SOCORRO - Memorial Day has a special meaning for Magali Renault of Socorro. On that day she remembers the day her town in France was liberated by the Americans, and honors the servicemen who sacrificed their lives in the process.
And she has a vivid memory of seeing the 300 dead paratroopers in the town square wrapped in their parachutes.
“I remember little ‘snapshots’ of that time,” Magali said.
Magali, now 88, grew up with her parents, Paul and Elise Larose, in a town called Draguignan, which became the scene of an Allied invasion by Allied forces to push the German army out of the Provence area in southern France.
She was 12 years old when over 90,000 Allied troops began driving out the Germans on August 15, 1944, ending a two-year occupation of her hometown.
“No one has ever asked me about my experiences during the Nazi occupation before,” she said in an interview in her home on South Drive.
She said she was first made aware of the war in late 1939.
“In the town, the police force was made up of local police, the gendarmerie, and the Federal Police,” she said. “I remember one day the federal cops – they wore big black raincoats - came into our living room and talked to my father, who was a veteran of World War I. They told him he would be put on a list to be drafted. This was the first I remember knowing about the war. My father was 45 at the time.”
But ultimately her father was not drafted, but the approach of war consumed the town’s populace.
“We all thought the Germans were going to come and bomb us from dirigibles or use poison gas,” Magali said. “It was mandatory after that to paint your windows dark blue or black, and use masking tape, too, so no light would show through.”
A few months later, after the fall of Paris in June 1940, things began to change in Draguignan.
“There were a lot of people coming into the town. They called it the exodus,” Magali said. “They were coming from the north to avoid being arrested by the Germans. Not just the Jews but others, too.
“We rented two rooms in our house to refugees,” she said. “One said he walked 800 miles to get to Draguignan. And another who worked a print shop in Paris.”
Other than inconveniences such as the rationing of flour and gasoline, “we were basically fine until 1942,” Magali said. “But day to day living was much worse when the Germans took over the town in ‘42. I was 10 years old at that time.”
After that, she and her family began to notice changes, beginning with some of the familiar shops in town being closed.
“The Jews had businesses in town,” she said. “I would walk by and see them boarded up, and I knew the Jews had been taken. There would be a Star of David painted on the front.”
For the next two years the German presence was felt on all levels, she said.
“They took over the nicest hotel in town for their military headquarters, and my school was taken over in 1942 for a hospital,” Magali said. “We had to go to school at another building that was available, and had to go in half day shifts.
“I remember the German patrols walking the avenue. The German soldiers walked in pairs, in the middle of the street. And they would be singing loudly,” she said. “Do you know why? Out of fear. They walked in the middle of the street so they could have clear vision around them. To the left and to the right.
“When I saw them coming, I walked very close to the wall and wouldn’t look at them,” Magali said. “But generally, the German soldiers ignored us. And we ignored them as much as possible.”
As time went on during the occupation, food became hard to come by.
“We were hungry all during that war. The queues at the market were longer and longer and produce kept getting scarcer and scarcer. The vegetables were running out. It was down to potatoes and eggplant,” she said. “Eggplant is OK but when you have it every single day you don’t want to eat ever again.
“No flour. No yeast. No bread. You see, to the French bread is the main food,” she said. “But we did have honey.
“You could say we were lucky. We had cousins who were farmers. We did a lot of bartering for survival,” Magali said. “My uncle was a beekeeper and sold honey. It was like gold. People were even putting honey in their coffee. Awful!”
She said her father could not work regularly because he “had a garage before the war. But now there was no gasoline.”
The French Underground was also active in Draguignan from 1942 to 1944.
“We knew some of the underground resistance fighters. My uncle – the beekeeper – worked with the underground,” Magali said. “He would go away - disappear for a day or two – and no one knew where he went. Later there would be news that a bridge or something had been blown up. He would say ‘I already know about that’.”
She remembers her aunt saying “whenever I heard loud steps coming from boots up the stairs he didn’t know if the Gestapo was coming for him.”
Some of her family’s friends were taken to jail, Magali said.
But everything changed again in mid-August, 1944.
“The first hint of Americans coming was that there was a lot of traffic in town, all of a sudden. It was the Germans and the collaborators leaving,” she said. “Then there was so much noise. The Germans had set fires at the ammunition depot. They left in a hurry.
“Later on in the night we were starting to hear the pounding of the coast. To make an opening for the troops.”
It was August 15, the beginning of Operation Dragoon, which had been planned as a follow-up to the D-Day invasion at Normandy.
“They did it for strategic reasons. The Rhone Valley (north of Dragaugnan) had to be kept safe, and not allow the Germans to re-group there,” Magali said.
The invasion was an amphibious assault by the U.S. Army’s Seventh Division and the French First Army. A fleet of more than fifty cruisers and destroyers supported the landings.
It was preceded by an airborne assault.
“From the hill, we could see gliders dropping equipment; then my father said it looks like there’s a man falling out of the plane. It was a paratrooper. And then more and more followed,” she said.
Later she learned that scores of soldiers were shot while parachuting down.
“The noise of the many, many bombs that night was terrible and the ground was shaking under my feet,” she said. “I know they bombed the railroad and other places. They were very accurate.”
Magali said the next day she and her mother, looking for her father, walked to the town square.
“My mother said ‘don’t look,’ and tried to turn me away, but had to look to see what she was talking about,” she said. “It was terrible. We found all these dead bodies. Americans. Rolled up in parachutes. They said 300 bodies were there.
“These were the men who came to liberate our town. And they were lying there dead. I remember you could see their boots sticking out from the white parachutes,” she said. “And there was the smell of death. So sad. So sad. We had just seen them jump from the airplanes to liberate us. A tragedy for the country.”
The dead paratroopers included 252 Americans of the 517th Regimental Parachute Combat Team.
Although French law dictated that foreign nationals could not be buried without a permit signed by a Prefect or mayor, after 48 hours with nothing being done, a local doctor said he would take responsibility and arranged for the burials in a field donated by a farmer. The cemetery still exists.
“The other soldiers came into town and they had camouflaged faces. I had never heard of that before,” Magali said. “There were some French Canadians that came to my house. My father wanted to give them wine. They wanted water.
