Homeland Security vehicles in town

By Roger Lanse

Silver City residents reported what appeared to be several unmarked law enforcement vehicles, including an armored vehicle and one pulling a flatbed trailer, in Silver City, the morning of Tuesday, Mar. 28, 2023.

Silver City Police Department Chief Freddie Portillo confirmed to the Beat today, March 29, that the SCPD did partner with the Department of Homeland Security to form a task force on the 28th but would not provide further information. He stated a press release describing the operation would be forthcoming.

Portillo said the rumor circulating that the increased police presence on Tuesday was related to the discovery of bodies in a building on Bullard Street was false.

UPDATE -2: Fatality on the Gila River

By Roger Lanse

Monday afternoon, Mar. 27, 2023, around 2 p.m. five individuals in a raft capsized in the Gila River about 10 miles south of the Grapevine Campground. According to Search and Rescue Coordinator Mark Levesque, one person drowned and four were rescued by helicopter. The condition of those four are unknown at this time.

The Beat is reaching out to other agencies investigating the accident and more information will be reported as it is received.

UPDATE:
Five adult men of "near, or at, retirement age," from Lubbock, Texas, according to Laurie Wlosinski, Grant County Search and Rescue/New Mexico State Police Incident Commander of this Mission, entered the Gila River at the Grapevine Campground planning a multi-day float trip ending downstream at the Mogollon Box on Tuesday, Mar. 28, and then returning home. One man was in a canoe, one each in two kayaks, and two in a raft.

UPDATE-2: According to New Mexico State Police staff, the ages of the four surviving men were 58, 60, 61, and 63. The man pronounced deceased by an Office of Medical Investigation official was Tregg Granato, 55.

The group, with the canoe leading, encountered a fallen tree across the river some 10 miles downstream at the bottom of an estimated 200' deep canyon, Wlosinski said. The canoe overturned and that man was swept underwater and drowned. The other four were able to make it to shore and using an emergency communicator device they had with them sent out an SOS ultimately notifying the NMSP.

Read more ...

Fatality on the Gila River

By Roger Lanse

Monday afternoon, Mar. 27, 2023, around 2 p.m. five individuals in a raft capsized in the Gila River about 10 miles south of the Grapevine Campground. According to Search and Rescue Coordinator Mark Levesque, one person drowned and four were rescued by helicopter. The condition of those four are unknown at this time.

The Beat is reaching out to other agencies investigating the accident and more information will be reported as it is received.

Silver City Town Council has debate about proposed legislation

[Editor's Note: This article got misplaced in transit, so apologies for it being so late.]

By Lynn Janes

Silver City held a regular meeting February 27, 2023. The meeting started with Mayor Ken Ladner calling the meeting to order and led the Pledge of Allegiance and salute to the New Mexico state flag. Council members attending the meeting included Lucian Farmer, Jose Ray, Nicholas Prince, and Guadalupe Cano.

The council approved the agenda as is. Prince wanted to table resolution 2023-04 and the rest of the council did not agree.

Ceremonies none currently.

Proclamations none currently.

Council comments

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Grant County Commission holds special meeting 032123, part 3

[Editor's Note: This is part 3 and the final of the Grant County Commission special meeting held March 21, 2023. It begins with the budget hearing with presentations by county department heads giving their requests.)

By Mary Alice Murphy

After public input and a report from the county financial counsel, commissioners heard from those who have so far applied for the Gila Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees, which readers can access at the links at the bottom of this article.

Following those presentations, commissioners entered the budget hearing where they heard from department heads requesting items for their budget for fiscal year 2024.

Read more ...

US 180 fog sealing operations in Silver City

SILVER CITY – The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) District One will begin Fog Sealing US 180 from milepost 115 (32nd Street) to 128 (east of Hurley) in Silver City.

Fog sealing is a single application of emulsified asphalt to an existing asphalt surface. This type of maintenance treatment can be a valuable aid to renew weathered (oxidized) asphalt surfaces and improve the surface appearance, seal minor cracks, surface voids, and inhibit unraveling. Most importantly, fog sealing helps preserve the underlying pavement structure allowing the roadway to last for many years to come.

On Tuesday, March 28, 2023, drivers can expect lane closures in both eastbound and westbound lanes. Use caution for workers and equipment in the area, reduced speed limits and flagging operations. Repairs are expected to take two weeks to complete, weather pending.

Read more ...

Grant County Commission holds special meeting 032123 part 2

[Editor's Note: This is part 2 of the Grant County Commission special meeting held March 21, 2023. It begins with the presentations by those who applied to serve on thea Gila Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees. Applications are still open to those interested in throwing their hat into the ring.)

By Mary Alice Murphy

After hearing public input and a presentation from the county's bond counsel, commissioners, at the March 21, 2023 special meeting heard from some of those who applied to serve on the Gila Regional Medical Center governing board. District 1 Commissioner and Chair Chris Ponce noted that each applicant had five minutes to speak."

They spoke in alphabetical order of their last names. First up was Susan Beck. "I was pleased to submit my application. You've had a chance to review my application, and you also know me from my volunteer work to get out the information on the once-proposed extended air space area for pilot training. I'm now gearing up to volunteer information prior to the draft environmental impact statement this fall on three proposed extended areas for pilot training out of Arizona."

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Clarification: No residents or campers supported the Gila National Forest plan to close the Grapevine Campground at public meeting 032123

[Editor's Note: Thanks to Allen Campbell, Gila Hotsprings resident, for writing up this report]

A public meeting on March 21, 2023, concerning the Gila National Forest's proposal to close Grapevine Campground on the East Fork of the Gila River near Gila Hotsprings. The meeting took place at Doc Campbell's Post, starting at 1:00 pm. The weather was cold and windy, so everyone gathered inside the store. With about 45 people present, many were standing, as the seating was limited. Most of the Hotsprings residents and all the businesses were present. About as many interested individuals who were not Hotsprings residents, who were current or past campers, attended the session. Many had used the Grapevine Campground in the past and felt strongly about the proposed closure.

Henry Provencio, the Wilderness District Ranger, opened the meeting, explaining why the USFS was considering closing the Grapevine Campground permanently. The only reason he gave for closing the Grapevine Campground was due to compliance with Executive Orders 11988 and 13690. He explained that these orders precluded any "federally funded projects (that) is at the 1-percent-annual-chance flood elevation and corresponding horizontal floodplain for nonessential action."

Read more ...

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