Thursday, July 30, 2009

KRQE Investigation: Alamo's Road To Nowhere

KRQE-TV News 13 investigative reporter Larry Barker did a story Wednesday about the progress, or lack thereof, on the road from Alamo to Interstate 40. Here it is:


Developing Story: Alamo Teacher Charged With Molesting Teen

Mountain Mail reports
New Mexico State Police on Wednesday reported the arrest of an Alamo school behavioral specialist on 13 criminal counts, including criminal sexual penetration of a minor.
According to the report, Mark W. Shaddock, 44, of Magdalena, was arrested Tuesday July 28, on charges of molesting a 15 year-old girl.
Shaddock had been a behavior coach at Alamo School when allegations of criminal sexual penetration, criminal sexual contact and other related crimes emerged.
The alleged crimes occurred over a period of three months starting in the spring.
He was arrested by State Police agents on three counts of criminal sexual penetration, three counts of kidnapping, two counts of criminal sexual contact, four counts of child abuse and one count of aggravated stalking.

Photo caption: Mark Shaddock's mug shot courtesy KRQE-TV News 13

Jail To See Boost In Staffing

By Mike Sievers
SOCORRO – The county jail should have a full staff in the next few weeks, as the detention center is hiring two new supervisors and one new officer, in addition to replacing two officers who resigned recently.
Socorro County Manager Delilah Walsh said the building is inadequate, and she and Detention Center Director Evangel Maldonado will develop a 10-year plan that includes building a new facility.
In the meantime, Maldonado and Walsh are working on the “little things,” like equipment and maintenance. The county will go out for bid in August for training to certify detention center officers, something that hasn’t been done before in Socorro County.
Walsh gave a report about the jail to the Socorro County Board of Commissioners in a regular meeting Tuesday. She said Manuel Romero of the New Mexico Association of Counties visited the jail for an assessment last Thursday, July 23, and will have a report ready in about a month and a half.
“Overall, the center is vulnerable and not a good facility for the county,” Walsh wrote in a typed report to the commission. “In the short term, we need to address our staffing issue and begin a plan to implement a better administrative structure … In the long term, we have to replace the physical plant, which is not sufficient and is a terrible design.”
Walsh said the long-term goal should be to develop a plan for a judicial and law-enforcement complex that would house the courts, DWI offices, district attorney offices, sheriff’s office and a detention center.
Maldonado reported to the commission that the detention center currently has 47 inmates, with five overflow inmates in Cibola County. The state does not reimburse the county for overflow inmates, Walsh said. She said a good percentage of the inmates are there because of probation violations; Maldonado said the jail has been filling up fast because of the strict probation and parole office in Socorro County.
Walsh plans to ask the commission at its next meeting, 6 p.m. Aug. 11, to move $500,000 into a technology fund that would include upgrading the camera and security systems at the detention center, as well as purchasing intake and processing software for the jail.
The technology fund also would pay to replace the county assessor’s software system, designing a Web site for the county and upgrading the county’s telephone system, which currently costs the county $68,000 per year, Walsh said.
In other business:
• The county adopted a resolution requesting that Valencia County ensure that trucks en route to the proposed Roadrunner Metals Recycling plant near the Rio Communities would take Interstate 25 to Exit 175.
Commissioner Rumaldo Griego had expressed concern at the last meeting that trucks would use Highway 304 through Veguita, resulting in more traffic and damage to the roads. The issue will be decided by the Valencia County Planning and Zoning Commission sometime in August. Griego plans to attend along with Walsh to make the plea again in person.
• The commissioners adopted a resolution supporting an alternate route of the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project. The alternate route would have the 500-kilovolt transmission lines routed through the Arrey-Derry area near Hatch and along the White Sands Missile Range, instead of across the Rio Grande near San Antonio, N.M.
• The commissioners approved the final fiscal year 2009-10 budget with lots of small changes from the state Department of Finance and Administration, according to county Finance Director Roberta Smith. Walsh said the county appears to be in a good cash position with $5.9 million, much of that coming from the federal Payment In Lieu of Taxes program, but much of that money is already committed.
• The commissioners appointed Paul Arteche, Ariel Dickens, Bob Iker, Leo Mendoza and Jim McCord to the Illegal Dumping Task Force. Walsh said the task force is an experimental board, but the county needs that infrastructure in place to make improvements. She said there is no reporting system for illegal dumping, and perhaps that is something this task force could develop.

Bobby Olguin, Buckhorn Win Food Network's ‘Throwdown’

By John Larson
A restaurant in San Antonio, N.M., has gained national attention since being featured on the Food Network’s “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” last week.
The program was taped at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge on May 14, when about 100 residents turned out to watch Flay, the popular TV chef, challenge the Buckhorn’s Bobby Olguin to a green chile cheeseburger cook-off.
Two judges, one from Las Cruces and one from Santa Fe, pronounced Olguin’s burger to be the best, but the outcome was kept secret until the program aired Wednesday, July 22.
In a press release, Gov. Bill Richardson congratulated the Buckhorn and cited Olguin’s national attention earned by defeating Flay in the battle for the best green chile cheeseburger.
In recognition of the victory, the governor declared Friday, July 24, 2009, as “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 the statement. “Through his win, Mr. Olguin did an excellent job of showcasing one of New Mexico’s culinary treasures, the green chile cheeseburger.”
Richardson visited the Buckhorn Tavern Friday afternoon to personally congratulate Olguin and his staff and to try one of the restaurant’s world-famous green chile cheeseburgers.
“We had to run everybody out at 3 p.m. to get ready for they governor’s visit Friday,” Olguin said. “People were waiting outside in the heat, standing in line to get in for a burger. This is overwhelming.”
“The governor said he was very proud of the way we have represented the state and especially the chile in New Mexico,” he said. “After he awarded me the plaque for Buckhorn Tavern Day, he came into the kitchen and flipped some burgers.”
The gubernatorial proclamation cited the Buckhorn’s growing reputation nationwide.
“The Buckhorn Tavern has earned many accolades in recent years,” the proclamation read, “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.”
In the press release, Richardson also announced a statewide competition to determine the best commercial green chile cheeseburger in the state will take place during the 2009 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 stated. “This friendly competition will put those favorites to the test as they face off head to head.”
Olguin said the Buckhorn will probably opt out of the proposed statewide contest.
“He wants us to challenge everybody in the state, but that’s not going to happen,” he said.
Olguin told the Mountain Mail he will continue doing business as usual.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen since all this” he said. “I shouldn’t say this, but I have to admit the producers (of the Throwdown) really put a nice piece together. They made me look better than I am. So, yeah, I was pleased with the way we (of the Buckhorn) looked.”
Olguin said he was correctly quoted on Albuquerque television when he was asked what a good burger should be.
“I said, ‘a green chile cheeseburger should be like going to heaven and being married to someone you love for the rest of eternity’,” Olguin said.

