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[Editor's Note: This is part 5 of the Grant County Commission work session on June 22, 2021.]

By Mary Alice Murphy

The final presentation from Catron County Commissioner Haydn Forward at the Grant County Commission work session on June 22, 2021, concerns an executive order made by President Joe Biden on January 27, 2021. The order is "on tackling the climate crisis at home and abroad." Forward said he would focus on the so-called 30X30 plan, because it proposes to spend $1 billion in funding from the Wyss Foundation to protect 30 percent of the planet by 2030.

District 4 Commissioner Billy Billings said he sponsored the item after being contacted by constituents having concerns about the proposed 30X30 plan.

Forward lives just across the county line into Catron County. "If I lived 20 yards farther south, I would be a citizen of Grant County. That's how close my ties are to Grant County."

He said this is a relatively new presentation, with relatively new information, he said. "Please forgive me for any bumps in the road."

Forward noted that the executive order lists the items of concern as foreign policy and global impacts (G20), domestic clean energy in buildings and vehicles, oil and gas development, coal and power plants and the 30X30 plan. He said the list isn't prioritized. "I suggest you choose your own priorities and determine what the impact is going to be of the climate crisis. Where does the 30X30 plan fit in the impact?"

Two additional COVID-19 deaths

[Editor's Note: As the cases continue to drop, we may move this report to the Covid-19 page, and if and when we do away with that page, it will be come non-local news.]

SANTA FE – New Mexico state health officials on Wednesday announced 66 additional COVID-19 cases. Per the state Department of Health, the most recent cases are:

21 new cases in Bernalillo County
2 new cases in Chaves County
3 new cases in Cibola County
4 new cases in Curry County
5 new cases in Doña Ana County
1 new case in Eddy County
2 new cases in Lea County
1 new case in Los Alamos County
6 new cases in McKinley County
2 new cases in Otero County
1 new case in Rio Arriba County
3 new cases in Sandoval County
10 new cases in San Juan County
2 new cases in Santa Fe County
1 new case in Socorro County
2 new cases in Valencia County

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

Wednesday, June 30, 2021
Visit the New Mexico Fire Information website at www.nmfireinfo.com
Inciweb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7493/
Fire Phone 575-519-0103 Email: SM.FS.GNFPAO@usda.gov

JOHNSON FIRE
Location: Wilderness Ranger District, Gila National Forest Start Date: May 20, 2021 Size: 88,918 acres
Cause: Lightning Vegetation: Timber with grass understory, pinyon and juniper woodlands, scrub, and brush
Total Personnel: 57 Containment: 24%
Resources: 1 Type 2 initial attack handcrew, 1 type 3 helicopter, 1 type 6 engine and 1 water tender

SUMMARY: Today, the Gila/Las Cruces Type 3 Incident Management Team will return command of the fire back to the Wilderness Ranger District. Rain fell on large portions of the fire yesterday, and forest users will likely see discoloration in stream flows caused by ash from the Johnson Fire. With the onset of the monsoon season it is advised that Forest users not camp in floodplains. As upland soils become saturated with predicted rainfall, stream flows will continue to increase.

The Incident Commander of the Johnson Fire would like to express appreciation for the public support and patience during this incident. "The support our team has experienced over the course of the Johnson Fire has been positive and supportive, with many visitors and local residents having the opportunity to see what active and thoughtful fire management can achieve." states Sam Bullington. Enjoy your public lands and have a safe summer.

INCIDENT OBJECTIVES: Provide for firefighter and public safety and allow fire to play its natural role on the landscape. Values at risk are the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, White Creek Cabin, and sensitive aquatic species in the Gila Wilderness.

FIRE BEHAVIOR: light, with areas of backing and creeping.

CLOSURE: Due to hazardous fire conditions in the Johnson Fire area, an Emergency Area Closure order has been issued by the Gila National Forest for public health and safety. A large portion of the Gila Wilderness is CLOSED. For a copy of the order and maps see: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7493/
As a reminder "The Celebration Site-Skates area," Johnson Fire Camp is closed to the public. For further information call 575-536-2250 (M-F 8:00 – 4:00 p.m.) or 575-519-0103 (any time before 7:00 p.m.)