“Americans brought bags of flour. And chocolate. I hadn’t seen chocolate for two years.”
She said she and her friends would later go hang out where the GI’s were.
“We wanted to practice our English on the Americans working there,” she said.
Magali moved to Socorro in 1964 with her husband, the late Jacques Renault, who was a geologist at the state’s Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources at New Mexico Tech, eventually becoming emeritus senior geologist at Tech.
“These are my memories. It’s important to remember that the American soldiers sacrificed their lives in the name of freedom.”
Magali Renault speaks from experience.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
SOCORRO - Memorial Day has a special meaning for Magali Renault of Socorro. On that day she remembers the day her town in France was liberated by the Americans, and honors the servicemen who sacrificed their lives in the process.
Thursday and Friday are the big days for graduating seniors in the Mountain Mail coverage year. On Thursday, seniors from Alamo will be graduating and on Friday, seniors from Socorro, Magdalena, Quemado and Reserve will be graduating.
It’s a special time for all involved and photos of the graduating seniors can be found inside this edition of the Mountain Mail.
At Socorro, graduation will take place at 7 p.m. Friday at Warrior Stadium. According to the school, there are 128 graduates and the keynote speaker will be Socorro High graduate Charles Kip Purcell. The valedictorian is Moaz Soliman and the salutatorian is Mariah Deters.
At Magdalena, graduation also will be at 7 p.m. in the gymnasium. There will be 36 graduates and the keynote speaker will be Barbara Gordon. Nicole Hardy is the valedictorian and Bryce Milligan is the salutatorian.
At Quemado, graduation will be at 7 p.m. Friday at the gymnasium. There will be 13 graduates and the speaker will be Dawn Armstrong. The valedictorian is Caleb Ramer and the salutatorian will be Caleb Ramer.
At Reserve, graduation will be at 7 p.m. Friday at the gymnasium. There are five graduates and the valedictorian is Vanessa Chavez and the salutatorian is Nolen Snyder.
Alamo held its graduation Thursday and there were 13 graduates. The speaker was Dr. Sherry Ellison and the valedictorian is Jovita Smiley and the salutatorian is Varlene Apachito.
New Mexico Tech
Periodically, the university awards honorary degrees to friends of the university. This year, Tech issued one such degree to Stanley L. Bryn, the founder and president of Intor, Inc., a local company on NW Frontage Road that manufactures optical thin film filters for 16 years.
“He is much more than just a business owner,” said Peter Gerity, Vice President for Academic Affairs. “He is an engineer, an inventor and a believer in education.”
Three professors from three different departments nominated Mr. Bryn to receive an honorary doctorate for his engineering skills, his forward-thinking, his entrepreneurship, his scientific achievements in several disciplines and his partnerships with New Mexico Tech.
Bryn first developed an interest in electronics and engineering during World War II, when he served as a Seaman First Class – Radio Striker aboard the U.S.S. Alabama. His wartime experiences led him into a career in electrical engineering and the newly emerging science of optical thin films. Over the years, Bryn worked for several of the top U.S. companies in the field and contributed to key developments in the industry. His work for the Optical Corporation of America led to a patent in his name.
Over the past 15 years, several New Mexico Tech students have completed graduate work with support from Mr. Bryn and the facilities at Intor. Many others have benefited from Intor through tours, advice and mentoring, including students from computer science, electrical engineering, management and materials engineering. Bryn also funded a faculty member’s trip to an optics conference in California.
“Mr. Bryn’s long history of engineering contributions are truly remarkable, but what sets him apart is the strength of his academic interest, his passion for passing on knowledge to others and his love of discovery,” Gerity said.
The 2010 Distinguished Research Award was given to Rick Aster, the chairman of the Earth and Environmental Science Department.
The 2010 Distinguished Teaching Award was given to Dr. Paul Arendt, Tech graduate and professor of physics.
Both awards were announced at the Tech Commencement.
Vice President of Research Van Romero introduced Aster and presented him the award.
“Dr. Richard Aster is a man of many talents,” Romero said. “He is a top researcher, a champion for Earth sciences, an educator, and a family man.
He said Aster is active in a wide range of seismological research activities that reach across many disciplinary boundaries, making his impact widely felt throughout the Earth Sciences community. By virtue of his leading edge research and outreach efforts, Dr. Aster has become an internationally renowned expert in geophysics, Romero said.
Aster has led a number of ambitious projects to image the Earth’s interior that are advancing the field of seismology by generations. His is leading the global effort to
explore and image the deep interior structure of the Earth, helping us understand earthquake and volcanic sources, and the geological evolution of Earth’s continents.
He is also pioneering the study of colliding icebergs and ocean storms using seismology. Dr. Aster is at the forefront of a new class of geophysics – climate seismology – that is already informing the scientific debate about global climate change.
Aster’s most visible contribution to the New Mexico Tech research community came in 1998.
“Rick came to me and suggested that New Mexico Tech submit a proposal to host the national seismological instrument center,” Romero said. “The community of Earth scientists – and especially our friends at Stanford and Columbia – were shocked when this little upstart university in New Mexico won the bid and became the new home of the IRIS PASSCAL Instrument Center. Now, 12 years later, New Mexico Tech is positioned as a leader in global seismological research with Rick as the IRIS PASSCAL Instrument Center Principal Investigator.”
In addition to his high-quality research, Aster is of the new breed of scientists who believes in discovery for the sake of discovery regardless of traditional boundaries of specialization.
“His outreach efforts never stop. He regularly appears on TV news casts discussing earthquakes and seismic studies," Romero said.
Pictures courtesy of New Mexico Tech: (middle) Professor Paul Arendt (bottom)Professor Rick Aster
(top) Stanley L. Bryn, the founder and president of Intor, Inc., is hooded by electrical engineering professor Scott Teare.
(middle) Professor Paul Arendt
(bottom)Professor Rick Aster
Teresa A. Jaramillo
Sept. 13, 1958 - May 16, 2010
Teresa Jaramillo peacefully passed on to be with her Lord on Sunday, May 16, 2010 surrounded by her husband Jonathan, daughters Shanon, Valerie and husband Julian, Breanne, Kathleen, her Mother Marjorie Derryberry and her sister Therina Lucero. Her brother Thurman Derryberry resides in Socorro, New Mexico.
