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This article covers the public input and the result of the Wildlife Services contract, as well as links to articles on the status of Gila Regional after the commissioners voted.

By Mary Alice Murphy

[Editor's Note: This is part of a many-part series on the Grant County Commission work and regular sessions July 17 and 19, 2018.]

Public comment at the Grant County Commission regular meeting began after commissioners heard the May Gila Regional Medical Center report, which can be read at http://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/news-articles/45619-grant-county-commission-hears-grmc-report-and-a-bond-redemption-request-before-vote-on-hospital-status-071918 

Comments made by residents of Grant County centered on two topics—the potential decision of the commissioners to sell or not sell the hospital and comments on the Wildlife Service contract, which was up for renewal on the agenda.

sandra m. carriscopySandra M. Carrismarco Marco Guzman

By Roger Lanse

A Mimbres area woman, Sandra Carris, 55, owner of a restaurant, Elk-X Crossing, in Mimbres, has been reported missing since July 9, 2018.

According to the Grant County Sheriff’s Department, there is no evidence to indicate Carris is in Grant County. The GCSD continues to follow leads in the case and is cooperating with The U.S. Marshal’s Service and law enforcement agencies in Montana. It also has not been confirmed that Carris is with Guzman against her will.

The following article is republished with permission from the Kootenai Valley Times in Idaho

[Editor's Note: This is part 1 of a multi-part series of articles on the Grant County Commission work session on Tuesday, July 17, 2018. The next article will jump back to the regular session for public input, and then likely a combined article addressing the rest of the agenda.]

By Mary Alice Murphy

The first presentation at the Grant County Commission work session on July 17, 2018, featured Gila National Forest Fire Staff Officer Gabe Holguin giving a report on fire season.

"I have two items of good news," Holguin said. "It's raining. And second, we escaped what could potentially have been a very difficult fire season. As it was, 56,126 acres burned. The not-so-good news is that we had 35 fires, which is low for the Gila, as we typically have 100 fires a season. Sixteen of the 35 were lightning-caused. But the other 19 were human-caused. The 50,296 acres burned in the Buzzard Fire were man-caused. We had an increase in human-caused fires this year. For three weeks, we were in Stage 1 fire restrictions, meaning campfires had to be in a forest structure specifically for fires or on cleared, open ground. Stage 2 restrictions prohibited fires of any kind, but we still had fires start."

[Editor's Note: This is a part of a multi-series of topical reports on the lengthy Grant County work and regular sessions on July 17 and 19, 2018.]

By Mary Alice Murphy

Grant County commissioners rearranged the agenda at the beginning of the regular session on Thursday, July 19, 2018, to place the executive session to discuss whether or not to sell Gila Regional Medical Center, immediately after public input. Visit http://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/news-articles/45608-commissioner-comments-prior-to-vote-on-grmc-status-071918  for commissioner comments prior to voting and then http://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/news-articles/45577-breaking-news-grmc-to-remain-independent  to learn the outcome.

Prior to public input, GRMC Chief Executive Officer Taffy Arias and Chief Financial Officer Richard Stokes gave the financial report for the end of May, the latest one that has been approved by the hospital Board of Trustees.

Reserve, NM, July 21, 2018— Recent monsoonal rain has caused increased runoff in the Buzzard Fire scar. This runoff has made Forest Road 94 impassible within the area of Five Springs Canyon. There is no access from NM Hwy 12 at the Apache Creek Campground to Collins Park.

Alternate routes to Collins Park are from NM Hwy 12 at Horse Springs, south on the Bursum Road (CR B 019) to Y Canyon Road (CR B054) to Collins Park.

During monsoon season it is always important to “Know before You Go.” Check the weather forecast before visiting fire impacted areas or nearby locations. Flash floods can occur very quickly, even if the storm is not directly overhead. If you encounter flood waters, move to higher ground immediately. Do not attempt to walk or drive through flowing water. Turn around, don’t drown, since only one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away. For more safety tips, visit https://www.ready.gov/floods.

For information on the Gila National Forest, check out our website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/gila 

By Mary Alice Murphy

After a great deal of public comment on two issues [which will be covered in a future article], the commissioners went into executive session to discuss the disposal of county-owned property, namely Gila Regional Medical Center.

Those who had given public input milled around the room and others in attendance the meeting left while the commissioners were out of the room.

After a relatively short session, the commissioners came back into the room and moved back into open session.

Silver City, NM, July 18, 2018—The Gila National Forest is currently revising its land and resource management plan – also known as the Forest Plan. As one part of the larger Plan Revision effort, each national forest undertaking Forest Plan Revision is required to complete a process of identifying and evaluating lands that may be suitable for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System. The four-step process concludes with a determination of whether to recommend any of the evaluated lands to Congress for wilderness designation. Congress reserves the authority to designate wilderness through legislation.

After considering public feedback, the Gila National Forest has adjusted and finalized the inventory map as the first step of the four-step process. For the second step of the process, the draft evaluation report is now available for public review and comment. The evaluation step examines the level of wilderness characteristics possessed by the lands identified in the Inventory step of the process. The Gila National Forest developed the final evaluation process paper used to produce the draft evaluation report after listening to stakeholder ideas during community and technical meetings and review periods that provided opportunities to submit written comments.

Jemez Springs, NM – As part of managing the lightning-caused Hidden Valley Fire by reducing fuel loads in the area, fire crews will continue implementing firing operations today. Resources on scene include one hotshot crew, three type 2 IA crews, one fire use module, one rapid extraction module, and three engines.

"Wildfire is a natural component of our forest and grassland ecosystems, and when conditions permit, we strive to safely manage these naturally-caused fires," said Valles Caldera Superintendent Jorge Silva-Bañuelos. “Unlike during the recent San Antonio Fire on the preserve’s north rim, the monsoon rains have created safe conditions to manage the Hidden Valley Fire,” he added.

Live from Silver City

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Welcome to our new version of classified ads.  We invite you our readers to post your own classifieds, which are available for viewing 24/7 and are very reasonable in price.

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The Grant County Beat endeavors to post to the Elections page, under News, at the least, notices of candidates for Grant County races. Some candidates for statewide races have also sent their notices. 

The Beat continues to bring you new columnists.Recent additions  include the Christian Corner, for those who are already Christians or are exploring the beliefs.

The second is a business-centered column—Your Business Connection by the New Mexico Business Coalition. The group works to make policy in the state of New Mexico better for all businesses, large and small.

The Beat has a column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues. The first one posted is on Winterizing your houseplants and patio plants.

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