Thursday, December 17, 2009


Elementary students of Sarah Claussen and Theresa Saavedra at Zimmerly Elementary dropped by the Mountain Mail newspaper office in Adobe Plaza on California Street Wednesday morning, and delighted the staff with a medley Christmas carols. Just a few of the 50 children were able to get into camera range.

Photo by John Larson
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Two Arraigned On Heroin Charges

By John Larson


SOCORRO - A Socorro man and woman were both arraigned in Magistrate Court Monday, Dec. 7, on charges of trafficking heroin with intent to sell.
Kevin McDaniel, 31, and Denalda Baca, 22, were arrested Friday, Dec. 4, following a vandalism incident on Hope Farms Road.
According to the criminal complaint, Officer Dennis Sedillo was on the lookout for the driver of a white car with tinted windows that had been called in as shooting a paintball gun at a residence on Hope Farms Road.
The car was spotted, and after a short chase down Otero, South Main, and Tierra Bonita, the driver, McDaniel, slowed down and jumped out “while the car was still in motion, and ran from the vehicle towards the ditch” on Tierra Bonita.
As other police units arrived, a woman in the vehicle, Denalda Baca, attempted to flee on foot but was captured.
Officer Joseph Reichenbach apprehended McDaniel as the suspect was trying to hide under a trailer.
While conducting a routine pat down, Officer Stanley Montano found in McDaniel’s pocket a clear plastic baggie containing 4 grams of a white substance which later tested positive for heroin.
The criminal complaint stated that McDaniel’s “manner to be consistent with that of being under the influence of heroin.”
An NCIC check showed McDaniel to have had four previous DWI arrests.
Baca was read her rights but refused to confirm that she understand them, saying “[expletive] you guys.”
While in the police car, Baca began kicking the windows and had to be hobble strapped (a technique in which the suspect’s wrists and ankles are bound together).
Both were incarcerated at the Socorro County Detention Center after being processed.
Charges against McDaniel include three felonies; trafficking a controlled substance (heroin) with intent to distribute, aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer, and DWI; and resisting arrest, a misdemeanor.
McDaniel’s preliminary hearing in Magistrate Court is set for Friday, Dec. 18.
Truth or Consequences lawyer Albert J. Costales is the defense attorney.
Denalda Baca was arraigned on trafficking heroin with intent to distribute and resisting arrest. Baca has been released on a $10,000 bond, awaiting her preliminary hearing at 1 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2010 in Magistrate Court.
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Socorro Civitan Club Helps Out Two Local Deaf Children

By John Larson


The Socorro Civitan Club has donated $800 to go toward paying for devices that help two clinically deaf Cottonwood Valley Charter School students hear their teachers.
The students - brothers Ayden Lewis, 6, and Carl Lewis, 10 - have both been fitted with Auditory Trainers.
Their parents, Allen and Faith Lewis met with Civitan Club members at K-Bob’s for a ceremony. Keith Valles, president of the Civitan Club, presented the check to Charter School principal Karin Williams.
“The school went ahead and acquired the two devices, and we deeply appreciate this donation, which will go back into the school’s general fund,” Williams said.
Each Auditory Trainer cost about $2,500, she said.
According to the boys parents, discovering their sons’ hearing loss came over a period of time.
Faith said she and Allen detected Carl’s hearing loss when he was almost one. “We were viewing a family video, and it became clear to us,” she said. “Carl wasn’t making much progress and didn’t begin talking until the age of two.”
She said their pediatrician told them the delay was due to other things. “He dismissed [the hearing loss] pretty much,” Faith said. “But we continued to pursue it online.”
Carl was given a series of hearing tests, and with each one his hearing was worse.
“When he was at the age of three, the pediatrician said get him an auditory response test,” she said.
Carl’s speech also was delayed, but since getting proper hearing devices, he “has caught up with were he should be.”
Ayden’s hearing problems developed over a period of time.
“He was tested as an infant and his hearing was perfect,” Faith said. “We began suspecting a hearing problem when he was in Kindergarten, and took him many times for a hearing test.”
She said Ayden’s hearing was slowly getting worse.
“By the third test, his hearing was iffy, so we went to UNM hospital for further evaluation,” she said. “He was able to hear a little better with a hearing aid.”
Besides the diagnoses, the family got more information and support from the School of the Deaf in Santa Fe.
Audiologist Marianne Cramer at Presbyterian Medical Services, said the Auditory Trainers can help both children and adults, but it is especially necessary for a school age child to have one in the classroom, “because, although a hearing aid certainly helps to hear, a classroom is very noisy and an auditory trainer allows the teacher to speak directly to the child without all the background noise.”
“Teachers can even turn their back and the child can still hear,” Cramer said.
She said the device has several settings and can be turned off, such as during recess, or at home.
Marianne Cramer, CCC-A, conducts hearing examinations, and provides treatment, in the Rehabilitation Services building at Socorro General Hospital.

Photo by John Larson: Pictured (from left): Faith Lewis, Allen Lewis, and their children, Carl, 10, and Ayden, 6, and Keith Valles.
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Paving Pine St. Gets Closer To Becoming Reality

By John Larson


MAGDALENA – If a request for funding is approved, paving Pine Street from Fourth to Tenth streets may become a reality next spring. The request for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) was passed by the Village Board Monday night. The plan includes installing curb and gutters.
Mayor Jim Wolfe said the CDBG application would be for $500,000.
“We put the project in as a street and drainage project,” Wolfe said. “We’re most concerned about drainage. It’s the main problem on that end of Pine. It was our top priority on the ICIP (Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan) we sent to the state.”
The money would be coming from Housing and Urban Development, and would not be a legislative grant, he said. “HUD dishes out money to states for infrastructure projects, such as those for water, waste water, and streets,” Wolfe said.
The last time CDBG funded a street project in Magdalena was to pave Spruce about nine years ago, he said. “This time we’re asking for the maximum level, $500,000. If we get less we may do it in phases,” Wolfe said. “We’ll find out in April or May. Hopefully it will go through.”
In other action:
•The Board accepted bids on two surplus vehicles from the Marshal’s Office. A $1,010 bid for the 2003 Ford Expedition, and a $900 bid for the 2000 Ford Explorer was submitted by Vince DeMarco. The vehicles will be used by Fur and Feathers Animal Rescue in Pie Town. The two bids were the only ones received by the Village Clerk.
•The Board passed two updates to the Uniform Traffic Code ordinance, one concerning the operation of ATVs; and the other concerning penalty assessments. The previously debated ATV regulations will ban ATVs on paved streets, and institute a 10 mph speed limit.
• Deputy Clerk Carleen Gomez reported that they are still several names on the Secret Santa tree.
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Masonic Lodge Ceremony Open

