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[Editor's Note: This is part 5 of a multi-article series on the Grant County Commission work session of June 8, 2021, and the regular meeting on June 10, 2021. This article reports on the proposal on fiber to provide broadband.]

By Mary Alice Murphy

The last presentation came during the discussion about how the county should use its American Rescue Plan Act funding of $5.2 million.

Previous articles can be read at https://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/news-articles/65519-grant-county-commission-holds-marathon-work-session-hears-five-presentations-060821; https://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/news-articles/65548-grant-county-commission-hears-gila-national-forest-update-060821-part-2 ; https://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/news-articles/65561-grant-county-commission-hears-presentation-from-freeport-mcmoran-at-work-session-060821-part-3; and https://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/news-articles/65562-grant-county-commission-hears-presentation-from-commissioner-edwards-at-work-session-060821-part-4.

WNM Communications General Manager Daniel Meszler and WNM Communications Director of Operations Wayne Baxter opened the discussion.

Meszler said the company is a local broadband provider. "We have 60 employees locally. To feed back off the last presentation on economic development, connectivity and broadband are very important. The last year showed us how important. It was needed for people to run their small businesses from home and for our kids to attend school. I think our proposal is a perfect segue from the previous presentation."

Zero additional COVID-19 deaths

SANTA FE – New Mexico state health officials on Tuesday announced 122 additional COVID-19 cases. Per the state Department of Health, the most recent cases are:

25 new cases in Bernalillo County
1 new case in Chaves County
3 new cases in Curry County
1 new case in De Baca County
8 new cases in Doña Ana County
9 new cases in Eddy County
1 new case in Guadalupe County
3 new cases in Lea County
1 new case in Los Alamos County
1 new case in Luna County
1 new case in McKinley County
1 new case in Otero County
2 new cases in Quay County
4 new cases in Rio Arriba County
2 new cases in Roosevelt County
5 new cases in Sandoval County
10 new cases in San Juan County
2 new cases in San Miguel County
6 new cases in Santa Fe County
1 new case in Torrance County
9 new cases in Valencia County
26 new cases among individuals held by federal agencies at the Torrance County Detention Facility

The Department of Health on Tuesday reported zero additional deaths in New Mexico related to COVID-19.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Visit the New Mexico Fire Information website at www.nmfireinfo.com
Inciweb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7493/
Fire Phone 575-519-0103

JOHNSON FIRE
Location: Johnson Canyon, west of McKenna Park. 11 miles west of Gila Cliff Dwellings, Wilderness Ranger District, Catron County, NM

Start Date: May 20, 2021 Size: ~ 73,069 Cause: Lightning
Vegetation: Ponderosa Pine and Grass Total Personnel: 138 Containment: 11%

RESOURCES: Three Interagency Hotshot Crews, one twelve-person hand crew, one ten-person Wildfire Module, one twenty-person Initial Attack crew, five Type 6 Engines, four Water Tenders, two Type 3 Helicopters which includes short haul medical equipment, and one Type 2 Helicopter.

SUMMARY: The Johnson Fire is approximately 73,069 acres and is burning in the Gila Wilderness on the Gila National Forest. The acreage is the most accurate information taken from an infrared (IR) flight on Monday evening. Due to improved visibility last night, better IR mapping occurred to provide more accurate acreage figures. The suppression strategy for this fire is confine and contain. In the evening hours the fire will appear both larger and closer than it is due to the inability to reference its size to any physical landmarks. Yesterday, crews mopped up 100 feet within control lines to secure the northeastern corner of the fire in White Rocks Canyon. Along the northern edge of the fire, firefighters secured and monitored the small burn out areas in the Raw Meat Canyon area to connect control lines with the Cub Fire burn scar. Burn out operations using Plastic Sphere Dispenser (PSD) from a helicopter occurred south of Mogollon Baldy Lookout. This operation strengthened structure protection efforts around the lookout. The fire grew along the southern and western perimeters in Turkey and Mogollon Canyon, with most growth occurring in Sycamore and Bush Canyons. The Cross Fire saw little growth as the crews mopped up and secured the fire. Today work will continue in White Rocks Canyon to secure firelines. Structure protection assessments will begin in the Willow Creek subdivision and crews will scout trails in the area for potential fireline locations. The southern and western perimeters will again be monitored by air resources.

