By Mary Alice Murphy

Clarified: During public input at the beginning of the Grant County Commission meeting April 24, Paul Kenney, Sapillo Volunteer Fire Department chief, said he had looked at the draft of the fire emergency ordinance and had concerns. "There are private businesses in the area that do campfires a lot. Since none of the areas has agency-built fire rings, I want to know if the proclamation applies to fires  held on private land." He later told the Beat the issue had been resolved.

Commission Chairman Brett Kasten suggested Kinney talk to the county fire management officer, Randy Villa. Kinney said he already had. "I can't answer that question," Kasten said.


During public hearings for the consideration of the Fireworks Proclamation and for consideration of a Fire Hazard Emergency Ordinance, no discussion was brought by audience members, so both were approved by the commissioners.

County Manager Jon Paul Saari gave the details of the financial reports, which can be found at http://www.grantcountybeat.com/index.php/news/news-articles/15416-grant-county-commission-to-hold-public-hearings-at-regular-meeting-on-thursday

An agenda item was intended to administer the oath of office and issue badges to Detention Center officers who were on duty a few weeks ago, when the majority of officers were recognized. However, County Manager Jon Paul Saari said he had received notification from Detention Center administration that no officers were able to attend. He said the ceremony would be moved to a later meeting.

Photo: At left are, from left,  EMS Director James Marshall, Sounty Commission Chairman Brett Kasten, Commissioner Gabriel Ramos, Paramedic Glnda Melancon, Firefighter/EMT Sean McGraw, EMT-1 Marisol Torres, Paramedic Loren Scott Charlston, Commissioner Ron Hall and EMT-1 David Mancha.

Two more proclamations were approved. The first named May 18-24, 2014 as Emergency Medical Services Week. James Marshall, EMS director, thanked the commissioners for honoring the service. "This crew with me is a small part of the providers. A couple are from the night crew, who just got off duty. These care givers will start immediate care at your home."

The second proclamation named May 6 as Give Grande New Mexico Day to grow the spirit of giving.

Photo at right, from left are Commissioner Ramos, Lucy Whitmarch, Commission Chairman Kasten, Lucy Tully and Commissioner Hall.

"The Lucy Show," as Kasten remarked, consisted of Lucy Tully, who serves on the board of the Grant County Community Foundation, which is sponsoring the local effort, and Lucy Whitmarsh, Silver City MainStreet board chairwoman, one of the recipients of donations. They thanked the commissioners.

"I'm thanking the commissioners on behalf of the 36 local non-profits who have signed up to receive donations," Tully said. "The website for donations that day is www.givegrandenm.org . Just scroll down until you find the ones you want to donate to."

Commissioners approved an agreement with the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department and Grant County to continue to serve as fiscal agent for services through the Juvenile Justice Continuum Program.

A memorandum for understanding between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Grant County was approved to allow the county to be at the table for Mexican Gray Wolf program discussions. Saari said the MOU does not waive any substantial challenges to the Environmental Impact Statement.

Commissioners approved a resolution authorizing the transfer of an approximate one-acre of land to Freeport-McMoRan Chino Mines Company, in exchange for three acres for a main fire station for Santa Rita Volunteer Fire Department. Attorney Abigail Robinson said she asked the County Assessor Mary Guthrie for an assessment, and she said it was about $8,000 per acre. Also included in the exchange is that the county will build a road to the Santa Rita/Hanover Cemetery.

Also approved was a bid to construct an addition of restrooms and a meeting room to the Tyrone VFD main station. The bid award went to Sacaton Construction of Silver City for the low bid of $249,081.78, which came in under the budget of $250,000. "Architect Kevin Robinson reviewed the bids and recommended the one that you have approved. We already have the loan and are ready to go as soon as the agreement is signed," Saari said.

The commissioners recessed and convened as the Grant County Indigent and Health Plan Claims Board to approve six out-of-county claims, which will be paid by the County Indigent Fund. Saari explained to the Beat that the commission also approved the local claims to Gila Regional Medical Center, GRMC Ambulance, and two IPA Physician Payments for 161 claims for $103,282.88. "The county will continue to pay the out-of-county claims, but does not need to approve the local claims, as the funding will go directly to the hospital from the state."

During county reports, Sheriff Raul Villanueva reminded people of the Drug Take Back held last Saturday at Walgreen's.

Clerk Robert Zamarripa said May 6 is the last day to register to vote, and is the same date early and absentee voting begins at the Clerk's Office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. May 16 is the first day of early voting at the Bayard Community Center from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. He said absentee ballots may be printed from the grantcountynm.com website or may be mailed by calling the office at 575-574-0042.

Saari warned the public that bicyclists were in town for the Tour of the Gila. "Be careful, watch out, and pay attention."

Hall announced the Western New Mexico University Great Race, which was held last Saturday. "I continue to work on the continuum of care. (General Services Manager) Randy Villa is working with us, and we will do a survey. I am also working on the animal ordinance. I want to remind everyone of fire conditions and try to prevent any fire or sparks."

Kasten said he would attend the Association of Commerce and Industry meeting, then the New Mexico Association of Counties meetings.

Saari said the replacement of the bridge south of town on Highway 90 is closer to starting. The county has chip-sealed the Truck Bypass Road, which will be the detour around the construction. The New Mexico Department of Transportation will maintain the bypass road during construction and will do an overlay afterward.

Commissioner Gabriel Ramos announced a fundraiser for Martin Téran, who was killed 22 years ago in the Las Cruces Bowling Alley murders. A bike run will raise money for scholarships.

The commissioners went into executive session, where as already reported on the Beat, Saari tendered his resignation.


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Editor's Note

The Grant County Beat continues to bring you new columnists. New this past week are the Christian Corner, for those who are already Christians or are exploring the beliefs.

The second is a business-centered column—Your Business Connection by the New Mexico Business Coalition. The group works to make policy in the state of New Mexico better for all businesses, large and small.

The Beat has a new column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues. The first one posted is on Winterizing your houseplants and patio plants.

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