News @ Noon / Weekend Report / 4 August 2012

Welcome to News @ Noon Weekend Report for Saturday & Sunday 4 & 5 August 2012 brought to you by Gila / Mimbres Community Radio in collaboration with The Grant County Beat – your daily  newspaper for up-to-date information about Grant County.

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and click the titles of the individual stories further down the page to read the full articles at

Watershed Opportunity for Historic Waterworks Building
presented at Town Council Meeting
Created on Thursday, 26 July 2012 19:52
By Charlie McKee

In the Town of Silver City Council meeting on Tuesday evening, July 24, Nancy Gordon continued efforts in her one-woman crusade to save the Waterworks Building, a Silver City landmark on Little Walnut Road, built in 1887 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

During the Public Input portion of the meeting, Gordon presented her plea to the Mayor and Town Council to allocate funds in the 2012-2013 fiscal year budget to replace the roof of the Waterworks Building.  She cited numerous problems, including a rotting support beam for the skylight and massive leaks due to neglect and decay, which will lead to imminent collapse of the roof – and subsequently the building – if not corrected quickly.  While the cost of a new roof, as approved by the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division, is estimated to be $50,000, Gordon announced that a potential donor is willing to match Town funding for half the cost.

Public support of the mission to preserve the Waterworks Building, which supplied Silver City’s water from the 1880s to the 1960s, is evidenced by the impressive volunteer effort put forth by Silver City residents to save this Town icon.  Gordon stated that more than 80 volunteers had logged more than 1,300 hours in shoring up the stone walls by painstakingly re-pointing the mortar.  This effort resulted in the Town of Silver City and Nancy Gordon’s receiving the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division’s awards for “Community Preservation Planning” earlier this year and achieving national recognition.

Cobre School Board hears about Accountability Report
Created on Wednesday, 25 July 2012 20:07
By Margaret Hopper

The July 23 session of the Cobre school board was called to order by president Frank Cordova at 7:05 p.m. As Ralph Sepulveda was available by phone and the other four members were physically present, Cordova declared all members present. Cordova said the board had discussed limited personnel, hiring and budget.

The Accountability Report that was not included last meeting was discussed by assistant superintendent Carrillo and state Sen. Howie Morales. Attendees were given handouts of the state’s grading for all six schools in the district and Morales presented slides to show points he considered relevant about the nature of the new A-F grading system.

Both Morales and Carrillo said there were deficiencies in the new system and Carrillo said all the state scorings were being appealed. Morales said he wanted to know if the model was accurate and consistent. He learned that the formula used in January was not the formula used in the July assessments. They changed, making it hard to compare facts. He mentioned that students must be 95 percent there on the test days or there would be an automatic drop of grade, and that schools were expected to make gains annually.

Louis Baum asked if there were significant drops because of funding more for succeeding schools over non-succeeding. Morales said there didn’t appear to be ties to achievement. He also said it would be useless to rush about changing present ways of teaching before the changes were finished in the implementation of the new regulations.

Get Down to Earth Yoga at the Silver City Clay Festival
Created on Friday, 27 July 2012 07:23

Cordelia in Tree PoseSilver City, NM — July 27, 2012 — Free yoga sessions will be held as part of the Silver City Clay Festival August 3 to 5. Cordelia Rose, founder of Glenwood Yoga, will lead the sessions. Everyone is welcome, including those with no experience. Bring your own yoga mat or borrow one at the session.

On Saturday, August 4, at 10 am and 4 pm, the yoga sessions will be held at the Community Garden on 6th Street at Big Ditch Park behind Bear Creek Herbs. The first hour will be easy poses and relaxation, followed by an optional 30 minutes of more advanced poses.

On Sunday, August 5, the session will be held from 9 am to 10:30 am at Bear Mountain Lodge on Bear Mountain Ranch Road, off Cottage San Road.  Ms. Rose will combine Hatha yoga with a classic labyrinth and will lead an easy and relaxing session around and inside the Salt Lick Labyrinth.

The Silver City Clay Festival is the brainchild of Lee Gruber, who is the co-owner of Syzygy Tileworks for 18 years. Gruber says that “the practice of yoga reconnects us to our roots, to mother earth.”

REMINDER: It’s not too late to sign up for Festival Workshops!  Call (575) 538-5560 to register or log on to

For additional information on Cordelia Rose visit
View the full article atGrant County Beat

Mail-out ballot will address funding for Central Dispatch
Created on Thursday, 26 July 2012 14:14

The purpose of a ballot, a mail-out ballot that will be sent out toward the end of August into the first of September, is critical to every resident of Grant County. The one item on the ballot will address the need to re-authorize the 1/8 gross receipts tax increment to fund Central Dispatch, its operating expenses, including salaries and benefits, as well as computers, office supplies, equipment maintenance and utilities, such as Internet connections, telephone, electrical and water.

