Friday, July 24, 2009

Governor Declares Friday "Buckhorn Tavern Day"

Mountain Mail reports
Gov. Bill Richardson on Friday congratulated the Buckhorn Tavern in San Antonio, N.M., for its win that was aired this week on the Food Network’s “Throwdown with Bobby Flay.” Buckhorn owner Bobby Olguin garnered national attention by defeating host Bobby Flay in the battle for the best green chile cheeseburger.
In recognition of the victory, the governor has declared Friday, July 24, 2009, “Buckhorn Tavern Day.”
“Congratulations to the Buckhorn Tavern and its owner, Bobby Olguin, for the impressive victory over one of the world’s most recognized chefs,” Richardson said in a press release. “Through his win, Mr. Olguin did an excellent job of showcasing one of New Mexico’s culinary treasures, the green chile cheeseburger.”
Richardson was scheduled to visit the Buckhorn Tavern on Friday evening to personally congratulate Olguin and his staff and to try one of the restaurant’s world-famous green chile cheeseburgers.
Richardson on Friday also announced a statewide competition to determine the best commercial green chile cheeseburger in New Mexico will take place during this year’s New Mexico State Fair.
“There are so many great green chile cheeseburgers in New Mexico and since everyone has a favorite, the debate over the best is always a passionate one,” Richardson said in the press release. “This friendly competition will put those favorites to the test as they face off head to head.”
A text of the proclamation for “Buckhorn Tavern Day” follows:

WHEREAS, Bobby and Debby’s – Buckhorn Tavern entices patrons from near and far, distance makes no difference when you are looking for the “best green chile cheeseburger in the state”; and
WHEREAS, Bobby Olguin, third-generation owner of the Buckhorn Tavern in San Antonio, was the Native New Mexican who triumphed over the New York-based celebrity chef, in a battle for green-chile cheeseburger supremacy in the recent “Throwdown with Bobby Flay”; and
WHEREAS, The Buckhorn Tavern is an authentic rural small town American bar and grill that features great food and great music by local talents; and
WHEREAS, The Buckhorn Tavern has earned many accolades in recent years, including being rated as the No. 7 burger in America by Gentlemen’s Quarterly in 2005 and the No. 3 “Baddest Burger in the Land” on the Nightlife Flavor Roundup earlier this year;
NOW, THEREFORE I, Bill Richardson, Governor of the State of New Mexico, do hereby proclaim Friday, July 24, 2009: “Buckhorn Tavern Day” throughout the State of New Mexico and ask all New Mexicans and visitors to New Mexico to stop and enjoy a green chile cheeseburger!

Photo caption: From left, the Food Network’s Bobby Flay, Buckhorn owner Bobby Olguin and a Food Network producer prepare for the judging part of a “Throwdown” on Thursday, May 14, near San Antonio, N.M. Photo by John Larson/Mountain Mail

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Roadrunner Recycling Plant Raises Concerns Up North

By Mike Sievers
SOCORRO – A recent decision by the Valencia County Board of Commissioners may result in a lot more trucks passing through Las Nutrias and Veguita along Highway 304.
The Valencia County Commission on July 15 gave the green light to a scrap metal recycling plant that plans to locate south of the Rio Communities near Belen along 304.
Socorro County Commissioner Rumaldo Griego, who lives in the Veguita area, attended two recent Valencia County Commission meetings to express his concern and to inquire about the possible routes trucks would take to get to the plant, which would be part of a larger industrial park.
“I can imagine trucks with tons of scrap metal going through Belen. That’s not going to happen,” Griego said. “They’re going to go all the way down to exit 175 – the Bernardo exit – and turn. It will impact the Boys Ranch, Las Nutrias, Veguita, and all the way up. I’m going to fight to my last breath to keep them from going through there.”
The Valencia County Commission approved the use of county land for the Roadrunner Metals Recycling plant during a meeting Wednesday, July 15, denying an appeal of a decision by the county’s planning and zoning commission. Two Valencia County residents who said the plant doesn’t conform to zoning requirements brought the appeal.
The Valencia County Commission’s decision also happened despite a letter Socorro County Manager Delilah Walsh sent to the Valencia County Commission on behalf of the Socorro County Commission.
“Commissioners anticipate recyclers will travel along U.S. Highway 60 then up state Highway 304 to the facility, thus causing major increases in traffic patterns and road use,” the letter stated. “We are concerned that the volume of vehicles hauling metal, as well as everyday traffic traveling to the facility, will have a significantly negative impact on residents, farmers and dairies located along state Highway 304.”
The letter then asked the commissioners to consider those issues.
“As this route will have a clear negative impact on our communities, roads and quality of life, we request you consider this impact with your permitting decision,” Walsh’s letter stated.
Walsh said the Socorro County Commission will vote on a resolution echoing those concerns at its 6 p.m. Aug. 11 meeting.
The issue will go back to the Valencia Planning and Zoning Board of Commissioners. Walsh said the protest period has ended, so there is not much that can be done to prevent the Roadrunner plant from moving on its plans.
Griego said the Valencia County commissioners did not answer his questions when he attended their meetings. He believes trucks would travel on Highway 304 because it would be the fastest, easiest route to the proposed site, which is south of the Rio Communities on 304.
Valencia County Commissioner Ron Gentry, the commissioner who voted against approving use of the county’s land for the recycling plant in a 2-1 vote, said in an interview Monday that the company has cleared almost all of the necessary hurdles to open the plant. Gentry said he is unaware of any timelines as to when the plant would be up and running.
“I agree with (Greigo); the trucks are going to cause horrendous damage to the roads, and I think it’s just inappropriate for the area,” Gentry said. “They’re going to bring the biggest junk operation in New Mexico into our area.”
Gentry lives on Highway 304 in the area where the plant would be built. He said Highway 304 will likely be the route for trucks traveling northbound to the plant, including trucks coming through Torrance County.
“It seems like if they’re going to sustain this kind of operation, they’re going to need a lot of scrap coming through,” Gentry said.
Once the metal is processed at the plant, Gentry said, it would be trucked to locations in either El Paso or Pueblo, Colo.
Griego said Highway 304 already has relatively heavy traffic with agriculture-related trucks passing through every day. He said the pollution from traffic on that highway has noticeable consequences: the seedlings he has planted in his back yard have grown much taller than those in the front yard, which he said faces Highway 304.
Griego said Highway 304 would be the easiest and most direct route to the plant for trucks traveling both north and south on Interstate 25.
“I’m not trying to tell Valencia County what to do with their planning and zoning, but if this is going to impact Socorro County, I’m not going to be quiet about it,” Griego said.
Griego brought up the issue at the last meeting of the Socorro County Board of Commissioners.
“I agree with you. They’re going to tear up our roads,” Commission Vice Chairman Danny Monette said at the meeting.

Power Lines Draw More Fire

By Mike Sievers
SOCORRO – The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has extended its comment period regarding the proposed and alternate routes of alternative-energy transmission lines that would run across the Rio Grande near San Antonio, N.M.
The deadline is now Aug. 28 for comments to be considered as part of the BLM’s Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed SunZia Southwest Transmission Project; people can send comments to
The Friends of the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge have expressed disapproval of the proposed route, saying the lines would disrupt flight patterns of sandhill cranes, a major tourist draw to Socorro County. The Friends’ board of directors on Friday released a response to the proposed route of the project, which is scheduled to be complete in 2014.
The Socorro County Board of Commissioners also has expressed disapproval, citing aesthetics and environmental concerns, including the flight paths of birds that fly to the refuge. The Socorro City Council will consider a resolution supporting an alternate route.
John Ryan with SunZia has said the company itself prefers an alternate route that would border the White Sands Missile Range.
It is still very early in the process. The BLM is preparing its Environmental Impact Statement, which is needed to issue a right-of-way permit. SunZia needs that permit to proceed, and the company is working with a number of other agencies with land that would be affected by the project as well. The BLM is the lead government agency on the project because the project will affect more of its land than that of other agencies.
The BLM recently had a scoping meeting at New Mexico Tech to gather input from the public about the proposed route and the project overall. San Antonio resident Margi Lucena said she felt the meeting and the proposal were not adequately publicized, saying many residents had no knowledge of the project whatsoever.

