Thursday, June 9, 2011

This Blog Is No Longer Being Updated

The new Mountain Mail website is:

A downloadable .pdf of the print version of the newspaper and other articles can be found on the new website.

The new website is replacing this blog, so this blog will no longer be updated.

Please go to for all new material and updated articles.

We are now accepting letters to the editor and material for future articles.

Our email is: or call 575-854-3500.

Our snail mail address is: P.O. Box 500, Magdalena, NM 87825.

Our physical address is: 504 First Street in Magdalena.

We will keep this site active for archival purposes only.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Newspaper Relocating

The Mountain Mail is relocating to Magdalena under new ownership. Updates forthcoming!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Quemado Connection

By Debbie Leschner

The Cowboy Christian Church has begun a new program to help the community. The members of the church have collected some food and warm winter clothing, coats, shoes and other items, that will be available to the community during a time of need. It was started to help families who were in dire need of food and could not make it from month to month. Items will also be available to families who have a loss due to a fire and need help to get back on their feet.
The Cowboy Church located off Highway 32 near Quemado and is open the third Friday of the month from 10 a.m. till noon so people can come and pick up items. Sometimes folks just need a little help to make through tough times and the folks at the Cowboy Church would like to be there to offer that help.
If you know of someone who is in that situation or you would like to donate food, clothing or household items you may call the church at 773-4265, Charlotte at 772-2568 or Dora at 773-4165. There is a limited amount of food and clothing at this time but it is a start says a member of the congregation.

The activities for the week at the Quemado Senior Center include a pool tournament on Tuesday, Jan 18, with quilting and bingo on Thursday. The center will be closed Monday for the holiday.
Lunch for Tuesday – beef stroganoff over noodles, Wednesday – chicken fried steak, Thursday – chicken enchiladas with green chili and Friday – Brunswick stew. All seniors are welcome. Please call the center at 773-4820 before 9 a.m. to make your lunch reservations.

January Birthdays include Jim Anderson, Charlotte Buchanan, Wayne Donham, Chris Hosetler, Matt Rodruquez, Marjory Tiaynham, Shana Tuffly and Missy Williams. Happy Birthday!

The Women's Fellowship Luncheon will be held Tuesday, Jan. 18 at noon in the Cowboy Church located off Highway 32 near Quemado. The Men’s Breakfast will be held on Saturday, Jan. 22 at 9 a.m. For more information, please call 772-2568.

The Western New Mexico Veterans Group will hold their monthly meeting on Thursday, Jan. 21 in the Veterans' Hall located at the corner of Baca and Church Street in Quemado. A potluck begins at 6 p.m. with a meeting to follow. All veterans and their families are welcome. For more information contact Commander Rick Sharp at 733-4350.

The Quemado Schools spelling bee will be held Thursday, Jan. 20. The county spelling bee will be held in Quemado on Thursday, Jan 27.
Basketball games for the week: Boys and Girls Junior Varsity will have a home game against Alamo on Thursday, Jan 20, Boys and Girls Varsity and Junior Varsity will play an away game against Mountainair on Friday, Jan 21 and both Boys and Girls Varsity and Junior Varsity play an away game against Hondo on Saturday.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

LETTER: Co-op Informational Meetings Questioned

Dear Editor:
The SEC board of non-trustable trustees (with the exception of C. Wagner) just doesn't get it! We don’t NEED “informational meetings” about raising the rates of our electric service! We already know that they have wasted and mismanaged SEC funds for far too many years. They seem to have a comprehension problem that this is wasting still more money. My suggestion is to boycott all such meetings. We don’t need them and we should not go. If you think you must do something, then picket them. 

