August 11, 2020
We want to welcome a couple new members of our community who we are very excited to have as neighbors. Rick Cannon will be leading the local field office with XTO Energy. Rick and his family recently relocated here from his latest assignment in Calgary, Canada. He and his wife, Becka, have three boys, and the entire family plans to be very active in the community. Cannon originally comes from Florida and holds a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alabama. He has held engineering, operations and management positions with ExxonMobil in New Orleans, Houston, Alaska, Australia and Norway.
As senior production manager for the Delaware Basin, Cannon will certainly be facing many of the same challenges that all businesses are facing in 2020. We appreciate XTO’s long-term commitment to the Delaware Basin and investment in Carlsbad. Just yesterday, we were informed of XTO’s decision to help sponsor a major cleanup activity near Queen called “Queen Up the Guads.” More on that event in a future update.
We had a great visit with Mr. Cannon recently and are very confident that he will do an excellent job.
Additionally, Eric Leonard has been announced as the superintendent of Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Leonard comes to the area with more than 20 year of National Park Service, most recently as the superintendent of Minuteman Missile National Historic Site in South Dakota. His list of service also includes previously serving at Big Bend National Park in Texas, where he managed the interpretive media and website. His first day is Aug. 30.
Leonard earned his Associate’s degree at Peninsula College in Port Angeles, Washington and his Bachelor’s degree in history at Fort Hays State University in Kansas. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Master of Liberal Studies degree with an emphasis on public history. Leonard will be returning to this area with his wife and their two teenagers.
Our community has had a wonderful relationship with Guadalupe Mountains National Park in the past and we look forward to continuing to do so. We’re very fortunate to be so close to two national parks. We look forward to visiting with Mr. Leonard as soon as he is settled in.
One final update for the day, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant is in the process of applying for a permit modification for the construction of the WIPP Mine Shaft and associated connecting drifts. We have submitted a letter in to the state indicating our support for this project and the associated permit modification. A critical safety development in any underground project is adequate ventilation, and we know WIPP’s workforce supports the addition of this shaft. The New Mexico Environment Department has done a good job handling this permitting process, and we will be happy to assist however we are needed.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Update on Cares Relief Funding: 8-10-20
Last Friday, the City of Carlsbad submitted its application for CARES Act Relief Funds to the State of New Mexico.
There’s been a lot of confusion about how businesses will apply and when they will apply, so we wanted to explain a little more of the process at this time. This is a federal relief program which provided funds to states for distribution to communities. There are two parts to this program – one program involves governments being reimbursed for COVID-19 expenses (such as additional first responder costs or PPE). Additionally, local governments also have to apply in order for their area’s business to be able to then apply for New Mexico Small Business Continuity Grants.
We were not thrilled with several aspects of the way the state legislature developed this application process, but we are also committed to doing everything we can to help our local small businesses – who have been bearing the economic brunt of this shutdown. Of course, we continue to maintain that the best way to allow businesses to recover is to allow them to re-open with safety measures in place.
We turned in our application on Aug. 7 and expect to have more information on the amount of grants received by Aug. 21. Our application to the state included our plan for providing Small Business Grants to local businesses, and we plan to partner with the Carlsbad Department of Development.
An application process for our local businesses is in development. At this point, however, we don’t know what level of funds will be allocated to the Carlsbad area. Our local small businesses will have a significant amount of time after Aug. 21 to complete the application process.
Eddy County has also applied for this program, and we will let you know more as soon as we have additional information.
On a positive note, Eddy County is now listed by the New Mexico Department of Health as a location where long-term care facilities who have not recently had a positive COVID-19 within the facility are eligible to begin scheduling monthly outdoor visits under new guidelines. Please check with your corresponding long-term facility to make sure they are now eligible. The state’s updated list of eligible counties is available here: https://cv.nmhealth.org/long-term-care-visitation-guidelines/
Eddy County had 8 positive cases announced on Sunday and 9 on Saturday for a total number of cases at 301. Artesia General Hospital reports 88 full recoveries. We are currently aware of one local resident being hospitalized within Eddy County for COVID-19 related symptoms and one who is still hospitalized out of the county. Please keep these individuals in your prayers.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
2020 Energy Summit will be Virtual: August 8, 2020
We wanted to provide you with an update on our plan for the Carlsbad Mayor’s Energy Summit 2020. After discussing the matter at length, we do believe that it is vital that we continue the discussion, but we realize that an in-person event would not be possible at this time.
Therefore, we have decided that this year’s Carlsbad Mayor’s Energy Summit will be an online broadcast to a virtual audience that remains in compliance with all health orders.
The event is tentatively scheduled for 9-11 a.m. (MST) Sept. 24, with the viewing information to be announced soon. It is our plan to broadcast a small number of expert speakers who will provide important updates on the critical role Carlsbad and Eddy County play to national energy independence and where we will go from this point. This education event will include a presentation from Eddy County about road improvements and other developments.
Even though it won’t be the same as our traditional annual summit, we’re very excited about this opportunity to still provide information from a community that is at the epicenter of one of the biggest oil and gas resources in the world.
We will also be bringing back our “Spirit of the Oilfield” awards this year and honor several of our local hardworking men and women.
Please stay tuned for details, as we look forward to having more information to very soon. Of course, we also look forward to a time soon when we can all meet again in person.
In other news, two Nuclear Waste Partnership employees who work at the WIPP site have recently tested positive for the COVID-19 virus after becoming ill, according to an announcement by WIPP. All WIPP contact tracing and sanitization protocols have been followed. Since April, nine contractor employees at WIPP have had positive test results, with six of those recovered. We appreciate WIPP for providing these continual updates.
Constructors Inc. will begin a sewer tap on Orchard Lane beginning Aug. 10. This project is expected to take two to three days and occur along Orchard between Doepp and Glassier Drives. There will be detours in place and please follow all posted signs.
Finally, please enjoy the remainder of tax free weekend. The tax holiday concludes at midnight Aug. 9. During that time period, the law provides a deduction from gross receipts – effectively allowing the retailer to sell the items tax free. We don’t know exactly what school will be like this year, but it is a good opportunity no matter what the circumstance.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
SE NM Excluded from Nursing Home Visitations- Update: 8-7-20
Yesterday, the state announced a plan allowing individuals at nursing homes and other similar facilities the ability to begin visiting with family members outdoors. We certainly understand the need to begin addressing the mental and emotional well-being of individuals who haven’t been allowed to visit directly with their loved ones for half a year now. There were a list of requirement and standards for the individual facilities, such as the fact that the facilities can’t have recently had any positive COVID-19 cases.
There were also regional qualifications, and none of the counties in Southeast New Mexico “qualified” into currently being allowed to begin these visits – due to statistics based on test positivity and average cases per 100,000 residents. Overall, 21 of the state’s 33 counties, including Bernalillo, McKinley and San Juan Counties, were given the go-ahead. Facilities in Lea, Chaves and Eddy County are not yet allowed to begin these visits.
According to the New Mexico Department of Health, Eddy County most recently recorded a positivity rate of 10.2% and an average 9.3 cases per 100,000 residents per day, and the requirements were 5% test positivity and less an average of 10 daily cases per 100,000 residents. So we just didn’t have enough additional negative tests, according to the state’s formula.
There was a period of multiple weeks where Eddy County did not have a single new positive case, but we were ordered to shut down everything anyway. When we tried to make the point that decisions should be made based on regional necessity, we were told that New Mexico would move forward or backward as one. This is an example of why many residents of Southeastern New Mexico feel like there’s often double standard being applied to the decision-making process.
Meanwhile, there’s lots of positive information at a local and state level regarding COVID-19. There are no Eddy County COVID-19 hospitalizations as of Thursday evening, but there is one known Eddy County resident hospitalized outside of the county, according to Artesia General Hospital. Please keep this individual in your prayers. Statewide COVID hospitalizations were reported to be at 138, which is down significantly from 180 in late July. The state’s seven-day rolling average for new cases is now 198 a day, which is a decline of 40% from the prior week.
We hope to see this positive trend continue over the upcoming weeks, allowing our businesses to resume operations.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Update: August 6, 2020
Most of us are ready to hear some good news, so here’s some information about a few of the positive developments going on around Carlsbad.
Chevron made another huge donation of personal protective equipment to health care workers and others on the front line of battling the COVID-19 pandemic. Local donations were made to Carlsbad and Loving schools, as well as to the Carlsbad Family Health Center.
Chevron also recently gave gas cards to organizations providing emergency services and direct financial support to non-profits providing relief in their communities. Thanks to Beverly Allen, Nathan Carroll and Chevron, as well as to all of the area’s companies who have been very supportive over the past few months.
While there are still many details being worked out for the school year, the United Way of Eddy County is moving forward with its annual Stuff the Bus campaign. You can support this drive to provide supplies to local children by making a monetary donation through the United Way’s web page (www.uweddyco.org/2020STB), purchasing school supplies and dropping off at the United Way office at 116 S. Canyon, or purchasing school supplies directly through the United Way’s gift registry on their web page. For more information, please call (575) 887-3504. Thanks to Walmart and Mosaic for helping with this year’s Stuff the Bus effort. The Assistance League of Carlsbad is also helping children get dressed this year through Operation School Bell, and the United Way is helping the Assistance League with backpacks.
There’s also going to be a blood drive at the Boys and Girls Club Event Center (206 E. Pecan) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. August 12 that the United Way is helping to sponsor. You can register by calling (575) 840-8178.
President Trump’s signature of the Great American Outdoors Act was a victory for everyone, and it was largely supported by members of both political parties, including our own congressional delegation. The bill will direct up to $6.65 billion to priority fixes in deferred maintenance and repairs. It will also allocate $900 million each year to a conservation fund. Our two national parks are wonderful resources, and we are sure they are excited about this development as well.
Finally, thank you to everyone in the community who showed their support for Zach Young as he celebrated his birthday on Aug. 6. Zach has been battling a brain tumor since a diagnosis in 2015. He and his family members have been national advocates for brain tumor awareness issues, and Zach’s spirit has been an inspiration to so many of us. Members of Encompass Health worked hard to make his birthday special.
There’s a positive to this sad situation in how much the entire community has come together to show so much support for Zach and his family, both throughout the past five years and during his birthday. Happy Birthday Zach!
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Update: August 5, 2020
Tuesday’s New Mexico Supreme Court decision was yet another setback to our local restaurants, but there are still several other important ongoing legal efforts in development.
Here’s what we’ve been able to put together regarding yesterday’s decision by the New Mexico Supreme Court in a case filed by the Governor against the Ninth Judicial District and a group of business owners.
After listening to oral arguments by both sides and deliberating for about an hour, the Court concluded that the Legislature has given Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham the authority to issue civil penalties for violations of emergency public health orders that limit mass gatherings and require business closures. Chief Justice Michael Vigil announced the NM Supreme Court’s Decision. Republican Party Chairman Steve Pearce offered a rebuttal by urging voters to seek change in November by voting in candidates who will protect rights.
The New Mexico Supreme Court declined to issue a writ as to whether the state is required to pay back businesses for being closed. Attorneys for the business owners had asked the court to declare the closures a “taking” – when a government seizes property for public use and determines the plaintiffs were owed damages for lost revenues. That issue may go back to the 9th Judicial District Court in Clovis.
There are also at least two other related lawsuits pending. In July, the New Mexico Restaurant Association and other businesses filed a lawsuit in Carlsbad claiming that the governor was unfairly targeting certain industries. A temporary restraining order was granted by a Carlsbad District Court Judge saying the order forcing restaurants to close did not have to be enforced until July 30, but the New Mexico Supreme Court paused that decision a few hours later, leaving indoor dining closed. Legal briefs have been filed for this case, but the state Supreme Court has yet to indicate whether it will hear this case. New Mexico Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Vigil has recused himself from this issue.
Also, on July 27 the New Mexico Restaurant association filed another lawsuit against Gov. Michele Lujan Grisham’s administration, saying they have the right to get raw COVID-19 data from the New Mexico Department of Health.
In the meantime, please continue to support our local restaurants and small businesses in every way possible. Many of them are continuing to add patios and pavilions in order to try to stay in business.
In other news, New Mexico State University-Carlsbad is hosting a virtual town hall for incoming NMSU-C students. This event will include important information about what procedures will be in place. The event will take place at 11 a.m. Aug. 6. You can log on through the college’s Facebook page.
There were nine new positive COVID-19 tests announced for Eddy County on Wednesday, putting the total overall number of positive cases for the county at 267. Artesia General Hospital reports 175 total active cases and 88 total recoveries, as well as four deceased. Additionally, there are currently two individuals hospitalized in Eddy County for COVID related symptoms and 1 known Eddy County resident hospitalized outside of Eddy County. Please continue to keep everyone in your prayers.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Update to School Plan: August 4. 2020
There have been a number of recent significant changes made to the plan for the upcoming school year, following the Governor’s update from a few weeks ago. If you haven’t checked recently, it is recommended that you revisit the school district’s online FAQ for an update. The school district is doing a great job communicating.
Carlsbad Municipal Schools is planning to begin the school year on Aug. 24 in remote format. All students returning to the district will begin an online learning program on that date. A previous Jumpstart program has been removed from back to school programming due to the Governor’s orders.
From that point, students will begin physically going to school in a hybrid model (meaning students either physically go to school on Monday and Tuesday or on Thursday and Friday) when the district is approved to make such a change. The state has previously said that a phased approach to the hybrid will begin after Labor Day, but dates may vary based on the spread of COVID-19.
Some families have opted into a 100% online option for the entire school year for their students. These students will be notified by their schools with instructions and login credentials.
According to the school district, school meals will be made available during the remote, hybrid and full entry models.
All students will be issued a Chromebook this year at some point in August. It is recommended that students use these Chromebooks even if they have another option to make things easier for teachers.
We know there are many other questions about how this process will take place. Please visit www.carlsbadschools.net for more information.
As a reminder, a new talk line has been established for those facing challenges or anxiety during the pandemic. According to the state, trained staff will be available 24/7 for anyone who calls. The campaign is aimed at a wide variety of people experiencing stress right now, including older individuals.
Anyone needing assistance or someone to talk to is asked to call the Talk Helpline at 1-855-NMCRISIS (662-7474). There is also a peer-to-peer line that offers connections at 1-855 4NM-7100 (466-7100).
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant has reported that a Nuclear Waste Partnership employee who works at the WIPP site tested positive for COVID-19 after becoming ill. WIPP contact tracing and sanitation protocols have been followed. WIPP also reported that it continues to work with all contractors to ensure Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDD) guidelines are followed. We appreciate WIPP providing us with this update.
On Tuesday, the New Mexico Supreme Court listened to arguments on both sides concerning the state’s authority to enforce certain public health order measures.
We are getting a legal interpretation of the Supreme Court’s ruling and will do our best to explain at a later date.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Sad Weekend in Carlsbad: August 3, 2020
Our entire community is in shock over the news of two horrible tragedies which took place this weekend.
On Saturday afternoon, members of the Carlsbad Police Department received the terrible news that an 8-year-old girl was reportedly killed by her father. Officers, detectives and SWAT team members responded to the residence on Davis Street. The deceased girl was located, and officers arrested the father on several charges, including abuse of a child resulting in death. An investigation is ongoing, with possible additional charges pending.
Also on Saturday, a 48-year-old woman was found deceased at her home in south Carlsbad. The woman’s husband was believed to be responsible for her death and had fled the scene. A deputy with the Reeves County Sheriff’s Office initiated a traffic stop on the man, who was driving through Pecos, Texas. There was an officer-involved shooting during the traffic stop. According to police reports, the man was struck by gunfire, taken into custody and transported to the hospital. He is currently facing several charges, including an open count of murder for the death of his wife.
These two tragic situations are as utterly unexplainable as they are horrifying, and our entire community is united in both shock and sorrow.
Members of the Carlsbad Police Department, the Carlsbad Fire Department and other assisting agencies should all be commended for their professionalism in handling both of these incidents. Most of us could not fathom a job where we would ever be expected to respond to such horrible situations. While these two situations were especially terrible, our first responders deal with extremely difficult situations every single day.
Anyone with additional information about either of these heinous incidents is asked to call the Carlsbad Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division at (575) 885-2111 Ext. 2240.
Additionally over the weekend, the state reported a COVID-19 related death of an Eddy County resident who was a male in his 70s. This is the county’s fourth COVID-related death.
This individual was hospitalized and had underlying conditions, according to the New Mexico Department of Health. We understand that this individual passed away on July 27 at Covenant Medical Center in Lubbock. We also wish to offer our sincere condolences to this gentleman’s many loved ones during their time of grief.
Carlsbad is a very close-knit community and all of us are impacted by these losses. Please keep everyone in your prayers.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
This is a little bit different than our normal daily updates, but we’ve been asked by a few people to explain a little more detail about local City government.
The City of Carlsbad is served by ten elected officials – Municipal Judge Collis Johnson and eight City Councilors and myself. Our City is divided into four wards as follows – Ward 1 (Edward Rodriguez and Lisa Anaya-Flores), Ward 2 (JJ Chavez and Leo Estrada), Ward 3 (Jason Shirley and Judith Waters) and Ward 4 (Wesley Carter and Mark Walterscheid). Councilor Rodriguez is also our Mayor Pro Tem.
The City of Carlsbad’s form of government is called “Mayor-Council form of government” in state law. Our City Council operates as the legislative branch of local government. They have the ultimate final say in votes related to budget, resolutions and major policy changes. We have a great City Council that also works closely with City Hall every day by serving on a number of committees. Our Council meetings are the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month.
As described by state law, the Mayor is the presiding officer of the governing body (meaning the mayor presides over council meetings) and the chief executive officer. The executive office makes proposals to City Council and oversees the day-to-day processes. Our City Administrator and Deputy City Administrators are tasked with assisting the mayor in running the daily operations of the City. John Lowe is our City Administrator, while Wendy Austin and KC Cass serve as our Deputy City Administrators. We are also supported by a large number of advisory committees such as our Lodgers’ Tax Advisory Board and our Planning and Zoning Commission, as well as by ad hoc committees who help us with specific projects. We sincerely appreciate the hundreds of residents who dedicate their time toward helping this community.
City departments include Municipal Services; Municipal Court; the City Attorney’s office; Planning, Engineering and Regulation; Community Development; Finance; the City Clerk; Public Works; the Fire Department; Utilities; the Police Department; Human Resources; and IT.
Who watches over the City? Our budget and financial decisions are regulated through the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration. Melissa Salcido is the Director of Finance and she works closely with Austin. Sandy Gonzalez works very closely with Austin and prepares our annual budget. Our finance department has done a great job over the past few years making sure everything is accountable.
The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office also has oversight in terms of open records. The City Clerk, Nadine Mireless, and the clerk’s department work very hard to maintain our open government. Our water and waste water departments are regulated through the EPA and New Mexico Environment Department.
The City recently opted into the provisions of the 2018 Local Election Act, which means municipalities will have its officers elected during the November Local Election on years where there isn’t a Presidential or Gubernatorial election. That means our next municipal election, which will be managed by Eddy County, will be in November of 2021.
You can report issues & concerns to the City of Carlsbad online at www.egovlink.com/carlsbad, calling 311 from a landline or calling (575) 887-1200 from a cell phone. Finally, you can always message the City of Carlsbad page on Facebook. Many of our offices may be restricted right now due to COVID-19 concerns, so please contact us in advance.
What other Elected Government Agencies Serve Carlsbad? Eddy County is represented by five commissioners, each representing one of five districts across the county. The county’s Treasurer, Sheriff, Assessor, Probate Judge and Clerk are all elected as well. Carlsbad Municipal Schools is also served by an elected body of five. Finally, we have a local Carlsbad Irrigation District Board of Directors, as well as a Carlsbad Soil and Water Conservation District who both operate independently from the City or County
The City of Carlsbad has a great partnership with all other local elected bodies. Please let us know if we can ever answer any of your questions or be of any additional assistance.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
July 31, 2020
As many of you heard, there were very few changes made when New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham extended the public health order through August 28 during Thursday afternoon’s press conference. This was despite there being a number of positive signs, such as a decline in hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19.
Minor changes included allowing wineries and distilleries to reopen outdoor seating areas. The governor also said there will be several changes to the mandatory 14-day quarantine for those entering New Mexico from out of state, such as exempting those who travel for medical reasons.
Meanwhile, New Mexicans across the state continue to believe that their many points arguing for an approach that allows businesses to survive while still protecting the safety of our citizens are being ignored.
“Today, the Governor and her staff made it clear that New Mexican voices and opinions do not matter as long as she has her emergency powers,” House GOP Leader Jim Townsend said. “We look to our state leaders for hope and guidance, yet this administration has made it clear that national politics and party standing is more important than you or me as New Mexicans.”
Elected officials across the state, representing both political parties, hear the pleas from our local business owners, which is why we support the ongoing court efforts to allow our restaurants to re-open.
There were a few other developments worth mentioning yesterday, including the state’s announcement that rules for New Mexico’s developmental disability program will be updated to allow limited family visits to group-living homes. Our residents of CARC Inc. have been impacted more than almost anyone by this shutdown, and we hope for some positive movement that assists them.
There was also a simplification made to the state’s web page in terms of individuals looking for help with issues related to unemployment and loss of health care services. You can now visit www.newmexico.gov and click on the “I Need Assistance” button for some additional information on housing issues, unemployment and medical issues.
COVID-19 Update: Artesia General Hospital has been doing a good job combining Department of Health data with local numbers. On July 30, AGH reported 239 total positive COVID cases in Eddy County, which includes 162 active cases, 74 recoveries and 3 deceased. The hospital also reports that there are currently two COVID hospitalizations in Eddy County and 1 known Eddy County resident hospitalized outside of the county for COVID-19.
Thank you to everyone in Carlsbad who participated in outreach efforts on July 30 to help get word out about World Day against Trafficking in Persons. A number of residents gathered on the courthouse lawn Thursday evening for a peaceful protest against trafficking.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
July 30, 2020
Some local groups are continuing to work hard to address the mental-health aspect of the COVID-19 shutdown. You have people who are unemployed, seniors who can’t get to spend time with their families and many others who are simply experiencing high levels of anxiety.
“Finding Joy in Uncertain Times” and dealing with isolation and loneliness is going to be the topic of a KCCC Radio Community Forum show at noon on Aug. 6. You can tune in to 930 AM on your radio as Bob Scholl and Stella Davis interview Honor Medina, who is a licensed Family & Marriage Therapist, and Honey Covin-Weeks, who is a psychiatric and mental health clinical nurse specialist for Artesia General Hospital. The event is being brought to you by the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce’s Age Friendly Community Council. The Council is also still collecting cards and letters to deliver to our seniors who can’t get out – so please drop them off at city hall if you have more ready for distribution.
The United Way and Vitalant are sponsoring a blood drive on August 12 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club Event Center at 206 East Pecan Street. To register, please call or text Stephanie with Vitalant at (575) 840-8178. You can also register online through the United Way’s web page.
It’s always nice to have some Presidential attention in your area. On Wednesday, President Trump visited a Double Eagle oil rig near Midland and called attention to the national importance of the oil and gas industry. Notably, the President specifically mentioned the energy potential of New Mexico on multiple occasions. It’s nice to have the nation reminded that so much of the Permian and Delaware Basin’s oil reserves are in New Mexico. Carlsbad is at the epicenter of our country’s oil and gas potential, so there’s no doubt that many of our citizens were paying close attention to what was said on Wednesday.
President Trump addressed efforts to stabilize oil and gas prices after the bottom fell out several months ago. He said this included negotiations with Saudi Arabia, Russia, OPEC and Mexico that cut nearly 10 million barrels a day, allowing prices to stabilize.
The President also announced that export authorizations for American liquefied natural gas can now be extended through the year 2050. Finally, he signed several permits allowing the export of Texas crude to Mexico and granting approval to use pipeline and railway infrastructure.
The President also addressed issues related to COVID-19, including touting an increase in personal protective equipment and antiviral treatment. He also stated that a promising vaccine has entered the final stage of clinical trials. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a Phase 3 clinical trial for a vaccine has in fact begun and is being tested. This is a very promising development.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
July 29, 2020
COVID-19 Update: On Tuesday evening, we received the sad news that an Eddy County resident with COVID-19 has passed away. This is the third COVID-19 related death attributed to Eddy County and the first from Carlsbad. We understand that there were underlying conditions. We have been informed that this resident, a woman in her 60s, was at a healthcare facility outside of Eddy County when she passed away. a Please keep this individual’s family and friends in your prayers, as well as all individuals who are battling this virus.
There were nine new positive cases reported for Eddy County on Tuesday as well for a total of 233. On its web page, Artesia General Hospital now reports 68 recoveries, 8,012 total tests and two hospitalizations in Eddy County.
There’s some good news from Carlsbad Medical Center this week. The hospital reports that they are now allowing most patients to have visitors. Effective Monday, Inpatient visitation for Med-Surg and ICU patients is now permitted between the hours of 3pm and 7pm daily. Only one visitor per patient will be allowed at a time, and visitors will be asked to stay with the patient in their room.
ER patients or those here for outpatient surgeries, procedures or testing may now also have one person accompanying them during their visit. One support per patient is also still allowed for labor and delivery. Visitors will still be screened and have to wear a mask and sanitize their hands.
There’s going to be a virtual town hall on Thursday (July 30) hosted by the Department of Workforce Solutions that focuses on the hospitality industry. This town hall is aimed at assisting businesses as they seek to re-open and provides information about Executive Health Orders. The event will be held at 10 a.m. on July 30. You can register at this link https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_TELv38prT9O8CxsgRN3EuA or view other similar town halls at https://www.youtube.com/user/NMDWS. You can also visit the Department of Workforce Solutions for more information.
Cal’s Shade Western Restaurant now has a drive-thru for call-in or pick-up to go orders. The restaurant is still open on the patio for dining as well. Hours are now 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. We’re always happy to get word out to help support our local restaurants.
Finally, congratulations to Woods Houghton, with the Eddy County Extension Office, who is retiring as a county agent this week. Woods is one of the most knowledgeable people in Carlsbad on too many topics to list, and this area was very blessed to have him. He is also a great educator, and we hope he will remain highly involved in our community.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Lawsuit Update: 7-28-20
Here’s an update on the New Mexico Restaurant Association’s (NMRA) legal battle to get indoor dining back open: On Monday, the NMRA filed a response to a lawsuit that is now being heard by the New Mexico Supreme Court. Additionally, District Judge Ray Romero has filed a response saying that the case should remain within his court in Eddy County. The Governor’s office will have until Thursday to provide a response.
The NMRA is demanding that the state provide more data to back up its claim that indoor dining is leading to more COVID-19 cases. In its recent presentations, the state has said that its “rapid responses” have shown that a high percentage of COVID-19 cases can be traced to restaurants and indoor dining. The NMRA, however, claims the data is incomplete and is requesting that indoor dining again be allowed.
Eddy County has also filed what’s called a friend of the court brief in support of the NMRA. While Eddy County is not directly involved in this particular legal battle, it is offering information that may be of assistance in making a decision.
“This case ultimately comes down to one principle,” Eddy County submitted in its brief “’The accumulation of too much power within one branch poses a threat to liberty.’”
The county does not dispute the need for state action during an emergency, but argues that the form of that action taken by the state must be carefully examined. In this instance, the county argues that many components of the public health orders are beyond the state’s capacity to issue without following a formal rulemaking process, and that the Governor lacks the authority to create or change substantive law.
“Therefore, the Governor and Secretary of Health do not have the broad, self-executing powers, which they have exercised during this emergency,” Eddy County states, and then later adds. “Because the Governor and DOH acted without self-executing authority, and because they did not follow any valid, rulemaking process, the public health orders are unenforceable against the real parties in interest.”
Finally, Eddy County argues that the decision to impose the same indoor dining restrictions to all of New Mexico was arbitrary and capricious, in part due to the 110 degree weather in Carlsbad.
The City of Carlsbad has supported Eddy County with this effort, and we are grateful for our county commission’s leadership in making sure our restaurants and citizens are well represented. This is a very serious health issue that absolutely deserves a significant response, but the response also needs to remain fair and respect our system’s balance of power.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Farmers Market season is now officially underway in Carlsbad. Every Thursday, beginning at 5:30 p.m., the Carlsbad Main Street’s annual Downtown Farmers Market is taking place on the Eddy County Courthouse Lawn. Congratulations to Karla Niemeier and everyone affiliated with the project for working hard to get the Farmers’ Market going again this year.
The Farmers’ Market got off to a great start earlier this month and is expected to continue to grow as more and more vendors again feel comfortable. The courthouse lawn has plenty of space, and MainStreet is doing a great job keeping COVID-19 safe practices in place. For more information, please call (575) 628-3768. Milton’s Brewing has also set up an outdoor patio just across the courthouse lawn.
The Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce has again updated its list of places offering different food options, including an interactive map listing outdoor dining options. You can visit the Chamber’s Facebook page or the “Carryout Carlsbad” page for more information. There are 25 patio options listed in the most recent update – please check it out.
Don’t forget that the Balzano Vineyards have also set up a Farmers’ Market north of town from 6-9 p.m. Saturday at 5230 Seven Rivers Highway. The country store and winery open for 5 p.m. for pizza and wine on the patio.
In national news, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is expected to bring forward a $1 trillion pandemic relief package early this week in what is being called CARES 2. Based on speculation in Forbes, this package would likely include proposals for a second $1,200 stimulus check (For everyone earning less than $75,000) and $500 for each dependent. If you earn above those amounts, your check will be adjusted based on your gross income.
Also up for review is a discussion of unemployment benefits. The current enhanced unemployment benefits package of an additional $600 per week is expiring. The White House is now advising a new package that will instead provide an additional 70 percent of the worker’s usual pay. The moratorium on evictions that applied to buildings with a mortgage backed by the government is also expected to be extended in the next package. We hope to have more information about what is being proposed in this package and how it will impact Carlsbad residents later this week.
COVID-19 update: There were four new positive COVID-19 cases announced for Eddy County on Sunday and four on Saturday putting us at a total of 221 as of Monday morning. Artesia General Hospital’s latest update reports 7,362 total tests conducted in Eddy County and 65 recoveries.
The Albuquerque Journal reports 19,042 total positive cases in the state, including 7,349 recoveries and 614 reported deaths. The paper also reports 501,676 negative test results.
Closing on a positive note- the Carlsbad High School Natatorium has re-opened for lap swimming and water fitness, after being closed due to mechanical problems on July 16. The pools hours are Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 2 p.m.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Update: July 24-2020
The focus of Thursday evening’s state press conference was on schools, with Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham stating that online classes will be the only option until after Labor Day.
This largely fits in with our local school district’s plan already, but Carlsbad Municipal Schools may have to make some adjustments to its early “springboard” program. Superintendent Washburn informed us that everything is being evaluated and the school district will announce any additional adjustments the school district is making within the next few weeks.
The state also announced a phased approach in which PreK- 5th grade students will be the first to return, followed by middle school, then high school.
Carlsbad Municipal Schools has also posted a FAQ for school opening on its web page and Facebook page. Parents who wish to select a 100% online option for the school year may complete a registration form at www.carlsbadschools.net or by calling (575) 234-3300. Registration for the 100% online program is going on right now.
The Governor also used Thursday’s press conference as an opportunity to single out Southeast New Mexico by posting a photo of a family eating at a Hobbs restaurant as a “bad example.”
If the Governor’s stated goal is to get people across the state to work together to reduce the spread of COVID-19, how did posting that picture help? Will posting that photo lead to more people wearing their masks and social distancing, or will it just expand on our regional divisions?
Finally, the state explained its “Rapid Response” program, in which the New Mexico Environment Department or other agencies contact businesses where an employee tests positive for COVID-19. Businesses may want to check with the NMED in advance, to be prepared should such a situation take place.
COVID-19 Update: Eddy County recorded six new positive cases of COVID-19 Thursday, according to the New Mexico Department of Health. According to the DOH, 139 of the county’s total 207 cases have been within the 88220 zip code, while 44 have been in the 88210 zip code (Artesia) and 15 have been in the 88256 zip code (Loving). Artesia General Hospital reports 7,362 total tests for Eddy County residents and 65 total recoveries, as well as 2 COVID-related deaths.
The Carlsbad Fire and Police Departments are wrapping up a Battle of the Badges Blood Drive.
The donors were given an opportunity to vote for their favorite agency, and the agency with the most votes wins bragging rights. The Fire Department won a close battle against the Police Department, 42-33. Statewide, firefighters lead 443 to 441, but several communities are left. Thanks to Vitalant for providing this important service.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Preparing for 285: Update July 23-2020
As reported recently by the New Mexico Department of Transportation, construction on U.S. 285 is set to begin on August 3. The first two phases will take place between mile markers 0 to 7 and 16 to 18 along the U.S. 285 corridor with a price tag of nearly $56 million. Construction on 285 is long overdue, and everyone has been working together at all levels to make this happen.
Eddy County, partnering with the state, is developing alternative routes during this construction process, but many of those routes will not be in place by the first week of August.
The first phase of work, from mile markers 0 to 7, will require lane closures to allow trucks to haul material to the work zone and build detours for emergency vehicles and through traffic. Traffic will be restricted to one lane between mile markers 16 to 18 while the bridge replacement portion of the project takes place.
The speed limit in the construction zone will be reduced to 50 miles per hour. Delays are expected and motorists are asked to obey flaggers and warning signs. This will be an instance of short term pain for long term gain, and it will save many lives over the long haul.
The City of Carlsbad is doing its part to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We have expanded on our own safety processes to protect our employees and residents, and this effort will include additional training to explain how to properly wear a mask, how to clean or dispose of one, and, most importantly, what masks do to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and everything else.
Based on recent visits to local stores, our businesses and residents are also largely doing a great job of enacting the safety guidelines suggested by the CDC. We all should look for ways to improve, but please keep up the good work.
As we’ve stated several times over the past few months, the most important thing to remember is that we’re all in this together. Store employees attempting to enforce policies they may not even agree with are not the enemy. Please respect our local business owners and their employees. Remember, the goal is to get all businesses open and return to as normal as possible.
We do not know what to expect from the Governor’s press conference Thursday afternoon. At this point, we’re done even trying to guess. However, here’s what the New Mexico Department of Health’s weekly update reported on July 21:
- Statewide, the increase in daily case counts appears to be slowing down.
- An increasing percentage of positive COVID-19 tests are individuals between the ages of 20 and 39.
- The number of COVID-related deaths per week have been declining since mid-May statewide.
- There have been an average of 170 COVID-related hospitalizations each day for the past week for the state. This is slightly higher than it was a few weeks ago.
- The number of positive cases introducing each day for Southeastern New Mexico has stabilized since a peak in early July.
We will certainly be prepared to discuss what we learn from the Governor’s update in tomorrow’s report.
Carlsbad resident Cliff Stroud has been named as a field organizer for the 2020 Trump Campaign. He has asked for anyone interested in volunteering to call him at (575) 706-9466 or email him at email@example.com.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
On Tuesday night, our school board voted to accept one of two proposals for the upcoming school year. The primary difference between the two proposals was when the school year will begin and end.
Based on the school board’s decision, Jumpstart will start August 24th. Jumpstart is basically a catch-up phase for students who were not able to do online learning last spring and for SPED students. Other students will be provided with remote-learning opportunities during this time.
Full re-entry, utilizing a hybrid model, will begin on September 8. The hybrid model means that students will either go to physical school on Monday and Tuesday or on Thursday and Friday, with the other three days of the week being devoted to online learning.
The last day of the school year will be on June 24, 2021.Please keep in mind that this is all conditional on state approval. There is still a chance that the state will require online only schooling this fall.
This hasn’t been easy for anyone, but our school district has very possibly battled the hardest challenge of them all, and there’s no perfect solution. Thanks again to our school board, school administrators and, most of all, our teachers, for working so hard to make this plan possible.
Congratulations again to all of the local athletes who recently participated in the Special Olympics Virtual Games.
As with most sports, the Special Olympics has officially shut down competition and training during the COVID-19 pandemic. Group events have been cancelled until 2021. CARC Inc. and Washington Ranch have very strict rules right now as well.
However, the New Mexico Chapter set up a “virtual games” for athletes, with options including general fitness, volleyball, bocce, softball and athletic fitness (running, standing long jumps, etc.). Each athlete can compete in three events.
For example, softball was an accuracy competition where athletes had ten throws from 60 feet away. There were setting and bumping competitions in volleyball, as well as a balloon volley. General fitness included sit-ups and pushups.
Several of our local athletes competed in this year’s “Virtual Olympics”- they are Jonathan Barbosa, Jeremy Easterling, Jerry Hall, Caitlin House, Sheldon Howerton, James Munoz, Mark Petzold, April Ramirez, Jesus Saenz, Baylee Threlkeld, Katie Pierce and Darrell Worner.
Each athlete will receive a medial especially designed for this virtual event as well as a T-shirt. Thanks again to everyone who worked hard to make this event possible for our local Special Olympics athletes, especially Carolyn Olsen and the staff of volunteers and David Testa with the Carlsbad Police Department.
Nuclear Waste Partnership’s NuPro 3rd Annual Food Drive is now underway. Donations will go to the Carlsbad Battered Family Shelter, Oasis Church Abundant Harvest Pantry, the Loving Baptist Food Pantry and Isaiah’s Kitchen in Hobbs. You can give monetary donations through the United Way of Eddy County’s web page or drop off food items at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites or Candlewood Suites. For more information visit https://www.nwp-wipp.com/annual-food-drive/. Thank you to everyone for coming together to help support our residents in need!
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Update: July 21, 2020
Monday’s legal back and forth on the restaurant lawsuit was very confusing to many of us, but here’s what we’ve been able to piece together:
A group of restaurants have filed a lawsuit against the state, who originally had until July 20 to respond. When no response was received by that day, the District Court granted a 10-day injunction, which would have prevented the prohibition on indoor dining from being enforced during those ten days.
Later on Monday, the New Mexico Supreme Court then issued a stay on that injunction, basically giving the state additional time (next Monday) to provide a formal response.
What it means at this point is that we’re back to square one – the health order prohibiting restaurants from indoor dining is still in place, and so is the lawsuit challenging that order.
This ordeal certainly provided an excellent example as to why so many citizens in Southeastern New Mexico feel like they have no voice when it comes to statewide decisions. The perception in this instance is that the executive office blew off responding to the lawsuit and then called upon a sympathetic judicial branch to provide more time when there was finally some pushback.
We had a temporarily favorable local ruling down here which was overruled by the state court just a few hours later. Our legislators from Southeastern New Mexico can certainly relate- they often receive similar treatment when they attempt to introduce legislation in the Roundhouse.
