SOCORRO – Luis Aguilar, Prescilla Mauldin and Donald Wolberg all have something in common.
They all want to make a difference.
The three will get their chance beginning Jan. 12 when the three are sworn in as the newest board members of the Socorro Electric Cooperative.
In the Oct. 3 District III elections, the three unseated incumbents. Aguilar defeated Herman Romero, Mauldin beat Juan Gonzales and Wolberg defeated Harold Baca.
When the trustees meet on Jan. 12, they also will make history.
Mauldin will become the first woman to ever serve on the Socorro co-op board.
“I just want to make a difference, that is really the main reason why I ran,” Mauldin said. “My platform was that I wanted to have one meeting a month. I wanted to have a public forum.”
The public forum was the driving force behind Mauldin’s campaign.
“The city and the county have public forums and I used to work for the Socorro school districts and the board has a public forum as well,” Mauldin said.
“I think the Socorro Electric co-op should adopt a similar policy. Members should be allowed to speak if they have a question and not have to make an appointment for the following month.”
Mauldin realizes that she probably be on the short end of most votes.
“I likely will not be part of the majority but at least we will have a voice and we can go on the record,” she said.
Mauldin, a gift shop manager at the VLA, also vowed she would not take any excess money that was not earmarked for her expenditures.
“I have my own money,” she said. “That is their (members’) money.”
Wolberg, an adjunct professor at New Mexico Tech, echoed those sentiments.
“I am not going to take any money for attending any of those meetings,” Wolberg said.
“I made a pledge that I would not accept anything from anybody unless the people approved it. I have turned down the medical insurance, the dental insurance and the eye insurance.”
Mauldin said she turned down the insurance as well.
Wolberg, meanwhile, has other priorities.
“I want to introduce the public to the people who are out there risking their lives every day – the maintenance people of the co-op. They should know who the people are who keep their power on 24 hours a day. And we have to introduce the board to the general public. There has been a separation.”
Aguilar also wants to deal with the animosity between the board and its members.
“I kept reading about what was going on at the meetings and it was embedded in my thoughts,” Aguilar said. “Why was there so much animosity or whatever you want to call it at these meetings?
“Anyway, I kept maybe thinking well I have all kinds of time and I am somewhat intelligent and I thought I could contribute to an organization like the coop. So on the filing date, I was drinking my coffee in the morning and I told my wife that I was going to the co-op to file for candidate for trustee.”
And so he did.
“My platform was that I wanted to make things better if I could,” Aguilar said.
After winning the election, Aguilar began attending the meetings on a more regular basis.
And what he did he think of those meetings?
“I was appalled at the conduct at those meetings,” said Aguilar, who was the county manager in 1975. “You know we are all human and we should be able to conduct business in a better manner. I am hoping with the three of us coming in that the meetings will be more amicable.”
Thursday, January 7, 2010
SOCORRO – Luis Aguilar, Prescilla Mauldin and Donald Wolberg all have something in common.
SOCORRO – The City Council’s Budget Committee met Wednesday and decided to recommend that a lobbyist not be hired for the upcoming legislative session, but that money be earmarked for the following year.
The issue came up after Councilor Michael Olguin Jr. made that proposal at Monday night’s council meeting. At the council meeting Olguin recommended paying that person $5,000 for the 30-day session.
“It’s basically a lobbyist. The proposed fee of $5,000 would be for the entire legislative session, including committee hearings,” Olguin said. “The city needs this because it’s good to have first-hand knowledge of what’s going on in Santa Fe.
“For example, if it’s necessary for the mayor or any other city official to be there, the [lobbyist] would make sure he is aware of it,” he said. “Names for the position could be submitted to the mayor, who could then contact that person.”
Councilor Gordy Hicks agreed that in light of budget cuts in Santa Fe, a representative may be needed for the session.
“In today’s times with things getting cut at the state level, we need a specialist,” Hicks said. “Where’d you come up with that $5,000 figure? I just want to make sure we’re not putting too much (money) out there, or not enough.”
Mayor Ravi Bhasker also had money concerns.
“This sort of thing is not in our approved budget, plus the council would have to have a list of what we want this person to look at, and not just take a $5,000 check [to be there],” Bhasker said.
“It must be only approved by the council as a whole, since we’re spending the city’s money on this,” Councilor Donald Monette said.
City Clerk Pat Salome said the council needs “to look at who we want to hire, and then what we want them to look at during the legislative session.”
Councilor Mary Ann Chavez-Lopez suggested making inquiries to other municipalities on “how much they were spending on lobbyists.”
The Budget Committee, headed by Monette, recommended that the issue be studied further, and that a designated fee would be part of the annual budget.
The committee will submit its complete report at the next city council meeting, Jan. 19.
The legislative session also starts Jan. 19.
A ground breaking ceremony was held Tuesday for an evidence processing and storage facility at the New Mexico Firefighters Training Academy.
The 1,600-square foot facility will provide the State Fire Marshal’s Office with a secure location in which evidence needed for arson investigations will be preserved. Environmental controls will ensure that this critical evidence is preserved.
The Fire Marshal’s office is a division of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission.
State Fire Marshal John Standefer and his staff, along with Commissioners Sandy Jones, Jason Marks, and David King attended the groundbreaking, as well as officials from the city and county. While a quorum of the City Council was present, no official actions or business was conducted.
Jones said the new facility spotlights the importance of collaborative relationships between state and local government.
“Through our agreement with the City of Socorro, we’ve been able to continually enhance the services and infrastructure at the State Firefighters Training Academy – it’s the kind of relationship that not only benefits one local government, but all local governments when it comes to the important work our arson investigators do,” Jones said. “We’re proud of the strong ties we’ve built with New Mexico’s counties and municipalities.”
Brewbaker Construction of Las Cruces is the contractor.
Officials anticipate the $287,762 facility will be up and running by April 2010.
According to a separate PRC press release, Jones is turning over the reins as commission chairman to King. The commission elects a new chairman every year.