The ballot must be returned by 7 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 18, by mail or dropped off at the Grant County Clerk’s Office.

If the tax increment, which is less than a penny on every dollar you purchase and pay in gross receipts tax, sunsets on Dec. 31, 2012, emergency services and law enforcement will likely be dispatched through Lordsburg or Las Cruces, adding confusion and time to the minutes of response to what can be a life-or-death situation.

Central Dispatch also records all calls for legal reasons and is the central depository for warrants for Grant County courts, in hard copy and in digital form, using computer-aided dispatch.

The CAD, as computer-aided dispatch is called, is a web portal to the National Crime Information Center for driver’s license and criminal history information, among other things. The CAD is not connected to the phone, but only to the Internet.

The 1/8 increment GRT has been funding operating expenses for Central Dispatch for 10 years. It is not a new tax. The ballot seeks reauthorization of the tax to continue funding 911 for the future.

“Once the tax is passed this time, it will stay in place until a vote takes place not to have the tax,” Jean Fortenberry, Central Dispatch director, said. “By statute, we are allowed to charge up to a ¼ increment, but the 1/8 has been adequate. Up until the mines closed, dispatch was always in the black, but we’ve been in the red since then, and the city and the county have had to make up the shortfall.”

Visit Grant County Beat for the full article as there are a number of additional details on the bill and dispatch operations.

Aerial Mulching Continues –
Whitewater-Baldy Burn Area Emergency Response (BAER)

Created on Wednesday, 01 August 2012 00:02

July 31, 2012, Silver City, NM:
The aerial seeding of 26,200 acres of severely burned area within the Whitewater Baldy Fire burn area is complete. The native seed is growing with the assistance of the monsoonal rains. Aerial mulching of approximately 14,200 acres of the seeded area is now underway. The aerial mulching is done to provide extra soil stabilization and protection of burned watersheds in areas with the highest risk.

There are currently three helicopters spreading mulch with as many as nine aircraft expected by the end of the week. Operations are scheduled to be finished by the end of August.

Six ALERT precipitation monitors (early detection warning systems) were installed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in and near the Whitewater-Baldy Fire area. They are located at: Mogollon Baldy Lookout, Hummingbird Saddle, Bear Wallow Lookout, Sheridan Corral, and in Whitewater and Mineral Creeks.

Rainfall data is transmitted from the monitors to the National Weather Service who will issue flood advisories or warnings to the Catron County Sheriff. The Sheriff’s office will then inform local residents of the flood advisory or warning.

The full article with agency contact information is posted on Grant County Beat

COG directors discuss capital outlay with Morales
Created on Tuesday, 31 July 2012 21:02

Tuesday morning, the Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments hosted COG directors of the New Mexico Association of Regional Councils from around New Mexico at their quarterly meeting.

As part of the proceedings, Sen. Howie Morales sat in to ask questions and answer some.

Hubert Quintana, executive director of the Southern New Mexico COG in Roswell, said he and others had written a white paper on capital outlay.

“We are trying to educate legislators to take a different approach on how they allocate capital outlay,” Quintana said. “The COGs would vet the projects in their area and rank them from E to A. The As would have their preliminary engineering reports and studies done, so they would be ready to start Monday morning.”

Jeffrey Kiely, Northwest New Mexico COG executive director, drew a diagram showing the developmental process from idea stage E to stage D, which has a bit more development and a location to stage C, with plans, cost information and a bit of engineering. B plans would be more fleshed out progressing to A, the most ready for funding.

“It’s like a triage process,” Kiely said. “Right now the legislators and the executive administration get projects all the way from E to A and give them the same rank. They are spending time on ones that will not get done, even if they receive funding.

“When you get to grade B, the projects have specs, the PER and are well thought out, but perhaps they don’t have the matching funds,” he continued. “The grade A ones are implementable immediately. The COGs have to help move the projects from E to A.”

“If we can help everyone in the system to know what stage they are and what they need to do to get to B or A, it would be much more cost effective,” Kiely said.”I appreciate the COGs taking the initiative on this,” Morales said. “You guys get results. There is a lot of discussion about capital outlay reform. I appreciate this.”

Morales than asked how the E to A system would work for smaller communities with little funding.

“We will help them find planning money for Phase I, to get ready for construction,” Kiely said.

“As a result of the Colonias Fund, we realized we needed planning funding,” Quintana said. “The New Mexico Finance Authority had loans, but some communities could not qualify for loans. We told NMFA to do grants for planning. Beginning this year, NMFA is making up to $50,000 grants.”

This extensive article is posted in full at Grant County Beat.