COVID-19 Update: We were informed of 7 new positive cases in Eddy County on Monday, for a total of 187. A total of 61 recoveries for Eddy County have now been reported. There are currently a total of four COVID-related hospitalizations in Eddy County right now and all of them are Eddy County residents. There have been a total of 7,362 COVID-19 tests administered in Eddy County over the past few months, including 2,409 from Carlsbad’s public health office and 2,096 from Carlsbad Medical Center.
The efforts to clean up Carlsbad continue. The next big cleanup event is scheduled for 6:30-9:30 a.m. on Aug. 8 at Derrick Road. Participants will be provided with all needed supplies, including gloves, bags, safety vests and hand sanitizer. Thanks again to Queta & Alvin Doporto, Bonnie Ornelas State Farm Insurance, and Steady Trucking for their support, and Keep Carlsbad Beautiful for helping put it all together. For more information, please call Mary Garwood at (575) 302- 7665.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
July 20, 2020
We received some sad news over the weekend when we learned about a COVID-19 related death of an Eddy County resident.
We understand that the individual was a male in his 50s from Artesia who was recently transferred from a local hospital to a larger facility when his condition worsened. This is the second COVID-19 related death of an Eddy County resident, with the first occurring in March, according to the Department of Health.
Our prayers go out to this individual’s numerous family members and friends across Carlsbad and Artesia.
Also, over the weekend, there were eight new positive COVID-19 cases announced in Eddy County on Sunday and five new cases announced on Saturday, putting us at an overall total now of 181. The most recent recovery total we have is 60. If you are looking for additional information on COVID 19 cases in Eddy County, please visit the Department of Health’s Dashboard at https://cvprovider.nmhealth.org/public-dashboard.html and Artesia General Hospital’s page at https://artesiageneral.com/covid19/. Finally, if you would like more information on testing with the NM DOH, please visit https://cvtestreg.nmhealth.org/.
We did have some positive news over the weekend in that it rained in Carlsbad for the first time in several months and also brought in a “cool front,” by which we mean temperatures are now below 100. The forecast continues to predict a chance of isolated storms for the remainder of the week. For those of you who are new to the area, late July is our “monsoon season” in which we get much of our annual rainfall.
Today’s local charity deserving recognition is Calvary Assembly of God, under the direction of lead pastors Phillip and Misty Price. Calvary provides free hot meals every Monday at 6 p.m. It’s one of several outreach programs that the church sponsors every week. Every third Saturday of the month, Calvary gives out more than 24,000 pounds of food through its distribution. Calvary is located at 2107 W. Church Street. For more information, please call (575) 885-9152.
On Sunday, our update included a list of all of our recent projects that the city has worked on, as well as a list of future projects. We received a lot of good feedback in response to that update, including additional suggestions. We take all of those suggestions to heart and are always looking for ways to improve this community.
Our local Special Olympians recently completed in the Special Olympics NM Virtual Summer Games. Congratulations to every one of them, as well as to Carolyn Olsen and all of the great volunteers, and we hope to have some more information soon recognizing these great participants.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Update: 7-17-20, Happy New (Fiscal) Year!
While many of us are probably hoping to see 2020 in the rearview mirror, the City of Carlsbad did close its 2020 Fiscal Year on June 30. Despite the numerous challenges, especially over the past few months, the City is proud of the many accomplishments which have taken place during this period of historic growth.
This economic boom resulted in an uptick in jobs and population, which also led to an increase in infrastructure needs. The City of Carlsbad devoted itself to road improvements throughout the past fiscal year by more than tripling the annual fund for road improvements. Key improvements were made to Church Street, Blodgett Street and Muscatel Avenue, among others. The list also includes Lamont Place, Riverside Drive, Alabama Street, Oklahoma Street, Algerita Street, West Fiesta Drive, Vineyard Court, 6th Street, Texas Street and Alameda Street. There’s always more work to be done.
Additional infrastructure improvements included developing an extensive sewer plan for north Carlsbad. We are also nearing completion of Phase 3 of the Double Eagle project, which will help make sure our residents will have water for many years.
The City is also committed to doing its part to maintain Expedia’s designation as the Number One most scenic city in the American Southwest. Thanks to partnerships with NWP, Mosaic and others, we have added two gazebos and a new pavilion along the river, while also making massive improvements to the upper beach area. We’ve also added landscaping to the medians at our community entranceways and completed upgrades around the golf course and Pecos River Village. Cleanups and other beautification efforts are ongoing
Looking at other parks – the promenade phase of the Halagueno Arts Park is coming along extremely well, and we’ve mentioned the acquisition of the helicopter for our Veterans Memorial Park. There have been new exhibits placed at the Heritage Park by the Flume. We’ve started the first phase of the potash museum by putting outdoor equipment on display. Thanks to a partnership with NWP, we have been able to add shade structures to parks around town, including Troy Young. We have also added numerous basketball courts across Carlsbad.
In terms of supporting our first responders, we are completing Fire Station #6 on the south end of town. Through our partnership with Chevron and others, we have added a new K-9 and developed a bomb squad to our police department. We continue to focus on recruiting highly-qualified first responders.
The City has made significant improvements to our airport runway, thanks to a variety of grants. We’ve also made improvements to the Riverwalk Recreation Center and the Cavern Theatre. We hosted two state tournaments at the sports complex last summer.
While private developers have done most of the work, the city is doing its part to assist with new residential developments, largely to the southeast part of town. There were almost 300 new home permits issued last year and three apartment complexes began their permitting process. Many more homes and apartment complexes are in development, as are five hotels.
We also support many ongoing commercial and industrial development, including expansions to XTO, Cimarex Energy, Chevron and Oxy. Carlsbad continued to see new commercial development even throughout the COVID shutdown.
While the shutdown impacted many of our planned programs and activities, we’re very proud of the fact that Carlsbad still held a world-class fireworks show this summer, and we’re also proud of our citizens for celebrating safely. We look forward to resuming world-class events such as our prayer breakfast and energy summit as soon as we are able.
On the financial side, we received a clean and timely audit this year. The members of our financial department are unsung heroes who continue to do a remarkable job. Carlsbad also became the first community in New Mexico to complete its Age Friendly designation process, thanks to the tireless efforts of Janell Whitlock, Stella Davis, Wanda Durham and other members of the Chamber’s Age Friendly Council.
What is in store for this upcoming year? While we are facing some of the same budget challenges that all communities are facing right now, our commitment to Carlsbad has not diminished. We know the oil and gas industry will rebound, and we have developed long and short term plans to assist us with preparing for that rebound.
We’ve developed engineering plans for road improvements to Cherry Lane, Kircher Street, Boyd Drive, Callaway Drive, Radio Boulevard and the intersection of Hidalgo Road and Boyd Drive. Those are just a few of the road improvements you’ll see soon. We are also developing a neighborhood improvement program to focus on routine upkeep.
You’ll also see the addition of more shade structures and improvements to the Riverwalk Recreation Center, as well as more parking lot improvements to the sports complex. We have numerous landscaping projects planned along National Parks Highway. We are completing numerous improvements to our cemetery, including fencing.
These are just a few of the projects the City of Carlsbad has planned. Thanks again to our excellent City Council and our hard-working city employees for everything they do. Our City Councilors are Edward Rodriguez (Mayor Pro Tem), J.J. Chavez, Jason Shirley, Judi Waters, Leo Estrada, Lisa Anaya-Flores, Mark Walterscheid and Wes Carter. We look forward to serving you during the upcoming year and making Carlsbad an even greater place.
Sincerely, Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
July 17, 2020
Despite everything going on, a number of local residents have recently taken the plunge and opened up restaurants or food trucks. We’ve really got some tenacious citizens. Here’s what we’ve been able to put together so far about some of these new locally-owned options. With everything changing so much, please be patient if some of these locations have to make sudden adjustments.
- Roque Burrito’s & Restaurant is open at 1401 W. Mermod St. They are accepting walk in and to go orders, and offering delivery for orders more than $20. You can reach them at (575) 725-5833.
- The Roadrunner Mexican Restaurant has opened at 1801 S. Canal St. (Where the No Whiner Diner used to be). They are open for take-out or delivery. Please call them to make an order at (575) 706-4242.
- The Holey Moley Donuts & Deli Food Truck plans to open the first week of August in front of Dynamic Heating and Cooling on Pierce Street. Please call (575) 988-5336.
- “One More Restaurant”- offering burgers, wings and steak fingers, has opened where El Sazon and L&M Pizza used to be at 610 W. Church Street. For more information on their take-out and pick up options, please call (575) 725-5932.
- Cosina Vista Hermosa is a food truck at 1503 Commerce Drive. Their number is (575) 988-2302. “It’s Just Wings” is a new option now available through DoorDash. Finally, the Bone Appetite Bistro is a new food truck which will open on July 20 in the shopping strip next to Enterprise Car Rentals. For more information, please visit https://boneappetitebistro.com/
Please support these and all local businesses to the best of your ability, and we know they will continue to enact COVID-safe practices to make their customers and employees feel safe. Thank you to the Carlsbad Department of Development and Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce for helping us put the above information together. If you are aware of any more local options, please give us a call and we will be happy to share this information.
We were also informed of another very generous donation recently. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints donated three large pallets of food to the Faith, Hope & Love Foundation here in Carlsbad, where it will be distributed to families in need. Thank you for this donation- and we appreciate everything that our local churches have been doing to help all of our citizens.
The Faith, Hope, & Love Foundation is again providing increased financial assistance in the areas of shelter (rent/mortgage), utilities, and food. To find out more, please visit their website at www.fhlcarlsbad.org or call our office during business hours at 575-941-2022. Thank you again to Marjorie Gregory, Alana Gregory-Carreon, Larry Gregory and everyone with the Foundation.
COVID-19 update: We now have been informed of 167 total positive COVID-19 for Eddy County, as of Friday morning. According to Artesia General Hospital, that total includes 106 active cases, 60 recoveries and 1 COVID-related death. There are also two current related hospitalizations and have been 7,281 total tests administered here.
Please have an excellent weekend.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
July 16-2020 Update
Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima co-signed this letter on July 15, and it was then sent to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. Communities across the state are pushing for a reversal of last week’s executive order again prohibiting indoor seating at restaurants.
Dear Governor Lujan Grisham:
We’re writing to strongly urge you to consider reversing last week’s amended health order restricting restaurants to outdoor seating and delivery only. A high percentage of our local restaurants have passed their breaking point and will likely permanently close if they are not allowed to open back up soon.
While we share your concerns about the uptick in positive COVID-19 cases in our communities and across New Mexico, we have not seen evidence of a connection between the new cases and our restaurants having been allowed to open at a limited capacity for the past few weeks. What we have seen are people following the instructions you’ve given them by wearing masks into the building and remaining isolated with their families.
In fact, restaurants around our communities have been leaders when it comes to implementing COVID-safe practices. They have re-arranged their stores, printed temporary menus, made sure employees are masked at all times and kept their capacity below the required percentage. Our local restaurants, often at considerable personal expense, have modeled the fact that COVID-safe behavior practices can be implemented. They have set the example.
Restaurants employ thousands of New Mexicans, but these are individuals, not numbers. Your owners may have scraped together every penny they had to pursue their dream of running a business. You have single moms working as servers raising their families on this limited income. Employment at a restaurant is also often a second chance for many individuals seeking to reestablish themselves into society.
While a few of our restaurants can adapt, somewhat, to outdoor seating, many others are unable to do so. It is also still 100+ degrees even in the evening right now, so outdoor seating is not realistic for many.
Let’s work together to combat COVID-19, but strive to do so in a way that does not cause irreparable injury to some of our state’s most economically at-risk citizens.
Thank you for your consideration.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima
On behalf of the City of Carlsbad, we all wish to extend our condolences to the friends and family of Charles “Brother Boko” Freeman, a talented artist who lived here a few years ago. Freeman died recently after a two week hospitalization following his second stroke. He and his wife had been living in Indiana.
“Broken Lives….Shattered Dreams” which can be seen in Carlsbad reflecting the high cost of DWI, was one of several pieces he created during his time in Carlsbad. The 40th Anniversary of the Guadalupe Mountains National Park was also celebrated with the creation of a travelling mural for the park. We are very thankful for the time Freeman spent serving this community, and we are that much the better from having him here.
It is our sincere hope that the power outages which have been taking place around the Mesquite Street area have finally concluded with the installation of a new transformer on July 14. We know Xcel Energy worked very hard over the span of a few days to deal with a transformer that was malfunctioning as some of the load was transferred from one substation to another, and we’re glad the issue has now been resolved. However, many residents were very understandably extremely upset by the fact that the outages were taking place in the afternoon during a heat wave.
The City of Carlsbad has no direct authority over Xcel, who is regulated through the PRC. However, we have been working on improving communication with the power company and will strive to do a better job together in the future. The good news is that Xcel has done a good job expanding to the growing needs of this community.
It is wonderful to see the swell of positive support for Carlsbad’s restaurants and other businesses, who have long since demonstrated that they can safely address the COVID outbreak and have even been leaders in displaying a responsible approach. While restaurants across the entire state participated in Monday’s “Let Us Serve” protest, Carlsbad has undeniably taken on a leadership role in this effort. The focus — on the employees themselves and on the fact that restaurants have made numerous adaptions in order to protect themselves and their customers, is the best approach. This is a close-knit community, and we encourage all positive efforts to support all of our business owners and residents.
Sincerely, Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Carlsbad Municipal Schools has announced that its school board will be voting on one of two plans on July 21. These options are very similar to each other, and are both conditional on what the school district is allowed to do through the state.
Option 1 is to start school on August 24, with students who couldn’t or didn’t use remote learning to attend for in-person instruction. It’s basically a catch-up phase. Students will be admitted to in-person instruction based on academic need until the school reaches 50 percent capacity. Everyone else will be provided with remote learning opportunities. Full re-entry for all students will be on Sept. 8, with a normal schedule, if allowed, and a hybrid model in place if not allowed. A hybrid model means some students will go to school on Monday and Tuesday and use digital remote learning for the rest of the week, while other students will go to school on Thursday and Friday and use digital learning for the rest of the week. The last day of school, using this model, will be June 24, 2021.
Option 2 is basically the same as Option 1, only the first phase begins on Aug. 10, the full school session begins on Aug. 24 (with the same formula as above in place) and the last day of school will be June 4, 2021.
“We remain committed to bringing our students back to a 5 day a week learning environment as soon as it is possible to do so,” Dr. Gerry Washburn concluded.
A total of 0.7 tons of litter and 2 large tires were removed from Saturday’s cleanup on Boyd Drive, according to Beautification Coordinator Mary Garwood.
Saturday’s volunteers included City Councilman JJ Chavez & wife Kim Chavez, Faith Johnston, Michele Robertson, Sarah Banvelos, J.D. Krause, Lashawna Krause, Alvin Doporto, Queta Doporto, Mario Fierro, Jesus Fierro, Bill Garwood, Reazon Garwood, Kathleen Davis, Tara Calderon, Troy Williams III, Eric Estrada, Marissa Estrada, Vito Desai, Joshua & Lucero Warren & family, Tami Mandel, Evelyn Salcido, Benjamin Sanchez, and Brigido Garcia.
Special thanks again to Constructors, INC., Yum Yum Yogurt, and Queta & Alvin Doporto for coordinating this event with Keep Carlsbad Beautiful.
The United Way of Eddy County has re-opened its COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund for non-profits. Grant awards and terms will vary in size. The grant now allows nonprofits to apply for assistance for equipment or other supplies to operate their organization because of new COVID guidelines.
As a reminder, a United Way fund has also been set up to work with families who need assistance right now. Please apply online at www.yweddyco.org/covid19. This fund is for families having a hardship due to COVID-19 layoffs and work hours reduced. Thanks again to the United Way for all of the hard work.
COVID-19 Update: We were informed of four new positive cases in Eddy County on Monday and two new cases on Sunday, for an overall total now of 144 cases as of Tuesday morning. Artesia General Hospital’s report, last updated July 13, reports 49 total recoveries and 6,369 tests, as well as four current COVID-related hospitalizations in Eddy County.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Restaurants across New Mexico, including several in Carlsbad, held a “virtual protest” on Monday to object to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s order shutting them down again for indoor dining.
I fully support these restaurants and respect the extremely difficult choices they’ve been forced to make throughout this year. A number of our local restaurants have exceeded their breaking point and will probably have to shut down for good if they don’t re-open soon. Please continue to support all of our local businesses as they struggle to get through this difficult time in any way possible.
Our local restaurants have largely been models of compliance when it comes to implementing COVID safe practices. They have re-arranged their stores, printed temporary menus, kept their employees in masks and kept their restaurants at limited capacity. These changes have come at a considerable expense, but they have set an example to the rest of the community by displaying their willingness to make whatever adjustments are needed.
In return, they were told they would have to close again to indoor dining. Our restaurants have also not been linked to the recent upturn in positive cases, at least not that we have been made aware of. It feels like they were unfairly singled out.
Who works at restaurants? Your owners are often individuals who scraped together their finances to pursue the American Dream. It’s an extremely difficult business, even when it isn’t 2020. You have a wide variety of people working as servers, including a high percentage of single moms (and dads) who have managed to find a way to make ends meet. You have a diverse group of folks working in your kitchen as well. Restaurants have traditionally also offered a second chance for people seeking responsible employment who are trying to return to being productive members of society.
While a few of our restaurants can adapt, somewhat, to outdoor seating, many others are unable to do so. It is also still 100+ degrees even in the evening right now, so outdoor seating is also just not realistic for many.
We are not dismissing the seriousness of COVID-19 or the recent uptick of cases across New Mexico. We recognize the need to continue to work to reduce the spread of this disease, we just believe it can responsibly be done so in a way that causes less permanent damage to our economy and our citizens.
You know who has proven that there’s a responsible path forward that balances both health and economic concerns? You know who has shown a willingness to make whatever adjustments were needed in order to remain open?
Our restaurants, that’s who.
July 11 Update
The City of Carlsbad is losing a couple of its best people fairly soon. Jay Granger, who has been a City employee for more than 38 years, has announced his retirement. Jay first joined the City of Carlsbad in 1982 as a laborer for the water department. He worked his way up through a variety of positions and currently serves as the Superintendent of our Street Department. Jay was also very involved with the United Steelworkers throughout most of his career. He was always someone we could count on, and he did a great job representing his co-workers while meeting with city officials.
Our director of Community Development, Ken Britt, is also retiring later this month. Ken has done an amazing job over the past few years with loaning his expertise to the City. He was previously our Entertainment and Promotions Director. Before that, he volunteered with the City. Most people know Ken from the long time he spent at Brantley Lake and the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens, prior to his becoming a City employee.
Ken has been one of the greatest advocates of the Cavern Theatre, and we know we’ll continue to work with him on making that project become a reality. The restoration effort has been going very well. Ken and Jay both have some big shoes to fill, and please join us in wishing them the best.
A few residents have contacted our office saying they are having some difficulty with unemployment. We have a great Workforce Solutions staff in this area, but they have obviously been dealing with a number of challenges. One option if you are having problems is to email Carlsbad@nmwcc.com and ask for assistance. The state’s toll free number is (877) 664-6984.
As a reminder, another resource for those needing help right now is the United Way’s COVID-19 program. The organization is offering assistance with rent, utilities or purchasing food. Please visit www.uweddyco.org and click the COVID-19 tab at the top of the page. From there, you are able to submit an application.
The United Way of Eddy County also asked us to let you know that they will have face masks, gloves, disinfecting spray, wipes and cleaner available this upcoming week. These materials were all received through a grant. Please contact Linda at Director@uweddyco.org if you could use some supplies.
Congratulations again to Queta and Alvin Doporto for helping organize Saturday’s Boyd Drive cleanup. We’re so fortunate to have so many citizens dedicated to making Carlsbad a better place.
Thanks again to Mosaic Potash for supporting the creation of new gazebo on the Pecos River Village side of the beach. Please check it out! Mosaic recently celebrated its 80th birthday last year, and support for the gazebo was one of many local projects done to commemorate the anniversary. We couldn’t ask for a better community partner.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
State Increases Restrictions: Update 7-10-20
In her press conference Thursday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that New Mexico was re-enacting certain emergency public health restrictions. Citing an upward trend in positive COVID-19 cases, a new emergency public health order goes into effect on July 13 with the following changes or additions:
- According to the Governor, indoor dining at restaurants is again prohibited, as is indoor seating at breweries. They can still offer outdoor seating and do carry-out, pickup and delivery service. Please keep in mind that our restaurants and breweries have been through so much over the past few months and have been struggling to keep themselves solvent and their employees paid.
- Visitors to state parks have to demonstrate proof of residency, or they will not be permitted entry. Park hours are going to be modified as well.
- We’re now supposed to wear a face mask whenever we go outside, even while exercising, according to the health order. We’re now supposed to wear a mask when we exercise in the gym.
We would like to hear from healthcare and fitness professionals about this particular aspect of the order. The State cited training that top-notch athletes undergo as justification, but most of us are not at that level of fitness. It also remains very hot here even in the evening, when many people walk. It is certainly the perception of many that wearing a mask while exercising is not the safest option.
- Contact sports will now not be taking place in the fall (football and soccer). There are plans being discussed to have these sports later in the school year. Other sports are still under review. School reopening depends on the state containing the virus.
While recognizing that the number of positive COVID-19 tests have been going up over the past month, in Eddy County and across the state, we do not feel the case was adequately made to justify many of these new mandates, especially for Eddy County. We were not, for example, presented with evidence that restaurants being open at 50 percent capacity for the past few weeks was in any way responsible for the increase in positive tests. Many of these mandates felt like they were more punitive than protective, with restaurants as an easy target due to them being regulated by the state.
None of this is the fault of any of our local businesses, and we should continue to do our best to support them however we can.
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant has also posted that a CAST employee recently tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. According to WIPP, the employee works at the trucking terminal in Carlsbad and doesn’t regularly interact with other WIPP employees. Contact tracing and sanitizing protocols are being followed. We appreciate WIPP for providing these updates.
There was a significant power outage in Carlsbad for about 90 minutes Thursday evening. Xcel Energy informed us that they are making upgrades and relieving some of the load from one substation to another when the issue developed. The causes of the outage are still under investigation, but Xcel has assured us that this issue, especially given the heat, is a top priority. Thank you all again, and we hope to focus on some more positive news in tomorrow’s update.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
New Interim CEO at Carlsbad Medical Center: Update: July 9, 2020
Our local medical community has been very helpful throughout the past few months in keeping us informed. On Wednesday, we met with Dan Springer, who is now serving as interim CEO of Carlsbad Medical Center. Mr. Springer also is the CEO of the Lea Regional Medical Center. We look forward to working with him and all members of our medical community.
Artesia General Hospital has updated its COVID-19 results file at https://artesiageneral.com/covid19/to add some very useful additional information. The hospital reports that (as of July 8), there have now been 116 positive cases in Eddy County. That includes 67 active cases, 3 hospitalized cases, 48 recoveries and 1 COVID-related death in Eddy County. AGH also reports 6,242 total tests have been administered here.
New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is holding another press conference on Thursday afternoon. Based on comments we’ve seen made to the press and on this week’s data, we are not optimistic that the state will be entering the second phase of the recovery process this week. We will share information about the outcome from the press conference in tomorrow’s report.
While the number of positive cases have been on the rise, there has been some very good news as well. According to the New Mexico Department of Health, both hospitalizations and deaths have been declining in the state. For example, 154 COVID-related hospitalizations (statewide) were reported on July 8, while there were 197 reported on June 10 and 223 reported on May 15.
The fact that the fatality rate is falling significantly was also confirmed to be taking place at a national level by officials during our weekly call with the White House. These facts certainly need to be considered as new policies are developed.
Helicopter Update: Thanks to Mike Galvan, general manager with EquipmentShare, for his assistance with getting our helicopter on display at the Carlsbad Veterans Memorial Park. Galvan waived all service fees and just allowed us to use the equipment because he supported the project. Additionally, Roswell structural engineer Frank Willis has agreed to donate his services free of charge for this project.
We’ve also received some interesting history about the helicopter- including stories of times where it was damaged in combat in 1969 when it was being used by the 162 AHC Company operating out of Dong Tam in South Vietnam. The helicopter was being use to pick up troops when it came under fire- injuring the co-pilot. It later sustained additional damage during a tour in the Hue Province. Once it is put on display at our Veterans Park, it will be a wonderful reminder of the service of our community’s Vietnam Veterans.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Lakeview Construction Underway: July 8, 2020 Update
Congratulations to Jody Knox, Jeannie Watson and everyone with Lakeview Christian Home on breaking ground on their new addition. The 16,000 square foot Puckett Place will provide 24 additional beds for the elderly and those with long-term medical needs. It is being built around the back of Lakeview’s Northgate Unit and will be joined in with the rest of the complex.
Puckett Place (named for founder Dr. Owen Puckett) will be similar to the Heaton House, which was constructed a few years ago as an expansion. It’s great that Lakeview is taking steps to continue to improve the quality of life for its residents, but it is just as important to remember that Lakeview has grown into being one of our area’s largest employers. The company had a few big challenges this year- including a merger and having to adjust to COVID-19 concerns, so being able to expand in spite of everything else a lot about what a good job they are doing.
The office of the New Mexico Department of Health has reached out to us with some additional information about testing. In Eddy County, the DOH provides testing at the Carlsbad Health Office on Stevens Street from 7:30-10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. There will also be tests administered this Saturday (July 11), from 7-10 a.m. Preregister at https://cvtestreg.nmhealth.org to obtain a testing code and come through during the designated drive-thru hours.
Tests are also being administered in Artesia from 8 a.m.- 11 a.m., and 1- 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Artesia Public Health Office on Memorial Drive with the same registration link. The DOH can assist you with the online registration process if you are having any difficulties.
The link https://cvtestreg.nmhealth.org is for Department of Health testing locations only, so if you are testing at the hospital or another location, please follow their procedures instead.
The Department of Health also gave us some additional information about their reported numbers, which can be found online at .https://www.newmexico.gov/latest-updates/.
According to the office, they report the number of positive cases daily, but the total testing numbers are only updated by the agency twice a week, so that’s why there is sometimes a delay in those numbers.
If your business was impacted by COVID-19, please check with the New Mexico Finance Authority to see if you can receive assistance through what’s called the Small Business Recovery Act of 2020, which allocated $400 million for loans to small businesses and nonprofits.
Eligible businesses and nonprofits may borrow two times their average monthly expenses up to a maximum of $75,000. For more information, please visit www.nmfa.net.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Justice for Brian Runnels, Update: July 7, 2020
On behalf of this entire community, we wish to offer our condolences to the family and friends of Carlsbad resident Brian Runnels. Runnels, 47, was reported missing in 2014. His remains were found on April 22, 2020, near the George Shoup Relief Route. His death has been ruled as a homicide. Police have arrested one individual so far, and additional arrests are expected. Anyone with additional information should call Det. Tim Nyce at (575) 885-2111.
While we are glad that Brian’s family is getting to see justice done, it certainly doesn’t bring him back. Brian was extremely well-liked and well-loved across the entire community, and all of Carlsbad was devastated by this loss. Family members and friends continued to pray for him every day since he went missing, while also doing everything in their power to find him. A memorial service is planned at a later date. Members of our police department will continue to assist with making sure that his killers are brought to justice.
We were also saddened to hear that the Eddy County Fair has been postponed to 2021. While these postponements are taking place across the country right now, that doesn’t diminish the fact that the local youth spent the entire year preparing for the Fair.
In a time period with so much division, it is always refreshing to see everyone come together. That’s what happened this week when our entire Congressional delegation- both U.S. Senators (Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich) and all three U.S. Representatives (Xochitl Torres Small, Ben Ray Lujan and Deb Haaland), sent a letter to the U.S Census Bureau on behalf of southeastern New Mexico’s population. The letter noted that there’s a large workforce in southeastern New Mexico that spends more than half of their time here, but the timing of the Census count for this decade may result in a major undercount.
“At the beginning of the COVID-19 public health crisis, oil prices fell and many rigs throughout the state had to halt operations completely,” the letter states. “Thus, many of the oil and gas workers who spend the majority of their time in southeastern New Mexico during the year left in the weeks following Census Day on April 1.”
We know this workforce is already beginning to return to the area as oil prices pick back up. The letter goes on to say that, if none of these workers are counted as living in southeastern New Mexico during the 2020 Census, the Census total will be vastly undercounted when compared to the number of people actually in the region. That would mean our area would lose out on millions of dollars of funding over the next decade. Our delegation recommends that the Census consider state-wide and city-wide data to measure population to develop a more accurate Census count.
Special thanks to Diane Ventura, from Sen. Heinrich’s staff, for her continued assistance. We also want to especially thank Mayor Pro Tem Eddie Rodriguez, our Census Task Force Chairman, and Deanna Taylor for their hard work and dedication to this project. Carlsbad also has a partnership on the Census project with Eddy County and the Carlsbad Department of Development.
The Census is an extremely important tool with a broad impact on our lives over the next decade. We sincerely appreciate the assistance provided by our Congressional delegation, and we also are thankful for any assistance the members of our community can provide by completing their Census.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Independence Day Celebration Went Very Well- Update 7-6-20
Congratulations and thank you.
Based on the updates we have received, Carlsbad residents overwhelmingly celebrated Independence Day safely, but also had a great time. We received a large amount of positive feedback about the quality of this year’s fireworks show, as well as about our special online program this year. We even had a large number of former residents view the show online because they miss their hometown.
We’re also very proud of the City’s first responders, public works and parks, and facility maintenance employees, and everyone else who worked hard to make sure that our residents could enjoy their weekend. It was a team effort in every sense of the word, but the members of our community were the MVPs.
While we worked to have the fireworks show viewable from as much as town as possible, we do apologize to our residents who didn’t have a good viewing angle. We will continue to work on ways to improve. Thanks again to the Eddy County Commission and Administration for partnering with us this year to help make the event special.
It was just nice to have a positive celebration, wasn’t it?
One of the biggest issues from Independence Day weekend was that there were several DWI arrests. While this is sadly typical for any holiday, it remains a major concern. Thank you to Cindy Sharif and the Eddy County DWI Program for their continual efforts to reduce drunk driving.
Thanks again as well to Carlsbad resident Michael Smart, who worked extremely hard to organize this year’s parade, which was ordered cancelled by the state last Wednesday. The cancellation was not in any way Mr. Smart’s doing, and we look forward to working with him on more events when we are able.
In its update Sunday evening, the New Mexico Department of Health now reports a total number of positive COVID-19 cases for Eddy County as 103 since testing began. That includes one positive case reported on Sunday and ten on Saturday. Positive and negative test results are generally announced several days after tests are administered.
Artesia General Hospital last updated its totals on July 2, 2020. At that time, the hospital reported 44 recoveries for Eddy County residents. The hospital reported 5,044 total tests administered and one COVID-related death in Eddy County, which occurred in March. We believe Artesia General’s numbers on total tests and recoveries for Eddy County are generally the most up to date.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Update: July 4, 2020
The Fourth of July celebration isn’t just one of the busiest periods of the year for our first responders, it is also one of the busiest periods of the year for our facility maintenance crews. Our city workers will do an excellent job cleaning up across Carlsbad over the next few days, but any assistance members of the public can provide, both during and after events, is always appreciated.
Carlsbad was recently picked as the Number One most scenic city in the American Southwest by the travel website Expedia. Our closest competitors were Las Vegas, Nevada, followed by Denver and Colorado Springs. This designation was an honor, and is a responsibility we take very seriously. We’re fortunate to be next to two national parks and two state parks, and we want to do our best to meet our end of the bargain. That’s why you are seeing median improvement around town, and why we focus very hard on our beautification and anti-litter efforts. Recent projects at the Halagueno Arts Park and the Upper Beach area have also showed our community’s commitment to beautification, both for our guests and our residents. Most of these efforts are community partnerships with outstanding companies.
As New Mexico began to re-open, there were a lot of instances around the region where locations were trashed during the first few days they opened. This is unacceptable and we all need to work together to prevent similar occurrences from taking place in the future. Please pack out everything that you pack in as you enjoy our nearby scenery.
How can you help around town? Queta and Alvin Doporto recently finished a successful cleanup of Callaway Drive. They are now working on a similar clean-up event on Boyd Drive on July 11 from 6:30-10 a.m. Constructors Inc. and Yum Yum Yogurt have provided supplies. Mary Garwood, our Keep Carlsbad Beautiful Coordinator, will also be assisting. Sign-ups for the event will take place at Constructors Inc. at 3003 W. Boyd Drive. For more information, please call Queta Doporto at (575) 302-6370 or Mary Garwood at (575) 302-7665. Social distancing guidelines will be in place.
Keep Carlsbad Beautiful also recently received a grant allowing for additional cleanup projects throughout the year. Please call Mary for more information on how your organization can assist.
Other residents recently organized their own cleanup along the river and even put together a prize for the person who gathered the most trash. These grassroots efforts are what makes Carlsbad so special. Thank you to everyone who takes their responsibility to their community so seriously.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
July 3, 2020
Happy Independence Day everyone!
Despite this being one of the most unusual years of all of our lives, and despite numerous setbacks, it’s still clear on a daily basis that we live in a wonderful community in the best country in the world. This country set an example to the world with the signing of the Declaration of Independence and continues to do so. We are proud of our freedoms and of our limitless opportunity. When you look around Carlsbad, you see so many families who came here just one or two generations ago with next to nothing who are now thriving. These men and women worked their way up through decades of hard work and are now generous supporters of this community.
Those freedoms would not have been possible without the courage of our veterans, and Independence Day is certainly another time where it is appropriate for us to again thank and remember everything that our veterans have done for us. We were reminded of those sacrifices again this weekend when a Huey Helicopter, which sustained battle damage during two tours in Vietnam, arrived here.
A man named Darryle Shamburger, with Godspeed Freighter Services, brought the Huey to Carlsbad from Cleburne, Texas in the back of a flatbed trailer. Steve Angell, Dagmar Youngberg and KC Cass helped unload it on Friday morning. The helicopter has been placed in a secure location for now. We plan to elevate it and put it on display at the Carlsbad Veterans Memorial Park as soon as possible. The helicopter is no longer operable, but it will serve as another excellent reminder of the many sacrifices made to preserve our independence over the past 244 years. Thanks again to the donors who made this possible through the Carlsbad Foundation.
Saturday evening’s fireworks show is going to be an outstanding one, and many groups and individuals worked very hard to make the show possible. We’re so glad to be able to help provide a program that celebrates the United States’ founding. You can watch the entire show from our Facebook feed if you choose to, or from almost any location around town that has a clear view toward the golf course. Carlsbad Radio will also be broadcasting music to the production on CD104. Masks are available at our first responder command post, for anyone who requests one.
While the fireworks are always the highlight of the day, there were also many disappointments to this year’s Independence Day celebration. We had to cancel concerts and parades that were planned this year. As soon as we are able to, we plan a major celebration that includes every single thing that was cancelled and more. We’re looking forward to Saturday evening’s show and to even more great opportunities to honor our country and our freedoms in the future.
Please celebrate safely this year. Let’s show everyone that we can have an excellent Independence Day, but also do so responsibly.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
July 2, 2020
In her press conference on July 1, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said the plans to re-open the state would be put on hold, at least until July 15, due to rising COVID-19 infection rates in New Mexico and neighboring states.
There were several additional orders put in place. Out-of-state visitors will now be required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in New Mexico, and they could face penalties if they don’t. According to the press conference, the state will begin fining people for not wearing face coverings, and businesses could face a similar fine if customers are not wearing masks. We are still getting additional information and will provide that to you as soon as it becomes available.
Additionally, the latest Emergency Public Health Order added a sentence to the previous public health order stating that parades qualify as mass gatherings and are therefore prohibited.
This caught us completely off guard, as parades and reverse parades had been going on throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, often with official endorsement. They had been seen as a healthy way people could still honor graduates and others.
After consulting with our legal department, and with the Governor’s office, we made the decision to withdraw the permit for the planned Fourth of July parade this year. We offer our sincere thanks and apologies to the parade’s organizer, the sponsors and all of the planned participants. Michael Smart has been the heart of Carlsbad’s parade effort for many years, and we promise to help him make the next one even bigger, as soon as we are able.
This was not an easy action, and we did not take this lightly, but avoiding a new second complete shutdown in which businesses are ordered to close their doors again remains a priority. Getting our schools back open is also a top priority.
The 9 p.m. fireworks display will still be launched on the Fourth of July. We encourage you to enjoy the fireworks from anywhere around town while avoiding gathering in large groups. You can even watch the whole show from your house, via our City Facebook feed, and the video team has set up a great pre-game show featuring an interview with MLB pitcher Trevor Rogers.
Closing on a positive note, as always- we’re pleased to announce that the Lincoln National Forest has reopened Sitting Bull Falls and the Bluff Springs Recreation Area (near Cloudcroft). Things did not go well last time Sitting Bull Falls opened, so hopefully we have all learned from that. Please help us take good care of these locations by packing out all trash if the Dumpsters are full.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
As reported yesterday by the Current-Argus and in a letter by Superintendent Washburn, Carlsbad Municipal Schools has suspended all athletic practices after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19. The staff members and any students who were potentially exposed are currently self-quarantined. The school district had also been conducting practices under the guidelines issued by the New Mexico Activities Association. Our school district did a great job responding quickly in terms of both informing the public and taking action.
New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has called a press conference at 3 p.m. on Wednesday. Last week, Governor Lujan Grisham said she would have to extend the state’s “stay at home order” by July 1. Also last week, she announced that “Phase 2” of New Mexico’s re-opening plan was on hold, pending additional data, but said she might be making some changes to the order in the near future.
We will certainly provide additional information on the outcome of the press conference in tomorrow’s report.
Governor Lujan Grisham also signed New Mexico’s revised budget on Tuesday, with some of the proposed cuts vetoed. According to media reports, the governor vetoed around $30 million in proposed budget cuts, calling for the state to instead dip further into its cash reserve (from a 12 percent reserve to 11.3 percent). Our local representatives had supported higher cuts to the state budget to lessen the difficulties legislators will be facing next January.
Parades have gone on throughout the COVID-19 shutdown, and they are certainly an event that is easy to do while keeping social distancing guidelines in place. The Eddy County Patriotic Society held an excellent parade on Memorial Day, for example, and local resident Michael Smart has organized an Independence Day for 9 a.m. July 4 beginning at the School Administration Building on Main Street. The parade will wind through downtown- from Main to Church, from Church to Canyon, from Canyon to Fox and then from Fox back to Main Street.
Our expert team of judges will also be looking for entries that really stand out this year. First place for best entry this year is a $200 gift certificate from Daniel’s Hair Salon and a pack consisting of a cooler and assorted goodies. Second place is a $100 gift certificate from Campfire Industries Inc. and a picnic pack, while third place will be a picnic pack. We are also awarding a prize to the best-decorated downtown business along the parade route. Thanks to Capitan Energy, Albertsons and Michael Smart for also assisting with prizes and trophies.