Photo caption: Bobby Olguin checks on Gov. Bill Richardson as the governor digs into a Buckhorn Burger at Olguin’s Buckhorn Tavern in San Antonio, N.M., last Friday, July 24. Richardson came to the restaurant to congratulate Olguin for his victory on the Food Network’s “Throwdown With Bobby Flay.” Courtesy photo

County Honors 30-Year Road Department Veteran

By Mike Sievers
SOCORRO – Billy Wells joked he was afraid his boss was going to ask him to retire. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The Socorro County Board of Commissioners handed Wells a certificate of appreciation Tuesday night for his 30 years of work with the Socorro County Road Department.
“If I had all employees like Billy, I wouldn’t have too hard of a job,” his boss, county Road Superintendent Marty Greenwood said at the commission meeting. “I told him he couldn’t retire until he had a replacement as good as him.”
Commission Vice Chairman Danny Monette, who chaired Tuesday’s meeting, presented Wells with some wrapped gifts.
“Here’s a couple of gifts, but don’t open them in front of Marty,” Monette joked.
Wells maintains about 245 miles of road, the last time he measured, in the Claunch area of eastern Socorro County, all dirt roads. Claunch is a two-hour drive from Socorro.
Billy said his son Wendell Wells lives in the Claunch area as well.
“Basically, he takes care of himself out there,” Greenwood said of Billy. “He’s really reliable. He checks in with us, but we don’t usually check on him. We never have any complaints about the roads out there.”
Greenwood has been with the road department off and on since 1989, taking over the road superintendent position again after the departure of Leroy Anaya this past January. Billy said the road department has always helped him when he needed help.
“I appreciate the county being there for me for all these years,” Billy said. “They come and help me if I get in a jam; they help me clear out cattle guards and things like that. My main job is working with the grader.”
Billy said the population of the Claunch area has dwindled over the years, but there are still roads to maintain, and he has good neighbors there, as well as family.
Greenwood said Billy has been a bit suspicious about the road department’s motivation for bringing him to a county commission meeting.
“He thinks we’re trying to get him to retire, and that’s not the case,” Greenwood said.
“I did joke with him that they’re probably going to give me my walking papers,” Billy said.
Greenwood said Billy will be hard to replace
“I don’t know how we’re going to fill his shoes,” Greenwood said. “I hope it doesn’t come (Wells’ retirement) for a while).”
Arthur Gonzales of the road department agreed.
“He’s one of the best workers we’ve ever had,” Gonzales said.
Greenwood said there have been other employees who have put in many years with the department, with Vincent Peralta and Leroy Anaya working more than 25 years.

Photo 1 caption: Billy Wells and his granddaughter Rebecca Wells pose in a recent photograph. The Socorro County Board of Commissioners honored Billy for his 30 years of service to the county Road Department during Tuesday night’s county commission meeting. Courtesy photo

Photo 2 caption: Billy Wells at the county commission meeting with his gifts from the commissioners. Photo courtesy Socorro County Manager Delilah Walsh


Man Arrested In Mag For Receiving $14,000 In Stolen Goods

By John Larson
MAGDALENA – An Albuquerque man was arrested last Friday, July 17, for receiving stolen property worth $14,000.
Marshal Larry Cearley told the Mountain Mail he was notified that a set of Dymax tree shears that had been stolen from equipment on Highway 60 on March 11 had been found.
“The shears were attached to a Bobcat and were being used to cut down trees along the highway,” Cearley said.
According to the criminal complaint, Tristan Hawkins, 25, of Horse Springs came to the marshal’s office in Magdalena with another man, Harvey Platt, of Datil.
The equipment was being stored on Platt’s ranch, Cearley said.
“Mr. Platt is not connected to the case in any way,” he said.
The Dymax tree shears matched the description of the missing shears. The owner identified the shears, and a VIN check verified they had been reported stolen.
The case was then turned over to officer Steve Carter of the New Mexico State Police.
During questioning, Hawkins said he had purchased the shears for $280 from “a man in Lemitar” near the Tumbleweed Auction yard.
Hawkins was arrested and transported to the Socorro County Detention Center. He was released the following day after posting a $15,000 bond. His preliminary hearing is Tuesday, Aug. 4, in Magistrate Court.
Cearley said the investigation is continuing, and the case could lead to solving the thefts of other pieces of heavy equipment, such as Bobcats and bulldozers. A construction business in Albuquerque suspected in the thefts has been ordered to close, according to Cearley.
“The total could run up as high as $250,000 stolen,” he said.
Hawkins’ charge of receiving stolen property worth over $2,500 but less than $20,000 is a third-degree felony.

Woman Dies In I-25 Rollover Near Bernardo

Mountain Mail reports
Officers from the Socorro County Sheriff’s Department assisted State Police and rescue workers with a rollover accident involving a fatality on Interstate 25 on Tuesday morning.
Carole E. Tapp, 38, of Luther, Okla., was fatally injured when the vehicle in which she was a passenger crashed.
According to State Police, the crash occurred just before 9 a.m. on the southbound lanes near mile marker 175, just south of the Bernardo exit.
Barry Tapp, 62, was traveling southbound in his 2008 Ford pickup pulling a trailer when he lost control of the vehicle after he fell asleep, and he drove into the median.
The police report said Tapp overcorrected back onto the roadway, putting the pickup and trailer into a counterclockwise skid, subsequently rolling multiple times and coming to rest on its roof.
“During the rolling of the pickup and trailer, the driver and passenger were partially ejected and rolled with the pickup,” the report stated.
Barry Tapp was airlifted to University Medical Hospital in Albuquerque for severe body lacerations, and he was listed in critical condition as of press time. Carole Tapp was pronounced dead on scene by the state Office of the Medical Investigator.
Police said seatbelts were used at the time of the crash, and alcohol was not a contributing factor.

Local Man, Woman Bound Over On Drug Charges

By John Larson
SOCORRO – A local man and woman were bound over to District Court on drug-related charges after a preliminary hearing before Magistrate Judge Jim Naranjo on Wednesday.
Travis Anderson, 18, and Amy Gaytan, 20, were both arrested in their apartment early Friday, July 24, following an investigation by Socorro Police Officer Rocky Fernandez.
They were both charged with one count of trafficking crack cocaine, one count of child endangerment, two counts of possessing medication without a prescription and one count of possessing drug paraphernalia.
According to the criminal complaint, Anderson and Gayton were in bed, along with a small child, when police served the search warrant on their apartment at 1212 El Camino Real.
Anderson was handcuffed and removed to the living room, while Gaytan was allowed to get dressed in the presence of Officer Brandi Perkins.
The complaint said after being read his rights, Anderson refused to give officers any information pertaining to the location of drugs and paraphernalia.
After Gaytan was read her rights, she admitted the drugs were in her purse, where officers found several baggies containing crack cocaine and prescription medication. Located elsewhere in the apartment were a rolled up dollar bill with residue, an electronic scale, an amount of marijuana and cash totaling $704.
All evidence was confiscated and logged into the evidence room at the police department.
The child was picked up by Gaytan’s mother.
Detective Richard Lopez told the Mountain Mail the department is considering the seizure of any property connected with a drug-related crime.
“We are making plans to start seizing people’s homes and vehicles, like it is done in Albuquerque, where it seems to be working,” Lopez said. “The message is, if we can’t stop you, we’ll make you want to move. People don’t want to be losing their homes and cars. If this is the way we have to do it, this the way we’ll do it.”
Police Chief George Van Winkle said the Socorro Police Department is determined to reduce drug activity in the community.