The Friends’ response

Members of the Friends of the Bosque were asked in a mass e-mail the week before July 13 to submit their own response to BLM. In a letter on behalf of the Friends of the Bosque to the BLM, the group’s executive director, Leigh Ann Vradenburg, expressed opposition to the route that has been proposed by SunZia.
“Following the public meeting in Socorro and the subsequent meeting with Bosque del Apache staff, it is obvious that there are many unanswered questions as to the effect that these power lines will have on migratory birds, specifically the sandhill cranes,” Vradenburg wrote.
“As a former resident of the San Luis Valley, I have witnessed the devastation that power lines can cause to flocks of cranes under adverse weather conditions and how they hastened the demise of the reintroduced whooping crane population,” she continued. “Running two 500kV lines (and countless ones to follow) perpendicular to the daily flight path of many over-wintering cranes is further complicating an already obstructed path for this struggling population.”
Vradenburg suggested alternative routes.
“There are alternate routes to the south that appear to be better for this purpose since they do not intersect a daily flight path and may be in a location where many birds are flying higher on a longer migration jump,” she wrote. “However, there is not enough data or time at this point to determine the best route.”
Vradenburg said the Friends want SunZia to consider avoiding the Wilderness Study Areas on the alternate routes by gaining access on White Sands Missile Range in the far northwest corner of the range.
“This minimal use of military lands would be the most environmentally sensitive to the refuge, the Wilderness Study Areas and the local Rio Grande wildlife corridor, and preferred by the community of San Antonio,” she wrote.
Ryan with SunZia said in a July 15 interview with the Mountain Mail that White Sands Missile Range’s commander was adamant about not wanting the transmission lines going through or bordering the range.

Two possible routes

Ryan presented SunZia’s plans to the Socorro City Council on Monday, July 20.
“I wanted to brief you before it appeared in the paper, but obviously that didn’t happen,” Ryan said. “SunZia is planning two 500-kilovolt transmission lines as part of a five-partner group formed primarily to capture renewable energy in New Mexico. The lines will be larger than any other transmission lines in the state. The largest existing line is 350 kilovolts.”
The towers carrying the transmission lines would stand about 150 feet tall, Ryan said. He said the new Aug. 28 deadline for comments will allow plenty of time for the public to review the plans.
“At this point, we’re looking at two possible routes. One that would be in the San Antonio area is not the best route. We prefer to have a route to cross I-25 at Arrey-Derry.”
Arrey Derry is about 20 miles north of Hatch on Interstate 25.
Councilor Chuck Zimmerly said he would support a resolution to back a route that would not go through San Antonio.
Ryan said residents in San Antonio have made it clear they want us to use the Arrey Derry route.
“We will present it to the county commission July 28,” Ryan said.

Impact on ecotourism

In her letter to the BLM, Vradenburg noted the economic impact of the Festival of the Cranes, which she said has an estimated impact of $4.3 million for the region.
“Ecotourism for the county is directly linked to the refuge, and anything that harms the wildlife or mars the view of this rural setting is going to have a negative impact on visitation. Since there is no obvious economic benefit of this project to the area, there is no excuse to compromise our community with this project,” Vradenburg wrote.
She said the Friends have a membership of about 1,000.
“Undoubtedly, you (the BLM) have heard from many of our members following my urgent e-mail to a subset of them after the public meeting. Many more Friends, as well as the largely uninformed citizens of San Antonio and Socorro, would oppose this route if they only knew about it,” she wrote.
Vradenburg said the way to choose the best route is to give adequate time to involve biologists and the White Sands Missile Range in the process.

John Larson contributed to this story.


Mayor, Councilors To Get Pay Raise After Next Election

By John Larson
SOCORRO – The next four city councilors to be elected, or re-elected, will be the first beneficiaries of a new pay scale passed Monday night at the Socorro City Council meeting.
The monthly compensation for councilors will be $1,050 and $1,700 for the mayor.
Mayor Dr. Ravi Bhasker said the process for the city council to make changes in salary structure “really falls to the city council.”
“State legislators pass on county commissioners’ raises,” Bhasker said. “It should be noted that these changes will not occur until after the next election cycle and will not apply to those who are still on the council. Then after two more years, the next four council seats will be up for election. Then those raises will go into effect. The last time we did this was four or five years ago.”
The next mayoral election will be in March 2010.
Before the final vote was taken Monday, a public hearing was held for comments from anyone in attendance.
Socorro resident Virginia Chang told the council she was not for or against the ordinance, but was looking for justification.
“The first thing that came to mind was that in these economic times, I don’t really see there should be a raise,” Chang said. “Others in the community have stopped giving pay raises. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. The city councilors will get a 30 percent pay increase. The mayoral pay raise is 42 percent. Asking for the justification sounds like I’m against the pay raise, but I’m not necessarily against it.”
Chang said: “Most on the council have other employment. This would be considered part-time work more than an elected office. How do we justify that amount of money in terms of the number hours of work?”
Chang suggested the city use the money in other ways.
“Instead, invest it in good faith for the infrastructure of Socorro,” she said.
Councilor Peter Romero said he had been uncomfortable with the pay-raise issue and that most of the councilors serving are “not really in it for the money.”
Bhasker said if any councilor felt the money was not important, they could, in good faith, return to the city any salary they have been paid for being a councilor. He said the city needs good people to oversee its operation.
“I’m not sure if you understand the nature of this. In Socorro, we don’t have a city manager. Our clerk does most of what a manager would do. Our budget from the last five years has almost doubled to about $17 million,” Bhasker said. “We’re really basically a corporation that runs the city business. We run the gas company, water and sewers and the landfill.”
He said councilors have accomplished what they said they would do when they got elected.
“The city of Socorro has actually gained between 5 and 8 percent in gross receipts,” Bhasker said. “Fiscally, we are very safe and have done a lot of projects, but are very frugal. The councilors are the ones making these decisions for the residents of the city.”
He said the raise will attract quality candidates.
“They need compensation while they’re away from their jobs,” Bhasker said. “I think the councilors we have now are treating it like a job. They expend time doing it.”
“Our councilors have managed the money the best they could and run it like a corporation,” he said. “In these economic times, generally speaking, the city of Socorro is very well grounded and stable as far as economic stability is concerned.”
“To do this every four to five years is not bad. If we were having to lay off people, it would be different,” Bhasker said. “I spend about four hours a day in this ‘part-time’ job. For example, I will miss a whole day of work Thursday to go to Santa Fe to fight for the landfill.”
Councilor Michael Olguin Jr. said many people don’t know how much time councilors put in.
“In some people’s eyes, we’re just going to get more money, but the job is not just to come in for meetings on the first and third Mondays a month. Councilors work behind the scenes,” Olguin said. “I do city business when I take my lunch break and make myself available at all times. (The vote on this) is kind of damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
Councilor Chuck Zimmerly said he saw both pros and cons with it.
“When I first got on here, it was quite different. There’s been an awful lot more time required on the councilors,” Zimmerly said. “With that in mind, it won’t be a case of feathering a nest. I think it will help us bring better quality of people on the way up.”
The final vote was six for and two against. Councilors MaryAnn Chavez-Lopez and Romero voted “no.”