After the parade, participants have been asked to assemble at Cherry Lane Park at 10 a.m. for a “drive by” parade for the citizens of CARC Inc., Good Life Senior Living and Encompass. Our fireworks will begin at 9 p.m. and can be viewed all around town, including on the City’s Facebook page. Please celebrate safely, continue to practice social distancing and wear a mask when the situation calls for it.
City of Carlsbad offices will be closed on Friday, July 3, in observance of this year’s Independence Day. However, the City of Carlsbad’s solid waste services will run regular routes on July 3. The city’s solid waste employees have been unsung heroes throughout the COVID-19 outbreak and deserve our thanks.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Please Focus on Water Safety, Update: 6-30-20
On Monday, the Eddy County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement reporting a drowning at Brantley Lake. The Sheriff’s Office reports that the individual went into the water to retrieve a floatation device and then began to struggle. This tragedy is the second drowning at Brantley since New Mexico State Parks re-opened on May 1. We offer our condolences on behalf of the City of Carlsbad to the family and friends of the deceased.
Please be extremely careful when recreating in the water over the summer. We will work with our first responders to provide more water safety tips online throughout the summer. As always, we need your assistance in promoting safety.
There were nine new positive COVID-19 cases announced in Eddy County on Monday evening, which was the highest daily total for Eddy County since testing began. Many people have asked us online for additional information. New Mexico does not provide an abundance of detail, but https://cvprovider.nmhealth.org/public-dashboard.html includes a breakdown by zip code, age and gender of each individual case. According to that database, 49 of the county’s 78 total cases (as of Tuesday morning) are in the 88220 area code. Almost 2/3 of our county’s cases have been males, and the majority of our cases have been under the age of 49.
Artesia General Hospital’s web page https://artesiageneral.com/covid19/ seems to have the most up to date numbers in terms of total county tests and recoveries. According to their most recent update, there have been 4,664 tests and 36 recoveries for Eddy County.
Congratulations again to NMSU-C’s Dr. John Gratton. A reverse parade was held in Dr. Gratton’s honor Monday. Dr. Gratton did an excellent job in Carlsbad and will be difficult to replace. Carlsbad Municipal Schools’ Director of Human Resources, Therese Rodriguez, has also retired and says her new occupation will be full time grandmother. Therese is the wife of our mayor pro tem and Ward One Councilor, Eddie Rodriguez. She has assisted the community on the United Way board, with the Census effort and with numerous other projects. We wish her the very best and know she’ll remain highly involved in supporting Carlsbad.
Lisa Robinson, a Lovington High School graduate, has become the new Director of Human Resources with the Carlsbad Municipal School District. Robinson has several decades of experience as a teacher, special education teacher and administrator. She holds a teaching degree from Eastern New Mexico University and an administrative degree from the University of the Southwest. Please join me in welcoming Lisa Robinson to Carlsbad.
The Carlsbad Public Library re-opened a few weeks ago, but there was still quite a bit of construction going on in the library’s parking lot as part of the Halagueno Arts Park renovation. The construction of the parking lot has now completed and the library looks great. There will still be more work done to add work to the promenade portion of the park. Please come check it out.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Update: June 29, 2020
We received a notification over the weekend of an earthquake near Lovington detected by the instruments at the South Y Brine Well cavity, which the State of New Mexico is in the process of filling with sand.
According to Wood, the company contracted to remediate the well, there were actually 11 small earthquakes detected over the weekend in a region about 50 miles east of Carlsbad. There was no surface movement detected at the brine well and there does not appear to be any cracking of the ground. The ongoing successful remediation of the brine well cavity has been one of the high points of an often difficult year, and we’re glad to learn that there does not appear to be any disruption with that progress.
There were three new positive COVID-19 cases for Eddy County announced on Sunday, putting Eddy County at a total case count of 69 (as of Monday morning), since reporting began. The New Mexico Department of Health also reported four positives for Eddy County on Saturday and two on Friday. We are also currently aware of two Carlsbad residents who are now hospitalized for COVID-19. Please pray for the quick recovery of all of these individuals.
This total case count shared by the state does include the positives that are now recoveries. Artesia General Hospital reported 36 total Eddy County recoveries in its update on June 26. Some people have asked if it is possible that some of the positives could be one individual who is retesting while still sick. According to the NM DOH, if you test positive and retest while still infected and it again comes up positive, that still only counts as a single case. If an individual who is declared recovered later tests positive, that does count as a new case- but that has yet to happen in Eddy County.
We’ve also been asked if we still plan on having a Fourth of July fireworks show, given the fact that the COVID-19 case count has been increasing here and in neighboring communities. While the cases are absolutely something to which we need to remain alert, it remains worth noting that Southeast New Mexico has still been consistently the lowest region in the state in terms of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations per 100,000 people.
The answer is that we are still moving forward with our fireworks show on the Fourth of July, as are the nearby communities of Hobbs, Artesia and Lovington. Our show will begin at 9 p.m., and you can see the fireworks from across town.
As advertised, the show will be focusing on “high aerial” fireworks which can be viewed from everywhere, including areas such as the Riverwalk Recreation Center and the Carlsbad High School parking lot. We’re also broadcasting the entire show over our Facebook page, and the “pre-game” show will include an interview with Miami Marlin pitcher and former CHS standout Trevor Rogers.
We believe that our annual fireworks show can be safely enjoyed by everyone, but we’re counting on you to help make that happen. The Lake Carlsbad Recreation Area consists of 125.6 acres, and many families have historically chosen to celebrate Independence Day in the park, both during the day and up through the evening fireworks show.
With freedom comes responsibility, and our request is that everyone celebrating do so safely. That means making a personal decision to practice social distancing and avoid large crowds because of possible COVID-19 concerns, but it also means staying properly hydrated, wearing sunscreen, avoiding consuming alcohol in public areas and helping keep our city parks clean. If you bring it in, take it out.
Over the years, Carlsbad has had its share of tragedies on the Fourth of July, and we’d all like nothing better than to hear that this year’s celebration went smoothly.
Please help us make the case to everyone that it is possible to safely celebrate our nation’s freedom.
Sincerely, Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Today seems like a good day to focus on some positive news. Here some highlights of some recent developments:
- A Huey Helicopter will be going on display at our Carlsbad Veterans Memorial Park. This project has been in development for a long time, and it was made possible by generous donors through the Carlsbad Community Foundation’s Carlsbad Veterans Memorial Park Fund.
This park was established in 2009 and includes beautiful monuments commemorating Vietnam, Bataan and Korean War veterans. We’re also especially proud of the M42 “Duster”, the Norden Bombsight Vault and the anti-aircraft gun, which serve as centerpieces. This park has been coming together for the past decade and has exceeded our expectations as a tribute for our veterans. Congratulations to Veterans Memorial Park committee members Paul Hill, Kay Hill, Charlie Daniell and Dagmar Youngberg for their continual efforts. Thanks again to Joe Epstein for his leadership in this project.
- As announced earlier this week, the fact that Eddy County’s unemployment rate remains one of the lowest in the state, and appears to be the lowest rate of any population center in the state, is excellent news. While everyone has experienced a setback due to the shutdown, we believe Carlsbad is best positioned for a strong and healthy rebound.
- Guadalupe Mountains National Park is now back open for limited visitation. Earlier this week, the park opened the Devil’s Hall Trail, the Guadalupe Peak Trail, Smith Springs Trail and the Frijole Ranch Trail. The visitor center and campgrounds remain closed at this time. This is a positive development, but we hope all visitors to the Guadalupe Mountains pack out what they bring in and remember to prepare for the heat. We have heard some great stories about visitors to Carlsbad Caverns National Park recently as well.
- The City of Carlsbad has a very dedicated Citizens Offering Police Support (COPS) group, who provides support to our police department. On the Fourth of July, COPS will be setting up a booth next to the police department’s command post at the beach where officers will be giving out snow cones, with social distancing guidelines in place. You can also fill out cards offering encouragement to the officers, and there will be stickers available showing your support.
On the subject of the Carlsbad Police Department, congratulations to Lt. Ernesto Mendoza Jr. on his retirement from the force. Mendoza has been an exceptional member of our force, and we wish him the very best.
- Weinerschnitzel is set to open in Carlsbad this Tuesday. The new restaurant on Pierce Street plans to serve items from both the Weinerschnitzel and the Tastee Freez menu. Thanks to all of the hard work this restaurant put in to get their store open, and we wish them the best.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
CMS Right to Keep School Plan Flexible
Update: June 26, 2020
In her announcement on Thursday, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said that the lifting of current restrictions is on hold this week, due to an increase in the spread rate of the virus at a state level. The current health order is set to expire Wednesday, so a new or amended order will have to be issued before then. Health officials cited a state rate of transmission of 1.12, as opposed to a rate of 0.87 the previous week, as well as the case increase in Arizona and Texas. On Friday, Texas issued an order closing its bars and scaling restaurants back to 50 percent capacity.
This is certainly disappointing, but not a major surprise, as state officials have been indicating for the past week that a slowdown in the re-opening process was likely. Many of us had hoped some of the inequalities of the stay at home order would at least be addressed – for example, the fact that wineries can’t open but breweries can. We’ve also hoped that being able to open local facilities such as our splash pads, with lifeguards and social distancing guidelines in place, might actually be a positive, because families with some options here might travel less. We will keep pressing for these issues to be resolved.
The announcement that the start of “Phase 2” of the re-opening process doesn’t change the City’s plan in terms of what we’ve re-opened. Last week, we re-opened our library, the Riverwalk Recreation Center and the sports complex, and everything has been going very well.
The state also discussed what they called a “hybrid model” of schooling planned for the fall, in which students spend a portion of each week in class and a portion doing online schooling. There are many causes of concern here, such as whether this will place an even greater burden on our teachers and what working or single parents are going to do. Most importantly, will our children and grandchildren receive the quality of education they need and deserve?
However, in a letter to the community, Carlsbad Municipal Schools Superintendent Gerry Washburn let the public know that Carlsbad’s plan is still in development. “Our plan will be Carlsbad’s plan,” he wrote, explaining that what makes sense in Carlsbad may be different than what makes sense in other parts of the state. He explained that there are “have-tos” in the state plan and there are recommendations. He also noted that Carlsbad schools will not be open on August. 3.
“If we can keep our regional rate down and the state’s rate continues to decline, what schools can do several weeks from now may not be the same as the hybrid model that all schools are required to adopt if they open August 3,” Dr. Washburn wrote.
Carlsbad Municipal Schools is encouraging flexibility. It’s a tough workload they’ve got- tough on teachers, administrators, parents and students, but we do have an exceptional group of people with our schools.
Here’s an important variable to consider as these decisions are being made: Carlsbad Medical Center reports that there are now no Eddy County COVID-19 hospitalizations, nor are they aware of any Eddy County residents hospitalized elsewhere for COVID-19 symptoms. While we’ve experienced a steady number of positive tests here over the past few weeks, the severity of the sickness for most people impacted appears to be on the decline. This trend represents excellent news and seems to be true elsewhere as well. The state also reported a decline in hospitalizations on Thursday.
We hope that variable will be addressed as decisions are made. We will continue to support Carlsbad Municipal Schools however we are able.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Employment Numbers Improving: Update 6-25-20
We’ve received some updated employment information from the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions. New Mexico’s unemployment rate for May of 2020 was 9.2 percent, down from 11.9 percent in April, but up from 4.9 percent at the same time the previous year. The leisure and hospitality industry continues to take the biggest hit- reporting 37.8 percent (37,900) fewer jobs than the previous year.
Numbers for Eddy County look better than the state average. Eddy County reports a 5.6 percent unemployment rate for May, which has improved from April’s 6.3 percent. Unemployment for Eddy County last year in May was only 2.8 percent. Certainly not the numbers we want to see, but it is good to see that they are improving.
Lea County currently has an 8.6 percent unemployment rate and Chaves County reports 7.9 percent. Thanks to Noreen Teel with the Department of Workforce Solutions for this information.
Yesterday, we participated in an update from the White House. Members of President Trump’s staff emphasized how serious this health care crisis remains and said there have been an uptick of cases across southern states. The good news, they said, is that there has been a decrease in mortality rates. White House staff also said therapies are currently being used across the country and should be broadly available by August and September, while a vaccine is anticipated by January of 2020.
Our state’s Department of Health officials have remained extremely busy throughout the past few months, and we appreciate their providing some additional information to us when they are able. This week, we asked for some additional insight into the last dozen positive cases to be reported in Eddy County. According to the NM DOH, 11 of the past 12 COVID-19 cases we’ve had in this county have been men. Of these 12 cases, 3 have been in their 20s, 2 in their 30s, 3 in their 40s, 2 in their 50s, 1 in their 60s and 1 in their 80s. The DOH reports no apparent clustering by employer or occupation. It’s helpful information in terms of understanding what is going on here.
There’s a wide variety of opinions on the mask issue, both in Carlsbad and across the nation. Our state currently has an executive health order that masks be worn in public (when not eating, drinking or exercising), but the city and county have both said it isn’t enforceable, and the governor has said it wouldn’t be enforced by the state. The state does appear to be enforcing the mask policy on the agencies which it regulates.
We have people in town who are unable to wear masks, for a variety of reasons. We also have been contacted by residents who are nervous about going back to a store because they say nobody there was wearing a mask. The best path forward is to urge everyone to remember that we’re all in this together and to be respectful of others.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Road and Project Work Continues
Update: June 24, 2020
Tuesday night’s rain was certainly welcome. As is often the case in Southeastern New Mexico, the rain was accompanied by a bad windstorm that relocated quite a few tree branches and yard items. While the storm also resulted in a brief closure of our beach area, it did not severely impede on many of the construction projects going on around town.
We’ve recently completed repaving the beach area parking lot and adding parking bumpers to the lot in order to improve on the lot’s safety. We’re also taking a corner of the grass area next to the current parking area and adding about 30 more parking spaces. This will all be completed prior to July 4. The Upper Beach Area also looks great and the new gazebo there is receiving a lot of compliments.
If you haven’t driven by the Carlsbad Public Library and the Carlsbad Museum & Art Center recently, I encourage you to do so. The renovation going on to the promenade phase of the Halagueno Arts Park has been going very well, and the project looks great. The Halagueno Street side parking lot for our library, which re-opened last week, is also being repaved and will be easier for visitors to use. We are awaiting direction from the State of New Mexico as to when we can re-open the museum.
This week, Constructors Inc. has been working on Blodgett Street between Pate and Valverde Streets. This repaving process expects to be completed within a few days. Last week, Constructors focused on Vineyard Lane and Vineyard Court. Additionally, a median project is underway, so you can expect to see some traffic control along Pierce Street for the next week or two. We have many more repaving projects on our list.
Phase Two of the Cavern Theatre has recently completed and Phase Three is now beginning. This phase will include a new HVAC, fire suppression system, a rebuilt sewer line and ADA-compliant restrooms. There’s new tile being put into the Walter Gerrells Performing Arts Center right now, and the project is going very well. All of our facilities are going to look the best they’ve ever looked as we get to begin re-opening them for use.
COVID-19 Case Update: On Tuesday evening, we were informed of two additional positive COVID-19 cases in Eddy County, for an overall total of 58. The latest update by Artesia General Hospital also reports 4,566 tests conducted in Eddy County and 28 recoveries. The New Mexico Department of Health’s search portal now reports 18 total overall cases for area code 88210 (North Eddy County), 31 for area code 88220 (South Eddy County) and 5 cases for area code 88256 (Southeast Eddy County, including Loving). That would make 4 more cases where the zip code was unidentified.
Thank you all again, and we appreciate the opportunity to provide these updates.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Dr. Ned Elkins will be retiring from Los Alamos National Laboratory as Carlsbad Operations Manager at the end of the month, and we wish him the very best.
Dr. Elkins has previously served as mayor pro tem, but he has remained of vital assistance to this community long after his official term on council came to an end. We rely on him heavily for his knowledge and expertise to help us get through a variety of technical issues, including the remediation of the Carlsbad Brine Well. More specifically to his role at LANL, Dr. Elkins has been heavily involved in the development of Carlsbad as a technical center for nuclear science and repository research.
A Carlsbad native, Dr. Elkins is a great example of a local success story. He earned dual doctorates in Civil Engineering/Fluid Mechanics and in Biochemistry/Ecology. We are looking forward to continuing our excellent working relationship with Dr. Elkins after his retirement.
Thanks again to Chevron and all of our donors who have supported our Police Service Dog program. One of our three K-9’s, Alf, is going to have to retire due to his arthritis. Now a new dog, Alex, will join Aris and Nia on the force. Our K-9 program has been a tremendous benefit to the community. Local donors who also supported the new K-9’s purchase were Wayne and Sara Ballard, Ray and Karen Westall, George and Nancy Brantley, Valerie Murrill and several donors who wish to remain anonymous.
Funds donated will be used for the cost of the new dog, training, officer training, additional equipment and retrofitting a police vehicle to include the dog. Our K-9 program has been a tremendous benefit to the community
The House has now adjourned as well from the Special Session. Here’s a quick rundown of the bills which passed during this special session and are now awaiting the Governor’s signature or veto:
House Bill 1: Is the solvency bill which would keep state spending mostly flat for the next year.
House Bill 5: Would establish a civil rights commission.
House Bill 6: Waives some tax penalties during the pandemic and allows for increased temporary state payments to cities and counties.
Senate Bill 3: Establishes a low-interest loan program for small businesses and local governments.
Senate Bill 4: Makes temporary changes for the 2020 general election and allows independent voters to change their party affiliation at polling sites.
Senate Bill 5: Is a savings bill which cancels stalled capital outlay and road projects.
Senate Bill 8: Requires law enforcement officers to wear cameras.
One more update on the behavioral health front – the New Mexico Department of Human Services’ Behavioral Health Services Division has developed a partnership with a company called OpenBeds aiming to assist with mental health treatment across New Mexico by launching a New Mexico Behavioral Health Referral Network.
This will allow the state’s mental health and behavioral health programs to better coordinate in terms of identifying gaps in care delivery and connecting patients to social services. This appears to be a positive development, which we hope will assist our local mental health providers.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Special Session Over for Some: Update 6-22-20
The state’s special session ended on Sunday for some of our legislators, while others had to remain for another day. The House continued to meet on Monday on several non-budgetary issues while the Senate adjourned. For Carlsbad, that means at least one more long day up north for Representatives Cathrynn Brown and Jim Townsend.
While a wide variety of other topics are being addressed in this short session, the focus of the session was on budget cuts and patching a $2 billion budget shortfall for the fiscal year that begins in July. Blogger Joe Monahan reports that legislators made it through the budget crisis with 4 percent across the board cuts amounting to $600 million in cuts and federal funding and cash reserves, but without layoffs or tax hikes. A greater concern at this point is the following year’s budget and another $1.7 billion projected shortfall. They’ll also be doing it without John Arthur Smith, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee who recently lost his primary.
A bill related to election overhaul has been the most contentious issue of the special session. According to Rep. Townsend, the House initially rejected Senate Bill 4, with multiple Democrats crossing party lines. A second vote on the legislation cleared the House floor after several hours of closed-door caucus meetings, because of a number of switched votes.
The temporary election changes bill, which Townsend and Brown both voted against, is related to absentee ballot applications. It includes a very controversial provision requiring Independent voters to register before voting.
We will get in touch with our area Representatives and Senators to get additional information about this session, but the frustration they feel is absolutely a reminder of the importance of completing the U.S. Census. Our state senators and representatives are often outnumbered and one of the best ways we can help them is to overwhelmingly report our totals down here to help ensure an accurate Census count. Adding a few more legislative positions to Southeast New Mexico would be of tremendous assistance.
There were two additional positive Eddy County COVID-19 cases introduced on Saturday and two additional cases introduced on Sunday for a total now of 53. Also in Southeast New Mexico, Lea County had one new case recorded on Sunday and 8 recorded on Saturday for a total now of 67, according to the New Mexico Department of Health. Eddy County still reports 17 recoveries and Lea County 19 on the DOH web page, but we believe those numbers haven’t been updated recently. Artesia General Hospital reports 21 recoveries in Eddy County as of Monday morning.
Today is the first day of Inspired by Science Camp 2020, an online version of the usual wonderful camp sponsored by Devon Energy and Nuclear Waste Partnership. Did you know that Carlsbad has one of the highest per capita number of scientists and doctorates in the state, second only to Los Alamos? Also, our list of former scientists includes Dr. F. Drew Gaffney, a cardiac researcher who went into space in 1991. We look forward to seeing more future scientists come out of Carlsbad and appreciate all of the extra hard work this year to make a program possible. Deena Antiporda has done an outstanding job overseeing this great program and keeping it together.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Happy Father’s Day! Thanks to all of the great dads in Carlsbad for everything they do.
Here’s an update on the Special Session as of Saturday morning: Solvency bills aimed at addressing a projected $2 billion state revenue drop received initial approval from the House and Senate, with the debate largely falling along party lines.
The House approved a $7 billion budget in a 46-24 vote, with Republicans opposing the budget plan because they felt the overall state budget should be further reduced.
The bill reduces proposed spending increases for state agencies and public schools and relies on $750 million in federal dollars from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. It alsouses about half of the state’s $1.7 billion in cash reserves, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
Under the current solvency bill, New Mexico teachers and school employees would get 1 percent salary increases, as would state employees making less than $50,000. Teachers and state workers were originally slated to receive 4 percent raises.
Senate Bill 5 would cancel stalled capital outlay and road projects and reduce spending by $141 million. It passed through the Senate 36-6 on Friday. The Legislature is also considering bills dealing with tax penalty forgiveness and financial aid for businesses and municipalities through low-interest loans.
Our local legislators have been doing everything they can to support us and are working well past 1 a.m. to get through this session while also debating issues related to justice code and police reform. Please keep them in your prayers.
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant confirmed Friday afternoon that a Nuclear Waste Partnership employee tested positive for COVID-19. The employee was tested by WIPP Health Services on Wednesday. The employee had been teleworking since mid-March, had only briefly visited the Skeen Whitlock Building and had not been to the WIPP site. We appreciate NWP and the Department of Energy for the update and for making sure recommendations by the Center of Disease Control were followed.
The most recent update we have received from Carlsbad Medical Center says the hospital has administered 1,375 COVID-19 tests so far and confirmed 16 positives. There have been 1,338 negative results with 21 results still pending.
Carlsbad Medical Center’s safety measures and visitor guidelines are available at https://www.carlsbadmedicalcenter.com/covid-19. Patients who come to the hospital are screened for symptoms before being allowed to enter, and PPE requirements and cleaning processes have been greatly enhanced. Please do not allow any current concerns to interfere with receiving essential medical care. All members of our medical community are doing a great job to make sure you will safely receive any treatment you might need.
Congratulations to Curtis McKinney for having a successful drive-in movie experience Friday night. We understand there were some technical difficulties Thursday, but everything went perfectly the following day. Please continue to follow the civic center’s Facebook page for movie updates.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Coronavirus Update: 6-19-20
On behalf of the City of Carlsbad, we wish to offer our condolences to the family and friends of Claudine Holderness, a Carlsbad resident who passed away this week at the age of 104.
Claudine was a teacher with Carlsbad Municipal Schools who devoted 48 years to education and even taught another outstanding resident, Margaret McClure, when Margaret was in the fourth grade. Claudine and Dan Blocker (AKA Hoss Cartwright) taught together during her 27 years of teaching in Carlsbad. Her birthday was on Valentine’s Day. We enjoyed getting to meet with some of Claudine’s family and friends this week, especially Terry Holderness McAdams and Susie Bindel, and hearing her remarkable story. Her father Claude Charles was the architect who did the original design for the Cavern Theatre!
New Mexico’s Special Session began on Thursday with a series of technical problems when public video streams kept going offline. House Minority Leader, our area representative Jim Townsend, objected to the fact that bills were not published ahead of time, according to the Albuquerque Journal. Proposals for remote participation were also debated.
Some protesters gathered outside to oppose the closing of the Capitol to the public. Committee hearings are being live streamed and members of the public can comment through the New Mexico Legislature Website. The focus of this session will be to trim funding from the state budget amid a downturn in revenue during the COVID-19 outbreak. Lawmakers have also been asked to consider bills that may require police to wear cameras, ban chokeholds and make officers’ disciplinary history a matter of public record, among other issues.
Legislative leaders said they hoped to wrap up the session by Saturday, but realistically believe it could extend beyond that due to technical difficulties. We will keep you updated on developments important to Southeast New Mexico.
Artesia General Hospital has updated its list of safety practices it is continuing to take as medical procedures there continue to resume. It is recommended that you familiarize yourself with these procedures before visiting, if possible. This obviously includes a continued focus on cleaning, screening and COVID-19 testing for every outpatient surgery and every admitted patient. You can view these practices at https://artesiageneral.com/safety/
Artesia’s hospital has also put forth an excellent attempt to keep track of COVID-19 recoveries throughout this crisis by publishing a regular update. It’s a very difficult issue to formally track recoveries, but it is clearly very important for the public to know that people are getting better.
As of Friday morning, Artesia General Hospital reported 48 positive COVID-19 tests for Eddy County, 21 recoveries and 1 COVID-related death, as well as 3,997 tests conducted here. The New Mexico Department of Health, on Friday morning, reports 49 positive COVID-19 tests, 16 recoveries, 1 COVID-related death and 3,350 total tests conducted here. We believe Artesia’s report appears to be a day or two ahead of the DOH’s report in terms of recoveries and total tests.
Clarification: Yesterday’s report indicated that the Elks put up the flags for Flag Day. The Downtown Lions Club is responsible for putting up flags at businesses and locations around town on Flag Day. However, the Elks Lodge did display all of its flags on the property of the lodge in celebration of Flag Day on June 14. This served as a replacement for the Annual Flag Ceremony. The Lions and Elks are both wonderful organizations and we appreciate all of their support for this community.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
OPENING UP NONPROFIT CLUBS: CORONAVIRUS UPATE 6-18-20
Groups who need our backing right now include Carlsbad Elks Lodge, the American Legion and other clubs who haven’t been able to open their facilities due to the COVID shutdown.
Last year, the Carlsbad Elks Lodge donated more than $100,000 to support youth groups, veterans and other local organizations. They’ve donated more than $1 million over the past decade.
The Elks are still finding ways to help around town, such as putting out flags around town on Flag Day, but many of our local nonprofits are suffering from them being shut down. Elks across the state are planning another peaceful protest in Santa Fe on June 24 in an effort to get their lodges back open.
The American Legion is another local organization who has done so much for the community, and its members are also eager to re-open their Post. The camaraderie and chance to unwind that the Legion Post offers for our veterans can’t be replaced elsewhere, and we strongly support the effort to let them open back up.
Many individuals and groups are doing their best to adjust during these confusing times. Curtis McKinney, who holds the city’s contract to manage the civic center, has set up a “Wheelz & Reelz” drive-in movie theater in the civic center parking lot. The first showing is this weekend- Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The gates open at 7:15 p.m. and the movies start at 8:15 p.m. Cost is $5 per person or $20 for a carload of four to seven. This week’s features are “Wonder Park” and “Countdown.” It’s great seeing some entertainment options in Carlsbad.
There’s still some parts in development, but here’s what we have so far in terms of our Fourth of July celebration this year.
- The Fourth of July Parade will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, July 4, at the School Administration Building on Main Street. Assembly begins at 8 a.m. The parade will head north along Main Street to Church Street, west on Church Street to Canyon Street, south on Canyon Street to Fox Street, east on Fox St. to Main Street and then north on Main back to the School Administration Building. The City of Carlsbad is planning a special float for this parade, and we’ve reached out to other groups to encourage participation.
- You don’t have to register in advance to participate in the parade. For more information, please call Michael Smart at (575) 200-6946. For safety reasons, please do not plan to throw any items from parade floats.
- CARC Inc., Good Life Senior Living and Encompass have invited any parade participants who would like to do so to meet at Cherry Lane Park, beginning at 10 a.m. This “drive by” parade will begin when first responders reach the lineup to lead the way. This parade will go past the two Good Life facilities and through CARC.
- As announced last week, the City of Carlsbad’s annual fireworks show will begin shortly after 8:30 p.m. The fireworks will be launched from the top of the municipal golf course, with a focus this year on “high aerial” fireworks that can be viewed from across town. Thank you to Eddy County for additional assistance with making this show special.
- We have many residents who may be looking for a spot where they can view the show with some space between them and other people watching, and we also have many residents who are fairly new to town who may not be aware of those alternatives, so we will be posting additional information about those alternatives.
- A video of this year’s show will be displayed on the City of Carlsbad Facebook page. We will continue to update you with additional information.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
There was a lot of good news for Carlsbad on Tuesday. First, we were thrilled to hear that the visitor center and the cave itself at Carlsbad Caverns National Park is back open, with some limitations and guidelines in place. Entrance tickets to the cavern are limited to 550 visitors per day and available on a first-come, first-served basis at the visitor center. The first cavern entry is at 8:30 a.m. and the last entry is at 2 p.m. All visitors will enter through the natural entrance trail and leave through the elevator. The Bat Flight Amphitheater remains closed at this time. Carlsbad Caverns being back open is great news for our tourism industry and worth celebration.
We strongly encourage Guadalupe Mountains National Park to follow through with similar guidelines in place and re-open as well. We also again ask members of the public returning to these beautiful parks to please be respectful and not leave garbage everywhere. The photos of places being trashed after they re-open are extremely disheartening.
Additionally, President Trump signed an Executive Order on police reform Tuesday. In order to receive certain discretionary grant funding, state and local law enforcement agencies would need to certify that their policies prohibit the use of chokeholds, except in situations where the use of deadly force is permitted by law. Eddy County Sheriff Mark Cage was one of the nation’s law enforcement leaders invited to participate in a round table discussion at the event and stand with the president when he spoke about the executive order. Congratulations to Sheriff Cage for being a part of this development, and we appreciate your representation of our community at a national level.
Additional positive news came from the United Way of Eddy County, who reported a generous $20,000 donation from ConocoPhillips to the United Way’s Eddy County COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. The fund has helped provide relief to numerous individuals throughout the COVID-19 shutdown. Thanks again to Linda Dodd and everyone at the United Way for developing this program. Thanks as well to ConocoPhillips, who has always been willing to support Carlsbad and the surrounding area. The local United Way has also received an All Together NM Fund grant for $5,000 that is being administered through the Santa Fe Community Foundation. Other groups such as Faith, Hope & Love continue to provide some much-needed assistance.
Congratulations to Reinhard Knerr, who has been selected to serve as the new Manager of the Carlsbad Field Office, starting in mid July. Knerr’s previous experience includes having served on the WIPP project as transuranic waste certification team leader. Outgoing manager Greg Sosson will now serve at EM headquarters, while Deputy Manager Kirk Lachman will become Manager of EM-Los Alamos. Thank you to Lachman and Sosson for their service to this community.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Honoring Juneteenth: Coronavirus Update 6-16-20
June 19, also known as Juneteenth, is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Even though President Lincoln announced the end of slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, news did not reach certain Americans until June 19, 1865.
Major General Gordon Granger broke the news to the residents of Galveston. We have been told that Major General Granger is, in fact, a relative of some of the Grangers in Carlsbad and Southeast New Mexico, which is a very important historical connection here.
Across the South, Juneteenth celebrations have become days for celebrating liberty, justice and tolerance. Carlsbad has had some special Juneteenth celebrations, including one two years ago featuring former NFL player and civil rights advocate John Wooten, another Carlsbad native. Last year’s event included a memorial tribute to Daniel Johnson, the former state director of the NAACP who sadly lost his battle with cancer.
The NAACP will not be able to hold a Juneteenth celebration this year, due to COVID-19 concerns, but the message of emancipation still rings more true than it ever has. Our local NAACP president is Dr. Andrew Nwanne and our local vice-president is Judge Collis Johnson, and we support their great efforts in this community.
Case update: According to local healthcare providers 20 of the 47 positive COVID-19 tests (as of Tuesday morning) have now been designated as recoveries. There has been one COVID-related death in Eddy County and there are currently two local COVID-positive hospitalizations, individuals who had previously been on home quarantine but experienced a worsening of their conditions.
Two other Eddy County individuals who had previously been hospitalized are now COVID-free, but one is still recovering with medical assistance. The other positive Eddy County cases who have not recovered remain at home on quarantine. Please keep everyone in your prayers. According to Artesia General Hospital, there have now been 3,840 coronavirus tests administered in Eddy County.
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant has entered its second phase of its own recovery mode, meaning that some workers who had been working from home will now be returning to work. WIPP is also in the middle of a permitting process in which it plans to excavate a new shaft and associated connecting drifts. The New Mexico Environment Department is currently seeking public comment on this proposal, with comments being due by August 11.
WIPP’s justification for this modification focuses on increased control of ventilation airflow in the underground and the ability to perform a variety of underground operations at once. Additionally, many in the community believe that the shaft is also very important when WIPP adds future disposal panels in the future. WIPP has been extremely important to our community and to the nation’s cleanup mission.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Update on the Double Eagle Water System
Coronavirus Update: 6-15-20
The City of Carlsbad is close to completing the third phase of an extremely important project that has been in development for several years now – the Double Eagle renovation. This was a monumental effort that will make sure this desert community has enough water for years to come.
The City has historically been served by the Sheep’s Draw well field, about seven miles to the southwest. As Carlsbad has continued to grow, we have taken steps to make sure we have access to multiple high-quality water resources.
In 2012, the City began to implement a process of bringing up to 6 million gallons per day of water from the Ogallala Aquifer, located near Maljamar, N.M. The first two phases of the project resulted in the installation of approximately 39 miles of 12-inch, 16-inch and 24-inch diameter waterlines, which connected tanks near Maljamar to tanks near Carlsbad.
The $12 million third phase of the project, which began in 2019, installed a new five million gallon tank and disinfection facility to the northeast of Carlsbad and added about 5.6 miles of new water line. Smithco Construction Inc. was awarded the bid and Molzen-Corbin designed the project. This phase is about 90 percent complete. Water projects aren’t always headline news, but there’s nothing more important in terms of looking out for the future of the community. Thanks again to XTO Energy for supporting this project with a generous donation. Congratulations to everyone involved on a job well done.
As announced last week, the Riverwalk Recreational Center and the Bob Forrest Sports Complex re-opened on Monday with some new conditions on place. The Carlsbad Public Library is now opening beginning Tuesday at 50% occupancy with temporary modified hours from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and curbside pickup offered Saturday. The library will open up on Monday mornings for seniors and vulnerable individuals from 9-11 a.m. Sarah Jones and the employees at the library have been working hard to re-open, as have Renee Madrid, Wanda Caddell and the staff at the Rec Center, and Ted Cordova and everyone at the sports complex. If you have any questions about these facilities, please let us know.
COVID case update- we were informed of one new positive case in Eddy County on Sunday for an overall total of 47 by Sunday evening. We will post the local recovery total when it becomes available. According to the New Mexico Department of Health, the state has now had a total of 9.723 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 435 related deaths and 4,114 cases designated as having recovered. Thank you to all of our health care professionals for their continued hard work.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Coronavirus Update: 6-13-20
We appreciate everyone for being willing to work with us to get the fireworks show going again. Over the past week, many citizens have offered to assist the City with finding a way to make it possible. The feedback we received from the public also played a significant role in our decision to conduct a detailed reevaluation. The Fourth of July celebration is called Independence Day for a reason, and the symbolism of such a day, and what it means to all of us, feels especially necessary this year.
We’re also being very sincere when we say a goal this year will be to produce a fireworks show that you can see from all over town. Precision Fireworks from Era, Texas, is going to do a spectacular job. We’re including 16-inch rockets to allow the show to be better viewed across town. Residents of CARC, Inc., and many members of our senior community have had very few bright spots over the past few months and have had their lives more restricted than the rest of us. We’re also going to set aside a number of spots around town where people can comfortably view the show from their own vehicle.
On the morning of the Fourth of July, local resident Michael Smart is organizing a parade through downtown Carlsbad. The parade will begin at 9 a.m., and we encourage you to attend and participate. Some of our local organizations with residents who aren’t able to get out of their homes right now have also invited participants in the parade to later drive by their facilities, and we invite you to join them as well. We will post more details soon.
While we’re elated to have the fireworks back this year, there’s certainly still some disappointment, as this year’s original plan was to include a special “Old Fashioned” Fourth of July Show, which would have included a water show and musical acts all day, including a Beach Boys tribute band. We’d also planned to tie in our event with some of the summer reunions originally planned. We hope that we can have an even bigger event next year.
In the meantime, let’s focus on what we do have. We can promise you a great fireworks show that you will be able to see across town. We can promise you a parade that you will be able to enjoy from any point along its route. We can promise that our excellent staff of first responders and facility maintenance personnel will do everything they can to make sure you and your families have the best possible day. In return, please help us out by celebrating safely and helping keep Carlsbad clean and beautiful.
Finally, while the return of fireworks is a big deal worthy of celebration, it might be worth taking a couple steps back as well. Independence Day commemorates the Declaration of Independence and with it the words that will go down in history: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Words to never forget,
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
JMA Students Should Be Proud
Coronavirus Update: 6-11-20
We’ve celebrated the recent graduations from Carlsbad High School, the Early College High School and NMSU-C. One more group of young men and women are extremely deserving of our congratulations- this year’s graduating class of 11 from Jefferson Montessori Academy, who celebrated their graduation on June 11.
Over the years, the City of Carlsbad has had a very special relationship with the students of JMA. Their unique school structure has allowed the school to participate in a large number of community events, such as the opening of our glass recycling facility and at the annual poster contests at our museum and at the National Cave and Karst Research Institute. Therefore, we’ve been blessed to watch this year’s JMA Class of 2020 grow up. We’re extremely proud of them, and we know they will continue to represent our community.
Thanks to JMA Principal Stacey Frakes, President Deanna Weston-Helmer, Senior Parent Desi Yanez and Senior Advisor Kerrie Thatcher for all of their hard work.
Congratulations again to Emma Yanez, Alyssa Montgomery – Clary, Cierra Sullivan, Jozee Dominquez Zuniga, Danika Gallagher, Arinda (Tina) Franco, Zoe Chapman, Nicholas Harvey, Alexander Frederick, Alex Hayne and Hunter Cunningham.
The entire history of JMA in Carlsbad is one of overcoming adversity and triumphing, which makes the accomplishments of this year’s 11 graduates that much the better. This year’s graduates, from all of our schools, overcame a year that wasn’t anywhere close to what they were expecting or hoping for. As others have pointed out, these same students were born in the aftermath of the tragedy of September 11, 2001. We are confident they will grow up to make the world a better place.