Public Health Office Grand Reopening

Socorro County Manager Delilah Walsh prepares to handle the ribbon-cutting duties at the entrance to the newly renovated Socorro County Health Department building at 214 Neel Ave. The $900,000 project was completed through the joint efforts of the state Health Department and the Socorro County Commission. Taking part in the ceremony were (from left): state Rep. Don Tripp, Commission Vice Chairman Danny Monette, Walsh, Chief Nurse Ruth Guin, social worker Pamela Doster and Project Manager Patrick Stafford. Photo by John Larson/Mountain Mail

Catron County Fair Building Nears Completion

By Richard Torres
RESERVE – The Catron County Emergency Management facility/fair building is nearing completion. Situated at the Catron County Fairgrounds in Reserve, the 6,000-square-foot building will eventually be used as headquarters for any emergency in the county. It also will be used for county fair activities.
The Catron County clinic expansion is almost completed. The building will house much-needed office space and treatment rooms.
The Catron County Board of Commissioners has appointed Zina Day-McGuire as the Catron County Fire Marshal, effective July 1, for a two-year term. Her duties include acting as supervisor for Catron County fire district chiefs, serving as liaison to the Catron County Volunteer fire districts, insuring compliance with federal, state and other codes, ordinances, procedures and procurement policy provisions.
Jeremiah Herrera, project supervisor with the New Mexico Department of Transportation, said bridge construction in Reserve is on schedule. Herrera said current work involves pier piling adjustments. The project is scheduled for completion in late fall.
The Catron County DWI Program and Los J.O.V.E.N.E.S. have moved into the new multi-purpose building in Reserve.
“We are so happy to be here,” said Dorothy Laney, DWI coordinator.
The Youth Conservation Corps has completed landscaping outside the building.
“Our computers, TVs and game consoles are operational, and we encourage kids to come,” said Laney.
For more information, call 533-6050.

National Guard Comes Home To Fort Craig

By Brenda Wilkinson Bureau of Land Management
FORT CRAIG – On Monday, July 20, two Blackhawk helicopters landed on the Bureau of Land Management’s Fort Craig historic site south of Socorro. A tour conducted by the New Mexico National Guard was a homecoming of sorts given that the New Mexico Volunteers – ancestral to the National Guard – made up the bulk of the Union troops at the Battle of Valverde in February of 1862.
The National Guard was conducting a battlefield tour of the area for key staff to provide insights into military operations, tactics and leadership. For the trip, the Guard paired senior officers with less-experienced officers as part of a mentoring program.
Led by Gen. Kenny Montoya, the group gathered around a scale model of the fort in the visitor center and discussed decisions made by both sides during the Battle of Valverde, evaluating the merits and consequences of those Civil War decisions.
Members of the group did considerable preparation for the trip, studying the history of the fort and conflicts involving its men. Many of the participants had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and comparisons were made between those engagements and issues that troops at Fort Craig faced during the so-called Indian Wars – examples used by the military to study the challenges of dealing with a small, irregular group of warriors in inhospitable terrain and among an unfamiliar culture.
After leaving the visitor center, the group toured the fort and then continued the discussions over lunch in the picnic area. After lunch, the group flew north to Black Mesa to view the Valverde battlefield from above. The Black Mesa portion of the tour was hosted by Tom Waddell, ranch manager for Ted Turner’s Armendaris Ranch.

Photo caption: Two Blackhawk helicopters land at Fort Craig. Photo by Brenda Wilkinson/BLM Socorro Office

Obituary: Blanche V. Popp

Blanche V. Popp July 24, 1918 – July 24, 2009

Blanche V. Popp, a resident of the Good Samaritan Society-Socorro, passed away July 24, 2009, at the age of 91.
Blanche was born Blanche Virginia Kozdron in Chicago on July 24, 1918, to Catherine and Joseph Kozdron and was preceded in death by her husband, John, in 1969.
Blanche owned her own beauty shop in Chicago and subsequently worked for Trans World Airlines, from which she retired in 1980.
Blanche also lived in Tucson, Ariz., Glendale, Calif., and Van Nuys, Calif., before moving to Socorro, N.M.
Blanche loved family parties, ballroom dancing and traveling.
She is survived by her son Carl of Socorro and daughters Theona Hartman of Placentia, Calif., and Bonnie Caravantes-Popp of Burbank, Calif., as well as seven grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.
Blanche also has two sisters, Eveline Magnowski of Denton, Texas, and Florence Dunworth of Plano, Texas, and many friends and relatives in her extended family.
Arrangements by Steadman-Hall Funeral Home, Socorro.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in memory of Blanche V. Popp to The Alzheimer’s Association: join_the_cause_donate.asp or Good Samaritan Society-Socorro: 1203 W. Highway 60, PO Box 1279, Socorro, NM 87801 or give_1.asp?communityid=36.

Obituary: Sam J. Padilla

Sam J. Padilla Sept. 29, 1936 – July 26, 2009

Sam James Padilla, 72, passed away Sunday, July 26, 2009, at his home in Socorro, N.M. He was born Sept. 29, 1936, in Polvadera, N.M., to Eugenio and Miquelita (Chavez) Padilla. He retired from the Santa Fe Railroad in 1993 after 40 years of service.
Sam was a member of the Senior Olympics, where he was involved in many of the activities. He was preceded in death by his parents; his siblings: Helen Jojola, Rosie Garcia, Seles Padilla Sr. and Paul Padilla.
He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Susie Martinez Padilla, of their home in Socorro; daughters: Barbara J. Daugherty and husband, Steve, of Gallup, N.M.; Paula Deweese and husband, Brian, of Socorro; and JoAnn Daley and husband, Michael, of Socorro; sister, Lily Apodaca, of Polvadera; sister-in-law, Perfie Padilla, of Albuquerque, N.M.; brother-in-laws: Sam Barreras and wife, Rosie, of Belen, N.M.; Jerry Barreras and wife, Marylou, of Albuquerque; and Bruno Barreras and wife, Sheila, of Paradise, Calif.; grandchildren: Mandi Vaquera and husband, Victor; and Briana Deweese; great-grandchildren: Analysia Vaquera, Megynn Fierro, Jaye Marie Fierro and Jonah Vaquera; and a very special sister, Erlinda Chavez, and her husband, Ernest, of Las Cruces, N.M.
A rosary was at 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 28, 2009, at the San Miguel Catholic Church in Socorro with the funeral mass following. Father Andy Pavlak was celebrant.
Burial was in the Polvadera Cemetery. Pallbearers were Carlos Tafoya, Louie Armijo, Joseph Tafoya, Joe Sanchez, Ross Salazar and David Gallegos.
Honorary pallbearers were all of his Senior Olympics softball teammates. A reception followed at the San Lorenzo Catholic Church in Polvadera.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the UNM Cancer Center in Albuquerque. Arrangements by Steadman-Hall Funeral Home, Socorro.

