Photos and article by Mary Alice Murphy

At the Grant County Board of Commissioners meeting on Thursday, April 10, two recognitions were presented to youths and proclamations were made for a designation and to name three "months."

Lonnie Sandoval Jr., son of Bayard Police Chief Lonnie Sandoval, and Diego Lucero, son of county administrative assistant Denisha Lucero and her husband, presented a photo of the team to Commission Chairman Brett Kasten for sponsoring Cobre Youth Wrestling.


Recognition was given to the Cobre and Silver Wrestling Teams who had several state champions among them. Commissioner Gabriel Ramos said he had received a call from Sgt. Aguirre congratulating his son, and was sorry he was unable to attend. "It's an honor to have this many state champions." The champions include from Cobre High School, Chico Perez, Brent Horsely and Robert Rodriguez; from Cobre Youth Wrestlers, Lonnie Sandoval, Jr. and Diego Lucero; from Silver High School, Carlos Vega and Cesar Sierra; and from Silver Youth Wrestlers, Mike Aguirre and Caleb Carrasco.

The next recognition was to Tristin Moore, son of county Road Superintendent Earl Moore, for winning the local Elks Hoop Shoot, going to state, and just missing going to regionals. Twice before he had won the county championship and gone to state competition.

The first proclamation was for the designation of the Continental Divide Trail Gateway Community. Shelby Hallmark, representing the group that spearheaded the effort, thanked the commission and said: "I think it is a momentum builder for Silver City. It is not only to bring others here, but to encourage local citizens to enjoy the trail and to build out trails in town and in the Mining District."

He announced an event on April 23 to celebrate the designation. Beginning at 4 p.m. in the Visitor Center parking lot, speakers will talk about the designation. The featured speaker will be one of the Warrior Hikers, who will have been on the trail for about two weeks. "It's the first of a series of things we're working on."

A second proclamation named April 1-30 as Grant County Trail Month, requested by the Grant County Trails Group. Raul Turrieta announced hikes on Wednesdays and Saturdays. On Friday, April 11, from noon-5 p.m. will be a workshop at The Wellness Center on how to build trails. Also that day will be a clean up of the San Vicente Trail in the morning. The group will also participate in the April 19 Earth Day events at Gough Park. A Boston Hill hike is planned.

A proclamation recognizing April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month was presented. Catherine Olmstead, Silver Regional Sexual Assault Support Services executive director, said the month was to set the tone that sexual assault would not be tolerated in the county.

Commissioner Ron Hall said it was sad that such a group is needed, but "we appreciate you."

"We want to work ourselves out of a job," Olmstead said.

The final proclamation declared June 22-28 as Cancer Relay for Life Week. Archi Padilla, event chairwoman, accepted the proclamation. "In the past 13 years, we have raised over half a million dollars for cancer research to find a cure. The relay will take place June 27 and 28. Our goal is to have 40 teams. We have 32 already. The goal is to raise $80,000."

Kasten asked how a team could be formed or how someone could join a team. Padilla said it could be done at the website by going to relayforlife.org and searching for Silver City NM. The site has a place for signups and donations.

She explained that registration for each person participating in a team is $10, with each person being asked to raise at least $100, although many raise much more. "Our team meetings are the third Tuesday of every month.

In public input, Art Martinez, retired Western New Mexico University professor and self-proclaimed political activist representing the Committee to Promote Democracy for the common people, la gente.

"I ask that the minimum wage be raised from $7.50 to at least $14," Martinez said. "I am convinced that it will stimulate the economy. I think these people would enter small businesses and would spend their additional wages for needed products and services for their families. The beneficiaries would be the families and the small businesses. The U.S. Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen supports the increase in the minimum wage. Pope Francis also expressed that the world community should not fail to speak out on wealth inequality "to ensure ... is adequately served by accumulated wealth."

DWI Program Coordinator Cindy McClean gave an update on Breaking Bad...Habits, this year's Teen Maze. She said more than 750 students went through the stations. "I have received comments of support for the program."

"I bring greetings from the Gila River. We have a good water supply and it's been raining," Richard Dinwiddie said. "I'm here to say we are having a little trouble with our pool tables at the senior center. When we play and hit a ball into the pocket, it falls on the floor. Terry Trujillo (director of Senior Services) came out and had a discussion with a representative of the senior citizens. We thought we had it done. That was three weeks ago. We have local workers who can stretch the felt and make repairs, but we ran into a nightmare of paperwork. We don't have a W-9 or contractor licensing. We would appreciate your help with what we have to do. We can let it slide and pass the hat for the $500 to do it."

