Thursday, May 27, 2010
SOCORRO - A medical fund had been set up for the victim of what Socorro police are investigating as a random act of violence that occurred Sunday, May 16 in the 700 block of School of Mines Road.
According a police report, a New Mexico Tech employee was walking in the vicinity of School of Mines and Gurdon Ave. shortly before 11 p.m. Sunday when she was approached by three males. The police report said that the three males walked up to her and one of them suddenly punched her in the face, breaking her glasses, and then ran off.
Detective Richard Lopez said the victim was bleeding badly from her left eye when officers arrived. An ambulance was immediately called and she was transported to Socorro General Hospital.
The Mountain Mail is withholding the victim’s name out of respect for her privacy.
“We don’t have a positive ID on the suspect, but the investigation is still very much open,” Lopez said. “We have every reason to believe this was a random attack, and we’re doing all we can to identify the individuals.”
The report stated that the victim could give no description of the males, other than that they were of medium build, but did not know if they were white, Hispanic, or black, and did not have a clothing description. “She did state that they ran east on School of Mines Road,” the report said.
That evening Officer Wes Mauldin began a search for anyone walking in the neighborhood. His search ultimately extended from Leroy to Fifth Street, and from College to Spring Street, including all streets in between.
The following morning, a canvass of residents in the neighborhood provided no new information. Lopez said with little to go on, and no physical evidence, the investigation is difficult although the focus is on young males, possibly teenagers.
“We have questioned and ruled out some individuals, but right now have no ‘person of interest’,” Lopez said. “We have been working closely with campus police Chief Billy Romero on this, as well as on an unrelated incident involving a student a few weeks ago.”
An assault near Jones Hall eight weeks ago caused many on the Tech campus to believe that students were being targeted for attacks. Lopez said, “There is no ‘crime wave’.”
That earlier incident resulted in the arrest of a Socorro man, who is facing a charge of armed incident in District Court. The incident took place at 11:30 p.m. on Mar. 31 near the chiller plant on the New Mexico Tech campus.
The criminal complaint filed in Magistrate Court on April 13 stated that three students were approached by three men who demanded their wallets. When one of the students refused, the suspect became angry and punched the student in the face twice, breaking his jaw.
In fear of retaliation, the three students did not report that crime until April 5. After an investigation by both New Mexico Tech and Socorro police departments, Manuel Lee Baca, 25, of Socorro was arrested. His case is being handled by Seventh District Judge Kevin R. Sweazea.
Detective Lopez told the Mountain Mail there was no evidence to link the two assaults.
“We don’t normally see this between people who don’t know each other and in this neighborhood,” Lopez said. “The three who assaulted [the woman] for no reason will eventually be caught.”
Due to the extent of the woman’s injuries, a fund has been started to help with medical expenses at Wells Fargo Bank, 501 California St. in Socorro.
Tech’s Public Information office has forwarded an email to all students and staff, reminding them to take extra safety precautions. It said Campus Police Chief Billy Romero wants all members of the Tech community to know that officers are available around the clock to provide safe transport for Tech students, faculty and staff. At any time, campus officers will provide an escort or give a ride to anyone.
New Mexico Tech administrators continue to meet with city and county agencies to discuss campus security.
SOCORRO – The New Mexico State League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) office wants the Socorro Electric Cooperative to investigate claims that trustee Charlie Wagner made offending remarks to Hispanics on more than one occasion.
State director Paul “Pablo” Martinez, who will be replaced by Ralph Arellanes, addressed a letter on April 27 to Co-op Trustee President Paul Bustamante, saying he had spoken with consumers and present and former trustees that alleged Wagner made the remarks.
When contacted for comment before the co-op meeting Wednesday night, Wagner said he had been advised by counsel not to respond.
At the meeting, Wagner stayed mum and then passed out bottles of water to the members of the audience as trustee president Paul Bustamante read the LULAC letter aloud.
After Bustamante read the letter, trustees demanded that Wagner respond to the allegations.
After about five minutes, Wagner then said, “I was talking to an attorney friend of mine and he advised me not to respond.”
Attorney Dennis Francish then advised the board that it did not have the power to remove Wagner and that it had to go through the courts.
Trustee Donald Wolberg then made a motion to condemn Wagner’s actions, which was seconded and passed unanimously.
According to the letter, Martinez wrote, “The complaints specifically allege that Mr. Wagner has referred to at least one of the Hispanic Trustee Board member as a “Chihuahua” and made other racial or demeaning remarks toward Hispanic Trustees and consumers. On several occasions, Wagner has referred to Hispanic Trustee Board members as being “stupid.”
Martinez continued, “Evidently, Mr. Wagner perceives that those who speak only English are intellectual and that Hispanics are inferior. It is contended that he demeans those in which English may be one’s second language. It is reported that he maliciously belittles others that speak with a Spanish accent and interrupts them in a pugnacious manner by telling Hispanics that he can’t understand them because they do not speak in complete sentences. He is condescending and treats Hispanic staff and fellow trustees with such callous disregard.”
Martinez went on to say that he was completely appalled by this type of conduct and that the behavior was tolerated by the SEC Trustees and the community of Socorro.
Martinez said he forwarded the information to the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office and U.S. Attorney’s Office and he insisted that the co-op board take immediate action to minimize the potential threat of litigation and liabilities.
“I just want the co-op board to investigate the matter and if the allegations are true, I want them to take corrective action,” Martinez said. “The state of New Mexico does not tolerate this kind of behavior.”
Martinez’s letter was brought up at the co-op meeting Wednesday night and the attorney Dennis Francish briefed trustee members by writing a letter that was received this past weekend.
Bustamante said, “I’ve warned Mr. Wagner several times about comments he has made verbally and in email.”
“Anything about this should come from Paul,” trustee Milton Ulibarri said. “He is our spokesman. We need to act on it. All the documentation is there.
“I have seen an email from Charlie that compared to our co-op meetings to a KKK meeting. I guess he has been to one before. That’s kind of disturbing. We have to act on this. It’s kind of serious.”
The KKK reference came in an email from Wagner to Bill Miller, who was in charge of filling out the co-op’s Form 990 last year.
Wagner was writing about the fight of the reform movement.