Tech Student Competes In National Billiards Tournament

Mountain Mail reports

New Mexico Tech student William Aitken competed in a national billiards tournament, the 2009 ACUI Collegiate 9-Ball Championships, in Normal, Ill., this week. Aitken is a senior computer science major.
Aitken posted reports on his progress to his Facebook page during the event.
“This pool room is amazing, but naturally I have complaints,” Aitken’s first post Tuesday said. “Tables are too close together, and the cloth is a little faster than that of our 10-foot table back in Socorro.”
Aitken lost the first match 8-6.
“I played a couple of fantastic players out of the gate, and am enjoying watching the other players,” he wrote to the Mountain Mail via Facebook on Wednesday.
In the first round, Aitken fell to Varun Raheja; in the second round, John “Tadpole” Martinovich knocked him out of the double-elimination tournament.
“Played well, not at all disappointed, it was a fun match,” he wrote of the first match.
Then on Wednesday: “(Aitken) has been destroyed. Wasn’t expecting to play someone who could break and run in the loser bracket. Lost 8-0,” he wrote.
Aitken qualified for the tournament by participating in a tournament in New Mexico Tech’s game room in the fall of 2008. He then placed sixth in the regional tournament, which was in Utah in February.
Aitken is a member of Tech’s Billy Aards Club, which specializes in billiards and related games. Tech has been participating in tournaments held by the Association of College Unions International, or ACUI, since the spring of 2001.
Ray Piworunas, who was adviser to the Billy Aards Club until last year, had this advice to offer Aitken: “A prime focus would be staying calm so the thinking and execution doesn’t lock up or stutter. His tournament experience in other disciplines could be a plus.”
Tech’s Office of Auxiliary Services pays travel and tournament fees for Tech students to attend the competition, then in a regional qualifier in February.
“I am thrilled that my hard work in the Game Room has allowed me to play at this level,” Aitken said in the press release from Tech. “I am grateful for the support of the school and all of my friends; without their help, I could not have gotten this far.”
Qualifiers for the next ACUI tournament will be held in the Tech game room in November 2009.
Aitken is the son of John and Jean Aitken of Meeker, Colo.

City Recognizes Probation And Parole Employees

By John Larson

SOCORRO – A ceremony honoring officers and staff of the Adult and Juvenile Probation and Parole Office was held Wednesday on the Plaza in Socorro.
At Monday night’s Socorro City Council meeting, Mayor Dr. Ravi Bhasker proclaimed the week of July 19-24 as Juvenile Probation, Parole and Community Supervision Week in recognition of their work.
Standing with the mayor was City Councilor Peter Romero, who read the proclamation, which cited the department as an essential part of the justice system.
“Probation, parole and community supervision professionals uphold the law with dignity, while recognizing the right of the public to be safeguarded from criminal activity,” the proclamation read.
The officers of Probation and Parole are responsible for supervising adult and juvenile offenders in the community.
Parole officer Larry Bernal co-hosted the ceremony with Romero, and he formally recognized Chief Probation and Parole office Esther Baca.
The 21 officers awarded certificates of appreciation were from several agencies, including Alamo Navajo Probation Department, Adult Probation Parole office in Socorro, Community Corrections (Mental Health), Juvenile Probation Parole Office, Socorro Drug Court, Socorro DWI Compliance and United States Federal Probation.

Photo caption: Officers and staff responsible for probation, parole and community supervision were honored at a ceremony Wednesday morning on the Plaza. The 21 employees awarded certificates of appreciation included Gilbert Acosta, Patsy Acosta, Esther Baca, Cecilia Baca-Lopez, Hilario J. Bernal, Lauren Billy, Cindy Chavez, Rita Cragun, Zachary Gerieve, Sean Gifford, Jacob Gomez, Geraldine Jones, Yolanda Luna, Charm Martinez, Charles Melvin, Carolina Romero, Charles Rutta, Jason Towne, Ron West, Michael Williams and Cindy Youtz. Photo by John Larson/Mountain Mail

OPINION: Letters to the Editor

False Ideas Abound On Cockfighting

To the Editor:

Thanks to all the people who have supported me for the letters I have written. First of all, state Sen. Mary Jane Garcia claims cockfighting came from Asia. She is right about that, but she failed to mention that cockfighting was as much a Hispanic tradition as an Asian tradition.
The Spaniards’ rule in the Phillipines was more than 400 years, and the Filipinos and Spaniards were well aware of the sport of cockfighting. The Spaniards took this to all the states in our country, also. It is a lie that cockfighting is not a Hispanic tradition. As I mentioned in my last letter, the gamecock was almost our national bird.
Look at the endangered species list and the bald eagle is on that list. The well-funded Humane Society wants the gamecock on the endangered list too.
They say we are all drunks and show our kids how to gamble. They must be blind, with all the casinos in our state. Under the New Mexico lottery rules and casino rules, any amount of money under $1,200 you have no obligation to report. So who cashes in more on tax-free money – casino gamblers who play every day or cockfighters?
The actual act of cockfighting is small compared to the raising and feeding of roosters. Feeding roosters means spending money. A person with 50 roosters buys 10 sacks of food a month, on the average price for a bag of feed at $14, for $140. That is $1,680 a year to feed 50 roosters.
Animal rights people should give gamecock breeders a gold medal for their dedicated effort and care of poultry. Raising game roosters is a 365-day-a-year job! All this hard work goes out the window when the Humane Society raids your property and kills all your hard work to raise these creatures.
The Humane Society and Garcia say that we use these roosters for personal gain. They are using all animals for the same purpose. I can guarantee you they have made enough money to support a small country.
The so-called investigator Robyn Gojkovich of the animal task force said on camera we all need to get jobs at Wal-Mart. A part-time job for all us full-time tax-paying gamebreeders wouldn’t cover a fourth of the feed bill working at Wal-Mart full time!
A local couple sent their kids to college running the best gamebreeders’ establishment in the state of New Mexico. Do you think these hard-working honest people who own a farm would work at Wal-Mart? These are honest, hard-working people whom I respect. All the same caliber of people came to their establishment because of respect and being honest.
Cockfighters will never get rich because of the cost to raise roosters. We will hand down to our children honest values and beliefs.
Garcia also says that cockfighting is directly linked to domestic violence and other crimes. I would like to see an honest poll and really see if these crimes have declined now that cockfighting is illegal. The only crime that hasn’t risen is the 10,000 new criminals that have been created by the banning of cockfighting. An illegal activity in this state generates more money and produces a bigger profit than a legal activity. Having new laws creates new taxes we have to pay to enforce these laws.
If we all act now, we can still expose these people for who they really are. Do you honestly think Garcia goes to sleep at night thinking and dreaming of all the rooster she saved? All her dreams are for all of us to keep fighting roosters and get fined to generate more money to prove that cockfighting is wrong. Her expert witness, Darren White, lost his campaign this past election, and I hope he knows the gamebreeders were the difference! Hopefully it will be the difference for Garcia’s election also! Thank you for reading.

Randy Peralta

Church Fiestas
Were Successful

To the Editor:

I would like to give a huge “thank you” to all who supported our annual St. Mary Magdalene Fiestas this past weekend, especially the Magdalena Old Timers Association for our work together and making this weekend a huge success.
We hope to continue the corporation to make it more successful in the future. I would like to thank all who donated, participated and supported, and Father Andy Pavlak for having faith in our community and making this the best fiesta in many years! Look out for more community activities in the future here at St. Mary Magdalene Church, which are all focused on encouraging our participation in our Christian faith.
Regardless of our affiliation, we are all called to serve to better our community and world at large. Thank you again from the mayordomos of St. Mary Magdalene.   