Teresa was preceded in death by her father, Thurman Derryberry Jr., her Grandmother Sally Hitt, and her grandfather Joe Griego and Grandparents Norman Hitt, Thurman Derryberry Sr and Dorothy Derryberry. She is survived by her husband Jonathan Jaramillo, Daughters Shanon, Valerie & husband Julian Lopez, Breanne, Kathleen and two beautiful grandchildren, Jonathan Jaramillo Lopez and Angelina Jaramillo Lopez.
Teresa was born in New London, Connecticut on September 13, 1958 to Thurman and Marjorie Derryberry. Teresa and Jonathan Jaramillo married on May 20, 1977 in San Miguel Church and resided in Socorro, Albuquerque, El Paso, Chicago, New York and Connecticut during their 33 years of marriage.
Teresa will be remembered for her unwavering and unconditional love for her husband Jonathan, her four wonderful daughters and beautiful grandchildren, Jonathan and Angelina. Teresa's biggest attributes were the love and comfort she showed to anyone who happened to meet and know her. She cherished life and made every day count for everyone around her during her life journey. Her smiles, hugs, lessons and kind words will live on forever with her family and those who knew her.
Services for Teresa will be held at The Church of the Risen Savior in Albuquerque, New Mexico at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 22, 2010 at Paseo Del Norte and 7701 Wyoming NW - just east of I-25. Graveside services will be at Sunset Memorial Gardens followiing mass celebration. Reception will be at the home of Stuart and Monique Jaramillo - 1004 Camino Del Rio just off Alameda left on Rio Grande Boulevard NW then left into Rio Grande Estates.
SOCORRO – A hit and run suspect was arrested after a Socorro police officer was led to his location because of a leaking oil pan.
In the criminal complaint filed with Magistrate Court May 12, Matthew B. Higgins, 23, of Socorro, was charged with three misdemeanors, including Aggravated Driving Under the Influence, Accident Involving Damage to Vehicle, and Careless Driving; and petty misdemeanors Failure to Stop Upon Striking Unattended Vehicle, and Failure to Give Immediate Notice of Accident.
The report said that homeowner Roberto Rincones told Officer John Hiebert that someone had hit his parked car in his driveway from the rear, pushing it into a ditch near his house on Mary Street.
Evidence at the scene indicated that the suspect vehicle began leaking oil due to the crash, and that a trial of motor oil was leading away from the scene.
Officers followed the oil trail to a residence on Sean Street, a few blocks away. Higgins, who appeared to officers as highly intoxicated, identified himself as the owner of the residence.
According to the criminal complaint, Higgins failed a field sobriety test, and two breath samples showed .18 and .20 blood alcohol content.
Higgins pleaded not guilty in Magistrate Court Wednesday, May 13, and waived arraignment.
DATIL - A coalition formed to fight a water grab in Socorro and Catron counties is having its annual meeting on May 22 at 6 p.m. in the Datil Elementary School Gym.
The San Augustin Water Coalition was formed by ranchers and property owners in western Socorro and eastern Catron counties soon after a request for the permitting of 37 wells on the Plain of San Agustin was published in the Mountain Mail in Nov. 2007.
Organizers of the coalition contend that area may be facing a severe water shortage in years to come if an Italian businessman has his way.
Bruno Modena, owner of San Augustin Ranch LLC based in New York City, wants to pump out 6.9 billion gallons of water per day from the San Agustin aquifer and sell it back to the state to meet commitments to the Rio Grande Compact.
The original proposal – which has since been amended - asked for permission to “divert and consumptively use 54,000 acre-feet of water yearly for domestic, livestock, irrigation, municipal, industrial, and commercial uses to include providing water to the state of New Mexico to augment its capacity to meet deliveries to the state of Texas at Elephant Butte dam and offsetting effects of ground water pumping on the Rio Grande in lieu of retirement of agriculture via a pipeline to the Rio Grande.”
The proposal was amended in May, 2008, to allow the drilling to go down 3,000 feet.
In the meantime, the Office of the State Engineer, has been struggling to keep up with validating hundreds of protest letters.
Attorney Bruce Frederick of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center said the total number of protests is over 900.
In a meeting of the San Agustin Water Coalition in Magdalena last December, geohydrologist Frank Pettis told the group that approval of the permit could have disastrous results for this region of the state, affecting not only private wells, but water levels for connecting sources, such as the Tularosa basin, which feeds the San Francisco River. The adjacent aquifer in the Gila region would also be affected.
The Office of the State Engineer has yet to approve the drilling.
Following the coalition’s annual meeting, there will be a candidates forum with gubernatorial candidates, Lt. Gov., PRC, Land Commission, as well as local.
SOCORRO - Cottonwood Valley Charter has been operating out of portable classroom buildings for nine years, but soon the school will expand its facilities.
This summer construction of a multipurpose building, which will offer cafeteria, gym and assembly space, as well as two classrooms and a stage, will start with a groundbreaking ceremony on May 26 at 10:30 a.m. The school is located at the corner of Neel and Western.
Principal Karin Williams said the construction has been in the planning stages for a number of years.
“Many people have worked really hard in getting this done,” Williams said. “From the County Commission to the school board members, and our state representatives. The guest list for the groundbreaking includes state, local, and county representatives, Socorro Consolidated School officials, as well as the School Board. Teachers, parents, and students, as well as the wider community.” Williams said the multipurpose building will enable students to have lunch in a central place, and provide for a much-needed music room and art classroom.
“It’s also a very green building, with large south-facing windows and a swamp cooler,” she said. “We’re hoping to have low energy costs.”
Cottonwood Valley Charter School opened in the fall of 2001 on the old Socorro General Hospital property as result of a parent initiative to provide an alternative public school choice in Socorro County.
In November 2004, then-principal Mary Nutt made a formal request to the Socorro County Commission for the transfer of the old hospital building property to the school.
