News @ Noon / 16 January 2013

Welcome to News @ Noon for Friday 11 January 2013 brought to you by Gila / Mimbres Community Radio in a community media collaboration with The Grant County Beat (http://grantcountybeat NULL.com) – your daily newspaper for up-to-date information about Grant County.

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(http://grantcountybeat NULL.com)


County officials to fill board, committee and commission assignments
(http://www NULL.grantcountybeat NULL.com/index NULL.php/news/news-articles/8645-county-officials-to-fill-board-committee-and-commission-assignments)
Created on Sunday, 13 January 2013 15:27

At last week’s Grant County Commission meeting, County Manager Jon Paul Saari announced the board, committee and commission assignments, requiring elected officials and county staff representation.

County Planner Anthony Gutierrez will serve as the county representative to the Gila/San Francisco Water Commission. He will serve as an alternate to the Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments and the Grant County Regional Dispatch.

Commissioner Brett Kasten will serve as representative to Grant County Extension Service, Grant County Water Commission and Southwest Solid Waste Authority. He will serve as an alternate to Gila/San Francisco Water Commission, the regional dispatch board and the Southwest County Commissioners Alliance.

Commissioner Gabriel Ramos will serve as the country representative to the Southwest Regional Transit District, the Southwest County Commissioners Alliance and the SWNMCOG, with Public Works Director Justin Reese as his alternate. He will serve as alternate to the Grant County Water Commission and the New Mexico Association of Counties Workmen’s Comp Insurance.

Commissioner Ron Hall will serve as county representative on the Grant County Regional Dispatch Board, the Silver City Public Library Board and with the Chief Elected Officials for the Workforce Investment Act. He will be an alternate on the Southwest County Commissioners Alliance.

Saari will serve as representative to the SWNMCOG, Regional Dispatch, the Solid Waste Authority, the NMAC Multi-Line Insurance Board and the NMAC Workmen’s Comp Insurance. He will also be an alternate for the Regional Transit District.

County Attorney Abby Robinson will be a non-member representative to the Subdivision Review Committee and the Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction.


Diocese of Las Cruces has new bishop
(http://www NULL.grantcountybeat NULL.com/index NULL.php/news/news-articles/8644-diocese-of-las-cruces-has-new-bishop)
Created on Sunday, 13 January 2013 15:01

Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces has a new bishop.  Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Cantú of the Diocese of San Antonio, Texas, on Thursday was named bishop of the diocese that covers most of southern New Mexico.  The Vatican apostolic nuncio to the U.S. announced on Thursday 10 January that Cantú will serve as the second leader of the Diocese of Las Cruces, NM, following the retirement of Bishop Richard Ramirez on his 75th birthday last year.

The Diocese of Las Cruces was formed from a part of the Diocese of El Paso in 1982 and has more than 100,000 Catholics in the diocese, about a quarter of the population.


Grant County Water Commission hears from NMFA
(http://www NULL.grantcountybeat NULL.com/index NULL.php/news/news-articles/8637-grant-county-water-commission-hears-from-nmfa)
Created on Saturday, 12 January 2013 20:16

The Grant County Water Commission held a brief meeting Thursday 10 January 2013

Rick Martinez, chief of Client Services, New Mexico Finance Authority, discussed a Colonias Infrastructure Fund award received by the town of Silver City for the regional preliminary engineering report for the regional water project the town has proposed.

Martinez said he had met with the mayors of the region and there is a potential for Colonias funding for the regional water project.

The Colonias Infrastructure Fund will have additional money this year, with $16.6 million from the state and $8.2 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as some from the Community Development Block Grant program for a total of about $25 million.

Town Manager Alex Brown gave a brief history of the regional water project, explaining that the town had transferred 193 acre-feet of water rights to Hurley from the Silver City water rights near the airport.  Hurley has no water system, but has been receiving water through Kennecott and its predecessors over the years. About three years ago, the company said it would only provide water to the town for another eight years, so Hurley has been working ever since on getting its own water source.

Silver City also has four water systems connected already regionally. Bayard Mayor Charles Kelly said Bayard’s water system is connected to Hanover on an emergency basis.

Brown said the project would connect east to west and north to south so the water could go in any direction. “We estimate it will cost $24 million to connect all the pieces.”

Martinez said the Environmental Protection Agency Clean Water Fund might also be a source of funding with an up to 75 percent grant and 25 percent loan with no interest. “You could leverage the Colonias dollars as a match for the federal funds.”

The next meeting date was not set because of the legislative session.  Brown said entities would be notified when a date was set.


