Proclamation honors Bill Hemenway

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The city’s first council meeting of April began with a look back to the 18 years served on the city council by Bill Hemenway, who died on March 8 after a long illness.

Mayor Ravi Bhasker formally read into the record a proclamation in honor of Hemenway’s long service to the city, that he said City Clerk Pat Salome had been able to present to Hemenway while he was still alive, with many of his friends and family present.

The proclamation recalls the many committees on which Hemenway served, and the valuable resource his experience in budgetary and accounting was to the city; praises Hemenway for helping to foster a relationship between the city and the university in his capacity as an associate vice president at New Mexico Tech; and mentions that 14 years after his retirement from city government, many of the policies, procedures and projects he helped develop and implement are still serving the city and its residents.

People’s Pets

Socorro resident Don Huebner took advantage of the public forum section of the meeting to ask city officials to talk to the animal control department about not letting impounded dogs go back to their owners without making sure the dogs wouldn’t be able to get loose again.

“Fifty yards up on Terry Street, I had to hop on the hood of a car at 8:30 in the morning to get out of the reach of an animal dragging a four-foot chain,” Huebner said.

Huebner said at home, the dogs may be pets, but once they get out on the street, they’re animals, and before animal control lets them go back home, they ought to check and make sure they have a safe, secure place to stay.

Plajeres Zamora, the woman whose terrier was killed in front of her at a children’s park last month, is one of Huebner’s co-workers.

“It’s a shame, a real shame,” Huebner said. “There are children there and all. If the parks aren’t safe, they’re not going to be used. I just want to say to them (animal control) to go just a little further.”

Bhasker thanked Huebner for his comments.

“I think we really need to attend to that seriously,” Bhasker said. “In the next budget cycle, maybe we can get a police officer that’s on animal patrol.”

Cop Shortage

Socorro Assistant Police Chief Mike Winders said in an April 9 telephone interview that the city has a total of 21 law enforcement positions in the police department budget. That includes Winders, Chief George Van Winkle, the detectives and police officers. There are two vacant openings right now.

One position was set to be filled by Eddie Ray Garcia, however, his employment offer was officially rescinded at the council meeting for reasons not shared with the public. However, the two open positions may be filled soon.

“We’ll be making a recommendation at the next city council to hire one officer, and we’re in the middle of the hiring process for a second,” Winders said.

Winders said being on animal patrol and responding to calls about loose pets and dangerous strays is already a shared responsibility with the animal control department, which employs four people including department director Alfredo Jojola Jr., shelter manager Juliet Montoya, dog catcher Frank Marquez and kennel assistant Ruben Gonzales.

In addition to responding to calls, officers with the Socorro Police Department are able to issue citations in animal cases, Winders said.

In other business

  • The council approved a zone change from C-1 to C-2 for the property owned by George and Tina Lujan at 104 Neel Avenue. The zone change was requested by Martin Pyke, who is moving his jewelry manufacturing business to the building formerly occupied by the Diamondback Restaurant.

C-1 designates a zone that allows commercial activity such as clinics, small retail stores and restaurants. The change approved by the council to C-2 allows a wider range of commercial activity, from automotive equipment and rental to liquor and fast food sales to manufacturing.

  • The council approved a plat for a new 10-lot subdivision on land bounded on the north by Spring Street and on the west by Mitchell Street on property owned by Socorro Fire Chief Joe Gonzales.
  • The council approved three budget resolutions: one for a transfer of $1,528 from the Cuba Road Community Development Block Grant drainage project, phase two, into the general fund; one to increase the library department’s budget by $3,437 to account for the receipt of a McCune grant; and the third for a transfer of $100,000 from the general fund to the rodeo arena/convention center fund for construction costs.

 


-- Email the author at sbarteau@dchieftain.com.

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