In 2008, state Sens. Howie Morales and David Ulibarri, along with state Rep. Don Tripp, announced that the school was awarded $770,000 in state funds for the new multipurpose building. The Public School Capital Outlay Council voted to award the funds to the school after finding that the district met standards of a priority-based funding formula.
Today, Cottonwood Valley Charter School is a well established K-8 school, offering Spanish, Music, and Arts in addition to the Core Knowledge curriculum.
For the past nine years, students, parents, teachers, and community members at CVCS have been working to acquire permanent facilities to replace the leased portables on the grounds at Neel and Western.
Mountain Mail editor
KRQE Channel 13 investigative reporter Larry Barker weighed in on the Reserve vote controversy.
The gist of the story is that Reserve is not the only place where there are close elections that come under scrutiny. He also cited elections in other communities across New Mexico.
The other highlights of the story are that people are voting in places they don’t live, it’s the voter’s responsibility to register where they are actually living, you have to change your voter registration if you move and if you cast a ballot in your old precinct, that could be a crime.
Barker interviewed Bob Caylor, who lost the election by one vote but who is contesting it in court. And Barker talked to people listed in the complaint that voted but don’t live in the municipality.
I do know that Caylor finally got in contact with the Secretary of State’s office. The Secretary of State’s office asked Caylor to provide it with information for its investigation. If the office finds any irregularities, they will be forwarded to the Attorney General’s office.
And there will soon be a hearing in the suit that Caylor brought against Keith Riddle, who won the election by a vote.
William Perkins, the Village attorney who is representing Riddle, filed a motion to dismiss on May 14 on the grounds that Caylor and his attorney, Sherry Tippett, missed the 30-day deadline to contest the election by three days.
Like everything else these days, all of this will be hashed out in the courtroom.
Much has been made about the Socorro Electric Cooperative after the annual meeting. Co-op attorney Dennis Francish says the trustees can live by the old rules as they conduct their business.
The co-op, though, will be following two of the resolutions. It will have its only meeting of the month on Wednesday, May 26 and there will be time set aside at that meeting for member-owners to address the board.
Friday will be an exciting time with area schools holding their graduations. Seniors, have fun and enjoy the moment. Most importantly, though, be safe and don’t drink and drive.
The Mountain Mail expresses its condolences to the family of one of our owners, Jonathan Jaramillo. Jonathan’s wife Teresa passed away this week in Connecticut. An obituary can be found on page 3 of the Mountain Mail.
Because of a computer glitch, the Mountain Mail inadvertently left out the final two words of the Socorro baseball story on page 7 last week. The last sentence should have read: “All of a sudden, they’re getting a lot more base runners.”
By Margaret Wiltshire
My angry teen-aged daughters told me to “get a life” about a decade or two ago. I always thought I had one. At that moment however the concept had real appeal, especially if it didn’t include angry, frustrated teens.
As I turn 65 this month, these two women, my daughters are among my best friends and are still as important a part of my life as the day they were born. It hasn’t always been easy, hasn’t always been fun; but knowing them has always been deeply worthwhile.
Unconditional love will get you though almost anything. Most parents, most children know that much of the time they share together is anything but unconditional love. We think, we want, we evaluate, we plan, we hope and we dictate. We think it’s our job. Then when that living wonder you parented reaches puberty or even before, they think it’s their job.
Then you know that what you really taught them was to “evaluate.” So it goes in families, cultures, countries over all the decades that ever were. Humankind is really good at evaluating.
So what if we are often wrong, we’re in there swinging and that’s what counts.
“I could never love someone unconditionally” for I’m a good person and I wouldn’t want to make a mistake. On the other hand, I would just love it if just once someone would love me unconditionally. I know I deserve no less. Have you thought this, have you wanted to think this? That is also human.
Unconditional love does exist. Wise humans through out time and from many of the earth’s nooks and crannies have come to realize what unconditional love is. Maybe they didn’t call it social science, but it was. Like all science it is about observation, testing, and understanding.
Jesus said you are the light, Buddha said we are one, the Toltec and Aborigines speak of the dream state and the true reality, and they are just a few. Currently there is Deepak Chopra, Luis Ruiz, Eckhart Tolle, the Dalai Lama and many others. All aware of the same possibilities. At the end of their observation and theory is the experience of unconditional love.
Who am I? That is the basic question. Am I because I think? Am I what I think? The answer is you are the one listening to your thoughts. You exist without your thoughts.
If you stop thinking, you do not go away. This is an empirical reality. Just as real as gravity is in certain circumstances. It would be hard for us to fall off the earth no matter where on earth we are, so no matter how my husband plays with Somalian Pirates he’ll probably hang on, thanks.
The mind can be a useful tool. The mind accepts the construct of time, works at problem solving, decision making and has that great storage closet, memory.
However, fear can drive our thinking. Will I succeed, do I have value, will that person or object harm me or benefit me? Where do I fit in the order of things. Who should I love, hate and fear?
Other living things, plants and animals, whom we have decided don’t think much (and therefore have less value) actually seem to have an advantage. They don’t have to figure out what they need. Plants and critters have a confidence in their existence; humans often suffer the value and meaning of their existence.
We have our moments. Time stands still and we are completely focused and present. In life, in war, in some sports, when there is immediate danger there is that stillness, that space without time. People who have experienced this often report that in that stillness they knew just what to do, without even “thinking” about it. Whatever the outcome it is a moment of peace, of feeling aliveness.
Later there’s anxiety and fear, we have started to “think” about it, remember. Post Traumatic Stress is “living” a past that no longer exists. Instead of focusing on a new threat in the now, past difficult experiences pile up and are very disabling. Warriors who suffer greatly in this probably had PTS before they were warriors.
Women and children have not been spared PTS either. Most people have some PTS. When a problem or a threat arises and all of a sudden you’re thinking of all the other times you had such a problem. It confuses the current situation and leaves a person at a disadvantage in handling it.
Meditation works to get to this state of stillness and aliveness. Focus on your new born, making love with someone you love, music, art, being in nature and other experiences that are so intense that we stop thinking. It is healing; it is unconditional love.