Bryan Baca

Raise For Council A ‘Slap In The Face’

To the Editor:

It’s a sad day when a mayor and some councilors make the choice to give themselves a 50 percent raise in light of what the rest of Socorro is going through.
Times are super-tough, contrary to the rosy picture Ravi tried to paint at Tuesday night’s council meeting. He said the city is doing unbelievably great! Maybe in his neighborhood.
I watched and was quite proud of Councilor MaryAnn Chavez-Lopez and Councilor Peter Romero for placing their constituents and their principles first! No reason in the world would suffice for a 50 percent raise for the mayor and councilors while the very people who count on those same elected officials to lead the way have never in their lifetimes seen more than a 5 percent raise in any job in this city. 
It’s a slap in the face and quite honestly very shabby accounting to dismiss everyone else’s hard times and then take taxpayers money at an unheard of 50 percent and say, “It’s alright, the city is doing wonderfully.“ Well folks, now, so are the mayor and councilors. If you ever hear any of them tell you that they work their fingers to the bone, they are flat out lying to you!
I’ll bet the city employees who qualify for food stamps would have loved to see some of that $44,400 the mayor and certain councilors so arrogantly threw into their little special coffer pot. Why? Everything is peachy for them. They’ve all got full-time jobs – and now – another $1,200 for the councilors and $1,700 for the mayor every month to play around with. Ya’ damn right things are great at city hall!
If there is anyone in Socorro who matched the 50 percent raise the council and mayor just gave themselves – raise your hand! It’s nothing but a bunch of shame-filled elected opportunists who have once again taken advantage of the taxpayers of Socorro because everyone is too busy out there in this God-awful heat trying to find another nickel in the dirt to rub against the one in their pocket, and don’t have time to go to council meetings and raise holy hell! They – we – expect that trust would take care of all of that for us. They’re elected officials. Surely they wouldn’t put it to us after we trusted them enough to place them in what should be an honest and honorable position in the community. You can’t make this up, folks!
One councilor showed his cowardice and voted for the raise “’cause it didn’t matter, he wasn’t running again.” That’s just as horrific as it gets!
I guess in the end, some folks place their greed above their principles, even though principles are right there in front of us and within easy reach – our whole life. I’m 55 and can’t remember being so deeply embarrassed and ashamed of an elected body in my hometown.
Hope all that extra taxpayer money helps the mayor and councilors to be able to go see all the movies they want or take their kids to the zoo whenever they feel like it, maybe buy something extra for their kids just for the heck of it or perhaps take a really nice vacation in the years ahead. I also hope the families and city employees in dire straits understand that not everyone is like those elected officials who forgot that leading by example comes first in their oath –and most of your neighbors really do give a damn about you and your lot in life. To push a 50 percent raise in the face of the people of a community that is quite literally on the edge, and tell them everything is just fine, is unforgivable. Inevitably, those elected officials and their families will sleep quite well, while some city employees and other families’ children won’t be able to sleep because they are hungry.  
This sad, sad “me-first” generation of misguided opportunistic greedy elected officials continues to fester and grow. I’ll continue to pray that every hard-working body in my hometown gets “at least” a 3 percent raise in the coming months. God bless the hurting and less fortunate of Socorro. Your only failing is that you have not been elected to this city’s council. 

Gary R. Jaramillo

The Mountain Mail Opinion Page is meant to be a forum for a diverse range of opinions. The Mountain Mail encourages signed letters to the editor or guest columns. Anonymous letters will not be considered for publication.
Please limit the length of letters to 500 words. We reserve the right to edit for content, style and grammar.
Letters will be printed in a first-come, first-served basis, although e-mail submissions may receive higher priority. The deadline is 5 p.m. Tuesday for the following Thursday’s paper.
Readers can send letters to Mailbag, PO Box 1912 Socorro, NM 87801; hand-deliver to the Mountain Mail office in the Adobe Plaza at 413 N. California St.; e-mail to mountainmaileditor@; or fax to (505) 838-3998.


OPINION: The People Vs. ‘The Best Democracy Money Can Buy’

By Dave Wheelock

“One million, four hundred thousand dollars a day,” said my friend Dick, as we stood on the sidewalk in front of New Mexico Sen. Jeff Bingaman’s Santa Fe office. “A day.” That’s the amount, according to a July 6 story in the Washington Post, the for-profit health-care industry is spending to quash any congressional action that would allow citizens to sign up for a public health-care system, let alone a single-payer option along the lines of Medicare. Finding a congressional Democrat brave enough to stand up to such a full-court press is difficult enough. The Republicans, being the party of big money, are by definition a lost cause.
About 75 of us common citizens were gathered on a Thursday afternoon to publicly urge Sen. Bingaman to faithfully represent the majority of his constituents (polls now show around two-thirds of Americans favor at least a public option). Although the senator had hinted in a carefully worded column that he supports the proposal, nobody in our little group of activists had been able to pin him down on his commitment.
We do know, thanks to analysis of filing records by the Center for Responsive Politics, that Sen. Bingaman has during his career accepted campaign funding as follows: $547,616 from “health professionals,” $160,875 from the insurance sector and $144,498 from the pharmaceutical and health product industries. This is not to suggest the senator is an extraordinarily heavy feeder at the trough of corporate largesse. Like other members of Congress, he merely plays by the rules endorsed by the Supreme Court, which has long supported the concepts that corporations possess human rights, and money is due the right of free speech.
So what does the big money have to say about health care in the U.S.A.? The July 10 broadcast of the Public Broadcasting Service series Bill Moyers Journal provided an unprecedented wealth of information, including what options are being considered in Washington and what roles politics and money are playing in the debate. The investigative journalism that went into Mr. Moyers’s program is an example of why the largest corporations (of any sector) and their representatives in Congress just hate public broadcasting.
Included was an interview with Wendell Potter, former head of public relations for CIGNA, one of this country’s largest insurance companies. It’s troubling how slowly these industry insiders often take to come clean, but as Potter says: “I was insulated. I didn’t really see what was going on.” But after seeing a “health expedition” in Wise, Va., during a visit with his parents, something snapped inside Potter.
“I just assumed that it would be … booths set up and people just getting their blood pressure checked and things like that. But what I saw were doctors who were set up to provide care in animal stalls.”
On June 24, Potter testified before the Senate. His testimony reveals insurance companies’ constant need to satisfy Wall Street players. “The top priority of for-profit companies is to drive up the value of their stock. … To win the favor of powerful analysts, for-profit insurers must prove that they made more money during the previous quarter than a year earlier and that the portion of the premium going to medical costs is falling.”
If you missed the television broadcast, you can still access the program at In fact, the Web site supplies a more complete picture of how the corporate health-care establishment is pulling out all the stops to shape “reform” in a way, as Wendell Potter says, “that benefits Wall Street far more than average Americans.” There are sources for tracking where each member of Congress gets her/his campaign funds, as well as timelines of specific issues showing where and when big contributions came into play. There are even “captured” documents, written by industry PR types, outlining the industry’s secretive strategy to publicly smear the image of publicly provided health care. “Meetings will be held in person, when possible, or via secure conference call lines and password-protected online meetings … highlight horror stories of government-run systems.”
Unlike citizens in other developed countries, we have been conditioned by decades of the status quo into accepting the validity of providing health care for a profit. Now, as Americans begin to realize they’ve been duped, we need to arm ourselves and each other against the propaganda being spread by the industry even as we demand our legislators stand up for our interests.
The health-care industry is trying to actualize the phrase “best democracy money can buy” with its $1.4-million-a-day campaign. Rubbing shoulders with others determined to achieve something better is an encouraging experience. I recommend you try it.

Dave Wheelock,, is a member of the Oneida Nation. He is a collegiate sports administrator and coach with a history degree from the University of New Mexico. Mr. Wheelock’s views do not necessarily represent those of the Mountain Mail.