By John Larson

SOCORRO – The Masonic Lodge No. 9, based in Socorro, will perform a public installation ritual in Macey Center’s auditorium Saturday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m.
Lodge Secretary Gary Stendahl said opening the ceremony to the public is a rare event.
“It’s the Masonic ritual revealed - the actual ritual performed as done in the Masonic Lodge,” Stendahl said. “The ceremony is normally limited to family members and guests. This is the first time for the Socorro lodge to have a public installation.”
He said the Masons is not a religious organization, but that one requirement for membership is to believe in a supreme being.
“One must be ethical and have high moral standards,” Stendahl said. “We make good men better.”
Socorro’s Masonic Lodge #9 was chartered in 1882, and was originally housed in the building now occupied by the Chamber of Commerce.
“Our meetings were held on the second floor,” Stendahl said. “Originally that whole building was the Masonic Lodge, and our emblem can still be seen on the building.”
He said the Mason’s have evolved into a benevolent association, and annually gives scholarships to high school graduates, and provides bicycles for the top readers in the Public Library’s summer reading program.
The Socorro Lodge boasts about 90 members.
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OBITUARY: Kenneth John Vallejos

Kenneth John Vallejos
Nov. 20, 1961 - Dec. 13, 2009


“Devoted to His Family”
Kenneth John Vallejos, 48, passed away suddenly Dec. 13, 2009 in West Jordan, Utah.
Born Nov. 20, 1961 in Socorro, New Mexico, son of Johnny J. Vallejos and Lupe Griego. Married Jenifer Peay Dec. 1, 1995 in Sandy, Utah. He loved to serve others and stressed the importance of gaining an education. He was an avid golfer.
Survived by wife, Jenifer; children: Braeden, Rebecca, Makayla and Devyn; father, Johnny Vallejos; mother-in-law, Marcia Peay; siblings: Patricia, Joseph, Chris, Stephen, John and Richard.
Funeral services will be held Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009, 11 a.m. at the River 9th Ward, 11473 South Chapel View Drive (1060 W.).
Viewings will be held Wednesday, 6-8 p.m. at McDougal Funeral Home, 4330 South Redwood Road, Salt Lake City, Utah, and Thursday at the church, 10-10:45 a.m. prior to services. Internment, Mountain View Memorial Estates.
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OBITUARY: Rufina Flores

Rufina Flores
Sept. 11, 1946-Dec. 11, 2009


Rufina Flores, 63, passed away on Friday, Dec. 11, in Socorro.
Rufina was born in Socorro on Sept. 11, 1946 to Felipe and Flora (Montano) Flores.
She is survived by her sons, Joe A. Flores Jr. of Socorro and companion, Donna South; Kendrick Flores and wife, Sandy of Belen; Bill A. Flores of Socorro and companion, Brenda Gutierrez; and Albert Flores of Socorro; brothers, Jimmy Jojola of Downy, Calif.; Mike Jojola of Socorro; and Arthur Jojola of Socorro; sisters, Ida Baca of Grants; Rosie Baca of Albuquerque; Aggie Padilla of Socorro; and Betty Valles also of Socorro; grandchildren, Guillermo Flores; Jose Flores III, Vinalisia Flores; Josepina Flores; Monique Flores; Christiana Flores; Audriana Flores; Kendrick Flores Jr.; Joshua Flores; Mariah Flores; Kobe Flores; and Charissie South.
Rufina is preceded in death by her beloved husband, Joe Flores Sr.
A visitation was held on Tues., Dec. 15, followed by a Rosary at Steadman-Hall Funeral Home in Socorro. A Mass of Ressurection was celebrated on Wedy, Dec. 16, at San Miguel Catholic Church in Socorro, with Father Andy Pavlak as Celebrant. Burial was in the Socorro Cemetery. Pallbearers are Joe Flores Jr., Kendrick Flores, Albert Flores, Bill Flores, Guillermo Flores, and Arthur Jojola. Honorary Pallbearers were Jose Flores, Michael Jojola, Vinalisia Flores, Kendrick Flores Jr., Joshua Flores, Kobe Flores, Miriah Flores, and Mike E. Jojola Jr.
Arrangements were under the care of Steadman-Hall Funeral Home.
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OBITUARY: Elijah Murillo


Elijah Murillo
June 3, 1986-Dec. 11, 2009


Elijah George Murillo, 23, passed away Friday, Dec. 11, in San Francisco, Calif.
Elijah is the son of George and Deborah (Herzog) Murillo of Magdalena. He was born June 3, 1986 in Santa Fe.
Elijah is survived by his parents, George and Deborah Murillo; sisters, Ann Murillo of Las Cruces; Jean Tafoya of Socorro; and Martha Murillo of Magdalena; grandparents, Richard and Jean Herzog of New York; and Angela Lucero of Socorro; nieces and nephews, Trent Tafoya; Andres Baca; Amanda Gallegos; Jordan Murillo; Crystal Gallegos; Angela Murillo; George Murillo; and Debbie Murillo; uncle, Tommy Baca; and many aunts and uncles. A memorial service will be held Friday, Dec. 18, at 10 a.m. at the First Baptist Church in Magdalena with Rev. Paul Holt officiating .
Arrangements are under the care of Steadman-Hall Funeral Home.
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OBITUARY: Darl Beckham


Darl Beckham
July 11,1928-December 13, 2009


Darl L. Beckham, 81, a resident of Socorro since 1952, passed away on Sunday, Dec.13 in Albuquerque.
He was born July 11,1928 to George S. and Maude Beckham in Ponder, Missouri.
Darl was a member and past Master of the Masonic Lodge, Scottish Rife, past President of Socorro Rotary Club, patron of Eastern Star, member of the Presbyterian Church, and member of the Church of God.
Darl served in the US Army as a Sergeant. He was a graduate of Anderson University and was a Certified Public Accountant for the last 54 years.
Darl is survived by his sons, Clay Beckham of Boulder, Colo.; and Bruce Beckham of Las Cruces; sisters- in- law, Una Mae Beckham of Potosi, Missouri; and Betty Jo Hanners of Silver Springs, Maryland; and grandchildren, Kelsey; Daniel; and Joseph.
Darl is preceded in death by his beloved wife of 54 years, Patricia "Pat" Beckham.
Memorial Services will be held on Saturday, December 19 at 3 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Socorro with Rev. Laura Kuster and Phil Preston officiating.
The family asks that any donations be made to the First Presbyterian Church in Socorro or to a charity of one's choice. Arrangements are under the care of Steadman-Hall Funeral Home.
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OBITUARY: Horacio Padilla