Area Briefs

Wild Turkey Federation Hosts Auction, Dinner

People can help support wild turkey and wildlife conservation, the Socorro County 4-H Club and other community-based events by attending the upcoming Hunting Heritage Super Fund auction and dinner.
The San Agustin Long-beards Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will host the event at Rancher’s Steakhouse on Saturday, Aug. 8.
Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., so people can enjoy a gobbling hour before sitting down for a meal at about 7 p.m.
All ticket holders will be eligible to win valuable prizes exclusive to NWTF events. Highest bidders could go home with sporting art, guns, hunting or fishing trip, knives, calls, outdoor equipment and more.
Tickets to the San Agustin Long-beards Chapter’s annual Hunting Heritage Super Fund banquet is $40 for singles (membership), $50 per couple (one membership) or $20 for a guest ticket (non-member).
To purchase tickets or for more information, call Kevin Carson at 505-550-2675, Mike Jasper at 575-420-9480, Bob Ireland at 835-0160 or Carlos Madril at 418-8765.

Water Association
To Elect Directors

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.

Catron Democrats Set Organizational Meeting

The Democratic Party of Catron County will have a planning and organizational meeting at 3 p.m. Aug. 8 at the Catron County Courthouse in Reserve.

Mid Schoolers Get Lockers Next Week

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.

Water Coalition Board Meets 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.

Violence Task Force To Meet At K-Bob’s

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 subcommittee, mental-health issues (including mental-health issues of inmates in the county jail), the possibility of establishing misdemeanor supervised probation for domestic-violence offenders by the DWI Compliance Office and coordination of future community training.
The group has blocked a time slot of noon to 2 p.m. for the meeting.

Pie Festival To Feature Billy Hansen Band

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 the official Web site at

Fur And Feather Hosts Fundraiser

Fur and Feather Animal Assistance will have two live bands as part of its second annual fundraiser, which will be from about 10 a.m. into the evening of Saturday, Aug. 8, at Jackson Park in Pie Town.
There will be dancing in the park pavilion, as well as food, raffles and a cakewalk.

Datil Churches Host Pie Social

Everyone is welcome to the Datil churches’ second annual Pie Social, 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 11, at the Datil Wells Pavilion.
It will be a time to bake up the best of pies and bring them to share with all the people in the area. Datil’s three churches are inviting everyone in the area to bring pies.

after the storm

Isabel Montoya, a resident of Ake Road, stands next to a large tree that was blown down during Tuesday afternoon’s thunderstorm. Montoya said she was watching TV during the storm, and she only found about the damage when she looked out her front door. She said it was fortunate the tree, which was about 50 years old, fell away from the house. “The dear Lord was watching me,” she said. Corina Taylor, Isabel’s sister, said they need someone to cut up and remove the tree. Photo by John Larson

Socorro Hosts Triathlon Saturday

By Polo C’ de Baca
For the Mountain Mail
SOCORRO – The 14th annual Chile Harvest Triathlon will begin early Saturday at the Socorro Municipal Swimming Pool. In the past, the triathlon has attracted at least as many spectators as entries for the festive colorful affair.
As of Tuesday, 350 participants had registered, according to co-director Steven Montoya. Registration closed at midnight on Tuesday; the event is limited to 400 entries.
This year’s event will not include the Youth Race. Participants must be 18 years old or older. The race will begin promptly at 7 a.m. with a 40-meter swim, or eight lengths of the pool. The contestants will then bicycle 29 kilometers and conclude the race with a 5-kilometer run.
“We have attracted 400 contestants in the past,” Montoya said. “We’re hoping to do that again this year.”
Awards will be given to the top three overall finishers. Males and females compete in separate categories.
The top three finishers in each age and weight category will receive awards. The awards ceremony will be at about 9:30 a.m. to conclude the event.
Last years contestants from out of state included those traveling from El Paso; Wallkill, N.Y.; Ridgeland, Miss., Thornton, Colo., and Saddle Brooke, Ariz.
New Mexico participants came from Socorro, Los Alamos, Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, Sandia Park, Tijeras, Silver City, Alamogordo, Edgewood, Hurley, McIntosh, Ramah and Clovis. Many contestants are club affiliated.
Last year’s overall winner was Clay Moseley of Los Alamos with a time of 56:10. The women’s overall winner was Aubrey Blair-Pattison of Albuquerque with a time of 1:02:25.
In the female 18 to 19 age group, Alyssa Higgs of Socorro finished second with a time of 1:15:11.3. Lynette Napier of Socorro finished third in the 60 to 64 age group with a time of 1:46:03.5. Patrick Roache of Socorro finished third in the male age group 70 to 98 with an overall time of 1:47:06.4. In that same age group, Catharine Stewart-Roache of Socorro finished first with an overall time of 2:07:33.1
The triathlon is sponsored locally by the Holiday Inn Express, Best Western, Howard Johnson, Super 8, Rodeway Inn, Econo Lodge, Comfort Inn, Days Inn and the Socorro Striders and Riders. Find detailed information at
Montoya and Robert Gonzales are co-directors of the event. Results of this year’s triathlon will be posted on the Web site.

Photo caption: A cyclist crosses the finish line of the bicylce portion of last year’s Socorro Chile Harvest Triathlon. The 14th annual triathlon is this Saturday. Photo by Polo C’ de Baca/For the Mountain Mail

August Skies Bring Great Annual Meteor Showers

By Jon Spargo
Tech Astronomy Club
August brings us one of the best annual meteor showers, the Perseids. This is a fairly reliable shower; however, this year, there are a couple of mitigating factors. The first is that the origin of the shower, comet Swift-Tuttle, last passed this way in the early 1990s. The result is the debris trail has thinned considerably, resulting in fewer meteors. The second factor is this year, a waning last-quarter moon will make counting meteors more difficult. The best nights for viewing the Perseids will be Aug. 11 to 12 and 12 to 13. It should be noted that this shower will show some activity for several days before and after the peak.
As Saturn’s rings approach being edge on, those of us with a good view of the western horizon, clear skies and a good small telescope may be able to watch the progression of ring closure for the first half of the month. After that, the planet will be too low on the horizon and lost in the bright glare of sunset.
Mercury puts in a brief appearance in the early evening sky from Aug. 6 through 18. Look for it about 5 degrees above the western horizon about a half-hour after sunset.
Jupiter will begin its dominance in the night sky by rising in the early evening twilight low in the southeast. It reaches opposition from the sun Aug. 14 and will be visible all night long. At magnitude -2.9, it should offer great late-night viewing of its atmospheric features for those with small telescopes.
Mars rises around midnight and will be best viewed in the morning sky about an hour before sunrise. At magnitude +1.0, the red planet will appear as red dot. Venus, on the other hand, will continue to dazzle us, blazing away at magnitude -4! Binoculars or a small telescope will reveal that close to 75 percent of the cloud-covered planet will be illuminated.
The moon will be full Aug. 5, last quarter Aug. 13, new Aug. 20 and first quarter Aug. 27. Looking east one hour before sunrise Aug. 16 and 17, the moon will help you to find Mars and Venus. On Aug. 27, the waxing first-quarter moon will occult (pass in front of) the bright star Antares in the constellation Scorpius. This will be visible for most of North America, but the challenge will be that it is a daytime event! Nevertheless, it should be easily visible with a good pair of binoculars. For timing information for your area, log on to www. bstar/0827antares.htm.