OPINION: A First-Grader Wouldn’t Fall For The GW Scam

By Rick Coddington

As the last in this series about the cap-and-trade bill, which is on its way to costing us yet another trillion dollars, I humbly offer the following facts.
1. The entire human contribution to this stuff is not even a drop in the cosmic bucket. The idea that we can change our lives enough, in any way, to affect the climate is a lie. It is nothing less than egomania for us to believe that humans have such a great effect on the environment.
2. Global warming/climate change is a total hoax. We are being lied to by the politicians and their pseudo-scientists and the media, which dutifully spouts the drivel they are fed without any attempt to find the truth. The truth is easy to find, folks.
There is so much information available to contradict global warming that a first-grader wouldn’t fall for this stuff. Why do we? Busy-ness. We are just too busy. We are all so bombarded with the demands of the rat race that we have no time for research, so we get our “facts” from the media. The problem with that is the media is at best a bunch of dupes or, at worst, a party to the conspiracy. There, I said it.
There are holes in the GW science big enough to drive a semi through, which leads me to believe the whole thing really is a government conspiracy to further rob and enslave us. But, again, who has time to look into all this stuff? We are also brainwashed into accepting so-called “scientific proof” without questioning it.
Think about this: science is defined as “knowledge – as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding, which is “obtained and tested through scientific method.”
That last part is very important, because scientific method is the process through which true scientific results are obtained. It is scientific method, not methods. There is a big difference. Sadly for us, at some point, “scientific method” was abandoned. I have heard it said that it died when the scientists became dependent on government grants. Why? Simple. If a scientist came to a conclusion the government didn’t like, the money dried up. Being brainiacs, scientists started coming up with the conclusions they needed to put bread on the table, regardless of the scientific method.
I realize this stuff is tedious, but bear with me through one last definition. It is really important that we understand these things so we can recognize the truth and not fall for the lies. Scientific method “refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering observable, empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning.”
Also, repeatability is critical, because it shows the difference between fact and coincidence. In real science, if something happens one time, it should happen every time. Lets put global warming/climate change to the test, beginning with their “data.” Do they gather “observable, empirical and measurable evidence?” No! There are 1,221 temperature-measuring stations across the United States maintained by the National Weather Service (oops, guess who pays their salary … the politicians).
According to the “data” they have gathered, we are in a crisis. But it is data that is not reliable. There is a Web site,, that will give you the whole story, but here is the bottom line – 89 percent of the reporting stations fail to meet their own agency’s requirements for proper data collection. Things like putting the sensor in the middle of an asphalt parking lot totally jacks the temperature reading up. Why is this such a big deal? Because it destroys the scientific reliability of their science (not to mention making their “scientists” look like a bunch of bare-faced liars).
Why do they claim the world is warming? Remember, this whole global warming hoax is based on the lie that our surface temperature is rising “dangerously.” This panic is based on the supposed “conclusion” that the global surface temperature increased about three-quarters of a degree Celsius during the last century. Three-quarters of a degree in 100 years! Back to surface, 61 percent of the reporting stations are evidently off by two full degrees and 8 percent of the stations are off by five full degrees. This constitutes a big lie when you are arguing about a three-quarter degree “crisis.”
The next big lie is that this (non-existent) crisis is the fault of us evil humans. In reality, keeping in mind (from last week’s column) that the main greenhouse gas is water vapor, not carbon dioxide, then the human contribution to all this is about 0.28 percent, less than one-fourth of 1 percent of the “problem.”
But there is no profit in this inconvenient truth, because water vapor is 99.999 percent natural in origin, and the government can’t tax nature, so guess what? We get the big carbon dioxide lie. Humans can be taxed, into the poor house, if we don’t stop the government thieves!
You don’t need to take my word on any of this, it’s all available at your fingertips. So let them do the walking, and get the truth. And then get mad! Global warming is a hoax. At the very least, it is pseudo-science, because it fails the scientific method requirements. At the worst, it is a conspiracy, and you are the intended victim of this trillion-dollar swindle!

Rick Coddington is a third-generation native New Mexican. He attended UNM and studied political science. He has lived in Socorro since 1974. His opinions do not necessarily represent the Mountain Mail.

OPINION: The Great Health-Care Debate Circus And Side Shows

By Don Wiltshire

The Great Health Care Debate Circus is in full swing, going on in more rings than you could ever imagine. The slick TV ads, dreamed up by the health-insurance industry and paid for by your health-care dollars, warn us of the horrors of government-run clinics. That nice lady from Canada, who would not have been treated for a life-threatening illness for another year-and-a-half because of her country’s government-run system, had to come to our wonderful country to get treatment. The talking heads blather on about how unaffordable universal health coverage would be.
House Resolution 676 has been languishing in Congress since February 2005. It also is called the “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act.” It is currently sponsored by 87 congressmen, including Sen. Tom Udall and supported by 70 percent of the American people. It would not affect your choice of health-care providers. It would not affect the health-care industry. It would, however, divert some of the $800 billion of our health-care dollars (fully one-third of the $2.4 trillion we spend on health care in the United States) from the Mighty Health Insurance Industry’s coffers. Find out more and how you can help online at
Here are our stories and why we both support this resolution:
Private insurance’s giant loopholes, Donald’s tale:
Working the scenic shops in Orlando, Fla., was like a periodic stampede. One shop would pick up a big contract from Universal Studios or Disney and we would all sign on, work like crazy, finish the job in less than six months and get laid off, never qualifying for the company’s health-insurance program. One shop I worked for was fortunate enough to pick up several lucrative contracts in a row. I became a “regular” and signed up for their health-insurance program.
Treating myself to a much-needed eye exam, I discovered I had an advanced case of glaucoma, a condition that causes excess pressure in the eye and slowly erodes the optic nerve. Medicated eye drops, which would have been frightfully expensive without insurance, were tried but did not bring down the pressure. Operations were scheduled for both eyes. I was laid off the next day. The insurance company magnanimously agreed to spring for the operations.
The end result? I’m now “legally blind,” kind of like looking at a “low-resolution” screen rather than one of those high-definition sets. Enough eyesight to get around but not much use to a “real” company. Had universal health coverage been available, this condition would have been detected early. Who knows how life might have been different?
Government-run health care, Margaret’s tale:
As a child, before the Korean Military Action (war), I was seen by both private dentists and at least one private doctor about my mouth. Age 3 and I had lost most of my bottom “baby” teeth. My adult teeth weren’t coming in. Fine, fine, everyone said, don’t worry.
When this Korean action (war) started, my dad returned to the Air Force. At 5, I had my tonsils out at the base hospital in Texas. During my time there, a well-developed tumor (no, not cancer) was discovered under my tongue. My adult teeth were floating in it.
Arrangements were made, and I was sent to another base hospital in Alabama. It seems they had one of the best dental surgeons in the country there. He removed the tumor. My jaw bone was paper thin.
In my life, government-run health care was more than all right. As a dairy farmer, my family would not have been able to get such help or afford it. I don’t know what life would have been like without a jaw. If I had survived, there would have been no corn on the cob, that’s for sure.
For years, we were assured our president would be well cared for at Bethesda Naval Hospital. I was always told it was one of the best in the country.
If your government wanted to run health care, it could do a great job. What they want are “stimulus” payments from the health-care industry. You put them in office, but they know where the money is. It’s your money, but you don’t package it for them like the lobbyists do.
We call a cop “dirty” if he or she accepts gifts or money and is “influenced” by the giver. What do we call a senator or congressman who does the same thing? Getting our government back will take work. We need to make some really big noise.

Don Wiltshire lives in Magdalena and shares this column with his wife, Margaret. The views of Mr. and Mrs. Wiltshire do not necessarily represent the Mountain Mail.

