City representatives thank community for its generosity

Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer

City representatives commended Portales citizens for their generosity when called upon to help Hurricane Katrina victims and to raise money for the muscular dystrophy association.

Capt. Chuck Haman, emergency management director of the Portales Fire Department, said at one point it looked like Portales would receive 100 evacuees.

“As a new emergency management director, in less than 48 hours he had a plan to shelter 100 people,” Portales Fire Department Fire Chief Jesse Mowrer said at Tuesday’s Portales City Commission meeting.

Haman said Portales will not be housing any of the more than 6,000 victims of the hurricane being sent to New Mexico. All of those will be processed and living in the Albuquerque area.

Portales Mayor Orlando Ortega said many Portales residents responded to try to help evacuees.

“A church and a civic organization put together more than 200 care packages in a matter of one day,” Ortega said. “One person called in to give their apartment for six months. The response was overwhelming.”

Haman said Eastern New Mexico University officials offered 100 mattresses and 30 bed frames for the cause. Haman said there still could be a need for housing later.

“We’ve had tremendous donations in clothes and baby
items,” Haman said. “We have not had as many children’s clothes and toys as we would like.”

Mowrer also said he appreciated the generosity from Portales residents during the “Fill the Boot” fund-raiser to accumulate money for muscular dystrophy. Mowrer said firefighters raised more than $5,000 during the “Fill the Boot” campaign, which concluded today.

“The credit goes to the firefighters,” Mowrer said. “And to the citizens of Portales who are incredibly generous people.”
Portales firefighters raised $5,236 in 2001, $4,872 in 2002 and $5,077 in 2003 through “Fill the Boot” fund-raiser.

Portales City Councilors approved the ordinance aimed at
reducing methamphetamine production with a vote of 7-0. Commissioner Alfred Bachicha was not present.

The Roosevelt County Commission passed the same ordinance earlier in the day that would limit and track the amount of pseudoephedrine-based cold and sinus medicine purchased.

Ninth Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler said the penalty for someone who violates the ordinance, such as sell more than three boxes to one person, will face a $300 fine and/or 90 days in jail. The ordinance goes into effect in one week.

• City councilors established a $25 application fee for businesses applying for financial assistance through the Portales MainStreet Program.

Portales City Manager Debi Lee said there is $220,000 in the fund.

The next city meeting has been tentatively rescheduled for 6 p.m. on Sept. 19 because councilors and city representatives will be gone to Washington, D.C.