Front Page News

james babinskiBy Mary Alice Murphy

James Babinski, a captain with Advanced Air, who flies into and out of the Grant County airport, said he began his career with Advanced Air in November 2018, first based at the home airport in Hawthorne, Calif., and also spent a short time in Phoenix, Ariz.

"I have been with Advanced Air for three years this month," Babinski said. "However, when Covid-19 happened, I spent seven months in Bogota, Colombia, where my mother's family lives.

"It is a testament to the company," Babinski said. "I stayed in contact with management, and they took me back in September 2020. Within a few months, I became captain. I was flying as co-pilot and now I'm captain."

In 2015, he got his pilot's license and got his ratings at Santa Monica Airport and his first pilot job at Van Nuys Airport, California, flying a private jet for about 8-9 months.

"I had friends working at Advanced Air and they encouraged me to apply," Babinski said. "I started flying into Silver City six or so months ago."

Photos and article by Mary Alice Murphy

A week ago Saturday on Nov. 20, 2021, the Tamal y Mas Fiesta took place in the village of Santa Clara, for the fourth time. Before the fiesta became a part of the village celebrations, Silver City had hosted it several times. 

On a pleasant Saturday, Santa Clara Mayor Richard Bauch welcomed people to the fiesta. 

Guests, who had just arrived that morning, AmeriCorps NCCC (National Conservation Community Corps) youths took part in the fiesta. Their Fire 5 team leader Gavin McNamara of Boston told the Beat the members planned to be in Grant County for about a month. "We will be working at Fort Bayard and at The Commons food bank."

Photos by Mary Alice Murphy

If you didn't get to the Holiday Fiber Arts Sale put on by the Southwest Women's Fiber Arts Collective, on Friday, make sure to visit the Grant County Veterans Memorial Conference Center between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. You will find gifts of all types handmade by about 20 vendors in one of the large rooms and baked goodies will be for sale in the lobby.

[Editor's Note: This is the fourth of several articles on the Grant County Commission work session and regular meeting on Nov. 16 and Nov. 18, 2021. This article begins with an update from Air Methods.]

By Mary Alice Murphy

The first presentation of the Grant County Commission work session on Nov. 16, 2021, which covered the redistricting of the commission maps can be read at https://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/news-articles/68669-grant-county-commission-hears-first-of-five-presentations-at-work-session-111621-part-1. The following link covers the update on the Grant County Outdoor Recreation and Trails Master Plan: https://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/news-articles/68672-grant-county-commission-hears-second-of-five-presentations-at-work-session-111621-part-2 . The third link leads to the discussion of a proposed disc golf course on state trust land: https://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/news-articles/68699-grant-county-commission-hears-third-of-five-presentations-at-work-session-111621-part-3

Air Methods, which provides air ambulance service to Gila Regional Medical Center and the community gave a presentation on their services at the Grant County Commission work session on No. 16, 2021.

J. P. Martinez, manager for Native Air Methods; Kimberly Barragan, clinical lead and flight nurse; and Lea Castagnon-Muñoz, area account executive, spoke.

By Roger Lanse

At the Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021 Silver City Town Council meeting, Mayor Ken Ladner stated he will be re-appointing Lucian Farmer for council's consent, at the Dec. 14, 2021, council meeting to fill the vacant District 1 councilor position. He encouraged council members to contact Farmer and visit with him. Ladner continued, "I believe that Mr. Farmer's strengths and background, along with each one of the present and future council, will give us a governing body that equally represents the diverse population of Silver City."

Ladner also plans to place on the Dec. 14 agenda a motion to recite the pledge of allegiance to the New Mexico state flag at future council meetings, in addition to the pledge of allegiance honoring the United States of America flag.

District 3 Councilor Jose Ray Jr thanked the mayor for allowing council to have input when an individual is brought forward for appointment to fill the District 1 councilor position.

[Editor's Note: This is the third of several articles on the Grant County Commission work session and regular meeting on Nov. 16 and Nov. 18, 2021. This article begins with the update on the proposed disc golf course by Maude's Canyon.]

