Grant County Commission holds work session 050923 part 4

[Editor's Note: This is the fourth of a multi-part series of articles on the Grant County Commission's work session on May 9, 2023 and regular meeting on May 11, 2023. This article continues with Commission updates from county department heads.]

By Mary Alice Murphy

The next county report came from the General Services/Fire Management Director Randy Villa.

He spoke first about the airport. "Alamogordo and our fire base are the only ones open for fighting fires in the state at this time. We are ready for any fire in New Mexico, West Texas and Eastern Arizona. We have an air tanker, a spotter plane, two Type 1 helicopters and a medical helicopter with two seats."

Villa said April fuel sales for Advanced Airlines had totaled $79,835 for 15,558 gallons. All other sales totaled $111,852 for 16,238 gallons. "We added another 5,000-gallon Jet A fuel truck. For the fuel farm project, Airport Manager Rebekah Wenger has made a change to the FAA grant to increase the request by $475,000 to relieve the financial stress on the county. We thank staff for working with us in meeting grant deadlines."

He noted that the DWI Program has a new vehicle and will also get a new display trailer to set up at events. "They are also updating the compliance equipment, including breathalyzers and ankle monitors."

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Man has photo taken then arrested for B&E

By Roger Lanse

Silver City Police Department officers responded Saturday, May 13, 2023, at about 4:43 p.m., to a breaking and entering call at 138 Sheriff’s Posse Road. The caller told the Grant County Regional Dispatch Authority dispatcher that she had caught two males breaking into her father’s storge shed. She said the two males were now sitting on a hill east of her father’s property.

According to an SCPD incident report, the responding officers made contact with the female caller who stated the two males had left the hill and walked into the Walmart parking lot, so she had driven to the parking lot and took photos of the pair.

As an officer was on the way to the Walmart parking lot, they officer saw one of the males crossing Highway 180 toward Hatch Toyota. The male identified himself as Sean Gueffroy, 31, whose address was listed in the report as homeless, Silver City. Being advised by GCRDA that Gueffroy had an active warrant, Gueffroy was placed under arrest and handcuffed but resisted being placed in the rear seat of a patrol vehicle. 

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Highway 152 reopening delayed due to weather

On March 20, 2023, the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) closed NM 152 “Geronimo Trail Scenic Byway” from milepost 15 (San Lorenzo) to milepost 40 (west of Kingston) due to a potential roadway failure. Large cracks in the asphalt were found that could lead to further roadway deterioration.

A NMDOT heavy maintenance crew has worked on site and has been backfilling the area. Although paving was planned for this week, due to the rainy weather, it could not proceed. The plan now is to schedule paving the week of May 22, 2023. NM 152 is estimated to be reopened by May 26, 2023. 

Ami Evans, NM DOT District 1 public information officer, told the Beat that this plan, as always, is weather pending. 

Bayard special meeting 051123

By Lynn Janes

The town of Bayard held a special meeting May 11, 2023. The meeting started with Mayor Chon Fierro calling the meeting to order and leading the Pledge of Allegiance. Attendance at the meeting included councilors Eloy Medina, Frances Gonzales, and Jose Diaz. Mayor Pro tem Raul Villanueva didn’t attend.

The council approved the agenda.

The council went into closed session to discuss personnel matters and stipends for the fire department.

The council came back from closed session.

Action items resulting from closed session.

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Santa Clara splash park opens

By Lynn Janes

The Village of Santa Clara held its regular meeting May 11, 2023. Mayor Richard Bauch called the meeting to order and led the Pledge of Allegiance. Mayor Pro Tem Albert Esparza, trustees, Olga Amador, Arnold Lopez, and Peter Erickson attended.

The council approved the agenda for the meeting with the change of moving roll call after closed session.

The council approved the minutes from the April 27, 2023, meeting.

The council approved the April 2023 department reports.

Mayor's report

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Illegal border crossers arrested after chase

By Roger Lanse

On Saturday, May 13, 2023, at about 12:36 a.m., Grant County Sheriff's Office deputies received a call from the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office in reference to three vehicles, a white Chevy Tahoe, a silver Toyota Tacoma, and a tan Dodge pickup, suspected of carrying undocumented foreign nationals, were headed north on Highway 90 toward Silver City. According to a GCSO offense report, a short time later, deputies had contact with the Toyota and Dodge on Highway 90 near Tyrone. One deputy followed the tan pickup, while another deputy followed the white Tahoe.

The deputy following the Tahoe attempted to make a traffic stop on that vehicle, which was traveling at 60 mph, on Highway 90 from Ridge Road to 6th Street, where the vehicle turned right. The vehicle failed to stop at stop signs at Kelly and Corbin streets, Kelly and Swan streets, and Kelly and N. Gold streets, all the while ignoring the lights and sirens of the following county unit. According to the report, the Tahoe approached a dead end and drove over a berm onto a dirt road, continuing east onto another dirt road where it stopped.

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Deputies find unusual motorcycle at crash site

By Roger Lanse

Grant County Sheriff's Office deputies were called to Highway 180 – MM 118, near Uncle Woody's Flea Market in Arenas Valley, on May 12, 2023, at about 7:16 a.m. in reference to a reported motorcycle crash. According to an accident report, when deputies arrived at the site, they determined the driver, 40-year-old Matthew Johnson of Bowling Green, Ohio, was traveling on the eastbound shoulder at about 55 mph when he lost control of his battery-powered unicycle.

A witness stated, according to the report, that Johnson clipped the edge of a construction sign causing him to fall off the unicycle onto the outside eastbound lane of the highway and roll several feet down the roadway.

Johnson was wearing a helmet and suffered injuries to his right hand and face, the report said. EMS transported him to Gila Regional Medical Center. The report also stated the unicycle sustained only cosmetic damage and did not need to be towed – it was transported with the driver.

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