Wagner wrote in an email to Miller dated Dec. 9, 2009, “Members for reforming SEC are too familiar with the extreme measures the board majority used to dodge their duty to assure equal representation through trustee elections of 2008 and 2009. Every thing from banning the use of video cameras and tape recorders at meetings to manipulating election’s times, places and limiting hours and not allowing members to present propositions and propose bylaw changes at district and annual meetings.
“Combine that with the number of secret board sessions in which no minutes are kept, which the board publically announces as “executive sessions” without stating its purpose and you have what looks more like a KKK meeting than a Cooperative board meeting.”
Martinez forwarded his letter to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Rural Utility Service (RUS). RUS is the federal entity that funds the co-op.
“Your Cooperative is federally funded and you are subjected to all Codes of Federal Regulations and applicable federal and state statutes with respect to civil rights acts and non-discrimination,” Martinez wrote. “I feel compelled to also report this matter to the authority that funds your cooperative to investigate this matter.”
SOCORRO - Members of the Socorro chapter of Disabled American Veterans will gather at Isidro Baca Memorial Park for an honor ceremony this Monday (Memorial Day) at 11 a.m. The ceremony will include remarks by Socorro dignitaries and a rifle volley by the DAV Honor Guard.
Since 1971, when Congress declared it a national holiday, Memorial Day has been observed on the last Monday of May, commemorating U.S. men and women who died while in the military service.
Proclaimed in 1869 to honor fallen Union and Confederate soldiers of the Civil War, the first observance of Decoration Day at Arlington national Cemetery was attended by various Washington officials, including Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, who presided over the ceremonies. After speeches, children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home and members of the Grand Army of the Republic made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns.
The observance was expanded after World War I to include American casualties of any war or military action.
To ensure the sacrifices of America’s fallen heroes are never forgotten, in December 2000, the U.S. Congress passed and the president signed into law “The National Moment of Remembrance Act.”
According the U.S. Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs, the commission’s charter is to “encourage the people of the United States to give something back to their country, which provides them so much freedom and opportunity” by encouraging and coordinating commemorations in the United States of Memorial Day and the National Moment of Remembrance.
The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation.
The Socorro DAV will also be accepting donations in exchange for small American flags Friday at the Post Office from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and at Wal-Mart on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Commander Paul Drake said proceeds from the flag sale will go toward flags for graves of veterans.
The DAV will also pay tribute to the members of the 515th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion at Monday’s ceremony.
The observance at Isidro Baca Park will be followed by a cookout at the DAV, 200 N. Fifth Street.
March 25, 1924-May 17, 2010
James F. Kelly, 86, passed away on Monday, May 17, 2010 in Socorro, New Mexico. James was born March 25, 1924, to Frank and Francis Elizabeth (Tinguely) Kelly, in Las Vegas, Nev.
He is survived by his loving wife of 56 years, Anabel L. (Everett) Kelly of Water Canyon, New Mexico; his daughters, Kate Kelly and husband, Pete Urban of Peoria, Ariz.; and Barthy Byrd and husband, Terry Arble of Las Cruces, New Mexico; his brother, Tom Kelly and wife, Hilda of Water Canyon, New Mexico; and several nieces and nephews.
James was a Veteran of World War II serving with the U.S. Army Air Corp. He retired after many years with the Bureau of land Management and also taught farming and ranching at the Alamo Reservation in Alamo, New Mexico. James was an active member of the Magdalena and Socorro Masonic Lodge.
He is preceded in death by his parents, and his son, Bret Byrd, (October 2009). According to his wishes Cremation has taken place and no formal services will be held at this time.Those who wish to send condolences may do so at: www.danielsfuneral.com. Services have been entrusted to: Daniels Family Funeral Services, 309 Garfield, Socorro, NM 87801, (575)835-1530.
Dec. 11, 1929-May 21, 2010
Macario R. Trujillo, retired navy Vet., Born to Margaret and Manuel Trujillo on December 11, 1929 in Magdalena, NM. He passed away May 21, 2010, surrounded by his loving and devoted wife and children, Karen and Larry. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Mary Lou; children, Bruce; Steve; Karen; and Larry; grandchildren, Justin; John; Kelly; Nicholas; Justin; Eric; Dane; and Justyne; great grandchildren, Gloria; Kayla; Christopher; Hunter; and Valeny.; siblings, Tony; Barbara; Manuel; Joe; Cleo; Mary Ann; Valentine; Tommy; and numerous nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents and son Macario (Yodie) Jr..
A Memorial Service was held at Mary Magdalene Church in Magdalena on May 27 at 9:30 a.m. Internment of ashes will take place in Santa Fe, New Mexico, at the National Cemetery on May 28, at 1 p.m. In Lieu of flowers, the family wishes that donations be given to the Disabled Vet. Association.
Those who wish to send condolences may do so at www.danielsfuneral.com. Services have been entrusted to: Daniels Family Funeral Services 309 Garfield Socorro, NM 87801
April 13, 1933-May 22, 2010
Bertha Vergara, 77, passed away on Saturday, May 22, 2010, in Socorro, NM.
Bertha was born April 13, 1933, to Carlos and Simona (Sanchez) Angel. She is survived by her children, Andres Vergara and wife Tammy of Kileen, TX; Pedro Vergara and wife Mary of Socorro; Jesus Vergara of Provo, UT; Armando Vergara of Juarez, Mexico; Gloria Gonzales and husband Michael of Belen, NM; Carmen Pino and husband Richard of Socorro; Rosa Gutierrez and husband Javier also of Socorro; 21 grandchildren and 21 great grandchildren.
Bertha has been a resident of Socorro for 40 years. She is preceded in death by her son Juan Vergara and sister Josefina Correa. A Visitation will be held on Friday May 28, 2010 from 5-7pm, at Daniels Family Funeral Services Chapel. A Rosary will be recited on Friday, May 28, 2010 at 7pm, at Daniels Family Funeral Service Chapel. A Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated on Saturday May 29, 2010, at 10am, at San Miguel Catholic Church with Father Andy Pavlak as Celebrant. Burial will take place in the San Miguel Catholic Cemetery. Pallbearers are Andres Vergara Jr. , Pedro Vergara, Jesus Vergara, Armando Vergara, Angel Dozal, and Adrian Gutierrez.