Photo: State and local officials took part in the groundbreaking for an evidence storage facility at the New Mexico Firefighters Training Academy Tuesday. Pictured (from left): PRC Commissioner David King, Councilor Peter Romero, Councilor Gordy Hicks, Mayor Ravi Bhasker, PRC Commissioner Jason Marks, County Commission Chairman Rosie Tripp, PRC Commissioner Sandy Jones, State Rep. Don Tripp, Councilor Mary Ann Chavez-Lopez, Architect John Barton, Contractor Art Brewbaker, Deputy Fire Marshal Reyes Romero, Deputy Fire Marshal Randy Arnold, Deputy Fire Marshal John Standerfer.
The 2009 municipal elections are only two months away, and both municipalities have a full slate of candidates for councilor and mayoral positions.
Tuesday was filing day for all persons seeking political office in all municipal elections statewide.
In Magdalena, two term Mayor Jim Wolfe has announced he will not seek a third term.
His seat is being contested by Barbara Baca, Jack Fairweather, and Sandy Julian.
Two Trustee seats currently being held by Dolly Dawson and Jack Fairweather will be contested. Both Dawson and Fairweather’s terms are ending in March. Dawson is running for re-election, with Diane Allen and Tommy Torres also seeking Trustee positions.
All seats are for four year terms.
Anyone who did not file for candidacy, but would still like to be considered by voters can declare their intention to be a write-in candidate at Village Hall next Tuesday, Jan. 12, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Voting will take place at the Magdalena Fire Department from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Mar. 2.
Village Clerk Rita Broaddus said she will be sending out absentee ballots January 26.
In-person absentee voting (early voting) begins Wednesday, Feb. 10 and ends Friday, Feb. 26.
Here are the candidates who filed for the Socorro City election in March. Write-in candidates need to file paperwork at City Hall on Jan. 12 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Mayor: Ravi Bhasker, Mark A. Santomenna
Council No. 1: Nick Fleming, Jean Louis Fraissinet, Noah D. Jaramillo, Harold Baca, Samel Pino.
Council No. 2: Donald Monette
Council No. 3: Gordon E. “Gordy Hicks, George Foulenfont
Council No. 4: Ernest Pargas Jr., Joe. L. Torres, David J. Locklar
A woman from Albuquerque reported at 5 p.m. that unknown suspects had broken out a window on her vehicle while it was parked in the Veguita area. The window had been broken by rocks, and one was still in the vehicle. There was body damage also caused by rocks. No suspects at time of report.
An officer met with both the suspect and the victim at 7:40 p.m. in Escondida. It was learned that the victim had come to pick up her daughter from the suspect, and take her to live in Truth or Consequences. The suspect did not want to release the daughter, and a physical confrontation ensued. Neither one wanted to press charges but wanted the incident documented.
An officer was dispatched at 6 p.m. to mile marker 144 on Interstate 25 on the report of a stolen ATV and trailer, being pulled by a blue Blazer, which was northbound from the Truth or Consequences area. The vehicle and trailer was located and pulled over. The driver stated he was transporting the trailer and ATV to Albuquerque for a friend. The actual owner of the ATV was contacted and positively identified the items as his. A criminal complaint was issued and the suspect is to appear in Magistrate Court Dec. 17 on the charge of receiving stolen property.
An officer responded at 8:15 a.m. to a call from Polvadera, where a man had been found deceased. It was learned that the deceased had numerous medical problems. OMI was called to the scene and the victim was pronounced. An officer investigated an abandoned vehicle at mile marker 163 on Interstate 25 at 9 a.m. The vehicle had extensive damage to the entire front end. A number was found and the owner was called. It was learned that the vehicle had been stolen from the Albuquerque area. The victim came to the location and recovered the vehicle. It is unknown where the vehicle sustained damage.
A Veguita woman reported at 4 p.m. that she found that jewelry and two saddles had been taken from her residence and storage shed. She gave the name of a possible suspect. The items had been taken sometime over a one month period the suspect was staying at her residence.
A woman in San Antonio reported at 4 a.m. that the suspect arrived at her house intoxicated. She said he consumed more alcoholic beverages after he got there. She stated that he asked for some paperwork and when she could not produce it he battered her, and then attempted to batter her sister. She had physical evidence of being battered. The suspect was placed under arrest and taken to the detention center.
A Veguita man reported at 10:27 a.m. that someone had broken the window to his shop. He stated that he heard his dogs barking at midnight, but did not see any suspicious characters in the area. No suspects at time of report.
A driver was pulled over at 8 p.m. for a traffic violation on Interstate 25 at mile marker 177. An NCIC check showed that the Los Lunas man had an outstanding warrant for his arrest. He was transported to the detention center.
A man in Veguita reported at noon that someone made entry into his home by breaking a window and opening the front door. Taken from the residence was audio/video equipment. No suspects at time of report.
A driver was pulled over at 11:45 p.m. in the vicinity of Wheeler and Monterey in Veguita and could not produce a driver’s license. An NCIC check showed that his license was suspended/revoked, plus he had a warrant for his arrest. He was taken to the detention center.
An officer responded at 7:23 a.m. on the report of a deceased person in Lemitar. The person had numerous medical problems. OMI was called to the scene and the victim was pronounced.
A man in San Antonio reported at 7:20 p.m. that he was westbound on Highway 380 when his left rear window was shattered. He stated that he believed someone fired a small projectile, like a BB or pellet, towards his vehicle and struck the window. He checked the area but could not see anyone. No suspects at time of report.
A woman came to the Sheriff’s Department at 2 p.m. stating that she had a warrant for her arrest and wanted to turn herself in. A check confirmed the warrant.
An officer met with adult probation officers who placed an arrest order on the suspect due to his having a positive “UA.” He was placed under arrest and transported to the Socorro County Detention Center.
A vehicle driven by a Socorro man was westbound on Highway 380 at 9:30 a.m. when it hit a patch of black ice. The driver lost control of the vehicle which exited the roadway at mile marker 47 and struck a guardrail, causing damage to both the guardrail and the vehicle.
A vehicle driven by a Mesquite, Nevada, woman was traveling westbound on Highway 60 at mile marker 125, when it entered a high wind area, and gusts of wind pushed the vehicle off the roadway, causing the tractor-trailer to overturn. There were no injuries and a tow truck was called to the scene. Due to high winds the semi was moved to a safe area, but the tow had to be postponed until the winds died down.