By Jack Fairweather
When I was an adolescent, not quite a teenager but raring to go there, my mother, two younger sisters and I lived at the end of a rural dirt road in Cochise County, Arizona.
The county borders the Mexican state of Sonora. We lived about 25 miles north of Douglas which is located on the Mexican-U.S. border directly across from Agua Prieta, Sonora.
Today, huge processing and detention centers operated by the Border Patrol and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) are located there.. These centers, if you are an “illegal” human being as the people who are picked up have become while trying to enter the U.S. in search of a better life….like food and shelter for their families, are not pleasant…even for the 72 hours you can be held before you are “repatriated.
There seems to be an unwritten, non-publicized policy in these places , and in processing centers and detention centers in Nogales, that the more miserable the often sick and/or injured the “illegals” are during their stay the less likely they will return.
So, for the most part the only medical treatment they will receive will be from volunteers from organizations like No More Deaths and Humane Borders. In the next column I will write of the conditions these migrants face in the desert, while being processed and in the detention centers of our now thoroughly militarized border with Mexico.
For now, though I’m concerned with the Cochise County, Douglas/Agua Prieta area as it was quite a few years ago.
My Mother shared her maiden name “Moreno” with several other families in the Douglas area. In the mid and late 1950’s racism was a given in the county. Mexican people were the majority, of course, but it was not until the 1960s that the first Mexican couple was granted a Small Business Administration loan to go into business.
I had worked with the husband at the Phelps Dodge store in Douglas, sacking groceries, unloading box cars and delivering groceries. Now he was my land lord…and he had a dry cleaning business, too. Phelps Dodge, the copper mining company, practically owned Cochise county. Open pit mining, (the Lavender Pit mine in Bisbee) and the smelter in Douglas which spewed it’s smoke 24 hours a day across the Sulpher Springs Valley where we lived.
Then, as now, the migrants kept coming, on a far easier journey “across the line” than today’s “illegal” humans face. Living, as we did in a relatively isolated area, five miles from the blacktop and three miles down the road or through the mesquite forest to the nearest neighbor, my Mother, a single Mom, who taught music (piano) evenings to the children of various alfalfa/cotton farmers in the valley never really worried about us She knew migrants came through the rocks and sand and mesquite regularly and she kept water and whatever food she could afford on hand for them.
Sometimes my sisters and I ate it before anyone showed up. We hadn’t yet mastered the art of cooking on a wood stove…and we didn’t have an ice box or refrigerator. But a young woman migrant, who with her parents and brothers, was on her way to work at a chili processing plant 20 miles from us, arrived late one evening and decided to warm up the beans, potatoes and skinny rabbit my Mom had left.
That’s when we learned how to cook on the wood stove. And so, we all ate a little bit…even had Kool Aid. El Padre showed me how to trim a wick on a kerosene lamp (Rural Electrification hadn’t got to our road yet), then they washed up, (yes, we had a well, but we used a bucket on a rope) slept on the floor and were gone the next morning They mentioned as they left that they had managed to hide from the “line rider” the man on horseback who patrolled the border 25 miles south. He was a nice man but he would yell at them and make them walk back “across the line”…and, they said, they really had to get to work at the chili plant this year. The wages…about a dollar an hour, would see them through the winter. We thanked them for the cooking and wick trimming lessons.
SOCORRO - Sheriff Philip Montoya wants his deputies to have larger retirement plans.
He made that first step last week when a proposal to increase the Public Employees Retirement Act came to the attention of the Socorro County Commission last week.
“I am trying to increase retirement plans and there would be no extra cost to the county,” Montoya told the commissioners.
Montoya brought along PERA Deputy Director for Member Services Mary Frederick, who explained to the commissioners how the plan would work.
The proposal would incease the contribution rates for the officers and the county, but it would lower the years an officer could retire.
Right now, the employee contribution is seven percent and the county is 10.5 percent. After 25 years of service, officers would receive a monthly pension around $1,875 with a multiplying factor of 2.5 percent. And to receive the maximum benefit, officers need 40 years of service.
Frederick said if the commission would approve a change in the plan, the officers’ contribution would increase to 16.3 percent and the county would be 18.5 percent. And under the new plan, officers with 22 years and 11 months of service would reach 80 percent of their final average salary. The average pension payment would be around $2,500 under the proposed plan.
To change the plan, an election has to be held and voted on by eligible union members and the county also would have to approve a resolution for an election, Frederick said.
“If you make this change,” Frederick said, “it is irrecovable. You can’t go back.”
Commissioners Daniel Monette and R.J. Griego have been concerned for years that they have not been able to retain officers and this would definitely help, they both said.
“We train them here and then they go somewhere else for higher pay,” Monette said.
County manager Delilah Walsh said if the benefits did change, “we could recruit more experienced officers.”
Commisioner Philip Anaya then brought up the subject of how other county employees could get on the plan.
Walsh said the county could do a feasibility study regarding how much it would cost the county if such a plan was implemented.
Griego asked Walsh and her staff to come up with a resolution to change the PERA plan for the sheriff departrment employees. Walsh said a resolution could be ready for the next commission meeting on May 25.
Roxanne Silva (front row, second from left), the most decorated player in Socorro girls basketball history, announced last week she will attend New Mexico Community College in Hobbs in the fall. Silva owns numerous school records, including points, rebounds and steals. In addition, she holds numerous state records, including points in a game. In February, Silva totaled 57 points against Cobre. Also in a game during her senior season, she scored 52 points. The Lady Warriors finished 20-8 but struggled at the end of the season, losing to Hatch twice and then to St. Michael’s in the first round of the state playoffs at home.
Tech Rugby Coach
As New Mexico Tech rugby standouts Britt Catron, Marcus Chavez, and Nick Aldape passed from the Pygmy scene via graduation on May 15, their teammates were overcoming a slow start in the Celtic Sevens Tournament in Albuquerque to conclude their 2009-2010 season on a winning note. Combined with the Rio Grande Celtic Festival and Highland Games, the rugby tournament features seven players competing on a full-size pitch for two seven-minute halves.
The 2010 edition, staged at the International Balloon Fiesta Park, featured competitions in high school girls’ and boys’ divisions as well as women’s and men’s categories.
