By Roger Lanse
Silver City’s District 3 Councilor Jose Ray Jr., speaking as a veteran and not as a councilor, said at the Tuesday, Jan. 9, town meeting that he was part of a veteran’s color guard that was disrespected when presenting colors at a recent Western New Mexico University basketball home game. Ray stated that a few minutes before the national anthem began and the veterans presented the colors, both teams and the referees walked off the court to the locker rooms leaving about 20 people in the stands. “Speaking for myself, I will not be part of a color guard again at a WNMU basketball game,” Ray told the Beat.
District 4 Councilor Guadalupe Cano, a self-described 21-year fan of Mustang basketball, echoed Ray’s comments saying: “It’s been going on all year.” Cano said she has received a lot of messages and phone calls about the walk-outs, and stated, “If anyone is concerned about this, reach out to President Joe Shepard and let him know what’s going on. It’s not good for us to be disrespecting our veteran’s color guard when they are providing us this service. If you want to have that bridge between the community and the university be solid,” then this issue needs to be addressed, Cano said.
Ray and Cano said the WNMU team has been given the choice to walk out or remain on the court during the national anthem and presentation of colors.
Several people spoke before the council with concerns about ATV traffic on town trails meant for birders, hikers, and bicyclists, citing significant damage, especially to the San Vicente Trail along San Vicente Creek.
Jackie Blurton of the Silver City chapter of the Southwest Audubon Society, and others, stated a pair of common blackhawks, while anything but “common,” nest along San Vicente Creek in the spring and birders from all over the country come to see it. Terry Timme, president of the SWAS, stated the common black hawk is listed as threatened by New Mexico. He ended by saying, “Where birds thrive, people prosper.”
Another speaker said that he uses San Vicente Creek as an outdoor laboratory to teach kids and others the importance of water quality and watershed maintenance. He stated that ATVers need a place to ride but the worst place to ride is in riparian areas.
Council approved a resolution authorizing a Trails and Open Space Advisory Committee.
Assistant Town Manager James Marshall advised that the committee will be comprised of seven members and that any projects proposed will go through the town manager and/or council. “And there’s a ton of projects,” Marshall stated. He also said that a lot of the damage to town trails by ATVs is caused by ATVs coming off of private property onto public trails.
Marshall continued adding that the town has been having discussions for several weeks, and in a few cases for several months, with town manager, Silver City Police Department, and concerned citizens relating to trail damage from ATVS.
Two attendees told the council they were concerned about the amount of trash along our streets and highways.
Ladner emphasized to all the speakers that the councilors and mayor want to meet with each speaker on a one-on-one basis.
District 2 Councilor Lynda Aiman-Smith reminded folks that the Silver City Museum is holding special events including tours this Friday and Saturday, Jan. 12 and 13.
Mayor Ken Ladner thanked the “hundreds and hundreds” of volunteers who make all the local events possible. Special thanks were awarded to those volunteers who met needs at the Silver City Gospel Mission with blankets, clothing, gloves, and more during the recent cold snap.
Rebecca “Bex” Sasich told council about a Silver City Fantasy Fest 2018, to be held April 14 with a parade down Bullard Street sponsored by Finn’s Gallery, 300 N. Arizona Street.
Raul Turrieta reminded residents that Territorial Charter Day is set for Saturday, Feb. 17, and volunteers are needed.
Town Clerk Ann Mackie told council that today, Jan. 9, was the filing day for those seeking office in the March 6 election. She said Ken Ladner and Timothy Montes have filed for the mayor’s position; Lynda Aiman-Smith and Patricia Kingsley for District 2 Councilor; Guadalupe Cano and Nicholas Prince for District 4 Councilor; and Sonya Ruiz for Municipal Judge. To be able to vote in this election, Mackie said, one must register by Feb. 6.
Council approved, 3-1, an ordinance amending the town’s code of ordinances with respect to the municipal judge position. Cano cast the dissenting vote saying this has been going on for four years and the town waits to approve the amendment until the day candidates have to file.
A resolution confirming that town meetings conform to the state’s open meeting act was approved.
A request for a special dispenser permit for the Gila Multi-Specialty Independent Practice Association’s Annual Healthcare Provider Dinner Banquet to be held on Jan. 26, with alcohol service from 6-10 p.m. was approved, as was the list of election workers for the March 6 municipal election and rescheduling the council meeting set for Jan. 23 at 6 p.m. to Jan. 30 at 6 p.m. at the Grant County Administration Center.