Village to vote on Sunday blue law

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Magdalena
Magdalena residents may soon be able to go into the Golden Spur, the village’s only tavern, on Sunday and be served at the bar, if voters decide. At issue a local ordinance that prevents the Golden Spur Tavern from selling liquor by the drink on Sundays.

At the Jan. 21 meeting of the Magdalena Village Board of Trustees, Clerk Jeannie Johnston said she received a petition to put the initiative up for a vote. The only question on the ballot will be: “Shall Sunday sales of alcoholic beverages by the drink for consumption on the Licensed premises of licensees be allowed in the village of Magdalena?”

“The county passed, years ago, a law saying that any liquor establishment outside Socorro can only sell packaged on Sunday. You can’t go and sit in the bar and have a drink,” Johnston said. “We can change that, we’re allowed to in our municipality, in our village limits, to (serve) liquor by the drink in the establishment.”

Golden Spur owner and operator Darrel Pettis told the board he thought it would help all the businesses in Magdalena.

“It would generate more business by people driving to Magdalena on Sundays. It would help me, of course, but I’ve talked to the owners of the two motels who tell me the same thing, that more people would be more apt to stay,” Pettis said. “I’ve had tourists come into town on Sunday and say, ‘you mean we can’t come in and have a beer and pizza?’

“We say ‘you can take it to go, but you can’t stay in. They passed this a couple of years ago for Uncle Bill’s down in Reserve. It was the same situation, pretty much.”

Johnston said 64 names of registered voters signed the petition and only 40 were needed for a special election.

“This is a separate special, election,” he said. “We can’t have it on the ballot on the regular election, so we’ll have on March 18. And that will be the only thing on the ballot on that date.”

In other business:
• EMS Director Donna Dawson asked for a temporary suspension of EMS services in Magdalena. She said the reason is a combination of a shortage of volunteers and her health. “I have been in contact with Kyle Thornton at the New Mexico Emergency Medical Systems Bureau in Santa Fe, and he is aware of the situation,” Dawson said. “We need at least two more volunteer EMTs and need money for training classes. They are the ones that provide our funding. They are willing to help us as far as instructors go.” She said she knows persons who are interested “but I have to get them trained.” Dawson said she hoped that Magdalena can start providing services again by June 1.

In the meantime, Socorro EMS is providing service to Magdalena. “I really, really appreciate their help,” Dawson said.

• The board tabled a request by Chad and Charlotte Perkins to lease 200 acres of village owned land for grazing cattle. The parcel includes the location of the former airstrip east of town. Julian said that since the agenda was posted on Friday, other people have inquired about leasing it and the leasing may have to go out for bids. “We’ll have the lawyer look at the paperwork on it and get it appraised,” she said. “Right now we don’t know what it’s worth.”

• The board approved a request from Catherine DeMaria representing the Magdalena Chamber of Commerce for $1,150 in Lodger’s Tax funds to pay for advertising in three travelers’ guides. She also said the Very Large Array and Magdalena Ridge Observatory has offered telescopes to the Chamber for use by tourists wanting to take advantage of the dark skies, and for possible star parties. “We want to offer more things for people traveling through and make them want to stay maybe a day or so longer in the village,” DeMaria said. “I just want to say that Ted [Bending] came up with our wonderful new slogan, ‘Gateway To The Stars.’”

• Members of the newly formed Magdalena Water Team were formally approved by the board: Barbara Baca, Nicole Beaudoin, Mike Chambers, Mike Danielson, Danielle Fitzpatrick, Debbie Ingersoll. David Livingstone, S. Gail Miller, Jim Nelson, Bob Pody, Don Wiltshire and Steve Bailey. Approved as consultants were Dennis McQuillan, Stacey Timmons, Daviod Torres and Jady King. Clerk Jeanne Johnston said the team will act strictly as an advisory committee for the Village Board. Miller said the group will be conducting an on-site inspection of the three wells on Friday. She said the creation of the team may help the village in its requests for money to improve the municipal water system.

• The board heard a report by Magdalena Fire Chief Richard Rumpf, also known as ZW Farnsworth, who said the department responded to a trash fire on Jan. 13, and accepted two new volunteers, Jim Nelson and Jeff Joseph. Although Joseph lives in Pinon Springs he would be available to assist “when he gets here,” Rumpf said. “The Fire Department now has six volunteers. We meet the first and third Saturday of every month.” Trustee Barbara Baca then questioned him on her confusion with the legality of his name. “In Magdalena we want to know who you are. We don’t want to have two separate names for one person,” she said. Rumpf said he has been using ZW Farnsworth for 28 years for everything except legal dealings and documents. “Sometime in the near future I will be legally changing it to ZW Farnsworh,” he said.

• During public input Ted Bending voiced his concern over the removal of the community bulletin board at the Post Office. “The community really, really appreciated that. Now we can’t have it. I’m wondering if there’s some way that the village could help to have a community posting,” Bending said. Other members at the meeting encouraged Mayor Sandy Julian to write a letter to the postmaster’s supervisor voicing villagers’ concerns.

• Ray Martinez was named Precinct Judge for the Mar. 4 municipal election. Rita Broaddus, Donna Dawson and Bennie Zamora were appointed precinct clerks. Zamora was also designated Translator/Clerk. The board approved a one day salary of $200 for precinct judge and $160 for precinct clerks.

• Clerk Jeannie Johnston reported that the 2011 audit has been submitted and approved by the state. “2012 should be done by February 28,” Johnston said. “Hopefully by March we’ll be caught up.”

• Johnston announced that absentee voting begins on Jan. 28, and for those not registered to vote the last day to register with the county clerk is Feb. 14.

• Julian said residents have asked her why she is not running for reelection, “It’s due to health reasons. That is my only reason for not running again for mayor,” Julian said. “I want to but my doctors say it’s time to rest for awhile. I love my job. I’ve worked hard and would love to stay and finish everything. People say I quit on them, no. The reason is my health.” She did not rule out running again in four years.

• The board passed a motion to officially designate a room at Village Hall as the Mayor’s Office.