OPINION: Secret Wishes: Love, Money And Getting Healthier

Leftish Drivel
By Paul Krza
Forlorn Republicans these days may want to spend a little time with Maria Duval. That certainly looks potentially much more rewarding than what they are currently up to.
No, I’m not talking about some hot Argentine looking for love in all the wrong places, like at Sanford’s mansion in South Carolina. And, no, she’s not a staffer working in Republican Sen. John Ensign’s office.
Unlike the South American and the senate staffer, Ms. Duval is available. At least that’s what her ad says. “She is going to perform, on your behalf, a ritual known only to her which should allow your Secret Wishes to come true,” her ad says.
Duval, who modestly bills herself as “the famous clairvoyant,” can make “miracles” (she puts this word in quotes in her ad, interestingly) using her amazing “powers” (again, her quotes). It’s all laid out on a page in the big Albuquerque Sunday newspaper coupon insert section (apparently clairvoyants know how to locate potential customers), where Duval makes an offer you just can’t refuse.
“What do you want most in your life?” she asks. “To have more money, more love, more luck …” – well, you get the idea. And get this: She will do it all for free! Google her, and you find things could go either way. She’s either a scammer or somebody who delivers (at the casino, mostly, it looks like).
So what does this have to do with Republicans? Well, from what’s gone on for the previous eight years under, uh, who was president – oh, yeah, that Bush guy – and what’s going on now in Congress with the few beleaguered GOPs still left standing, priority 1 for these folks is making money (and, of course, in some cases, love).
That’s what we hear when it comes to health-care reform. No, we can’t have a government option (that would unfairly compete with the private sector, which, as we all know, has done such a great job in keeping down health-care costs). No, we can’t give power to a government watchdog agency to limit health-care expenditures (that would also be unfair to the private sector, which makes a buck off sick folks and would prevent specialists from charging what the traffic will bear, and besides, it’s socialistic).
Of course, by now, everybody knows how well an unbridled private sector does –unfettered and unregulated lending, sky-high executive bonuses and creative financial instruments were for the most part responsible for what’s now known as a great big recession, mostly cooked up while Republicans were in charge of the government. But that hasn’t stopped the latter-day GOPs from now once again raising their old and tattered fear factors – government is trying to control our lives, and government is trying to keep us from making maximum bucks. That’s still basically the Republican platform.
But if we substituted “helping” for “controlling,” the view would be different. And despite what you hear, that’s what government mostly does – a collective effort to assist on a variety of fronts.
Case in point, right here at home: our newly hatched municipal bus service. Thanks to “government” (along with Bill Richardson’s vision), we can now travel between Socorro and Taos, on local buses and the Rail Runner. Socorro’s local bus system used a federal grant (gasp!) to help buy the vehicles. Result: more people (even those who can’t or won’t drive) have access to our largest city, the Roundhouse and beyond, not to mention fewer cars on the roads. (An added bonus: the creation of new bus-driver jobs.)
Of course, those hardcore free-enterprisers otherwise known as Republicans would tell you, well, if you can’t afford a car, tough. Why should government be in the transportation business?
Because its role is to help people, that’s why. Another local example: The local airport just got a brand-new, high-tech weather station, funded by, yes, another federal grant. Pilots say it will make flying into Socorro safer.
Now, on the national level, we are dealing with trying to make needed changes to our health-care system, mostly aimed at collectively helping people who have no insurance gain new access to medical care. Government involvement is the only alternative to assist those without the means to afford care.
Yet the Republicans persist, raising those government fears. And to derail Obama, to hit him with a big loss, to make it his “Waterloo.” Whatever happened to that “country first” talk we heard during last year’s campaign?
Which brings us back to Maria Duval. The times, as the voters declared last November, have changed. Most folks want to do the right thing, which is to help the less fortunate deal with health care. That, collectively, makes us all healthier.
Those mired in the selfish past should realize this and do their part to make it happen. Or they can look up Ms. Duval, to help their dated fantasies come true. “Get a new car,” she promises. “Win lots of money …” But sorry, from that list of 33 wishes, you can only pick seven. Even those with magical powers have their limitations.

Paul Krza is a former longtime journalist and editor who has remained healthy in Socorro for the last decade or so. He also likes buses and trains. Mr. Krza’s opinions do not necessarily represent the Mountain Mail.

OPINION: Health-Care ‘Reform’ Will Target The Elderly

By Rick Coddington
In spite of myself, I watched the last two health-care speeches Cheerleader-in-Chief Obama gave. I have to admit this guy is Teflon slick. He could sell iceboxes to Eskimos without breaking a sweat.
If you happen to know me personally, you know my watching any politician’s scripted lies is just something I don’t do, because I end up screaming at the TV and carrying on to the point that I’m sure the neighbors wonder if they should call the cops. I can’t stand it when the pols totally ignore the questions and just spout “their message.”
Obama is certainly the king of “staying on point.” It doesn’t matter what anybody asks him, he just nods his head (pretending to care about the question) and then spouts propaganda. Anyway, I watched him and screamed at the TV until I was hoarse, but at least the cops didn’t come.
Speaking of calling the cops, did you catch the fluff about Obama calling the policeman stupid for arresting the evidently obnoxious black professor? There are two important points in this. First, is Obama’s attitude. Again, he stopped short of apologizing for his arrogance (or ignorance), depending on why he shot off his mouth in the first place. And secondly, as is his habit, he minimized the whole thing.
Once again, Obama was “surprised” by the outcry. Whenever anyone dares to call him on anything, he scoffs at the idea that he is offensive. He is “surprised.” Just like he was “surprised” that people were outraged by his nasty comments about the people he claimed “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them” out of their bitterness over lost jobs. Just like he was “surprised” over the outcry over his plan to generate extra budget money by forcing wounded veterans to pay for service-related injuries (Washington Post, May 2009). What unmitigated gall!
This guy has taken the stand that he can say or do anything, and if anyone calls him on it, there is something wrong with them. Anyway, since we have sort of gotten back to health-care “reforms,” I propose that there are critical questions somebody should be held responsible for answering about this stuff.
Here they are: Mr. Obama, is it true that you are lying when you promise that “if you like your health plan, you can keep it”? According to both the current bills, the “reform” you are going to create will be a new government bureaucracy to determine “qualified plans.” How can you then say people can keep their insurance when you are going to decide which are “qualified”? Isn’t it also true that people will have to be in one of your plans within five years at the most?
Mr. Obama, isn’t it also true that the five-year thing is a smoke screen as well, since if there is any change in people’s insurance at any time, they will have to immediately stitch to your plan? Again, be careful how you answer, since it is in black and white on pages 16 and 17 of the house bill.
Is it true, Mr. Obama, that a person like me, who chooses not to buy insurance because I have found that it is MUCH cheaper for me not to have it will now be denied that freedom of choice? Isn’t it true that pages 167 and 168 provide for a huge fine for me when I file my income tax if I cannot prove that I am in one of your “qualified plans”? What a coincidence that that fine will be the equivalent of the cost of your plan for me and that I will then be forcibly enrolled in the plan of YOUR choice!
A couple of questions about the cost of this fiasco … Is it true that you plan to pay for this so-called “reform” by (1) taxing the “rich” and, if so, are you not smart enough to know that this will kill a corresponding number of jobs (about a half-trillion dollars worth)? And (2) Isn’t it true that the other half of your trillion-dollar boondoggle will come from cutting Medicare?
While you are trying to come up with a witty reason to cut the service to the most needy recipients, would you like to comment on the fact that you don’t even intend to pass those “savings” along to health care, but instead you are cutting seniors benefits to spend a huge amount of money on creating another bureaucracy so you can hand out government jobs for “community transformation grants,” and for “home visits” and “services for migrant workers,” and for new government councils, programs and advisory boards?
These are the critical issues, folks.
Since I have only this small column, which doesn’t amount to a thousandth of the size of the health-care bill, I’d like to ask just one last question: Mr. Obama, since we all know that the last few months of a person’s life is when they run up the highest health-care costs, and since your bill calls for mandatory “counseling” for seniors (Pages 425 to 430), “counseling sessions” where they, regardless of their state of mind, I presume, will be given “alternatives” for end-of-life choices such as not receiving antibiotics or “artificially administered nutrition or hydration”… Are you not trying to target the elderly for quicker, cheaper and more convenient death?
If so, at what point will there be assisted-suicide machines available in medical facilities, and will their use be a matter of choice for the individual, or will you be helping with the decisions? Ridiculous? We’ll see. But before you write me off as a crackpot, don’t forget, folks, Obama has already proved by his dedication to abortion that he has no respect for life. Why wouldn’t cheap death be a major facet of future “health care”?