Barbara Moore


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Top Ten Swingle Canyon Stories Of 2010 According to Sylvia

By Anne Sullivan

  1. January 4, 2010 – Thirty-three-year-old Brandy fell in the snow for the second day in a row and is now no more. That horse never liked me (or anybody) so I don’t know why I miss her. RingWorm has been gone for 2 ½ weeks now so I figure that cat is gone for good. I REALLY miss her.
  2. February 17, 2010 – Boss in a lousy mood. Doing taxes. SHE yelled at me for nothing at all.
  3. March 3, 2010 – Knocked Gordo’s food bowl over and enjoyed cat kibble. Also had fun chasing Gordo who was upset. So was Boss.
  4. April 13, 2010 – Did not attack UPS Driver who delivered package. Did not open package which lay on porch while SHE drove into Socorro to attend Goodbye Party for Jackie Kraft, friend to all animals.
  5. May 10, 2010 – SHE went to New Guinea so I got to rule the roost. Responsibility of guarding the house weighed heavily on my capable shoulders but I managed to prevent all disasters.
  6. July 4, 2010 – Visiting dog named Yah Dah ate leftover kibble from my bowl. Chased Yah Dah and succeeded in keeping her off porch. Scolded for being inhospitable.
  7. August 9, 2010 – Red Letter Day. SHE was away all day doing goodness knows what but came back with a doggie box of steak for me.
  8. September 1 & 2, 2010 – Frightened aliens away from house by barking all night long. Staunchly refused all entreaties by Boss to shut up.
  9. October 5, 2010 – Received cheerful painted paperweights from admirer from Socorro, Roger Ulibarri. One for me, one for Gordo and one for the boss.
  10. December 23, 2010 – Terror-filled ride in pickup driven by the boss. Had to go to the Vet in Socorro. Prescribed pills because I apparently make funny wheezing gurgling noise. I did not make said noise while at Vet’s. Slept all night inside house because of cold temperature outside as well as my cold (if that is what it is.) Woke Boss twice to let me out, once just to bark. Not received well by Boss.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Magdalena Marshal's Blotter

The following items were taken from reports at the Magdalena Marshal’s office.

Dec. 18
An officer took an accident report at 6:45 p.m. on Hop Canyon Road where a vehicle struck an elk. There were no injuries to the driver or passenger.

Dec. 20
An officer took a report at 9:45 a.m. of damage to a police vehicle. The case is under investigation and officers a reviewing the security camera video tape.

Dec. 21
Officers stopped a vehicle for speeding at mile marker 113 on Highway 60. The driver from Albuquerque was arrested for DWI and possession of drug paraphernalia. The driver blew a .10 blood alcohol level.

Dec. 22
An officer made contact with a male subject on First Street at 12:30 p.m. The subject was taken to the Magdalena Marshal’s office where the Magdalena ambulance was called. The subject’s blood alcohol level was .34. The subject was charged in Magdalena Municipal Court.

Dec. 27
An officer stopped a vehicle at 9:16 p.m. on Hop Canyon Road where the three males were under the influence. The driver was arrested by New Mexico State Police for DWI and the passengers were turned over to guardians. The passengers face several charges in juvenile court.

Dec. 30
An officer stopped a vehicle for speeding at First Street and Kelly Road. A passenger in the vehicle was arrested for two outstanding warrants from Socorro Magistrate Court and Magdalena Municipal Court.

Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Gave us Plenty of News to Report