COVID-19 Update: We were informed of four more positive COVID-19 cases in Eddy County on Wednesday afternoon, for a total of 42 cases since testing began. We understand that total now includes 17 positives from Carlsbad, 17 positives from Artesia, 4 from Loving and 4 more where the specific community hasn’t been identified. There have also been 15 recoveries so far from that total.
This week, the New Mexico Department of Health announced that it has designated special COVID-19 testing hours for all employees who work at restaurants, grocery stores and other food-related services, beginning June 15. Testing will be available from 8-11 a.m. Monday at the Carlsbad Public Health Office at 1306 W. Stevens. Appointments are still required and can be made by calling (575) 885-4191. The DOH is still conducting COVID-19 tests for everyone else at the same location throughout the rest of the week, and testing has been consistent.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
City Moves Begins to Move Forward with Re-Opening Plan
Coronavirus Update: 6-10-20
We are waiting for additional direction from the State at this time, but it is our hope that New Mexico will begin “Phase 2” of its re-opening plan by next week. Based on our understanding of previous reports, Phase 2 would mean an increase in the percentage allowed at churches, restaurants and other businesses, while indoor locations such as theaters and bars would also now operate with certain guidelines in place. We also hope this phase will readdress the number of people defined as a gathering, with the official total currently still being five.
The City of Carlsbad has also been working on re-opening many of its facilities, though some of the same limitations and restrictions which apply to businesses will also apply to us. The City is often in the same situation as the rest of you in terms of waiting for more information. As most people know, parks have remained open throughout the shutdown, and the golf course, tennis courts, dog park and shooting range re-opened weeks ago. Here’s a few more that we hope to open soon:
Bob Forrest Youth Sports Complex: The sports complex will reopen on June 15 for conditioning and skills development under the guidelines set forth by the state. The batting cages and fields will be open, so individuals and small groups can utilize them for skills development, with previous rules for field reservations still in place. Fields can be reserved by contacting the sports complex office at (575) 689-8351.
Riverwalk Recreation Center: We’re finalizing a plan to re-open the RIverwalk Recreational Center, as well as the nearby skate park, hockey rink and Playground on the Pecos, fairly soon. Social distancing guidelines will be similar to those at the sports complex, and the recreation center’s capacity will also be limited for the time being as we re-adjust. Basketball courts will be re-opened, but there will be a limit on how many people can use a court and limits on scrimmages and games. Some services such as equipment checkouts may also be limited for the time being.
The Carlsbad Library: We believe the Carlsbad Municipal Library should be able to re-open very soon, with additional guidelines in place to ensure cleanliness and social distancing. The library has been doing a great job with a curbside service and an online reading program.
Carlsbad Water Park: It is difficult to determine when we’ll be able to open the water park or the splash pads. These facilities require annual inspections through the New Mexico Environment Department, and those inspections have not been authorized yet. It’s very hot in Carlsbad and it is a top priority.
Carlsbad Museum & Art Center and Our Senior Centers: Museums were on the list of facilities that were still ordered to remain closed in the June 1 public health order. We are hoping for additional clarification from the state on museums soon. Similarly, restrictions for senior centers remain high, and we are hoping to gain additional information on ways we can provide these opportunities for our seniors soon.
We know many parents out there are looking for entertainment options for their kids, while also remaining careful. We’re in this together and doing what we can to assist you.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Coronavirus Update: 6-9-20
The mental health aspects of the COVID-19 shutdown have been insufficiently addressed by our society, especially concerning areas such as dementia. We’ve spoken with local individuals who provide such care, and it is heartbreaking to hear story after story about individuals who just don’t understand why they aren’t able to see their family members right now. People who benefit the most from additional human contact are feeling especially isolated and afraid.
As many of us are enjoying watching our society re-open, please do not forget that some of our community’s most vulnerable citizens have still not had their lives return to normal. There’s no easy solution, other than to thank those who do focus on dementia care and similar fields and let them know that we want to help however we can.
In that regards, thanks once more to Belinda Lopez and everyone with the Southeast New Mexico Community Action Corporation. They are some of the hardest working people in Eddy County right now. In addition to feeding around 700 meals a day to seniors, they are also reaching out personally to seniors who are lonely or who require other assistance and assisting them. Our community is very blessed to have such dedicated individuals.
Belinda and SNMCAC staff are still helping us deliver cards to seniors through the Age Friendly Retirement Council. Please keep the cards coming, as they’ve been well received. This is certainly an issue where it feels like we all need to do a lot more, however.
Monday’s update from the Department of Health reported three new COVID-19 positive cases for Eddy County for a total of 38. Artesia General Hospital now reports a total of 3,100 total tests conducted in Eddy County and 15 COVID-19 recoveries. For more information, please visit https://artesiageneral.com/covid19/
Also worth noting, the Department of Health has now identified a positive COVID-19 case at Artesia Healthcare and Rehabilitation. We will continue to closely follow all potential positives at care facilities.
The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park has asked us to let you know that they’ve extended their “Friends of the Living Desert” membership by three months, due to members not being able to visit the park earlier.
Finally, thank you to Jessica Onsurez and the Current-Argus for allowing us to continue to provide these updates throughout this difficult time period. Things in our lives have been changing on a daily basis, so having the opportunity to inform you about these changes has been extremely helpful.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Coronavirus Update: 6-8-20
It’s such a bizarre time period we live in that we’re even having to have this discussion, but we want to make sure every single person understands that under no circumstance will the City of Carlsbad be considering dissolving its police force. Some communities have reportedly been discussing removing their police departments, and we have absolutely no idea what they would then do to protect their citizens when it comes to issues such as burglaries to domestic violence.
Not only are the Carlsbad Police Department and Eddy County Sheriff’s Department absolutely critical to our community, but we also have an excellent force of professionals who are deeply committed to doing the right thing. On top of their already busy jobs, our police force and sheriff’s department have been especially busy lately assisting with birthday parades and food deliveries to isolated individuals when they are able.
We have had several citizens offer us suggestions on policy changes they believe could help reduce potential instances of police violence. We are always looking to improve, and we will be examining these recommendations at an administrative and police level. Many of the recommendations are already in place here, but reviewing policies is always a good idea.
There have been a steady number of new COVID-19 positives announced for Eddy County over the past few days – 15 total since May 29. There were three new cases announced on Thursday, two on Friday, an additional case on Saturday and five on Sunday, for a total now of 35 cases since COVID-19 testing began (as of Monday morning). Here’s what we know so far:
- Of the 35 total positives, 17 are or have been Carlsbad cases, 2 are or have been Loving cases and 16 are or have been Artesia cases.
- There have been recent positive cases in both north and south Eddy County, including the two employees from Carlsbad Medical Center announced last week. The five cases announced Sunday do not appear to be Carlsbad cases.
- There’s been a surge in testing over the past few weeks. We’re now at a total of 2,754 tests conducted in Eddy County, according to the NM Department of Health web page.
- Interestingly, 2/3 of the Eddy County positives are male, and more than half of them fall between the ages of 20 and 49.
- We do not have a new update on local recoveries at this time but will post it as it becomes available later in the week. Let’s hope and pray for a recovery for all of these residents.
One of the many challenges of 2020 has been that so many of the worthwhile summer youth programs that normally take place have been put on hold.
Locally, the Inspired by Science camp has announced that they will hold their annual camp online this year, from June 22-26. The camp is free thanks to Devon Energy, Nuclear Waste Partnership and a few other sponsors. The camp is for ages 7-12 and is free this year. You can register at www.inspiredbyscience.org.
Additionally, www.newmexicoculture.org is a good resource with all New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs museums, historic sites and cultural institutions available virtually. If you have a summer youth activity, virtual or not, please let us know and we’ll include it in our update.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Coronavirus Update: 6-6-20
Eddy County raised some interesting points in a press release issued earlier this week. The county said it supports everyone’s First Amendment right to protest the death of George Floyd in Minnesota, provided such activities remain peaceful.
At the same time, places of worship in New Mexico are still restricted to a 25% capacity, according to the June 1 Public Health Order. Additionally, according to the same health order, all “mass gatherings” of more than five people are still officially prohibited. The limitations of this health order have had an incredible impact on our daily lives – how we celebrate weddings, attend church services, birthday parties and even funerals. Even in terms of city policy, we have struggled with attempting to understand, interpret and implement many of the limitations placed by these changing health orders to the best of our ability.
In its press release, Eddy County noted that the Governor seems to be endorsing some large gatherings while still officially prohibiting most others.
“The County and its leadership will also continue to urge the Governor to lift her restrictions on the rest of the State as soon as possible and treat it as equally as she has treated and even applauded those protesting freely with no restrictions,” Eddy County stated in its press release. It’s something to think about.
Many Carlsbad residents have expressed similar sentiments over the past few weeks, with remarks such as “if I call it a protest, can I go ahead and hold my wedding shower?” being very common.
Others have speculated as to why the same group of students standing at a protest are somehow less contagious than if they were standing together at a graduation ceremony.
People want to receive messages that are fair. They want policies that are fair. By endorsing some large gatherings, even those that are very much justified, while still declaring most others to be prohibited, the Governor has delivered a confusing message to the public.
We certainly respect the rights that these individuals have to peacefully protest, but other groups have equal rights to gather as well. What we are requesting is that the Governor’s realization that there are time periods in which larger gatherings are appropriate now be fairly applied to other walks of life as well.
A second Carlsbad Medical Center employee has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual self-quarantined at home immediately upon symptom onset and remains there in isolation. The hospital is working closely with the Department of Health as they identify and communicate directly with any potentially exposed staff and patients. Since Wednesday, they have tested 210 additional employees and there have been no other positive results at this time.
To keep patients and staff safe, Carlsbad Medical Center is screening anyone who enters the hospital, everyone is expected to wear a mask, surfaces and spaces are frequently being cleaned and disinfected, and they are adhering to social distancing recommendations, and visitor restrictions are still in place
We’ve had several people contact us to ask for more information about the positive test at Carlsbad Medical Center- specifically, were they at risk if they’ve recently visited CMC? You will be directly contacted if you were possibly at risk, but you may also contact the Department of Health at any time if you believe you have concerns. Carlsbad’s public health office number is (575) 885-4191.
Thank you again to Beverly Allen and Cary Baird with Chevron for everything they do for this community. We had an excellent meeting with Ms. Allen this past week about ways we can work together to support Carlsbad in the future. We will keep you updated when we get more details
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Coronavirus Update: 6-5-20
As many of you know, there was a large protest in Carlsbad Thursday evening in response to the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. From everything we’ve been told, the protests here were peaceful, local and respectful. The protest organizers themselves, as well as the Carlsbad Police Department and Eddy County Sheriff’s Department, deserve credit for maintaining this event in a productive manner. There were many rumors circulating around town on Thursday, but the protests we’ve seen in Carlsbad have consisted of local individuals expressing themselves. Let’s keep it that way.
The only individual to be get into any law enforcement vehicle during the protest in Carlsbad was an 88-year old man who wanted to participate in the march between the beach area and P.R. Leyva. The man became tired about halfway through, so an Eddy County Sheriff’s Deputy offered to give the man a ride back to the beach in the passenger side of his vehicle, and the older man accepted. That moment really shows you what this community is all about.
COVID-19 case update: Many of you saw yesterday’s announcement that there are now three new Eddy County positive cases, for an overall total of 26, by Friday morning. We believe one of those three new cases to be an employee of Carlsbad Medical Center, which was announced yesterday. We do not have additional information about the other two cases at this time. According to the information we’ve received from our local health care communities, 14 of our local cases have been proclaimed to be recoveries so far. That means that at this time there are 11 active cases and 1 COVID-related fatality.
Congratulations to all of the recent winners of the Guadalupe Mountains Annual Poster Contest, and special thanks to Elizabeth Jackson for all her hard work and dedication to this special project .The park received entries from nine different states this year.
This year’s “Best of Show” winner was Catherin Gruen, a 13-year-old from California. Catherine’s work will be featured on the 2021 Park Pass. First place went to 16-year-old Evelyn Luster from Massachusetts, while second place went to 10-year-old Olivia Vo, from Kent Elementary in Texas. The third place winner was our very own Chloe Canada, a 15-year-old from Jefferson Montessori Academy. Finally, the “Mayor’s Choice” selection was 7-year-old Zoie Salaz, also from Jefferson Montessori Academy, and the “NCKRI Choice” went to 13-year-old Mara Van Wagner, from Michigan. We will post all of the winning artwork on the City of Carlsbad’s Facebook page.
This year’s theme was “Recreation for All!” Thanks to the Guadalupe Mountains for the invitation to be a judge this year. The co-judges were Dianne Joop with the National Cave and Karst Research Institute, the Bureau of Land Management and the Western National Parks Association.
Carlsbad has lost a few of our most outstanding citizens this past week – Claude Tabor and Jan Walterscheid. Claude was a veteran who moved to Carlsbad in 1950. He spent decades in service to the City of Carlsbad, working as Director of the Public Health Department, then as Water Superintendent and finally as City Manager. He spent 22 years as City Manager before retiring in 1987, and he continued to serve as a consultant after that.
Jan Walterscheid co-founded Lakeview Christian Hospice Care in 1999. She began her career as a medical surgical nurse, transitioning into home health and hospice. Jan was also heavily involved in the Mayor’s Annual Prayer Breakfast and just recently participated in our “Carlsbad United in Prayer” day, where she delivered wonderful comments. Our condolences to the Walterscheid and Tabor families, and also our heartfelt thanks – for all the incredible good these two individuals did for our community.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
COVID-19 Update: June 4, 2020
An employee of Carlsbad Medical Center has tested positive for COVID-19, according to CMC, but a significant number of employees tested since have all come up negative.
According to CMC, the individual who tested positive was quarantined home immediately upon symptom onset and remains in isolation. Working in coordination with the Department of Health, the hospital has identified and contacted any potentially exposed employees or patients. CMC tells us they have since tested 190 additional employees, and all results came up negative. The hospital said the will continue to provide employee testing as needed, and assured us that procedures are in place to ensure everyone’s safety, such as infection control protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control. We appreciate Carlsbad Medical Center for making us aware of this issue and for making sure all employees and patients are safe. Please keep all health care workers in your prayers.
With so much else going on, we also need to make sure that we don’t lose sight of the upcoming special session.
The session will begin June 18 and should conclude by that weekend. New Mexico is looking at an estimated budget shortfall for the next fiscal year of between $1.8 and $2.8 billion. Additional, revenues for the current fiscal period could be between $368 million and $483 million short of projections.
While we are confident that oil prices are working their way back up, which will eventually help remedy the issue, our focus right now needs to be to make sure that Carlsbad and Southeast New Mexico are not unduly penalized when cutbacks are made during this session. According to media reports, legislators currently believe that they can fix the 2021 fiscal year budget without making any essential cuts, but are clearly nervous about the 2022 budget. We have a great delegation serving Southeast New Mexico, and we will meet with them before June 18 to see if there is any way we can help.
Wienerschnitzel is looking to hire some more employees and plans to open by mid June. We’re excited about having this new option in Carlsbad and hope you can help get word out about their search for more employees. A T-Mobile is also going to open at the same location.
Another positive is that the Carlsbad High School Natatorium has re-opened for lap swimming only. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 5-9 a.m. and 7-8:45 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 2 p.m. The pool, as with the Carlsbad Water Park, are pushing to be fully open to the public later this summer. I assure you that this is a very high priority.
One more announcement made by the state today- a new online portal has been created to allow residents to determine what health coverage they may qualify for. You can visit this portal at https://www.osi.state.nm.us/index.php/nmhealthcoverageconnector/. This may be helpful to anyone wanting to check into their options.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Coronavirus Update: 6-3-20
Congratulations to everyone who won and thanks to those who participated in our primary election. We need great leaders to get us through difficult times, and it was nice to see such a high level of interest at all levels of this past election.
All results are unofficial at this time. At the Eddy County Commission level, Republican challenger Fred Beard defeated incumbent Larry Wood in a close District 3 primary. There is no Democrat candidate, which means Beard will be the next county commissioner, as results are made official.
Sarah Marie Cordova, a Democrat, ran unchallenged in District 5 and will take Susan Crockett’s place, who could not seek another term due to term limits. Cordova is also unchallenged in the general election. We sincerely appreciate all that Crockett and Wood have done for Eddy County and know they will both stay highly involved. Jonathan Henry also ran uncontested for re-election.
Eddy County Sheriff Mark Cage won uncontested in the Republican Primary. He’ll face Donald Cantrell in the general election, who won his primary uncontested. Republican Laurie Pruitt and Democrat Rosie Garcia each won uncontested primaries and will compete in the general election now for Eddy County Treasurer.
At the state level, David Gallegos unseated incumbent Gregg Fulfer in the contest for State Senate District 41, which includes a portion of Carlsbad and Eddy County. Gallegos will be uncontested in the general election. Locally, Cathrynn Brown, Jim Townsend Gay Kernan and Ron Griggs all faced uncontested elections. Thanks to Sen. Fulfer for all that he did for this area, and we look forward to working with Gallegos, previously a state representative, in his new position. Randy Pettigrew ran uncontested to fill the seat formally occupied by Gallegos.
There were some very interesting state elections this year, as Democrats John Arthur Smith and Mary Kay Papen, two of the most influential members in the state, both lost their primary,
On the national level, Yvette Herrell defeated Claire Chase and Chris Mathys in the Republican Primary Election. Herrell will challenge incumbent Democrat Xochitl Torres Small for the seat representing New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District. Mark Ronchetti won the Republican Primary for U.S. Senator and will challenge Ben Lujan for the seat in November.
There are major issues developing across our state and nation right now, and it is clear that we need strong leaders at all levels who will look out for our citizens. Congratulations to all of the primary winners, and we look forward to meeting with you soon to discuss ways we can work to improve the lives of Carlsbad and its residents.
While many local summer programs have been postponed, some organizations are working hard to provide some fun options over the summer. The Carlsbad Public Library has developed an online summer reading program available through the library’s Facebook and web page. As a reminder, you can also borrow library materials for curbside pickup. Please call 885-6776 for more information.
We are working hard to get a number of City facilities re-opened and hope to have an update for you soon.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Coronavirus Update: June 2, 2020
Congratulations again to Dr. John Gratton, who held his virtual retirement parade Tuesday morning. A reverse parade is scheduled for 10 a.m. June 29 at the NMSU-C campus. Dr. Gratton was extremely committed to building partnerships between our college and the community. He also helped introduce the college’s annual “Taste of Culture” event. He worked very hard for his students and for this entire community.
United Way Update: Santo Petroleum became the latest group to support the United Way’s Emergency Relief Fund with a donation of $5,000. The United Way’s Project Feeding Families effort is also going very well – businesses such as the Church Street Grill are helping feed kids through a partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Carlsbad.
Additionally, the United Way’s Board of Directors recently approved an Emerging Community Needs Grant to assist first responders with Critical Incident Stress Management. Thank you all for showing your support.
Over the past 8 days, we have seen the number of total positive COVID-19 cases in Eddy County go from 17 up to 23. Keep in mind that total includes individuals who have fully recovered. In its daily update, Artesia General Hospital reports the total number of Eddy County recoveries is now at 14. In addition to the one COVID-related death, that means 9 of the 23 Eddy County individuals who tested are still recovering from COVID-19. (The total went from 24 down to 23 on Tuesday afternoon when one duplicate was identified.) We’re so relieved to hear about the recoveries.
Specific information has been difficult to obtain lately, but here’s what we’ve been able to find out, as of the morning of June 2.
- Testing has ramped up considerably. Hospitals are now additionally conducting tests before any surgical procedure, and the Department of Health has continued testing five days a week. Artesia General Hospital’s latest report states that 2,804 tests have been conducted in Eddy County.
- Carlsbad Medical Center’s last positive COVID-19 test was administered on May 26. Carlsbad Medical Center has received a total of six positive tests out of 563 administered.
- At least three of the recent positive cases are residents of South Eddy County (Carlsbad and Loving). These individuals are now recovering at home under quarantine.
- There are currently no COVID-19 related hospitalizations in Eddy County, though some patients may still be hospitalized elsewhere. Please continue to keep everyone in your prayers.
On Tuesday morning, I enjoyed having breakfast on the patio near PB&J’s along the river. We even got to have it on the new gazebo outside of the Pecos River Village. Thanks to everyone with PB&J’s for the meal, and thanks again to Mosaic Potash for helping make the beautiful gazebo possible.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Coronavirus Update: 6-1-20
June 2 is New Mexico’s Primary Election for Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians. There are numerous contested primaries this year, including at the county commission level, U.S. Congress and the U.S. Senate.
You can vote from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday at any of the following locations: St. Peter Lutheran Church, VFW (1916 San Jose Bouelvard), the Hillcrest Baptist Church, the Clerk’s Office Early Voting Room (325 S. Main St.), the Eddy County Fire Service Center, the Loving School Admin Conference Room, Artesia’s Faith Baptist Church, Artesia’s Eddy County Sub-Office, and Central Valley Electric (1403 N. 13th).
In addition to wanting to make sure that we choose good candidates, a strong voter turnout itself shows that we have an invested population.
Thank you all for participating in this extremely important civic responsibility.
Over the weekend, many of us followed the protests taking place across the country, which initiated as a response to the terrible and tragic death of George Floyd. In many places, these protests turned to riots and looting.
In Carlsbad, a group of mostly young men and women staged a peaceful demonstration on the courthouse lawn on Saturday night. They also held a vigil.
Unfortunately, one or two individuals attempted to disrupt this local event by yelling racial slurs at some of the demonstrators. These abhorrent racist exclamations have no place in our community. The Carlsbad Police Department showed up to make sure that the demonstrators were safe.
Carlsbad has a very strong tradition of leadership in the Civil Rights movement, through the wisdom of Dr. Emmitt Smith and others. After retiring from professional football, John Wooten became one of the central figures of the civil rights effort within the National Football League.
That legacy continues to this day with groups such as the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Committee, the local chapter of the NAACP and the Ebony Car Club.
We’re blessed to have so many community leaders including James and Julia Williams, Bernita Smith-Payne, Judge Collis Johnson, the Rev. R.L. Smith, Gary Giddens, Jessie Gates, Gerard Green, Jimmy Broughton, Jeff Barksdale and many more.
We’re very proud of the young people from Saturday’s rally who continue with this deep tradition of pushing to make the world a better place. We will always support peaceful protest and free speech as a way of bringing about change. Please continue to pray for our community and for our entire nation.
We were informed of two additional positive COVID-19 cases in Eddy County over the weekend, for a total now of 22. The last report on total recoveries for Eddy County we have was published on May 26 and states there have been 11 recoveries in Eddy County so far.
Additionally, the state’s newest amended public health order went into effect on Monday, allowing limited re-opening for dine-in-restaurants, indoor malls, gyms, salons and others. It was good to see so many businesses back open this week.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
COVID Update 5-30-20
Congratulations to David Testa and everyone involved with Friday’s Law Enforcement Torch Run, which raises money for the Special Olympics. This year has been especially hard on our Special Olympians, who love the opportunity to represent Carlsbad at state, national and even global events. Members of the Carlsbad Police Department, Carlsbad Fire Department, Eddy County Sheriff’s Department and other local agencies are trying to give our Special Olympians a head start when their event resumes.
You can view a video of Friday’s run on our Facebook page. More information about supporting this excellent effort is also available there as well. We’ve been very blessed to have such a great Special Olympics, with Carolyn Olsen and her amazing group always being there for our athletes.
The local CYFD office also held an important event on Friday. The organization held a foster parent appreciation “Drive By” to hand out gift cards to foster families. Congratulations to Staci Compton and everyone involved for having such a great event.
Case update: On Friday, an additional positive COVID-19 case was identified for Eddy County. However, the total number of positive cases went from 21 down to 20. According to the state, county totals are subject to change upon further investigation and determination of residency of individuals positive for COVID-19. We will let you know of more information as it becomes available. As of Friday afternoon, New Mexico has now had a total of 7,493 positive tests for COVID-19 and 2,728 recoveries with 344 COVID-related deaths.
We’re working hard with our legislative delegation to get out two area’s national parks back open. Since the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens and Brantley Lake State Park are back open, it certainly makes a lot of sense. We know families are looking for opportunities for their children right now. We realize that Carlsbad Caverns National Park may have to find some creative solutions, but getting our parks back open would be an incredible morale boost and help our tourist industry.
With that being said, on Thursday, Lincoln National Forest announced that Sitting Bull Falls was temporarily closed again. According to the Forest Service, more than 3,000 people visited the park over a single weekend. Everyone is obviously extremely excited to get out as restrictions are lifted, but there was apparently a huge mess made. The Forest Service is now installing more sinks and will be monitoring the situation before re-opening.
The message here is very clear – we need to take personal responsibility and make sure that we are good visitors to area parks and outdoor locations. We’re very fortunate to live in an area with so many wonderful outdoor opportunities, but we all need to do our part to be respectful to these treasures.
Finally, the Eddy County MVD announced today that State MVD offices will be re-opening by appointment only beginning on June 1. You can visit MVD.NewMexico.gov or MDVonline.com to make your appointment. When you go online, choose the city for available appointments and the type of transaction needed. You will also find detailed information on what you need to bring to your appointment.
Please have a good weekend.
Sincerely, Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Coronavirus Update: 5-29-20
There was a significant amount of new information introduced in Thursday’s press conference by the Governor. While we are still seeking clarification on some points, here’s what we know so far:
- The “Gating Criteria” across New Mexico remains positive, according to the state. Gating criteria includes an evaluation of the spread of COVID-19 as well as an examination of available medical facilities and PPE. A new public health order will go into effect June 1, but with reduced restrictions.
- Beginning June 1, restaurants may now open at 50 percent of maximum capacity. There are conditions in place, such as discontinuing service stations requiring customers to congregate. Bar and counter seating is still prohibited in the new order.
- Hair salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors, nail salons and massage services may open at 25 percent of maximum occupancy, but are supposed to accept clients on an appointment-only basis, with waiting rooms remaining closed.
- Pools may be used for lap swimming and lessons of up to two students. Gyms may operate at 50 percent of maximum occupancy, but group fitness classes are not permitted, according to the state.
- Drive-in theaters may reopen under COVID-safe practices, and hotels may operate at 50 percent of maximum occupancy now. Indoor malls can open at a reduced capacity.
- The 14-day quarantine order for airport arrivals is being amended to permit certain business travel under COVID-Safe Practices.
- The order doesn’t change previous requirements that retailers or houses of worship may operate at 25 percent of maximum occupancy. Bars and entertainment facilities still remain temporarily closed, according to the state. The gating criteria will determine the timeline for these facilities as well as for lager events.
- In other news, the New Mexico Activities Association voted to allow summer sports to begin June 15, but in a phased process, with the first phase being individual skill development and workouts.
It was very positive to learn that the situation for our neighbors in the northwestern part of New Mexico is improving. The restrictions for that part of the state have now been lifted to the same degree as everyone else.
It’s also extremely uplifting to know that restaurants across Carlsbad will now be re-opening, both for indoor and outdoor service. We don’t understand why churches and retail have to remain at 25 percent under this new order, given that restaurants are now open at 50 percent, and hope that discrepancy will soon be addressed.
In terms of City of Carlsbad facilities and services, we are working to understand the details of what goes into place on June 1 and will continue to keep you informed of any developments on our end.
Also on Thursday evening, we were informed of two new positive COVID-19 cases in Eddy County, for a total now of 21. We have reached out to our medical community for additional information, and we will let you know as soon as it becomes available.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Coronavirus Update: 5-28-20
On Thursday morning, several hundred cards were dropped off at the Southeast New Mexico Community Action Corporation. This was an outreach effort organized by Janell Whitlock and the Chamber of Commerce’s Age-Friendly Council. The goal was simply to reach out to some of our seniors who haven’t had much contact over the past few months. We had great participation from the community, including from local girl scouts and college students visiting their own grandmothers. City of Carlsbad employee Cari Pickens led the effort here at City Hall to make cards.
If you have any more cards or notes to drop off with some of our residents in isolation, please continue to do so. Additionally, if you know of someone who is feeling lonely during this time period, or who would like to hear from more of their neighbors, please let us know how we can help.
More updates on local establishments who are serving customers on their patios or outdoor areas. Please add the Yellow Brix Restaurant, Cal’s Shade Western, Sno to Go, May’s Dari Lea, Kaleidoscoops, Thirsty’s, El Charro, El Jimador, the Red Chimney, Southern Vibes, the Lake Carlsbad Beach Park, the Church Street Grill, Rosy’s Mexican Restaurant and the Pecos River Café to the list of options. Yesterday, we mentioned the Balzano Family Vineyard, Lucy’s, PJ and B’s, the Blue House, the Guadalupe Brewing Company, My Daddy’s BBQ and the Queen Café’. A number of our food trucks are also serving on their patio areas. The Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce is keeping track of everyone on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/carlsbadnmtrue/ If we left anyone out, please let us know.
Up in Artesia, patio seating options include the Adobe Rose, Henry’s BBQ, PIccolino Italian and the Wellhead Brewpub. Good luck to everyone. It is our sincere hope that the Governor’s press conference late Thursday will include the go-ahead for indoor dining as well, and also provide information on moving forward from this point.
In our weekly meeting with Carlsbad Medical Center, we were informed that the number of COVID-19 tests being administered there have significantly increased over the past few weeks. This is mostly because patients are being tested prior to having surgeries. While there has been a large number of patients receiving tests as they prepare for surgeries, these patients have not been testing positive for COVID-19. There have been a total of 1,894 total COVID-19 tests administered in Eddy County through our two hospitals and health clinics and 19 positives.
While certainly not eliminating all potential risk, this evidence helps dispel concerns that there might be a large number of patients in our area who are not displaying symptoms. Southeast New Mexico also has a “projected doubling time” of 13 days right now, and the rate of transmission is declining. This is all very positive news.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Coronavirus Update: May 27, 2020
The United Way of Eddy County has come through again when they were needed the most. On Tuesday, the United Way announced the “Project Feeding Families” program, which is providing meals purchased at local restaurants and through local nonprofits to feed families in need. This week, the program is providing lunch to approximately 70 children identified by the Boys & Girls Club as children who may be struggling for a meal. Packs for Hunger is providing breakfast.
Once the Carlsbad Municipal Schools summer lunch program begins June 1, the United Way will shift into collaborating with local nonprofits to help provide meals. Organizations include the Carlsbad Battered Families Shelter, Carlsbad LIfehouse, the Teri Able Community Kitchen and many more. It is estimated that 200 meals will be provided every week.
Thanks again to Linda Dodd and everyone with the United Way of Eddy County for rising to the occasion throughout this crisis.
Speaking of food – on Tuesday, the state announced that the current emergency public health order has been amended to allow limited outdoor dine-in services at 50 percent of their outdoor area fire code occupancy. Guadalupe Brewing, PB&J’s, My Daddy’s BBQ, the Balzano Vineyards, Lucy’s, the Queen Café and the Blue House have all announced they are serving customers on their patios or outdoor areas now. Please let us know of any other businesses who would like to be mentioned, and we’ll be happy to include them in our next update.
According to the state, New Mexico is on target for a June 1 reopening for dine-in services inside restaurants. While this is certainly a positive, it doesn’t reverse the fact that the New Mexico Restaurant Association is now estimating that up to 210 restaurants across the state closed for good as a result of the pandemic. Please do everything you can to support our local businesses and help them get back on their feet.
The state’s plan for re-opening calls for several phases throughout the next few weeks to months in which more and more businesses and organizations can open at an increased capacity, but what is very concerning is what has been left out of that plan. Over the weekend, New Mexico’s tourism secretary said that large gatherings may still be restricted up to 18 months from now. This is a very disturbing statement, and it shows that the battle to get life back to normal is far from over.
Every year, members of our law enforcement community hold a torch run to raise money for the Special Olympics. This year’s event has been modified a bit, but it will begin at 8 a.m. Friday in front of the Carlsbad Police Department. Runners will go north on Guadalupe, then head east on Blodgett and north on Canal to Riverside Drive. From there, they will go down Riverside to Church, then west on Church to Halagueno, and finally south on Halagueno to City Hall. This year’s event will also be broadcast live through our Facebook feed. Please show your support for members of our law enforcement community, either online or in person, as they raise money to support this great cause. Thanks to David Testa and everyone involved in this great program.
Over the weekend, the Carlsbad Police Department helped with two graduation parades, a Memorial Day Parade, a parade at CARC Inc. and a motorcycle run, on top of all of their other responsibilities. Thanks to our motorcycle traffic unit and everyone with the Carlsbad Police Department for their dedication to this community.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Coronavirus Update: 5-26-20
Carlsbad should be proud of all of its Memorial Day weekend celebrations. The events held Monday morning were both respectful and patriotic.
Boy scouts and girl scouts were among those who joined the VFW Monday morning to place flags on the graves of veterans at our cemetery. Thank you to everyone who made sure this happened this year, and we know it was appreciated by family members of those who served. Special thanks to Shawna Calhoun for her support for this effort.
The Eddy County Patriotic Society also put together a great ceremony Monday morning. It was a good parade through downtown, which even included one rider on a unicycle, and it was also nice to see the audience downtown lined up to watch. Special thanks to Steve Angell for always being willing to help provide transportation. Some of the participants went straight over to CARC Inc. to participate in a parade on the campus there, which we know that CARC’s residents loved and appreciated.
Then there was a private Memorial Day ceremony broadcast from the Carlsbad Cemetery, in front of the area which belongs to the Carlsbad Veterans Honor Guard. If you missed this ceremony, please visit the City of Carlsbad Facebook page to check it out. We had more than 1,000 views by Tuesday morning. Thanks again to Albert Villegas and everyone with the Patriotic Society, as well as to the Honor Guard for allowing us to hold Monday’s event in front of their beautiful area.
The Fourth Annual Scotty’s Pantry Motorcycle Run also took place on Monday. Thank you to everyone who turned out to pay tribute to Scotty Wayne Caddell. It was a great day in Carlsbad, and a great reminder of what makes this community so special. Congratulations to Wanda Caddell, Julio Leyva and everyone else who put it together.
There were two new positive COVID-19 cases identified in Eddy County over the weekend, for an overall total of 19. We were informed that one of this weekend’s positives was from someone who tested at Carlsbad Medical Center’s Emergency Room and was then sent home to quarantine. We do not have additional information about the other positive case at this time.
As of the morning of May 26, the state has announced 7,026 total positive COVID-19 cases, which includes 2,522 cases designated as having recovered by the New Mexico Department of Health. The total number of deaths related to COVID-19 for the state is now listed at 320.
Friday’s graduations for Carlsbad High School and the Early College High School went very well, especially considering the very difficult circumstances. According to the police department, more than 1,100 vehicles participated in Friday evening’s parade. The people of Carlsbad really turned out to support our graduating class. Congratulations as well to all of the graduates of NMSU-C, who held their virtual commencement ceremony on May 15.
Speaking of NMSU-C news, we’re sad to hear of the retirement of President Dr. John Gratton, who did a great job both running our college here and with being involved in the community. A virtual retirement party has been scheduled on Zoom for Dr. Gratton at 10 a.m. June 2. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks to Dr. Gratton for your excellent service.
Finally, today’s salute to service goes to Carla Miller and Delores Cox-Miller. This mother-daughter team has made and donated more than1,200 masks, including for the Good Life Senior Living Center.
Keep up the good work, Carla and Delores, and please keep sending us positive news.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Memorial Day Speech 5-25-20
Good morning- and thank you to everyone with the Eddy County Patriotic Society for working so hard to put this and our parade together.
There is no doubt these are trying times, for families, for businesses, and for our entire nation.
Memorial Day honors those who died while serving with the United States Armed Forces. As we have said in the past, one day is not enough to return out respects.
That’s why there is a case in city hall with a plaque memorializing Robert Allman, who died in 1983 in a terrorist bombing in Lebanon that killed 241 U.S. servicemen. Next to it is a certificate memorializing Senior Airman Jason Cunningham, who gave his life protecting his fellow soldiers in 2002 in Afghanistan.
This past year, we participated in a dedication for Roger Sawyers Park. Roger lost his life on Oct. 2, 1967, when his plane was shot down over Vietnam.
If you visit the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C., one of the final names on the entire memorial is that of Lance Corporal Andres Garcia, a Carlsbad resident who was one of the final casualties of the Vietnam War. There are many other members of our community who made the ultimate sacrifice while defending our nation. If you visit our Veterans Park, you’ll see memorials honoring Carlsbad residents all the way back to the Spanish American War.
Some of these soldiers voluntarily enlisted, while others were drafted for duty. It does not matter how they got there. What does matter is that in all of these cases, these heroes exhibited bravery and honor when it was demanded of them. What does matter is that we don’t ever forget about those sacrifices, and that we always remain grateful.
As we celebrate Memorial Day Weekend, there’s still a lot turmoil going on in our lives right now, while we work together to recover from both an economic crisis and a health crisis. But it might not hurt to draw inspiration from these heroes who faced much worse than anything we have ever faced, so that we could live the lives we live today.
Our sincere gratitude goes to our veterans, but most especially to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Thanks again to the hard-working members of the Eddy County Patriotic Association: John Costilla-Gonzalez, Mike Navarrette, Benny Anaya, Carla and Ernesto Losoya, Grace Rodriguez and Albert Villegas, for putting together this year’s parade and ceremony on Monday despite these unusual times. Thanks to the VFW for showing support with placing flags and the American Legion for offering to assist. Thank you to Grace Rodriguez and Carla Losoya for reciting the pledge, my talented friend, and a great person, Karen Orgain Smith for reciting the national anthem and Joshua Cisneros for his wonderful essay as well as his brother, Beau.
We’re glad to live in a community that always finds a way to honor our most deserving citizens, and thank you all on behalf of the community of Carlsbad.
Coronavirus Update: May 21, 2020
Dine-in restaurants, salons, gyms and malls can expect to re-open by June 1, according to Wednesday’s state press conference. We were informed that New Mexico is meeting the majority of its benchmarks, and it was nice to see some positive news. Restaurants will be required by the state to operate at no more than 50 percent capacity when they open their dining rooms, according to the state.
Assuming everything progresses correctly, this will put us completely in “Phase One” of the state’s original plan. Restrictions will still be in place for large gatherings, theaters and visits to long-term care facilities, which we hope to see begin to be addressed in the second phase. Yesterday’s announcement certainly gave us some hope, and we’re all extremely excited about seeing so many of our local businesses back open soon. We are also going to be closely watching any conditions that are applied to these re-openings to make sure they are fair and reasonable.
A special session has also been scheduled for June 18. New Mexico will be looking at an estimated budget shortfall for the next fiscal year of between $1.8 billion and $2.8 billion. We will are reaching out to our legislators and will share more information with you about what to expect.
