An additional photo of Palomarez is inserted later in the article.
[Editor's Note: This is part 1 of a likely multi-part series of articles on the work session on Sept. 24, 2019 and regular meeting on Sept. 25, 2019.]
Photos and article by Mary Alice Murphy
The special meeting of the Grant County Board of Commissioners was needed to provide the certification of property tax rates for tax year 2019 before it was sent back to the state. County Assessor Raul Turrieta said there was only one small adjustment to an entity in the Mining District.
Commissioners approved the tax rates and adjourned to go into the regular work session.
Because only one person wanted to give public input, which for the work session must address items on the agenda, Chairman Chris Ponce and the other commissioners agreed to waive the requirement for the meeting.
Robert Lucero of Hanover said he had ongoing issues. "I have lost almost all my animals to dogs running loose. And the Grant County Sheriff's Office and state police come to my house and accuse me of something, when it's my animals getting killed. I saw this morning that another one of my animals had gotten chewed up. I'm fed up. It's B.S. Stop it."
In county reports, Detention Center Administrator Mike Carillo said the jail has three vacancies and three applicants. "Hopefully, by the middle of next month we will be up to full staffing. We have two in basic training and two in field training for new hires."
He talked about the upcoming Inmate Art Project and another meeting for the Stepping up Program. "We will be giving referrals once they go through the screening. For medical needs they may be considered for the HMS CareLinks or Tu Casa to get treatment started. The inmate head count on Sept. 17 was 107. We have averaged 104 over the past month."
Commissioner Javier Salas asked how far the jail was from accreditation.
"We are trying to get it right," Carillo said. "We are still some ways away. I sent staff to two accredited facilities and they will bring back what we need to do. Our target date for the accreditation if April 2020, depending on what we find. We have two years to do it, but hopefully, it won't take that long."
Edwards asked when the two-year deadline is.
"We will have two years from the first assessment in April," Carillo said.
Road Superintendent Earl Moore said Rosedale Road is complete except for two manholes. The stripers came in and put down the first application, he said.
General Services Director Randy Villa thanked Jason Lockett and the maintenance department for their work at keeping the County Fair going. "We only had a few minor things. We had the first meeting on the county Wildfire Protection Plan. We are reviewing the plan from 2015 and will update as we go. We continue maintenance at Bataan Park. We have issued the purchase order for the ADA project. We're just waiting on the contractor. The kitchen equipment is in. The airport temporary building is in place. We have to get the utilities attached, and next week Advanced Air will be moving in. Whiskey Creek Fire Station expansion is close to completion. For Corre Caminos, we are looking for stops in Santa Clara. Several fire departments went to the Expo in Socorro. They got a lot of training at the academy. The event extended into the weekend."
Community Development and Planning Director Michael "Mischa" Larisch said he would hold the Tyrone ADA project pre-construction meeting on Friday. I've worked on the Water Trust Board applications. I have engineers reviewing them. Trent Doolittle will meet with me on Oct. 4 to discuss the issues of the rumble strips that people complain about at several intersections off the highway, such as Arenas Valley Road."
County Manager Charlene Webb said she attended the Community Block Development Grant conference. "I presented for the Bataan ADA project. Of course, there are more applications than CDBG has money for."
Edwards said if the application was set up with full and phased project, "it is still possible we can get a lower amount for the phased portion."
Villa said the county has collaborated with Del Taco and the town of Silver City to hold a Fire Prevention Week celebration from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday Oct. 12.
The first presentation was given by Sgt. Manuel Maldonado of the D.A.R.E. program. "The 2019-20 Cobre fifth-graders started the program on Sept. 9. Classes are held Monday through Thursday for 12 week and end in November. We have two D.A.R.E. officers at each school—one deputy and one police officer. They each have an 80-hour training to go through. It's the first time for Silver City officers to be in the schools. We had 115 students sign up, 25 more than last year."
He said the total expenses for last year were $30,576.31. Maldonado noted that Ruth Seawolf hosts a Christmas event for the D.A.R.E. participants. "In October, we will start a trunk or treat event. "We spend about $1,600 on pizzas for the day of graduation. We also give out bikes from Walmart and eat cakes after graduation. We spent $900 last year on Red Ribbon Week. Most items are donated. J&J signs donated a D.A.R.E. logo for a truck. We receive usually about $25,000 from an anonymous donor and some from Magistrate Court. For the 30-day kick-off at Silver Schools we are looking for donations and gifts. We took part in the Sept. 21 Buddy Walk and on Sept. 28, we will do a car seat clinic at Walmart. October is Bullying Prevention Month. For the Red Ribbon event, we have ribbons that say bully-free and drug-free. Last year, we bought 1,700 ribbons. This year, we have purchased 3,100 ribbons. We talked about doing a trunk or treat with the Silver City Police Department."
Bowen Perry, who went through the D.A.R.E. program and is now in college, is serving as a youth advocacy board member. "My generation is susceptible to so many issues. We must address suicide prevention, tobacco and alcohol use in addition to drug use prevention. D.A.R.E. is the only private program taught by police officers. It builds positive relationships between the students and law enforcement. It is an international program. I have met with students, parents and law enforcement. D.A.R.E. literally saves lives. Investing in the success of our generation is positive. D.A.R.E. changes lives and shapes our future."
Maldonado introduced David Palomarez as the winner of the D.A.R.E. Officer Association essay contest. He attended Central Elementary in Santa Clara last year and wrote the essay. "We took it to state, and David's essay was the unanimous winner."
He read his essay and said he would use the D.A.R.E. decision-making model in his life. "I know I have tools to avoid going down the same path as other members of my family have."
Ponce congratulated Palomarez for his win. Salas said he is a big believer in D.A.R.E. "It's the only proactive program. I wish we could expand it to the 12 years and over, when they get into experimentation. I wish we could do more to target at-risk kids in the summers and the evenings. I commend the D.A.R.E. program and I congratulate Mr. Palomarez. Being top in the state is a big achievement."
Maldonado said the program does have curricula for junior high, high school and adults. "We did a presentation to teachers at Silver Schools. We're talked about the programs and hope we can expand."
Silver City Police Officer Manny Jaure said the program also offers individual plans for bullying. "We can provide the lesson plan to teachers."
Officer Flores said Grant is the only county in New Mexico with two officers in a class. "Down here we're setting a great example. I went through the D.A.R.E. program myself. It's why I became a D.A.R.E. officer."
Sheriff Frank Gomez said the D.A.R.E. officers are still patrol officers. "They are giving a lot of their time off working with the students as D.A.R.E. officers."
The next article will cover a presentation about the New Mexico Central Arizona Project Entity and its proposed action for utilizing water from the Gila and San Francisco rivers.