Horacio Padilla
May 1928-Dec. 10, 2009


Horacio Padilla, 81, passed away on Thursday, Dec. 10, at his home in San Antonio. Horacio was born on May 27,1928, to Marcelino and Carmelita(Lucero) Padilla.
He is survived by his son, Ramon (Luisita) Padilla Sr. of Los Lunas; his daughters, Juanita(Patricio) Chavez of Socorro; Loretta (Joseph) Martinez of Socorro; Yvonne Chavez of Socorro and fiance, Ismael Flores; and Julia Sanchez of San Antonio and fiance, David Hart ; brother, Leandro Padilla of Brooklyn, NY; sisters, Sally Stars of San Antonio; and Defina Rayner of Baltimore, MD; grandchildren, Tonya Padilla; Horacio Martinez; Ramon Padilla Jr.; Daniel Padilla; Donna Chavez; Bobby Chavez; Frank Sanchez Jr.; Leonard Padilla; Eva Silva; and several great grandchildren.
Horacio is preceded in death by his wife, Ramona (Chavez) Padilla.
A visitation was held at Steadman-Hall Funeral Home on Monday, December 14. A Rosary was recited on Tuesday, December 15 at the San Antonio Church in San Antonio, followed by a Mass Of Resurrection, with Father Andy Pavlak as Celebrant. Burial took place in the San Antonio Cemetery.
Pallbearers were Leonard Padilla, Frank Sanchez Jr., Bobby Chavez, Ramon Padilla Jr., Horacio Martinez, Sal Garcia, Herman Soliz Sr., and Daniel Padilla. Arrangements were under the care of Steadman-Hall Funeral Home.
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Socorro County Sheriff's Blotter

The following items were taken from reports at the Socorro County Sheriff's Department.


Sept. 29
An officer was dispatched at 4 a.m. to Fire Station #3 on the report that a female was brought in from San Acacia. An EMT stated that he found her at mile marker 162 on Interstate 25, walking southbound with no bottom clothing on. She told the deputy that she got into an argument with a male friend and got out of the vehicle before it became physical. The suspect had the friend come to Socorro to pick her up. No contact with the male friend, and the suspect would not give the name of the friend, and became uncooperative.

Nov. 1
A vehicle was eastbound on Sixth St. in Socorro at 1 a.m. The driver lost control of his vehicle and struck another vehicle, which was parked in a trailer park. Both vehicles sustained damage and enforcement action was taken.
An officer was dispatched at 1 a.m. to the 1700 block of Chaparral Drive, and was told that the suspect had threatened him with a knife. The suspect took another victim’s vehicle without her permission and crashed it into another vehicle at another location (see above item). Contact was made with the suspect, who was detained at the Sheriff’s Department. Both victims and witnesses gave statements.

Nov. 5
A man in Veguita reported at 2 p.m. that the suspect abandoned some dogs on his property. The suspect had rented from the man and when he vacated, he left his dogs behind. The suspect’s mother was supposed to pick up the dogs but has failed to do so. One of the dogs bit a horse belonging to another neighbor. The neighbor felt that the man was responsible due to the dogs living on property owned by him.

Nov. 15
A Veguita man reported at 10:30 p.m. that he had gotten into an altercation with the suspect and was battered by him. He had physical evidence of being in an altercation. A witness removed the suspect from the residence and dropped him off at another location. No contact with suspect at time of report.

Nov. 16
A Magdalena man reported at 4:30 p.m. that the suspect grabbed him by the jacket and began jabbing him with his elbow. The victim stated that the suspect was also cursing and using abusive language towards him. The suspect released the victim, and the victim met with another deputy who spoke with the suspect. The victim did not want to pursue charges but wanted the incident documented.

Nov. 17
A La Joya man reported at 3:30 p.m. that he witnessed the suspect chasing his cows. He stated he was using a scope at the time and saw the suspect chase the cows in his vehicle, and then exit that same vehicle at his residence. One of the cows that he was chasing arrived at the livestock pen limping, apparently struck by the vehicle. The deputy met with the suspect, who was very uncooperative, and advised him that a report would be filed.
A Veguita man, who was suspected of chasing cows in his vehicle in the above incident, reported at 4 p.m. that the La Joya man in the above item entered his property knowing he is not welcome there, and knowing the property is posted “No Trespassing.” He said the suspect entered his property twice on the same date, and wanted a report filed. He also said he would file with District Court.

Nov. 19
A man in Polvadera reported at 9:20 a.m. that he heard a loud crash coming from his living room. He went to check and saw two subjects running from his home. He stated that he recognized the suspect and noticed that he was carrying his chainsaw, which had been under a table in the living room. The officer learned of another burglary occurring in the area and met with a second victim, who also had a chainsaw taken from his residence. The officer was able to track down and recover the second chainsaw. A warrant was placed on the suspect due to no contact on incident date.

Nov. 20
A deputy was dispatched at 1:30 p.m. to the 1700 block of Chaparral Drive, where victim 2 stated that they called the Sheriff due to the suspect battering victim 1. Victim 2 stated that the suspect chased two other victims with tin snips. The suspect then picked up a wooden board and threatened victim 2 with it. The suspect was placed in a Police Department unit, and proceeded to kick out the read window. Suspect was charged with battery on a household member, damage to private property, aggravated assault on a peace officer, and two counts of aggravated assault.

Nov. 21
A man in Veguita reported at 7 p.m. that two of his workers had entered a barn area and left a vehicle parked outside. He stated that the workers saw two male subjects leave the property in the vehicle. A worker followed the vehicle on Highway 304 but lost sight of it around the Solomon Estates area. The deputy learned that the vehicle had been recovered on Highway 304 at mile marker 20, and had been burned.

Nov. 22
A deputy located a 1979 Toyota pickup truck upside down in a ditch off Hwy 408 in Lemitar at 12:15 p.m. The driver was nowhere to be found, and the vehicle had an expired registration from 2003. The last owner of the pickup was contacted, who stated it was sold to someone whose name was given as “Indio.” It was towed from the scene.
A woman in Veguita reported at 2 p.m. that she was sitting in a vehicle and was pulled out of the vehicle by the suspect. She stated that the suspect grabbed her by the arm, leaving bruises, which were noticeable on the inside of her left bicep. She stated she did not want the suspect charged and said that she was leaving and relocating to another state.
A deputy was dispatched at 7 p.m. where the victim stated she was at the hospital for an unrelated issue and not for any domestic issue. She said that the suspect had been abusing her in the form of punching, kicking, and choking due to her complaining of a urination problem. She stated that her mother was picking her up and that they were leaving the Socorro area. A criminal complaint was filed.
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EDITORIAL: Legislators Have Work Cut Out For Them

