The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Curry officials call off fire restrictions


Last updated 8/8/2018 at 8:43am

David Grieder

Former New Mexico Lt. Governor Walter Bradley was among several to speak before the Curry County Commission Tuesday afternoon on the topic of Clovis' prospect for a racino. Bradley was among those opposed, stating he regretted the state had ever legalized gambling.

CLOVIS — Are the dog days of summer in decline at last? In terms of fire danger, maybe so.

Curry County commissioners on Tuesday voted unanimously to lift a burn ban in effect since March, following a recommendation from the county's fire and safety director.

"A majority of Curry County has received much needed rainfall since the recent burn ban renewal," David Kube wrote in an Aug. 2 letter to the commission, noting 12 citizen requests for permission to burn in that week alone. "Though the rains have not eliminated the drought conditions as the (drought) map shows, I believe Curry County no longer meets all of the criteria required by Ordinance ... to prove that a fire danger emergency exists."

Kube reiterated his points in presenting the recommendation to the commission on Tuesday. He also said in his letter that conditions have improved most significantly in the eastern part of the county; in some other places he "would estimate the fire danger rating in those area to be moderate with a few areas rating high but nothing extreme."

Commission Chairman Ben McDaniel said the matter could be revisited should conditions change and "if it heats up and dries out."

The Roosevelt County Commission also voted Tuesday morning at its meeting to lift its burn ban south of Curry.

The drought map Kube offered show much of both counties to range from "abnormally dry" to severe or moderate drought, while the state has large stretches to the north and west ranging from "extreme" to "exceptional" drought.

Also at Tuesday's commission meetings:

• Those both for and against Clovis' potential for a racino came out in numbers; representatives of Vision 2020 delivered a presentation advocating for the combination racetrack/casino, while those opposed spoke during the public comment section of the meeting. More than a half-dozen individuals encouraged the commission to consider the negative consequences of a racino, speaking specifically to social ills and money diverted from local businesses. Those from Vision 2020 emphasized the entertainment value and out-of-town dollars it would likely attract.

In any case, the ultimate racino award is a decision not with the county or city but instead the New Mexico Racing Commission. However, public receptiveness to such an establishment is one of three dozen criteria NMRC considers, said Tom Martin, a racino advocate.

"My main point here is let the market decide," he added.

• Commissioner Chet Spear announced breaking news during the meeting: the female inmate who had escaped the night before from the Curry County Adult Detention Center had been apprehended by law enforcement.

Jail Administrator Mark Gallegos also gave his departmental report for the past two months. Responding to a point by Commissioner Angelina Baca, he said he "would support" some kind of security fence for CCADC, but noted there were several variables influencing that decision.

• Appointment of Commissioner Robert Thornton to the Southeast Regional Transportation Planning Organization (SERTPO) Planning and Technical Committee, with the caveat that Road Superintendent Dennis Fury would assist in the transition until his retirement in the coming year.

• Unanimous approval of the county's five-year road maintenance and construction plan, as well as an easement agreement with Plateau Telecommunications that will establish a fiber internet connection to the county road barn south of Clovis.


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