Those who wish to send condolences may do so at www.danielsfuneral.com. Services have been entrusted to: Daniels Family Funeral Services, 309 Garfield, Socorro, NM 87801, (575)835-1530.
Nick was born on a ranch in Ancho, in Lincoln County, where Billy the Kid once roamed to fame, and family tales. Nick recalled the link between the Kid and Nick’s grandfather in articles published in Socorro’s El Defensor Chieftain. He was equally proud of his West Virginia heritage, home to Cody Odell Smallridge, a colorful character in his own right who took the train west and met the beautiful Beatrice Lopez at the train station in Albuquerque. Nick was the youngest of their three children; a brother, Val Costello Smallridge, died long ago; his sister, Carmie S. Campbell, passed last January. The boy with the blond hair and blue eyes grew up in the Barelas neighborhood in downtown Albuquerque during the Depression. In 1951, as a young man, he moved to Socorro where he met and married Virginia Torres, “the prettiest girl in town.” Nick returned to Albuquerque in 1956 to work for several accounting firms (among them Neff, and Meyners) and builder Ed Snow. Nick joined brothers-in-law Lawrence Torres and Steve S. Torres in a life-changing venture when they built and in 1963 opened El Camino Restaurant adjacent to El Camino Motel, the dream of Virginia’s parents, Estevan and Petrita Torres. In 1971, following a devastating fire, Nick and Virginia rebuilt the restaurant and ran it for another 20 years. They developed loyal customers and first-class employees, and supported countless youth teams and community causes. Together, they traveled to California as wholesale jewelers during the silver-and-turquoise boom of the ‘70s; and toured Europe twice in the early 80s. They enjoyed celebrating anniversaries at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, and periodic trips to Las Vegas for elegant dinners and Keno.
In the years following his wife’s death in December 2000, Nick indulged his interest in watching old movies – among his favorite actors were Humphrey Bogart, Steve McQueen, Grace Kelly and Ingrid Bergman. He delighted in his grandchildren, and lived to meet his infant great-grandson. Among the survivors who mourn his passing are his daughter, Valerie Kimble of the family home, and son, Nick Smallridge Jr. and wife, Sue, of El Paso, Texas. A son, Brian Smallridge, died in 1985. Mass of the Resurrection was celebrated Wednesday, May 26 at San Miguel Church, preceded by a Rosary at 8:30 a.m. Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Daniels Funeral Service of Socorro. Those who wish to send condolences may do so at www. Danielsfuneral.com.
Feb. 24, 1929-May 18, 2010
Michael Clifford, former resident of Reserve and recently of Socorro, died Monday, May 18th in an Albuquerque hospital. He was born February 24, 1929 in Casper, Wyoming, and is survived by his wife, Audrie; daughter, Patricia Barlow-Irick; and sons, Michael and Philip. As we all know, Mike was no ordinary dude.
An officer responded to a complaint at 10:30 a.m. where a subject was battered at the construction site north of Magdalena. Upon arrival a report was taken where a subject was struck with a hatchet. The case was sent to the District Attorney’s office for review.
Officers arrested a female at 9 p.m. for selling prescription pills. She was charge with several felonies.
Officers responded at 6:15 p.m. to a call of a suspicious person at a female’s residence. The vehicle and subject was located and questioned. No other action was taken.
An officer took a report at 1 p.m. of possible controlled substances at an abandoned residence in Hop Canyon. Evidence was sent to the crime lab and a suspect will be filed on.
An officer was called at 7 p.m. to a disturbance on Dakota Street. One male subject was arrested and charged with assault. The subject also had an outstanding warrant from Socorro Magistrate Court.
An officer received a call at 9:50 p.m. from a residence on Kelly Road in reference to a subject trying to get into the home. The officer arrived shortly and arrested an intoxicated male subject. The subject was charged and taken to the Socorro County Detention Center.
An officer stopped a subject at 5:35 p.m. on Elm who was wanted on an outstanding warrant from Socorro Magistrate Court. The subject was taken to the Socorro County Detention Center.
An officer stopped a vehicle with no tail lamp at 1:50 a.m. The subject was found to be intoxicated, and was arrested for DWI. The subject was driving on a suspended or revoked license and refused breath tests.
An officer was called at 3:30 p.m. to 500 First Street where a male subject was fighting with his girlfriend and jumped from a moving vehicle. The male was arrested for being intoxicated and the disturbance.
An officer was called at 10:50 a.m. to take an accident report involving two vehicles at Trail’s End Market. No injuries were reported.
An officer was called at 8 a.m. to a two vehicle accident at mile marker 8 on Highway 169. One vehicle ran into another after the first vehicle stopped in traffic in a construction zone to avoid a traffic cone. A report was taken.
Editor, Mountain Mail
How low can it go?
Judging by what has transpired in the past month, the Socorro Electric Cooperative is in an absolute freefall with no end in sight.
It’s bad enough that it remains business as usual for the SEC, despite the members showing up in force at the annual meeting in April to change some of the bylaws.
SEC attorney Dennis Francish advised his clients (the board) that they can continue to go on trips to conduct business and not worry about the spending cap. The trustees also were advised that all of them could fill out their terms. Six of the trustees, though, have filled out more than two terms.
Anyway, this is nothing compared to what has happened in the past month.
Trustee Milton Ulibarri and others got the attention of the New Mexico League of United Latin American Citizens.
The outgoing state LULAC director Paul “Pablo” Martinez drafted a letter to SEC president Paul Bustamante, wanting the cooperative to investigate trustee Charlie Wagner for allegedly making numerous disparaging remarks toward Hispanics.
There is a lot of blame to go around with this and Wagner gets his fair share.
The outspoken leader of the SEC reform movement has worked hard in his role, but in his quest, he has lost his temper and likely said some things that maybe now he would like to take back.
Wagner needs to keep from making any kind of comments that are discrimnatory or can be construed as such.
The co-op has every right to investigate Wagner and it’s apparent a majority of the trustees would like to see him removed.
But does the co-op really want to go down this road?
If Wagner is investigated and the case goes to court, you can be assured, he will bring the heat. Wagner will be hiring counsel and who knows what they will find.
During the course of an investigation, there is a little item called discovery.
That means Wagner’s counsel can demand every little bit of information that the co-op has to offer.
And I mean everything.