By John Larson

The most talked about articles published in the Mountain Mail in 2010 included the death of Theresa Saiz-Chavez, fires in Magdalena, marijuana plantations on the Rio Grande, controversies at the Socorro Electric Cooperative, and a mixed bag of other happenings.
Some of the top stories covered by the Mountain Mail in 2010:
In January three new SEC trustees – Luis Aguilar, Prescilla Mauldin and Donald Wolberg – took office. They had been elected on the promise of supporting changes to the co-op’s bylaws.
Socorro’s only radio station, KMXQ, signed off the air in April after being acquired by a Wyoming-based broadcasting company. The signal at 92.9 on the FM dial is still silent.
Also in April, Socorro Electric Cooperative members passed sweeping changes in the way the cooperative operates at the annual members meeting.On June 8, John “Jack” Hayden was arrested in connection with the death of Theresa Saiz-Chavez, whose body was found locked in the trunk of her car under a bridge off Chaparral. At the preliminary hearing District Attorney Clint Wellborn made the case that Saiz-Chavez identified Hayden as putting her in the trunk on the 911 recording. Defense attorney Lee Deschamps argued that she entered the trunk herself in order to hide from Hayden, who was pursuing her. The case against Hayden is expected to go to trial in District Court on Jan. 18, 2011.
Also in June, the first of five large marijuana plantations along the Rio Grande bosque was destroyed by officers of Socorro Police, the Sheriff’s Department, and the Bureau of Land Management.
The Mountain Mail was tipped off to the presence of Legionnaires Disease at the spa and pool at the Holiday Inn Express in June. The owner of the hotel, Dr. Ravi Bhasker, had the areas cleaned and sanitized after being notified by the New Mexico Environmental Department.
Sheriff’s deputies broke up an apparent cockfight in Lemitar, and June saw the reporting of bears and mountain lions in the Magdalena area, and at homes and campsites in Catron County.
In July, a Datil man, Jason Lon Kirby, was indicted by an Arizona grand jury on charges of fraudulent schemes and artifices, trafficking in stolen property and two counts of theft after allegedly stealing 200 head of cattle.
Poor adobe plastering was the cause of a Lemitar Church wall collapsing in July and the closing of the sanctuary at San Miguel Church. In November, Father Andy Pavlok began using San Miguel’s Parish Hall for church services.
Socorro Electric Cooperative General Manager Polo Pineda and Kathy Torres were suspended and were eventually fired by the board of trustees. The following month a forensic audit was held.
In August, Martin Pyke, who was implicated in a March 2006 fire and theft at the Eagles Club four years ago accused in the theft of money from the Eagles Club, was allowed to make restitution in lieu of being prosecuted as part of the District Attorney’s Pre-prosecution Diversion Program
Joseph Vallejos, owner and operator of JM Abstract and Title Co., was arrested on two counts of fraud. He was arraigned in Magistrate Court on Nov. 19.
The Rode Inn Motel in Reserve was destroyed by fire on Dec. 14.
Businesses making news were the opening of Family Dollar in Magdalena, the Stage Door Grill closing and Old Town Bistro opening in the same location, Subway’s first week of business, and the Warrior Grill opening on California Street.
In 2010, a number of much loved and respected people passed away. Gary Perry, longtime president and member of the Socorro County Fair and Rodeo Association and Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, died May 5 after a short illness. Charles B. Moore, renowned researcher on atmospheric physics, passed away on March 2 in Socorro, and Jacky Barrington, founder and longtime publisher of the Magdalena Mountain Mail newspaper, passed away March 9 in Centennial, Colo.

