Rain creates obstacles for some in Portales

By Tony Parra

The rain has hit the eastern side of New Mexico and brought about healthy rain amounts to an area which has suffered the last few years due to lack of rain.
The rain has made farmers, yardsmen and university groundskeepers happy, but it has given construction and street workers another obstacle. The city department workers have worked on street improvements around Portales and Public Works Director Tom Howell said it has caused some delays.
“Some of the work on N. Main St. by the railroad tracks has been delayed,” Howell said. “It’s (rain) slowed that stuff down and (we’ve had to) pull off some of our workers off it to street patch work and mowing.”
Howell said what has caused the delays is not when it rains. Rather, it’s the time after the storms have gone away, leaving puddles and standing water on the streets. Howell said the construction work on N. Main St. leads up to Ivy St.
“Typically when it’s really wet, we have to wait a week until it dries,” Howell said. “It slows you down for a week.”
Another task public works employees have had to take on because of the rain is when puddles and water lingers on the streets. Environmental Deparment officials from Clovis traveled down to Portales on Monday and researched an area on E. First St. and Boulder Ave.
“What they do is take samples from standing water,” Jon Goldstein, of the New Mexico Environmental Department, said. “It (standing water) is a habitat for mosquitos. Mosquitos will breed in a water depression. It’s a concern, especially because of the West Nile Virus.”
Tasha Vice, one of the residents affected by the stagnant water, said she called the environmental department on Monday afternoon, concerned about mosquitos and the smell. She said a child staying at her house had mosquito bites.
James Vice said city employees came to the family’s house at approximately 7 a.m. on Tuesday with a street sweeper to clean the mess.
“I’m happy with the timely manner the city responded,” James said. “We called the environmental department and they (city officials) cleaned it up the next day.”
Tasha said the water has not evaporated well since it first began raining in March.
“They treated the water with Clorox and DEET for the insects to keep the larvae from growing,” Tasha said.
Howell said the areas are treated with bacteria which eats the mosqito larvae and he said other areas have been treated. He said department officials keep an eye on areas such as the ditches on Kilgore and Globe streets after storms.
Howell said the water is supposed to run from north to south, but that there is no permanent way of fixing the standing water problem. He said water could accumulate again and the problem can’t be permanently remedied without a drainage system.
According to Howell, despite the delays street improvements in the N. Main and Ivy St. areas in time.
The rain could also hamper construction workers around Portales, but Jon Bohm, owner of Bohm Construction said he doesn’t mind it and won’t speak ill of the rain. Bohm said his company works on many construction jobs such as remodeling and concrete work.
“It hasn’t affected us too bad,” Bohm said. “I don’t mind as long as it helps the community. We’ve been able to work full days. You never knock the rain.”
Bohm also said that most of the rains have come at time when it doesn’t affect the construction business — in the early morning and evening.
Bohm and other rain-loving residents may find the weather forecast for the rest of the week to their delight. The forecast from the National Weather Association calls for isolated showers and thunderstorms today through Saturday, with a 40 percent chance of rain today.