Article and photo by Charlie McKee

Photo: "Walk for Heroes Day" Proclamation (left to right) Frank Donahue, Cos Erwin, Raul Turrieta, Commission Chairman Brett Kasten, Commissioner Ron Hall, Liz Lopez, and Commissioner Gabriel Ramos.

In a Special Meeting on Aug. 28, 2014, preceding the Regular Meeting of the Board of Commissioners, the Board conducted a Public Hearing regarding the issuance of a restaurant beer and wine liquor license to La Tienda del Sol of San Lorenzo. Two citizens testified during the hearing: Kendra Milligan of the Grant County Health Council, who urged the Commission to consider public health and safety in their deliberation; and Thomas Law, CPA, who stated that the establishment in question was an "excellent contributor to the business community." The Commission approved Application No. 912075 Restaurant Beer and Wine License for La Tienda del Sol and adjourned the Special Meeting.

The Regular Meeting was convened and began with the Public Input portion. The speakers included:

    • Lucy Whitmarsh, Chairperson of the Silver City MainStreet Board, who urged the community to participate in the "Taste of Downtown" event to be held on Sept. 6, 2014, from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. She noted that it was an opportunity to sample the fare of the various restaurants in the historic downtown area, as well as to support the business community.
    • County Treasurer Steve Armendariz, who spoke to the Commission as a private citizen, informing the Commissioners and the audience that the Rides Unlimited group has organized a 200-plus car show and will be awarding 73 trophies in conjunction with the Chicano Music Fest over the Labor Day Weekend.
    • Sheriff Raul Villanueva, who announced the retirement of Lt. Michael Aguirre after 20 years of service with the Grant County Sheriff's Department.

Once the Commissioners Meeting Minutes and the Financial Reports were approved, the Commissioners voted to approve the proclamation declaring Sept. 13, 2014, as the "Walk for Heroes Day." The Walk honors James H. Pirtle, an army specialist who became the first New Mexican to be killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom in October of 2003, as well as all those lost as a result of the events of 9/11. The 6.8 mile walk will start at the Gateway Restaurant in Hurley and end at Bataan Memorial Park in Santa Clara. Organizer Raul Turrieta challenged the Commissioners to join the walk and to be rewarded with great food and camaraderie at the finish line. All proceeds of the event will benefit military charities.

Other items approved during the New Business portion of the meeting were:

    • Appointment of Joanie Connors, PhD, to the Grant County Community Health Council Interpersonal Violence Sector, which is a priority of the county's Health and Wellness Plan.
    • Resolution #R-14-45 to accept roads within the Viva Santa Rita Subdivision of Hanover for maintenance by the county.
    • Resolution #R-14-46 to adopt an Infrastructure Capital Improvements Plan (ICIP).  Anthony Gutierrez, Director of Planning, informed the Commissioners that the top five projects in priority within the plan are as follows:
      • Grant County Continuum of Care Facility for long term care of people suffering from substance abuse
      • Drainage and lighting improvements for Bataan Memorial Park in Santa Clara
      • Repair or replacement of the leaking roof of the fairgrounds barn in Cliff
      • Development of an industrial small business park at the Grant County airport
      • Ensuring American Disabilities Act (ADA) facilities compliance in Tyrone; specifically, by providing handicap ramps in the sidewalks
    • Resolution #R-14-47 to appoint the Grant County Director of Planning to the Southwest Regional Water Planning Committee.
    • Resolution #R-14-48 to support HR 4315 regarding transparency and species recovery. The legislation requires the State to notify Grant County if the county is affected by expansion of endangered species habitats.

During the Reports section of the meeting, each of the county managers updated the Commissioners on projects and/or training programs in their respective departments. In addition, Grant County Detention Center Administrator Michael Carillo informed the Commissioners that he was working in concert with Western New Mexico University (WNMU) on an Inmate Release Program that would track recidivism and substance abuse behavior after release. The program is intended to dovetail with Commissioner Hall's efforts to establish a long term care facility for people suffering from substance abuse.

Commission Chairman Brett Kasten then suggested that the Commissioners tour the Detention Center during the Commissioners' meeting on Sept. 11, 2014. Kasten also noted that this meeting was the last meeting in which County Attorney Abigail Robinson would be serving as Interim County Manager, since the new County Manager would be attending the next Commissioners Meeting on Sept. 9, 2014. The Commissioners thanked Robinson for her outstanding effort in "wearing two hats" as County Attorney and Interim County Manager for the past several months.

The meeting was then adjourned.

Live from Silver City

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