Photographic Workshop Focuses On Hummingbirds

Mountain Mail reports

Because of their rapid wing-beat (up to 53 times each second in flight), hummingbirds are among the most difficult of subjects to photograph. Three expert instructors will provide tips and equipment for getting sharp images in a free hummingbird photography workshop Saturday, Aug. 8, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.
The workshop is open to adults and youth; beginning photographers are welcome. There is a limit of 20 participants, so early reservations are recommended.
Instruction will be provided by North American Nature Photog-raphers Association members Jerry Goffe, David Powell and Don Bartram. Goffe also is a refuge volunteer and board member of the Friends of the Bosque del Apache NWR, sponsor of the workshop.
The class will begin with an indoor introduction. Two or three photographic stations will be set up outside the refuge visitor center. Black-chinned, broad-tailed, rufous and calliope hummingbirds visit the refuge during July and August.
Each photographic setup will include multiple strobes, feeders and backdrops. Participants may use their own camera or insert their memory card in one of the digital cameras that will be available, enabling them to take their images home after the workshop. Instructors will help critique and download images as time permits. Photographers are invited to bring a laptop or a blank CD. Call 835-1828 to reserve a spot.

Photo caption: Strobe lighting captures this black-chinned hummingbird in flight in a photo by Jerry Goffe, one of three instructors who will give tips for photographing hummingbirds in a free workshop Saturday, Aug. 8, at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Jerry Goffe

Appreciating Art

At Tuesday’s city council meeting, Socorro Mayor Dr. Ravi Bhasker presented a plaque of appreciation to local artist and art teacher Liz Alvarez, who led a project to install colorful historical and children’s tiles along the Elfego Baca Park and Historic Walk near the Stage Door Grill, as well as a location on School of Mines Road. The historical plaques are arranged in informational displays along the walk, while the children’s tiles add life to the concrete structures that were installed as part of an ongoing landscaping project along School of Mines. Photo by John Larson/Mountain Mail


Thomas L. Watkins
Oct. 22, 1940 – July 18, 2009

Thomas Lenwood Watkins, 68, died Saturday, July 18, 2009, in Springerville, Ariz. He was born Oct. 22, 1940, in Grants, N.M., to Elvis (Tex) Lenwood Watkins and Frances Margaret Hughes Watkins.
Thomas was a retired logger. He loved to sawmill and log and do anything outdoors. He was mechanical, loved his family and loved to watch his grandkids grow up.
He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Mary Ann Stroud Watkins, of Springerville; sons Ronald (Debbie) Watkins of Springerville, Alan (Doni) Watkins of Springerville and Larry Watkins of Springerville, daughter, Peggy (Phillip) Reed, of Springerville, nine grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, brothers Archie (Eulene) Watkins of Eagar, Ariz., Walter Watkins of Eagar and Bill Watkins of Florida.
Thomas was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Harvey Watkins and Jim Watkins.
A viewing was from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 21, 2009, at Burnham Mortuary in Eagar.
A graveside service was at 2 p.m. Wednesday, July 22, 2009, at Quemado Cemetery in Quemado, N.M. Interment followed the services.
Arrangements by Burnham Mortuary, Eagar. To leave an online condolence, visit

Area Briefs

Mid-Schoolers Get Locker Assignments

All Sarracino Middle School students and their parents may pick up the 2009-10 schedule, fill out necessary forms, pay old bills, obtain new agendas, handbooks and lockers on the following days at the following times.
Tuesday, Aug. 4 – sixth-graders, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 5 – seventh-graders, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 6 – eighth-graders, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
All stations are located in the front hallway or in the office. People may park in the front parking lot.

Domestic Violence Task Force To Meet

The Socorro County Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Task Force is scheduled to meet at noon Friday, July 31, at K-Bob’s Steakhouse.
K-Bob’s has a new $6.99 lunch menu. On the agenda will be discussion of community awareness planning for the fall, a report from the community awareness and strategic planning committee, and coordination of future community training.
The group has blocked a time slot of noon to 2 p.m. for the meeting. 

Health Office Plans Grand Re-Opening

The Public Health office in Socorro will have a grand re-opening with refreshments from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 28, at the office on Neel Street.

Heritage Center To Present Feather Dance

There will be a special performance of La Danza de la Pluma, The Feather Dance, by Grupo de Promesa from Teotitlán del Valle, Oaxaca, at 10 a.m. Sunday, July 26, at the El Camino Real International Heritage Center south of Socorro.
The event will include a screening of Metamorfosis Documentation Project’s documentary film, “La Danza de la Pluma. Faith, Sacrifice and Tradition,“ and a multi-media presentation featuring the cultural history of  La Danza de la Pluma and its relation to the Matachin dances of New Mexico and northern Mexico. 
The event is free for all New Mexico residents with an ID. Shuttle service will be available from Socorro, courtesy of the city of Socorro. For more information, call 575-854-3600 or log on to

San Agustin Coalition Meets On Aug. 11

The next meeting of the San Agustin Water Coalition board of directors will be Tuesday, Aug. 11, at 6 p.m. at the Datil Fire Station. The public is invited to attend.

Pie Town Water Association Meets

The Pie Town Water Association will meet at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 3, at the Pie Town Park pavilion. Members will elect two people to serve on the association’s board of directors.

Library Plans End-Of-Summer Bash

The Socorro Public Library’s end-of-summer reading party will be at 3 p.m. Tuesday, July 28, in the program room on the second floor. There will be refreshments and a special guest. “Johnny Appleseed” will be there in the person of storyteller Don Criss.
After the performance, the library will announce the grand prize winners of the bikes donated by the local Masons.

AYSO Sponsors Soccer Clinic

Soccer players will strike, tackle and defend better after five days of coaching from certified, enthusiastic U.K. International Soccer Camp coaches. Players between the ages of 4 and 16 may register for morning sessions from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday, July 27 to 31, at Sedillo Park. Shinguards are required.
Fees are $51 for the first player and $46 for additional family members. Registration links are at A goalkeeping clinic will be offered if there is interest.
AYSO coaches: there will be a special clinic for coaches Saturday, Aug. 1, at no charge. Call 838-5135 for more information.

Ranger District Sets Fuelwood Sale

The Magdalena Ranger District of the Cibola National Forest is offering a commercial fuelwood sale in Patterson canyon. The sale is located about three miles south of Magdalena.
Trees to be cut are piñon and juniper (cedar) less than 14 inches in diameter. Cutting units vary in size, from 11 to 39 cords. The price is $5 per cord. Access to some of the cutting units could be difficult because of gullies and lack of road access. Permits are being sold at the Magdalena Ranger District office at 203 First Street.
For more information, visit or contact the Magdalena Ranger District office or call Susan Schuhardt at 575-854-2281 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Pie Festival Will Be Sept. 12 This Year

Pie Town’s 29th Annual Pie Festival will be Sept. 12 at Jackson Park on Highway 60, sponsored by the Pie Town Community Council. 
The festival features a pie-baking contest, pie-eating contest and fun and games from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be lots of food and vendors and plenty of pies. 
Dance to the Billy Hansen Band starting at 8 p.m. Free dry camping is available at the town campground. Vendors are welcome. Call 575-772-2525 for more information, or log on to