INCIDENT OBJECTIVES:

Five additional COVID-19 deaths - Saturday, June 12, Sunday, June 13, and Monday, June 14

SANTA FE – New Mexico state health officials on Monday announced 230 additional COVID-19 cases. Per the state Department of Health, the most recent cases are:

57 new cases in Bernalillo County
11 new cases in Chaves County
1 new case in Cibola County
2 new cases in Colfax County
8 new cases in Curry County
2 new cases in De Baca County
30 new cases in Doña Ana County
6 new cases in Eddy County
2 new cases in Grant County
2 new cases in Guadalupe County
13 new cases in Lea County
1 new case in Lincoln County
7 new cases in Luna County
4 new cases in McKinley County
6 new cases in Otero County
4 new cases in Quay County
7 new cases in Rio Arriba County
2 new cases in Roosevelt County
12 new cases in Sandoval County
18 new cases in San Juan County
3 new cases in San Miguel County
20 new cases in Santa Fe County
2 new cases in Taos County
5 new cases in Torrance County
4 new cases in Valencia County
1 new case among individuals held by federal agencies at the Torrance County Detention Facility

The Department of Health on Monday reported five additional deaths in New Mexico related to COVID-19:

Monday, June 14, 2021
Visit the New Mexico Fire Information website at www.nmfireinfo.com
Inciweb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7493/
Fire Phone 575-519-0103

JOHNSON FIRE
Location: Johnson Canyon, west of McKenna Park. 11 miles west of Gila Cliff Dwellings, Wilderness Ranger District, Catron County, NM

Start Date: May 20, 2021 Size: ~ 65, 289 Cause: Lightning
Vegetation: Ponderosa Pine and Grass Total Personnel: 150 Containment: 11%

RESOURCES: Three Interagency Hotshot Crews, one twelve-person hand crew, one ten-person Wildfire Module, one twenty-person Initial Attack crew, five Type 6 Engines, four Water Tenders, two Type 3 Helicopters which includes short haul medical equipment, and one Type 2 Helicopter.

SUMMARY: The Johnson Fire is approximately 65,289 acres and is burning in the Gila Wilderness on the Gila National Forest. The acreage is the most accurate information taken from an infrared (IR) flight on Sunday evening. The suppression strategy for this fire is confine and contain. In the evening hours the fire will appear both larger and closer than it is due to the inability to reference its size to any physical landmarks. Yesterday's overcast skies and intermittent rain slowed fire activity from the previous day. Firefighters continued their efforts in mopping up hot spots on the northeast corner in White Rock Canyon area. In Raw Meat Canyon on the north side, fire crews burned out small pockets of available fuels pushing the fire into the Cub Fire burn scar. Firefighters completed a successful burn out operation last night around Mogollon Baldy Lookout. The Cross Fire, north of the main fire, grew to approximately two acres. Crews worked to complete a fireline around the fire and began mop up operations. Today fire crews will continue to hold and improve control lines in White Rocks Canyon and mop up areas burned in Raw Meat Canyon. Additional burn out operations using Plastic Sphere Dispenser (PSD) from a helicopter may occur south of Mogollon Baldy Lookout. This operation will strengthen structure protection efforts around the lookout. Crews will begin structure assessment in the Willow Creek subdivision area. The southern and western perimeters of the fire will be monitored by aerial reconnaissance.

INCIDENT OBJECTIVES:

[Editor's Note: This is part 4 of a multi-article series on the Grant County Commission work session of June 8, 2021, and the regular meeting on June 10, 2021. This article reports the presentation on Community Wealth Building.]

By Mary Alice Murphy

District 3 Commissioner Alicia Edwards came to the podium at the June 8, 2021 work session to discuss an issue that came from the last meeting when the topic of food security was raised.

Edwards said she has done work addressing food security, which is a problem because of the high rate of poverty in the county. "What is community wealth building? I believe it is needed to meet the needs of the full county, not just some. I would like us to invest some of the American Rescue Plan Act funding in the effort."

She suggested an "active vision" of growing new businesses and supporting existing businesses that provides an open living opportunity that has oversight from friends and family. Small businesses are not like big corporations where they maximize profits to go to shareholders, she said. "I feel small businesses are the most effective path out of poverty."

Edwards told a personal story about a woman back in the 1960s, who got a divorce. She said she chose the story because of the way divorce causes a serious decline in women's well-being. She noted that about 2,500 women in Grant County are divorced and are struggling to be part of the community.