Those in charge of the co-op better make sure that all their Ts are crossed and Is are dotted.
If they aren’t, there is no end in the sight to the freefall.
And it definitely won’t be a happy landing.
And believe it or not at Wednesday night’s co-op meeting, the trustees passed a resolution to fight the three bylaw amendments in court that started this whole mess. They still don’t want open meetings, they still are against their transparency of actions and still believe that member-owners and press representatives should not be present at their meetings.
By don Wiltshire
My head hurts. I’ve got a post-1040 headache. There’s just so much information and emotional roller coaster rides that I can take. The Second Annual Meeting of the San Augustin Water Coalition was the primary culprit. It’s always a joy to see so many people gathered together for a common cause. Issues and attitudes that surfaced during the meeting give me much concern.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with this issue, here’s a little background information. Back in November of 2007, the San Augustin Ranch LLC filed an application with the State Engineer to drill 37 water wells to a depth of 2,000 feet. The application called for 17.5 billion gallons of water a year to be removed from the aquifer and piped to the Rio Grande near Elephant Butte. It's been estimated that the water table could drop as much as 30 feet a year on the Plains.
About 480 protests to this application were received and sent off to the Litigation Unit in Santa Fe. Round Two started in August of 2008.
It included an amendment to increase the depth of the wells to 3,000 feet and to “provide water by pipeline to supplement or offset the effects of existing uses and for new uses for central and northern New Mexico communities including Albuquerque and Santa Fe...” This was followed by another flood of protest letters to the State Engineer.
Right now, the official protesters (those who returned their letters of protest within a ten day period after the last published application or amendment) are sending in their $25 “hearing fees” to the State Engineer. We will then be waiting for the State Engineer to schedule a pre-hearing conference.
Last year, the Annual Meeting of the San Augustin Water Coalition (SAWC) was a rather raucous event with food and lots of discussion about events that would be taking place. This year’s meeting was much more subdued with candidates for local and state offices explaining their positions and how they could or could not help us in our endeavors.
The first chill that went down my back was from Eileen Dodds’ emotional reading of the Mission Statement: “The purpose for which SAWC is organized is to protect the water resources of the San Augustin and associated water basins, and the public welfare and conservation of water associated with those water resources, now and in the future.” Future, in this case, being what we will be leaving or not leaving to our children and our grandchildren.
We were urged to send in our $25 hearing fees to the State Engineer well before the June 28 deadline. Failure to do so may jeopardize our individual rights as protesters to this insane “water grab” action.
The Candidate Forum section of the meeting was interesting, save the fact that not one Democrat dared to set foot in Catron County. I became more interested in the issues that were being discussed rather than the candidates themselves. One gathering storm cloud is the amount of federal matching grants that are coming due. In the next several years they will make this year’s budget balancing act look like a circus trick. The other issue that sent shivers down my spine was our Water Contract with the “900 pound gorilla next door”: Texas. New Mexico is required to allow a certain amount of water to enter Texas every year via the Rio Grande and Pecos Rivers, OR ELSE! This may become one of the deciding points in our upcoming battle.
After the meeting, I listened in as a couple were complaining to candidate for Governor, Janice Arnold-Jones, about the “ultra-liberal” ecologically friendly bias of the government in Santa Fe. They wanted her to know that we, as a state were losing opportunities for resource development to Texas because of our restrictions on drilling. Go figure. I had just about as much excitement as I could stand for one evening.
On the way back to Magdalena, an early evening, electric-blue haze hung over the landscape.
The Plains seemed to be dreaming of a time, 10,000 years ago, when they were still a beautiful blue inland lake. They were wondering what us silly humans had in store for them for the next hundred years.
Learn more about our water and how we can save it at the Magdalena Public Library. June 2 at 7 pm will be the kick-off of the Adult Summer Reading Program with a screening of the documentary Flow: How Did a Handful of Corporations Steal our Water? Programs, discussions and speakers are being scheduled every other Wednesday evening thereafter.
By Dave Wheelock
The online UrbanDictionary. com defines the popular phrase “elephant in the room” thus: “A very large issue that everyone is acutely aware of, but nobody wants to talk about. Perhaps a sore spot, perhaps politically incorrect, or perhaps a political hot potato, it's something that no one wants to touch.” As the aspirations of a growing majority of Americans transform from the pursuit of whatever we defined as the American Dream to bare survival, are we finally ready to correct Ronald Reagan and agree it is corporate capitalism that is “the problem and not the solution?”
The problem with corporations is the incentives they impose. While achieving the original objective of attracting the capital necessary to bite off expensive PUBLIC works, corporate charters also institutionalized antisocial mechanisms. While the manager learned how to boost his “earnings” by cheating on time and wages, externalizing pollution and ecological damage, outsourcing labor, cooking the books and a hundred other tricks of the trade, investors merely had to look the other way. The single legal requirement that corporations make money for their investors translates into a concentration on short term profits at the direct expense of the long-range development real industrial progress requires.
The fully predictable result has been a mutually enriching situation for the insiders – and accelerating disaster for the rest of creation.
The elephant, we now know, is insatiable. In the curious case of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the big, bad federal government of the United States had to get down and beg to gain access to videos of the underwater oil gusher that resulted from the oil industry’s free market success at defeating government intrusion into their business –under the principle of “proprietary knowledge.” In the words of a CBS journalist who tried with her crew to videotape oil washing onto a Louisiana beach, “a boat of BP contractors with two Coast Guard officers on board told us to turn around under threat of arrest." Helpfully, one of the officers called across the water “This is BP's rules, it's not ours."
The arrow of progress is not pointing up. As even a brief dip into unabridged history reveals, generation after generation of U.S. soldiers have been used as cannon fodder to protect and expand the interests of corporate business in all reaches of the globe. Now, in the age of globalization, we find ourselves covering for foreign companies.
With the exception of occasional slipups like that by the Coast Guard (don’t you know some low-ranking sailor caught hell for that one), the cover up is self-perpetuating. Note CBS’s response to an obvious breach of freedom of the press. Charge through and get arrested on principle, maybe receive an award for doing what journalists are supposed to do? No, raising a stink now would surely cost the network its holy “access” to the system of journalist embedding apparently being set up in the Gulf. Besides, the loss of BP’s lucrative advertising contract certainly wouldn’t be good for a corporate “news” outfit’s bottom line, would it?