A Socorro man reported at 4 p.m. that unknown suspects killed two full grown cows and a calf. It appeared that another animal had been killed and possibly taken by the suspects. Evidence at mile marker 137 on Highway 60 indicated that this other animal had been dragged to a waiting vehicle and taken away. No suspects at time of report.
A Veguita man reported at 3 p.m. that he found a dead cow on the boundary of his property on Lopez Road. He was concerned with the odor and wanted to remove the cow from his property. It is unknown who owns the cow. The man had the cow removed.
An officer was dispatched at 11 a.m. to the Fort Craig rest area on Interstate 25 on a report of vandalism. The complainant stated that someone threw a rock through a window, which was double-paned. The rock was located inside the lobby area. Damaged was estimated at $300.
A man in Veguita reported at 3:30 p.m. that a black gooseneck trailer had been taken from property in Belen. The officer met with the victim’s neighbor who stated that he had been called, and said that a box truck was seen taking the trailer from the yard. The unknown suspect rammed the gate when leaving the yard with the trailer. The victim stated that he has had other items taken off the property in the past.
Nov. 6, 1938-Dec. 30, 2009
Ernest Ralph Perry, 71, passed away on Wednesday, Dec. 30, surrounded by his loving family, in Albuquerque. Ernie (Ralph, as he was better known) was born to Fred and Marian (Tafoya) Perry on November 6,1938 in Kelly. He is survived by his loving wife, Sara (Blane) Perry of Polvadera; his son, Jamie Perry and daughter-in-law Cindie of Riverside, Calif.; his daughter, Jodi Perry and son-in-law, Bill Weldon of Polvadera; sister-in-law, Dianna Perry of Lemitar; step grandchildren, Danielle Underwood; and Jake Underwood; aunt and uncle, Helen and Joe Padilla; many wonderful cousins; and his beloved dog, Kiwi.
Ralph is preceded in death by his parents and brother, Robert (Bob) Perry. Ralph left New Mexico at the age of 11, but New Mexico never left his heart. In 1985 his dream came true when he retired from Albertson's Grocers and returned to spend the rest of his life in Polvadera. He loved meeting people, and those fortunate enough to have met him will remember his kindness, happy spirit, and ever-present smile.
A Mass of Resurrection was celebrated on Tuesday, Jan. 5, at 11:00 am at the San Lorenzo Catholic Church in Polvadera, with Deacon Mike Ybarra as Celebrant.
Burial took place in the Polvadera Cemetery.Pallbearers were Dale Nunez, Manny Perry, Lonnie Gonzales, Dion Ortiz, Bill Weldon, and Jamie Perry. Honorary Pallbearers were Wayne Goble, Ted Tafoya, Tom Hartl, Steve Hartl, and his dice table buddies at Isleta and Santa Ana.
Arrangements were under the care of Steadman-Hall Funeral Home.
Mountain Mail Editor
I hate making resolutions but here are some wishes for 2010.
* With the new trustees being sworn in on Jan. 12, there will be a positive change in how the co-op conducts its business during all of its meetings.
* Since the legislature has to figure out what to do with a $700 million shortfall in its budget, it will not cut programs that are crucial to the livelihood of the City of Socorro, the county and Catron County.
* All the local high school teams and athletes play to their potential, have fun and win as many games as possible.
* The Mountain Mail continues to be the newspaper that readers in Socorro and Catron County depend on for their local news.
* The unemployment rate goes down and the economy stabilizes.
* Some qualified people in Socorro decide to be write-in candidates for the mayor and council member openings. The day to register is Jan. 12 and the deadline is 5 p.m.
* Everybody has a much better 2010 than 2009.
Back in October, Loretta Chavira, a 9-year-old who lives in La Joya, addressed the County Commission about a recycling project in her community.
It was one of the first stories I wrote as editor of the Mountain Mail and it remains one of my favorites.
I received an email from Loretta’s mom Mary about what has happened since.
And as it turns out, it’s been quite a bit.
Loretta was able to obtain recycle bins from Terry Tadano through the Chamber of Commerce, which she distributed to the residents in La Joya at one of its Community Development Association monthly meetings.
Loretta also was able to obtain $800 through the Keep New Mexico Beautiful grant, with the assistance of Tadano.
The next step for Loretta is that she is going to submit a "wish list" to Delilah Walsh for trash bags, reflective vests, can crushers and a big trash can w/wheels to transport the aluminum cans. Right now, she is just working on recycling aluminum cans.
The community had a Adopt A Highway cleanup on Dec. 19, 2009, where she participated in picking up trash on the highway - that is where she thought of the idea of reflective vests, so no one gets hurt. Her next venture is to call Leesburg Auto and Hick's Paint and Body shop to see if they would pick up any junk cars in the community.
A lot of people could learn from Loretta.
El Camino Real International Heritage Center will be hosting an on-going demonstration on building a carreta, or wagon, by Gary Williams.
Williams will be at the Center, located at 300 East County Road 1598 in San Antonio, demonstrating the building of a carreta Wednesday through Friday with the exception of closed state furlough dates. Williams is set to begin work on Jan. 13.
The carreta was the two-wheel, wooden wagon used in local transport of items in communities along El Camino Real, the 1,500 mile trail that connected Mexico and New Mexico .
Carros or carrotones were the four-wheeled wagons that were used on the long haul journeys of the trail.
Wagons played a very critical role in the transportation of goods and people on El Camino Real for hundreds of years. Transportation on these wagons was a long and treacherous journey that took as long as eight months, one way from Mexico City to Santa Fe.
With the introduction of the railroad into New Mexico during the late 1880s, the use of the carreta on the trail faded away, but still thrived as a form of transportation within the communities along El Camino Real until it was finally replaced by the automobile.
by Don and Margaret Wiltshire
The new year ahead often starts with a look back at the year just passed. I like to give the year before an evaluation based on my experiences. Subjectively, I think of all the good I have experienced and the bad.
Even at the end of a difficult year, one can be grateful they survived and are facing new possibilities. As it is said, “a better tomorrow” may be, well, “a day away”. If you think you will be here tomorrow, you are lucky. If you know you are passing, you may also be lucky, depending on your beliefs and experiences.