By John Severance
Mountain Mail Editor

Where to cut?
That is the question facing state legislators, Senator Howie Morales, Senator David Ulibarri and Representative Don Tripp, who met their constituents in Socorro Tuesday.
I don’t envy them a bit because what is facing them is a formidable task.
In January, the legislators are meeting in Santa Fe and the big question is: how do you deal with a $650 million budget shortfall??
Ulibarri probably summed it best.
“It’s going to be a tough 30-day session,” Ulibarri told the 75 people in attendance in the Socorro City Council Chamber. “It’s going to be a train wreck.”
It is going to be a train wreck because the legislators have to figure out where to cut.
And most of the people in attendance were there to plead their case not to cut their respective programs too badly.
Mayor Ravi Bhasker was on hand to plead the city’s case. Manager Delilah Walsh was there to plead the county’s case. Representatives from the Socorro Soil and Water District, NM GRADS, San Antonio Water Association, San Acacia Water Association, Healthy Family, SCOPE, Food Storehouse and Socorro Mental Health also were on hand.
In one of the lighter moments, Angelo Santomenna stepped to podium and he was all smiles, thanking the legislators for the money that the San Acacia Water Association used for its project.
“Thank you for the money you gave us,” Santomenna said. “I want to thank everybody.”
Santomenna even suggested to the legislators they should come to San Acacia for a photo opportunity.
I am sure the legislators were seriously thinking about it.
None of the legislators made any promises to anybody. And for now, that probably is a good thing because they have a lot to sort through.
“I want to thank Terry (Tadano of the Chamber of Commerce) for putting this together,’ Morales said. “This really helps us prioritize. We have to keep our options open.”
Tripp said: “We are all in this together.”
And Ulibarri said: “We have had some good times but this is a wakeup call. It’s time to get back to basics.”
What’s important is the people of Socorro and Catron counties give as much input as possible to the legislators.
Hopefully that can help them make some informed decisions.
That’s about all we can ask for.
Chamber News
Since we are talking about money, the Chamber recently was awarded a grant for $87,300. Andy Dotson of Raychester Jewelers approached Tadano almost a year a go and asked if the Chamber could assist his business.
Tadano got to work, researching different grants and his work apparently paid off. Tadano decided to buy around $50,000 worth of equipment for the jewelry businesses and then use the remainder of the money to assist the Socorro Farmers market with the
purchase of commercial kitchen equipment.
The City of Socorro, Farmer’s Market and Chamber are partnering to establish a commercial Kitchen for the community.
Deborah Dean also received a McCune grant on behalf of the Farmers market for $10,000 of equipment.
Odds and ends
Be careful out there in cyberspace.
Here is a word of warning from the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office.
The New Mexico Attorney General's Office has received reports of a fraudulent H1N1 vaccination opportunity email circulating the country.
The office has confirmed with the Center for Disease Control that the email is bogus and should be ignored and deleted.
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OPINION: Reflecting On The Passing Of A Raven

Magdalena Potluck
By Don Wiltshire

I really do enjoy my weekend walks with my dog, Abby, around the streets of Magdalena. I’m always fascinated with the changes that have occurred within the last week. Some things have fallen apart, blown away by the wind. Other things have been fixed up. Some residents have moved in, others have moved away. Abby spends most of her time in an “olfactory world,” one that I cannot fully participate in. There must be plenty of “messages” in those bushes on the corner; she spends many minutes carefully sniffing out and analyzing each and every one of them. Occasionally, a “blog-entry” of her own will be offered up.
Toward the end of this weekend’s walk, we came upon a dead raven. Normally road-kill is a flag to “look aside”; pay no attention; “leave it, Abby. NOT a snack.” However, this particular carcass invited us to respectfully come forward.
Since living in Magdalena, the raven has become one of my self-appointed Totem Animals. Never before had I paid much attention to ravens who were apparently talking “to me.” They seem to have taken a special interest in my backyard projects; swooping in and offering up their comments. Their language, when not calling to each other, consists of a series of clicks and throaty chortles, reminiscent of a porpoise. I have even been honored enough to witness some of their “dances.” I don’t always understand their messages but they make me feel more “connected” to the natural world.
So, it was with appreciation and respect that we listened to the message that this raven had for us, even in death: “Pay attention there guys, you could be next.” That was not necessarily a morbid message, just a gentle reminder of our own mortality; to really appreciate what IS.
We could be next, indeed. I have spent most of the last week dealing with my own personal plumbing which is now falling apart. The human body does not seem to be designed to last much longer than thirty or forty years. After that, tubes get clogged, parts wear out. The prostate’s stranglehold relationship on my urethra has become of particular interest to me of late. I have put in a request for a re-design of that particular sub-assembly but have not heard back yet.
It was with some apprehension then that I asked my doctor last week, if “Flomax might be right for me.” His first diagnosis was that I have been watching far too much television. Then he agreed that “yes,” Flomax WAS right for me! So much for my sarcastic column a couple of weeks ago.
Off it was then, to the pharmacist to pick up the magic drugs that would shrink my over inflated prostate. I knew that because I had REFUSED to pay $15 a month to the pharmaceutical company of my choice (Medicare Part D), I was in for a hard time. “That will be $126.90,” the pharmacist mumbled apologetically. “What?” I stammered, “that’s more than $4.20 for each capsule!” There must be a great deal of magic indeed, in each pill. Still, I suppose it covers the cost of “research and development.”
How is it then that I can order up the same drug from Canada for $22.79? That’s only 76 cents per capsule. There must be far less magic (or marketing) in those capsules. You can be sure that I will be searching around for alternative treatments. A good place to start seems to be Ben Ong’s book, All About the Prostate. I have a feeling that there are just as many magical cures in the natural world as there are in the Big Pharmaceutical Companies. I’m also wondering what other organs and tissues in my body might be shrunk with Flomax’s alpha-blockers. Be sure to pick up your medical reference and recreational reading material early: the Magdalena Public Library will be closed from Dec 24 till Jan 4th for the holidays.
Rest now, dear Raven, so that your spirit might help others along the Way.

So, do you have any Comments? Problems? Solutions? Up coming Events? Cheaper Flomax? Contact me at mtn_don@yahoo.com or (575) 854-3370.
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Students Honored


Three students were honored Friday by Cottonwood Valley Charter School, for being overall good students. Teacher Kate Burleigh said each month the school recognizes a select student from each middle school class. “They get to have lunch with one of our community members,” Burleigh said. “It’s a way of letting them know how much we appreciate good students. The choice of the students each month is not entirely based on grades, but also having high principles and being an overall credit to their class. Pictured (from left): Burleigh, Sergey Magedov (6th), Tripp, Ariel Dillon (8th), and Rose Kerkmans (7th).