Corporate power doesn’t confine itself to the arenas of business or government. There is a saying that the last thing a fish notices is the water in which it swims. For individuals and groups alike, growing corporate influence has been insidious. Not long ago, most people were engaged in directly producing the food, material, and artistic culture of the country. A justified level of national pride largely precluded the need to prove the nation’s strength in terms of military prowess.
Today’s privileged kids are attracted to salaried jobs making weaponry, designing exotic derivatives, and dreaming up new advertising slogans. For too many others, a military life (and death or dismemberment) is the only way out of neighborhoods where all the dreams have been outsourced. We have become a culture characterized by waste, reflected in overflowing curbside bins, bulging prisons, and emotional distress of epidemic proportions.
I could be wrong, but I believe when a river is filling with pollution, or heating up, or bleeding out through pipes, the fish instinctively know something is wrong. Do we still have the same powers? I wonder.
How do we get that arrow of progress turned around? First, by educating OURSELVES about the elephant. Bear in mind the mainstream corporate media, or even schools, are not going to help us. In fact they have become largely a sounding board for corporate power, much like polluted water to our allegorical fish.
An elephant is big and strong but has exploitable weaknesses. After all, those people often called Pygmies have successfully hunted them for centuries. Hint: they do it in groups. Seek out sources who can verify their assertions (contact me for recommendations). Keep a skeptical ear and eye, and share what you learn. Write me for recommendations. I hope to be hunting with you soon!
Publisher, Mountain Mail
It’s been a sad tradition of sorts for decades here in Socorro and across America for everyone to helplessly watch those poor unfortunate lost souls who walk down our streets searching in the most deplorable of places for cans to sell for booze, or standing in a place where the rest of us do business or gather at lunch time with their hand stretched out for a quarter, a nickel, or perhaps even just a cigarette.
The ghosts will absolutely become incensed if you offer them food instead of money for their habit. They don’t need or want food any more. It’s not what keeps them going any longer. Los Fantasmas neciten un trago de liquor. No mas, no menos. Their eyes no longer hold light, even during the brightest of days.
Pride and self esteem have long since abandoned Los Fantasmas de Socorro. It’s hard for ghosts in small towns because people pretty much know the ghosts personally and know just exactly what the circumstances were surrounding their life’s tailspin into the abyss.
I’ve offered my friend help time after time for many years now, as we all have down through the years with all of the other ghosts of Socorro who have lived on the fringes of our city. We then begin to get angry at them because they are too lost and their ability to reason was lost deep within themselves long ago.
All of the Socorro ghosts of the past and present say, “Only God can help me now”, as they wait through the long miserable winter nights in Socorro’s alleys and hot summer streets for their time to come.
I stopped on my way to the Post Office a while back and got out of my car in front of San Miguel Church where my friend sat on the curb crying and half drunk in front of the Virgin Mary Statue.
I said, “let’s go eat”, and reached my hand out to help him up. He squinted up into the sun at me, rubbed his eyes after a minute, grabbed my hand and said, “Oh Gary it’s just you, I thought my dreams had finally come true.”
I asked him, what dreams? He smiled and shook his head looking away from me with tears running down his cheeks, and whispered, “you know Gary, you know – I thought God had finally come for me.”
Then he smiled that big weary smile and said, anyway, got any extra change today my friend? I keep telling you that I don’t want or need anyone’s help, but you just won’t listen. Lot’s of people ask me and they don’t understand that I can take care of myself.
So, I gave him 3 dollars, he blessed and thanked me, so I turned, got in my car, and drove off. Didn’t do a damn bit of good, I thought. Not a damn bit.
The story always ends the same every time we meet. My friend is not the only ghost living in Socorro. It seems when one ghost finally disappears from our streets and alleys, we all shake our heads and say “what a shame”, then move right along ready to watch and accept the next ghost as we go about our everyday lives. Is there any way any one of us can help? Can we physically corral these ghosts and find places for them that will help? I once tried with former Chief of Police Lawrence Romero.
We made calls and tried to get answers from agencies and it seemed that state and federal officials threw their hands in the air and pretty much said, “can’t take them in for help, if they don’t want to go.” Just that simple really.
Sad, but just that simple. And if there is no family to intervene, the end result is always the same.
I can’t help but feel helpless and frustrated about this very long unfortunate and unwanted tradition here in Socorro.
We all just accept that this is how it has to be and it can’t be changed. I don’t believe that for one damn minute. It’s a matter of more than one person caring at the same time and sitting and putting a plan together.
I don’t think we need to wait for permission from some state office to help a man who once was a Police Officer here in Socorro with a family and children. For me, he is not a waste that once was somebody. He is my friend, and always will be. I can’t help thinking about him sleeping in horrible places and eating god knows what just because he has given up on himself and isn’t thinking straight.
Most continue to look the other way when he comes shuffling towards them on a city street or business maybe because they feel “if he doesn’t care anymore, why should I?” Are we all that callous, really? He’s just sick and lost, and alone. All of us have someone (if not ourselves) in our families that are just one bad break or heart break away from being the next El Fantasma de Socorro. Could any of us stand watching our child, uncle, father, mother, son or daughter live on the streets of their hometown and just let them fade away in front of our eyes?
My story is not asking for anyone to stop and hand their money over when they see the ghosts of Socorro walking by in the Plaza or standing at a storefront hoping for a buck or two from a kind stranger.
Our ghosts are someone’s baby boy or girl. Someone’s daddy or mom, grandfather or grandmother. I’ve seen my share of grief in that last few years but I have lots of people who love me and we get through the toughest of times together.
I couldn’t imagine having emotional and psychological problems and living it all alone on the streets. All I’m asking everyone to do is smile at our ghosts, call them by name or ask them what their name is, and perhaps offer them help or a phone number to a place where they might sleep inside and have a real dinner. Every city, village and town has ghosts.
Their struggles are beyond our comprehension, but at the very least we can speak to them with respect and remind them that just because they have fallen does not mean they are a lesser person to their peers. A tiny bit of love taken from our hearts and given to the lost, mean everything.
You can give the ghosts my personal cell number 418-5070, or give yours to them too. What will our legacy be if we don’t stop and reach out to these unfortunate neighbors and fellow human beings?