By Mary Alice Murphy

The first presentation of the Grant County Commission work session on Nov. 16, 2021, which covered the redistricting of the commission maps can be read at https://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/news-articles/68669-grant-county-commission-hears-first-of-five-presentations-at-work-session-111621-part-1. The following link covers the update on the Grant County Outdoor Recreation and Trails Master Plan: https://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/news-articles/68672-grant-county-commission-hears-second-of-five-presentations-at-work-session-111621-part-2

Kathy Whiteman, chair and associate professor at Western New Mexico University, as well as director of the Center for Sustainable Future and Outdoor Programs of the Department of Natural Sciences; Corrie Neighbors, who also teaches along with Whiteman in the Geographic Information Systems Science Program of the department and earth sciences programs; and Sabrina Summers, who is majoring in GIS, spoke during the presentation.

The presentation had the title of Community Disc Golf Course on State Trust Land at Maude's Canyon, which is east of 32nd Street. Whiteman said, as disc golf is gaining popularity nationwide, until recently there were no courses in Grant County. "The primary purpose of this project was to design a sustainable, low-cost disc golf course on state trust land. WNMU is now a lessee of the portion of state trust land that the golf course will sit on. There are already 60 disc golf courses in New Mexico and now Silver City is working on one, we are and one is planned at Fort Bayard soon."

Monday November 29 and Tuesday November 30 — 2-hour delay to the start of classes

As we prepare for the upcoming break, we want to share with you the district's plan for delayed start of school on November 29 when we return from Thanksgiving in response to the COVID-19 spread in Grant County. Silver Schools realizes that during the Thanksgiving Holiday individuals will gather with close family, friends and possibly people outside of the immediate household. To reduce the potential of spreading the virus, on Monday November 29 and Tuesday November 30, we will have a late school start; classes will have a late 2-hour delay to the start of the school/work day to ensure that your child is not unknowingly positive with Covid-19. We are inviting students, parents and staff who are interested, to take advantage of our free Rapid Antigen testing sites at the Central Office or at Cliff Schools from 7:00am – 10:00am.

If you or your child have symptoms, (recently manifesting like allergies, cough, fever, fatigue, loss of taste or smell etc.) do not come to school without first visiting with your physician, or getting a Covid-19 test, and the results indicating that you are negative.

[Editor's Note: This is the second of several articles on the Grant County Commission work session and regular meeting on Nov. 18 and Nov. 20, 2021. The SE Group gave an update on the Outdoor Recreation and Trail Master Plan.]

By Mary Alice Murphy

The first presentation of the Grant County Commission work session on Nov. 16, 2021, which covered the redistricting of the commission maps can be read at https://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/news-articles/68669-grant-county-commission-hears-first-of-five-presentations-at-work-session-111621-part-1

The second presentation came from SE Group, which has continued to work with the county and several community focus groups on the Outdoor Recreation and Trail Master Plan.

Project Manager Drew Pollak-Bruce said two of his colleagues accompanied him that day. "We have been working with our consultant team advisory committee. It's really been great to work also with Priscilla Shoup (Grant County Planning and Community Development director). She has been collecting trail information with trackers. We are looking to enhance the benefits of outdoor recreation for health and wellness, as well as for economic development. We've done a lot of focus groups and will come back next year with the results." He said the survey would be open for a couple more weeks at https://survey.alchemer.com/s3/6364776/Grant-County-Outdoor-Recreation-Trails-Survey

Annaka Egan said they would be going to the Gila Cliff Dwellings that afternoon, staying overnight at Bear Creek Cabins in Pinos Altos and visiting City of Rocks on Wednesday, before the open house at 5:30-7:30 p.m. See photos taken at the open house at https://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/news-articles/68657-se-group-and-grant-county-hold-open-house-for-outdoor-recreation-plan-111721

Julia Randall talked a bit about the visioning survey. "We would like to see more participation from those who speak Spanish. Predominantly Grant County residents are participating in the survey. People here are using public lands a lot. About a quarter of the survey participants are using them five or more times a week."

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