Workshop Intended to Curb Narcotics Activity

By John Larson

The Socorro Police Department is taking steps to further curb narcotics activity in the Socorro area by attending training workshops hosted by the national High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program.
Police Chief George Van Winkle said Detective Rocky Fernandez recently attended a “drug cartel” conference in Las Cruces and a Domestic Highway Interdiction workshop in Phoenix.
According to its website, the HIDTA program enhances and coordinates drug control efforts among local, State, and Federal law enforcement agencies. The program provides agencies with coordination, equipment, technology, and additional resources to combat drug trafficking in critical regions of the United States.
Van Winkle said Mexican drug cartels are expanding their methods of getting cocaine, heroin, and marijuana into the Southwest.
“They’re trying to figure out new ways to smuggle the drugs into the country, and how to get them on the streets,” Van Winkle said. “Socorro is at the junction of two common routes for transporting narcotics, Highway 60 and I-25, and we’re constantly looking for drugs.
“We’re out there doing traffic stops and our officers are trained in what to look for when a drive is pulled over for a traffic violation,” he said.
Van Winkle said the practice of profiling does not apply when making traffic stops. “At night there’s no way you can see who’s in the vehicle, especially on I-25,” he said. “We are very conscious on that, and if you go back through the citations, [the suspects] are all different.”
He said officers are trained to spot inconsistencies in drivers’ stories, coupled with other indications, like out-of-state plates. “We work with the Border Patrol on some cases,” Van Winkle said. “But we’ve assisted them more than they’ve assisted us.”
 “The sheriff’s office has been good to work with. We assist each other regularly,” he said. “The whole idea is to get the bad guys.”
Detective Fernandez said the conferences he attended gave an insight into the extent of drug trafficking from Mexico, and how dangerous it is to travel south of the border.
“One Mexican who was stopped in Las Cruces said, ‘muchas muertes,’ when they asked him why he crossed the border,” Fernandez said. “On one day alone there were 280 killings in Juarez.”
While over 12,000 have been killed in Mexico in 2010, three thousand of those were killed in Juarez alone, he said. “Right now the government is saying simply do not go to Mexico.”
“In Mexico, people driving can be stopped anywhere by Cartel members dressed as police or Federales,” Fernandez said. “And they even have official looking vehicles. The only way you can tell if it’s a real police car is by the VIN.”
He said he learned that Mexican drug cartels are building their drug corridor out of Mexico northward, and infiltrating into Colorado, where companies are started as a front.
“They will hire Mexicans to work for them, and they know what their family connections are in Mexico,” he said. “They have photographs of their family members and tell them, “if you don’t do what we want you to do, everyone in your family will be dead within 24 hours.”
Van Winkle said the HIDTA program provides much needed funding for officers’ overtime.
“Federal money gives more opportunity for officers to earn a little more money, and have more officers working,” he said. “They have the option to be working on their off time, if they decide to.”

Co-op to Hold Info Meetings in January

By Patrick Jason Rodriguez

Socorro Electric Cooperative office manager Eileen Latasa at the board of trustee’s regular meeting on Dec. 22 outlined a tentative schedule for a series of meetings that could take place at various sites within the public utility’s service area in January.
She said the idea of the meetings would be to provide member-owners with information regarding the rate increases that are set to go into effect next year, along with an explanation of the cost of service study behind the rise in fees.
A meeting for District 1 would take place at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 11 at the Veguita Senior Citizens Center; a meeting for Districts 2, 3 and 4 would take place at 5:30 on Jan. 21 at Finley Gym in Socorro; as of Wednesday, Dec. 29, the details for a meeting for District 5 is still being worked on, according to Latasa. 
Meanwhile, the board scheduled its next regular meeting for 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 26 inside the co-op’s board room located at 310 Abeyta St. in Socorro.

Educational Retirement Board Revises Eligibility Recommendations

By John Larson

The New Mexico Educational Retirement Board amended its recommendations concerning retirement eligibility requirements for employees of all public schools in the state, from local school systems to universities. The new requirements will be submitted the state legislature during its 60 day session, which begins on Jan. 18.
After a public comment period during a special board meeting on Dec. 17 in Albuquerque, the board voted unanimously to recommend two new requirements for collecting retirement pay. Both used a formula based on years of service in addition the employee’s age.
For those employed before July 1, 2010, the current eligibility requirement of 25 years will be retained. For those whose employment began afterward, there is a new requirement of 30 years.
In addition, all employees will see a one-half percent increase in their retirement fund contributions. This increase will be phased in over a four-year period, resulting in an increase of .0125 percent per year.
New Mexico Tech President Dan Lopez said in light of the financial state of the retirement funds, the decision of the board was more acceptable than the initial recommendation, which called for raising the number of years a person is employed from 25 to 35, raising member contributions to 9.9 percent of salary, and reducing benefits by 2.4 percent if retirement is before age 60.
“What they are needing to do is insure solvency – that the funds are sufficient to fulfill retirement pay if everyone currently employed works until retirement. It’s a big improvement over the original plan,” said Lopez. “But, of course, this will all have to be approved by the legislature.”
New Mexico Tech currently has about 1,000 employees.
ERB Chairwoman Mary Lou Cameron said, “This recommendation is expected to achieve the board’s goal of reaching the recommended Government Accounting Standards Board criterion of 80 percent funding within 30 years.”
Those wanting more information can visit, or contact Jan Goodwin, NMERB executive director, at 505-476-6118.