El Fantasma de Socorro is out there every day and every night, all alone. El Fantasma se llama Ruben. I remember him standing in his Police dress blues with his great big smile and a wonderful future ahead of him.
Ruben is my friend forever, and I will never stop caring about his health and welfare. We must never stop caring for one of ours, ever. Maybe if enough of us show him that we really do care, he won’t fade into the background and go to that sad place with all of the other ghosts that walked the streets of Socorro before him. Just maybe, he might find himself again.
Introduce yourself to him. He’s smart, compassionate, loving and a genuinely good human being who has just lost his way. Invest one breath in Ruben’s plight – and simply say hello and smile.
Don’t look through him or past him. For better or worse, the ghosts are children of Socorro and human beings who are struggling through this often difficult and lonely place we call life. They are not alone. The ghosts of Socorro are living their nightmare right in front of our eyes. Take the time to tell them you know they are there.
Take a moment to smile and offer your hand in friendship. Your kind voice and words of hope could mean the difference between life and death. All it takes is having the courage to truly care.
There, but for the Grace of God …
Paramedics from the City of Socorro Fire Department tend to Felipe Quintana, 62, of Socorro, who was struck by a truck in the crosswalk in front of Smith’s Monday afternoon, according to a police report. Quintana was transported to Socorro General Hospital and no other details on his condition were available at press time. The truck was driven by Nicholas Falcone of Albuqerque.
Jessica Bond (right), the assistant manager and community coordinator for Walmart in Socorro, presents a $1,000 check to Ron Smith, the chair of the Reserve Library Board Tuesday. The Reserve Public Library has held fundraisers over the past couple of months and just recently received close to $2,500 from its bake sale and raffle in the Village. Also in the photo are Village of Reserve clerk Kathy Harris (left) and Janet Harris. “We had been looking for business sponsors,” Smith said, “and we were very surprised to get this check from Walmart.” Kathy Harris added, “This is just great for our community.”
Tech Rugby Coach
Brandon Jay Herrera has been selected by his New Mexico Tech Rugby Club teammates to receive the Jeremiah Wright Cup as outstanding rugby player for the 2009-2010 terms. A 2005 graduate of Laguna High School, Herrera earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Tech in December 2009. He is the son of Michelle and John Herrera of the Isleta and Laguna Nations, respectively.
The Wright Cup is awarded each year in the memory of former NMT Rugby Club captain Jeremiah Wright of Raton, , who died during his senior year in 2002 when the car in which he was a passenger was struck by a law enforcement vehicle in Socorro.
Beginning in 2004, six names have been engraved on the Jeremiah Wright Trophy which resides at the NMT gymnasium: Mark Kelly, Rob Harrison, Phillip Turner, Seth Daly, Matt Majors, and Matt Nelson.
Jay Herrera began his rugby career at New Mexico Tech as a wing in the spring of 2006 and was actually loaned to the New Mexico Burgos Rugby Club in his first full match.
As his rugby skills improved, the team profited by moving him to scrumhalf, where his quickness and accurate passes served as a crucial pivot between a sizeable Pygmy scrum and a talented six-man backline. Herrera was elected team captain in his junior year when at 5’ 9” and 160 pounds his superior fitness and an ability to read situations set him apart from larger players. It was not unusual for him to pass and receive the ball two or three times on the way to a Pygmy team try.
Herrera’s high school experience included participation in the New Mexico Sci-ence Olympiad, MESA (mathematics, engineering, science, ac-hievement), and the Laguna High Honor So-ciety. He served as president of the student body during his senior year, and enjoyed an internship with the National Aeronautics and Space Admini-stration. Other than baseball, Herrera admits “I wasn't committed to the sports scene too much because I was short and fat!”
Besides leading the rugby club at New Mexico Tech, Herrera was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and vice president of the student government during his senior year.
Currently doing contract work at Laguna Pueblo, the young engineer continues to pursue excellence as a member of the Santa Fe Rugby Club.
“My first season playing men’s club rugby was fast paced and I was surrounded by experienced talent. I plan to keep playing rugby wherever my career takes me” Herrera asserts. “It’s a pleasure to continue to play and be competitive in rugby.”
By Debbie Leschner
For the Mountain Mail
Quemado High School held its graduation Friday with 13 seniors getting their diplomas.
The best of luck to Fernando Alvarez, Josh Beauchamp, Cory Bruton, Mia Cauzza, Salutorian, Judith Flores, Manuel Garcia, Ian Kitterman, Daniel Kopman, Janessa Larrabee, Nik Legarreta, Tucker Perdue, Caleb Ramer, Valedictorian, and Tait Stewart. Around 30 scholarships were presented during the graduation ceremonies.
The Quemado Lakes Scholarship Fund was awarded Mia Cauzza and Judith Flores each $1,000 to further their education at universities and a $500 scholarship to Tucker Perdue who will be pursuing an education at a welding technical school. Other school news: Report cards will be ready on Wednesday, June 2.,p>At the Quemado Senior Center, a pool tournament will begin at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, June 1. The trip to Gallup will not be on Wednesday as usual, but will be later in the month. Quilting and bingo with the group from Datil will be Thursday, June 3. Please call the center at 773-4820 before 9 a.m. to make your lunch reservations.
The Quemado Rodeo – Youth Junior Bull Riding will be Saturday, June 5 at the Heritage Arena in Quemado. The events are Mutton Busting - 6 years and younger, Calf roping - ages 7 to 9 years, Pee Wee Bull Riding - ages 10 to 12, Junior Bull Riding - ages 13 to 15, Senior Bull Riding ages - 16 to 19. The action starts at 12:30 p.m. To register contact Richard McGuire at 575-772-2909 or Ricky Chavez at 505-328-1363. The arena is located one mile north of the J and Y gas station near the Quemado gun range. These events were made possible by a grant from the NM Rodeo Council to the Quemado Community Equestrian Association. The association’s goal is to promote kids in the sport of rodeo and equestrian events. What a great way to start off the summer.
The American Legion Post 82 in Reserve will meet Saturday, June 5 at 10 a.m. in the Catron County Building.
Glenwood's Saturday Market starts Saturday, May 29 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and every Saturday until fall. There will be some early season produce like spring greens, herbs, plants, various arts and crafts.