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: Letters to the Editor July 30

‘GW’ Proponents Use False Readings

To the Editor:

For many years, thousands of scientists and other technical people have stated that humans do not cause global warming. Nature does.
The official record of temperatures in the United States comes from a network of 1,221 climate-monitoring stations overseen by the National Weather Service. Anthony Watts, a 25-year broadcast meteorology veteran, recruited a team of more than 650 volunteers to visually inspect and photograph more than 860 of these stations. They were shocked to find that 89 percent of the stations failed to meet the requirement that stations must be 100 feet or more
away from artificial heating, radiating and reflecting heat sources.
Even worse, they found major gaps in the data record that were filled in with data from nearby sites. Their conclusion was that the U.S. temperature record is unreliable and should not be used to promote unsubstantiated global-warming theories.
Much more information is available at

Richard and Gloria Hampton
Sylmar, Calif.

Evidence Of
‘GW’ Is Obvious

To the Editor:

Those of us who read the Mountain Mail regularly already know Rick Coddington is a conspiracy theorist. His latest column pooh-poohing global warming (GW) certainly is in character.
However, I’d urge him to visit three parts of the world pretty soon. My hope is that, after doing so, he might want to revise his conclusions about whether GW is really happening and why.
First stop would be northern Alaska to visit with one or more of the Inupiat or related bands of Native Americans.
They’ll probably tell you about how long the ice lasted in the Good Old Days and how much longer summer lasts now, and how much higher the sea level is in front of their village. Talk to the elders; try to convince them that GW is a myth. Lots of luck!
The second stop would be where we used to live, between Miami and Homestead in South Florida.
Just a decade or so ago, there were still agricultural fields along Florida’s Turnpike through there. (Rick, living as you do in the fifth largest state, which has only 2 million people in it, you may underestimate how many people there really are Back East and elsewhere in the world. It’s not like Catron County.)
The last stop would be Hawaii’s Big Island. On the top of Mauna Loa (or is it Mauna Kea) is where the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been measured daily for decades (up-and-down within each year but consistently up ever since they made their first measurements).
Just don’t forget to tell them that they should stop lying about their data.

Bob Merkel

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.
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.; or e-mail to

OPINION: Take Care, Question Authority Like No Other Critters

Magdalena Pot Luck
By Margaret Wiltshire

I’ve been told I have authority figure problems. Actually, I like to think I’m very democratic with authority figures. I am not a bow now and ask questions later person, that’s for sure.
I will follow directions if I am doing something for someone else or don’t know how to do it myself. After I’ve asked a few questions, given someone a look-see, I have been known to nod in respect.
My saving grace has always been that I can change my mind. If something or someone is wonderful and I am missing it, I usually catch on sooner or later. Of course, that door swings both ways.
Authority figure problems are the problems of authority figures. If they have power enough, they can make it yours, mine or anyone’s “problem.”
The older I get, the more I like having authority figure problems. Still, I question my own dictates. I’m not always doing what I know is right for me. I say to others, “take care and be well.” I mean it, seriously and sincerely. Getting myself to do what I know is right is much harder.
This is true for other individuals, groups, organizations and governments. It seems to be a characteristic of humankind. Humankind is a fix on the expression mankind. An acknowledgment that women exist and are human. Since women produce the population, it’s a real “gift.” Yet people still discuss it.
No one seems to take on the “kind” part of the expression. Humankind, a lie right off the top. Kind? Of course, this is just a language thing. Kind means we are not like wolves or sharks or other “kinds” of critters. Or are we?
No, we’re different. We have traditions like no other critters. Like bigotry. I know that comes from a very insecure power monger somewhere. In this country, this goes straight back to guys with whips.
Will the guy with a whip find a way to include you in a list of those not valued? For example, maybe you’re smart. That could make you an intellectual. Intellectuals end up on the bigot’s list all the time. So if you like the mental shortcuts bigotry offers, play dumb.
Or walk on the wild side, question authority.
In the United States, we like to call ourselves Americans. Is that because we like, respect and share a fellowship with all the American nations? Or because we’re the good ones? The best. Why they don’t like us is beyond our understanding.
Unlike other critters, we have religions. In the United States, we have religious freedom. The Christians in the U.S. feel we are a Christian nation, allowing others not to get burned at the stake. Which is an improvement.
Rebel that I am, I think religious freedom was more generally intended. It is not dependent on the generosity of one religion.
Christians have wonderful teachings that they like to teach but not follow. They have structured their religion so they don’t have to, until the last minute. God help them know when the last minute is.
Some people are upset about the World War II monument in Washington. President Roosevelt’s post-Pearl Harbor speech is included on one side of the monument, but the words “So help us God” are missing. I agree they should have been included. Religious freedom means religious freedom, and presidents are free to be Christian, even Catholic.
Had FDR warned the naval base at Pearl Harbor that an attack could be expected, that might have been Christian. Letting German Americans go about their business with a careful eye but putting the Japanese in concentration camps certainly was a “Christian” call. After FDR, not using the atomic bomb might have been “Christian.”
Heard the expression, the “Christian” thing to do? Well, think about it. What do Christians do? Christians use the expression, “Well, it was the Christian thing to do” when they are about to tell you something they might not ordinarily do but might be part of the teachings.
OK, I’ve given Christianity a hard time, and I could be more democratic in sharing the sarcasm.
I wouldn’t question authority, wouldn’t have sought my own spiritual path without Christians and the “Greatest Generation.” I would have been a carbon copy and not my own person. I am grateful. I do trust “God.” It is “humankind” that has to be watched. My concept of “God” has evolved.
Watch, think and question, activities worthwhile for the critters we are.