Anyway, January 1 is the marker we use to define a set of experiences. As good as any.
This January, Don and I have lived in Magdalena a decade and much of a year. I mention this because again this year Magdalena itself played a major part in my yearly “evaluation.” Once again “Magdalena” made my life experience a good one.
Magdalena thank you.
First I thought of all the people who worked so hard, who were so full of heart from before Thanksgiving right through the holidays. The sharing of love, care, food and gifts in families, among friends, and the wonderful organizations we have. From the Town Hall, Fire house, Marshal’s office, the Samaritan Center and churches and others. Such a small village, such a grand heart.
Then I thought of all the good things so many of you did before the holidays. The village that actually works to be there for people. Magdalena may not be unique, or could be, I can’t say. What I do know is how valuable you are. That you are home.
In another village a serious distance from Magdalena, life is different and yet similar. Our youngest daughter and oldest grandchild, Rebecca and Ixchel, have been spending their holidays in a small village in Cuba. Invited by a Cuban friend who now lives and works in Guatemala they are staying with his family.
It’s a small house, about 800 square feet. That’s just about the size of our home and many of the early houses of Magdalena.
For these holidays the house is home to 6 adults and 4 children.
The mother is up at dawn each day and to bed late each evening doing just about everything with few electronic helpers. She has a blender and uses it to make her own mayonnaise and butter. Laundry is done by hand as are all the other daily chores. It is more then a full day’s work.
The Christmas eve dinner was pork, yucca, fried plantains, beans and rice. For dessert, green papaya was cooked in lots of sugar. Generally the Cuban diet revolves around pork.
Since the “revolution” eating beef has been illegal and carries a hefty fine. I assume Cows are being protected for the making of milk, butter and cheese.
With the embargo, not a lot of food is imported.
Since farmers earn the same no matter what they produce, they produce fewer vegetables that are labor intensive. Cabbage, carrots and onions, a little corn and yucca are the main vegetables.
Everything gets used till it totally breaks down and then it is saved to recycle in another way.
“The Embargo” is the catch-all excuse for anything and everything the government doesn’t want to do. Many Cubans wonder how long the government would last without “The Embargo” to cover failures.
One thing they wouldn’t give up is their Health Care program. Twice as good as ours at much less cost. In terms of survival, it is one thing they don’t have to worry about.
I have heard nothing of a Christmas as most Americans know it.
However, in this village in Cuba, like Magdalena, caring for family, friends and one another is primary.
I give THANKS for it all and for the opportunity to share this new year.
By Doug May
Global warming is not a new issue. In July, 1997 the U.S. Senate reviewed the Kyoto Protocol and voted 95-0 against it (including the vote of Sen. Jeff Bingaman), but the Clinton delegation guided by Vice President Al Gore continued to support it and signed it for the administration in 1998.
In March last year, Harrison “Jack” Schmitt, the first scientist to walk on the moon and former senator spoke to the 2009 International Conference on Climate Change in New York City. This native of Silver City, New Mexico argued that the current warming is part of a natural cycle that began in the 1800s, as Earth began emerging from the “Little Ice Age” – a warming that began long before industrial emissions could have played a role. “It’s a political issue, Schmitt said of global warming fears in a recent interview. “It’s not a scientific issue,” Jack Fleck of the Albuquerque Journal reported.
To place a burden of cap and trade on the people of New Mexico at the same time that the state is trying to deal with a record-breaking decline in revenues seems unthinkable. Senator Steve Fischmann stated in an OP-ED peace in the December 21st Albuquerque Journal, “Projected general fund revenues for fiscal 2010 have declined over 25 percent (from $6.4 billion to $4.7 billion) with no sign of significant revenue growth in sight.” As a result of this situation the governor has created a citizen panel to review potential tax increases. I know of no such panel to address potential budget cuts.
While the governor and the legislature will consider new taxes, Keven Groenewold writing in the January issue of Enchantment states that the state’s Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) is considering a proposal to cap greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in New Mexico. This is like adding extra weight to an exhusted horse that is trying to pull the cart out of the mud.
Groenewold, who is a professional engineer and the Executive Vice President of the New Mexico Rural Electric Cooperative Association, further says, “Worst of all, this is a regulation that would exist for New Mexico businesses only. It would not apply in other states. The cost of energy and goods would increase significantly in New Mexico, putting our economy at a competitive disadvantage to states around us. Why would a business locate in New Mexico if it could have lower costs for energy, goods and services in a neighboring state?”
Before any single agency imposes such far-reaching and detrimental regulations the whole issue of global warming should continue to be examined. Is there really global warming? What is causing the variation in global temperatures? How does the ecosystem adjust to an increase in CO2? Many scientists are still seeking good answers, but they are under pressure from the outside.
“Politicians say, ‘We need to reduce the uncertainty,’ and I think that’s contributed to a certain mind-set where (climate scientists) try to reduce the uncertainty” when they talk about their research, said Judith Curry, chair of the school of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech. “I’m a little bit worried about that political pressure,” she said.
We need good scientific data and a comprehensive economic impact study before more regulations are mandated.
Groenewold encourages everyone to write to the New Mexico Environment Department, 1190 St. Francis Dr., N2153, Santa Fe, NM 87502. In the letter be sure to include the Case Number: 8-19. You can also go to www.ourenergy.coop to make your voice heard.
Doug May is a retired Lutheran pastor and his views do not necessarily represent the Mountain Mail.
The New Mexico Environmental Department has instituted new rules for those selling home prepared food.
According to a press release from the agency, as of Jan. 1, those who sell home-based food products are required to have a $100 yearly permit, and attend a food safety course.
The press release states that the permit “will allow the sale of non-potentially hazardous foods that can be prepared in home-based food processing operations within state jurisdiction.”
It says those foods include yeast and quick breads, cookies, cakes, tortillas, high sugar pies and pastries, high-sugar jam and jellies, dry mixes, candy and fudge - foods that do not support the rapid and progressive growth of infectious microorganisms, including botulism.