There have been 17 positive COVID-19 cases in Eddy County as of the morning of May 21, according to the New Mexico Department of Health. According to the most recent update we have received from Artesia General Hospital, ten of those cases are now recoveries.
Some updates from Eddy County: Clerk Robin Van Natta has re-opened the County Clerk’s Office to the public on a limited basis. If you have any questions, please call (575) 885-3383.
Early voting for the upcoming Primary is taking place through May 30 at 325 S. Main Street in Carlsbad and 602 S. First Street in Artesia. Hours are Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Election Day is June 2.
Here’s some more good news – Census offices have announced that they’ve reopened. Our local Census coordinator, Deanna Taylor, has been working hard to get word out about the U.S. Census but will soon be redoubling her efforts and working with Census Chairman Eddie Rodriguez.
Today’s salute to service goes to Ms. Dorothy Ridgeway, who works part-time at the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Ridgeway has sewn more than 100 masks for people in the area using a combination of scrap fabric and purchased material. Thank you Dorothy!
Congratulations to Cathy Hibbs with Carlsbad Medical Center on her retirement. As we’ve stated before, Cathy and the staff at CMC have been extremely helpful in keeping us informed throughout this crisis. Finally, welcome to Dr. Robert Ali, a Medical Oncologist and Hematologist, who recently came to Carlsbad and joined Kymera Independent Physicians. We’re glad to have such capable doctors here.
Sincerely, Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Coronavirus Update: 5-20-20
We’re just a couple days away from graduation.
As announced by the school district, family, friends and community members who would like to participate in reverse parades honoring our Early College High School graduates and Carlsbad High School graduates on Friday are encouraged to do so.
For the Early College, a LiveStream broadcast of the celebration will begin at 9:35 a.m. Friday and will be included on the Carlsbad Municipal Schools Facebook page. The broadcast will include speeches by the valedictorian, salutatorian and school officials. Carlsbad Radio will also broadcast the ceremony on CD-104.
Lineup for the Early College High School parade begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Bob Forrest Sports Complex. The procession of cars, trucks, vans, motorcycles and jeeps will begin towards CHS at about 9:50 a.m. and will enter the CHS campus through Cavemen Drive.
Students will be seated along the parade route on campus in compliance with social distancing guidelines. Photographs are allowed, but the school district has asked everyone to help keep the flow of traffic going.
Lineup for Carlsbad High School’s graduation will begin at 4:30 p.m. Friday and follow the same route as the Early College route. The video ceremony on Facebook, including speeches from the valedictorian and salutatorian, will begin at around 5:15 p.m. At 5:50 p.m., police and fire will begin the procession toward Carlsbad High School. Students will be seated along the parade route on campus in compliance with social distancing guidelines.
We know everyone will have a great time at this memorable event, and Dr. Washburn and everyone with Carlsbad Municipal Schools should be congratulated for coming up with this innovative plan to honor our graduates.
More Carlsbad Municipal Schools news: The CMS breakfast/lunch program, which has been serving pickup meals since the first stay home order was issued in March, will conclude for the year this Friday, May 22.
Carlsbad Municipal Schools will now begin its “Summer Lunch Program” on June 1. Free “Grab and Go” summer meals are available to all kids age 18 and younger, Monday through Friday, from June 1 through July 24. No meals will be served on July 3. Meal locations will be at Sunset, Desert Willow, 6th Grade Academy, CIS and Hillcrest, usually from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Parents can enjoy lunch for $4 a tray and drinks are also for sale. Thanks again to our schools for doing an amazing job with their meal programs. The United Way of Carlsbad and South Eddy County is working with local food programs to help make sure the transition between the two school programs occurs smoothly and that all of our kids are fed.
The Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce has updated its list of local restaurants now doing pickup or delivery. You can view the update on the Chamber’s Facebook page or web page. According to the Chamber, some of the newest restaurants to re-open for limited service include Big Dogs in front of Wells Fargo, Rosy’s, the Ballard Cook Shack, Southern Vibes, Red Angus Cuisine, Yum Yum Yogurt, Tokyo, Dragon China, Miyabi and the Balzano Vineyards. Welcome onboard everyone.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Coronavirus Update: 5-18-20
We hope everyone had a great weekend. Many of our small businesses and some of our churches opened back up again over the weekend. Some churches, in particular, have decided to wait a week or two to make adjustments in order to make sure that they have a good safety plan in place that accommodates all members.
While we’re so glad to have so many people back open, this is clearly a difficult time period for our businesses as they adjust to new policies and procedures. We’re all in this together, and please be respectful of all businesses and the policies they decide to enact.
Lakeview Christian Home had a great parade last week to celebrate Nursing Home Week. More than 100 vehicles participated, and we know that the guests at Lakeview and Landsun really enjoyed the show.
There was a second press conference from the Governor last week on Friday that made a few changes from what was announced during Wednesday’s update. Now, all retailers- large or small- may operate at 25 percent of their fire code occupancy, and non-essential businesses may operate at reduced staffing levels. This still doesn’t include gyms, salons or entertainment venues. Churches may now also operate at 25 percent capacity. This was an improvement from Wednesday’s announcement, which only had churches at ten percent capacity, and it simplified the numbers just a bit.
There were no new COVID-19 cases announced in Eddy County this weekend. The last update to include positive cases for Eddy County was on May 14, when we were informed of three positive tests in Artesia. As of the morning of May 18, there have been 17 total positive COVID-19 tests announced in Eddy County and 1,244 tests administered, according to the Department of Health’s web page. Of those 17 cases, we are aware of at least nine recoveries. At a state level, the Department of Health reports 5,938 positive COVID-19 tests from 133,253 tests and 265 COVID-related deaths.
As some of you may have seen over the weekend, one regional employer did recently announce that some of its employees tested positive for COVID-19. According to David Shoup, owner of Constructors Inc., these employees live outside of the Carlsbad area, but have been working on projects in Eddy County. The company is certainly very concerned for the well-being of these individuals and all members of their workforce.
Shoup told us that all of these employees were placed under quarantine and that none of the Constructors Inc. employees who tested positive have been hospitalized. Some of them did get sick, but the majority have recovered and are doing much better.
Constructors assured us that they are taking all precautions to make sure its employees and the contractors it works with are being protected, including very rigorous PPE policies. The company takes these concerns extremely seriously and is very focused on safety. We will be happy to assist Constructors Inc. in any manner possible.
Sincerely, Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Examining the New Eddy County Cases: Coronavirus Update: 5-15-20
We were informed of three new positive COVID-19 cases in Eddy County late Thursday afternoon. According to the State of New Mexico, these three cases all tested positive in Artesia and are all believed to be very closely connected. This brings the total number of positive COVID-19 tests identified in Eddy County to 17.
As always, our thoughts and prayers are with these individuals, and we want to make sure they receive proper health care and support.
While COVID-19 remains an extremely serious issue, we would advise against proclaiming yesterday’s information regarding the three cases in Eddy County to be any sort of indicator of a surge in Eddy County, certainly until more information becomes available. Southeast New Mexico has been very blessed to have a statistically small number of cases so far.
These cases are absolutely a good reminder that COVID-19 health concerns remain in the area and that people, especially those with vulnerable immune systems, should be careful. The spread of COVID-19 is still contained through careful hygiene and social distancing,
As a reminder, the Department of Health is administering COVID-19 tests to anyone who wishes them at this point, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., Monday through Friday, out of their office at 1306 W. Stevens St. Please call (575) 885-4191 for an appointment. Artesia’s office is also administering tests and can be reached at (575) 746- 9819.
We will provide an update of how many of Eddy County’s cases have been proclaimed to be recoveries when it becomes available. As of Friday morning, 1,576 cases statewide have been announced as recoveries.
As reported in the Current-Argus, the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park has now re-opened from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday through Sunday. Indoor exhibits are still closed and some additional safety procedures will be in place. This is certainly a positive for local families with young children who want to get some fresh air. We’re sure that some of the animals are also looking forward to having visitors again.
Over the past few weeks, we have communicated regularly with members of our medical community to make sure we correctly understand all developments related to the health care side of this effort. Special thanks to Cathy Hibbs and everyone at Carlsbad Medical Center for taking the time to answer our many questions. In her editorial piece this week, Hibbs reminded everyone of precautions in place to make sure that everyone who is visiting is protected. She also urged anyone experiencing sudden symptoms that may indicate any emergency health concern to seek immediate medical attention.
“Tragically, people with serious emergencies, including heart attacks and stroke, are waiting too long for medical care,” she wrote. “Getting fast medical treatment could be the difference between life and death.”
Best of luck to all of our retailers who are re-opening this weekend. Please let us know if we can be of any additional assistance.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Attempting to Understand the Newest Health Order: Coronavirus Update: 5-14-20
Thursday’s state update was both disappointing and confusing for many of us. Here’s our understanding of what the Governor and the State of New Mexico said yesterday:
- The current New Mexico emergency public health order expires on May 15. A new health order has been extended from May 16 through May 31. The “stay at home” instruction is still in place, with some modifications.
- According to the state, most retail stores can now open at 25% capacity if COVID-safe practices are in place, but there are a number of exclusions listed by the state, including:
- Restaurants can still not provide any seating, but can still provide pickup or takeout.
- Hair salons, tattoo parlors, indoor malls and gyms are still excluded at this time.
- Entertainment venues, such as movie theaters or amusement parks, are still excluded.
- Larger retailers are supposed to remain operating at 20% maximum capacity.
- Churches may now operate at 10% occupancy.
- Office spaces may operate with up to 25% of pre-crisis staffing levels.
- Large gatherings are still prohibited by the order and visits to long-term care facilities remain restricted.
- Summer youth and sports programs will be allowed with a significant number of modifications, including a 5:1 child to adult ratio and restrictions to “contactless sports and non-competitive play,” according to the state.
- Finally, the state of New Mexico informed us that they are requiring masks be worn by everyone in a public place, with exceptions for eating, drinking, exercising and medical requirements.
While we have several concerns with yesterday’s update, the new mask requirement mentioned in the order deserves special mention. While it was presented to us as part of the path forward for re-opening, throwing in an unenforceable restriction as an aspect of the reopening phase was extremely frustrating. Additionally, it potentially puts our businesses, who have already been through so much, in a difficult position in terms of what kind of policies they may implement inside of their stores. We ask everyone to please be as supportive as possible to all of our local businesses. None of this is their fault, and we need to stick together.
Let’s also make this very clear – the City of Carlsbad will NOT be ticketing anyone for not wearing a mask in public. Additionally, we spoke with Eddy County Sheriff Mark Cage, who reassured us that his department will also not be enforcing this executive order. Sheriff Cage said that New Mexico State Police will also not be taking any punitive action on this issue and said even the governor stated that would not happen. The Sheriff also pointed out that there would be a number of issues caused by law enforcement officers constantly wearing masks.
This week’s announcement was also disappointing to many of us because it was very different from the “Phase One” draft plan released by the state several weeks ago. Under that draft, restaurants, gyms and salons would have opened under Phase One. Southeast New Mexico also meets or exceeds all of the state’s own “gating criteria,” so we’re not sure what changed. Eddy County has had 14 positive COVID-19 cases announced by the state over the past few months by the morning of March 14.
What does the newest public health order mean in terms of City of Carlsbad services and offices? We are looking over all of the newest list of policies in order to carefully make those decisions. Of course, the City of Carlsbad will continue to provide all essential services such as water and utilities, as we have throughout this crisis. We remain deeply committed to serving you, our constituents, and getting through this as a community.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Honoring Our Officers
Coronavirus Update: 5-13-20
Before anything else, let’s take a moment in honor of National Peace Officers Memorial Day (May 15) and National Police Week to thank our officers with the Carlsbad Police Department, Eddy County Sheriff’s Office and all other agencies for their professionalism. While this is a time of crisis for all of us, members of our law enforcement community deal with crises every single day throughout their professional career. We’re extremely blessed to have such excellent officers serving our community.
In our weekly COVID-19 briefing call with the White House, Texas Governor Greg Abbott highlighted some of what his state was doing in terms of the CARES Act and re-opening. We were also informed over the call that 9.3 million tests have been conducted in this country and that the percentage of tests turning up positive on a daily basis continues to decline.
As most of you are aware, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has announced a press conference at 4 p.m. Wednesday. We will provide you with an update of our understanding of that conference in tomorrow’s update. It is, of course, our very sincere hope that the Governor announced a prompt re-opening of New Mexico, with reasonable protective safety measures in place.
There’s also another announcement from the New Mexico Department of Health. All New Mexicans who want to can now get a free test to determine whether they have COVID-19, regardless of whether they have symptoms associated with the virus. The Department of Health said expanded testing began on Tuesday. Eddy County’s two Public Health Offices are both continuing testing Monday through Friday, both now from 8:30-10:30 a.m. each morning. Please note the new hours.
Carlsbad’s Public Health Office is located at 1306 W. Stevens. Please call (575) 885-4191 for an appointment. Artesia’s Public Health Office is located at 1001 Memorial Drive. Please call (575) 746-9819 to make an appointment. Carlsbad Medical Center and Artesia General Hospital also continue to offer testing.
Thank you to everyone who participated inTuesday’s parade past the Goodlife Senior Living & Memory Care facility on Tuesday. The event was a hit and it was great to see so many participants. Special thanks to Connie Caldwell with Goodlife and Barbara Granger Salmons with Encompass Health for setting it up.
Lakeview Christian Home has also announced a parade around its building on Pierce Street at 4 p.m. Friday (May 15) to honor National Nursing Home Week. Residents who wish to participate will be brought outside to watch, with social distancing in place. The plan for parade participants is to meet in the Buffalo Wild Wings parking lot by 3:45 p.m. and follow police and fire around the building twice. Please show your support.
Congratulations to Cavegirl Coach John Zumbrun and the basketball team’s coaching staff for putting together a special way to honor the team’s seniors this year. On May 9, parents and coaches drove through town and stopped at the houses of all five graduating seniors, according to reporter Matthew Asher. Because an end-of-year banquet was not possible, this was an original way to make each player feel special. Please keep sharing stories of what residents are doing throughout this unusual time with us, so that we can share them with others.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Coronavirus Update: May 12, 2020
So many groups have put together wonderful programs helping make sure that our residents are being fed throughout this ordeal. Now, one local agency is working hard to assist with combating loneliness, in particular for seniors who have been confined to their homes over the past few months.
While many of us have extended networks of family and friends, there are also residents here who live alone and who relied on visiting our senior centers for important contact. There have been a lot of good programs to help people online, but some people prefer the old fashioned approach.
The Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce’s Age Friendly Council is working on compiling cards and letters for our isolated senior citizens, some of who aren’t getting to talk to anyone at all on a daily basis.
The first phase is going to be sending cards reaching out to everyone who is currently receiving a meal at home through Southeast New Mexico Community Action Corporation. They’d love to deliver more letters and cards- you can email Janell Whitlock at email@example.com. Feel free to drop off unsealed cards and letters at city hall and we will help make sure they get to the right place as well. Our area seniors would certainly love seeing hand-crafted cards and notes from kids at home right now, for parents looking for a way to keep kids occupied. Who knows, maybe some good pen pal friendships can develop?
Special thanks to Janell Whitlock and Stella Davis for getting this program together. Carlsbad was the state’s first Age Friendly Community, and that’s because we have such dedicated individuals.
The psychological health issues caused by so much isolation are very real. If you or someone you know are seeking support for someone with depression or anxiety, are looking for a counselor in your area, or are just needing someone to talk to, please call the New Mexico Crisis and Access Line at 1-855-662-7474 or the Peer to Peer Warmline at 1-855-466-7100. The Crisis Line is set up for 24-hour service, while the “Warmline” offers service from 3:30 to 11:30 p.m.
We received some very good news last night. On April 21, a Carlsbad resident who tested positive for COVID-19 was hospitalized after taking a turn for the worse. After several very serious weeks, we have been informed that the patient’s condition is finally beginning to improve. Please keep this resident and everyone else impacted in your prayers.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Planning for the Summer: Coronavirus Update: 5-11-20
As with many of you, the City of Carlsbad is looking forward to finding smart ways to begin reopening for business. This includes exploring options for events such as our Fourth of July celebration and our energy summit in September.
As with the rest of you as well, we hope to turn a corner on May 15 in terms of having more information and the ability to move forward more confidently. We may have to make some adjustments here and there, but we are confident that there will be creative ways to hold modified versions of events in the summer and fall.
We have also certainly learned that waiting to be told what to do isn’t enough. So, we will also continue to work with Eddy County and other agencies across Southeastern New Mexico to pursue all legal avenues to combat what we believe to be extensive state government overreach, which was experienced locally over the weekend.
Don’t forget the “drive-by” community parade set to go past Goodlife Senior Living on May 12. The parade begins at 10 a.m. with lineup at 9:45 a.m. on Redwood Loop.
Case Update: As of the morning of May 11, we have been made aware of 14 total positive cases of COVID-19 within Eddy County. The most recent positive was identified as testing in Artesia on Friday by Artesia General Hospital. According to information from Artesia General Hospital, two Eddy County individuals remain hospitalized for COVID-19 symptoms, both now outside of the county. Two individuals remain home on quarantine, there has been one related-fatality and nine recoveries.
We were also informed this weekend that New Mexico hospitals will receive a Medicaid rate increase of up to 50 percent to assist for losses they are experiencing throughout this public health emergency. The New Mexico Medical Assistance Division received approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services to provide this rate increase to hospitals across the state. Retroactive to April 1, 2020, the Medicaid program will increase reimbursement for inpatient hospital stays by 12.4 percent, taking it to 100 percent of the Medicare rate, and will increase reimbursement for Intensive Care Unit stays by 50 percent for the duration of the public health emergency.
Here are a few updates from Julie Chester and the “Create Art, Cultivate Joy” people. There was a pineapple painting class on Monday at 5:30 p.m. There’s a stage make-up class at 2 p.m. Tuesday and a jewelry demonstration by David Prell at 2 p.m. Wednesday. Thursday’s show will be a 2 p.m. yoga class. You can watch and participate in all of these events by visiting the “Create Art, Cultivate Joy,” Facebook page.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Oilfield Will be Back: Coronavirus Update 5-9-20
Happy Mother’s Day everyone!
On Friday morning, we took a tour of nearby RV Parks, man camps and the industrial park to try to get a direct feel for our current economic situation, in particular the oil and gas industry.
While many of the RV parks had more open spaces than they did six months ago, there were also still a significant number of individuals working here. Each of those empty spaces tells a sad story, however, as that likely represents a family that is currently looking for a job.
Here’s the other thing we noticed as we drove around town: There was work going on everywhere.
We saw construction work going on at OXY’s new fabrication facility and window cleaning at Chevron’s new office. We saw homes being completed along the Pecos River and apartment work continuing near CARC. Carlsbad had the appearance of being a town that was reloading, not emptying.
We don’t know exactly how long that reloading process will take. The crash in oil prices was a global issue, not something specific to New Mexico. While we will continue to push for businesses to open, and that will help, it won’t fix everything. All budgets, at all levels, are going to take a hit.
But what hasn’t changed is the opportunity here. In 2018, the Department of the Interior Announced that the Delaware Basin contains an estimated 46.3 billion barrels of oil and 281 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Now, that doesn’t solve any of our immediate problems, but we do know that we’ll eventually be back stronger than ever.
In 2015, oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens spoke at our annual energy summit in Carlsbad. There was a smaller downturn in prices at that time as well, and Pickens famously made a few predictions, some of which didn’t turn out to be true. But what he also said at the time seems especially relevant to the present.
“When we produce, we let it rip,” he told the audience. We know we’ll be back in business soon.
- We were notified of a 14th Eddy County COVID-19 case Friday evening. We were informed that this individual tested positive in Artesia. Please continue to pray for all of these individuals.
- We received word Friday that nonessential dental procedures can now resume, provided that offices agree to a set of guidelines developed to protect the supply of PPE. Each dental provider has been asked to submit a form available at cv.nmhealth.org that covers the listed guidelines.
- The state has also informed us of a new fund set up to award grants to help New Mexico businesses with five employees or fewer survive the COVID-19 pandemic. The All Together NM Fund is awarding grants of up to $5,000 through WESST, the Rio Grande Community Development Corp, NM Community Capital and DreamSpring. The smallest businesses to qualify will consist of one owner plus an employee. For more information, please visit https://www.wesst.org/, https://www.rgcdc.org/, https://nmccap.org/ or https://www.dreamspring.org/.
We would like to see some businesses in Carlsbad be the recipients of these statewide programs.
- The United Way of Eddy County has a few new donors who are supporting the COVID-19 relief fund. Thanks to Xcel Energy ($2,500), Associate Contractors of NM ($1,000) and Marathon Petroleum ($2,500) in addition to the Heights Lions Club ($5,000). The United Way has invested $72,000 into the community from its Emergency Relief Fund. Please keep up the good work.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
In Support of the County: COVID-19 Update 5-8-20
Small businesses have struggled for years as big box stores have gradually taken over everything, but many of them have managed to stay open and even thrive by just working harder and smarter than anyone else.
Then, two months ago, most of these businesses were told they had to shut down due to one of a series of public health orders issued by the state. These small business owners complied, because they have been law-abiding citizens for their entire lives and they were told this was a temporary shut down for the public’s safety.
But they could not help but notice that the parking lot at the big box store down the road was packed with vehicles and customers. They couldn’t help but wonder why two customers in their small business would somehow be creating a health risk, while 200 customers inside the chain store was not.
They were told that several loan and grant programs had been created to help small businesses out during this crisis, but it seemed that funds from many of those programs were also gobbled up by larger companies with access to lawyers and lobbyists.
They read announcements from some of their fellow business owners, sadly declaring that they would not be re-opening ever again. As their bills kept piling up, these small business owners were lectured one or two times a week by the State, who admonished them for daring to even question these directives.
While very sympathetic to the serious health-care plight in the northwestern part of our large state, small business owners in Eddy County (itself consisting of 4,200 square miles), could not help but observe that Eddy County had thankfully only recorded a small number of positive COVID-19 tests. Reasonable social distancing procedures undoubtedly helped keep that number low, but sending state police officers to car washes and fabric stores did not.
As the weeks of being ordered to shut down turned to months, these small businesses also began to notice that similar stores in Texas were all now re-opening, drawing away customers they’d hoped to see again in a week or two. Mother’s Day, once offering a chance to make ends meet for many downtown businesses, came and went. Allowing curbside sales was not good enough.
And the bills continued to pile up.
Economic and psychological emergencies also become health care emergencies when they are not promptly addressed and included as part of any plan. What’s the breaking point here? When do people decide they’ve had enough?
On Thursday, Eddy County’s Commission voted to make a motion to act in a coalition of local Counties, Municipalities and Legislators to draft a Cause of Action, directed to the Governor, to address the equality and equitable application of the broad emergency orders in order to protect the civil liberties, including free trade, of the citizens and constituents within the coalition. This is a significant legal development instituted on the part of the county.
We will continue working with the county and City Council in developing our path forward.
Eddy County did the right thing on Thursday, and I support this very important action.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Please Don’t Avoid Medical Care When Needed – CORONAVIRUS UPDATE 9-7-20
If you are feeling sick, call your doctor. If there is an emergency, call 911 or visit the ER. Our local health care providers have expressed their growing concern that many people have been unwilling to consult a professional right now, due to fear and confusion over COVID-19. However, delaying necessary medical treatment can only make the situation much worse.
There’s a lot of very understandable confusion right now, but please don’t be afraid to seek medical help when you need it.
Members of our medical community have procedures in place to make sure you remain safe.
It is worth noting that there are no COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized in Eddy County, though one patient from Carlsbad remains hospitalized elsewhere and remains in all of our prayers. We need to always remember not to get so caught up in looking at numbers that we forget that all individuals impacted are our friends and neighbors.
Additionally, local medical facilities have begun resuming procedures that had previously been put on hold. Teleconferencing remains an option for people who feel more comfortable doing so.
Artesia General Hospital’s Urgent Care Clinic in Carlsbad has also reopened. Before it reopened, the 26 people who came in contact with the COVID-positive employee were tested, and all of them tested negative.
The clinic itself was thoroughly disinfected prior to reopening. On an ongoing basis, all employees involved in patient care are required to document their temperature twice per shift and to self-monitor and go home for any signs of illness. Further, appropriate PPE is worn in all patient encounters as a means of protecting both staff members and patients.
We have been speaking once a week with Carlsbad Medical Center and appreciate all of the information Cathy Hibbs and the staff at CMC provide to us about what is going on. The information they have shared with us shows that COVID-19 transmission in the northeast and southeast parts of the state continues to diminish, while the health situation in San Juan and McKinley Counties, to the northwest, remains serious.
Our Carlsbad Police Department has been doing a great job assisting at “birthday parades” whenever they can. This has been a very positive development, and we know it is highly appreciated in our community. Of course, members of our police department do have to respond to emergency calls, so we appreciate everyone’s understanding if there are last minute changes. Speaking of birthdays – happy birthday to Martha Hinds, who turned 99 on Thursday at Lakeview. We took turns wishing Martha in a phone call from city hall.
With the state’s new mask law in effect, some citizens have been asking us questions about masks. One very dedicated group of volunteers who have been providing masks to first responders said they are also working to assist locally-owned small businesses. Please complete the form at https://www.uweddyco.org/COVID19MASKS to request assistance.
The group has also asked for experienced seamstresses or sewers to contact them, as they could use some additional assistance. Contact information is available at the link above. Additionally, members of the group are hosting a “Do It Yourself” class teaching you how to make masks at 5:30 p.m. Friday through the “Create Art, Cultivate Joy” project. You can check it out at https://www.facebook.com/events/s/diy-face-mask-with-grannys-qui/255905075552144/.
Everyone is eager to get outside, which is great, but please be mindful of the fact that it is fire season right now. The Lincoln National Forest has raised the fire danger rating to high. Please check the Forest Service’s web page for additional information while enjoying our nearby outdoors.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Memorial Day Plans Underway: Coronavirus Update: May 6, 2020
Memorial Day is on May 25, and members of the Eddy County Patriotic Society are developing a special program to honor our brave citizens who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms. Alberto Villegas and other members of the organization are still putting together the details, but at this point they have discussed a parade (with social distancing guidelines in place), as well as a small ceremony, which they will broadcast over Facebook.
We appreciate the members of this wonderful organization for their commitment to finding a way to observe Memorial Day during this difficult time period and will provide more information as it becomes available. Happy Nurses Week as well, and thank you to the many dedicated nurses serving our community.
As always, the Faith, Hope & Love Foundation in Carlsbad has been taking on a leadership role in terms of helping the needy throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Faith, Hope & Love has been giving out hundreds of vouchers to residents in need to provide assistance with purchasing food and other necessities. They are also providing assistance with mortgage payments for people who have reduced or lost income. Additionally, they are continuing their good work with Brittany’s Hope and supporting cancer patients.
Thanks to Larry and Marjorie Gregory, Alana Gregory-Carreon and everyone with their wonderful organization. We knew that they would step up during this time of need, but they’ve exceeded our expectations. The Faith, Hope & Love form is available at https://www.fhlcarlsbad.org/covid19.
On Wednesday, we participated in the weekly briefing with the White House, which included a presentation from the President’s counselor, Kellyanne Conway. Conway’s presentation focused on President Trump’s visit to Phoenix, where he highlighted the mobilization of the public/private sector. She also spoke of the development of a new nursing home commission aimed at protecting our nursing home residents and employees and said the effort to assist with combating coronavirus in Native American communities remains a top priority.
The May 5 update we received from Artesia General Hospital reports that 1,266 total COVID-19 tests have been performed in Eddy County, with some results pending. Carlsbad Medical Center reports 200 tests conducted at their facility by May 6, with results from 9 tests pending. That total includes 13 positive tests (5 in Artesia and 8 in Carlsbad). Of those 13 Eddy County cases, 8 of them have been reported as recoveries, one individual is deceased, one person remains hospitalized and three remain under quarantine.
As of May 5, the last positive test to be reported in Carlsbad was on April 26. The total number of tests being administered in Eddy County went up significantly because the Department of Health began conducting additional tests on essential workers. Tests are still being administered daily in Eddy County at the Carlsbad Medical Center, Artesia General Hospital, Carlsbad Public Health Office and Artesia Public Health Office.
This week, many Carlsbad restaurants have announced that they are coming back on in terms of doing to-go or pickup orders. Dragon China, Myabi, the Stevens Inn and Mi Casita are now offering such services. Please continue to support these individuals and all local businesses.
Sincerely, Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Reminder: Federal Stimulus Checks Available
Coronavirus Update: 5-5-20
Some citizens have been asking for additional information about their stimulus checks. If you are trying to track down the status of your Economic Impact Payment, the best way to do so is to visit www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment. There’s a fairly simple form that checks up on your payment status and asks for your bank information.
During a press conference on Tuesday, Governor Lujan Grisham announced that employees at restaurants and essential businesses operating as a retail space greater than 50,000 square feet will be required to wear face coverings starting May 6. Effective May 11, all essential businesses operating as retail space shall require employees to wear face coverings. We will provide our local businesses with additional information as it becomes available.
The State announced 107 new positive cases on Tuesday and said 83,251 total tests have been provided across New Mexico. There were no new Eddy County cases announced. The update also included information on how CAREs Act funding will provide incentive pay to early childhood professionals that have remained open.
Local resident Brenda Moore asked us to let you know of an act of kindness she recently experienced. She helps manage the AOK RV Getaway Park. She said Jesse Rivera with K/O Construction called and offered two crews from his company to help with whatever projects were needed around the park.
“We are so grateful for that call,” Moore said. ”Not only did they help us out, but they also provided a crew for my daughter’s small business and others. Now we have our bigger projects done thanks to the act of one business helping others simply because they could.”
On Monday, a group of parents and employees at Jefferson Montessori Academy put up posters of the school’s graduating class for 2020. The 11-student graduating class, whose seniors were born around the September 11 terrorist attacks of 2001, have now graduated from high school in the middle of another crisis. We’ve enjoyed working with JMA’s students through the years and know these young men and women will go on to great things.
Carlsbad’s annual post-graduation celebration, Class Act, has sadly announced its cancellation. This will be the first time in 31 years that a Class Act event has not been held. Class Act will be offering t-shirts, a small monetary gift and scholarships. We know that Class Act founder Judi Waters, as well as all of the volunteers on the Class Act board, are especially saddened by this development. Thank you all for your hard work keeping our students safe every year.
We are also continuing to hear about instances of local businesses who have decided to close for good. This is one of the saddest stories of all and clearly shows why we need to get Carlsbad safely back open as quickly as possible. So many of our residents are doing everything they can to support our locally-owned businesses and please let us know if there is anything we can do to help.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Coronavirus Update: May 4, 2020
We just wanted to share a quick update with you on the good works of the Southeastern New Mexico Community Action Corporation, who handles our senior meal program. The organization always does a lot of good in our community- they are normally responsible for serving the daily meal to seniors at the San Jose Senior Center and also deliver meals to a number of individuals who may not be able to make it to the senior center.
Since everything has been shut down, these folks now have a lot more work to do. The number of meals being prepared each day has gone up considerably.
Currently, about 150 meals each day are served using the drive-thru services at the San Jose Senior Center. Director Belinda Lopez said members of the staff also deliver food to hundreds of residents around the area each day, for a total of 700 meals served. All together, they are serving an extra 1,500 meals each month than under normal circumstances. Organizations such as the United Way and the Carlsbad Community Foundation have assisted with the program and allowed SNMCAC to continue to do such a good job of helping. Chevron also donated gas cards to the organization to help them with their delivery.
The following City of Carlsbad facilities have now re-opened, with some additional guidelines in place in some instances: the Lake Carlsbad Golf Course, the Rio Pecos Tennis Complex, the Shooting Range and the Dog Park. Please continue to maintain social distancing while utilizing these facilities and follow any newly-posted procedures. Please contact us if you have any questions about city facilities.
On Saturday, we were notified of the 13th positive COVID-19 case in Eddy County. We have been informed that this test was administered in Artesia and the Department of Health is conducting contact tracing.
There’s a lot more coming up through the “Create Art Cultivate Joy” project put together by Julie Chester and others. At 2 p.m. today (May 5), Ken Britt will be hosting a virtual tour of the Cavern Theatre Project. Please visit the “Create Art Cultivate Joy” Facebook page for additional information on upcoming virtual classes on painting canvasses and customizing dolls.
Here’s an update on the Carlsbad Brine Well Remediation Project: According to the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, sand backfilling is continuing in the northern portion of the site with the northern void more than 50 percent filled. Monitoring is continuing and the project seems to be going well. We’re glad to see so much progress.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Boys and Girls Club: Coronavirus Update: May 2, 2020
Everyone needs some positive news, so this is a good time to cover what the Boys & Girls Club of Carlsbad has been doing to help get us through this crisis. Thanks to Executive Director Kelli Barta for providing us with an update.
While the Boys & Girls Club is closed for face-to-face services and programming, they have been working doubly hard over the past few months to provide supplies and a friendly face to local children.
They are still seeking support from local partners to continue to provide services to club members and community youth in a ‘curbside’ manner. Barta said the Club is delivering meals (prepared by local schools) and care packages that include the following: basic living supplies (such as toiletries and cleaning supplies), fun and engaging learning lessons and activities (including school supplies such as crayons, pencils, paper, etc. to support youth and parents with at-home learning), fun arts and crafts lessons and supplies.
The first week of this curbside service included 40 care packages. As of April 30, the Club is delivering over 120 packages per day. The club has seen the number of youth and families in need continue to steadily increase, since the inception of COVID-19 orders to stay at home.
Many of club members and local youth are home alone, as their parents/guardians are on the front lines as essential employees. In addition, an even greater number of youth are living with an elderly grandparent or guardian who is not able to leave the home due to concern of exposure and illness. Youth and families depend on our services, daily, to ensure they have adequate living supplies, food and teaching and learning supplies for at home learning.
Barta says the club’s number one priority continues to be the safety of our local youth and families.
“Therefore, we are committed to continuing curbside services to ensure no child in our community, is without food and necessary resources,” she tells us. “While our deliveries are for the purpose of supporting youth and families with basic needs, we may be the only organization checking in on our children who are at home alone. Our curbside service has proven to be a way to ensure we know that local youth are safe and their needs are being met.
Earlier this week, we announced a donation by Chevron to $40,000 to the Boys and Girls Club. Additionally, the company also donated $1,500 worth of gas cards for deliveries.
Murphy USA is currently running a fundraiser to support the local club. We have one Murphy’s USA on S. Canal St. People can round up their purchase or make a donation through the pump or at the register.
Many other individuals and organizations have also helped keep the Boys and Girls Club going over the past few months, especially AR Foreman Construction, who donated $30,000 and the United Way of Eddy County, who provided $12,000 through its COVID relief fund. Another local individual, Brandon Chandler, donated $10,000.
Additionally, they received school supplies from Nuclear Waste Partnership, masks from Rugged Trade, hand sanitizer from Carlsbad Medical Center, supplies from Albertsons and masks from Debbra London.
Many other individuals donated supplies for materials and care packages.
While the Boys and Girls Club is uncertain of the future, they do know that local youth are presently in need of help more than ever, and they hope to be able to continue to support local families and youth.
Keep up the good work, Boys and Girls Club.
As of the morning of May 2, the total number of positive COVID-19 cases in Eddy County remains at 12. We will continue to provide you with updates throughout the week.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Many Preventive Medical Procedures Resuming
Coronavirus Update: May 1, 2020
As many of you have also been doing, we’ve been looking over the “Preparation Phase” announced by the Governor Thursday to make sure we understand it correctly.
There’s one important development that wasn’t announced until near the end of Thursday’s press conference. Medical practitioners may now gradually resume operations if they are in compliance with guidelines provided by the New Mexico Department of Health, such as having an adequate amount of PPE and hospital beds in the area.
This means that some important preventive surgeries that had been placed on hold may now resume. Health practitioners in the area are making adjustments and should be able to begin offering additional outpatient services starting next week.
As mentioned yesterday, the state’s “Preparation Phase” includes an extended stay-at-home instruction through May 15. Certain modifications have been made, such as reopening curbside and delivery operations for retailers, outdoor recreational opportunities such as golf courses, state parks, firearm sales by appointment, veterinary and pet services. The northwestern part of the state has not been put into this Preparation Phase due to the high number of cases there.
Later phases of the state plan would ease restrictions further, with decisions being based on available health care resources, testing capacity and the spread of COVID-19, according to the state.
Eric Chavez and everyone with the city’s golf course found out the golf course was able to re-open Thursday afternoon. We appreciate their hard work in preparing for Friday morning. Since there has also been some confusion, we also want to clarify that our municipal parks have remained open, though the state’s limits on mass gatherings still apply.
We’ve reached out to our two local state parks, the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens and Brantley Lake. Brantley Lake re-opened for day-use on May 1, with day-use fees being waived. The Living Desert will re-open in a future phase.
What’s next? Employers have been asked to develop safety plans to prepare for Phase One of the anticipated reopening to make sure employees and customers stay safe. According to the state, Phase One would allow retailers to operate at 20% of fire code occupancy and dine-in service at restaurants to open at up to 50% occupancy. Phases Two and Three would gradually ease additional restrictions. We will continue to interpret these orders to the best of our ability and share that information with you, but we will also be pushing back for getting our businesses back open.
Many other local residents feel the same way. Mark Christesson is again organizing a Freedom Rally at 10 a.m. Saturday (May 2) around the Eddy County Courthouse. Local residents have been making signs to show their support for small businesses and we appreciate having so many great citizens who look out for each other.
Gallup Senator George Munoz has been a good friend to Carlsbad during recent legislative sessions and we’ve developed a great working relationship with him on issues important to all New Mexicans. Senator Munoz’s area around McKinley County in northwest New Mexico has been the hardest-hit part of the entire state in terms of COVID-19. Please keep our friends and neighbors around the Gallup area deep in your prayers
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Governor Announces Lifting of Some Restrictions
COVID-19 Update 4-30-20
In her press conference on Thursday, New Mexico Governor Lujan Grisham announced that the current public health order has expired, but a new “Preparation Phase” health order has been issued through May 15. Modifications can still be made within that order.
Here’s what we know so far about this new order: The Governor announced that non-essential retail can open up with curbside pickup and delivery. State Parks are now being opened, but with no overnight camping. Pet services and vets are now open on a limited basis. Golf courses are allowed to open for golf only. Gun stores can now operate by appointment. Many other elements of the previous order remain in place for now, such as indoor malls and mass gatherings. We will work on getting you additional information as it becomes available.
While we are glad to see a step in the right direction, it is still feels like it is far too little and possibly too late in terms of looking out for the economic wellbeing of our citizens. So many of our small businesses are still crying out for a fair chance to compete with the big box stores. It is also very clear that a one-size-fits-all approach for the state does not work. The Governor still needs to understand that this may completely destroy our citizens economically. We will still push for our citizens.