Margaret Wiltshire lives in Magdalena and shares this column with her husband, Don. She can be reached at Mrs. Wiltshire’s opinions do not necessarily represent the Mountain Mail.

OPINION: Hats Off To Heroes Of Every Position Or Persuasion

The Straight Shot
By Jess Hardin
I read an article recently that discussed the history, significance and emotional issues surrounding the Middle Eastern head scarves that cover a woman’s head. Some women protest their right to exercise what they see as a God’s will, protected from the gaze of lustful men. I can vouch for the men, but there also was a point made by other women that the practice was dehumanizing and a means of control. The line that stuck in my head was one that compared the cultural significance and emotional appeal of the Burkha head wrap and face veil to the Austrians’ passionate attachment to the leather breeches and suspenders they call Lederhosen, and a Westerner’s strong feelings about his cowboy hat.
I also can vouch for the hat thing. That’s not to say that I don’t have all manner of nefarious associates who are more likely to be wearing what we used to call baseball caps, but now baseball players wear mandated plastic helmets for protection and these beanies with stiff bills are more often found on heads bobbing in pickup trucks, mechanics scooted under a truck belly or hip-hopping white boys who seem to have forgotten the bill was meant to shade their eyes.
These practiced friends and antagonists don’t seem to share my resistance to wearing day-glow lettered logos for Caterpillar tractors or monopolistic seed distributor, nor do they see the irony of some global conglomerate getting paid six bucks for somebody to advertise their products when they should be paying by the hour for the forehead advertising space. Worse yet, out in these parts we like to tip or doff our hats to a person or idea we honor and respect, and it doesn’t have quite the same effect when you tip a cap. And I have yet to hear a gal all excited about how a feller looks wearing a sun-shade beer ad, saying stuff to her girlfriend like, “that cap makes him look so manly, so outlaw, so sexy!” Besides, when it comes time to dress up every six months or so for a trip or dance, even those fellows dig in their closets for their cowboy hats.
I’ve been wearing these emblems of independent thinking and outdoor living off and on since I was 4 years old, sitting with cap guns drawn in front of a 12-inch black-and-white television. I’d be laughing at the antics of Gabby Hayes, singing along with the Sons of The Pioneers – and listening closely to the well-meaning advice of my hero Roy Rogers: “Honesty is its own reward,” “Courage is doing the right thing even when you’re afraid” and “Remember, little Buckaroos, if you don’t do it, whose a-gonna?”
You might have seen the improbable style kids were given back then: a brim laced with shiny patent leather, the felt dyed improbable colors like red or turquoise blue, a tight-fitting stampede strap to keep them flying off if the middle of a backyard ruckus or rug-rat stampede.
Nowadays we can go into any Western store and choose from literally hundreds of different configurations, from a short-brimmed Winchester to the 10-inch crown of the Tom Mix, creased in any of 30 or more styles with pithy names like “The Gus” and “The Laredo.” Oddly enough, in the Old West, no one would have dreamed of bending and creasing their fine new hat! If it ended up sporting a “Montana Pinch,” it’s only because more than one Montana roper accidentally crushed his while trying to hold onto it in the wind! Many a hard-working dome was shaped not with a steam machine, but cattle hooves and New Mexico storms.
As a history buff, I tend to lean toward clothes typical of the real West of yesteryear. Holsters were high riding or crossdraw prior to the Buscadero drop-loop models created for movie and TV, period boots like my Texas Cavalry pair were square toed until the advent of rodeo, and I saved for two years to afford a custom made, authentic-looking 1870s hat. Like the majority I’ve seen in original period tintypes, it has a high, round crown and a wide, flat brim. It’s reminiscent of John B. Stetson’s original prototype, with a sizable brim to shed water and afford maximum shade from the sun, and a tall crown that’s cooler in the Southwest heat. Picture braided Indians in their stiff reservation hats, a newly elected Morgan Earp, or that crew of ice cream shop bullies getting whooped-up on by the stylin’ Billy Jack.
Inside the band, it’s stamped not only 7 5/8 (evidence of a swelled head) but also “Custom Made For Jesse Hardin” (indicating how much I had to spend). If you’ve ever looked at the silk liner of a Stetson, you’ve seen their trademark art, a cowpoke using his hat to take water to his thirsty horse. In a single painting, we find all the mythical symbols of the archetypal West: independence and resourcefulness. Wild open spaces. Consideration and compassion and a love for animals!
Hats off, I say, to anyone fulfilling their personal sense of responsibility and honor, whatever form that might take. Hats off to heroes of every position or persuasion, for being willing to act on their beliefs. Hats off, even, to each difficult lesson, tragedy and heartache. Hats off to the old ways, intemperate Mother Nature and good relationships that last. Hats off to every passing lady, if you please … and hats off to old John B.

Jess Hardin lives near Reserve. Mr. Hardin’s opinions do not necessarily represent the Mountain Mail.

Deception, More Deception Surround & Envelop Sylvia

By Anne Sullivan
“I heard you,” said Sylvia as we were walking down to the barn. “I heard you talking on the phone to the Vet’s office and making an appointment for me.”
“Me? No,” I said, batting a few flies away from my head. “I was making an appointment with the dentist for me – not you. And you know what?”
“What?” asked suspicious Sylvia.
“You’re going with me. That’s what. Isn’t that exciting?”
“No,” answered Sylvia. “Me? Go with you? Why?”
“Because I’m afraid of the dentist, and I need somebody to hold my hand and who better than you.”
Sylvia splashed through a small puddle. “I appreciate your confidence in me,” she said, “but you know I don’t like leaving here, and I really don’t like driving in a vehicle, especially when you’re the driver.”
“But you’re my best friend, Sylvia. You’ll enjoy a nice drive into Socorro, a change of scenery.”
“What’ll I get to eat?”
“Er … nothing right away, but after – after we get to Socorro, you can have a nice meal. What would you like?”
“Steak,” Sylvia said without hesitation. “I’d like a steak, medium-rare but closer to rare than medium if you know what I mean.”
“I do. That’s exactly how I like steak. We can split one later.”
“Later?” Her ears shot up. “How much later?”
“Well, we have to go into town to buy the steak. You don’t see one here in the house, do you?”
“No, but the Eagle Guest Ranch has fine steaks.”
“Time for your brushing, Sylvia,” I said cheerily. “I just happened to bring your brush and comb with me. Stand still.”
“Why do I have to be brushed? Especially when we’re walking along having an interesting conversation about steaks?”
“Because you need it,” I answered, avoiding the last. “You’re all tangles. And you like being brushed.”
Sylvia’s eyes narrowed as she tried to pull away from the brush. “I don’t like being brushed all the time and especially when I’m happy walking along after a rain. I’m beginning to suspect some –”
“Oh, look.” I said to distract her while I finished brushing and applied a Dog Bathing Wipe to her back. “There’s Gordo on the wagon. He’s coming down from the canyon, and he looks mad.”
“He is mad,” Sylvia said. “We’re all mad.”
“I don’t see any gold in the back of the wagon.”
“That’s why we’re mad.”
“There’s no gold?”
“No gold. Just a piece of paper called a register that we could sign saying that we’d found it and a place for comments. There was also a bunch of dumb things like keychains and little teddy bears that people had left. It’s a swiz, that’s what.”
“Why do you say that?” It was my turn to ask.
“Because the place we dug was just right. It fit the description in the article and it looked like someone had dug there a long time ago, and we were sure it was the Lost Adams Diggings.”
“And it wasn’t?”
“No, it was a #!%$ geocache, that’s what. We were deceived.”
“Did you leave a keychain or anything?” I asked.
“We left a rock.”
“And did you sign the register?”
“Oh, yes. And I made a comment, too, but you don’t want to know what it was. Deception, it’s all around us. Everywhere we turn.”
I couldn’t help looking over my shoulder, but all I could see was Brandy eating some greenery and looking very innocent.
At this point, Sylvia stepped upon her invisible soapbox. “You, my friend and, yes, my mother, are trying to deceive me. I saw you sneaking my bed and one of my toys into the pickup. And you’ve prettied me up and made me smell like some sissy dog. You’re either going to give me away or take me to the vet, and I won’t go! No, no, I won’t go.”