Home-based processed foods can only be sold at farmers markets, roadside stands, fairs, and fiestas located within the Environmental Department's jurisdiction.
Home-based foods can not be sold to or made available to retail stores for resale or sold through the Internet.
If applicable, those foods must be packaged in food grade packaging and labeled. The label must include the statement “home-based food product.”
Those selling home-based foods must attend or have attended within the last five years an Environmental Department-approved food safety training course.
The home-based food processing operation must have an approved water and waste water disposal and treatment system.
The residential areas designated as part of the home-based food processing operation are subject to inspection by Environmental Department.
The food permit costs $100 a year. To obtain a permit to operate, a seller can submit an application to the Socorro field office, 198 Neel Avenue. The application package is at http://www.nmenv.state.nm.us/fod/Food_Program or at the office on Neel Ave.
by Dave Wheelock
January 7, 2010. By now you may be weary of hearing, watching, and reading reviews of 2009 and forecasts for the coming year. A tendency toward overkill is especially tempting this year as our habit of recording history by decade provides an excuse to theorize on the consequences of the Bush Junior era, and prospects for what the Urban Dictionary dubs the “aughties.”
This is a short-sighted discussion, of course, as events in our neighborhoods, country, and world during the first decade of the 2000s have had roots in trends and policies long developing. As an example New Mexico, playground of U.S. Defense Department dollars since the days of World War Two, continues to trail almost all other states in most social indicators.
For those who consider peace, justice, and a sustainable world worth pursuing, 2009 served to lay bare some real world facts that we the people must acknowledge. The contortions against rational action engaged in by the President, Congress, the courts, and instrumentally the media have now confirmed beyond reasonable doubt that power, and not principle, rules. Issues that came to a head in 2009 have finally brought about transparency into government, and to a lesser extent corporate practices. Although it is not an encouraging picture, we must see clearly what we are up against.
In our national health care “debate” an approach with massive popular support, long proven to work elsewhere, was nakedly excluded EVEN FROM DISCUSSION in Congress, for no other plausible reason than because it did not serve the interests of the major players in what is revealingly known as the health care industry. Cowed congressional members told citizens a single-payer system had no chance of passing, then proceeded to prove their claim. In a subsequent scene from this national farce, even the half-baked show offering of a “public option” could not survive industrial scrutiny.
Following the collapse of the shell game on Wall Street, the fix was similarly in - change is damned. Although the final results of the reform effort are not officially in, the president’s appointment or reappointment of several leading architects of the Wall Street Way provide ample indication of how much elite insiders can expect to be inconvenienced.
Since the financial implosion the biggest companies, flexing the civil rights and protections afforded them as “persons” have become fewer yet larger, and even more powerful. Intertwined mega-corporations in the oil, coal, weapons, telecommunications, finance, insurance, industrial agriculture, and “security” businesses are either at the top of their game or about to cash in at astronomical levels.
Wealth levels of those in the upper percentiles have ballooned to unprecedented levels, riding increased levels of “productivity” by the American worker. Meanwhile, the gap continues to widen between those at the top and those who actually produce the society’s real wealth (or used to). For most of us, things are heading the other way in terms of wages, health care, pure food, water, and soil; educational attainment, time away from work, public and domestic tranquility, and on, and on. Workers are afraid to organize, citizens are spied upon, justice is slanted, and corporate spinmeisters have convinced teachers, firefighters, social workers, parents, and the elderly it’s their own fault they have to scratch to get by. Seemingly to add insult to injury, the “affordable” products Americans buy from foreign workers now holding their former jobs are usually poorly designed, defective, or poisonous.
This state of affairs is the logical conclusion of the corporate mission, elegantly simple in its legal description: maximize returns for the shareholder. Built through years of toil and disinformation, the status quo is sustained through a checkmate on our government, now operating as a congressional industry. This has become a global phenomenon, embraced by our allies and challenged only by governments our nation state ridicules or covertly undermines.
The situation in our country in 2010 is not about economic ideology. This is not the victory of individual freedom over the abuses of government. Rather it is the perversion of governmental and legal power through corporate mechanisms designed to serve the purposes of the richest class and those who obediently serve.
Now, as we face challenges demanding a drastic change in course – from the Age of Technology to the Age of Biology; from the rule of wealth to the rule of the public – we have found that change is only permitted to occur incrementally, on corporate terms.
Within this new decade, and the earlier the better, we will have to decide what is important, and what we can do without. Our culture must change. Our biggest heroes cannot remain those who consume the most, but those who give back the most.
Throughout human history it has been power, not ideology that determines the fate of people. Increasingly, power will also now determine the fate of the planet itself. There may still be time, in the decade of the 20-teens, for ordinary citizens to wield what in a democracy is theoretically the greatest power, the will of the people. One thing is certain: it will not be given to us.
Dave Wheelock, a member of the Oneida Nation, is a collegiate sports administrator and rugby coach with a BA in history. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mr. Wheelock's views do not necessarily represent those of the Mountain Mail.
By Nicky Romero
For the Mountain Mail
The Socorro Lady Warriors continued their winning ways in their first home game – two months since their first fall practice day. The Lady Warriors defeated Robertson 70-53 on Jan. 2.
“This was a big win for us because in the preseason poll, I had them ranked No. 2,” Socorro coach Joseph Garcia said. “They are a good team and putting up 70 points was key for us.”
Socorro opened the game, outscoring Robertson 20-6 in the first quarter with Roxanne Silva, the state’s leading scorer, scoring the first eight points.
Guard Kianna Gonzales scored 10 points in the second quarter and Silva added eight more as Socorro led 39-27 at halftime.
In the second half, Socorro kept up the pressure and got contributions from Jaden Jones, who had six points and Silva who added 15 more for a game-high total of 31 points.
Gonzales and Samantha Sedillo added five points each in the second half.
“Kianna Gonzales probably had the best game of her career,” Garcia said. “Teams are trying to take out Roxanne, but the good thing that it’s either going to be Jaden, Brittany, or Kianna that helps and scores.
“When we have two or three girls that score like that, we’re going to be tough to beat.”
Socorro shot 53 percent from the field, had 26 rebounds, 17 steals, 21 assists and 21 turnovers.
