EB Hospital Clinic To Close


Following an extensive closed-door executive session November 15, the Sierra Vista Hospital (SVH) governing board returned to their regular public
meeting and rendered decisions on several important issues.
•In response to numerous billing problems and other apparent concerns, board members approved a motion to close the hospital’s Elephant Butte clinic effective immediately. Earlier in the regular session during public comment, the board heard statements
of concern about billing errors, as well as to whether, or not, the clinic licensed with the state. While acknowledging persistent billing issues
with the clinic, it was noted the facility did hold a
state license, but was not certified as an independent billing entity. This no doubt factored greatly in the many reports of billing errors hospital authorities have received over recent weeks.

Fitness Center Inching Closer


The T-or-C Schools’ new fitness center and weight room is one step closer to reality. At their regular monthly meeting, Thursday, October 12, the school board voted to accept the bid from Mevaco LLC, a Las Cruces based construction firm to be the general contractors for the build. Money for the project is part of the bond issue approved in 2015. Ten firms were contacted and attended the pre-bid conference with only two submitting bids. Both bids the district received put the costs at more than what had been approved. Working with Wilson & Company Architects modifications were made in the original design to bring the costs down. These alterations were primarily cosmetic in nature, or involved substituting a less expensive material in some of the features. With those modifications the board voted to approve the proposal. The district is also looking at the possibility that the money can be found to pay for the plan in its entirety as originally designed. If that proves to be the case, then changes can be made at that time, during the construction phase. Construction is expected to begin this year.

City Pool To Close 10.15

City of Truth or Consequences

After learning state health department officials told staff the J.A. Hodges municipal swimming pool would not pass an upcoming February inspection, Truth or Consequences (T-or-C) city commissioners agreed to move forward with a much-needed re-plastering project during the board’s October 11 regular meeting. To accommodate this work, commission members also agreed to an idea put forward by pool patrons; to close the facility for a temporary period. In addition to facilitating the re-plastering effort, it was suggested that closing the pool would help the city realize a savings in operational costs.
City manager Juan Fuentes confirmed this point, telling commissioners a proposed six-month closure could be expected to net the city more than $60,000 from the pause in standard expenditures. He indicated this savings would help considerably in covering the estimated $110,000 required to re-plaster the swimming pool.

Hospital Strives To Steady Ship


In a special meeting of the Sierra Vista Hospital (SVH) Governing Board June 12, members reviewed a proposed final operational budget for the 2018 fiscal year (FY), and agreed to move forward with an independent examination of recent hospital financial transactions. While no action was taken regarding either issue, board members indicated they would be considering formal decisions on both during their upcoming regular meeting July 26.
Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Steve Stewart presented the board with a proposed final budget for FY 2018 and joined with Interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Donna Muder in assuring members that every step is being taken to trim costs, while a focus is also being maintained on quality patient care.
In response to a request from Elephant Butte representative Tony Rivera earlier in the session, board members agreed to postpone formal consideration of the budget until their next regular meeting.

EB Forwards SDR Activity


As has been reported, Elephant Butte City Councilors approved a series of action items during a March 29 special meeting, which affirmed the board’s decision to proceed with acquisition of the Sierra del Rio (SDR) golf course and facilities.
During the board’s April 5 regular meeting, councilors further approved a resolution (16/17 121), which formally established a new enterprise fund (597) for the golf course, and included a transfer of approximately $250,000 from the city’s general fund account.
City Clerk Treasurer Karen Rieth confirmed that request for proposal (RFP) process was underway, which was seeking potential operators for the golf course, clubhouse bar and restaurant, or a combination thereof.

City Takes Action To Ensure Good Behavior

City Forum

Apparently responding to a disruptive incident that occurred during the board’s February 28 session, members of the Truth or Consequences (T-or-C) City Commission unanimously approved a measure March 14, which calls upon citizens to abide by established rules of conduct during regular business meetings.
The action also included an agreement to bar local resident Ron Fenn from participating in public comment for the next two regular commission meetings.
During the February 28 commission meeting, Fenn apparently reacted to commissioner Rolf Hechler’s motion to shift the
regular public comment period to a point later in that morning’s session. As Hechler was in the process of explaining his motion, Fenn rose and moved toward the exit of the commission’s chambers, all the while expressing comments in a loud and disruptive manner.

