New officials appointed for convention and visitor bureau, city council

PRESIDIO — Shakeups continued among officials in Presidio, as two members of the City of Presidio Convention and Visitor Bureau resigned on Tuesday. After press time on Wednesday evening, council also looked different, as Trisha Runyan joined her first meeting as a newly appointed city council member.

Ariel Lara and Rafael Carrera exited their roles with the convention and visitor bureau, both resigning. Filling the seats at that meeting were Elvira Hermosillo and Hiram Carrera, who received appointments to the bureau.

“I have experience working with the community and putting on events,” said Hermosillo in an interview on Wednesday after her new appointment. “I have a masters degree in public administration, so I’m hoping that I can help the community.”

The bureau is currently looking at the master plan with Kleinman Consultants, which discusses tourism, a downtown project, cultural tourism and historic buildings designations.

The Big Bend Conservation Alliance’s Shelly Bernstein also proposed a plan to use some hotel/motel occupancy tax funds to conduct a “geophysical survey of the Apache Lipan cemetery” in hopes of identifying grave sites and creating a perimeter fence around it.

The Friends of the Ruidosa Church also sought funds to renovate the historic church in Ruidosa.

On Wednesday night, Runyan made her first appearance as a member of the city council. She is a retired writer with experience that includes contract management, immigration issues and working with grants. She is also a fourth generation Presidian, with relations to the Armendariz family, Fernando Daly and Milton Faver, she says.

The meeting discussed replacing the recently-retired chief of police, Jose Cabezuela, and seeking new incentives for Ojinaga firefighters to assist Presidio, as well designing efforts to entice new volunteers for the Presidio Volunteer Fire Department.

In an interview this week, Runyan said, “I want people to know that I’m on council now, and I’m there to represent their interests.” One of her biggest goals is to improve job opportunities in Presidio. “I don’t want more box stores. I want to take care of our local vendors, because so often what happens in rural communities is the local business people are run off by the box stores. I want to protect our local business owners. That’s crucial.”

The city was also set to consider its request for proposals for developer services on its Presidio Downtown Hotel project, discuss personnel matters in executive session and hear updates on the Rio Grande Council of Governments’ efforts to update and map 911 addresses.

Since the meeting occurred after press time, details about the city council meeting will appear in next week’s issue.