The Lady Warriors played at Bernalillo on Wednesday and will host Ruidoso on Friday at 7 p.m. and Tohatchi on Saturday at noon.
Special to the Mountain Mail
SOCORRO -- 2010 has gotten off to a record-breaking start for one Socorro Warrior basketball player. Junior guard Jared Marquez made 10 out of 13 three point attempts in the Warriors 91-79 loss at Tularosa last Saturday night. By making 10 three pointers, he passed Jason Valles, who tallied 9 threes against Deming in 1999.
"I would have to say Jared has got to be one of the best shooters I have ever seen or ever been apart of in my lifetime," Head Coach Lawrence Baca said of Marquez.
The Warriors took care of the Ruidoso Warriors on Tuesday night in Ruidoso, 65-51, giving them their third win in the last four games.
Socorro will continue their nine-game road trip on Friday as they travel to Portales to participate in the annual Portales shootout.
Socorro will face Portales High school on Friday followed by Artesia High School on Saturday.
The Warriors (4-6) were once again in a position to win against the Wildcats from Tularosa. Socorro maintained a 63-61 lead at one point in the fourth quarter before the Wildcats (6-1) caught fire, scoring 34 points in the fourth quarter to give them a 91-76 win.
Despite the 36 points from Marquez, Baca felt his team still put up a solid effort against one of the top 2A teams in the state.
“I thought we played very well, anytime you can score 79 points in a game were going to give ourselves a chance to win some games,” said Baca.
“I think the biggest factor on Tularosa putting up 91 points up against us is the fact that they shot the ball very well, it seemed everything they put up went in. Tularosa is a very good ball club.”
Michael Contreras had 12 points followed by Erik Garcia and Andrew Contreras contributing 10 points each for the Warriors.
Socorro has been hampered by turnovers throughout the season. The Warriors have averaged 19.9 turnovers per game up until Tuesday’s game against Ruidoso.
Socorro was able to take care of the ball with their lowest turnover total all year, 16 turnovers, and execute solid defense throughout the game.
Socorro held Ruidoso to 51 points compared to Socorro’s average of 62.4 points allowed per game.
“We took care of the ball a little better and we executed our offense,” said Baca. “Our press to our zone defense prevented them from executing their offense.”
Socorro was able to maintain a lead the entire game. At halftime, Socorro held a 33-25 lead. Socorro was able to keep Ruidoso from building any momentum in the second half outscoring them 32-26 for a 65-51 win.
Not only did Socorro get a much needed victory but there were four players in double figures. Socorro also had a new high point man, Michael Contreras, who had a season high 17 points.
“We had four guys that stepped it up and had a good game,” said Baca. “We can’t rely on Jared every game and it was nice to see support from other guys.”
Zach Esquivel had his best game of the year with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Marquez also added 15 points, while Erik Garcia had 10 points and 10 assists.
The Magdalena Ridge Observatory, an arm of New Mexico Tech, is getting $4 million to continue the expansion of the nine telescope interferometer.
The existing facility is currently being used to support the Department of Defense in applications including sensor development and testing, space weather monitoring and the rapid tracking of Low-Earth Orbit objects and debris.
The newly acquired allocation will enable the facility to carry out the Smart Instrument Development project, that will make it a test bed for numerous astronomical and DOD projects, and will enhance the capabilities of the existing observatory, particularly in the area of Space Situational Awareness.
This project will result in the most comprehensive images of astronomical and man-made objects yet available.
“At 10,600 feet on South Baldy, this is the fourth highest observatory in the world,” Eileen Ryan, the 2.4 Meter Telescope Director, said in a 2009 interview.
“One of our missions at the Magdalena Ridge Observatory is to track the orbits of near earth objects,” Ryan said.
The chance of an asteroid or large meteor striking a populated area is small, but not implausible, Ryan said. “MRO scientists and astronomers, working with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and NASA’s Spaceguard program, have developed a computer model to predict where and when a possible catastrophic collision would occur.
“There are five ‘discovery’ telescopes in the western hemisphere whose job it is to scan the night sky to discover and catalogue that large objects that could hit the earth,” Ryan said. “They operate every clear night and have wide field of view. When they spot an object moving in the night sky that would be asteroids or comets.”
Once the discovery telescopes find an object, “we do additional work to ascertain its orbit.”
Astronomers at the MRO routinely work with scientists at other institutions on outer space observations.
In 2007, the MRO partnered with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to observe Pluto as it passed in front of a fifteenth magnitude star in the constellation Sagittarius, as part of research into the dwarf planet’s atmosphere.
The telescope is also used to track missiles launched at White Sands Missile Range.
Also in the bill is $3.2 million earmarked for New Mexico Tech’s Playas Training and Research Center. The funding would establish Playas Training and Research Center as a Joint National Training and Experimentation Site for the National Guard Bureau. The Bureau will use the town for training areas of joint operations between services as well as intergovernmental agencies, irregular warfare, new and emerging missions, emergency management and civil affairs and peacekeeping missions, a press release said.
The $7.2 million Tech is getting is part of a $45 million defense spending bill passed by Congress. Both New Mexico senators voted to approve the measure.
“This legislation provides a much-deserved 3.4 percent pay increase for our men and women in uniform, and supports very important defense-related projects based in our state,” Senator Jeff Bingaman said.
SOCORRO - The campus of New Mexico Tech have a different look for the next few months while work goes on replacing pipes serving the hot water loop at the university. The Board of Regents issued a $4.34 million construction contract to replace the entire system, which has deteriorated.
In a special meeting Dec. 18, the regents issued the contract to TLC Plumbing and Heating of Albuquerque, which submitted the low bid of $4,338,000.
TLC Plumbing will have one year to complete the project. The hot water loop is the university’s underground utility that provides heat to all buildings on campus. The aging system has suffered numerous failures in recent years. The 2010 project will replace the entire system in phases to minimize campus disruptions.
Work is set to begin in late February when TLC will set up a staging area in the parking lot north of Skeen Library.
University president Dan Lopez said he asked for the go-ahead before the end of the year because a hot water loop failure could present health and safety issues for Tech’s students and employees due to heat loss during cold winter months.
