LFC Subcommittee and guests talk about recent large NM fires 071922, part 1

By Mary Alice Murphy

At the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee meetings at Western New Mexico University in Silver City from July 19-22, 2022, the LFC Emergency Response Subcommittee of the Whole met to present an update on forest fires, recovery efforts and long-term impacts of the Hermit's Peak/Calf Canyon First near Las Vegas, NM, and the Black Fire in Sierra, Catron and Grant counties.

Deputy Secretary of NM Homeland Security and Emergency Management Kelly Hamilton presented on behalf of Secretary David Dye, who was ill.

Hamilton noted the Hermit's Peak Fire has torched 342,000 acres, making it the largest wildfire in state history and was 93 percent contained as of the day of the meeting. The Black Fire, at 70 percent containment, was located on primarily federal land, and is the second largest in the state's history.

He noted that post-fire the greatest concern is flooding "every time we get a shower in the burn scar," because the land has been scorched so badly in many places that it cannot soak up the rain. He said the runoff can put debris on roadways, as well as sending debris into the canyons, washes and rivers.

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GRMC and NMOHC end negotiations

July 29, 2022, Silver City, NM – Gila Regional Medical Center (GRMC) announced today that negotiations with New Mexico Oncology and Hematology Consultants (NMOHC) have ended with no agreement. “After a great deal of effort on the part of many of our GRMC team members, along with representatives from New Mexico Oncology and Hematology Consultants (NMOHC), we have been unable to reach an agreement that meets regulatory requirements while meeting the business and structural needs of NMOHC. We are grateful for the willingness of NMOHC to engage with the hospital during this process, and we wish them great success going forward.”, said Marion Thompson, GRMC Chief Executive Officer.

Thompson went on to say, “To continue to meet the critical needs of our patients, we have secured an extension of the agreement with our current providers from the University of New Mexico. This is greatly appreciated and allows us time to develop long term plans to ensure cancer care is provided to patients in Grant County and the surrounding area.”

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Town approves FY 2023 budget

By Roger Lanse

The Silver City Town Council at its July 26, 2022 regular meeting, approved a resolution adopting the budget for fiscal year 2023 (July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023). Town Manager Alex Brown told the Beat the total budget, including all funds, adopted was $58,205,727. The only changes from the preliminary budget submitted earlier, Brown said, were for the settlement, the increase in the gross receipts tax rate, a Colonias grant recently awarded the town, and a seven percent late increase in the sanitation fund.

Judy Cruz, a local school counselor, spoke to council concerned about the proposal to place an extension of the Support People In Need (SPIN) shelter near the Sixth Street Elementary School. She cited fears regarding students and area residents and hoped for a better placement strategy.

District 2 Councilor Nicholas Prince thanked those who participated in the cleanup at the 11th Street town orchard. He also encouraged residents to heed the advice of experts and continue wearing masks as recommended. "M-95 masks are still available, and testing is free," he said.

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Silver City man sentenced to 20 years in prison in carjacking and firearms conviction

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, announced that Daniel "Grumpy" Hernandez, 34, of Silver City, New Mexico, was sentenced on July 26 to 20 years in prison.

A federal jury convicted Hernandez on May 6, 2021, for conspiracy to commit carjacking, carjacking, brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, theft of a firearm, possessing a stolen firearm, and two additional counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Hernandez pleaded guilty on April 29 to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. As a previously convicted felon, Hernandez cannot legally possess a firearm or ammunition.

Hernandez and his co-conspirator, Savannah Padilla, 24, were indicted on Nov. 13, 2019. Padilla pleaded guilty on Feb. 23, 2021, to conspiracy to commit carjacking, carjacking and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

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Western New Mexico University Board of Regents: President Shepard Exceeds Expectations

Silver City, NM — On Tuesday, members the Western New Mexico University Board of Regents discussed their evaluation of the university president Dr. Joseph Shepard and rated his performance as exceptional, noting that as a result, a bonus would automatically be awarded.

“This is basically our evaluation of the university as a whole,” Regent Chair Dr. Mary Hotvedt said, reminding the public that the strategic plan is the basis for the evaluation.

“Each of the regents found that Dr. Shepard exceeded our expectations on every level,” board member Dr. Lyndon Haviland said.

Noting that the board’s contract with Dr. Shepard is nearing its end, Hotvedt stated the need to enter into contract negotiations for another four-year contract. Dr. Shepard said he is willing to enter negotiations.

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Santa Clara bridge completion ahead of schedule

By Lynn Janes

The Village of Santa Clara held its regular meeting July 14, 2022. Mayor Richard Bauch called the meeting to order and led the Pledge of Allegiance, Mayor Pro Tem Albert Esparza, trustees, Olga Amador and Peter Erickson also attended. Arnold Lopez did not attend.

The council approved the agenda for the meeting with a minor change. Agenda said on 16a maintenance supervisor. Wording needs to be changed to acting maintenance supervisor.

The council approved the minutes from the June 23, 2022, meeting.

The council approved the June 2022 department reports.

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Grant County Commission holds work session 071222 and regular meeting 071422, part 6

Grant County Commissioners heard a review of the regular meeting agenda and made decisions at the regular meeting. They also gave commissioner reports, mostly at the work session.

[Editor's Note: This is the sixth and final of a multi-part series of articles on the Grant County Commission work session, July 12, and regular meeting on July 14, 2022.]

By Mary Alice Murphy

After presentations at the work session on July 12, 2022, Grant County commissioners performed their usual review of the regular meeting agenda.

Financial Director Linda Vasquez presented the financial reports. The first was the fourth quarter financial report. She reported a cash balance in the General Fund of $4.3 million, with investments of $10.8 million, revenues of $15.5 million, transfers out of $4.1 million, expenditures of $10.1 million, leaving a balance of $16.4 million, a required reserve of $2.5 million, leaving an adjusted balance of $13.8 million. "We collected 15 percent above the budget, and we spent 89 percent of the budgeted funds."

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Next meeting signage and zoning for Hurley 071222

By Lynn Janes

The town of Hurley held a regular meeting July 12, 2022, beginning with the roll call and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Attendance to the meeting included Mayor Ed Stevens, councilors Nanette Day and Freddie Rodriquez. Mayor pro tem Richard Maynes and Mateo Madrid did not attend.

The council approved the agenda for the meeting.

Public input none currently.

The council went into closed session to discuss personnel in the administrative department.

The council came back into open session.

The council approved the consent agenda. It included regular meeting minutes for June 14, 2022, and the maintenance department report.

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