Luna News: Rodeo Winners, EMS Service, Community Center

By Kaye Mindar

Build a better dinosaur

They say necessity is the mother of invention, but have you ever stopped and really looked at the simplicity of some of our everyday devices? I looked up a Web site that spotlights children’s inventions and was in awe at what we lose when we lose the simplicities of life, possibly with age.
One invention is that of Chester Greenwood, who was born in Farmington, Maine, in 1858. A grammar-school dropout, he invented earmuffs at the age of 15 and accumulated more than 100 patents in his lifetime. On June 4, 1963, patent No. 3,091,888 was granted to an amazing 6-year-old inventor, Robert Patch, for a “toy truck.“ Patch’s toy truck was designed to be easily assembled and disassembled by a kid, and the toy could be changed into different types of trucks each time (closed van style body or dump truck).
In 1994, Kathryn Gregory, from Bedford, Mass., became an inventor and an entrepreneur at the age of 10. Kathryn invented and trademarked Wristies, which are protective winter gear designed to be worn under your coat and gloves that block the snow, wind, and cold from entering any unprotected gaps. Only a minority of ideas ever eventually make money. However, that should never stop you from dreaming and inventing; after all, even Thomas Edison had his failures.

Another year behind us
Luna’s big weekend went very well, and there are so many who sacrificed so much to see that each event was a success that we would definitely miss someone. So many people and businesses helped with their time, talents and money. A special “thanks” goes to Joyce Laney, who stepped in at the last minute for Friday night’s carnival.
Also, an extra “thanks” to the volunteers who appeared Sunday morning, picked up trash and helped clean out the newly renovated concession stand.
Rodeo winners
Open barrels, Pat Wood; barrels 1 to 14 years, Whiley Cline; barrels 2 to 9, Cheyllie Greenwood; team roping, Travis Whitlow and Robert Murphy; steer riding, Casper Johns; calf riding, Riley Cluff; bull riding, Hadley Miller; breakaway roping, Leanne Wilkerson; mutton busting, Hayle Finch; calf roping, Byron Wilkerson; bareback bronc, Dalon Hulsey; saddle bronc, Logan Westcott; wild cow first place team, Armando Orona, Dalon Hulsey and Eldon Hulsey.
For more winners’ lists, check out

EMS Services
The Luna Volunteer Ambulance Association has worked tirelessly to put its new ambulance into service, just in time. They have had a few calls in the past week to break it in. Luna Volunteer Fire Department training will be Saturday at 9 a.m.
Luna Community Center
Luna’s summer marketplace is the first Friday and Saturday of each month. Watch for signs. Thanks to all who have supported this monthly occurrence, it has proven to be a great community success. Contact Diana Moyers for more information on table availability.

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
So much comes out in obscure ways that I cannot stress enough how family history research involves so many different tasks that it is exciting as you learn about or improve your skills in many areas. It will help you to become a better organizer, writer, speaker and researcher on multiple topics. It will improve your computer skills.
Family history research sometimes is like a second career. You’ll gain skills in courthouse and old record research, land record research, communication and detective work. You may even learn how to read maps better, use the Internet to find places and how to do better searches for data.

Quote of the Week
“A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.”
~ Arthur McBride Bloch

Introducing The Quemado Area Connection

By Debbie Leschner
Note: This is a new column in the Mountain Mail, a place where Quemado-area residents can get information on events and community news.

The Western New Mexico Veterans Group will hold a rummage sale every Friday and Saturday during August, beginning July 31 and Aug. 1. It will be in the Veteran’s Hall, located at the corner of Baca and Church streets in Quemado, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Donations of items are welcome.
WNMVG was founded in Quemado by Commander Rick Sharp with the help of a few other dedicated veterans: Kimberly Carr, Bob Baker, Mike Petrella and Jim Sonninberg. The first meeting was June 13, 2006, with eight local veterans and seven from the Silver City Chapter 358 of the Vietnam Veterans of America in attendance.
The group has grown to more than 35 local veterans from Quemado, Fence Lake, Pie Town, Datil, Reserve and the surrounding area. They meet once a month. An auxiliary was started at the same time by Sonja Sharp along with Brucee’ Budell, Patsy Smith, Carol Baker and Terry Petrella, to support the veterans group and their activities. The auxiliary group, composed of “direct relatives” of veterans, has grown to more than 24 members. In June 2007, the old Presbyterian Church building was acquired to provide a relaxing place and atmosphere for veterans, their families and for people to meet.
Renovations are still being done on the hall with the hopes of a covered patio and “Wall of Honor” in its future. The next meeting will be 6 p.m. Sept. 17, celebrating the chapter’s third anniversary. All veterans and their families are welcome.
The WNMVG is a non-profit veterans and community-service organization. It is the aim and purpose of the group to assist veterans, their families and the community.
Commander Sharp reaffirmed that commitment: “If we know about a need in our community and we can help, we will do our best to be sure the people get it.”
For more information, call 575-773-4350.
• Catron County Trade Days will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 8, off Highway 12 in Cruzville around mile marker 17. Come buy, sell, or barter your old treasures, or just look for new ones to take home. Items available include antiques, handmade crafts, tools, household items, sewing/ craft supplies and more. Rusty Roof Bar-B-Q will be there serving up a delightful menu.
Call 575-533-6961 for more information.
• The Quemado Senior Center will hold a pool tournament Tuesday, Aug. 4, and again Aug. 18. The tournament begins at 8 a.m. There is no sign up; people can just come and have fun shooting pool. Call the center at 575-773-4820 for questions.

Anyone who knows of goings-on or special events in a family, such as anniversaries and births, please let me know. Good news can’t be shared if it is unknown. Call 575-773-4119 or e-mail