Western New Mexico Veterans Group held its raffle on Thursday, May 20. The winners are: 14 foot Radison canoe – David Lowe of Quemado, "custom crafted" tricolor eagle and turquoise pin – Ray Celestial of Quemado, hematite bolo – Sonja Sharp of Quemado, original Rose Garden painting – Jeremy Shawver of Los Lunas, original Sailing Ship painting – Eva Aragon of Datil, and deep fryer – Harry Shawver of Quemado. The veterans group would like to thank the community for their support . The money raised go to support the Scholarship Fund and other WNMVG projects and programs.
The Quemado Ranger District of the Gila National Forest is planning on conducting the East Centerfire and Gap II Prescribed Fires if weather conditions are favorable June 1 - June 5. Objectives of the prescribed fire are to improve wildlife habitat, watershed conditions, and reduce fire danger. The East Centerfire prescribed fire is located in the Centerfire Bog area south of County Road B012, approximately 6 miles north east of Luna. Planned acreage for the prescribed fire is 2,416 acres. The Gap II prescribed fire is located in the Armijo Springs area west of the Sombra del Gallo subdivision. For further information, please contact District Fire Management Officer Nate Nozie at (575) 773-4678.
There is little excess in the upcoming fiscal year for the Socorro County budget, county manager Delilah Walsh said Tuesday.
Revenues were slated as $5,089,700 in the general fund and expenditures were at $5,086,032, Walsh said.
“These are all operations for the county except for roads and the fire marshal’s office,” Walsh said. “They have their own funds.”
Walsh said there is $1.2 million in the roads fund and about $400,000 in the fire marshal’s fund. In all, the county was projected to have $11,406.877 in revenue and $10,585,580 in expenses.
According to Walsh, revenues are flat with increased expenditures for Senior Center support, landfill fees and an abatement officer.
Walsh and finance director Roberta Smith outlined the cuts during a budget workshop.
“We had to cut everybody across the board six percent,” Walsh said. “Everybody got cut so there was little discussion.”
On Tuesday night, the county commissioners passed the 2010-2011 budget and gave platitudes to finance director Roberta Smith.
“Roberta did a heck of a job,” county chair Rosie Tripp said.
In other business:
• The commissioners approved a resolution to authorize a PERA election which would change the retirement program for the sheriff’s department employees. County attorney Adren Nance said the election would be held June 28. Walsh said she did a preliminary analysis of how much it would cost for all county employees to go on such a plan and she said it would cost the county $130,000 per year.
• The commissioners awarded a bid to purchase the mobile command vehicle for the fire marshal’s office. Fire marshal chief showed off the new vehicle to the media and said the purchase price was $50,000. “It was a heck of a deal,” Hollis said. Commissioner R.J. Griego added, “It’s a used vehicle that looks brand new and it is a good buy for the county.”
• The commissioners tabled discussion of a resolution that would outline alternate routes for the Sun Zia Transmission Line project.
• The commissioners approv-ed consideration to amendment to Sierra County Joint Agreement and acknowledged the City of Socorro Landfill Permit.
• The commissioners denied a $1,000 request from funding from SCOPE, which was asking the county for tables and chairs for the Veguita Center. Tripp said the Socorro Consolidated Schools has been handling the school lunch program for the past four years and such a request would be a duplication.
• The commissioners did accept funding requests of $3,000 for the Rio Abajo Community Library, $2,000 to Literacy Volunteers and $5,000 to the City of Socorro Transportation Services.
• County clerk Rebecca Vega said there have been 511 early voters and 234 absentee voters for the June 1 primary election. “It’s been pretty slow,” Vega said.
• Senior Center Director Lewis Auerbach said that the Magdalena and Veguita Senior Centers will be closed on June 1, which is election day. But Auerbach said that all homebound meals will be served.
• Walsh said the canvassing for the primary election will be held at 10 a.m. on June 4 at the County Annex Building.
• Walsh said the county was audited for the 2008 tax year. She said her office worked to lower the liability exposure from $205,000 to $33,000 and the county was liable for $2,200 in fines and penalties and $1307.04 for Medicare and Social Security withholding for election workers and %9,327.53 for withheld Federal Income Tax on behalf of the vendors.
By Anne Sullivan
Sylvia and I were walking down the road from the house. Alas, our destination was no longer the barn for there was no longer an occupant of the barn. We were simply walking for the joy of walking in the sun – and, of course, the wind.
“Is it wrong for me to want to be noticed?” Sylvia asked as we passed the big oak which was just beginning to bud.
“I suppose it depends on what you want to be noticed for,” I answered.
“I suppose.” Sylvia heaved a great sigh and went on to explain, “What I want to be noticed for is doing something terribly heroic like saving somebody’s life. You know, rushing into to save a baby from a housefire.”
“That might be difficult. We don’t know any babies and you can’t go into a burning house without wearing an SCBA,” I said.
“What’s an SCBA? It sounds like a breakfast cereal. If it tastes good, I’ll be glad to wear that.”
“It stands for Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus and I don’t think your head would fit into the mask well enough to get a tight fit.”
“Oh.” Sylvia sat on a rock with her back to me. From the drooping of her pudgy shoulders I could see that she was very disappointed.
“Why do you want to be noticed anyway?” I asked.
Sylvia sniffed. “I suppose it’s because now that I’m getting older, I feel people and other animals tend to overlook me. You’re pretty old. Don’t you feel that?”
“No,” I said after considering the question. “I don’t feel overlooked. Lots of people send me mail every day.”
“They do? Is that because you’re important?”
“Maybe they think I’m important to them. These letters are all from organizations asking me to send them money. And then there are catalogs from stores wanting me to buy something expensive from them. I wouldn’t mind being ignored just a little.”
“I do mind though,” said Sylvia in a wistful voice.
“But, Sylvia, you are noticed. People ask me about you all the time.”
“Yes, they do. I’m known as Sylvia’s mother and I’m proud of it.”
“Yes, indeed. Now, don’t you feel better?”
“A little,” she admitted. “But I still wish I could save someone like one of those rescue dogs who wear a keg of beer in the snow.”
“I think it’s a keg of brandy, not beer,” I corrected.