“The hot water loop has been a windy road for the past five years,” Lopez told the Regents. “Unfortunately, one of our (previous) bids was challenged and we had to open it up again.
“We had to get this moving before the legislative session met and they have been pulling back a lot of the capital money. We had eight bidders and we had five bids between $4.3 million and $5.4 million.”
Kimela Miller, the director of purchasing services at the university, assured the Regents that TLC Plumbing’s licenses were all in order and current.
When completed, the hot water loop will also tie into the new geothermal project currently under way at the base of ‘M’ Mountain. Geothermally heated water will be pumped from the mountain to a heat exchanger at the west side of campus. The heating loop will connect at the new facility.
Gross receipts tax generated by the $4.3 million project would boost the City of Socorro’s revenue by $100,000 over the life of the project, according to Mayor Ravi Bhasker.
“Construction and services at New Mexico Tech are not gross receipts tax exempt,” Bhasker said. “Normally the gross receipts tax is included in the bid.”
John Severance contributed to this article.
by John Severance
SOCORRO – Subway is back.
The home of the $5 Footlong made its grand opening Wednesday Jan. 6, taking up residence on California Street right in front of Wal-Mart.
Mike Kapp and wife Rhonda, who live in Ruidoso, will run the restaurant known for its sandwiches. They hired 13 employees locally and the manager will be Adam Paz of Socorro, who previously was a manager at Arbys.
“We had close to 40 applicants,” Rhonda said. “They trained at our Ruidoso locations.”
In 2005, the Kapps moved to Ruidoso to retire after spending 27 years running McDonald’s franchises.
But the Kapps still had the restaurant bug.
They got back into the business, owning three Subways in Ruidoso.
“I took the first year off,” Mike said. “But I really needed something to do so we decided to buy a franchise in Ruidoso.”
In April of last year, the Kapps were approached about acquiring a Subway in Socorro.
Eight months later, the Subway in Socorro was a reality.
It opened at 8 a.m. on Wednesday.
“We are really excited,” Rhonda said. “You can be a lot more hands-on with Subways. We are always looking another challenge and opportunity and the pieces fell into place.
We like to be in these smaller communities.”
By noon Wednesday, the line was out the door on Wednesday but the estimated wait time for a sandwich was just 15 minutes.
Rhonda said they will continue to have the $5 footlongs and a daily $2.99 six-inch sandwich special.
SOCORRO - The Management Department at New Mexico Tech and the national laboratories are partnering on a new project to pair management and engineering students with Socorro small businesses.
Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories are providing funding through the New Mexico Small Business Assistance Program so that students can assess the technology needs of small business firms and provide input for solving specific problems.
Divided into two teams, the senior level students are working with veterinary clinic Animal Haven, and Intor Inc., a thin-film optics manufacturer in Socorro.
The Animal Haven project, funded by Los Alamos National Laboratory, is focused on developing an inexpensive technology solution to a manual recordkeeping problem. The project team’s task is to devise a stream-lined method of digitally tracking medications at the veterinary clinic.
To comply with federal regulations, veterinary clinics must keep copious records of their medications. The students are tasked with developing a fully automated and cost-effective technique of tracking medications.
The Intor project is funded by Sandia labs. The 15-year-old company on the north side of Socorro manufactures optical thin films that filter all light except for certain wavelengths. These thin films are used in a variety of devices, including blood scanners, spectrometers, other biomedical devices and range finders.
The project team’s challenge is twofold: first, they will assess the company’s thin film technology to identify opportunities for improvement, and then the students will conduct a market analysis with an eye towards finding areas of potential growth.
Winclechter said they learned as much as they can about Intor’s niche within the optics industry so they can narrow down their focus for a marketing development plan.
Intor co-owner Scott Botko said he jumped at the opportunity to partner with management students at New Mexico Tech.
“These students are all studying business and management and I don’t have any background in that,” Botko said.
Management Department chair Peter Anselmo, said these partnerships should be the first of many projects under this program that will showcase the capabilities of Tech students.
“Tech provides a uniquely rigorous and stimulating student environment,” Anselmo said.
by Anne Sullivan
“It’s another year, isn’t it?” Sylvia asked when she’d finished her dinner.
“It is that,” I agreed from my comfortable chair. NBC News was on the TV showing all the fireworks from Auckland and Sydney but I paid little attention, so absorbed was I in the latest Steve Havill book.
“Is it going to be a good year?” Sylvia wondered out loud as she waddled to her inside bed. Since it was minus one degree outside, she had little intention of playing in the 15 inches of snow that had blessed Single Canyon in the last few days.
“Could be. I hope so,” I said without looking up from my book.
“It’s an even-numbered year,” Sylvia observed. “I’ve noticed that even numbers are more friendly. Look at all the awful things that have happened in odd-numbered years: Pearl Harbor, 9-11.”
“I was born in an odd-numbered year,” I said.
“I meant odd-numbered years that end in the number one, like 2001 and 1941,” Sylvia quickly retracted.
“I was born in an odd-numbered year ending in the number one. I’m not saying which one.”
“Oh,” she said and was quiet for a minute or two before adding, “Well, I suppose there’s an exception to every rule.”
“I suppose so,” I said, returning to my book.
I read half a page before Sylvia interrupted again with, “Isn’t it beautiful with all the snow covering the oak branches and the full moon making shadows on the snow?”
“Very beautiful,” I agreed. “Very cold.”
“It’s winter. It’s supposed to be cold. It doesn’t do any good to complain.”
“Bound to do some good,” I disagreed. “Helps my disposition.”
“It can use some help,” Sylvia said as she nosed one of her toys out of her bed. “I just feel dissatisfied,” she went on. “I have this feeling hanging over me that I should resolve, and actually do, something noteworthy, something very unselfish, for which I will become famous. Don’t you feel that way?”
“No, the way I feel is that I’m just glad to survive, just to get through the winter without too many disasters. For example, I drove home last night through the snowstorm and I didn’t go off the road. That’s enough of a triumph for me.”
“Humph,” muttered Sylvia. “Let’s see how you feel about it in the morning when you have to dig the pickup out. Don’t forget, I saw you getting stuck in the snow.”