Hosts New Mexico Brujos took the men’s championship while the University of New Mexico captured the women’s title. Amy Biehl High School won girl’s high school honors and St. Pius won the boys’ division.
The Pygmies looked sluggish in a 9 a.m. pool match against Rio Grande Rugby Union men’s division leaders Albuquerque Aardvarks before bouncing back with wins over Midland-Odessa and the San Juan Silverbacks of Farmington.
Aardvark Dave Auge slipped a tackle on Tech’s opening kickoff and ran deep into Tech territory before being tackled. The Aardvarks had their first five-point try seconds after recovering the ball and passing it wide. The conversion kick (taken by drop kick in seven-man rugby) failed and Albuquerque led 5-0. Two minutes from halftime the Aardvarks bagged another try and converted this one for a 12-0 lead at the two-minute intermission. They went up 19-0 in the second half before Tech captain Royce Beaudry broke free to score a try converted by scrumhalf Dustin Webb that brought matters to 19-7. Aardvark scrumhalf Jon Grey added an insurance try just before full time to disappoint the Pygmies 24-7.
In their second match of the morning Tech applied more attacking pressure against an athletic side from Midland-Odessa. After four minutes Isaiah Sanchez outlegged the defense for a try converted by James Fallt, and Brock Romero scored from a pass by Webb after a break by Beaudry. Webb’s conversion kick brought the halftime score to 14 for NMT with the Flying Pigs still sniffing for the ball.
Beaudry added breathing space for Tech with a try converted by Webb before Midland-Odessa finally got untracked with two tries, the second converted. The Pigs’ effort was too little, too late and Tech advanced to their third and final pool match with a 21–12 victory. Midland-Odessa later supplied consolation to the Pygmies by beating the Aardvarks in their final pool match.
With an aggregate points differential (points scored minus points allowed) of negative eight, the Pygmies needed to run up some points to qualify for semifinal play. The San Juan Silverbacks unintentionally obliged, and though Tech’s final 54-0 victory failed to cover the spread, the Pygmies reveled in the effort. Six players scored five-point tries, with Beaudry and first-year man Zach Speer tallying two apiece. Joining in the feeding frenzy were vice captain Jerod Aragon, James Fallt, Brock Romero, and alumnus Tory Tadano, on loan from his current club New Mexico Brujos.
Head captain Royce Beaudry was selected by vice captains Jerod Aragon and Isaiah Sanchez as Tech’s Player of the Day.
The 2010 Socorro Flag Football League ended the first season on Friday night, May 14 at Warrior Stadium. If measured by the enthusiasm, competitiveness, and fun that was shown by the kids, it was a huge success.
One hundred and ten boys and girls from ages 8 to 13 played in the league. The league helped to create interest in football and provides lots of physical activity for the kids.
The league was headed up by Coach Louie Laborin and was sponsored by the City of Socorro and the SHS Warrior Football Program. Volunteers help to coach the teams. They included parents, SHS coaches and players, and SHS football alumni.
“Basically, the program gets the kids to understand sportsmanship, have fun, and understand that it is about winning, learning the basics of football, and learning how to be a teammate first,” said Laborin.
“Superbowl I” was played on Friday evening in an almost packed Warrior Stadium that mostly included parents and relatives showing their support for their players.
In the AFC division, there are five teams for ages eight to ten years old kids. The Dolphins, Broncos, Colts, Raiders, and Chargers competed against each other. The Raiders were the eventual first year champions, beating the Dolphins in a hard fought seven overtimes.
In the NFC division, 11 to 13 year old kids play on five separate teams.
They are the Vikings, Eagles, Cowboys, Saints, and the Cardinals. The Cowboys beat the Saints in the championship game.
The league had been playing regular season games for the last month, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Each team played eight regular-season games. The playing field is 60 yards by 30 yards. Time limit on each game is two twenty minute halves. A team has four downs to get to midfield. Then another four downs to score.
The league is looking to expand next year's program. Laborin said, “It was sad because we had to turn some kids away because they heard about it late. So we're expecting a bigger turnout next year; more teams, and maybe even a third division.
“Hopefully, we'll get to the point where we have a league where we will be actually playing tackle football with pads and helmets. We're looking forward for this program to grow, so we're real excited.”
If anyone is interested in helping with the program, contact Norbert Peralta at the Finley Gym. You may also contact Laborin or Coach Damian Ocampo at the high school.
Bloomfield ended the season for the Socorro Lady Warriors softball team as pitcher Leigh Anne Johnson threw a no-hitter in a 10-0 five-inning victory Friday in the first round of the NM State Championship in Las Cruces.
Bloomfield (25-4) went on to win the 3A softball championship beating Raton 7-3 in nine innings.
The 16th seeded Lady Warriors had their only scoring threat in the first inning.
Maureen Trujillo walked and advanced on Vanessa Jojola's sacrifice bunt. Trujillo advanced to third on a passed ball, but was left stranded by a strikeout and a groundout.
Bloomfield went on to score two runs in the first inning on three Socorro errors. Socorro held them to no runs in the second and third innings. The Bobcats then erupted for five runs in the fourth on five hits and one error. They finished the game by scoring three more runs in the fifth, scoring the last run with bases loaded and a passed ball for the 10-run rule win.
Pitcher Maureen Trujillo allowed ten hits, one walk, and two strikeouts. Trujillo made the North-South All-Star game which will be played in Cobre in July.
The Lady Warriors ended their season with a 10-14 record.
and Dave Wheelock
In this season of graduations Nick Aldape has double reason to look forward to the future. Gaining his bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from New Mexico Tech is cause for celebration in its own right. And now another challenge awaits: an invitation from one of rugby football's all time legends to try his hand in the mecca of New Zealand.
After transferring to New Mexico Tech from Highlands University in Las Vegas in 2008, Nick admits he had his share of struggles in adjusting to the rigorous coursework. "After getting A’s throughout high school and being on the Dean's List at Highlands I was shocked at getting C’s and even some D’s when I started at Tech." Nick credits the school's academic counseling services and studying with his peers for getting him back on his path to success.