“Many of our smallest businesses and sole proprietors are not listed as essential, and in their compliance, have suffered the greatest blows to their livelihood,” observed the Artesia Chamber of Commerce, in one of many, many examples of organizations sharing this viewpoint.
Our library is back in business. Beginning Thursday, the Carlsbad Municipal Library will be implementing its “Curbside Pickup” program.
Patrons can now contact the library via phone, text, email, or their online account to reserve items from our physical collection. Library staff will pull these items and bring them to your trunk. Please contact the library to make sure you have an active library account and to find out more about this service. This is a great development, especially for parents looking for some new books to read to their kids. Congratulations to Library Director Sarah Jones and the entire staff there.
You can call the library at 885-6776, text to (575) 376-5512 or log on to your account at https://carlsbad.biblionix.com/catalog/ by using their library card number and ten digit phone number. We look forward to letting you know about more city services finding good ways to assist the public.
Our partners in the health care community at Carlsbad Medical Center have asked us to remind you that no one should delay care for medical emergencies. While many people are concerned about COVID-19, that does not mean you should avoid calling 911 or going to the emergency room if you experience chest pain that may be a heart attack or stroke symptoms.
Additionally, if you need to see provider for a non-urgent health condition, telehealth appointments are now available with many providers. Visit PecosValleyDocs.com for more information and to see a list of participating providers. You can also call (575) 628-5051 or your physician’s office to request a telehealth appointment.
One local company, Mobile Safety and Consultation, LLC, is now conducting what are called antibody tests for COVID-19. This is different than the diagnostic tests being conducted by the Department of Health and at hospitals.
According to information provided by Mobile Safety, a diagnostic test tells you if you have a current infection, while an antibody test tells you if you had a previous infection. The antibody tests will help with understanding of who may have already developed immunity. Some companies are developing COVID reopening policies and are using antibody tests as a part of their path forward to get people back to work.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Coronavirus Update: 4-29-20
For today’s update, we felt it would be the most informative to include a complete copy of the resolution in support of re-opening closed businesses. This resolution passed by City Council yesterday with a 8-0 vote. Here it is in full:
A RESOLUTION REQUESTING THAT THE GOVERNOR REOPEN BUSINESSES AND NON-PROFITS CLOSED BY EXECUTIVE AND PUBLIC HEALTH ORDERS
WHEREAS, on March 11, 2020, the Governor of New Mexico issued Executive Order 2020-004, in response to an outbreak of a novel coronavirus identified as COVID-19, proclaiming a public health emergency in accordance with the Public Health Emergency Response Act and invoking and exercising all powers vested in the governor’s office under the All Hazard Emergency Management Act and the Emergency Licensing Act; and
WHEREAS, on April 6, 2020, the Governor of New Mexico issued Executive Order 2020- 022, which among other actions, renewed and extended the declaration of a state-wide public health emergency through April 30, 2020, unless renewed or until the Governor rescinds it; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to the declaration of a public health emergency, the Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Health has issued several Public Health Emergency Orders, including the Order of March 23, 2020, in which the Secretary defined” essential business” and ordered that all businesses, except those entities identified as “essential businesses”, including non-profits, reduce their in-person workforce at each business or business location by 100%; and
WHEREAS, on April 6, 2020, the Secretary amended the March 23, 2020, Order and ordered that all “non-essential” businesses, including non-profits, close “physical office spaces, retail spaces, or other public spaces of a business” but did not otherwise restrict “the conduct of business operations through telecommuting or otherwise working from home in which an employee only interacts with clients or customers remotely”; and
WHEREAS, small businesses have long been recognized as the backbone of not only New Mexico’s economy but also of our nation’s economy; and
WHEREAS, small businesses in rural areas have less foot traffic and can implement those virus mitigation practices ordered by the Secretary; and
WHEREAS, the blanket closure of small businesses deemed non-essential by the Order’s definition poses a significant threat to the ultimate survival of those businesses and to our city’s and our State’s economy; and
WHEREAS, data related to COVID-19 shows that the virus has impacted countries, states, political subdivisions, and geographical areas differently; and
WHEREAS, the modeling of the spread of COVID-19 has changed multiple times with almost all changes being a decrease in the number of expected infections and deaths; and
WHEREAS, there appears to be no plan by the State to reopen the economy in the near future; and
WHEREAS, there has been no public dissemination of information of what discussions or who is participating in discussions on how to reopen the State’s economy.
NOW, THEREFORE, the Carlsbad City Council, finds:
- No single rule related to which businesses, including non-profits, may stay open is appropriate for every political subdivision or geographical area of New Mexico.
- Small businesses, including non-profits, and those not defined as “essential” can implement those same mitigating practices that are required of “essential” businesses.
- If the State does not immediately allow these businesses to reopen, many of these businesses will never recover, and the economy of the City, as well as the State, will suffer.
- The harm to the economy of the City, as well as the State, under the current blanket restrictions are as great as the threat posed by the virus.
NOW, THEREFORE, the Carlsbad City Council recommends to the Governor of New Mexico and the Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Health Department the following:
- Allow those businesses, including non-profits, that do not fall within the Secretary’s definition of essential businesses to reopen immediately and allow those businesses to implement those safeguards that have been imposed on essential businesses, as the Secretary indicated in her orders that “social distancing is the sole way New Mexicans can minimize the spread of COVID-19, and currently constitutes the most effective means of mitigating the potentially devastating impact” of the virus.
- Develop rules and restrictions that recognize the different situations of political subdivisions and/or geographical areas. PASSED, APPROVED and ADOPTED on this 28th day of April, 2020, by the Carlsbad City Council.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Coronavirus Update: 4-28-20
Thanks to the hundreds of residents who tuned in Monday evening for the Carlsbad United in Prayer virtual community event hosted by Lakeview Christian Home. Our local church leaders did a wonderful job delivering uplifting messages. You can view the production at Lakeview’s Facebook page if you missed it. The video has been viewed 2,400 times by Tuesday afternoon. Many residents shared their own prayer requests online during the production, including a prayer request for Bill McIlwee who celebrated his 90th birthday on Monday. Happy birthday Bill!
Congratulations to Damian Capello and Jason Shirley for doing a great job handling the complicated technical side of the project. Thanks again to Jody Knox, Jeannie Watson, Terry McKean and everyone at Lakeview, as well as to all of the ministers who participated. We enjoyed listening to McKean, Shirley, Kevin Pence, Mike Veilleux, Phil Price, Jan Walterscheid, Dr. James Jones, Dan Boyd and Howell Scott.
On Monday, the state informed us of a correction to their tally of positive COVID-19 cases in Eddy County, putting us at a total of 12 instead of 13. We have been informed that the county’s 12th case was from a test administered through the Public Health Office in Carlsbad and that the individual is now home on quarantine.
Of the 12 positive cases in Eddy County, as of Monday, four were from Artesia and eight were from Carlsbad. There has been one associated fatality, six recoveries, one hospitalization and four individuals at home under quarantine. We will continue to pray for the safe recovery of all impacted individuals.
Artesia General reports 587 total tests performed in Eddy County as of April 27, but that does not include recently updated numbers from the Department of Health, who has been heavily testing essential workers in the community.
The Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce has added several more businesses to their list of places who are now open for pickup or delivery. Please consider visiting May’s Dari-Lea, El Charro, Becky’s, Little Ceaser’s, PJ&B’s and Thirsty’s. The Guadalupe Brewing Company is also now serving food again. The Chamber has started a “Carryout Carlsbad” Facebook group to make things easier for everyone.
Today’s generous donation update acknowledgment goes to Chevron, who recently donated thousands of dollars in fuel gift cards to food banks, kitchens and first responders as part of a $1 million commitment. Chevron has also recently made a $40,000 donation to the Boys and Girls Club of Carlsbad, while Brewer Oil and Gas, Chevron’s retail distributor, donated cases of bottled water to local food banks.
There have been many generous donations of masks made in our community, but the need is still great, especially for highly-protective masks that will assist first responders, medical personnel, nonprofits and nursing homes. A group of volunteers have set up a system where such organizations can request additional masks when needed. Please visit https://www.uweddyco.org/COVID19MASKS to complete the form there if you need additional assistance with masks.
The organization also needs additional volunteers. Please call Robin Cathey at 575-302-1653 for more information. We appreciate all of their hard work.
Thanks also to The Mine Supply for a generous donation of hand sanitizer. They gave us two 5-gallon drums of sanitizer and have provided a similar amount to other groups around town. This is greatly needed. Special thanks to David Tannehill, Dylan Magby and Lisa Gadbury for setting this up.
The United Way of Eddy County has also awarded five more grants to community programs from the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. According to the United Way, grants totaling $10,000 were awarded this week to Carlsbad Lifehouse, Loving Municipal Schools, Calvary Assembly of God-Food Distribution, St. Vincent De Paul and Artesia Emergency Relief Program.
Since March 30, the United Way has awarded a total of $56,000 in grants and assistance through this relief fund.
Thanks again to everyone and please keep up the good work.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Council Will Consider Resolution
Coronavirus Update 4-27-20
Carlsbad’s City Council will be considering a resolution during Tuesday night’s meeting in support of allowing small businesses to be open under the same conditions as larger businesses. If the resolution passes, it will recommend that the Governor and New Mexico Department of Health “Allow those businesses, including non-profits, that do not fall within the Secretary’s definition of essential businesses to reopen immediately and allow those businesses to implement those safeguards that have been imposed on essential businesses and develop rules and restrictions that recognize the different situations of political subdivisions and/or geographical areas.”
Beyond wanting small businesses opened, there is also a growing push for golf courses, shooting ranges and other outdoor recreational facilities to be re-opened to a limited capacity as soon as possible. The FAQ to the New Mexico Department of Health’s Public Order specifically lists golf courses as one of the facilities that has been ordered closed. This was not the City of Carlsbad’s decision and we are pushing for outdoor recreational facilities to be re-opened again, with safety guidelines in place.
We know Saturday’s rally in support of small businesses on the sidewalk around the courthouse went very well. Congratulations to Mark Christesson and everyone involved. We will continue to push in support of our small businesses receiving fair treatment.
On Sunday, we were informed of two more positive COVID-19 tests in Eddy County. This was later reduced by one on Monday due to a false positive for a total number of cases now of 12 here. We have reached out to our health care providers for additional information and have found out so far that this positive test was not administered by Carlsbad Medical Center. According to Sunday’s report from the state 650 of the 2,726 total positive cases have now been designated as recoveries. There have also been 99 total deaths in New Mexico. There were 148-related hospitalizations across the state as of Sunday.
Another generous donation has been made, this one from Holtec International, who donated 350 masks to Lakeview Christian Home. Jody Knox, CEO of Lakeview, said the masks will make an enormous difference in terms of keeping patients safe.
The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (basically, the second phase of the CARES Act) have been signed into law, meaning some additional financial assistance is available. The Small Business Administration is now processing PPP loans and most local banks are approved lenders. Local organizations such as the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, Carlsbad Department of Development, Workforce Solutions and the Small Business Development Center can assist you.
The “Carlsbad United in Prayer” celebration took place Monday evening from 7-8 p.m. Thanks again to Jody Knox, Jeannie Watson, Terry McKean, and everyone with Lakeview who worked hard to put this together, as well as to Jason Shirley. It was a very important community effort that took a lot of teamwork.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Coronavirus Update: 4-25-20
Carlsbad and Eddy County Industry Remains Committed to the Community
By Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway and Eddy County Manager Al Davis
Over the past few weeks, we have enjoyed highlighting the ways that many of our area’s large employers have given back to the community in this time of crisis. We are grateful for these relationships and know that these community partners are deeply committed to Eddy County and to their workforce.
Even while facing their own major concerns with business and the economy, many of Eddy County and Carlsbad’s employers have been a bright spot and ever-present help, stepping up to serve and assist our community with donations, food and food delivery, PPE for first responders and nursing homes, and even toilet paper. It has been incredible to see, not just the employers within Eddy County come together in such a way, but the entire community’s response.
While some of our industry partners are having to scale back for the short term, we know that they all remain deeply committed to this community. Despite their own concerns, our oil and gas partners have remained active in supporting this community during this time of crisis. XTO Energy has supported Packs for Hunger, the Carlsbad Fire Department and Carlsbad Municipal Schools. Chevron’s recent donation to the United Way helped make that organization’s COVID-19 emergency program possible. These are good signs that these companies are committed to their long-term investment in our area and to our residents.
“We believe Chevron is well-positioned to weather this downturn, but the severe drop in the commodity price outlook requires us to take action to defer investments that would have driven near-term production growth,” said Jeff Gustavson, Vice President of Chevron’s Mid-Continent Business Unit. “This includes temporarily scaling back current drilling and completion activities in the Permian. We are still fully committed to the Basin and its surrounding communities, and fully expect to increase activity levels in the area once prices recover.”
Marathon Oil gave us a similar message, noting that they have made the decision to reduce activity levels across the multi-basin portfolio, including southeast New Mexico. Marathon believes its decisions, as well as its financial strength, positions it for recovery.
Marathon also recently made a generous donation to Carlsbad through the Roadrunner Food Bank.
“We understand the Carlsbad community, which many of our local employees and contractors call home, is facing unprecedented challenges along with the rest of the country,” the company tells us. “These funds will launch a new Childhood Hunger Initiative program in the Carlsbad Municipal School District – the first of its kind in Eddy County, providing approximately 150 families with 50 pounds of food each month. While it is being set up to meet the immediate needs of Carlsbad students and their families, this program will be an on-going program within the school district, lasting long beyond COVID-19 response.”
Creating a program to last long beyond COVID-19 is a great example of a long-term commitment.
Occidental Petroleum also informed us that they remain highly invested in our area.
“Occidental remains committed to our operations in Eddy County and the Permian Basin region during this unprecedented time impacting the oil and gas industry and global economy,” said Babatunde Cole, President and General Manager for Occidental’s Permian Resources Business Unit in New Mexico. “The health and safety of our workforce and the communities where we operate is our top priority.”
Potash remains at the heart of our economy, and an industry that literally creates growth symbolizes our future.
“Mosaic has made many changes to how we operate to protect the health and safety of employees and contractors in light of COVID-19,” Paul Gill, General Manager of Carlsbad’s The Mosaic Company tells us. “We are grateful to the State of New Mexico for designating our business as essential during the pandemic. We know that the demand for food and fertilizer continues to grow, even in tough economic times. There are strong signs of a good planting season ahead and our order books are steady, despite all of the challenges.”
Robert Baldridge, Senior Vice President with Intrepid Potash, said Intrepid has continued to operate throughout this critical time without a reduction in force. Intrepid recognizes the character and strength of its employees.
“Together with our employees, we have developed measures to safely operate without incident,” Baldridge said. “We recognize that farmers and the agriculture industry depend on our products as well as the oil & gas industry who relies on our services.”
Baldridge said Intrepid has been supporting medical institutions with greatly-needed supplies.
“Carlsbad and its business partners have always been an example of thoughtful leadership making quality informed decision that drives success,” he said. “While other communities and business may see today’s events as desperate times, these are just challenges that create unique opportunities.
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant is an example of city and county leaders being innovative when it comes to our economy. When the potash industry was suffering decades ago, the development of a nuclear waste repository proved to be the solution. More than 1,000 people work for WIPP here now, and Nuclear Waste Partnership, who manages and operates WIPP, has been another leader in our community through its support with Packs for Hunger and providing PPE to first responders.
“We prioritize the health and safety of our workers and are carefully monitoring the current situation. Most of our employees are currently teleworking to follow social distancing guidelines,” WIPP tells us. “In the meantime, we are continuing with ground control, limited shipments and waste emplacement, to support our critical national mission. WIPP continues to be a stable part of the area’s economy and we look forward to many more years of community partnership and prosperity.”
We know many of our other area partners share similar sentiments. Of course, our largest employer of all in this area is our small business owner. The City of Carlsbad and Eddy County are committed to working for our small business owners to allow them to re-open under the same safety guidelines as larger businesses.
The City of Carlsbad and Eddy County ask citizens to continue to support and patronize our local small businesses as much as possible, and even more so, as restrictions are lifted and they begin to re-open. They are, and will continue to be, the very lifeline of our community
While there are still many uncertainties, the City of Carlsbad and Eddy County are confident that our area’s economic diversity and innovative and resolute population make us well positioned to face the future.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Eddy County Manager Al Davis
School District Moved Forward
Coronavirus Update: 4-24-20
In his letter to the community yesterday, Carlsbad Municipal Schools Superintendent Gerry Washburn outlined the school district’s plan for Carlsbad High School graduation on May 22.
Dr. Washburn states that the school district will be holding a reverse campus parade where students will be spaced nine feet apart on a route through the high school campus while wearing their graduation robes. Family and community members will drive along the route to see all of the graduates. There will be a reverse parade from 10 a.m. to noon for the Early College High School and a reverse parade from 6-8 p.m., both on the high school campus. The valedictorian and salutatorian speeches will be broadcast over the internet.
Our school district has been working hard to develop a plan, and the City of Carlsbad will provide support however we can. We know there is understandably going to be some disappointment from families, but we also are thankful to have a school district who is being innovative.
On Thursday afternoon, we were notified that an employee with the Carlsbad Technical Assistance Contractor (CTAC) has tested positive for COVID-19. The employee has been working remotely and has not been at WIPP since March 18 and left New Mexico March 23. The individual began experiencing symptoms at home and was tested. The individual has not been in physical contact with WIPP employees for more than 30 days and remains hospitalized for treatment of COVID-19, according to WIPP.
A few more people to thank today: Brenda Moore and Mildred Cassady made masks for Carlsbad Municipal Transit. Thanks for keeping our transit workers safe.
Thanks also to Rugged Trade for donating 100 masks to the City of Carlsbad for use. Thanks to Chad and Thomas Wilson for this donation.
Chevron came through again as well, this time in the form of $18,000 in fuel gift cards being given out to a variety of groups in the area, including our first responders. Other recipients include the Southeast New Mexico Community Action Corporation, the Carlsbad Community Kitchen, Packs for Hunger, the Boys and Girls Club, Jonah’s House, First United Methodist Church ad Calvary Chapel. Thanks Chevron and Beverly Allen.
Don’t forget that the “Carlsbad United in Prayer” event will be from 7-8 p.m. Monday and broadcast through Lakeview Christian Home’s Facebook page.
As mentioned yesterday, Carlsbad City Council will be considering a similar resolution on Tuesday to what Eddy County passed earlier this week. You can read this resolution on the City of Carlsbad web page by visiting https://www.cityofcarlsbadnm.com/ and scrolling down to the “Agenda Packet” area.
If City Council passes this resolution, it will be added to a growing list of cities and counties requesting that the Governor re-open businesses closed by Executive and Public Health Orders in a phased manner. All of your elected officials have received a great deal of feedback about this issue recently and we are committed to serving our constituents.
A white paper by the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee put out this week indicated that most regions of New Mexico are on a downward trend in terms of new cases, even as testing has increased. The conditions everyone seems to agree on as being important are a steady decline in the number of new cases, ensuring hospital capacity and making sure that testing and tracing are adequate. As of Thursday, New Mexico reports 573 of its COVID-19 cases as designated as recoveries. We continue to believe there is a clear path forward to getting our state back open while also looking out for everyone’s health and safety. We will also continue to pray for the improvement of our residents who are still battling this disease.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Carlsbad to United in Prayer
Coronavirus Update 4-23-20
Please mark your calendar for a very special “Carlsbad United in Prayer” event scheduled for 7-8 p.m. on April 27. You’ll be able to watch the entire thing from home through Lakeview Christian Home’s Facebook Page (you don’t have to have a Facebook account to do so) at https://www.facebook.com/lakeviewchristianhome/. Ministers from around Carlsbad will be joining us from their homes and churches to participate. Thanks to Jody Knox, Jeannie Watson, Terry McKean and everyone at Lakeview for putting this together. Not being able to physically unite right now won’t stop us from finding a way to come together.
We will be having prayers for our first responders, our small businesses, our nursing homes, our country and many others. We hope you and your family will join us. We will also be taking special prayers – please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
We wish to dedicate this event to Ron Griffith, who passed away on April 1. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Ron and his Christian organization, Lifescope, were the driving force behind the annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast. We know that Ron and Echo Griffith would be very proud to see the community coming together in prayer on Monday.
In her press conference yesterday, Governor Lujan Grisham announced that she will be extending the state’s “Stay Home” instruction to May 15. There are many questions about exactly what that means, and we have been told that more detailed instructions will be provided soon. Eddy County has passed a resolution requesting that the Governor begin to re-open New Mexico for business and Carlsbad City Council is considering a similar resolution on Tuesday.
It is our hope that the extension of the timeline doesn’t mean that the State won’t also consider making earlier modifications to the order to more fairly accommodate small businesses in a safe manner. The recent change allowing stores selling plants the ability to do so with curbside service is a good example. We’d like to see more news about people being allowed to gradually open.
There was one bright spot in that the Governor appointed XTO Energy’s Staale Gjervik to the 15-member Economic Recovery Council. Having a representative of the oil and gas industry is, of course, very important, and we know Mr. Gjervik will do a good job.
While getting small businesses back open in a safe manner is a priority, the medical ramifications of the shutdown also needs to be addressed soon. Right now, only emergency surgeries are able to take place, which means that minor or preventive measures have been put on hold. This may create a serious risk which will continue to get worse as more time passes, as a minor procedure this week may prevent a riskier, more expensive procedure from becoming necessary in a month. There are individuals who are suffering because they can’t get dental work done right now. We ask Governor Lujan Grisham to make addressing the problems caused by postponed procedures as quickly as possible.
On a completely different note, happy 80th birthday to former State Representative John Heaton. Heaton was treated to a “drive by” birthday parade on Wednesday organized by his wife Julia. John and Julia have both devoted decades of his life to making Carlsbad a better place, and we are honored to have them as residents.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Coronavirus Update: 4-22-20
The City of Carlsbad has been informed of an additional positive COVID-19 test in Carlsbad (for a total of 11 in Eddy County). According to Carlsbad Medical Center, a patient was taken to the facility during the afternoon of April 21. Because the situation was believed to be an emergency, the patient received a rare “rapid test” which allowed health care professionals to immediately identify the test as positive for COVID-19. The individual was then admitted as a patient to a sequestered ICU room at Carlsbad Medical Center for treatment.
As we’ve stated before, our prayers are for a swift recovery for our sick residents and for our health care professionals who are treating them. We are working with Cathy Hibbs and the staff at CMC and will help however we can.
All safety precautions were followed by first responders and health care professionals who assisted the patient. Special credit to our Carlsbad Fire Department employees who put themselves at risk but made sure our resident was safely transported.
The City of Carlsbad has also been informed by Artesia General Hospital that the patient described above is an employee of the Artesia Healthcare Professionals Urgent Care Clinic in Carlsbad. According to Artesia General, steps were taken to temporarily close the clinic and allow for thorough cleaning and disinfection. The clinic will participate in contact tracing to make sure all known contacts receive testing. This is a reminder that our health care professionals are on the front lines right now.
We know there are also a large number of rumors circulating right now. We will continue to provide information that has been verified through the Department of Health and our medical providers. Of course, the City of Carlsbad will continue to provide essential services to our residents as we work through this and work with all of our partners in the area.
In our call with the White House Wednesday morning, President Trump’s office outlined the guidelines for opening America. “We want to re-open America and keep it open,” was the message, but the path forward involved early diagnosis and testing, contact tracing and isolation. Federal, state and local officials all seemed to be working together on this. There have been 4.6 million diagnostic samples conducted in the United States and tests are ramping up.
Yesterday, County officials reported that the Department of Health was sending an extra team to Eddy County to conduct additional testing of essential employees. We are still seeking additional information on this report and will share it as it becomes available.
We have heard about some good news from the state in terms of plant nurseries. Plant nurseries selling live product are now allowed to do curbside or delivery service. They are still asked to take all necessary social distancing precautions. Mother’s Day is just a few weeks away, and we’re glad some of our local businesses will have the opportunity to serve you. We hope to keep hearing more positive developments such as this.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Coronavirus Update: 4-21-20
We continue to work with our partners in Eddy and Lea County, and across the state, to pursue a safe plan for the incremental re-opening of New Mexico. It’s very important to note that plans being discussed do not ignore the health safety of our citizens – these are balanced approaches that address economic and health concerns.
Many applicants for funding through CARES Act have recently discovered that some of these funds have already dried up. In a video conference with Congresswoman Torres Small Tuesday afternoon, we were informed that a bipartisan second phase of the CARES Act is currently in development. Also participating in the call were Commissioner Susan Crockett, County Manager Al Davis, Deputy County Manager Wes Hooper and Jeff Murray with FTI Consulting. We discussed making sure that rural communities and communities not on the east coast have a fair opportunity to apply for this funding.
Carlsbad Medical Center reports COVID-19 tests conducted 144 tests conducted as of April 21, with two confirmed positive, 126 negative results and 16 pending. Artesia General Hospital reports 132 tests conducted with 2 positive, 114 negative and 16 pending. Artesia’s Public Health Office has conducted 66 tests while Carlsbad’s Public Health Office has conducted 169 tests.
Testing continues at Carlsbad Medical Center, at Artesia General Hospital, at Carlsbad’s Department of Health Clinic on Stevens Street (1-3 p.m. Monday through Thursday) and at Artesia’s Department of Health Clinic on Memorial Drive (9-11 a.m., Monday through Thursday).
Of the ten Eddy County COVID-19 cases, four have been in Artesia, five have been in Carlsbad and the location of one is still unknown at this time. One case, sadly, resulted in a COVID-related fatality. Six cases have now been announced as recoveries and two (both Carlsbad cases) remain in quarantine. We are still researching the announced tenth Eddy County positive test, which was announced yesterday. There are no COVID-19-related hospitalizations reported in Eddy County at this time.
On Tuesday, we were invited by the “Council on Foreign Relations” organization to participate in a phone discussion about the efforts to find a cure for COVID-19. The doctors outlined the different international efforts moving forward, from the development of a full vaccine, to passive or temporary vaccines, to therapy to control the virus. The therapy efforts, which don’t prevent the disease but greatly reduce the symptoms, seem to be coming along very well.
We were relieved to hear about three potential vaccines that have reached the clinical study level and 70 potential vaccines that are in development. The doctors were open about the fact that there were many elements of this virus that were just not well understood early in the process. Some of the information discussed was very technical, but it was good to know that significant progress is being made.
The New Mexico Office of Superintendent of Insurance has announced new requirements for health insurance carriers to cover expenses for out-of-network care received as a result of COVID-19. The new guidance also orders insurance carriers to cover out-of-network bills where a consumer can’t receive in-network care for other conditions due to the COVID-19 crisis. This is a move to make sure patients will receive appropriate care without surprise billing and seems to be a positive step forward.
On a final note, you may have noticed that several of the trees in front of the library have been removed. We want to assure all of you that new trees will be planted nearby, and the refurbished Halagueno Arts Park will truly be beautiful.
Thank you all again and we will continue to provide updates throughout the week.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Oil Crash Takes Focus
Coronavirus Update 4-20-20
The news today on almost everyone’s mind is the complete crash in oil prices – down to below $0 a barrel, which seems like it shouldn’t even be possible. While we are confident that prices will go back up, Monday’s headline certainly makes the severity of this economic crisis all that more apparent. Thousands of our residents are extremely concerned about their economic future right now.
We will continue to strongly advocate that the state quickly implement an incremental plan to allow our businesses to get back to work while continuing to protect the safety of our citizens.
On Friday, we were notified of two additional positive COVID-19 cases in Eddy County. On Monday we were notified of an additional Eddy County Case, for a total of ten. On Monday, we were informed that Friday’s two positive cases were from positive tests in Carlsbad- one of them at Carlsbad Medical Center and one from Carlsbad’s health clinic. These two individuals are at home under quarantine and we will continue to pray for their quick recovery. We have reached out to our health care providers for additional information on the tenth case.
Families have had to make just adjustments when it comes to celebrating birthday parties over the past few months. Some are celebrating with drive-by parades, where the birthday boy or girl stands outside and waves as friends and family members drive by to wish the child a happy birthday.
Carlsbad resident Silas McIlwee celebrated his fifth birthday party this past weekend with such a parade. Happy Birthday Silas! Special thanks to the Carlsbad Police Department officers who participated in the parade and helped make sure Silas had a special day. The police department helps with these activities when they are able to do so.
We received a lot of positive feedback about the Chamber of Commerce’s list of restaurants who are open for business. Some readers pointed out that many local food trucks are still open, including the El Charro Taco Truck. Please continue to support our local businesses whenever you are able to do so.
There are a number of different groups in our community helping to feed the needy right now. The volunteers at Jonah’s House asked us to let you know that they are still open for business. Their hours are 9-11 a.m., Monday through Friday at 512 W. Stevens. It’s a walk-in location, and only three people are allowed in at once due to current distancing guidelines. You don’t have to complete any paperwork for your first visit, and the Jonah’s House volunteers will then explain the process from there. Thanks again to Jonah’s House and all of our local food bank volunteers.
Our graduating seniors are high on the list of people who have had their lives disrupted right now. There have been some excellent ideas suggested in the community about ways to honor seniors, such as banners on every light post. Superintendent Washburn has said the school district is considering a drive-thru graduation. We know members of this community will come together with a good plan.
It’s good to know that there’s also a bright future for so many of our seniors. The Carlsbad Community Foundation held its first ever scholarship online Monday evening. More than $140,000 in scholarships were awarded this week. Congratulations to the Class of 2020.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Packs for Hunger Well Deserving of Boost
Coronavirus Update: April 18, 2020
Packs for Hunger is one of the best charitable organizations we have in Carlsbad, and the need has never been greater than it is right now. Carol Worley and the dedicated team of volunteers have stepped up to the challenge, and many more local volunteers and nonprofits are also assisting.
For the past few years, the “Mayor’s Shindig” has served as Packs for Hunger’s biggest fundraiser. It has been a great event, and we also enjoyed being introduced to the word “shindig.” When this year’s shindig was postponed in March due to restrictions on social gathering, we were all very disappointed and concerned for the program. This was during a time when organizations such as Packs for Hunger are needed the most. We still have a long road ahead of us in terms of both this health crisis and economic concerns.
This week, Nuclear Waste Partnership made a very generous $20,000 donation to Packs for Hunger that will greatly assist during this time of year. Nuclear Waste Partnership has also made a $20,000 donation to the United Way’s Emergency Relief Fund. Additionally, they dropped off masks and hand sanitizer to assist our first responders. They’ve provided $80,000 in local contributions throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.
We were also informed this week that XTO Energy has made a generous $20,000 donation to Packs for Hunger and its critical mission. XTO also recently donated $100,000 to help Carlsbad Municipal Schools develop its online program and provided $6,100 in Personal Protective Equipment to the Carlsbad Fire Department.
There are still a great many needs around Carlsbad right now. Carlsbad Municipal Schools has been feeding youth and adults through their school lunch program since school ceased, but the district is not reimbursed for all expenses. Mosaic Potash and the United Way have both assisted, but expenses are still growing. If you are looking to help an important program right now, the Carlsbad Municipal Schools lunch program is also worthwhile. As we’ve stated before, the United Way’s local COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund is another great way to go – the fund has programs set up to assist both individuals and nonprofits.
We were saddened by the news that Guadalupe Mountains National Park has temporarily closed. Citing the health and safety of visitors, the park temporarily closed its doors on April 17. Please let us know if we can be of any additional assistance to our national parks.
Here’s a brief update from this week’s activities:
- COVID-19 remains a very serious threat across the state. As of the morning of April 18, there have been 1,711 positive tests in New Mexico, 51 deaths and 382 recoveries. Please continue to follow social distancing guidelines and stay at home whenever possible.
- Carlsbad Medical Center, Artesia General Hospital and Eddy County’s two health clinics have continued to administer COVID-19 tests daily.
- There have been 9 total reported COVID-19 cases in Eddy County, including two we were informed of Friday afternoon. These two new tests did not come out of Carlsbad Medical Center or Artesia General Hospital, which means they were tests from either the health clinic in Carlsbad, the health clinic in Artesia or from out of the county. We are still reaching out for additional information.
- Carla Sonntag, President and Founder of the New Mexico Business Coalition, has proposed a path forward to re-open businesses that recommends the Governor amend her Public Health Order to allow small businesses and outdoor recreational facilities to open at 20% capacity and incrementally increase from that point. This is a good proposal which deserves discussion and would fit in line with many of President’s Trump’s guidelines issues earlier this week.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: 4-17-20
We were informed by the state of two new positive COVID-19 cases for Eddy County today. We will be reaching out locally and at the state level for more information and will let you know when it becomes available to us.
Many people are asking about which restaurants are still open during the COVID-19 shutdown. Restaurants do qualify as essential businesses, but are currently not allowed to keep indoor dining services open. This has been such a grueling ordeal for all of our local restaurants (and all businesses) that many have changed their status several times as they struggle to survive. There was great news this week when the Trinity Hotel announced that they would again be open for to go orders.
Suzann Combs, with the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, has been updating the local list of restaurants who have remained open for pickup or delivery. You can check out that updated list on the Chamber’s Facebook page, on Instagram or on the Chamber’s web page at www.carlsbadchamber.com.
Many businesses have also expanded their delivery options through either doordash.com or delivery.com.
As of April 17, locally owned restaurants providing such services include the Blue House, Bad Bass BBQ, Borracho Tacos, the Church Street Grill, Danny’s Place, El Jimador, El Molcajete and El Sazon. Guadalupe Brewing and Milton’s are both on the list, as are Java Nick’s Coffee Hut and Joe Brews. Other local businesses serving takeout or delivery include Kaleidoscoops, La Juanita, the Lucky Bull, Lucy’s, Mi Casita, My Daddy’s BBQ, the New Mexico Burrito Company, the Pecos River Café, Red Chimney, the Snack Shack, Sno to Go, Thelma’s Wangs and Thang’s and the Trinity. The Queen Café’ is also on the list and the Current Argus wrote an excellent article about their efforts.
Running a franchise isn’t any easier, and local chains serving customers include Arby’s, KFC, Blake’s Lottaburger, Buffalo Wild Wings, Burger King, Chili’s, Denny’s, Domino’s Pizza, IHOP, Long John Silver’s, McAlister’s Deli, McDonalds, Papa Murphy’s, Pizza Hut, Pizza Inn, Roadrunner Express, Sonic, Starbucks, Subway, Taco Bell and Wendy’s. We hope we got everyone, and please let us know if we can add your restaurant to the list. Thanks again to everyone showing creativity and innovation during these difficult times.
Our school district has announced that it has set up wifi hotspots around some of its schools. You can’t get in the school, but you can get online in the parking lots outside of Ocotillo, Desert Willow, Carlsbad High School, Cottonwood Elementary and the Carlsbad Intermediate School.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve mentioned many of the great men and women who have been of special service to this community throughout this crisis. Today’s special mention goes to our hardworking individuals with Carlsbad Municipal Transit. Josh Moore and the transit team have continued to provide this essential service. There was a “Sound the Horn” event at 1 p.m. Friday inviting everyone to honk in support of transit workers across the country. Keep up the good work.
We also had a great conversation with Jody Knox, Director of Lakeview Christian Home, and are working with Jody to organize a special day of prayer for all of our nursing homes and everyone else.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Examining the Economic Path Forward
Coronavirus Update: April 16, 2020
Over the past few days, an increasing number of New Mexicans have insisted on the development of a clear path forward in terms of getting our economy running again.
That is not in any way dismissive of the very real public health crisis we are facing, both here and across the world. The guidelines for social distancing and stay at home instructions are still essential for beating COVID-19.
But a growing number of small business owners and elected officials have become increasingly vocal with expressing their very legitimate concern that the current lines dividing essential and nonessential businesses are not logical and are especially unfair to small businesses and the thousands of people who rely on them for their livelihood.
Additionally, as these closure instructions continue to be extended for a longer period of time, there is growing fear that no amount of federal assistance programs will ever come close to getting our citizens back on their feet economically. We do not want to survive this crisis with nothing left of our society. These executive health orders were put in place by our Governor. Municipalities such as the City of Carlsbad are in the same predicament in terms of compliance with these orders as everyone else.
How do we respectfully address economic concerns while maintaining the highest level of health protection? Even most of our state’s health care providers will soon have to lay off employees because nonessential operations have ceased. Many of these “nonessential” procedures, such as mammograms and colonoscopies, are preventive measures which save lives.
This week, Farmington Mayor Nate Duckett issued a declaration calling on the Governor to consider modifying the public health orders to permit all businesses to immediately re-open at 20 percent of maximum capacity while also adhering to social distancing guidelines. An Eddy County business owner has established an online petition making a similar request that has received several thousand signatures.
Carla Sonntag, President and Founder of the New Mexico Business Coalition (NMBC), has presented a path forward that we believe contains many excellent ideas. NMBC suggests that we continue with social distancing guidelines and that vulnerable citizens with significant health issues continue to remain sheltered. Masks are recommended for customers and employees in public shopping areas.
As Mayor Duckett stated, the NMBC is recommending that all businesses that can operate under the same guidelines currently in effect of a 20 percent occupancy be allowed to do so and open back up immediately. Outdoor recreational facilities should also be allowed to open back up at a limited capacity as well.
In early May, NMBC recommends that these businesses and outdoor recreational facilities be allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity. They recommend incremental increases to this capacity throughout the month. NMBC also recommends opening indoor recreational facilities to a limited capacity by late May. You can read NMBC’s entire plan here: https://nmbizcoalition.org/
Let’s again make this clear – we are not dismissing the very real health concerns presented by COVID-19. Our community has been fortunate so far to have a small number of cases due to social distancing taking place and our rural environment. My sincere thanks go out to everyone who has worked so hard to keep the spread of COVID-19 to a minimum in our area. However, it is well past time that we begin to have a serious discussion on healthy ways to reopen New Mexico.
We have spoken directly with the Governor’s office about this issue on Thursday. We have been assured by Governor Lujan Grisham’s office that the economic well-being of our small businesses and our residents remains an extremely vital facet of this health crisis. We appreciate the Governor for reaching out to us directly and hope we can continue to discuss safe ways to get New Mexico back on its feet.
We endorse the New Mexico Business Coalition’s call for the State to immediately allow all businesses to reopen at a limited and reasonable capacity. We encourage Governor Lujan Grisham to work closely with leaders across New Mexico in developing the path forward.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Now is the Time to Thank Our Telecommunicators
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: 4-15-20
The front line of our first responders are our police dispatchers. We talk about essential employees a great deal right now, but is nobody more essential out there then the men and women who we reach out to when we are facing an emergency.