Sylvia And Friends Suffer From Glorious Gold Fever

By Anne Sullivan

I was sitting on the porch enjoying the morning when the strangest spectacle crossed my line of sight. I shook my head, hoping that the vision would go away, but no, it was still there: a tiny wooden wagon drawn by eight squirrels in string harness. My adolescent cat Gordo was seated on the wagon bench, brandishing a whip and meowing what appeared to be “gee” and “haw” followed by a string of muleskinner’s curses.
“SYLVIA!” I hollered.
“Yes, boss?” she said, emerging from her house with tail high and wagging.
“Tell me I’m having a nightmare and that isn’t Gordo on a wagon.”
“That’s Gordo alright. He’s heading up-canyon to pick up the gold.”
“What gold? Where is he going? Where did he get the wagon? And how in blazes did he harness those squirrels?”
“To answer your questions in order, the gold is from the Lost Adams Diggings.”
“That gold’s been lost a long time,” I said.
“Since about 1864. That’s before even you were born.”
I glared at her, gritting my teeth. “That’s right. What makes you think the Lost Adams Diggings gold is here?”
“I read about it in the Mountain Mail. The article said there’s ‘a secret canyon full of gold nuggets.’ It also says it’s ‘a zig-zag canyon opening into a grassy park-like meadow.’ And I said to myself, ‘Where have I seen a canyon like that?’ Right here, that’s where. Remember, I told you it was here past the pond. RingWorm, Gordo and I have been digging all week.”
“Did you find it?” I couldn’t help asking.
“We found where we think it is, and we should have results very soon. But if it’s not where we think it is, it’s got to be here, right in this house. The gold was buried in the fireplace of a log cabin. That could be our house. We’ll just take apart the fireplace and –“
“I don’t think so,” I said with great haste and much fervor. ”It couldn’t be here. This house wasn’t built until 1929.”
“Oh, well,” said Sylvia. “Back to Plan ‘A.’ We’ll hit paydirt pretty soon. That’s why we’re getting a wagon up there in place to haul the gold away.”
“Good foresight,” I said with a touch of sarcasm.
“Brandy got the idea to build a wagon, but she said she wouldn’t pull it as she said she ‘was not nor never had been a wagon horse.’ She was very adamant about it. You might almost say stubborn.”
“That didn’t seem to stop you.”
Sylvia pulled herself up to her full height, saying, “I am nothing if not determined. So we built a wagon. Brandy did help us by kicking some wood loose from her barn, and RingWorm, Gordo and I nailed it together. Harnessing the squirrels wasn’t easy, but Gordo took them under the house to view the decaying body of the squirrel he did away with. That’s the smell you’ve been complaining about. Anyway, that convinced the squirrels that servitude was preferable to death.”
“Well,” I said, knowing that was hardly sufficient considering the circumstances, but it was all I could manage.
Sylvia took a long slurp out of her water bowl.
“How much gold is there?” I asked when my thoughts finally sorted themselves out.
“I’m not sure,” Sylvia admitted, “but there’s probably more than one wagonload, bearing in mind that it’s a small wagon.”
“Supposing you do find the gold, what are you going to do with it?”
“The first thing is to buy two new screen doors so I won’t have to listen to you yell at me for breaking them.”

It’s Luna’s Weekend To Shine: Pioneer Day Celebration

By Kaye Mindar

Luna’s weekend to shine
This weekend, the small village of Luna will swell at every corner, from a population of about 165 to well over 2,300. It is the annual Luna Pioneer Day celebration of the early settlers, and what began with simple family roots has grown to colossal proportions.
Pioneer Day (also archaically called the Day of Deliverance) is an official Utah state holiday celebrated July 24, with some celebrations in regions of surrounding states that were originally settled by Mormon pioneers. Officially, it commemorates the entry of Brigham Young and the first group of Mormon pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847, where the Latter-day Saints settled after being forced from Nauvoo, Ill., and other locations in the eastern United States.
All over the West, it is celebrated with parades, fireworks, rodeos and other festivities to help commemorate the history of a people. The Luna rodeo is by no means the only event that brings people to the community. There are family reunions, visitors and summer vacation campers at every turn enjoying the weekend in the cool mountains.
Street fair
The fourth annual street fair will be from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday evening along with Luna’s Pioneer Day celebration, at the parking lot of the Luna LDS Church building. The dunking booth will begin at 6 p.m., and there will be a lot of game booths for all, as well as the annual ice cream and pie-judging contests. Get your apron on and bring your favorite recipe for all to taste.
This year, there will be a hat contest for the best decorated hat, and for the children, there will be a T-shirt tie-dye booth. There will be hot dogs and lemonade. People should bring lawn chairs. All are invited, and there is no charge for a fun evening of socializing and play. For more information, contact Idonna Bradford.
Rodeo schedule
Saturday, the festivities will begin at 9 a.m. with barrel racing. At 10 a.m., there will be a parade on Highway 180 from the Luna Service Station to the church and back again. At 11 a.m., team roping will begin. The Luna Community Center’s annual barbecue dinner will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for $7 a plate, with an alternative hot dog dinner for $3.
The rodeo officially begins at 1 p.m.; tickets will be $10 for adults 13 and older, $5 for children ages 7 to 12, and children younger than 6 are admitted free. Concessions will be available at the rodeo grounds.
The celebration’s annual dance will be at the community center at 8 p.m. The cost is $5 per person, and the dance will feature Jess Carey and the Saddle Mountain Band.
Preparedness Corner
There will be one more canning session for the summer July 31. Orders for the last canning session of the 2009 season will be due to Joyce Laney by Sept. 27. The final canning session for the year will be Oct. 24.
There will be no canning sessions in August or September. There are still cookbooks and pre-canned items available for purchase. Contact Joyce Laney for more information.
Genealogy Corner
At, Heritage Gateways has posted online journals and histories. If your ancestors came across the plains as pioneers, these may be of special interest to you. This Web site is sponsored by the Utah office of education, Brigham Young University public partnership and Utah education network.
Quote of the Week
“The pioneer who fought for his liberties now has descendants who take them.”
~ Author unknown

Stingrays Enter District Swimming Competition

By Mike Sievers
The Socorro Stingrays have come to the moment of truth in their summer swim season. About 100 swimmers are entered into the District A meet that starts at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, July 23, at the Riverpoint Wellness Center in Albuquerque.
Socorro’s youth swimmers will compete against athletes from Riverpoint, Four Hills and the Albuquerque Country Club. Stingrays coach Diedra Vinson said she doesn’t want to make any predictions, but feels confident that some of the swimmers will qualify for the state meet, which starts at 9 .m. Saturday, July 25, at the West Mesa Aquatic Center.
“Their technique just keeps improving, and they’re really working hard,” Vinson said. “They look really strong.”
The Stingrays hold practices at 6:30 a.m., 7:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday at the city of Socorro’s swimming pool. Vinson said the team’s numbers just keep growing. The club entered more swimmers than ever before in this years’ district meet.
Vinson said her age group coaches have done an excellent job this summer. The coaches are Alyssa Higgs (13 to 18-year-olds), Carly Licha and Derrick Vinson (11 to 12), Ian Rice and Jordan Vinson (9 to 10) and Michelle Mora, Jennell Higgs and Roberta Abeyta (8 and younger).
Diedra Vinson said the top three swimmers in each event at district will automatically qualify for state, with the next four times from across the board also qualifying.
She said the team has had lots of success this season, with quite a few athletes finishing in the top 16 at an 8-and-under meet. At the New Mexico Games, the Stingrays earned a lot of ribbons, and two of them earned silver medals – Jeremy DiBartolomeo and Kendrick Simmons.

Old Timers Reunion Results

Mountain Mail reports
The Magdalena Old Timers parade results were:
Specialty/Mayor’s Ribbon
Magdalena Library
Best Local
1st – Golden Spur, Rudy Olguin’s Stage Coach
2nd – Magdalena Trail Drivers
3rd – In Memory of Lawrence Bramlett
Best Out of Town
1st – Mules and Wagon
2nd – Wild Adventures
3rd – Valencia County Sheriff’s Posse
Most Original
1st – Magdalena Old Timers Queen’s float
2nd – Paul Pino Band
3rd – Rio Grande Mule & Donkey Association
“We had a great turnout for the parade with all of the roads packed,” parade coordinator Donna Dawson said.