Dark good looks and a reserved bearing might fool a stranger, yet inside Nick Aldape's 6' 3" 205 pound frame beats the passionate heart of an athlete who more than holds his own in the inevitable teasing that comes with being in a team. Born in San Benito, Texas in 1986, Aldape started playing Pop Warner football at the age of eight and later wrestled and ran track at Piedra Vista High in Farmington, New Mexico. He played defensive back at Highlands after receiving both academic and football scholarships.
One of Nick's professors at Highlands also coached the school's sporadic rugby club. Recognizing Nick's potential, Dr. Dick Greene encouraged him to study engineering at New Mexico Tech, where he knew there was also an established rugby club. Aldape made the move and started playing rugby for the Pygmies in 2008. He became a fixture in the school's weight room and by his senior year had added enough rugby running and passing skills to his defensive capabilities to become a major force in the Tech attack.
Enter Graham Mourie, who came off a New Zealand dairy farm in the 1970’s to captain the world-famous All Blacks national team and become a household name in the 100-plus nations where rugby is played. Dick Greene met Graham Mourie during an extended stay in New Zealand in 1986 and the two have been friends ever since. While on a U.S. visit last year Mourie was persuaded to watch a Tech match at a tournament in Albuquerque. Nick made an impression on Mourie, a board member of the New Zealand Rugby Union. "He looked pretty capable physically and for a new player had a good grasp of the game" he recalls in an email. "I would imagine it will take him a while to settle in but that if he stays on next year as well he will learn quickly from the locals."
Whether the engineering profession will wait that long is a matter of conjecture.
In the meantime Mourie has sent Nick his ticket to fly to New Zealand where he meets his new and vastly experienced teammates at the Coastal Rugby Club near New Plymouth. The learning curve will be steep, and as Mourie observes in the typical Kiwi understated way "he'll see a bit more rain than he is used to."
A rare challenge awaits Nick Aldape in a new and far off land, yet he may be just the man for the job. “I always wanted to get into a foreign exchange program in college, but the money and schedule never worked out” says Nick. Regarding his continuing rugby education, he acknowledges "I know I've got a lot to learn. I plan to just go to practice, keep my mouth shut, learn as much as I can, and look for my chance to assert myself. Like my dad always told me, nothing worth having comes easy."
The format will be a four-person scramble with a 9 a.m. shot run start. Entry fee is $55 per person or $220 for a foursome.
The price includes a roast beef dinner in the pavilion afterward and an extra guest may be invited to dinner at $20 per person.
Monette Ford will sponsor a hole in one prize, which will be a 2010 Ford Fusion. There will be more hole-in-one prizes at other par 3 holes.
The tournament is open to the first 72 golfers that sign up. Hole sponsors can be bought for $100, There also will be a breakfast sponsor of $500 and a dinner sponsor of $800. For more information, contact Charlotte Monette at 575 835-1190.
By Anne Sullivan
Did you know that this is Be Kind To Your Animals Week?” Sylvia remarked one morning after we’d had breakfast.
“Really?” I said from my comfortable chair. “I don’t remember hearing anything about that.”
“Oh, yes,” said Sylvia. “It’s right here in Sunday’s paper.” With the speed of lightning, she flashed the Albuquerque Journal in front of my face.
“I don’t see it,” I said. “Show me where.”
“Right here.” She pointed to the bottom of the front page before whisking the paper away again.
“I still don’t see it.”
“You still don’t see it? You really ought to get your eyes examined. It’s as plain as the nose on your face.”
“I doubt that.”
Sylvia shook her head. “You need glasses for sure.”
“I just bought a pair at Wal-Mart. They cost $17.”
Sylvia pointed out the obvious. “But what good are they if you don’t wear them.”
“They make me dizzy.”
“They don’t have far to go to do that.”
“It’s going to be difficult to be kind to you if you continue talking like that. Why don’t you lie down and be quiet.”
Sylvia took the hint, waddled to her bed under the TV, turned around the requisite three times and plopped down.
All was quiet and I read the paper undisturbed for all of four minutes before her paw rose and she spoke, “In case you were wondering how to be kind to me, might I take the liberty of offering a few suggestions.”
I glowered at her over my paper.
Undaunted, she rambled on, “First, and perhaps foremost, food is always the way to my heart. A direct route, in fact. Doggy biscuits – you know the kind I like – and pigs’ ears. A combination of the two would be excellent.”
“Hmmn,” I mumbled.
Seeing as a treat wasn’t immediately forthcoming, Sylvia swiftly switched tactics saying, “Be Kind To Your Animals week is the perfect time to develop close bonds with your adorable animal.”
I looked over my paper to say, “I draw the line at sleeping with you, adorable as you might be.”
“That’s a real shame. I’m sorry you’re so short-sighted. Pray, why are you feeling so negative about this form of togetherness?”
“Because you snore and you smell.”
“You snore, too.”
“True, but at least I bathe, something that you’re constituently opposed to.”
“It’s too cold to bathe.”
“It is now. But not in June or July. You nearly killed me trying to get away the last time I soaped you down in the summer. You were more than uncooperative. I would say you burst the bounds of objection.”
Sylvia was silent for a few minutes during which I hoped she wasn’t going to cry. Then she surprised me by jumping out of her bed and coming over to my chair, tail wagging like mad. “That settles it,” she said. “If you want to go for togetherness to show your devotion, it will have to be by treats. I’ll take the biscuits first as an appetizer,” she said, hustling me out of my chair and over to the kitchen.
As I took an Iams biscuit out of the box, I had a funny feeling that I’d been conned.
By Kaye Mindar
If you are reading this, thank a teacher; if you are reading this in English, thank a soldier. (Taken from the official GoArmy.com website).
In honor of Memorial Day coming soon I tried to locate as many of our family members as I could who are serving, recently returned, or are preparing to serve in the armed forces.
Our love and prayers go out to these young men and women and their families. Remember as we enjoy our freedoms, that they are fighting for that right for you.
• Carolyn Long’s niece Jenny Trujillo Stelzer: Army medic in Iraq.
• Jerry and Kay Kinney’s grandson Brandon Kinney: Army Special Forces, Kentucky.