April 12-18 is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week- please take a moment to recognize these essential professionals and let them know how much they are valued by our community, especially during a time period where there is so much fear and anxiety.
Every single day, our dispatchers speak with people who are in the middle of the worst day of their lives. On top of that, they are facing the same stresses that we all feel right now- economic and health concerns for their family and loved ones. We’re so proud of our telecommunicators who serve the Carlsbad Police Department and Carlsbad Fire Department, as well as our professionals with the Eddy County. Thank you all for being on the front lines of our effort.
During her 2 p.m. April 15 update, the Governor reported 80 new cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths that day. As of her report, there are 90 individuals hospitalized for COVID-19 symptoms and 22 of them on ventilators. The Governor’s office also reported that 32,850 New Mexicans have been tested today and said 3,500 tests a day can now be processed.
The analysis and data of projected cases are continually changing. Real life cases don’t always comply with projection models, but here’s some good news – over the past week, the projection of total COVID-19-related deaths in New Mexico has been reduced from around 600 to 150, due to an increase in available testing data.
Carlsbad residents, meanwhile, continue to show their energy for making the most out of this situation. Another update from Julie Chester and the “Create Art, Cultivate Joy” arts and culture effort. Julie says the local online arts and culture effort has 1,000 members now, and they’ve included a new presentation each day for the past two weeks. Upcoming events include rug making, rock painting, water colors, cooking and voice warm ups.
Here’s an update from the United Way as well: Heights Lions Club made a $5,000 donation to the United Way of Eddy County’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. Thanks again to everyone for being so generous.
If you get the chance, visit Troy Young Park in the near future and check out the beautiful shade structure there, which was made possible through a partnership with Nuclear Waste Partnership. We’ve been able to put up shade structures at playgrounds and parks around town, including at the Ray Anaya San Jose Plaza, Smith Park, the 8th Street Park and the Carlsbad Water Park. Troy Young Park is very special to members of the Ebony Car Club II, and we were pleased to assist then with making park improvements.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Update on COVID-19 Recoveries in Eddy County
Coronavirus Update: 4-14-20
We have received an additional update on the status of the COVID-19 cases in Eddy County. By April 13, five of the seven positive COVID-19 cases in Eddy County are full recoveries and one of the cases remains on quarantine. The other individual who tested positive for COVID-19, sadly, is deceased.
The recovery information comes from Artesia General Hospital’s web page. The State now that 336 total COVID-19 tests have been conducted in Eddy County as of April 14. That includes tests conducted at Artesia General Hospital, Carlsbad Medical Center, Artesia’s Public Health Office and Carlsbad’s Public Health Office.
Artesia General Hospital reports conducting 108 tests by April 13, with 99 negative tests, two positives and results pending for seven. The two positive cases includes the one COVID-related fatality and one recovery. Two positive tests have also been taken through the Public Health Office in Artesia, and both of them have been reported as recovered.
There has been one positive test from the 113 conducted at Carlsbad Medical Center (as of April 14), according to CMC. This individual is reported to have recovered. CMC also reports 98 negative results and 14 test results pending.
There was also one positive test of an Eddy County resident who tested at Nor-Lea in Hobbs. We do not know where in Eddy County this individual resides, but this individual is also reported to have been recovered after being in quarantine.
Finally, there was a new positive case identified on April 12 through the Public Health Office in Carlsbad. This individual remains under quarantine.
The fact that five of the seven Eddy County cases are reported as recoveries is very uplifting. Let’s also not ever forget that these “numbers” are people who are our friends and neighbors – residents we’ve known for decades. We’re relieved to see that these members of our community have isolated and are recovering.
The State of New Mexico has also launched a portal with additional COVID-19 data, which includes reporting about testing by county. You can check it out at cv.nmhealth.org/dashboard. In Eddy County, we’re able to see that four of the positive cases here so far are men and three are women. We also have had three positive cases in the 30-39 age bracket, two in the 60-69 age bracket and two in the 70-79 age bracket. It’s helpful for understanding the situation, but it all still boils down to keeping isolated as much as possible as we work through this.
The United Way of Eddy County sent out an update on its Emergency Relief Fund this week. Over the past month, the United Way has already awarded more than $45,000 to nonprofits and families impacted by COVID-19. Donors have helped raise more than $110,000 so far. Organizations receiving support include the Boys and Girls Club of Carlsbad, Lakeview Christian Home, the Artesia Arts Council, Eddy County CASA, Carlsbad Municipal Schools- Adult Meal Support, the SECAC-Senior Meal Program and the Carlsbad Community of Hope Center.
Tuesday was “Back to School,” for most local students, who participated in online programs set up through Carlsbad Municipal Schools. We appreciate the local internet providers who have stepped up to assist our school district with this incredible challenge. We know this will be difficult for school administrators, for teachers, for students, and for parents attempting to balance assisting their kids with their own work obligations. It’s not going to be a perfect situation, but we’re going to work through it together.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Coronavirus Update 4-13-20
We hope that everyone had a very Happy Easter.
On Sunday afternoon, we were informed by the state of a seventh positive COVID-19 case in Eddy County, this one in Carlsbad. As we have stated before, the information we receive is very limited. The most important consideration is the fact that both Carlsbad and Artesia have each had more than one positive case, which serves as a very good reminder of the importance of all of us sticking with stay at home and distancing instructions whenever possible.
We have also confirmed that neither of our county’s hospitals currently have any COVID-19 patients at the hospital. This means that the individuals who recently tested positive for COVID-19 in our area were likely sent home to continue to self-quarantine due to their symptoms being relatively mild. We will continue to pray for their speedy recovery.
It’s also worth mentioning that Eddy County has not yet been listed in the state’s daily updates as a county where “community spread” has been detected. Community spread is defined as the spread of a contagious disease to individuals in a particular geographic location who have no known contact with other infected individuals or who have not recently traveled to an area where the disease has any documented cases. We believe this to be a good sign that local cases here are travel-related or connected to each other.
Many of the most severe outbreaks across New Mexico have been in nursing homes and other congregate living facilities. We appreciate Jody Knox and everyone at Lakeview Christian Home for their hard work every day to protect both their employees and our most vulnerable citizens.
Testing is continuing regularly at Carlsbad Medical Center, Artesia General Hospital, at our county’s two Department of Health clinics and at locations out of county. The New Mexico Department of Health has an online process for you to determine if a test is needed and how you would go about doing so at https://cv.nmhealth.org/.
As of Sunday’s report, New Mexico has now reported a total of 1,245 positive tests for COVID-19. This number includes 295 cases designated as having recovered and 26 deaths.
Another number that keeps coming up in discussion is the projected “peak”- what day along this process will the maximum number of resources be used and will the number of cases identified each day begin to diminish. New Mexico is projected to “peak” around the week of April 22, so we are at least pushing closer to the halfway mark.
The much bigger mountain to get past will be the economic hurdle. Millions have filed for unemployment and so many of our small businesses, who work day to day to make ends meet under ideal circumstances, have had to shut down for several months. The federal programs that have been put in place are helpful, but they sure don’t take the place of a good job.
There was some good news announced this week when President Trump brokered a production cut in oil production with Saudi Arabia and Russia, eliminating one of the many hurdles to our local oil and gas production.
Carlsbad also has a huge advantage in our economic versatility. While we face the same uncertain future as everyone else, we are doing so with an economy that relies on a variety of industries including oil and gas, potash, nuclear, agriculture, tourism and manufacturing. Our economic diversity will pay off as a strength, as it has many times in the past.
We look forward to getting through this and getting our city back open for business.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Easter Message, April 11, 2020
On behalf of everyone with the City of Carlsbad, we wish you all a very Happy Easter. It’s going to be quite a bit different than most of our Easter celebrations, but the fundamental message of hope has not changed one bit. We believe there is an end in sight to this, and we have faith in a bright future for Carlsbad and for our country.
Thanks to again to our local ministers and church volunteers who have worked so hard to develop unique ways to celebrate Easter through internet broadcasts or “Drive-in” procedures where everyone stays in their car. Our local church leaders have truly stepped forward in this time of crisis. Please help them by reaching out to loved ones, friends and church members over the phone or email to let everyone know they are missed.
Please also continue to pray for everyone today – for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their families, for first responders, grocery store employees, truck drivers and health care professionals, for people who have lost their jobs or had to shut down their business, for residents and employees of nursing homes, and for our President, Governor and all other leaders during this time period.
Pray for our students and teachers as well. Carlsbad Municipal Schools will resume online classes beginning Tuesday. Our school district has done an amazing job of putting together a program for the remainder of the semester with short notice. Chromebooks and internet access have been provided to students who needed it, and packets can be used where technology is not a practical option. If you have any questions or concerns about classes resuming, please let us know and we will be happy to assist.
There are still many rumors circulating. New Mexico does not have any curfew in place, nor does Carlsbad. You can still go outdoors this weekend but are asked to continue to practice social distancing. Please avoid crowded trailheads and other congested areas. The City of Carlsbad will continue to provide all essential services such as water and trash pickup throughout this crisis and we are extremely grateful to our excellent workforce for doing such a good job.
Here’s a quick summary of this past week’s developments:
- The Governor’s State at Home Instruction has been extended through April 30. Visit https://cv.nmhealth.org/2020/04/06/stay-at-home-order-extended/ for specific information.
- Earlier this week, we were informed of two new positive COVID-19 cases in Eddy County, for a total of six. These tests were not conducted at Carlsbad Medical Center or Artesia General Hospital, which means they were either conducted by the NM health clinics in Eddy County or out of the county.
- As of Friday afternoon’s update, there are 235 COVID-19 cases designated as having recovered by the New Mexico Department of Health. There have been 27,098 total tests administered, 1,091 positive tests and 19 COVID-19 related deaths.
- We are still participating in regular calls with the White House, State and New Mexico Municipal League. We appreciate the many organizations helping individuals with different programs.
- New Mexico Human Services Department is providing $35 million in immediate financial help to New Mexico hospitals for the COVID-19 pandemic. The combination of increasing costs and declining revenue is putting an urgent strain on New Mexico hospitals, right when we need them the most.
Thank you all again, and Happy Easter,
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Many Groups Supporting United Way’s Emergency Relief Fund
Coronavirus Update: April 9
One of our community’s truly essential services right now is our local United Way, who has been helping so many people with the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. Director Linda Dodd asked us to mention a few more generous donors:
Canyonstone and Copperstone Apartments gave $5,000 to the program, as have Burba, Cole and Overstreet, Western Sky Community Care and Santo Petroleum. Carlsbad National Bank has contributed $10,000 to this important program and the Carlsbad Community Foundation gave $3,000. The United Way’s program is directly supporting residents in need. Please keep up the good work and thank you for your generosity.
Another business invested in this community, ConocoPhillips, recently made a generous donation of $25,000 to Carlsbad Municipal Schools and a similar donation to CARC Inc. This is greatly appreciated during this critical time period.
We have now been informed of a total of six total COVID-19 cases in Eddy County, which includes the two we found out about Wednesday afternoon and reported yesterday. There were no new Eddy County cases reported Thursday.
As always, our most important response is to wish these two individuals a very healthy recovery, and to also pray for the health professionals who have provided these individuals with assistance.
Many members of the public are asking us for more information, specifically as to whether these two cases were from Carlsbad, Artesia or another part of the county. We know that both Carlsbad Medical Center and Artesia General Hospital have each said that these two individuals did not test out of their facility.
What that means is that it is possible that these two positive tests were administered through either Artesia or Carlsbad’s state health clinic, both of who are now administering tests four days a week. Someone who lives in Eddy County may have also received a positive test outside of the county. The tests conducted by the health office here are sent to Santa Fe Epidemiology. We’ve reached out to the State for clarification. Our Department of Health employees are extremely busy and are doing a great job.
If you have any questions about the state’s screening and testing process, please visit https://cv.nmhealth.org/public-health-screening-and-testing/.
No matter where the tests were administered, however, the guidelines of staying home whenever possible and maintaining social distancing are still critical. This risk applies to our community as much as it does anywhere.
While we’ve enjoyed devoting a portion of this space each day toward honoring many of the generous individuals and organizations who are stepping up in this time of crisis, there are also some people out on the other side who are trying to utilize the COVID-19 outbreak to scam others.
The New Mexico Office of Superintendent of Insurance and the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General recently put out a list of tips warning consumers about con artists and scammers. The AG’s office has pledged to prosecute these scammers.
According to the state offices, a scammer may use an unsolicited letter, phone call, or text message to warn you about a risk to your health, safety, finances, insurance or business. The scammer likely will offer you a “time sensitive” opportunity, or tell you that you must take immediate action. To respond to the warning or opportunity, you will be asked to purchase a product or service, or to provide personal identification information. Very often, the scammer’s request or notice will appear to come from a government agency, a reputable charity, or even an established business.
Once you provide access to your information, a scammer may steal your identity or your money. Please be extremely cautious, and feel free to contact us directly if you have any questions or concerns.
If you think you’ve been the victim of a scam, you can contact the Office of the Attorney General at www.nmag.gov or call 1-844-255-9210 and press number 5. If the scam relates to insurance or insurance coverage, you can call the Insurance fraud hotline at 1-877-807-4010 or report it online at www.stopfraud.org.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Two New Cases Announced in Eddy County
Coronavirus Update: 4-8-20
We were informed by the Governor’s office late Wednesday afternoon that two new positive cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Eddy County. As we have stated before, Carlsbad Medical Center, Artesia General Hospital and our two N.M. Health Clinics have all been conducting testing, and we have reached out for additional information. Please continue to stay at home whenever possible.
In our conference call to the White House this week, we heard from President Trump himself.
Addressing thousands of mayors across the country, the President said our country is in a crucial phase in this war, thanks to the devotion of so many great people. The President mentioned that 125,000 coronavirus tests are being conducted each day in the United States, more than any other nation.
“You know how to win better than anybody,” he concluded. “And we’re going to win this war.”
The conference also included important updates about the CARES Act and other efforts to support Americans right now.
We were informed that the first phase of stimulus checks will be sent out next week. The federal government has also worked out a system to provide stimulus checks to seniors on Social Security who did not file for tax returns. A website is being set up so people can track their check.
The Paycheck Protection Program has also been a tremendous success, so much that the President has asked Congress to increase support for the fund. This program authorizes up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees during the COVID-19 crisis.
We were also relieved to hear that the CARES Act has included a significant allocation for mental health, including suicide prevention. It is extremely important that mental health issues are addressed throughout this crisis. Health care providers have also been provided with an opportunity for reimbursement. Please let us know if you are having trouble getting information about some of the assistance programs right now and we’ll be happy to help you.
Easter is just a few days away, and we have never before needed a time to celebrate our faith than right now. Christians around the world will be celebrating the Rebirth and our hope for the future. It won’t be the same celebration that we’re used to or that we’d hoped for, but the true meaning of Easter hasn’t changed one bit.
So many of our churches have done a remarkable job adapting throughout this crisis. Many are conducting Livestream services to reach members of their congregation, while others have developed “drive-in” procedures where everyone stays in their car. We appreciate the efforts of our churches to spread their message in a way that is safe for all of their members and encourage this practice to continue through Easter and beyond.
While large-scale Easter egg hunts in public areas will have to be postponed until we get through this, you and family members may certainly leave the house to take a walk in the park or down the street. We’re just supposed to keep distant from other groups. Please have a very happy Easter and keep praying for our first responders, health care professionals and other people on the front lines, as well as for all of our state and national leaders.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Coronavirus Update: 4-7-20
The State has now announced that its stay-at-home instruction and public health orders have now been extended through the month of April. Similar extensions are taking place across the country right now during this critical week of our national battle against this virus, but that doesn’t make life any easier for the thousands of our own residents wanting a return to normal life. We’re a strong community and we’re going to get through this together, but we’re facing a marathon here, not a sprint.
You can read the specifics of the newest amended public health emergency order at www.governor.state.nm.us. Businesses seeking clarity on essential or non-essential status may send inquiries to email@example.com. We know a lot of reasonable questions come up every time there’s a new order.
We’ve had a number of people ask us about one particular line in the new order, which states that “Hotels, motels, RV parks, and other places of lodging shall not operate at more than 25 percent of maximum occupancy, per the amended order.”
However, the next line of the official order (it wasn’t in the press release) clarifies the issue by saying “Health care workers who are engaged in the provision of care to New Mexico residents or individuals utilizing lodging facilities for extended stays, as temporary housing, or for purposes of a quarantine or isolation period shall not be counted for purposes of determining maximum occupancy,”
Most of our RV parks and motels have people staying there for extended stays or as temporary housing, and they are still exempt. The percentage has changed, but not the exemption.
We have a few more generous organizations who deserve mention today.
Hanson Yates, President of Santo Petroleum has also contacted us and pledged to support the United Way with its special program. We appreciate this assistance, as it is greatly needed.
Lowe Home Improvement donated cleaning supplies and PPE to assist the Southeast New Mexico Community Action Corporation with feeding our seniors. Harbor Freight Tools has donated masks to the hospital. The hospital has also received hand sanitizer from Performance Chemical Company and Lucy’s provided lunch to the ER staff on Monday and Saturday. Nuclear Waste Partnership has also been providing hand sanitizer to several groups around town, including the City of Carlsbad. Thank you to so many generous organizations.
Another aspect of this which needs to be addressed in more detail is the issue of emotional and mental health. There are so many economic stresses and fears right now. We know that our mental health providers in the area are working just as hard as all of our health care professionals. Presbyterian Medical Services recently issued a list of common sense tips for dealing with the stresses of the situation:
- Eat healthy, exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep
- Find a way to keep in contact with family members and loved ones
- For essential workers- take breaks and make time to unwind
- Watch for news updates from reliable updates, but avoid excessive exposure to media and social media coverage
- Talk to a clergy member, counselor or doctor, or contact the SAMHSA helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUS to 66746
- When explaining the issue with children, reassure them, address rumors and answer their questions at an age-appropriate level.
It’s all common sense, but addressing the mental health side of this issue is extremely important.
On a different topic, we’ve had a few questions about the Census as well. April 1 was “Census Day,” meaning that is officially the day of the count. However, if you have still not turned in your Census count, you very much should still do so. It is extremely important to this community that we get an accurate Census count. While coronavirus is putting a halt to everything, the Census is still hiring people and will be conducting follow-ups to try to get an accurate count through August. We appreciate your assistance.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
More Information on Local Testing Options
Coronavirus Update 4-6-20
In a press conference Friday, the Governor revealed a new step to reduce the spread of COVID-19 called “metering,” which will limit how many customers an essential store can have at one time, based on the square feet of the store.
Many of our stores deemed essential have voluntarily moved into this model over the weekend. As it has been with other health orders over the past few weeks, it will likely take a few days to get everything ironed out. Please let us know if we can do anything to assist with this new transition.
We’ve been asked by many people about how many tests have been conducted in Eddy County. We do not have an exact total, but as of April 6, Carlsbad Medical Center reported conducting 75 tests, with some results pending. Artesia General Hospital has reported conducting 86 tests by April 6, with some results pending. Both hospitals are still conducting tests when their requirements are met.
The two New Mexico Department of Health clinics are now conducting tests Monday through Thursday, but we do not have the information about how many tests they have conducted up to this point. Tests at the Carlsbad Public Health Office (1306 W. Stevens St.) will be from 1-3 p.m. Please call (575) 885-4191 call for appointment and stay in the car when you get to the clinic while following posted instructions. A provider or someone from the COVID hotline may also inform the Health Department of individuals who require testing.
Testing at Artesia’s clinic (1001 Memorial Drive) is from 9-11 a.m. Monday through Thursday with the same rules as above. Please call (575) 746-9819 to make an appointment.
Residents who report symptoms of COVID-19 infection, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, should call their health care provider or the NMDOH COVID-19 hotline (1-855-600-3453).
Thanks to increased statewide testing capacity, the following people may now be considered for COVID-19 testing:
- Asymptomatic people who are close contacts or household members of New Mexico residents who have already tested positive for the coronavirus;
- Asymptomatic residents in nursing homes;
- Asymptomatic people in congregant settings such as homeless shelters, group homes, detention centers;
- Symptomatic people displaying the COVID-19 symptoms of cough, fever or shortness of breath.
The State of New Mexico issues an update each day on new positive cases by county. Sadly, there were 12 related deaths and 45 hospitalizations reported on Sunday.
There’s another important number listed in that report, however, and that’s the number of recoveries. Over the weekend, for example, New Mexico listed a total of 130 reported recoveries. That number is still included in the “Total Positive Cases” tally, but it is very important to note that many New Mexicans who had coronavirus are getting better. Additionally, the Albuquerque Journal reports 18,512 negative test results.
We still clearly need to be extremely careful and state home whenever possible, but it is a relief to also see that a large number of people have beaten this.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Coronavirus Update 4-4-20
There are still many questions about testing for COVID-19. Who is eligible to be tested? Where do they get tested? We’ve been in contact with the local experts to try to develop a better understanding of the situation.
During Tuesday night’s press conference, New Mexico announced that it has increased its testing capacity and changed its criteria of who may receive a COVID-19 test. All testing is free, according to the New Mexico Department of Health.
According to the NMDOH, in addition to people displaying COVID-19 symptoms, people not displaying symptoms but who have had close contact or live in the same household as a person who tested for COVID-19 may now be considered for COVID-19 testing. Residents of nursing homes and congregant settings may also be considered for a test, even if they aren’t displaying symptoms.
Here’s what we know so far:
- Our county’s two hospitals, Carlsbad Medical Center and Artesia General Hospital, will continue with the screening and testing processes they’ve been utilizing for several weeks. Tests are being administered by CMC if the patient meets all criteria, exhibits symptoms of COVID-19, and has a doctor’s order. If the NMDOH refers the patient to AGH for testing, a patient is asked to call 575-736-8324, or they can text 575-222-8967.
- The County’s two Public Health Offices, which are part of the NMDOH, are now conducting weekly testing sessions for COVID-19 every Wednesday in Eddy County. Throughout this situation, the DOH has also been conducting “contact tracing” to communicate with individuals who patients came in contact with and conducting further evaluations.
- The Carlsbad Public Health Office is located at 1306 W. Stevens St. Testing hours are listed as 1-3 p.m. Wednesday. People who meet the new guidelines should call in advance for an appointment to (575) 885-4191. Please stay in your vehicle and follow all posted signs. Artesia’s Public Health Office is located at 1001 Memorial Drive. Testing hours are 9-11 a.m. Wednesday. You are also asked to call for an appointment to (575) 746-9819 and stay in your vehicle.
Tests are still limited, so the best thing to do is almost always still to call your healthcare provider or NMDOH COVID-19 hotline (1-855-600-3453) if you feel symptoms of a COVID-19 infection, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath. It’s very important to remember that this is allergy season, and many of us are displaying allergy symptoms.
We will remain in contact with all of these organizations and continue to provide more information as it becomes available.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
XTO Energy Supports Schools, First Responders
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE- 4-3-20
We’ve just been informed of two extremely generous donations from XTO Energy to help our community get through the coronavirus crisis. First, XTO, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, has donated $100,000 to Carlsbad Municipal Schools to support online education. Funding will help provide technology and internet connectivity to low income students who have limited access to the internet.
XTO Energy has also supported the Carlsbad Fire Department and other first responders by handling the purchase of $6,100 in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This will allow our first responders to reduce the risk of exposure as they support our community.
We know these are very difficult times for our oil and gas companies as well, and we sincerely appreciate this important assistance. Thank you to Staale Gjervik, Wes McSpadden, Jerrod Jones, Daniel Trujillo and everyone with XTO who supported this effort.
Arts and Culture: Yesterday, we mentioned the Pearl of the Pecos and Creative Carlsbad Arts Council’s effort to introduce a variety of programs for people wanting a dose of arts and culture right now. At that time, just one class was offered. The program has really taken off in the past day, and Julie Chester already reports that 11 classes, including painted glass, Tai Chi, chalk art and hip hop classes are now being offered online.
You can visit the Creative Carlsbad Facebook page or contact Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Congratulations to everyone involved!
Small Business Development: We participated in a phone conference with Rep. Torres Small and several state officials Thursday which focused on options small businesses have for loans and grants right now. Resources have been made available to help businesses with some of the impact of COVID-19, and we’ve been assured that the organizations involved are working hard to simplify the process.
One resource that kept coming up was the New Mexico Small Business Development Center. We reached out to Nicholas Melbourne, the director of the Small Business Development Center here in Carlsbad, and he said the first step everyone should take is to sign up at www.nmsbdc.org. Once they are in the system, he can contact you and provide assistance with the various loan options available. Melbourne can also be contacted directly at (575)885-9531 or by emailing email@example.com. The Carlsbad Department of Development is also assisting businesses with information on programs available to assist our many businesses who are facing severe setbacks right now.
Other News: Our business office asked us to remind everyone again that we are not turning off anyone’s water due to unpaid bills or charging late fees. We remain committed to doing everything we can to serve the public during this time of crisis.
Both Eddy County and the City of Carlsbad have issued Declarations of Emergency, and there were some questions raised online about what that means. These declarations will allow us to make our existing emergency funds available and also demonstrate the need for reimbursement within the Federal Public Assistance Program and policy guide. These declarations do not change anything in terms of the Governor’s Stay at Home Instruction, nor do they add any curfews or new restrictions.
We don’t know exactly what’s in the future with combating coronavirus, but we do know that the impact is significant and that we will need to be prepared. I appreciate City Council’s support with getting this Declaration quickly passed.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
School District Moving Forward
Coronavirus Update: 4-2-20
Our Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Gerry Washburn, issued an update to the community on Thursday morning. Dr. Washburn talked about all of the hard work our educators and all members of the school district have continued to put forth throughout this school closure period.
“On the front lines from day one of the closure are our food service workers,” he noted. “Working in difficult and uncertain conditions, these workers, assisted by our principals and other staff, have distributed 20,536 meals as of March 31, 2020.”
The school district has begun distributing Chromebooks to students who will need them. High school students will resume class next week. All students will resume learning by April 14, using a combination of distance learning and paper packets.
“In just over a month, we will have gone from a standard educational model to something completely different,” Washburn said. “Things cannot and will not work as they have in the past. We will not be perfect. We will make mistakes.”
This challenge our school district has faced has been one of the most monumental tasks of this entire situation. Carlsbad is fortunate to have Dr. Washburn as its superintendent.
There’s been so much information released over the past few weeks, but we thought it would be helpful to briefly go back and explain the basics of what coronavirus is and how it spreads. We appreciate Carlsbad Medical Center’s assistance with this information.
What is coronavirus again?
Coronaviruses are a type of virus. The name comes from the crownlike spikes the virus has on its surface (“Corona” is Latin for “Crown.”) COVID-19 is a variety of coronavirus that first appeared in China in December 2019. While other strains of coronavirus often have mild symptoms, this particular virus can cause severe respiratory symptoms.
What are the symptoms?
The primary symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. About 80% of cases so far seem to be mild, according to the World Health Organization.
Symptoms occur two to 14 days after exposure. Mild cases tend to last for about a week, while more severe cases worsen after the first week and last for up to 14 days. In severe cases, patients have trouble with their lungs providing enough oxygen to their body.
How is it transmitted?
The virus is spreads mainly between people who are in close proximity to one another. It spreads primarily through respiratory droplets that are dispersed when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Those droplets can land in the mouth or nose of someone nearby and possibly infect that person.
According to the CDC, it may be possible for people to become infected by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly eyes. But experts believe the virus spreads mostly through contact.
How do I prevent the spread of coronavirus?
The information that all organizations have been putting out really is good advice. Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, avoid touching your face and avoid close contact with others. Use tissues and dispose immediately after use, cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing and wipe surfaces often. Stay home if at all possible.
What is Carlsbad Medical Center doing to isolate patients who might have coronavirus?
We have asked Carlsbad Medical Center to explain their PPE approach to protect employees, patients and other hospital visitors. All employees dealing with a suspected COVID-19 case are instructed to wear a gown, mask or respirator, goggles or face shield and gloves. They are also instructed to immediately mask patients displaying respiratory or flu symptoms. This is in accordance with all guidelines provided by the NM Department of Health and the CDC.
In other news: many of our local musicians have been putting together concerts and performances from their homes. Tomorrow, April 3, at 12:30 p.m., Curtis McKinney, who manages the Walter Gerrells Performing Arts Center, is broadcasting a virtual concert featuring “Majesty – A Tribute to Queen,” featuring actor and musician Seth Daniels.
“It will be a live watch party with the concert from their international tour,” McKinney said. ”Over the coming weeks, we will be streaming free events on the Walter Gerrells PAC website, CarlsbadLive.com. I understand that it is not ‘as exciting’ as actually being there, but for the true fans, it will get them by until we can get back in our facility and watch the shows in person.”
You can participate in this virtual concert at www.carlsbadlive.com. We will keep you posted on other “virtual” concerts and artistic events as they are set up.
The Pearl of the Pecos and Creative Carlsbad Arts Council has also developed a “Create Art, Cultivate Joy!” web page that features local arts and crafts instruction. For more information, email Julie Chester at firstname.lastname@example.org. The first class is Friday, April 3 at 2 p.m. and will focus on creating hydro-dip flower pots.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Coronavirus Update: April 1, 2020
Shining a light on some of our local outstanding citizens who are helping us all through this crisis has been very well received, so here are a few people who deserve special mention today:
- Anthony Foreman, for a very generous donation to the Boys and Girls Club, and for always coming forth to support this community.
- Lisa Rhodes and our excellent Carlsbad Municipal Schools staff cafeteria for feeding community children during these trying times. The school district is adding Sunset as a location beginning April 6. They will serve grab and go breakfast and lunch along with Carlsbad Intermediate School, Carlsbad, Desert Willow, and Hillcrest. Starting Monday, April 6thCarlsbad High School will no longer be a serving location.
- Belinda Lopez and the Southeast New Mexico Community Action Corporation, for doing such a good job feeding our seniors.
- Members of the National Guard, who have been delivering critical PPE supplies to our area first responders.
- Every single facility maintenance and cleaning person in Carlsbad. Your professionalism every day is saving lives.
Please thank and congratulate all of these individuals. Let’s keep those names coming.
On Wednesday morning, we participated in a call with the White House about the emergency coronavirus spending bill. One of the best sources of information is at www.fda.gov.
Carlsbad Municipal Schools will begin issuing laptops on Thursday afternoon, April 2nd, at CHS for high school students that need a chrome book to access instruction.
Seniors can pick up from noon to 2 p.m. and juniors from 2-4 p.m. On April 3, sophomores pick up from noon to 2 p.m. and freshmen pick up from 2-4 p.m.
The makeup pickup time will be on Monday, April 6. Other schools will have scheduled times next week. Students may want to access their google Classrooms and check for messages from teachers.
A national report rating each state in terms of social distancing gave New Mexico a “C”. This data is apparently based on comparing whether people used their cell phones in multiple locations now to similar habits before COVID-19 reached the area.
According to the same scoreboard, Eddy County received a “D Minus.”
This should be taken with a grain of salt – Eddy County is a very large county with a high percentage of workers deemed essential. On the other hand, it is a reminder that we all need to do much better. Staying at home and limiting contact as much as possible is absolutely good advice.
We appreciate the residents who have contacted us to express their personal concerns about some locations being more congested than they feel they should be. It is our understanding that some businesses have now made significant changes to keep people more spread out. However, it is ultimately largely our responsibility as individuals to do our absolute best to follow these stay-at-home instructions.
In other state news, the Governor has issued an executive order allowing the Department of Transportation to issue special permits to allow heavier-than-normal vehicles to move about when their loads consist primarily of relief supplies. The order increases the weight limits for trucks carrying critical supplies to 88,000 pounds. Per the order, relief supplies include food, beverages, medicine, medical supplies, clothing and building materials intended for temporary shelters.
Former Energy Secretary and Texas Governor Rick Perry is suggesting significant steps be taken to assist our energy industry.
In an interview this week, Perry recommended refining only U.S. Crude Oil for the next few months as a way to both buffer the market and protect our national security. Secretary Perry’s recommendations are certainly well worth consideration. Even though our focus right now still needs to be on this health crisis, we must also be prepared to take steps to protect our economy.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
United Way Adds Two New Programs
Coronavirus Update: 3-31-20
The community response yesterday was extremely uplifting. So many of our residents focused on praying for individuals across the nation battling coronavirus and urged their neighbors to stay safe. Thank you all for continuing to show compassion for your neighbors.
Here’s an update on some programs and services available:
Linda Dodd and her staff at the United Way of Eddy County have really stepped up during this difficult time. The United Way has launched two new COVID-19 Emergency Relief funds to assist those in need and those who are working so hard to help our citizens.
One program offers grants each week to local nonprofit organizations who are providing support to the community.
In addition to providing this support to local nonprofits, United Way of Eddy County will now be providing direct services to our families to assist individuals with basic needs such as housing, utilities and food essentials. Families can apply for assistance online at www.uweddyco.org/COVID19.
Funding for both of these programs is due in part to the awarded from Chevron for our community. On Tuesday, the United Way found out that Nuclear Waste Partnership has given a $15,000 grant to this program. Nonprofits and families with questions can call the United Way office by dialing 211 from any phone in Eddy County or by calling 575-887-3504.
Even though there have been many other concerns right now, we must not forget that Carlsbad Municipal Schools is continuing to feed hundreds of children each day and the Southeast New Mexico Community Action Center is continuing to feed hundreds of seniors each day. We encourage everyone to support these and other programs if they are able.
In terms of financial assistance, Carlsbad MainStreet, the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce and the Carlsbad Department of Development have all been working together to set up a series of webinars designed to help our local businesses get back on their feet when this is over by learning more about Google marketing. You can sign up for these webinars by contacting any of those three organizations.
The CDOD is also conducting an online survey to get a better understanding of how local businesses and employees are being impacted. You can take that survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7WJ6XHV
We have made it through the longest March in history, though there’s still a long road ahead. Here’s some non-coronavirus news for April – renovation projects to Upper Tansil Dam and the Lake Carlsbad area have concluded. We will be releasing water to Lake Carlsbad beginning April 6. While it will take some time for Lake Carlsbad to be restored to its original state, It will certainly be nice seeing the river back to normal.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Taking a Responsible Approach to Information
Coronavirus Update: March 30, 2020
As most of you heard, Carlsbad received its first positive test for coronavirus over the weekend. The good news is that we’ve been told this individual’s symptoms appear to be minor and that the patient was quickly placed on home-quarantine.
Many residents are understandably asking us for more information about the case. In all sincerity, we are providing you the information that we have from legitimate sources as soon as we are able to verify its accuracy. Information is originally released by the New Mexico Department of Health and individual hospitals or clinics, who may each have slightly different policies on how or what to share. All of these organizations are very limited in what information they can and will share through HIPPA. These groups are also doing a great job during this crisis.
What it boils down to is that we are sharing the information that we know and are able to share. We share in your frustration in wanting to know more to best protect our loved ones, but the information we have is very limited.
If you believe you may have symptoms of COVID-19 infection, call the NMDOH COVID-19 hotline immediately (1-855-600-3453). The hotline will screen you and tell you what to do next.
Here’s a breakdown of what we know so far about the four cases in Eddy County:
- On March 22, a man was admitted to Artesia General Hospital. Sadly, the man passed away the next day. AGH received a notice of a positive test on March 25.
- On March 27, Artesia General Hospital and the Department of Health announced a second positive test for Eddy County. This individual was sent home to self-quarantine.
- On March 28, the Department of Health announced a third positive test for Eddy County. We do not have additional information on whether this individual lives in Carlsbad, Artesia, or another part of Eddy County. We are seeking additional clarification.
- On March 29, the Department of Health announced a fourth positive test for Eddy County. Carlsbad Medical Center confirmed that positive test results were received for a female patient who had visited the ER earlier in the week. The woman’s symptoms were reportedly mild and she was sent home to self-quarantine.
The presence of coronavirus in our own community should certainly sound an alarm that we need to redouble all efforts to reduce the spread of this disease. That means staying at home when at all possible and reducing contact when we do go out. It should certainly not be taken as a cause for panic.
The Albuquerque Journal had some interesting statistics this weekend about the spread of coronavirus in New Mexico. According to the Journal, in addition to the 237 positive cases reported at that time, there have been 10,942 negative tests. Of the 237 positive cases, most have had relatively minor symptoms and there are 26 reported recoveries and two deaths. There are significant challenges ahead, but we will continue to face them as a community and triumph.
The Carlsbad Public Library is doing story time on Facebook several times a week. Our Library Director, Sarah Jones, said there are also tons of educational resources available on the library’s city web page. Please check out our library’s Facebook and web page for additional information. Thank you to our library staff for adapting during this difficult time!
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Positive COVID-19 Case Identified in Carlsbad (3-30-20)
PUBLIC NOTICE: March 30 – The City of Carlsbad has been informed that a positive COVID-19 test has been confirmed in Carlsbad. According to the State of New Mexico, there are now four confirmed COVID-19 cases in Eddy County.
According to Carlsbad Medical Center, a positive test was identified on Saturday morning for a female patient who had presented to the ER earlier in the week. The patient was tested and released home to self-quarantine, due to her symptoms being reportedly mild. Carlsbad Medical Center reported that all procedures were followed to ensure that no employees or other patients were potentially exposed.
“As we have been stating continually, our first priority is the well being of this individual and the entire community,” Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway said. “We are working closely with Carlsbad Medical Center and the State and will assist however we can.”
Mayor Janway noted that the City is sharing information with the public that it receives from the State and is striving to make sure that all information is accurate. The New Mexico Department of Health conducts its own “contact tracing” to communicate with those who the patient came in contact with to conduct further evaluations.
Mayor Janway stressed that first responders and members of the medical community have been preparing for such a situation for many months. Staying at home if possible and reducing contact is still the best way to reduce the spread of the virus. No changes to City Services, such as water or utilities, are being made. Critical services such as grocery stores and doctor’s offices will also remain open.
New Mexicans who report symptoms of COVID-19 infection, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, should call their health care provider or the NMDOH COVID-19 hotline immediately (1-855-600-3453).
Chevron Makes Generous Donation
We know there are a lot of people out there wanting to read some positive news right now. This being such a wonderful community, there’s no shortage of good stories to tell.
Last night we found out that Chevron has made a $65,000 donation to our local United Way in response to COVID-19. The focus of this donation will be on food and housing security. This donation is part of $230,000 that Chevron has given to the Permian Basin.
This generosity is especially kind considering the economic difficulties our oil and gas companies are going through right now, as we all are. Thank you to Chevron for always being such a great neighbor, especially during this time of need. Special thanks to Nathan Carroll, Beverly Allen and Cary Baird for building such a great partnership with this community.
Here’s what we’re going to do – Please keep track of all of the good deeds going on right now – the generous donations, the brave actions of first responders and health care workers, the determination of our truck drivers, small businesses and grocery store employees.