“I have to admit, there’s more snow than I thought. However, I refuse to be daunted by it.”
“That’s the spirit,” said Sylvia. “It’s bound to melt by Spring and you’ll be able to get out once again. I hope you bought a lot of Iams. At least I won’t starve.”
“Neither of us will starve,” I said. “While you’re thinking of something world-shaking to make a resolution about, I shall just go on in my small unobtrusive way.”
“You could go on a little faster. I think you could resolve to get the Christmas tree and decorations down and put away before St. Patrick’s Day.”
“Sylvia, you don’t properly appreciate how beautiful the tree is and all it stands for.”
“After all these years, I appreciate how hard it is for you to part with the Christmas tree. However, in view of safety and dry needles, do you think you could resolve to take it down by Valentine’s Day at the latest?”
I hesitated but a second before answering, “It’s done, if you, in view of your health and my rugs, resolve not to eat any more frozen manure this winter.”
Her horrified expression forced me to go on, “I realize it’s not exactly a world-shaking resolution, but you must have developed a sensitivity to frozen manu. It now makes you sick and I’m sick of you throwing up in the house.”
Sylvia rose from her bed and walked over to me with paw outstretched. “Deal,” she said as we shook and the bells tolled midnight..
by Debbie Leschner
The Quemado Senior Center will have a Pool Tournament on Tuesday, Jan. 12 at 8 a.m.
Datil seniors will join Quemado for quilting in the morning with bingo after lunch on Thursday, Jan. 14.
Lunch for the week will be Monday – Spaghetti, Tuesday – Chicken strips, Wednesday – BBQ beef sandwich, Thursday – pork roast and Friday – Stuffed cabbage. The center does provide home delivered meals to those seniors who qualify. Please call the center at 773-4820 by 9 a.m. for lunch reservations and more information on the home delivered meals.
Quemado Commodities will be Saturday, Jan. 16 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Community Center. For more information call Dorothy Kalberg at 773-4582.
Pie Town Pile Burn
The Socorro Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management is planning to burn slash piles west and south of Pie Town during January, February and March, weather permitting.
The slash piles are located on 208 acres immediately south and west of Pie Town and south of Highway 60, with another 10 acres of piles located immediately south of the Blue Topaz Ranch subdivision and north of Highway 60. Questions about the burn should be directed to BLM’s Socorro Field Office at (575) 835-0412.
It was strictly standing room only at the Datil Elementary School gym for the annual Christmas play and dinner last Wednesday, Dec.16.
Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles from afar plus many other Datilians who just came to enjoy themselves were not disappointed as the evening far surpassed even the most optimistic expectations.
Entitled ‘T’’was One Crazy Night Before Christmas’ and described in the program as an All School Holiday Revue.
The play was adapted and directed by Head Teacher Mona Bassett who deserves much credit and applause. She did a terrific job and the consensus of the audience was that this was the best ever performance. It earned many a laugh as well as thunderous applause.
A present-day tale of an enormous family’s visit to Grandmother’s house and the difficulties encountered these days in travel and getting accommodations, the play was well-acted and well-rehearsed. The children sang the many Christmas songs with spirit and verve, not only knowing the words but also knowing what they meant.
Highlights included Jared Gibson’s steady portrayal of Clement C. Moore as the narrator in which he gave a clear, calm performance, underplaying exactly the right amount; the lovely solo ‘In This House Tonight’ sung by Caitlynn Atwood as Grandmother; the haunting harmonica solos of ‘Silent Night’ and ‘Friendly Beasts’ by Gibson Johnston and the lengthy rousing square dance by the Country Cousins.
Over 135 turkey, beef, potato, stuffing, green beans and dessert dinners were sold earning a good sum for the Booster Club.
by Kaye Mindar
I am sitting here listening to Internet radio; I have four pages opened on my computer and I just heard the funniest, most true commercial.
It asked, “Do you check your wall on Facebook or your inbox more now than ever? Even when you see posts from people you didn’t even like in high school? Or more than anyone is even on the computer?”
Oh no! They caught me! It is a commercial to go back to listening to the radio, which mine (by the way) is not hooked up to the computer. It is a separate box hooked to my stereo. I think they are right. January is a good month to get out there and touch someone, although I do have family all over the country and do appreciate the Internet, it does take over my days, and I’m afraid, sometimes my nights.
So when I start college, yes, online classes in 2 weeks, I will have to be strong and focus on one window opened at a time and special times dedicated to the most important tasks and people of each day.
I am off to a good start. I actually danced in the kitchen with my granddaughter. She thought I was crazy at first, but those moments you seldom get a second chance at. January here I come, I will try a whole new happier me in 2010.
Our deepest condolences go out to the Richard Gray family at the loss of his father on Sunday. Bill Gray was a frequent summer visitor to Luna and will be missed by many. The family has chosen cremation and a memorial service was held at the L.D.S. Church in Silver City on Thursday at 10 a.m.
Grace Derrick organized a lovely wedding and small reception for Glen and Iva Derrick last Saturday at the Luna Community Center. There were about 30 in attendance and it was a wonderful celebration of a longtime friendship and love.
Alpine Thrift Store
The Alpine Community Thrift store will be having a sale from 9 to 11 a.m. this Saturday. All items will be sold half price and it is a worthy cause. It’s always fun to go “junkin”.
The rule to follow on home preparedness, I am sorry to write, is that we are never finished. We store what we use and we use what we store. Also we must rotate, rotate, rotate. In 2010 our goal is simple and we will alternate with the genealogy corner.
Our theme this year is for preparedness is “Back to Basic”. Preparedness, when properly pursued, is a way of life, not a sudden, spectacular program. May we individually and collectively be ever self-reliant.
“This is our heritage and our obligation.” said LDS's Spencer W. Kimball. Preparedness isn’t just about having a well stocked food pantry. It is about being able to stay in control when you find yourself in “out of control situations.” We aren’t trying to be prepared for a specific disaster or crisis. We want to be prepared for any disaster or crisis
Quote of the Week
"There are two seasonal diversions that can ease the bite of any winter. One is the January thaw. The other is the seed catalogues."
~ Hal Borland