“Whatever. Those rescue dogs are respected. They’ve run through the deep snow to save somebody.”
“Speaking of snow,” I said, “do you remember a few months ago when we had all that snow and I went out to carry some wood from our buried woodpile and I fell down and couldn’t get up? Do you remember what you did?”
Sylvia looked bewildered and shook her head.
“Well, I’ll tell you. Every time I tried to get up by putting my hand on the ground to get some leverage my hand went through the snow and I couldn’t get up until –“
“Until you saw what happened and came running through the snow and stood beside me so I could put my hand on your strong back.”
“So you could get up.”
“So I could get up. You saved me.”
“I did? I did, didn’t I? I saved you. I am important.”
“You sure are.”
“I saved you,” she said again with wonderment.
“You sure did,” I said with love. “You’re my hero.”
“What a wonderful gesture to recognize a special person,” stated New Mexico Department of Transportation District 6 Commissioner Jackson Gibson. He and fellow state Commissioners were in Reserve on May 19 for their quarterly meeting. Gibson, overseeing responsibility for Catron County, was referring to the special honor given to Sam Way.
Richard Torres, with the approval of Lisa Way, had organized a committee to find ways to honor Sam Way. Through the efforts of Lori Harvell, Bette Wheatley, Lisa Way and Torres, the Sam Way Memorial Fellowship was formed.
Within days, close to 40 residents signed on expressing interest. The committee selected the New Mexico Adopt-A-Highway Program as a way of honoring Sam Way. Paperwork was completed, submitted, and approved in time for a special recognition ceremony at the New Mexico D.O.T. meeting in Reserve. A one mile section of State Highway 435 has been assigned for Sam Way. A date for an opening ceremony will be announced.
The groundbreaking for Cottonwood Valley Charter School’s multipurpose building Wednesday, May 26, involved not only dignitaries from the school, Socorro County Commission, Socorro City Council and building contractors, but the entire student body.
Parent Francie Deters said the building couldn’t have been approved without the hard work of many parents, administrators and supporters.
The Socorro Fiber Arts Guild is a non-profit group that operates in Socorro County for the benefit of any and all people who are interested in or who practice the fiber arts.
The guild is sponsoring going to present classes the first weekend in June.
On Saturday, June 5, the classes will begin at 1:01 p.m. and on Sunday, June 6, classes will begin at 1:31 p.m.
Knitting 101, Quilting 101 and Weaving101 will be offered these two days. The classes are open to any adult who is curious about these three fiber arts and who would enjoy how-to lessons.
The classes will be taught by members of the Guild and are designed for the beginner. Preregistration is required so preparation can be done in ensure that enough materials are on hand for each participant.
The yarn and needles will be made available for use by the knitting class, the weaving class will also have materials provided for use. The quilting class will require a sewing machine but other tools will be made available for use during the class. Fabric is necessary for the quilting class and once registered, participants will be given a list of fabric that is needed for the class.
The classes are limited in size because of time and teachers available so people should register early if interested.
There is a registration fee of $5 to cover the cost of preparing the materials for classes.
Being recognized as one of the most prestigious science and engineering schools in the nation may not be enough for New Mexico Tech to grow.
The Board of Regents at its Friday, May 14, meeting were presented an extensive report on Tech marketing, recruitment and retention by Melissa Jaramillo Fleming, Vice President of Student and University Relations.
The report was prepared by the university consulting agency Stamats, out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
She said the company’s report was eight months in the making and included frank discussions about Tech’s short-comings in visual identity, Internet presence, recruiting and alumni relations. The report suggested re-examining entrance requirements (for instance, requiring calculus) and putting Tech’s most engaging and most effective instructors in the freshman level courses.
Regent Richard Carpenter said, “This report is dynamite.” He commended Jaramillo Fleming for having the foresight and bravery to solicit criticisms and encouraged her and the university to act on the Stamats recommendations.
The complete report will be posted on the Tech website.
New Mexico Tech received a fair amount of publicity in April when Vice President Van Romero suggested ‘M’ Mountain be changed to ‘T’ Mountain.
Romero told the Regents he wanted to call attention to the symbol because 2010 represents the 100th anniversary of the ‘M’. He has since abandoned the idea of changing the letter and has mounted a new public campaign to support the ‘M.’
“It’s been a rewarding process,” Romero said. “I’ve heard from people all over the country who feel an emotional attachment to the ‘M’.”
A two-time graduate of Tech, Romero returned to Socorro in the early 1990s to find that the annual “Paint the ‘M’” had been abandoned. Romero resurrected the event and has been organizing the run ever since.
Throughout the controversy, students, alumni and community members commented about their emotional connection to the ‘M.’ Many graduates commented about how the difficulty of the Paint the ‘M’ event mirrors the rigors of the Tech curriculum.
Romero hopes to raise $10,000 via $100 donations to fund a work project in late summer or fall. Each donor will get a limited edition T-shirt that has the Tech logo with a ‘T’ in place of the ‘M’ and says “The ‘T’ That Didn’t Fly” on the back. Those interested in donating can call Lavern Robinson at 835-5616.
Volunteers working on a summer project would mainly help create a safe footpath from the parking area at the top of the mountain to the ‘M’, which is about 500 yards away over rough terrain.
Currently, Tech hosts only two annual events at the ‘M.’ Romero said the university would need to improve access if it were to host more open events, like alumni receptions or community outings. With the general support, he officially launched a fund-raising campaign to improve the road and the footpath atop the mountain.
The New Mexico Tech Board of Regents did their most enjoyable task Friday, May 14 – approving the list of graduates for 2010 Commencement.
Board president Ann Murphy Daily said the ceremonial act is a highlight of the year for all the board members.
Also at the meeting, Peter Scholle, the director of the Bureau of Geology, presented the Regents with advance copies of the Bureau’s latest and greatest book.
Scholle said the book, “The Geology of Northern New Mexico’s Parks, Monuments and Public Lands,” is the Bureau’s magnum opus. Five years in the making, the book opens the world of geology to the lay person.
The contributing writers are Bureau scientists and professional geologists. The collaborative effort was spearheaded by Bureau editor Greer Price. The 350-page book features color photos, drawings, maps, sketches and cross-section drawings on every page.
The book is available for $24.95 at the Bureau office or on the Bureau’s website.