Once this has finally settled down, we’re going to have a special ceremony honoring Carlsbad’s heroes throughout this crisis. You can always email people you want do nominate to email@example.com. We’re going to rebuild from this stronger than ever.
Yesterday, we were informed of a second case in Eddy County. According to a press release from Artesia General Hospital, the patient, whose name they are not releasing, was tested there and is currently being quarantined. Hospital officials say they received notification of the results on Friday. We have contacted the State to make sure they know that we have high expectations in terms of communication.
Artesia’s doctors did deliver a very sobering message in a letter to the community on Saturday. In the letter, the doctors expressed their concern that coronavirus cases may continue to grow in New Mexico through April.
“We ask again that everyone PLEASE self-isolate when possible,” the doctors wrote. “Continue social distancing when absolutely necessary to be out of your home, and WASH YOUR HANDS PLEASE!”
On Tuesday, both the City of Carlsbad Council and the Eddy County Commission will consider issuing what’s called an Emergency Declaration. This is an important step to take to free up access to federal assistance in the future.
The newest information from the State of New Mexico is an executive order from the Governor’s office requiring air travelers to New Mexico to self-isolate for at least 14 days. The majority of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Mexico have resulted from air travel into the state. This order doesn’t apply to airline employees and those performing public safety or health functions, such as military personnel, federal employees, employees on national defense contractors, emergency first responders, health care workers or employees of shipping and freight companies.
We have also received an update from the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, noting that WIPP is continuing its safe and orderly ramp down of operations to a level where it will continue with mission critical operations. This transition began Friday and will be done next week. As it is with many places, WIPP will be performing all activities that can be performed remotely through telework.
Thank you all again for finding so many positive stories.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
A Promise to Support our School District
Coronavirus Update: March 27, 2020
As we head into the weekend of what would have normally been the end of spring break, our thoughts are on the State’s instruction that our schools will remain closed for the remainder of the semester as a way of further attempting to curtail the spread of COVID-19. Detailed information is available here: https://www.governor.state.nm.us/
According to the Public Education Secretary, schools will not be required to make up the missed instructional days between March 16 and April 3, but for the rest of the year districts must develop technology-based and non-technology based continuous learning plans.
While we understand the need to make these difficult decisions, it is certainly sad news, especially for kids in grades where they would normally be transitioning from one school to the next and will miss many of the related milestones. This is also an extremely difficult task for our school district, and we hope the state understands some of the challenges unique to our part of the state.
According to Dr. Washburn, the school district is working very hard to develop a plan for both graduation and Prom, as well as Class Act. The district has also been instructed to make a plan for an online program for the rest of the semester. They are reaching out to internet providers to determine what is available for families unable to access the internet.
“What will be required of us now is flexibility and adaptability at levels far beyond what is normal,” Dr. Washburn said in his letter to the community. “I have no doubt that collectively we will rise to this challenge and meet it with courage, empathy, persistence and a sense of humor.”
We know Dr. Washburn and his staff with Carlsbad Municipal Schools have been doing a remarkable job assisting our students through these trying times. So many other wonderful groups – the Boys and Girls Club, Packs for Hunger and the United Way – have also stepped up to make a difference. These organizations can also really use extra assistance right now, for everyone out there looking to help.
According to a March 27 press release by New Mexico state health officials, there are now 191 COVID-19 positive tests in New Mexico, including one new case in Eddy County and one new case in Lea County. These positive tests have been in Bernalillo County (82), Cibola County (2), Chaves County (4), Curry County (1), Dona Ana County (16), Eddy County (2), Lea County (2), McKinley County (5), Rio Arriba County (3), Roosevelt County (1), Sandoval County (15), San Juan County (17), San Miguel County (1), Santa Fe County (29), Socorro County (2), Taos County (8), Valencia County (1). We are in contact with Emergency Management and the State about the new Eddy County case and will post more information as it becomes available.
There’s been a lot of positive news out lately about people who tested positive for coronavirus who have now fully recovered. Yesterday, for example, a husband and wife from Taos who both tested positive said they are now feeling fine. They are still going to stay in quarantine for several more weeks to be careful, however. As of March 25, more than 113,000 people have recovered from the coronavirus. Our doctors and first responders are making progress every single day, and the best thing we can do to help them is to follow the Governor’s Stay at Home Instruction to the best of our ability.
There’s some positive on the economic side as well. A negotiated relief package has now been signed. This will hopefully help millions of Americans move forward past this crisis. At the State level, the Department of Workforce Solutions has been continuing to implement policies designed to accommodate residents who have lost their jobs during this crisis. Please visit https://www.dws.state.nm.us/COVID-19-Info for detailed information.
A few days ago, we mentioned the “Bear Hunts,” going on in Carlsbad. Residents are putting up teddy bears in their windows so that families have something to look for when they are taking their walks. Since then, we spoke to Melissa Taylor, who helped the Bear Hunts take off in Carlsbad. While Melissa said she first heard about the idea from New Zealand, it seems that the whole idea really took off globally after it was organized and broadcast in Carlsbad. There are now 2,700 members of the Bear Hunt Facebook page, and hundreds of bears up. Thank you to Melissa and everyone involved for bringing some positive to the world.
We appreciate all of the feedback we have been receiving and will continue to keep you informed through the weekend.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Coronavirus Report 3-26-20
Yesterday’s news that the first coronavirus-related case in Eddy County was a fatality shocked all of us, and we are still grieving over the loss of a friend and neighbor. Artesia General Hospital did an excellent job of explaining the situation to members of the public and maintaining protocols to keep their patients and employees safe.
As expected, there were a lot of rumors circulating after yesterday’s tragic news. We want to set the record straight on a few issues.
First, because information about the positive test and the death came out at the same day, many people expressed concern that we were withholding information. That was not at all the case – it was a very unfortunate set of circumstances where the fatality was reported on the same day as the positive test. Due to HIPAA regulations, the deceased’s name has not been released.
The City and County are sharing information with you as soon as it becomes available through the Department of Health and the Governor’s Office. We issued a statement as soon as we became aware of what was going on. We are doing our very best to make certain everything we provide is accurate, as timely as possible and in compliance with federal HIPAA laws.
According to a March 26 press release by New Mexico state health officials, there are now 136 COVID-19 positive tests in New Mexico. These positive tests have been in Bernalillo County (55), Sandoval County (10), Dona Ana County (16), McKinley County (3), San Miguel County (1), Santa Fe County (22), San Juan County (14) Socorro County (2), Chaves County (4), Eddy County (1), Lea County (1), Cibola County (1), Curry County (1), Rio Arriba County (2) and Taos County (3).
We have spoken with Police Chief Shane Skinner, and our officers have not been instructed to pull people over and demand proof that someone driving is an essential employee. We called the State of New Mexico and they told us that there have been no instructions on their end either requiring people to carry proof of being an essential employee. We also want to make sure everyone knows that there is not a curfew in place in Carlsbad.
On March 26, the Sheriff’s Department also reported a possible concern over a collision that took place at the intersection of US 285 and Highway 31. An individual involved in the accident complained about flu-like symptoms and said he was on his way to the hospital. He was tested for the flu and the doctor determined that no further testing was necessary. Deputies and EMTs on the scene followed all COVID-19 precautionary measures. As an additional precautionary measure, equipment and vehicles involved were sealed and disinfected.
There have also been many questions about travel restrictions. We live in the corner of the state and some essential employees, during the course of their day to day operations, do cross state lines on a regular basis. According to the state, these individuals do not have to quarantine each time they cross state lines, but are asked to maintain a high level of social distancing.
The state’s web page has some good information about what jobs are categorized as essential here https://cv.nmhealth.org/stay-at-home-faqs/
Our grocery stores and takeout restaurants are continuing to do a remarkable job protecting their customers and their employees throughout this ordeal. We also understand that Governor Lujan Grisham will be announcing an extension of the school closure during a press conference Friday morning.
On a different issue, most of you felt a shake this morning. A series of earthquakes near Mentone were felt in Carlsbad as well as in El Paso last night and today. We have spoken with the state and there was no impact on the brine well and the effort to remediate the brine well. No damage was reported to personal property in Carlsbad.
Here’s some more good news: The State of New Mexico has made a slight clarification to its “Stay at Home” policy. Individuals may now walk in our municipal parks, but groups of five or more people are prohibited. Playgrounds, the shooting range, the golf course and the tennis courts are still all closed at this time, however.
According to the State’s web page: “You may leave your house to take a walk, or jog, or to walk the dog. But you may not do these things in groups. And you should limit your time outside to only what is essential.”
So, you can take a walk in the park but must maintain a distance of at least six feet from those outside of your family.
Thank you all again, and we will continue to provide updates.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Coronavirus Case in Eddy County Identified, Individual Pronounced Deceased
On Wednesday, March 25, 2020, Eddy County, City of Carlsbad and City of Artesia officials were notified of a positive coronavirus test within Eddy County. Officials were also informed that the individual who tested positive for coronavirus is now deceased.
According to the Department of Health, a male in his late 70’s with underlying health issues went to Artesia General Hospital on March 22. His condition deteriorated rapidly and he died the same day. (Note: The City of Carlsbad was later informed that the patient died on March 23). We were informed that the patient was kept in isolation the entire time. A COVID-19 test was performed locally and sent to the state laboratory, which received the test Tuesday, March 24. The lab confirmed the positive test late the same day.
Eddy County officials stressed that the circumstances surrounding the case are still coming to light. They have been in contact with the Governor’s office and with the Department of Health. The instance was the first positive identification of coronavirus in Eddy County.
Community officials offered statements of condolence while also stressing that the community must double down on all efforts to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
“First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with the deceased and family members,” said Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway. “While we are all concerned for our safety right now, we must never lose our humanity or forget that we are mourning the loss of a friend and neighbor.”
Artesia Mayor Raye Miller agreed.
“This is a very close-knit community, across the entire county,” he said. “As we continue to take the necessary steps to stop the spread of this virus, the individuals who are grieving and who are ill must always remain our top priority.”
“All of Eddy County grieves today, and we offer our most heartfelt condolences,” said Eddy County Manager Al Davis. “As we await additional information, the focus of our agencies will remain on making absolutely certain that all procedures are in place to serve and protect members of the public.”
“Staying at home if at all possible and reducing all contact is still the best way for all of us to be protected,” Mayor Miller stated.
“We are asking the public to please rigorously continue to follow all guidelines and recommendations,” Mayor Janway said. “It is critical that we all remain calm and continue to support each other.”
County and City officials stressed that essential government services will continue to be offered to all residents. Critical services such as grocery stores and doctor’s offices will remain open as well.
Residents who report symptoms of COVID-19 infection, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, should call their health care provider or the NMDOH COVID-19 hotline immediately (1-855-600-3453). People without those symptoms do not need to be tested for COVID-19.
Our Emergency Responders Are Well Prepared
City of Carlsbad Coronavirus Update: 3-24-20
Thank you all again for your continued assistance with promoting accurate information about what is being done throughout this difficult time. As of the writing of this article, there have still been no positive cases of coronavirus confirmed in Carlsbad or Eddy County.
However, should we find out that there is a case here, it’s very important for everyone to understand that would not result in a change in city services, in grocery stores and essential locations being open, or in the availability of health care or other services.
What a case here would mean is that the health orders and recommended safety procedures in place are even more critical than ever. Staying at home if possible and reducing contact would still be the best way to reduce the spread of the virus at a personal and community level. It would also not change what is great about Carlsbad.
Our first responders have been preparing for this situation for many months. We have rigorous policies in place to protect anyone who should test positive for this virus and for all members of the public. Our hospital has an excellent process in place. It is extremely important to note that the vast majority of positive cases around the world have had relatively minor symptoms.
According to a March 24 press release by New Mexico state health officials, there are now 100 COVID-19 positive tests in New Mexico. These positive tests have been in Bernalillo County (43), Sandoval County (7), Dona Ana County (13), McKinley County (3), San Miguel County (1), Santa Fe County (14), San Juan County (7) Socorro County (2), Chaves County (4), Lea County (1), Cibola County (1), Curry County (1), and Taos County (3).
Once again, while recreational facilities are currently closed, the City of Carlsbad remains open for business. Transit, water services and other utilities will not be interrupted. In response to the March 23 health order, access to many City of Carlsbad buildings is now limited. If at all possible, please contact these facilities by phone to make arrangements. Call us at (575) 887-1191 and we will help direct you to the right person. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll help you resolve your issue. We are deeply committed to serving our residents during this difficult time.
We have a great workforce with the City of Carlsbad and they are all working very hard throughout this crisis. We are, of course, working closely with Eddy County, our neighboring communities and the school district. Eddy County is taking many similar measures as the City.
Eddy County Manager Al Davis noted that county services are still considered essential. “Several of those services were noted specifically, and others are inferred in the Order. As such, I’ve asked County employees to continue to do their assigned job in a manner that will minimize contact and interaction with the public as directed by the state order,” he said.
Davis said the County has begun to put measures in place that will control public access to work places and limit the number of people in those work places. Those Departments have posted notices on their County webpages detailing those measures.
“We’ll also post that information on the doors of buildings to try and communicate that information to the public,” he said. “I will continue to work with the Elected Officials and Eddy County Department Heads to define specific measures and get them put in place that would allow County services to be provided in a safe and controlled manner. Working together, and watching out for one another we can and will work through this tough situation.”
Carlsbad Medical Center has asked us to help inform you about their temporary visitor policy. To help minimize exposure to infectious or communicable diseases, visitors have been restricted until further notice. One support person per patient is still allowed in instances of labor and delivery, pediatrics, surgery, the emergency department. Exemptions also exist for end-of-life situations and visitors essential to the patient’s care.
Visitors will not be allowed to visit patients if they are exhibiting flu like symptoms, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath.
Thank you all again for your understanding and support during this difficult time.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
City of Carlsbad Coronavirus Update: 3-23-20
On Monday, New Mexico Department of Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel announced a new public health emergency “stay-at-home” public health order, which goes into effect at 8 a.m. Tuesday.
The order closes all non-essential businesses, requiring 100 percent of the state’s non-essential workforce to work from home. All New Mexicans are directed to stay home except as needed to maintain continuity of functions critical to public health and safety. The City will have to close our golf course, parks, playgrounds and shooting range to remain in compliance with this new order.
We are doing our very best to clarify all aspects of this with the Governor’s office as quickly as possible. For more information on who qualifies as essential and nonessential, please visit https://cv.nmhealth.org/travel-recommendations/.
We will continue posting more information to our web page and Facebook as soon as it becomes available.
It’s vitally important to stress that even in a “stay-at-home” order, essential utilities and services will still be provided and people will still be allowed to go out for groceries and other supplies. Residents are still allowed to go outdoors. Restaurants may remain open for delivery and carry-out, according to the state. The order also further restricts “mass gatherings” of five or more individuals in outdoor spaces.
According to a March 23 press release by New Mexico state health officials, there are now 83 COVID-19 positive tests in New Mexico, including four new cases in Chaves County. We have received no positive tests for Eddy County.
Lea County and Lovington officials did a great job handling the situation when a positive case of coronavirus was identified this weekend in Lea County. Proper procedures were followed both before and after the identification, which meant the individual and his family members were quickly isolated to protect further spread and protect the public.
Additionally, blogger Joe Monahan reports that the two cases in Socorro County, among the first to be reported in New Mexico, are feeling fine and that their symptoms were very mild. By this weekend, 5,386 tests have been conducted statewide. 5,321 were negative. 65 were positive.
Residents who report symptoms of COVID-19 infection, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, should call their health care provider or the NMDOH COVID-19 hotline immediately (1-855-600-3453). People without those symptoms do not need to be tested for COVID-19. There’s a long road ahead, but the procedures in place are making a huge difference in slowing the spread across New Mexico. Our essential city services, such as water, utilities and transit, are not being interrupted. Please let us know how we can be of additional assistance.
Carlsbad Municipal Schools has asked us to let everyone know that the school lunch program is continuing through Spring Break and for as long as this closure is place. The program did NOT stop because Spring Break is going on. Thank you!
More positive news comes from members of our church community, who are working together to help all of Carlsbad’s churches broadcast to their members at home. Thousands of Carlsbad residents tuned in throughout the weekend to celebrate their faith in God. Some local residents are also putting teddy bears in their windows, so that people going out for walks each day can “go on a bear hunt.”
Seeing our residents come together to support our small businesses has also been inspiring. Many businesses are still offering takeout orders. As we’ve mentioned before, if you have a positive story to report about people helping each other, please report it to us to share here.
Thank you again and we will continue updates throughout the week.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Updated New Mexico COVID-19 cases: Now at 65
SANTA FE – New Mexico state health officials on Sunday announced eight additional positive tests for COVID-19.
Per the state Department of Health, the most recent cases are:
Two new cases in Bernalillo County:
- A female in her 60s.
- A male in his 30s.
Two new cases in Doña Ana County:
- A female in her 50s.
- A female in her 20s.
One new case in McKinley County:
- A male 9 years old.
One new case in San Juan County:
- A male in his 50s.
Two new cases in Santa Fe County:
- A male in his 30s.
- A male in his 40s.
Including the above newly reported cases, New Mexico has now had a total of 65 positive tests for COVID-19:
- Bernalillo County: 34
- Doña Ana County: 4
- Lea County: 1
- McKinley County: 2
- Sandoval County: 7
- San Juan County: 1
- San Miguel County: 1
- Santa Fe County: 10
- Socorro County: 2
- Taos County: 3
The Department of Health has detected community spread. The agency reports that given the infectious nature of the virus it is likely other residents are infected but yet to be tested or confirmed positive. To that end, additional restrictions enacted by order of the secretary of health Thursday are intended to aggressively minimize person-to-person contact and ensure spread is mitigated by social distancing and isolation. Certain businesses are mandated closed; others have been instructed to limit operations. New Mexicans are strongly urged to limit travel to only what is necessary for health, safety and welfare.
The New Mexico Department of Health has active investigations into the positive patients, which includes contact-tracing and swabs of symptomatic individuals who have had contact with the positive cases.
State officials have vigorously encouraged all New Mexicans to practice social distancing procedures: stay home, particularly if you are sick.
Every New Mexican must work together to stem the spread of COVID-19.
New Mexicans who report symptoms of COVID-19 infection, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, should call their health care provider or the NMDOH COVID-19 hotline immediately (1-855-600-3453).
People without those symptoms do not need to be tested for COVID-19. This is allergy season, and allergy symptoms such as sneezing or itchy eyes, nose or throat do not indicate a need for testing. While the state is gratified that COVID-19 testing is increasingly available, we need to prioritize testing for persons with symptoms of COVID-19 infection – fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
New Mexicans who have non-health-related questions or concerns can also call 833-551-0518 or visit newmexico.gov, which is being updated and finalized as a one-stop source for information.
The state Department of Health will update its dedicated COVID-19 webpage with additional tests as the state lab provides results.
City of Carlsbad Coronavirus update: March 21
On Saturday, Lea County officials were informed by the Department of Health that Lea County recorded its first positive case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The confirmed case (a male in his 70s) and family members are in quarantine, with additional information pending. Our prayers are with this individual and his loved ones.
While the arrival of a positive test of coronavirus to Southeast New Mexico is certainly concerning, what it really means is that the health measures being enforced and recommended practices are even more critical than ever. Staying at home if possible and reducing contact is still best way to reduce the spread of the virus at a personal and community level. It is also extremely important to note that the vast majority of positive cases have relatively minor symptoms.
According to a March 21 press release by New Mexico state health officials, there are now 57 COVID-19 positive tests in New Mexico. These positive tests have been in Bernalillo County (32), Sandoval County (7), Lea County (1), Dona Ana County (2), McKinley County (1), San Miguel County (1), Santa Fe County (8), Socorro County (2) and Taos County (3).
Residents who report symptoms of COVID-19 infection, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, should call their health care provider or the NMDOH COVID-19 hotline immediately (1-855-600-3453). People without those symptoms do not need to be tested for COVID-19.
In his remarks Saturday morning, President Trump talked about the importance of unity and of putting aside political or regional differences and working together for the welfare of our citizens. These were excellent remarks and highly appropriate for the situation. We have outstanding cooperation from all agencies and everyone is working together here in Eddy County.
Many of you have probably continued to see rumors continuing to circulate through social media. Here are a couple items to clarify:
- The National Guard has NOT been given orders to put Eddy County or anywhere else on lockdown. Some National Guard members have been activated to assist with several COVID-19 tasks, according to the Eddy County Office of Emergency Management. The President also addressed this issue in his remarks Saturday.
- There have also been rumors that Eddy County had a test come back positive and we are not allowing the public to know about it. That is also not true. We are continually helping to inform our residents as soon as information becomes available through the Department of Health.
On Friday, several other states increased their health level to a “stay at home” order, which is another step up from where we are currently are in New Mexico. Many residents have asked us if that is what is in store next, and we have asked the state if this is on the horizon. As of our phone conference Friday, they said they are considering all possibilities but are currently evaluating the outcome of their most recent public health order. It’s important to note that even in a “stay at home” order, essential services will still be provided and people will still be allowed to go out for groceries and other supplies.
On a different note, please help us with not making this bad situation even worse. According to the New Mexico Environment Department, flushing wipes, paper towels and other products down the toilet can clog your sewer line. These products don’t break down the same way toilet paper does.
Please dispose of these items in the trash, which we will continue to pick up with our excellent solid waste service.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
City of Carlsbad Coronavirus Update – 3-20-20
Good afternoon Carlsbad residents, and thank you again for your patience and understanding during this very difficult time.
According to a March 20 press release by New Mexico state health officials, there are now 43 COVID-19 positive tests in New Mexico. These positive tests have been in Bernalillo County (23), Sandoval County (6), Dona Ana County (1), McKinley County (1), San Miguel County (1), Santa Fe County (7), Socorro County (2) and Taos County (2).
No changes to City services have been made since our last update. The City of Carlsbad will not be cutting off anyone’s water during this period. Our transit and utilities services are also not being interrupted.
We had a good conversation with Jody Knox with Lakeview Christian Home Friday and let her know that we are happy to assist however we can with protecting Lakeview’s residents. Jodi assured us that they have an excellent system in place to protect their vulnerable citizens and have taken numerous actions to reduce contact.
We also spoke with Cathy Hibbs and Carlsbad Medical Center on Thursday to get a better understanding of Carlsbad Medical Center’s plans and procedures. No positive results have been reported through CMC at this time.
According to the hospital, should there be any positive results, most patients will have mild symptoms without a need of hospital care and can remain at home in quarantine. Carlsbad Medical Center also assured us that they have the capacity and are well prepared to care for more critical patients should the need arise.
They are also working to ensure preparedness for all types of infectious diseases and are providing daily updates and education to their staff and following the infection control protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
People are asking about test kits in Carlsbad. CMC has a limited number of test kits available, and at this time tests will only be administered if the patient meets all criteria, exhibits symptoms of COVID-19, and has a doctor’s order. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, or trouble breathing. If you have these symptoms, or are concerned, contact the Department of Health at 1-855-600-3453.
We participated in a call with the state that included important information from the Department of Workforce Solutions. As you can no doubt imagine, they are receiving an extremely high number of calls right now for unemployment information. The Department suggested completing forms online at www.jobs.state.nm.us to expedite the process.
Several of our local grocery stores have published dedicated hours right now for seniors and others who may have immunity system concerns. This is a system based on voluntary compliance, and we certainly encourage everyone to be supportive of an option that assists our most at-risk residents. The hours are usually in the morning, because that’s when the store has just been extensively cleaned.
While very well intentioned, there have been some misunderstandings related to these hours.
First- the stores have asked us to reassure the public that they stock throughout the day – in other words, please don’t go to these stores during these hours if you don’t meet the classification just because you think that’s your best shot at scarce items. Second, some of the younger people at the stores during these hours may be there for the perfectly legitimate reason that they also have issues with their immunity system.
It would be difficult for our stores to forcefully enforce these hours, so the best way by far is to continue to advocate for voluntary compliance. I know they are all working hard to tweak their policies to improve. The employees of our grocery stores are doing an outstanding job considering the circumstances right now and doing the very best they can in an unbelievably difficult situation.
Please consider supporting Packs for Hunger or one of our other local charities during this time of need. Many of our charitable organizations have had to cancel fundraisers and could use additional assistance. You can support the organization directly here: https://www.uweddyco.org/packs-hunger-donation
Thank you again, and we will continue to provide updates throughout the weekend.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
City of Carlsbad Coronavirus Update – 3-19-20
Once again, we appreciate the opportunity to provide you with an update on issues related to the coronavirus.
According to a March 18 press release by New Mexico state health officials, there are now 35 COVID-19 positive tests in New Mexico. These positive tests have been in Bernalillo County (20), Sandoval County (4), San Miguel County (1), Santa Fe County (7), Socorro County (2) and Taos County (1). Information is continually being updated, and we will inform you as soon as it becomes available. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, or trouble breathing. If you have these symptoms, or are concerned, contact the Department of Health at 1-855-600-3453.
We have received many questions from the public about the state’s most recent amended public health order.
On Thursday, we spoke with the State of New Mexico and asked to clarify several issues. After receiving clarification from them, we have re-opened the following City facilities:
- The Lake Carlsbad Golf Course
- The Rio Pecos Tennis Courts
- The Shooting Range
These locations may have to make some adjustments to encourage social distancing, but they will be back open by Friday, March 20. Other facilities outlined in yesterday’s report, such as the Riverwalk Recreation Center, remained closed at this time.
We also asked the State for clarification about food trucks. Food trucks can remain open, but all outdoor patio seating areas must be closed at this time.
One of the other issues that is coming up a great deal is related to the requirement for 50 percent hotel occupancy. According to the state’s order, this restriction does not apply to businesses providing temporary housing to individuals employed and working in New Mexico.
We are doing everything we can to continue to interpret the order and assist the public with clarifications. A FAQ about the amended order is located https://cv.nmhealth.org/travel-recommendations.
We’re still receiving so much positive feedback about members of the community who are helping or who want to help. Today we heard that local philanthropist Anthony Foreman has made a generous donation to the Boys and Girls Club of Carlsbad. Although the Boys and Girls Club will remain closed, the Club will be providing “living and learning” supplies to children across Carlsbad. If you know of any local youth in need, please call 575-885-8449 or email email@example.com.
For information about food resources in the area, please visit the United Way’s page at https://www.uweddyco.org and click on the “Resources” tab. Also, for businesses wanting assistance with available options should call the Carlsbad Department of Development at (575) 887-6562.
We’ve naturally received many questions about water right now. To make this clear: The City of Carlsbad will not be cutting off anyone’s water during this period. Our transit and utilities services are also not being interrupted. We are deeply committed to aiding our citizens throughout this crisis. We have closed our cashier’s office, but payments can be made by mail, drop box, drive-thru or by calling 1-877-562-1649.
Additionally, we have been informed that all of our drinking water supplies remain a safe way to access the water needed for drinking, cooking and maintaining personal hygiene during the COVID-19 outbreak. According to the American Water Works Association “Americans and Canadians can and should continue to use and drink water from their tap as usual as COVID-19 is not present in drinking water supplies. Disinfection processes like those practiced by water systems across the North America provide protection that includes filtration and disinfection of our surface water supplies and disinfection of our ground water sources.”
Our City’s board and committee meetings have been cancelled until further notice. The one exception is our City Council meeting. We will be holding our City Council meeting on March 24 and are taking precautions to maintain all social distancing guidelines.
We will continue with updates throughout the weekend. Thank you all again.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
PUBLIC NOTICE (3-19-20): The Office of the Attorney General’s Open Government Division (OGD) advises all public entities subject to the Open Meetings Act (OMA) to ensure the health and safety of both members of the entity and the public. Accordingly, the most prudent thing to do to ensure compliance with OMA would be to postpone/cancel public meetings. Therefore, all committee, board, and commission meetings will be cancelled until further notice.
City of Carlsbad Coronavirus Update: 3-18-20
Thank you all for your continued support during this unprecedented challenge in American history.
According to a March 18 press release by New Mexico state health officials, there are now 28 COVID-19 positive tests in New Mexico. These positive tests have been in Bernalillo County (16), Sandoval County (4), Santa Fe County (5), Socorro County (2) and Taos County (1). Information is continually being updated, and we will inform you as soon as it becomes available. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, or trouble breathing. If you have these symptoms, or are concerned, contact the Department of Health at 1-855-600-3453.
The Governor of New Mexico also held a press conference yesterday introducing several new emergency health orders in place. The newest health order ruled that all bars, restaurants, recreation centers and gyms now need to be closed by March 19, with restaurants still allowed to do pickup or delivery. Shopping malls, movie theaters, health clubs and spas are also directed to close. Hotels and motels are to operate at no more than 50% capacity and typical office environments have been told to limit operations. These orders go into effect Thursday and will last until they are rescinded.
From the City’s end, this means that the Riverwalk Recreational Complex, the North Mesa Senior Center, the San Jose Senior Center, the Carlsbad Municipal Library, the Carlsbad Museum & Art Center, the Lake Carlsbad Golf Course, the Bob Forrest Youth Sports Complex, the Will Merchant Complex, the Shooting Range, the Walter Gerrells Performing Arts and Exhibition Center, the Pecos River Village Conference Center, the Rio Pecos Tennis Complex and the Carlsbad Water Park will all have to be closed at this time in order to remain in compliance with this order.
We will still be serving seniors meals at the San Jose Center through drive thru or pickup. Water service and other utilities will not be interrupted. Transit services remain operational.
We are evaluating all policies in terms of our city offices, such as city hall and our planning department. We are closing our cashier’s office, but payments can be made by mail, drop box, drive-thru or by calling 1-877-562-1649. Please visit our Facebook page and COVID-19 web page for regular updates. We are doing everything we can to keep you informed as things are rapidly developing.
Carlsbad Municipal Schools will continue to provide free meals to children at its distribution points. However, the schools have had to put some limitations in place due to the high demand and a desire to not have to turn people away. If children are not present, no more than four meals will be provided to a car.
The State of New Mexico also reminded everyone that it is essential that New Mexico maintains sufficient amounts of medical supplies, including personal protective equipment for health care staff and COVID-19 test kit materials. Residents without symptoms do not need testing for COVID-19.
Our medical professionals are working so hard to protect and treat our public. According to the state, workplaces should not mandate that employees get tested for COVID-19 unless employees are displaying symptoms: fever, cough or shortness of breath.
We have been in continual contact with all local governmental organizations to make sure that issues are being addressed promptly and correctly. Yesterday, the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce released an updated list of local restaurants who are remaining open for carry out. This list is being posted on the Chamber’s web page and will be updated regularly. Please continue to support these establishments.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
City of Carlsbad Coronavirus Update: 3-17-20
We realize that rumors are running rampant right now. According to a March 17 press release by New Mexico state health officials, there are now 23 COVID-19 positive tests in New Mexico. These positive tests have been in Bernalillo County (14), Sandoval County (2), Santa Fe County (4), Socorro County (2) and Taos County (1). Information is continually being updated, and we will inform you as soon as it becomes available. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, or trouble breathing. If you have these symptoms, or are concerned, contact the Department of Health at 1-855-600-3453.
We have also heard rumors of gas restrictions. We spoke with the State on Tuesday and were told that they do not have any knowledge of a plan for gas restrictions.
There have been no changes to City services. City services such as utilities and public works continue to operate as normal. Water service and other utilities will not be interrupted. All City departments, facilities and services continue to operate normally at this time, but are continuing with adjusted policies limiting attendance.
While health and safety are our primary concern, we realize that many individuals also have very understandable concerns about their economic well-being. We have received many calls from local business owners also concerned about financial issues related to this situation. We have also received questions about how to respond to Sunday’s emergency health order directing restaurants, breweries, eateries and other food establishments to operate at no greater than 50 percent of maximum occupancy and no greater than 50 percent of seating capacity.
Here are a few resources that may be helpful to individuals and businesses with questions about resources potentially available to offset the economic impact of this situation.
New Mexico’s Economic Development Department: https://gonm.biz/about-us/covid-19-response includes a webinar and portal page with information on how small businesses can respond.
The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions: https://www.dws.state.nm.us/COVID-19-Info includes a page for workers impacted by COVID-19.
The Small Business Administration has a COVID-19 part of its web page with information that may be helpful. It can be viewed at https://www.sba.gov/
We were also informed today that the State of New Mexico has extended its eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits to workers affected by COVID-19 through reduced hours or temporary layoffs. Claims can be filed at www.jobs.state.nm.us.
There are several other federal bipartisan efforts in development to provide relief for businesses and individuals financially impacted by this issue. All of our community organizations are continuing to work closely together to ensure that services are being provided to the public. Finally, we have loved hearing stories about residents helping senior citizens out at the grocery store with supplies and being especially kind to weary store employees. It is an honor to serve such caring citizens.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
We appreciate the opportunity to provide the public with updates on issues related to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Many of these issues have been developing rapidly over the past week, and we are continuing to work closely with all government and nonprofit entities to ensure the public’s safety.
While there have been no cases of COVID-19 detected near Carlsbad yet, we have all already been impacted by this pandemic, both due to restrictions put in place to try to reduce the spread of the disease, and due to the high levels of anxiety caused by this issue. The City of Carlsbad will continue to assist with dispelling rumors and making sure that members of the public are informed.
Here’s a current status update as of March 16:
- City services such as utilities and public works continue to operate as normal. Water service and other utilities will not be interrupted. We will continue to provide services to the community while ensuring we all take precautions as prescribed by the CDC and government agencies. Our first responders are training, preparing and participating in a working group with the county, medical professionals and others.
- All City departments, facilities and services continue to operate normally at this time. However, due to the prohibition on mass gatherings, our facilities have adopted policies limiting attendance. Larger events, such as the March 19 lunch with Alex Epstein and the March 20 Mayor’s Shindig in support of Packs for Hunger, have been postponed.
- The San Jose Senior Center, which serves as a meal site for a Southeast New Mexico Community Action Corporation program to feed seniors registered through the program, will continue to provide these meals, but for pickup only. Thanks to the United Way of Eddy County for helping make this possible.
- Carlsbad Municipal Schools is continuing its lunch program (also for pickup only) throughout the period of school closure. The school district has posted the time and location for these meal deliveries and we are thankful for their hard work.
- We have spoken with all of our local grocery stores and they have no plans to close and are working hard to restock. Some grocery stores have changed their schedules throughout this period of time. We encourage everyone to be respectful to their friends and neighbors at the stores, and, of course, to the store employees themselves.
- There does not appear to be any truth to the rumors gas stations plan to close their stores or pumps as a result of the coronavirus. Some gas stations in south Carlsbad closed this past Saturday due to a power outage, but these stations are back open.
- As announced this past weekend, New Mexico Department of Health Secretary Kunkel has strengthened the public health emergency order she issued. The amended order now directs all restaurants, breweries, eateries and other food establishments to operate at no greater than 50 percent of maximum occupancy and no greater than 50 percent of seating capacity. Also this weekend, Secretary Kunkel issued a series of guidelines restricting visitations to nursing homes.
We are continuing to monitor this situation constantly and will follow the directives and guidelines of the New Mexico Department of Health and the CDC.
We ask all of our residents to please remain calm and help support their friends and neighbors. We are a great nation, and we will emerge from this stronger than ever.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
Public updates 3-15-20:
Several businesses in south Carlsbad, including gas stations, were forced to close on March 14 due to a power outage. According to Xcel, a pole on Canal Street had to be replaced. The City of Carlsbad assisted with traffic control during this time period. Power has been restored to the area. Some four way stop signs are still in place as an additional safety measure.
City facilities and services are operating as normal with the exception of those facilities that must adhere to the public health order issued by the state in regard to mass gatherings. These facilities remain open at this time but may have some limitations on use due to the need to avoid mass gatherings.
United Way of Eddy County has approved Emergency Funding of $12,000 to cover the added costs of drive thru meal pick up services and delivery for our Senior Citizens enrolled through SECAC Senior Program. This will ensure these Seniors will have a nutritious meal available to them.
Thank you all for your continued correspondence and suggestions.
PUBLIC NOTICE: 3-14-20
This morning the mayor’s office reached out to local grocery stores in response to rumors of store closures. A Walmart human resources has assured us that they have no plans to close and are working to restock. The manager of La Tienda has assured us that they have no plans to close and received a large restock today. We have reached out to Albertsons and here is the link to their press release https://www.facebook.com/notes/albertsons-market/a-note-to-our-guests-from-our-ceo-robert-taylor-and-president-sidney-hopper/2538650359690917/.
As posted yesterday, Carlsbad Municipal Schools has implemented a plan to continue its school lunch program over the next few weeks. The Southeast New Mexico Community Action Corporation is continuing with its programs to feed its program’s seniors, but through pickup.
While this is certainly a very serious issue, we ask our residents to please remain calm and help support their friends and neighbors. Carlsbad is a great community and we will emerge from this stronger than ever.
March 13, 2020
For More Information: Kyle Marksteiner (575) 887-1191
City of Carlsbad Implements Governor’s Restrictions on Public Gatherings
The City of Carlsbad is in the process of implementing Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s Executive Order 2020-004, which temporarily prohibits mass gatherings across New Mexico, Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway has announced.
This Executive Order was issued on March 11, 2020, as a way to combat spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). It defines mass gatherings as events that bring together 100 or more individuals in a single room or connected space such as auditoriums, stadiums, arenas, conference centers and theaters.
“We sincerely appreciate the public’s patience and understanding,” Mayor Janway said. “This is an unprecedented event and a rapidly developing issue, and we are doing everything we can to remain compliant with this order and protect the safety of our citizens while also continuing to provide services to our citizens.”
“Mass gatherings” do not include family gatherings such as weddings or funerals, shelters, retail stores or grocery stores, typical office environments, businesses, courthouses, restaurants and bars, correctional facilities, schools, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, health care facilities and places of worship.
City-owned facilities potentially impacted include the Walter Gerrells Performing Arts and Exhibition Center, the Bob Forrest Youth Sports Complex, the Pecos River Village Conference Center, the Riverwalk Recreation Center, the North Mesa Senior Center and the San Jose Senior Center. Generally, facilities are remaining open at this time for normal business hours, but many planned large-scale events are being cancelled. The City is also developing and adopting plans for each location on a case-by-case basis.
“Having participated in briefings with both the White House and the State, we recognize that reducing mass gatherings does slow the spread of this disease,” Mayor Janway said. “Carlsbad is an extremely involved community, and we know this will have an impact on so many of our organizations. We know that we have exceptional residents who will work together through this, and we will emerge stronger than ever.”
For questions as to whether any specific event has been postponed or cancelled, please contact that event’s organizer or the venue. Contact information for city locations is available on our web page at https://www.cityofcarlsbadnm.com/