Back to the story, the divorced woman was raising two kids, struggling constantly and couldn't really depend on her ex for support. She, because she had a particular education, was offered an opportunity. The person that offered her the opportunity had a pharmacy to sell in a small town in Colorado. When the woman moved to southeast Colorado to take over the biz, she was given a 25 percent stake in the business, so that over time, she had full ownership. She started a migrant community health clinic, was the Chamber of Commerce president, started a Boys and Girls Club and eventually served as mayor. The kids struggled along with her before that time. Their economic life wasn't conducive to success, but the opportunity changed the trajectory of the family.

"I believe small businesses can do that for the community," Edwards said. "They offer wider opportunities for women."

[Editor's Note: This is part 3 of a multi-article series on the Grant County Commission work session of June 8, 2021, and the regular meeting on June 10, 2021. This article reports the presentation by Freeport-McMoRan.]

By Mary Alice Murphy

Tom Shelly, Freeport McMoRan reclamation manager for New Mexico operations, and Laura Phelps, Freeport-McMoRan community development manager, attended the Tuesday, June 8, 2021, work session to talk about the company's operations in Grant County in response to issues raised by residents and the potential for a county ordinance.

Shelley said he had a letter for commissioners as a response to a letter to commissioners from Mr. Stewart and Mr. O'Keefe, who are concerned about mine expansion at Tyrone Mine. "I appreciated the presentation by the Forest Service [which can be viewed at https://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/news-articles/65548-grant-county-commission-hears-gila-national-forest-update-060821-part-2 ]. For those of us who have lived all our lives in Grant County, you know the history. The Catwalk started out as a mining project, and now it's a destination. Mining and recreation can be compatible."

"We at the mine have an open-door policy," Shelley said. "I appreciate the letter from Mr. Stewart and Mr. O'Keefe. I especially appreciate Mr. Stewart because he is an example of how residents help us in our consideration of projects to make sure we address neighbors' concerns. I will focus today on the Emma Project. We understood that was the impetus of that letter. The Tyrone Mine is a geographic location and a mining area. Tyrone is a company, but it is much more than that. It is an amazing team and family of employees proud of the product we provide to the world and proud of the responsible manner we provide it. Tyrone is a part of the team that cares about the environment and safety. It is important to everyone. We are residents and neighbors, too."

Sunday, June 13, 2021
Visit the New Mexico Fire Information website at www.nmfireinfo.com
Inciweb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7493/
Fire Phone 575-519-0103

JOHNSON FIRE
Location: Johnson Canyon, west of McKenna Park. 11 miles west of Gila Cliff Dwellings, Wilderness Ranger District, Catron County, NM

Start Date: May 20, 2021 Size: ~ 63,551 Cause: Lightning
Vegetation: Ponderosa Pine and Grass Total Personnel: 158 Containment: 11%

RESOURCES: Two Interagency Hotshot Crews, one twelve-person hand crew, one ten-person Wildfire Module, one twenty-person Initial Attack crew, four Type 3 Engines, three Type 6 Engines, four Water Tenders, two Type 3 Helicopters which includes short haul medical equipment and one Type 2 Helicopters.

SUMMARY: The Johnson Fire is approximately 63,551 acres and is burning in the Gila Wilderness on the Gila National Forest. The acreage is the most accurate information taken from an infrared (IR) flight on Saturday evening. The suppression strategy for this fire is confine and contain. In the evening hours the fire will appear both larger and closer than it is due to the inability to reference its size to any physical landmarks. Yesterday’s continued hot and dry conditions brought active burning activities to the northwest corner of the fire as it moved into the upper reaches of Gobbler Canyon and up toward Mogollon Baldy Lookout. Firefighters began suppression activities on the Cross Fire, a new start detected north of the main fire. Crews continued to hold and secure control lines in White Rocks Canyon as the fire moved toward the West Fork of the Gila River. Fire growth occurred on the northern edge in Raw Meat Canyon and in the Miller Springs Cabin area. Helicopter bucket drops from Snow Lake were used to assist structure protection around Mogollon Baldy Lookout tower and cabin. Last night’s burn out operations around Mogollon Baldy Lookout were successful. Today mop up operations will continue on the Cross Fire. Crews will be inserted into the Raw Meat Canyon area to hold the fire from moving north of the West Fork of the Gila River. Firefighters will monitor White Rocks Canyon to secure control lines. The southern and western portions of the fire will again be monitored by air operations.

INCIDENT OBJECTIVES:

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