Photo by John Larson
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OPINION: There Are No Guarantees

The Right Emphasis
By Doug May


I received another notice in the mail reminding me that my automobile warranty had expired, but that I was eligible to purchase an extended warranty to guarantee that I would be able to handle any major repairs that might happen in the future. That is a very tempting offer because, like many others, I want to be sure that I can handle every situation that might arise.
It is the desire for certainty, which is common to all of us, that fuels the insurance industry and motivates politicians to make promises. Workers are looking for job security and a guaranteed annual wage.
It is this desire for certainty that motivated a woman, writing to the editor of the Albuquerque Journal this past week, to argue for a single payer government health care program. She wrote, “I would give every last dime I had if it meant that my family would forever have access to affordable health care so that they wouldn’t have to either be bankrupt or die because they can’t afford coverage.” If a 100 million people gave their last dimes, the government still couldn’t guarantee it. If we are looking to the government for our certainty, we are looking in the wrong direction.
Human promises, especially by those running for public office, are alluring and we would like to believe them, but experience and common sense tells us, “Don’t count on it.”
The reality is that there will always be uncertainties. Five years ago, who would have guessed that General Electric would close its jet engine plant in Albuquerque, leaving many out of work? There are no guarantees that there won’t be problems in the future. Rather than hoping that someone else will take care of us, we should take steps to reduce the possibility that misfortune will ruin us. The important word is WE.
Each of us will face days of testing in the future. We don’t know what kind of testing or when they will come, but we should prepare. Take care of your health. Look for opportunities to improve your skills and learn new ones. Continue learning; choose good teachers and role models. Make many good friends. There is an old proverb that says, “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, ‘I have no pleasure in them’."
We can learn much from the experience of other people. Note how those people, who have been knocked down by some disaster, get back on their feet again. What kind of reserves did they have to help them recover?
In our later years, there will be some help from government agencies, but it won’t be nearly enough to take care of everything. The average yearly supplemental medical cost for those on Medicare now is $4,400.
After Medicare pays the bill, each senior pays another $4,400 per year for medical expenses. An OP-ED article in the Sunday Albuquerque Journal states, “On Jan. 1, 2010, Medicare will implement a broad-reaching set of reimbursements cuts for physicians, nurse practitioners and physicians’ assistants across the country.” This is part of the new proposed health care reform. It would reduce physician payments by 21.5 percent. Not all doctors now accept Medicare and this might cause many more not to accept Medicare.
Don’t forget to save for the rainy day.
I didn’t accept the offer for the extended warranty on my car, but in my heart, I thanked them for the reminder and I put a little more in to savings.


Doug May is a retired Lutheran pastor and his views do not necessarily represent the Mountain Mail.
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OPINION: Still Waiting On U.S. Leaders To Take On Banks

Can We Talk?
By Jack Fairweather


This column often refers to the people of various Latin American countries. Countries our captive mainstream media calls “left leaning.” To varying degrees, the leaders of Venezuela, Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay, Chili and Brazil are, politically, left of center.
They were elected by respectable majorities by people who had finally awakened to the reality of their situation, they finally realized that the gaping social and economic inequalities that autocratic, American supported rule, would not go away unless they, through activism and organizing, put an end to such oppression. And they did so.
In Venezuela and Bolivia, this resulted in governments under Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales that are unashamedly anti-American. Well, to alarmists who shout that these leaders will push other Latin American countries further into the dreaded “socialist” camp, I would say, remember, you reap what you sow and the U.S. did, and still does, sow seeds of social and economic oppression throughout Latin America in it’s support of IMF/World Bank style economics.
In other Latin American countries, left leaning leaders have heard the people and include social and economic reforms “for the people” in their agendas. And their words are not just rhetoric. They work, recognizing the importance of relations with their northern neighbor, to improve the lot of their people. Much has been written about the success of President Ignacio Luis “Lula” Da Silva in Brazil, Nestor Kirchner of Argentina where Kirchner’s wife, Cristina Fernandez Kirchner, is now President, Chile’s Michele Bachelet and Uruguay’s Tabere Vazquez. In Uruguay former Tupamara guerilla Jose Mujica will be sworn in as President March 1, 2010. Mujica, after 14 years in prison, two of them in solitary confinement in the bottom of a well, has said Brazil’s Da Silva will be his role model.
So. What does this about people in Latin America finally awakening and taking action to bring about fairness and opportunity have to do with America? Well, just that. People finally recognizing their best hope for their future and that of their children lies not with empty promises from their leaders, the willing operatives of the finance, insurance, real estate and banking industry (FIRE) which owns them, but rather within their willingness to organize, demonstrate, demand, improvement and change for all Americans.
Before the last Presidential election, many, many Americans wanted to believe such change could and would come with the election of Barack Obama. At this point, the President has shown little willingness to do the difficult and, alright, “down and dirty” work that has to be done at the top levels of the FIRE octopus-like apparatus that would devour any hope that the American middle class will survive and the poor, unemployed and homeless will have any meaningful chance for a better, more secure existence.
Will the tame, corporate-owned media help the administration to convince us that up to 10 percent unemployment is acceptable and normal? Will there be a freeze on housing foreclosures? Will there be a program of federal jobs to repair and improve the crumbling infrastructure of highways and bridges? Will there be a robust project to manufacture high speed rail and electric cars? Go ahead and laugh. But, try not to cry.
Our “leaders” from the President through the Congress already have demonstrated their inability or unwillingness to take on the bully boys of the insurance lobby. Their will be no so-called health reform with a compassionate and workable public option. Hundreds of thousands, or more, will be left without any health insurance.
Until the common people decide to bring about meaningful change for their lives, it will not happen.
The President has not shown the will to demand re-regulation of the banking industry. The Glass-Steagall Act, which prohibited commercial banks from acting like investment banks or insurance companies, was abolished by former President Bill Clinton, and Obama is now siding with those who oppose a new Glass-Steagall. Banking is still controlled by an oligopoly. The anti-trust laws we still have should be used to break them up to prevent their exercise of too much power.
The President and Congress, dependent on the corporate powers that own the U.S. government, seem paralyzed in a time of economic crisis in which, if any improvement is made, will benefit only those at the top. The rich will keep getting more. The rest of us will just have to make do with whatever benefits we glean from our work or from a government that does not really care all that much.
As one U.S. Senator said, “The banks run this place.”


