was killed in Afghanistan by an IED.

Farmington Police Sergeant James Thode had with the police department for 14 years and was currently serving his second tour of duty with the Army National Guard.

A fellow soldier sent KOB Eyewitness News 4 a letter saying Thode was sweeping the fields along the road for IED wires when three bombs ignited. Two other soldiers were injured.

Thode leaves behind a wife and two children.

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Navajo man sentenced in 2006 murder, robberies

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A Navajo man has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to a fatally shooting another tribal member and committing two robberies on the reservation.

Prosecutors say 27-year-old Elbert Barber Jr. has been in federal custody since his arrest in September 2006.

His cases had been delayed for years for psychiatric evaluations to determine Barber's competency to stand trial.

He entered into a plea deal Thursday.

Barber was accused in the Aug. 21, 2006, killing of 22-year-old Frankie Burnside in the Shiprock area.

Shoe prints and shell casings found at the crime scene along with a handgun and other evidence linked to Barber led to his arrest.

Authorities say Barber also was charged with robbing two gasoline stations of about $232 combined in mid-August 2006.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Women's shelter stalled over land dispute

A legal battle over land with the Navajo Nation is getting in the way of plans for a domestic violence shelter in Shiprock.

One woman who asked not to be named told KOB why she stayed there. “I needed a shelter…I needed a safe environment.”

CEO for the Shiprock Home for Women and Children, Gloria Champion, says over a million dollars is sitting with the state to complete a new women’s shelter but the project has been stalled in a dispute with the Navajo Nation Department of Justice, who say they're the rightful land owners.

For now, a fence guards the unfinished project, which was started seven years ago and is 80 percent complete.

“The issue is we don’t have a proper lease and we do,” said Champion.

Back at the shelter, one woman said having a permanent home can help with the healing process. “Inside your physical being, you need to belong somewhere,” she said.

Goodwill to offer literacy classes

Goodwill Industries of New Mexico will be offering literacy classes in Farmington December 9 and 10 as part of their programs in assisting New Mexicans with barriers to employment.  These classes will give tips on setting a budget as well as personal and financial goals. 

The classes are at 1 and 5 p.m. on December 9 and 9 a.m. on the 10.  They will be at the workforce development area of Goodwill’s Farmington store at 1861 Hutton Street.

“It takes more than a job to achieve economic independence,” said Goodwill Industries of New Mexico Facilities Program Manager Dan Kenaley. “One of our goals is to provide people with the tools to maximize their hard-earned money.”

Disaster aid offered to 5 NM counties

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The Federal Emergency Management Agency says disaster aid totaling more than $355,000 is on its way to communities in five New Mexico counties that suffered damages from summer flooding.

The federal public assistance funding is available to Cibola, McKinley, Mora, San Juan and Socorro counties for flooding that occurred between July 25 and Aug. 9.

The FEMA program provides supplemental financial assistance to the state, its agencies, local and tribal governments and some private nonprofit organizations for eligible response and recovery expenses.

State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Secretary John Wheeler says officials are working to identify more projects and get more funding approved for the counties.

FEMA reimburses applicants 75 percent of their eligible costs.

The state and applicants share the remaining 25 percent.

Farmington considers expanding city's limits 

A public meeting hosted by the city of Farmington Tuesday night gave property owners the opportunity to voice their opinion about a possible land annex proposal.

Almost 1,400 acres southwest of the city near the San Juan River is being considered for annexing.

Fran Fillerup works for the City of Farmington and said this is only the beginning stage of their research. “The city is considering it because it’s an area that’s been identified in the city’s comprehensive plan, and in a more specific plan for the metropolitan redevelopment area,” she said.

Jeanette Harvey has lived in the area for almost forty years and said she isn’t happy about the idea. “They’re just tearing up the land which I don’t like. It’s not beautiful, it just makes it ugly,” said Harvey.

Lubbock Group Brings Gifts to Church

On Saturday December 4th, at Tohatchi Baptist Church, a group of twenty people from Calvary Baptist Church and Highland Baptist Church in Lubbock, Texas, will be visiting. An all day family arts and crafts with games and prizes will begin at 11 am and end at 2:30 pm. They will also be giving out gift boxes to anyone that attends and handing out coats and jackets to those in need.  Food will be provided and anyone can bring a dish for everyone to enjoy. For more information call Viveca Tsosie at 505-713-8424 or Pastor Aaron Jim at 505-488-3011.