County Manager Jon Paul Saari gave the financial expenditure report for the past month, which was for $1,808,982.07. In addition to the major expenses he presented at the work session, which can be seen at http://www.grantcountybeat.com/index.php/news/news-articles/15225-grant-county-commissioners-on-040814-review-agenda-for-regular-session he said a large expenditure was $82,485 for the North Hurley sewer project. The cash flow analysis can also be seen on the above web page.

In new business, Cissy McAndrew, Southwest New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce director, gave the second quarter report. "The Visitor Center is open seven days a week. We are seeing growth in visitation for the past three years. We expect it to continue."

"Silver City is mentioned in Where to Retire and Where to Travel for those 50 and Beyond," McAndrew said. "We see people coming in from Grant County. Often they are picking up materials to send to friends and family. A lot of lodgers' taxes are going to regional advertising. We are seeing a lot of Germans. People also come in to use our computers and wifi."

She said she is seeing people from Alaska buying property in the area for the winter.

"It's a challenge to try to grow the number of heads in beds," she said. She showed a chart indicating that most people stay for one or two nights or long-term, but not several nights.

She noted Smithsonian Magazine had recommended people visit Silver City. "People are coming to visit who we are. One of the reasons why people are not spending more nights is because many are camping. Europeans come up from Deming for the day. The problem is our hotel rooms cost about $20 more a night than in Deming. We are seeing an increase of hikers and bikers on the Continental Divide Trail."

The map of the Silver City area has been updated for the first time in 15 years, and covers an expanded area.

"We are partnering with the Chicano Music Festival to have Cinco de Mayo on Sunday, May 4," McAndrew said. "We are working on giving people a genuine experience."

"Do you have further information on the Blues Festival and Tour of the Gila?" Commissioner Ron Hall asked.

"We have brought in a statistician to go deeper into the numbers," McAndrew said.

Commissioners approved:
• An agreement with Hazair for the emergency operations plan;
• The reappointment of Becky O'Connor and John Rohovec to the Lodgers' Tax Advisory Board;
• The Sheriff's Department Policy 18 on physical fitness; and
• The distribution of Administrative Fire Protection Funding to Grant County, $55,501, Clif-Gila, $78,116; Fort Bayard, $55,501; Lower Mimbres, $78,116; Pinos Altos, $196,307; Santa Rita/Hanover/Fierro, $55,501; Sapillo Creek, $52,418; Tyrone, $292,920; Upper Mimbres, $78,116; and Whiskey Creek, $111,002; and
• A program work plan between the USDA Wildlife Services and the county for predator control.

Resolutions approved included budget adjustments to take into account various grants and a loan and intercept agreement between Grant County and New Mexico Finance Authority for a $335,517 loan for Tyrone Volunteer Fire Department to add to its station a bathroom and meeting room to be paid out of the station's fire funds.

Four resolutions dealt with the Viva Santa Rita subdivision Community Area Improvement District for determination of cost of the road improvement to be constructed by the county; the portion of cost to be assessed to the benefited tracts; a filing of the assessment roll; and the time and place for the assessment roll hearing. Dominguez said the cost is levied through an ordinance, which has to be posted for 14 days. As soon as the county receives the first check, the project will start within 60 days.

Commissioners recessed and convened as the Grant County Indigent and Health Plan Claims Board to approve 636 in-county claims for $150,704.65. Also approved was an indigent burial payment to Terrazas Funeral Chapels for Robert Tucker.

In county reports, Saari said the deputy jail administrator, Joe Andazola, had been attending leadership training at Western New Mexico University and was due to graduate that afternoon. "He's doing a great job. Their class project was collecting toiletry items and clothes for those who must leave their house quickly because of a natural disaster or other situation.

"We had a fire yesterday (Wednesday)," Ramos reminded everyone to be careful.

Hall reiterated it and said: "We have to be super careful. It's a powder keg out there." He reminded people about the Arizona Water Settlements Act public meeting on Monday, April 11, starting at 4 p.m. with personnel from the Interstate Stream Commission and the Bureau of Reclamation being on hand to answer questions for an hour, before a lasagna dinner prepared by the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America of Cliff High School. Donations for dinner will be accepted, with $5 as a suggested donation. The public meeting begins at 6 p.m. "I highly recommend you listen to what is said."

Kasten attended the Fair Board meeting and said the Grant County Fair would be held Sept. 24-27. He also announced the Solid Waste Authority has purchased an incinerator to take care of tree trimmings.

Saari said the incinerator would dispose of 100 tons for $150, as opposed to $7,000 for putting it in the landfill.

The meeting was adjourned.

The next commission work session is slated for 9 a.m. April 22.


Live from Silver City

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