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By Mary Alice Murphy

Grant County Water Commission Chairman Gabriel Ramos opened the meeting on Oct. 2, 2018.

The commission is made up of representatives from the county and the municipalities of Silver City, Hurley, Bayard and Santa Clara.

Priscilla Lucero, Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments executive director, introduced the presenters for the workshop, Olga Morales and Karl Pennock of the Rural Community Assistance Corporation.

Fatal Crash in Luna County

Luna County, NM - On October 12, 2018 at around 5:20 a.m. the New Mexico State Police investigated a fatal crash on Interstate 10 near Mile Post 63 west of Deming, NM.

The initial investigation indicated a 2004 Cadillac was traveling west on I-10. For reasons unknown, the Cadillac left the roadway and rolled. The driver Eddie Lee Williams (59) of Somerton, AZ sustained fatal injuries, and was pronounced deceased by the Office of the Medical Investigator.

[Editor's Note: Apologies for this late publication. We are trying to catch up!]

By Mary Alice Murphy

After a few corrections to the minutes of the September meeting, New Mexico Central Arizona Project Entity Board members heard public comments at their Oct. 2, 2018 meeting.

Gerald Schultz said he was representing the Coronado Resource Conservation and Development District out of Truth or Consequences. 

Photos by Mary Alice Murphy

The Western New Mexico University Foundation held its annual Hats in the Garden fundraiser on a sunny Sunday afternoon, Sept. 30, 2018.

img 1148Timm and Jennifer Hass receive the New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts Region 3 2018 Outstanding Land Stewardship Award from John Merino, Grant Soil and Water Conservation District chairman.Timm and Jennifer Haas have been at their Mule Creek ranch for over 15 years. They have been participating in Natural Resources Conservation Services Conservation Stewardship Program  (2 contracts) and EQIP (3 contracts) programs since 2004. Over the years they have installed solar pumping plants , watering facilities and pipelines to better manage and distribute water sources on their property. They also improved a riparian area with a brush management practice, pushing out invading Junipers. This practice allowed beneficial tree species to thrive and is allowing grasses to reestablish in the now open areas.

img 1150Dusty Hunt receives the award from John Merino, chairman of the Grant Soil and Water Conservation DistrictThe New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts presented Duston (Dusty) L. Hunt Jr. with its 2018 Region 3 Outstanding Conservationist Award.

Dusty has been working on conservation issues for Grant County for over 30 years. Most particularly for the Mangas Watershed where he is a full-time rancher in the Burro Mountains.

By Roger Lanse

Sponsored by District 2 Councilor Lynda Aiman-Smith, a superceding notice of intent ordinance, which would add a new section to the town’s code of ordinances regarding beekeeping, brought about mixed reactions at the Silver City Town Council’s Oct. 9, 2018 meeting. The NOI can be seen on the town’s website.

Several members of the Grant County Beekeepers spoke in opposition to the proposed ordinance saying they were not contacted for their input during the process of developing the NOI. “We were left out,” Susan Clair of the Beekeepers said. She stated their opposition to the NOI stems from two critical facts; the NOI is overly complicated and cannot be fully enforced.

Clair said other subspecies of the western honeybee are often found to be gentler than the Italian subspecies, the only strain of honeybee the NOI would allow. Identification of subspecies of honeybee is difficult at best, she stated, requiring the use of a microscope or DNA testing.

Much of the NOI is unenforceable, other GCB members reiterated, even if the town had unlimited resources, due to the trickiness of identifying bees. Other complaints were that the NOI is punitive in nature depicting fines and prison terms if detailed records required to be kept are not followed exactly.

GCB members opined the Aug. 5 event where two persons were stung in the dog park would not have been prevented by the NOI. Members said the NOI not only can’t be enforced but it couldn’t be judged to be effective if it is passed, due to the rarity of bee attacks in Silver City.

Others against the measure listed “It’s a regulation for the sake of regulation,” “it wouldn’t really make a difference,” “a bureaucratic overreach,” and, “no one could keep a hive and meet all the requirements.”

George Carr, claiming to represent people who are highly allergic to bee stings, said the NOI presents reasonable regulations to provide reasonable care in the raising of honeybees. He believed if the NOI was deemed to be unenforceable, a requirement for hive owners to carry liability insurance could be mandated.

Aiman-Smith told the Beat that at an Aug. 29, public meeting regarding the beekeeping issue, about 30 people attended of which “most were Grant County Beekeeper members. So, to say they were not included is erroneous. Much of what was learned at that meeting was incorporated into the NOI,” Aiman-Smith told the Beat. In any case, she said, the measure is coming back at a future date to be considered again, and she was willing to include some of tonight’s comments made by those against the NOI.

District 1 Councilor Cynthia Bettison and Aiman-Smith voted for the NOI, while District 3 Councilor Jose Ray Jr. and District 4 Councilor Guadalupe Cano voted against it. Ray and Cano based their ‘No’ votes on feedback from their constituents.

Mayor Ken Ladner stated the bee attack at the dog park was the first time he had heard of such an event in the 45 years he has lived here, but he understands why Aiman-Smith wants to have some regulation of the keeping of bees. Ladner stated he could not support this NOI as written for the following reasons: it is not enforceable, it is too restrictive, registration procedure is too detailed with severe punishment, inspection of hives too intrusive by town officials on private property, Grant County Beekeeper members better able to evaluate a hive than the animal control officer, and the fly barrier to control the direction in which bees leave the hive will probably not work.

Ladner said, “I would like to see the city work together with the Grant County Beekeepers to come up with a process that’s going to work for everybody. That’s my own personal belief at this time. So, I will vote ‘Yes’ for this ordinance to move it forward. I want to see what comes out of it. I want to see if we can have the ability to work together in cooperation for the common good of the city, for the common good for our citizens, and for the common good of our beekeepers. I think it’s possible.”