• Tana Muldoon’s son Timothy A. Symonds: Helicopter Pilot, Ft. Rucker, Louisiana.
•Rick Laakman’s son Joe Laakman: Army, currently serving in Afghanistan.
• Raean Harris’ brother SPC Scot Martin: 1404 Transportation Company in the Arizona National Guard; recently returned from Camp Arisjan in Kuwait.
• Dan and Kaye Mindar’s son Joe Mindar: leaving for Ft. Knox, Kentucky, Army Calvary boot camp in June.
If we have missed anyone contact mer for the next column by Tuesday at 10 a.m.
Luna is proud to recognize Kayli Laney as our 2010 graduate from Reserve High School. Kayli has also recently returned from a very successful (and fun) trip to the BPA state finals.
Luna Community Center
Our Community Center has been busy hosting a variety of meetings the past couple of weeks. One very important meeting was to address the Luna Ruins. The U.S. Forest Service archaeologist Jeanne Schofer from Quemado Ranger District presented a slide show of the current conditions of the site and an interest survey was initiated.
Luna Parks and Fire Department are planning a work day on Saturday June 5 to set the playground equipment at the community center. Contact Ann Marie Nicolds for more information.
This year’s Independence Day celebration will be held Saturday July 3 at the community center.
Get Well Wishes
Leann Hulsey Wilkerson had surgery again this past Monday and is hoping to get to Luna as soon as she can and to Rick Laakman who recently returned home from a short hospital stay.
Our love prayers are with them and their families.
Mark your calendars for the second annual Preparedness Fair from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday June 12 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Stake Center across the street from Basha’s in Eagar, Arizona.
There will be over 50 booths with a wealth of information, hands on demos and mini-classes. Also a U. of A. extension office representative will be on hand to test the gauges on pressure cookers for accuracy.
It is never too late to start; Project Noah flyers are still available by sending a legal envelope with double postage to P.O. Box 42 Luna, NM 87824.
Quote of the week
By Debbie Leschner
The Quemado School will hold an auction at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 22 at the school. As part of the auction the girls basketball team will have items for bid to help raise money for basketball camp.
Quemado Schools High school finals will be held on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, May 26, 7th through 12th grades will go to the Socorro Tech pool for a Swim Party and pizza. The elementary grades have Kindergarten graduation at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, May 25 with the Elementary awards in the afternoon. Tuesday is the elementary grades’ last day of school. On Thursday, May 27, the high school academic awards will be presented in the morning. Thursday is also the high school grades’ last day of school.
At the Quemado Senior Center, there will be quilting and bingo with the group from Datil on Thursday. Lunch menu for the week: Monday – Frito pie, Tuesday – chicken fingers, Wednesday – taco soup, Thursday – pepper steak and Friday – pork ribs. All seniors are welcome. Please call the center at 773-4820 before 9 a.m. to make your lunch reservations. The center will be closed on Monday, May 31. Happy May birthdays to: Bill Candelaria, Eirlene Bowlby, Beverly Fox, George Johnson, Sharon Johnson, Beverly Leude, Franny Parker, Joe S. and Joann Ward.
A Rummage Sale sponsored by the Cowboy Church will be held on Thursday, May 28 and Friday, May 29 in front of the Catron Supply building in Quemado. It will start about 8:30 a.m.
Memorial Day is Monday, May 31 in honor of all our veterans. The Western New Mexico Veterans Group in Quemado will be placing flags on grave sites of Veterans over the weekend.
SOCORRO – Graduation will begin a whirlwind weekend for Socorro’s Dillon Zimmerman.
Zimmerman says he will “walk the line” with the rest of his fellow Socorro High graduates Friday night at Warrior Stadium. Then he will catch a flight in Albuquerque to Reno, Nev., at 5 Saturday morning and then travel to Milford, Calif., to compete in Round 5 of the West Coast Nationals WORCS series.
Zimmerman also happens to be a professional ATV racer and he holds a position in the top five in the series.
In 2007, Zimmerman caught the eye of Johnny Leach, the Motoworks/Can Am race team manager, who signed him to his team for 2008 and he has been racing for him ever since. Before racing for Leach, Zimmerman finished second in both Pro-Am and Production A in 2007.
How did Zimmerman start his career as an ATV racer?
He started at the age of 4 while racing a Suzuki 50cc ATV and he gradually progesssed to a 90cc over a two-year span. And when he was 10, he was racing a 2-stroke Honda 250rs and by 12 he was racing a Honda 450 4 stroke.
“I’ve always liked to race for as long as I can remember,” Zimmerman said.
Racing, though, has its perils.
And Zimmerman knows that all too well.
In June of last year, Zimmerman was racing in Phoenix at Speed World.
“I got a bad gate pick and was way on the outside,” Zimmerman said. “The gate dropped and I gunned it out of there trying to get to the front. The track narrows down and we all tried to squeeze in there and I couldn’t do anything. I hit a bump and it threw me into a wall. That’s all I remember. The next day, I woke up in the ICU.”
Zimmerman spent a week in the ICU and another in the regular hospital, fighting for his life. Zimmerman suffered nine broken ribs, a punctured kidney, a collapsed lung and a broken shoulder. After being released from the hospital, Zimmerman spent two weeks rebuilding his lungs and letting his injuries heal.
About two months later, Zimmerman climbed back aboard the ATV.
“At first I was scared because I didn’t want to happen again,” Zimmerman said. “But I kept practicing and I put it behind me. I know my parents (Ty and Melissa) were scared, too. My mom didn’t want me to race anymore and my dad was scared but he knew I was going to get back on.”
Melissa Zimmerman said, “Life’s not worth a trophy and that is what I told him. But I support my kids no matter what they do.”
Zimmerman ended up back in the driver’s seat, winning his next race in Washington state.
“I learned a lot from that,” Zimmerman said. “I have been in that same position again and this time I just back off. I’m a little smarter about things.”
Zimmerman plans to pursue his racing career for the time being.
“But I also know I have a lot of opportunities if I don’t race anymore,” Zimmerman said.
For now, Zimmerman will come back to Socorro after racing this weekend, attend a graduation party next weekend and then move out to California.