Jack Fairweather is an educator and a trustee on the village board in Magdalena. He can be reached at juanm61@yahoo.com His views do not necessarily represent the Mountain Mail.
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Tough teams, tough start

By Michael Olguin
For the Mountain Mail


SOCORRO -- After the first four games of the season, the Socorro boys basketball team finds itself 1-3 after a couple close games against some very competitive teams.
Socorro garnered its first win of the season on Friday night against the New Mexico Military Colts 71-50, followed by a loss against the 4A Volcano Vista Hawks, 65-44. The Warriors completed their four-game home game stint with a 62-50 loss against the fourth-ranked Pojoaque Elks.
“Losing games can be frustrating, but the team moral is fine,” Socorro coach Lawrence Baca said. “We’re still early on in the season, we just have to focus on getting better every game and fixing the things we need to fix. Right now we’re just making stupid mental mistakes, and we will limit some of those types of mistakes as we get a little more time together.”
Socorro will travel to Santa Fe on Friday night to take on the third-ranked St. Michaels’ Horsemen. Socorro will then travel to Pojoaque on Monday December 21 to compete in the Annual Ben Lujan Tournament. Socorro will match up against the fourth-ranked 4A Los Alamos Hilltoppers in the first round.
Last Friday night, the Warriors had no trouble handling the Colts (6-3) in the Warrior Dome. With the help of solid outside shooting, Socorro never relinquished their lead throughout the game. They went on to win 71-50. Jared Marquez led the Warriors with 19 points, followed by Erik Garcia with 17. Michael Contreras contributed 12 points in the winning cause.
Saturday, the Warriors matched up against a solid 4A team in the Hawks (4-4). A usual three pointer by Marquez early in the first quarter gave Socorro its only lead of the game at 5-4. The Hawks were able to regain the lead and build on it leading 17-11 after one quarter of play.
Marquez was the lone scorer in the second quarter for the Warriors, scoring 11 of his team high 22 points. It was not enough to overcome the Hawks as they went on to take a 37-22 halftime lead.
The Hawks continued to take advantage of the Warriors’ turnovers and never gave up their first half lead. They went on to win 65-44. One key factor in the game was an almost perfect 20 for 21 at the free throw line for the Hawks for an unbelievable 95 percent. Socorro was only able to muster up 8 free throw attempts, making 5.
Tuesday night looked to be an even matchup with the fourth ranked Elks (5-3). Two of their losses on the season came at the hands of the Grants Pirates, whom the Warriors narrowly lost to in overtime in the first game of the season.
Turnovers once again plagued the Warriors’ attempts on offense, giving the Elks easy transition baskets which gave way to an early 26-10 first quarter lead.
“We just a came out very slow and sluggish, and when you go down to a team like Pojoaque it is always going to be tough to come out on top,” said Baca.
It seemed like a tough task to dig themselves out of a hole against a team like the Elks. However, Socorro was up to the task. The Warriors slowly chipped away at the Elks’ early lead, eventually closing the gap to 37-31 after a last-second shot by Marquez to close out the first half.
“We dug ourselves a big hole but I know we are very capable of coming back and making this a game,” Baca said to his team at halftime. “It is going to take an all out effort from everyone for 16 minutes with no breaks.”
The Warriors came out of the locker room determined to prevent the Elks from stealing a win at home. Another three by Marquez tied the game at 45 about 5 minutes into the second half. The game remained within reach and after three quarters of play Socorro was only down 52-47.
Turnovers by Socorro allowed the Elks to score six easy points extending their lead to 58-47 early in the fourth quarter. It was too much for Socorro to over come and after some quality time management by the Elks they went on to win 62-50.
Marquez and Zach Esquivel each had 13 points followed by Garcia with 11.
“We just have to get mentally tough at this point,” said Baca. “We’re not going to change anything we are just going to keep busting our tails off in practice every day and focus on getting better every day. We have to understand that we have no time to take off and that we have to out work everybody everyday in practice”

Photo by John Severance: Socorro coach Lawrence Baca calls timeout in the first half of a loss to Pojoaque Tuesday night in Socorro.
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Lady Warriors Press Way To Victory At Belen

By Nicky Romero
For the Mountain Mail


BELEN – The Socorro Lady Warriors basketball team handed the Belen Lady Eagles their first loss of the season as it came away with a 60-43 win Thursday, Dec. 10.
It also was Socorro’s first victory against a varsity team this season. The Lady Warriors defeated the Valencia JV at the Las Vegas tournament a couple of weeks ago.
At the Las Vegas tournament, the Lady Warriors were missing two players because of disciplinary problems.
Against Belen, Socorro had a full roster for the first time this season. Jumping out to an 8-2 lead in the first quarter, Socorro showed what it may be capable of this season.
“I thought we played real aggressive,” Socorro coach Joseph Garcia said. “We were able to press for four quarters. In the first half, Belen had 21 turnovers and did not run one set play because of our press.”
Socorro’s half-court trap and full-court defense provided for many scoring opportunities. Senior Roxanne Silva (18), Brittany McDaniel (6) and Junior Kianna Gonzales (5) helped Socorro to a 30-14 halftime lead.
Belen opened the second half by scoring the first three points, but Socorro quickly widened its lead again. The Lady Warriors put the game away with a 14-3 run and led 43-21 after three quarters.
Belen scored 22 points in the fourth quarter but it was not enough.
Silva led all scorers with 37 points and 14 rebounds and McDaniel added 12 points and eightsteals. Nicolle Sanchez led Belen with 18 points.
“Last year, Belen beat us in Socorro by 20 points and they hit nine three-pointers,” Garcia said. “This year, we held them to two threes. I thought that was a big difference in the game. Our defensive pressure was the No. 1 difference this game with Brittany playing center field. Trissta Peralta and Jaden James trapping on the press was a key.
Socorro played at West Las Vegas Tuesday night and fell 53-43.
The Lady Warriors will be at Pojoaque on Friday.
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Good Sam's In Socorro

Outgoing Good Sam’s Director Craig Thomas (left) talks with Physical Therapist Jose Herrera about his new position at Good Sam’s in Greeley, Colo. at a party given in Thomas’ honor Thursday. Replacing Thomas on a temporary basis will be Ruth Leitel. “Socorro is a fine community and I’ve had a great experience being a part if it,” Thomas said. A permanent director will be named at a later date.

Below: Members of the Good Sam RV club of Socorro delivered presents to the nursing home a couple of weeks ago.

Photos by John Larson and John Severance
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Magdalena Boys, Girls. Reserve Boys Remain Undefeated