A Weekend of Events @ Seedboat Center for the Arts
Created on Wednesday, 01 August 2012 00:10

Light and Texture
Seedboat Center for the Arts presents a combined show spanning the disciplines of painting and ceramics. Painter Mimi Peterson contributes a collection of new abstract work that is vibrant, colorful, and exciting. Dave Roberts’ ceramic pieces exhibit his technical skill as a fine potter along with an artist’s eye for shape and color.

The artists will attend an opening reception on Friday, August 3, from 5:00 to 8:00 pm. The show continues at Seedboat Gallery through September 27.

Silver City Clay Festival
That same weekend, August 3–5, Seedboat Center for the Arts hosts events of the Silver City Clay Festival. Clay artists Katherine Allen, Dave Roberts, and Marcia Smith will demonstrate their creative technique in the Seedboat courtyard on Friday and Saturday. Dave will present Wheel Throwing Techniques & Altered Forms on Friday, August 3, from 9:00 to noon. Also from 9:00 to noon on Friday, Marcia Smith will demonstrate Carved Tile Techniques. On Saturday, August 4, from 9:00 to 10:30, Kathryn Allen will present Bas Relief Custom Window Surround Installation. From 10:30 to noon, Kathryn will demonstrate Ceramic Mural on Wood Installation.

All day Friday and Saturday, from 9:30 to 5:30, renowned experts and accomplished artists will present lectures about clay at the Seedboat. All lectures are free and open to the public. For the lecture schedule, visit the Clay Festival website at


Today we have 3 related stories regarding the Southwest County Commissions Alliance.  The first is,

Southwest County Commission Alliance hears input
Created on Wednesday, 01 August 2012 14:25

The Southwest County Commissions Alliance held its second meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Elections were held, with Gabriel Ramos being elected chairman; Hugh B. McKeen of Catron County, vice chairman; and Darr Shannon of Hidalgo County, as secretary.

During public input, several spoke in opposition to events of the first meeting.

“I rise in support of the Gila National Forest Travel Management Plan to make sure the forest is protected for the future,” Silver City resident Walter Szymanski said. “I also commend (Grant County Commissioner) Christy Miller for protesting the tone of the first alliance meeting. Talk of cutting locks seems out of line for responsible adults. She spoke for a lot of us who live in this community.”

“Keep in mind. The forest is public land. It’s not just Catron, Grant or Sierra counties’ playground,” he continued. “It is national public land. Everyone in the country has as much right to have a say-so as you commissioners here.”

Kelly Russell, Gila National Forest supervisor, said the forest hoped to have a decision on the Travel Management Plan by August, but “a fire got in the way.  It will be fall or early winter before we have a decision. Any of us is available for questions.”

Resident Jeff Boyd reiterated that the Gila National Forest and all other national forests are owned by the people of the United States. “All of us share in the forests. They are managed for all living today and in the future. Management is national and allows for national oversight. The Grant County Commission and the Sheriff do not have the resources to deal with the forest…”

Lynda Aiman-Smith, who described herself as a multi-generational New Mexican and a professor, said she wants transparency. “With all the other organizations, such as the councils of government and the New Mexico Association of Counties, I wonder why this group is needed. There are often given and hidden reasons. On the face of it, to an outsider, it looks like the start of a Sagebrush Rebellion. I urge it not to be.”

Donna Stephens, resident, who protested that she could not hear what was being said by others, said she thinks it is misguided to vilify the federal government. “The federal government brings in million of dollars to Grant County. If you’re going to vilify it, you shouldn’t accept its money.”

“I know there have been adequate opportunities to give input,” Stephens said, “and there is not a constitutional scholar in the room. A lot of case law states the federal government has responsibility for the national forests. I know Catron County is suing the federal government for a road established in 1987. That’s a little late for an RS2477 road.” She then handed out papers to the alliance commissioners.

Kim McCreery, Silver City regional director of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, also talked about the tone of the last meeting. “With freedom, comes responsibility,” she said. “I see the rule of law disintegrating. If we want the freedom to enjoy the forest, we have the responsibility to be good stewards and not damage riparian areas. It may mean closing roads.”

“The preferred Gila National Forest alternative in the Travel Management Plan will close 24 percent of the roads,” McCreery continued. “That still leaves 3,000 miles of roads open. To say, as was said at the last meeting, that closing roads would close off access to 97 percent of the forest is not true. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to be responsible in forest use.”

SWCCA fire plans in Catron County heard
Created on Thursday, 02 August 2012 15:07

Members and participants at the Southwest County Commission Alliance heard a report on Catron County’s activities to lessen fire danger and destruction.

Zina Day-McGuire, Catron County fire chief, who has also had 30 years in emergency management and has served as a volunteer fire department chief, said the volunteer fire departments need more recruits, as the average age of the volunteers is 62.

She showed a video of last year’s catastrophic floods that took out Dixon’s Apple Orchard after the Las Conchas Fire and about an inch of rain on the burned area. It took out the orchard, the home and the outbuildings.