Grant County Commission hears presentation on Indigent Fund
(http://www NULL.grantcountybeat NULL.com/index NULL.php/news/news-articles/8635-grant-county-commission-hears-presentation-on-indigent-fund)
Created on Saturday, 12 January 2013 12:01

The Grant County Commission continued its meeting by adjourning and reconvening as the Grant County Indigent and Health Care Claims Board.

Beth Allred of Gila Regional Medical Center explained to the commissioners and the public the process of funding what is called the Grant County Health Fund.

“Several years ago, we recognized the negative connotation to the word indigent, so we changed the name,” Allred said. “The fund was formed in the 1980s for the ‘working poor.’ The voters of Grant County approved a small piece of the gross receipts tax, which goes into the Health Fund.

“We made an arrangement with the county, since the hospital is county-owned, so that when requests for funding outstrip the county portion, we can match the funding,” she continued. “We have been able to grow the fund.”

Qualifications to be eligible for the fund include being a county resident for at least 90 days. The income level for eligibility changes annually as a percentage of the federal poverty level, Allred said.

After a person has services at the hospital, he or she will see the staff at the business office, where proof of residency and proof of income will be processed. The designation as qualified is good for one year. The forms are also on the grmc.org website. The person submits the bill back to the hospital and the hospital creates the forms to fill out.


County Commission elects chairman
(http://www NULL.grantcountybeat NULL.com/index NULL.php/news/news-articles/8632-county-commission-elects-chairman)
Created on Friday, 11 January 2013 20:27

The first item on the regular meeting agenda of the Grant County Commission on Thursday morning was the election of a chairman.  Commissioner Gabriel Ramos nominated sitting Chairman Brett Kasten and Commissioner Ron Hall seconded the nomination.

“You’ve been doing a good job for the past two years,” Ramos said.

The motion passed.

During public input, country resident Lynda Aiman-Smith said she had three things she would like the commission to look at in 2013.

“I would like for you to expand from three to five commissioners to have five viewpoints and more diversity,” Aiman-Smith said. “I hope you look at the New Mexico Association of Counties certification of county commissioners, and lastly, the program, Property Assessed Clean Energy for green retrofit of homes.”

Under new business, the first item was the recognition of D.A.R.E. program essay winners. Sheriff Raul Villanueva said the program in the schools is in it s fourth year and is “making a positive impact on the county.”  He introduced Sgt. Fran Gomez and Deputy Cody Cooper as the two officers who go to schools weekly.

“We have taught 800 students,” Gomez said.

Commissioners approved:
• The county volunteer fire departments’ election results.
• Fiscal Year 2014 emergency medical services annual service report and application for Gila Regional Medical Center EMS, Gila Valley EMS, Mimbres Valley EMS, Pinos Altos Volunteer Fire and Rescue and Tyrone Volunteer Fire and Rescue.
• The addition of Policy 55 to the Sheriff’s Department standard operating procedures to cover the rules and regulations for officers using the computers newly installed in patrol cars;
• Five items, including agreements with the county and state agencies in order for the County DWI program to apply for funding;
• An intergovernmental transfer from the Road Department to Western New Mexico University of a 1995 Ford Bronco, for grant recipients at the university to research the effects of last summer’s Whitewater-Baldy Fire in the Gila National Forest and Wilderness;
• Several professional service agreements for the Juvenile Parole Office, including the termination of an agreement, on the resignation of Daniel Ziegler; Yolanda Manzano and Randall Compton each to receive $13,400; and Alexander Buck to receive $4,105 for surveillance of the ankle bracelet program;
• An agreement with Southwestern Camper Ranches Inc. for utilization of a building space by the Tyrone VFR to house a brush truck at Burro Mountain Homestead.
• The Open Meetings Act resolution had a change to put public input at the beginning of the meeting;
• The Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan, which includes funding for the front of the Administration Center and an evidence vault for the Sheriff’s Department; and
• A resolution naming the boards, committees and commissions the various commissioners and county officials will serve on to represent Grant County.

Kasten asked that a resolution be developed to allow the county manager to approve the JPO agreements, and the commission to approve them as a consent agenda item.

The rest of the meeting, which included an explanation of the indigent fund and county officials’ reports will be covered in a subsequent article.

For more information on the items approved, see http://www.grantcountybeat.com/index.php/news/news-articles/8590-county-commissioners-at-work-session-review-regular-agenda (http://www NULL.grantcountybeat NULL.com/index NULL.php/news/news-articles/8590-county-commissioners-at-work-session-review-regular-agenda) .


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