Mountain Mail reports

The Magdalena boys basketball team improved to 5-0 with a pair of road victories.
On Dec. 8, the Steers traveled to Hot Springs and came away with a 51-47 victory and on Dec. 11, the Steers won at Carizozzo.
“We led by 18 going into the 4th quarter and held on to win,” Magdalena coach Jory Mirabal said of the Hot Springs game. “The boys played their hearts out and dealt with quite a bit of adversity to earn a hard fought win.”
Reg Peralto led the Steers with 22 points.
The Magdalena boys travel to Mountainair on Dec. 18 and host Quemado on Dec. 19.
The Magdalena girls team also improved to 5-0 with a 62-36 victory at Tularosa on Dec. 12. The Lady Steers will travel to Laguna Acoma on Dec. 17.
The Reserve boys basketball team improved to 5-0 with a home win against Duncan on Dec. 8 and a road win at Menaul Dec. 11. The Mountaineers beat Duncan 42-40 and won at Menaul 55-39.
The Mountaineers will look to remain unbeaten when they take part in the Bugg Light Invitational at Menaul on Dec. 17.
The Reserve girls team fell to 1-4 with a loss to Duncan (46-27) and Menaul (53-27). They also will take part in the Bugg Light Invitational at Menaul on Dec. 17.
The Alamo boys basketball team (0-3) played Mountainair extremely tough before falling 68-66.
They will take part in the White Mountain Tournament at Mescalero Apache School this weekend.
The Alamo girls team also is scheduled to take part in the Mescalero tournament.
The Quemado boys basketball team (6-3) finished second in the Mountain Top tournament at Cloudcroft last weekend. The Eagles beat Capitan 84-46 and Animas 69-52 to reach the finals.
But in the finals, the Eagles ran into Cliff High School, which came away with a 75-40 win.
Quemado will meet Ramah Dec. 18 before traveling to Magdalena Dec. 19.
The Quemado girls team also took part in the Mountain Top tournament and lost to Gateway Christian 46-30 and Capitan 57-24.
The Lady Eagles (1-4) will play at Ramah on Dec. 18.
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Confluence Riverine Park Vandalized

SOCORRO – The Save Our Bosque Task Force and Socorro Ham Radio Operators are offering up a $500 reward.
They want information leading to the conviction of the person or persons who vandalized the Confluence Riverine Park in north Socorro. The park is located near the flood control channel in the north end of the Socorro. “It’s where Water Canyon dumps into the Rio Grande,” said Doug Boykin, the president of the Save our Bosque Task Force.
According to Boykin, a half dozen wood posts that were cemented in the ground were broken and some aluminum cable was stolen. In addition, trash was dumped on the north side of the flood control channel.
“The park was built in 1997 and it has taken a long time to make the transition from a trash dump to a recreation area,” said Boykin, who said there are 15 such picnic areas. “Every once in a while, one of the picnic areas gets hammered.
“We got a report two or three weeks ago of a black Toyota four-wheel pickup doing wheelies in the area. It might have been someone having fun and they lost control of their vehicle during their party. Unfortunately, we could not get a license plate. I am hoping it was accidental but it might have been on purpose. We are going to schedule a repair date in three weeks,” Boykin said. “If anybody would like to donate material or their time to fix the posts, it would be appreciated.”
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Alamo school promotes safety, health

By Nathalie Nance
For the Mountain Mail


ALAMO -- Since 2005, the Alamo Navajo School has been part of a national initiative called Safe Schools/Healthy Students in order to reduce violent behavior and improve health among its students. Recent data show that this initiative has already started to pay off, with a 30 percent reduction of violent behavior, according to the project director for Safe Schools/Healthy Students, Steve Mills.
The Alamo is a fairly isolated community, with a high occurrence of depression, and in many ways it fits the description of an “at risk” community, where violent incidents could occur. There are problems with drugs and alcohol, and the formation of gangs, which might substitute for a more positive kind of social network. Even so, the Alamo school has had no major incidents.
“We are lucky to have kids that are respectful towards one another and we have had few fights,” Mills said.
Nevertheless, the school is addressing these latent problems in a number of ways. The grant has been used to hire counselors, a child educator, a security guard and staff at the Wellness Center.
Another result of the initiative is an extensive emergency response program for the entire school, which didn’t exist earlier. Moreover, partnerships among the different institutions of the Alamo - the school, the health clinic and the administrative center - as well as with the Navajo Police and the court have been established. For instance, health professionals are invited to the school and drug treatment and behavioral health services are available to the students.
Most of the work improving safety and health, however, has been preventive. For example, teachers have organized a variety of activities for the students: wood working, cooking classes, Navajo weaving, Girls and Boy Scouts, among others. As Mills pointed out, the single most important issue when it comes to a young person’s mental health is a solid relationship with an adult that cares.
“We asked our students ‘Do you have some one to talk to?’ ” Mills said.
Before the Alamo school actively started working with the Safe Schools/Healthy Students initiative, hardly any one replied that they did; now seventy percent say they do.
Parents are welcome to come to the school with questions. Mills advises parents that they shouldn’t be afraid to get involved with their child’s life.
“Don’t stop, even if they say ‘Leave me alone!’ ”

Photo by Nathalie Nance: Steve Mills works with one of his students at the Alamo Navajo School.
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Magdalena Marshal's Blotter

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


Nov. 27
An officer stopped a vehicle at 6:33 p.m. at Tenth Street and Kelly Road for no tail lights. The driver was arrested for DWI, and taken to the Marshal’s office where he blew a .14 blood alcohol level.

Nov. 28
An officer stopped a vehicle at 11:30 p.m. at Oak and Fourth streets. The driver was arrested on an outstanding warrant from District Court, and taken to the detention center in Socorro.

Dec. 2
An officer was called at 10 p.m. to a drinking establishment on First Street on the report of a fight. Five subjects in question had left the bar, and the officer put out a call to locate four of the subjects in an older Ford passenger car, and received assistance from the Socorro County Sheriff’s Department and New Mexico State Police. Three subjects were located by a Sheriff’s deputy walking on Highway 60 at mile marker 136, near Socorro. Their vehicle had rolled over near mile marker 134. Two weapons were found at the scene. All three were taken to Socorro General Hospital. The driver was charged with DWI.

Dec. 3
An officer took a report at 2:15 a.m. on a domestic on South Spruce Street. After interviews were taken charges were filed on a Socorro man for Battery and Intimidation of a Witness.
An officer took a report at 12:11 p.m. on South Elm Street on a burglary that had occurred the night before, where a compound bow, two rifles, and two pool cues had been stolen. The weapons recovered at the accident scene in the Dec. 2 report were owned by the victim. Four subjects have been charged with Aggravated Burglary after interviews with the suspects.
An officer took a report at 3:20 p.m. of an assault and battery that occurred at the Magdalena Schools parking area. Charges are pending.

Dec. 4
An officer stopped a man at 5:05 p.m. at Fifth Street and Kelly Road who was wanted on an outstanding warrant for probation violation. He was taken to the Socorro County Detention Center.

Dec. 7
An officer took a report at 1:10 p.m. of an accident at mile marker 114 on Highway 60. A chair had fallen off a pickup and struck a passing vehicle. No injuries were reported.

Dec. 10
An officer took an accident report at 3 p.m. at the Western Motel where a pickup backed into a motor home. No citations were issued.

Dec. 12
An officer was called at 3 a.m. to a residence on Ash Street on a report of Battery on a Household Member. A male subject fled the scene. The female refused medical treatment. Charges have been filed on the man.
An officer was called at 11:30 a.m. to Magdalena Hall Apartments where a female was reported overdosed on pills. Upon arrival the female stated that she just told her boyfriend that after a fight between the two, and it was not true. The boyfriend was in Pie Town at the time of the call.