Daniel Hand Wins Magdalena To Kelly Run

The Sunday morning Magdalena to Kelly 7K Walk/Run drew 55 participants.
Organizer Barbara Gordon said although temperatures were not as cool as last year, the weather was mostly cooperative.
The 2009 overall top finisher was Daniel Hand with a time of 30:28. Kim Schaffer was the top female finisher with 35:57. The top male finisher was Steven Montoya with 31:33.
The oldest finisher was Margaret MacTavish, and the youngest finisher was 8-year-old Noel Apachito, who also was the youngest finisher last year.
13-and-under division
1st Nicah Montoya
2nd Danielle Gordon
3rd Noel Apachito
1st Dre Montoya
14 to 30
1st Victoria Lopez
2nd Harley Godinez
3rd Victoria Tapia
1st Tim Abetya
2nd Sierra Cahall
3rd Trey Thunborg
4th Kendrick Apachito
5th Matthew Woody
6th Charles Findlay
7th Jaron Martinez
8th Antonio Guerro
31 to 35
1st Heather Yazzie
2nd Mandy Molina
1st Mike Henderson
2nd Steve Apache
3rd Storm Usray
4th Darren Yazzie
36 to 40
1st Debra Lopez
2nd Jessica Taylor
1st Ramon Molina
2nd Michael Molina
3rd Michael Bletzer
4thAlfred Ganadonegro
41 to 45
1st Grace Zamora
2nd Virginia Alguire
3rd Sandra Montoya
4th Liz Guerro
1st Robert Gonzales
2nd Brian Borchers
3rd Kee Apachito
46 and up
1st Ramona Guerro
2nd Leah Schneider
3rd Julie Euart
4th Violet Lucero
5th Margaret Mactivish
6th Claudette Gallegos
7th Christine Monte
1st Dave Finley
2nd Emerson Mexicano
3rd John Gordon
4th Lemuel Baca
5th Wilfred Contreras
6th Bill Brundage
7th Raymond Apachito
8th Norton Euart
9th Tomothy Guerro
Gordon said the run could not have taken place without the help of volunteers and support from local businesses.
“Special thanks to everyone who helped make the race a success,” Gordon said. “Volunteers included Brenda Torres, Ed Tapia, Cecil Harding, Evanna Cheromiah, Jana Harding, Brian, Margie Tapia, Trails End Market, Yvonne Magener, Diane Allen, William Gordon and Anthony Chavez. Also a big ‘thank you’ to Karolyn’s Hair Care and Florist, Mountain Mail, Magdalena Old Timers Association, Magdalena Café, Socorro County DWI Program and Magdalena EMS.”

Old Timers Rodeo Sees Many Returning Ropers, Riders

The Old Timers Rodeo on Saturday, July 11, was a success again this year with many new faces and a lot of returning ones.
Results of the rodeo are as follows:
Breakaway Roping
Age 40 to 50
Keith Wilkerson – 3.28
Travis Kiehne – 3.75
Wesley Henderson – 4.15
Terrell Shelly – 4.53
Age 51-plus
Travis Kiehne – 4.21
Carl Wilken – 4.46
Barrel racing
Age 40-plus
Trish Marr – 19.0
Paula Wilken – 19.25
Elena Farr – 20.25
Tie-down calf roping
Age 40 to 50
Tim George – 11.75
Brad Marr – 14.44
Shane Atwood – 14.59
Ribbon roping
Women 40-plus/Men 50-plus
Travis Kiehne – 12.03
Carl Wilken – 13.16
Steer stopping (40-plus)
Travis Kiehne – 2.75
Carl Wilken – 2.84
Byron Wilkerson – 3.34
Pete Carabajal – 3.64
Michael Martinez – 4.03
Mixed team roping
Women 40-plus/ Men 50-plus
Dawn Tarpley and Carl Wilken
Century roping
Team ages must add up to at least 100 years. The winners:
• Michael Martinez and Rudy Benavidez
• Radar Thomas and Carl Wilken
• Travis Kiehne and Rudy Benavidez
• Dawn Tarpley and A10 Etchuery
• Harley Paul and Roy Farr
Sponsoring the Old Timers Rodeo this year were the Magdalena Feed Store; Golden Spur Saloon, Magdalena; Animal Haven Veterinary Clinic, Socorro; Southwest Feed, Socorro; Evko Auto and Tire, Socorro; and Wal-Mart in Socorro.

Good Turnout Has Youngsters Rodeo-ing Until 11:45 P.M.

The Old Timers Youth Rodeo was such a success this year that it went late into the evening.
The rodeo lasted from 1 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. The results:
8 and under
1st Haley McNeil
2nd Chazlen LeSure
3rd Kerstyn Ross
4th Lindsey Orris
1st Lindsey Orris
2nd Haley McNeil
3rd Chazlen LeSure
4th Oke Allsup
1st Haley McNeil
2nd Cade Livingston
3rd Ots Allsup
4th Sterlin English
1st Haley McNeil
2nd Jake Orris
3rd Jaxson Mirabal
4th Lindsey Orris
Mutton Busting
1st Tayson Yost
2nd Oke Allsup
3rd Clint Montoya
• 8-and-under All-Around Girl was Haley McNeil
• 8-and-under All-Around Boys were Jake Orris and Jaxson Mirabal (tie)
9 to 12
1st Jasarra Baca
2nd Morgan Bond
3rd Starlyn Treadwell
4th Madison Smith
1st Starlyn Treadwell
2nd Whitley Cline
3rd Madison Smith
4th Shania Livingston
1st Jasarra Baca
2nd Shania Livingston
3rd Madison Smith
4th Kyndra Jordan
Ribbon Goats
1st Madison Smith
2nd Starlyn Treadwell
3rd Baylee Henderson
4th Gracie Craig
1st Dillon Udall
2nd Hayden Udall
3rd Gracie Craig
Calf Riding
1st Trenton McDaniel
2nd Oat Allsup
3rd Jorrell Mirabal
4th Taeron Reidhead
• The 9 to 12-year-old All-Around Girl was Madison Smith.
• The All-Around Boy was Taeron Reidhead.
13 to 15
1st Nayline Cline
2nd Maxie Kiehne
3rd Kadie Kiehne
4th Kacy Wilcox
1st Nayline Cline
2nd Cody Godnez
3rd Clint Wilkinson
4th Shante Townsend
1st Malina Keller
2nd Cody Godnez
3rd Nayline Cline
4th Ky Drummond
Goat Tying
1st Nayline Cline
2nd Haley McNeel
3rd Harly Godnez
4th Dexter Udall
1st Ky Drummond
2nd Bryce Smith
3rd Dexter Udall
4th Kacy Wilcox
Step Down
1st Kadie Kiehne
2nd Kacy Willcox
3rd Dexter Udall
4th Corley Henderson
Steer Riding
1st Justin Houston
• The 13 to 15-year-old All-Around Boy was Ky Drummond.
• All-Around Girl was Nayline Cline
16 to 19
1st Desiree Godnez
2nd Chloe Johns
3rd Dakota Willcox
4th Richard Ulibarri
1st Desiree Godnez
2nd Leslie Ramzel
3rd Richard Ulibarri
4th Lesil Jones
Goat Tying
1st Desiree Godniez
2nd Cody Hendron
3rd Keely Muncy
4th Richard Ulibarri
1st Kyle Davis
2nd Cody Hendron
3rd Wyatt Lindsey
4th Kaleb Bronem
Tie Down
1st Marc Estrada
2nd Calle Turner
3rd Kaleb Bronem
Ribbon Roping
1st Cody Hendren
2nd Kaleb Bronem
Bull Riding
1st Cody Masterson
2nd Eli Hutchins
• The 16 to 19-year-old All-Around Girl was Desiree Godnez
• The All-Around Boy was Cody Hendron