WEATHER:

[Editor's Note: Due to unforeseen circumstances, this reporter was unable to attend this discussion. Amy Bell of GroundworkStudio.com made her notes available for publication. It is likely that another virtual session will be held, according to Bell.]

On Monday, a group discussion took place to talk about the entire courthouse campus (Old County Jail, District Courthouse, and Black St building), which is under consideration as a judicial complex.
Is it easily accessible by staff?
Does it feel safe?
How do people access the site?

General considerations: access, activity, aesthetics and maintenance, connectivity, lighting (safety and dark skies), renovation of courthouse, screening and privacy, topography, views (both aesthetics and safety)
Think about vehicular and pedestrian circulation.

Curtis Clough, Silver Consolidated Schools associate superintendent, said: "With great excitement, and sadness at the same time, I wanted to announce that I have accepted the Superintendent position for Hagerman Municipal Schools. Grant County has been a great place and I have developed great friendships and relationships during my time here, too many to name, but everything happens for a reason."

He said he is excited to work with Hagerman and provide outstanding career ready programming for the students. "My predecessor has done a good job of setting this up. Now, all I have to do is continue the work I started here. I would not be in this position without all the people that came to our Community Dialogue process and supported and adopted me as one of your own."

Clough said Silver City "will always have a special place in my heart because you accepted me as me." He noted that his wife has teaching interviews set up in the area and hopefully will have good news in the next week.

Although he officially starts the job July 12, he will be splitting time between the two districts in the next two weeks. 

[Editor's Note: This is part 3 of the Grant County Commission work session on June 22, 2021.]

By Mary Alice Murphy

At the Grant County Commission work session on June 22, 2021, John Strand presented an update on the SunZia power transmission line that will cross Grant County.

"I want to thank Grant County for their support," Strand said. "It's been a long journey, basically 12 years since we started. What I would like to go over today is where we are now. The notice of intent was published in the Federal Register on June 4, which starts a 30-day scoping period. There will be three scoping public meetings, one this afternoon, and the next two nights with information on the BLM website. It's a short period, but everybody needs to understand that BLM is in the driver's seat when it comes to selecting routes. Last time we were here, we had a route approved by the BLM and it is still in place. It is the 520-mile route known as the preferred alternative route. What we would like to do is suggest to BLM, and that's what the hearings are about, to modify the route on the northern end. Working with White Sands Missile Range and their ongoing missile testing, we have agreed to try to move the route several miles to the north, which would not even be in their call up area. The call up area is 25 miles north of White Sands Missile Range and is mostly private, state and BLM land. White Sands can ask residents to evacuate in case of missile firings. Lincoln county suggested burying the lines, but that would be very expensive. The approved route touches a couple of corners of the call up area. If we moved the route, it would be better for everyone and would also be closer to a substation, which we also hope to move. So, the substation would be moved out of Lincoln County into Torrance County."

Two additional COVID-19 deaths

SANTA FE – New Mexico state health officials on Tuesday announced 52 additional COVID-19 cases. Per the state Department of Health, the most recent cases are:

14 new cases in Bernalillo County
1 new case in Chaves County
2 new cases in Doña Ana County
2 new cases in Grant County
3 new cases in Guadalupe County
1 new case in Lea County
1 new case in Lincoln County
1 new case in Luna County
2 new cases in Otero County
6 new cases in Rio Arriba County
1 new case in Sandoval County
7 new cases in San Juan County
1 new case in San Miguel County
5 new cases in Santa Fe County
1 new case in Taos County
1 new case in Union County
3 new cases in Valencia County

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

Grant County 4-H County and District Contest Results
SILVER CITY- 4-H members from around the county competed against each other to qualify for the district contest. 4-H members must compete and qualify in order to attend the district contest held in Truth or Consequences, NM. Several members competed and here are the results!
County Contest Results:

Horse Judging (Novice)
-Dusty & Peyton Waters

Horse Judging (Senior)
-Krysten Jones

Horse judging is the evaluation and ranking of horses based on breed characteristics, conformation and performance. Participants defend their decisions through oral reasons in front of a panel of judges. Members gain significant advantages in public speaking and decision-making.

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