Dec. 13
Officers assisted New Mexico State Police at 12:20 a.m. on a DWI arrest on South Pine. The female driver blew a .17 blood alcohol content level. She was taken to the Socorro County Detention Center.
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The Owl's Money Wall

Martha Garza of the Owl Bar and CafĂ© takes down the hundreds of ones, fives, and tens tacked on the wall of the famous San Antonio eatery by locals and tourists throughout the year. Owner Rowena Baca said when all the bills were counted up, she had $1,100 this year to donate to various charities, including the American Cancer Society, St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Good Sam’s, and the Boys’ and Girls’ Ranch. The Owl has raised $20,800 since the yearly tradition at the Owl began.

Photo by John Larson
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Continue To Bask In The Glow Of The Holiday Spirit

Luna News
By Kaye Mindar

With the UPS, Fed-Ex and the post office now being my best friends, I have decided that the Christmas crunch is official. I am trying to take the time for special cards and letters and I know that I will inevitably forget someone, but my heart is full even if my wallet is not.
I have been making a DVD of old home movies and I do not mind taking the time to edit it, and watch it over again. Christmas was difficult for my parents with six children. There were years when they did not get anything for each other, so that Santa could make his visit. There is one clip where my mother holds up a jar of bath beads. I remember spending five dollars on that gift at the local grocery store, but the expression on her face is worth a million dollars, and love connected with it is priceless. I am so grateful that it was captured forever on that home movie. Those kinds of feelings are all I really need for Christmas.
Graduations
Congratulations to Kassi Laney on her recent Master’s degree accomplishment, and Jessica Swapp on her recent Bachelor’s degree. We are very proud of our students who achieve such hard earned higher education accomplishments. Jessica came home with more than a diploma - and we wish her and her fiancĂ© Matt all of our best as they make wedding plans.
Christmas Dinner
The annual Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Christmas dinner, with special program and guest, will be held at 6 p.m. this Friday evening. Please bring your family and friends and a favorite dessert to share. This tradition is always a wonderful evening for socializing and a seasonal delight.
Christmas Music
The night of sacred music held last Sunday evening was a wonderful night of community and family, and we would like to thank Alberta Nicolds for all of her hard work and dedication to make it happen.
These programs are something that we hope to see continuing for all in Luna and our communities.
Preparedness Corner
The final canning day for the year was a great success. There is no word yet on the next canning session, although you may contact Joyce Laney for due dates of the next orders. We are preparing a new weekly series for the Mountain Mail of simple steps to follow in getting your family more self sufficient.
This is for everyone and we encourage every little step you can take in preparing - from starting slow, to expanding on what you have already acquired.
Genealogy Corner
While the Luna Family History Library has been closed due to computer problems, there are still people to help. Please contact Phyllis Price or Naomi Martineau. The Web site familysearch.org has grown by leaps and bounds. It has even been announced by the L.D.S. Church that technology and progress have surprised them in the nearly half a million names that are being added daily. Once again, we will provide tips in this column beginning in January.
Quote of the Week:
Just wanted to remind you, that sometimes success is better measured in smiles received, giggles heard, and hands held, than in dollars earned, deadlines met, and pounds shed.”
~ Notes From The Universe

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Of Rice and Mice and Sylvia the Famous Prosperous Architect

Sylvia
By Anne Sullivan

“What’s this?” asked Sylvia as I poured her dinner into her outside dish.
“It’s rice,” I said. “You’ll like it.”
“I doubt it.” Sylvia glared at the white kernels glowing in the sunlight in her dish. “This isn’t food. Where is my kibble and where are my biscuits?”
“This is your food for a while, Sylvia. You’ve thrown up in the house four times this week and I’m tired of cleaning it up.”
“Oh,” was all Sylvia could say. When she finished the rice she had a good deal to add, “That wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be but there wasn’t very much. It’s not what you could call a substantial meal. I don’t know why I threw up. It wasn’t something I meant to do. I certainly didn’t do it on purpose. And I have to say I need more than this….rice….to sustain me for the work I’m engaged in. You realize I’ve been working night and day on the plans for the Moushelter.”
I sat on the porch bench and, hoping to deflect the topic away from food, asked, “How are you coming with those plans?”
“Quite well, if I do say so myself.” Sylvia’s chest visibly puffed out. “The plans will be ready for construction in a few days.”
“Where is the building to be? Not too close to the house, I hope.”
“No, the site is up-canyon, almost to the end of our property. The big problem will be to get the mice to go that far. They really like it here.”
“Don’t I know it. I’d be willing to indulge in a little bribery to get them out of here,” I offered.
“It may come to that. Only we’ll call it a resettlement stimulus package.”
“What’s the layout of the building? I’m anxious to see the plans.”
“Well, somehow something got spilled on the plans so you’ll have to wait. I think Gordo did
it. You can see them after they’ve dried out. Meanwhile, if you’d like, I’ll give you the spiel.”
“Spiel away.”
“On the ground floor as you go in there will be a huge living/dining area with a kitchen to heat up treats. To one side of that is the workout room with ropes to chew through and plastic bags and more difficult materials like leather to train the teeth on.”
“A good idea.”
“And on the other side,” Sylvia went on, “is the library stocked with many books of every imaginable kind.”
“How nice. I didn’t know mice liked to read.”
“They don’t exactly read but they do devour the books.”
“Oh, I see. What’s their favorite category?”
“First of all, they don’t like the word category because it has a cat in it. I guess, if they have a favorite, it’s lengthy fiction. Stephen King has a new one. It’s 1072 pages. They’ll really like that one. It might last all winter if they don’t have to use it for a nest.”
“What do they use for nests?” I congratulated myself that my deflection strategy was working so well.
Sylvia seemed completely engrossed. “Cotton is very popular. Sheets and pillowcases are nice too. Right now, they’re using DeCon. There’s plenty of that in this house.”
“How sweet,” I said. “And where will the mice sleep?”
“On the second floor. You know how they like to live in the walls.”
“Yes, I know,” I said sourly.
“The upstairs of the building is made up entirely of walls with holes. Walls beside walls. Walls on top of walls and each hole is a separate apartment. It’s like a mouse pueblo.”
“It sounds like you’ve thought of everything.” I nodded my head in admiration.
“Indeed I have. I’ve given this project considerable thought. That’s why I need some stimulus food, something more exciting than lukewarm rice.”
“As soon as you stop throwing up for one entire day, you’ll go back to your regular diet. Isn’t that something to look forward to?”
“It is indeed. I need my strength to really go to work. I was hoping to have the Moushelter open by Christmas but I’m waiting on a permit for the septic. Construction isn’t easy these days.”
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