“Our creeks are wider and deeper, so they can carry more water,” McGuire said. “In Catron County, so far, we’ve had runoff from the Whitewater-Baldy burn in Mineral Creek after .71 inches of rain. We anticipate a large rainfall could take out the Mineral Bridge.

“I give credit to the county, the Department of Transportation, and the Army Corps of Engineers for clearing out brush in the floodway, but we still don’t know if we can survive if there is more than one inch of rain,” McGuire continued. “Silver Creek has flooded several times. The Forest Service and the U.S. Geological Service have also helped mitigate what could possibly be catastrophic. Nothing has come down Whitewater Creek yet.”

She presented a history of declarations of disaster resolutions and intergovernmental task forces put in place by the county because of past fires, including last year’s Wallow and this year’s Whitewater-Baldy.

“Our citizens are concerned about what we are doing to protect lives, forests and resources,” McGuire said..

McGuire touched on the Health Forests Restoration Act, which emphasizes that federal agencies collaborate with communities in developing hazardous fuel reduction. The act provides communities with the opportunity to influence where and how to reduce fuels.

“The National Fire Protection Agency’s has put in 100 years of money,  studies and research, and the Wallow and the Whitewater Baldy are what we have to show for it,” McGuire said…

“The heart of the Gila is very, very sad right now,” she concluded.

SWCCA members discuss juvenile detention and solid waste fees
Created on Thursday, 02 August 2012 16:55

During the latter part of the Southwest County Commissions Alliance meeting, discussion centered on juvenile detention center issues, as well as the issue of landfill payments.

Kelly Kuenstler, Luna County manager, introduced Matthew Elwell, Luna County Detention Center administrator.

“There are very few centers left in the state for juveniles,” Elwell said. “Quite a few counties rely on us to house their juveniles.”

He said 361 youths had been in the jail this year, with the majority of them being Hispanic males.

“Substance abuse and a lack of general education are leading to problems,” Elwell said. “Especially the education part is a problem. It’s hard to get homework from teachers in other counties. Luna County teachers can provide homework for the youths. We need to keep their education going. And we need to look at alternatives to incarceration—maybe leaving them in their homes with electronic monitoring. More treatment is always a focus. We don’t want more beds, but to keep the juveniles out of incarceration.”

“In a perfect world, that would be great,” Gabriel Ramos, Grant County commissioner and Alliance chairman, said. “But we know that’s not going to happen. What can we do to help you continue to provide incarceration?”

Grant County Manager Jon Paul Saari said a discussion had taken place at recent New Mexico Association of Counties meetings about how to support the juvenile detention centers and how to grow programs to keep youths out of the system. He commented that Children, Youth and Families Department “is washing its hands of the situation. The worst-run facility in the state is run by CYFD.”

“I think you should work to increase the size of your facility and charge us what it costs you,” Saari said. “It would still be less expensive than if we have to build a million-dollar facility for perhaps six or eight juveniles.”

Darr Shannon, Hidalgo County commissioner and Alliance secretary, said: “There will always be a need for detainment. Programs seem to go in circles. Can’t the schools and parents catch the problem way back where it can be controlled? There’s got to be an answer about why it is out of control. Too many government programs go in different directions. Get the school administration on the same page as the detention administration.”

Ron Hall, audience member who was a police officer for 25 years, and spent 16 years as magistrate judge, said he thinks the regional concept of juvenile detention is “great. If we try to plug in all the programs, it will just confuse the child. Incarceration is not the answer. Correction is the answer. Schools and families need to work on it, but I don’t know one person who can do it.”

Saari said, when the Grant County lost its juvenile center, it contracted with a company for ankle bracelets and monitoring. “It costs us $48,000 a year, working with the Juvenile Probation Office for the bracelets and the surveillance. CYFD shut the program down, but Judge Robinson got it back.  The only kids being incarcerated are the violent offenders. The bracelet program puts the responsibility back on the parent. Judge Hall really pushed for the program. It works out great, if we don’t get interference from the state.”

Ramos thanked Luna County for keeping its facility open.

The next discussion centered on how to get residents to pay the Grant County monthly fee of $5 for the solid waste disposal.

The next meeting of the Southwest County Commissions Alliance will take place at 1 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 29, at the Luna County Commission Chambers in Deming.

That concludes this edition of the News @ Noon Weekend Report presented by GMCR and with thanks to The Grant County Beat for their permission to provide you with these stories.  We invite you to join us daily for the latest updates.

News @ Noon is webcast daily at noon and rebroadcast at 6pm.  The weekend report airs at the same times on Saturday & Sunday. You can also listen to the current program anytime here at GMCR.  Just click Content / News @ Noon on the Menu.  The full articles are posted at Grant County Beat – just click the title of the article that interests you.

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