Rec Board Continues Their Facility Planning

Little League baseball season in full swing, the co-ed adult softball league is entering season-ending tournament play and both men and women’s adult softball leagues are poised to begin play. Meanwhile, the Truth or Consequences Recreation Advisory Board is temporarily free to focus on organizational priorities.
During the board’s June 1 session, members reaffirmed their goal of developing comprehensive rental/use procedures for the city’s parks facilities. In this regard, the board has scheduled a special workshop to examine options aimed at streamlining the process for both city authorities and future park/facility users…

Positives Mounting For Hospital

Beginning with a March financial report that SVH Finance Committee Chairman Warren Cross termed as “fabulous,” Sierra Vista Hospital (SVH) Governing Board members were presented with reports outlining a series of positive developments in and about the facility during their regular meeting Wednesday afternoon, April 22…

SVH Addresses Helicopter Issues, Renews Contract

As part of his report to Sierra Vista Hospital (SVH) governing board members during their regular session December 17, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mike Zimmerman announced the completion of a new contract with Tri-State CareFlight air ambulance service. He said that the new contract would hopefully quell persistent complaints of noise and unnecessary disturbances from neighboring residents of the community.

In response to concerns expressed by some community members, Zimmerman had previously established guidelines and restrictions with the helicopter service…

Commission Divided Over Vacant Seat

By Chuck Wentworth | SENTINEL

While the T-or-C Commission’s July 24 regular meeting agenda included a number of action items, a disagreement over potential replacements for the late Commissioner Freddie Torres provided an emotionally charged highlight to the evening’s session.

After confirming that the board had a choice between appointing someone to fill the vacant seat or holding a special election, they agreed that costs associated with the latter option made an appointment the reasonable course to follow.

Commissioner Steve Green suggested the most logical approach would be to select a replacement from the field of candidates that vied for available commission posts in the formal elections held earlier this year. He said these individuals had already received support from the community and recommended commissioners consider the candidate who had received the most supporting votes……

City Commissioner Torres Passes

Former T-or-C mayor and member of the current city commission, Freddie Torres passed away July 2, while undergoing medical care at Memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces, he was 73 years of age.

A lifetime resident of Sierra County, Torres was born in Cuchillo, New Mexico on April 18, 1939, to Ruben and Ida (Gallegos) Torres. In addition to his aforementioned term as mayor and as a city commission member, Torres was a founder of the Veterans’ Memorial Park and Museum and is accredited with more than 20-years of public service for the local community.

Torres operated successful businesses in Sierra County for more than 50 years and at the time of his passing was proprietor of the well-established Pine Knot Saloon. He was also a lifetime member of the Sierra County Sheriff’s Posse.

A prayer vigil for Freddie Torres will be held Sunday evening, July 8 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, 515 N. Date Street, beginning at 6 p.m.  Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Monday, July 9, followed by Rite of Committal ceremonies at the Hot Springs Cemetery.

Donations in memory of Freddie Torres may be forwarded to the Friends of the Library Children’s Fund, 325 Library Lane, T-or-C, New Mexico 87901.

New Mayor for T or C

By Chuck Wentworth for the SENTINEL

In what was no doubt a surprising move to many local residents, newly elected members of the T-or-C commission held firm to their campaigns for change and used a now realized majority vote to select John Mulcahy as the new Mayor of City of T-or-C Tuesday evening, March 13.

Prior to formally convening the evening’s session, Sierra County Magistrate Judge Tom Pestak congratulated all of the candidates that participated in the March 6 municipal elections and then proceeded to deliver the oath of office to the five individuals who emerged victorious in this year’s elective process.

Joining to recite the pledge and accept their respective roles as community leaders were Position-I Commissioner Sandra Whitehead, Position-II Commissioner Jeff Richter, Position-IV Commissioner John Mulcahy, returning Position-V Commissioner Steve Green and returning Municipal Judge Beatrice (Bobbie) Sanders.

Following the official ceremonies, Commissioner Freddie Torres presided over the initiation of the regular session and after preliminary actions, focused the…

Renfro Calls It A Day

T-or-C Mayor Pro-Tem Evelyn Renfro presided over her final session as a member of the city commission Tuesday evening. Renfro has chosen not to seek re-election, and at the adjournment of Tuesday’s meeting, closed the book on a long and dedicated career of municipal service, both as a city employee and commission member. During her report, Renfro expressed her appreciation for the opportunity local voters gave her to serve the community. Despite acknowledged disagreements with some local citizens, Renfro emphasized her belief that the current commission has worked for the betterment of the community and made significant strides in this regard.

The departing mayor pro-tem further shared a personal appreciation for the cooperation and assistance members of the community, city staffers and her fellow commissioners provided during her terms on the board. In closing, Renfro also acknowledged the soon-to-be elected members of the commission and expressed…