The beekeeping measure passed 3-2, with Ladner breaking the 2-2 tie.

Ladner proclaimed the week of Oct. 21-27 as Fire Prevention Week and Silver City Fire Chief Milo Lambert accepted the proclamation.

Bettison announced she has been told a sign has been put up near the building site of the senior affordable housing Mountain View Apartments project above the intersection of Highways 90 and 180, listing a phone number, 575-388-1214, to call for updates.

Bettison announced the Silver City Museum will be featuring an exhibit by Warm Springs Chiricahua Apache artist Allen Houser on Friday, Oct. 12, from 4-6 p.m. at the Dodge Gallery; and that the Western New Mexico University Museum is now open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Cano stated she has received numerous complaints about TLC drivers in the construction zone on Pinos Altos road. Town Manager Alex Brown reminded residents the project is not a town project but a state Department of Transportation project.

Jack Lalio, president of the Native American Student Organization at WNMU told council of a ‘Flower Songs’ presentation in honor of Xochiquetzal, the goddess of flowers, on Saturday, Oct. 20, from 2-3:30 p.m. in the blocks between Yankie and Pinos Altos streets, between Market and Arizona streets, and between Arizona and Yankie streets. Photographs may be taken with the goddess, but she will not speak, Lalio said.

 

Gary Stailey, Youth Project Leader for the town, related how 17 people, about half of which were youth, worked clearing brush from trails in Capilla Park from La Capilla down the hill to the senior center for District 3’s volunteer charter cleanup day, “It was the last of four civic charter days in 2018,” Stailey said, “And we need council to come up with four more for 2019.”

Allyson Siwik, Executive Director of the Gila Resources Information Project explained the state of the Silver City watershed, in particular the San Vicente Creek drainage. Basic water quality was monitored each quarter, trash pickup was done, and a program aimed at preventing illegal dumping was initiated.

The firm of Griffin & Associates of Albuquerque outlined their 2019 tourism marketing plan for the town. Regarding photos used in advertising, Cano stated, “This community is 50 percent Hispanic and the advertisement needs to show that. People need to know what they’re coming to when they get here and not surprised that there’s Mexicans here.” The Griffin spokesperson assured Cano that will happen. Cano continued, ”And, going along with that also, something that has happened in the past – just throwing it out there so it doesn’t happen again – having Anglos dressed up as any culture is not acceptable either.”

Bruce Ashburn, representing PNM, addressed the tree-trimming that was done in conjunction with the College Avenue street improvement project that many residents were upset about at the last council meeting. “Electricity and trees are not a good mix,” Ashburn said, giving a few reasons why it could be dangerous to residents to have electric lines in contact with wet leaves and branches. He admitted PNM had been lax in contacting residents before trees were trimmed but said that will change in the future as trimmers have been instructed to contact residents face-to-face and if that fails to leave a door-hanger with numbers to call.

Brown and Town Attorney Robert Scavron pointed out not all poles and lines are owned by PNM but some are owned by CenturyLink. The town could require from CenturyLink the same policy of informing residents as PNM, they stated.

Brown reported the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration has approved the fiscal year 2019 town budget.

Council approved an ordinance changing the zoning along portions of College Avenue between Pope and Cooper streets from Residential A to Historic Downtown Commercial. The applicant is the town. Representatives from the Community Development Department stated seven of the 10 properties which would be affected by the zoning change are nonconforming to Residential A restrictions. Some of those are businesses, including Bright Funeral Home and College Street Plaza, whose owners want to sell and find it difficult to attract buyers under the present restrictive Residential A zoning, CDD and business owners told council.

A resident living on the north side of College Avenue said her home would be almost surrounded by the new Historic Downtown Commercial zoning district if council approves the change. She cited lighting at night and parking lots as potential problems if new businesses are attracted.

A compromise of substituting Mixed Use rather than Historic Downtown Commercial was broached and that was acceptable to some of the property owners but not all. After everything was said and done, council approved the zoning change. This zoning change ordinance can be seen on the town’s website.

Council approved an amended resolution to participate in a Capital Outlay Program administered by the NMDOT to construct sidewalk and ADA improvements on Market Street between Bullard and Pinos Altos streets.

Despite no one appearing to present two public celebration permit applications, Little Toad Creek’s Annual OcToadBer Fest on Oct.20, 2018, at 200 N. Bullard Street, with alcohol service from 2-11 p.m., was approved.

Council approved a mutual aid agreement for emergency medical transportation services between Gila Regional Medical Center and the town. Assistant Town Manager James Marshall stated this was a one-year agreement to assist each other in providing ambulance services.

Council rejected all four bids to provide ‘Welcome to Silver City’ signs. Three were too expensive and one did not complete the bid process in time.

A letter from the Town of Silver City, regarding the Environmental Impact Statement for Special Use Airspace Optimization at Holloman Air Force Base, in opposition to alternate 2, was approved to be sent. This letter can be seen on the town’s website.

Council approved a letter urging New Mexico senators to initiate legislative action at the federal level to support the designation of parts of the Gila and San Francisco rivers and their tributaries as Wild and Scenic. This letter, too, can be seen on the town’s website.

award 0008From left, Margie Gray, and on the right, Jessica Ortiz and Amanda Pryor receive the award from GRMC Board of Trustees Vice Chairman Dr. Victor Nwachuku and CEO Taffy Arias, second and third from left.

October 5, 2018 – Gila Regional Medical Center (GRMC), a 68-bed acute care hospital serving Grant County in southwest New Mexico, was recently recognized by the New Mexico Hospital Association for Excellence in Quality for their Care Transitions Program.

Hospital readmissions are associated with unfavorable patient outcomes and high financial costs.

Live from Silver City

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