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Grant County Commission regular session 042513 part 1

The Grant County Board of Commissioners at its regular meeting Thursday morning heard several updates from community agencies and organizations, dealt with agenda items and heard county reports. They also presented proclamations and certificates.

(Photos by Mary Alice Murphy)

Commission Chairman Brett Kasten called for a moment of silence for those murdered, maimed and killed in Massachusetts and Texas last week.

During public input, County Planner Anthony Gutierrez said he had to attend another meeting, but wished to congratulate the Cliff High School Cowboys, who were to be honored with a proclamation, and Coach Pete Shock. "I was privileged to be on his first state basketball championship team. His impacts go beyond the basketball court. His achievements outside the court included that he was a heck of a math teacher, and he is a strong family man."

Rebecca Estrada of the Systems of Care Project said May 9 would be Children's Mental Health Awareness Day. "We, along with The Wellness Coalition, will hold a scavenger hunt. I have flyers, and I ask for a proclamation that day."

Lonnie Bauernfeind of Santa Rita subdivision said the residents asked him to thank the commissioners for their help in facilitating an improvement district for the subdivision's roads.

Sheriff Raul Villanueva said he would like to remind the public of a drug take back, no questions asked, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at Walgreen's. "We would rather collect them than have you flush them down the toilet or put them in the trash."

County Manager Jon Paul Saari gave the financial reports on the general fund, road fund and corrections fund. (Editor's Note: the numbers are broken down in a previous article, which can be found at http://www.grantcountybeat.com/index.php/news/news-articles/10219-commissioners)

Saari explained the reason why the corrections fund was in the negative was because transfers from the general fund had not yet been made. "About half the Sheriff's Department operating expenses come from the general fund."

He also presented the expenditure report of $2,318,065.60 since the March meeting.

Kasten requested the commissioners approve a proclamation recognizing the Cliff High School Cowboys for the state basketball championship and a certificate of recognition for retiring Coach Pete Shock. They were approved, and Randy Hernandez, county manager executive assistant, read the proclamation and the certificate.

Commissioner Gabriel Ramos congratulated the team members and Shock. "Our future is in good hands."

Commissioner Ron Hall said: "We appreciate you. You've changed the face of our community. We are proud to have the third generation Shock in the coach's shoes."

County Assessor Randy Villa said, that as a broadcaster of Grant County sports, he congratulated the team, which "will be in the great hands of another Shock."

"Thank you," Shock said. "We'll hustle back now. Some of the team members thought they might get out of a physics test, but academics is just as important.  It has been an honor and privilege to coach students. I do believe in extra-curricular activities, because there are lessons to be learned that might not be learned in biology or algebra classes. The activities give a student an opportunity to be a teammate and a leader.  I've been blessed for many years. I will repeat a quote: 'I haven't worked a day in my life for the past 41 years.' I got to go to a place I loved and do what I wanted to do. It's special today because we have all the veterans here who are the true American heroes."

The next agenda item was to read and proclaim May 14 American Legion Day in Grant County, because the American Legion National Commander James E. Koutz would be in Silver City that day.

Ray Davis of Allingham-Golding American Legion Post 18 had an additional request. He said a member had asked if the post would pursue a name change on the Grant County Business and Conference Center as it is being renovated. "We suggest Grant County Veterans Memorial Business and Conference Center. We would like a section set aside for a memorial for veterans." Davis presented several letters supporting the name change. "The name would honor all veterans past, present and future," he said. "Each one of us took the same oath as a Medal of Honor recipient did. All of us gave part of our lives to serve our country. The choice of name is yours, but I hope you would honor us."

Luís Pérez, post member, said he served as an artillery officer in the Korean War. "An honor to veterans of Grant County is long overdue. We would like at the entrance of the center a room for patriotic displays. We request you give the name and a room careful thought."

County Manager Jon Paul Saari said the request was not an action item, but for discussion. Kasten pointed out that the center looks finished on the outside, but the county is trying to sell bonds to get the inside renovated, so it would be a year or more before the facility is complete.

Davis said any costs for a memorial would be raised by veterans' organizations at no cost to the county taxpayers.

Heidi Sexton, High Desert Humane Society board president, gave a year-end report for the 2012 calendar year. "Since 2007, we have been having a good decrease in animals being brought into the shelter as strays or as owner turn-ins, except for 2011 when we had an increase, possibly because of hoarders. The number was down again in 2012. We track as a whole the adoptable animals brought in by the county, by Silver City, and Hurley. We had been averaging 40 percent adoption rate, which is about twice the national average. This year we've had a 60 percent to 70 percent average adoption rate."

She said the agreement with the county expires June 30. She handed an evacuation tip card to commissioners. "The High Desert Humane Society has an extremely thorough evacuation plan. We are prepared to quickly take up to 200 animals. We have trained three full teams, so we can work 24 hours."

"This year is the 40th anniversary for the humane society here. "Our push is to raise $40,000 for the HALT program to spay and neuter pets. The funds raised at the thrift store on Bullard, a purchase of a spot in our calendar, and other fundraisers will help us reach that goal. Also if you need help with spaying or neutering, we have coupons."

Saari asked Sexton if there were any place to take strays when the shelter is closed.

"Call Dispatch," Sexton advised. "A law enforcement officer can drop off animals. We have runs specifically for that purpose."

Hall pointed out that in 1968, there was no one to take the animals. "We thank you for what you do."

Villa said he and Tyrone volunteer firefighters were part of a recent drill on an evacuation plan for animals.

"During an evacuation, we take in mostly cats and dogs, but we have a network, where people can house livestock, horses, goats, or emus," Sexton said. "During Quail Ridge, we took in rabbits, pigeons, goats. Call us and we'll tell you where to take them."

Three more presentations will be covered in a subsequent article.

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