Thursday, August 13, 2009

Alamo Counselor Bound Over On Molestation Charges

By John Larson
SOCORRO – The man accused of sexually molesting a 15-year-old Alamo girl was bound over to District Court on Wednesday by Magistrate Judge Jim Naranjo.
Testimony from the victim, the victim’s brother and State Police officer Greg Valentino persuaded Naranjo to send the case to District Court on all 13 counts.
The defendant, Mark Shaddock, 44, a counselor at Alamo School, has been charged with 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.
In her testimony, the victim described in detail Shaddock’s behavior with her in three separate episodes in her home over the period of June 22 through June 26.
Naranjo was compelled to halt the proceedings twice for several minutes to let the girl regain her composure outside the courtroom.
The victim’s older brother testified that he was given permission by Shaddock to use his car on the afternoons in question to go to the Alamo Wellness Center to play basketball.
“When I came back, the front door was locked, so I had to use the doorbell,” he said.
He also testified that he has removed the screens from one of the windows to sneak out at night with his sister to visit the Shaddock house.
Valentino testified that in his interview with the accused, Shaddock claimed that it was the girl who initiated intimate contact.
Defense Attorney Lee Deschamps produced no witnesses.
In her closing statement, Deputy District Attorney Stacey Ward told Naranjo “this is a terrified young child.”
“If you decide to bind this case over to District Court, I will be putting forth evidence showing why victims of this type of crime feel powerless,” she said. “Powerless to speak out even after the perpetrator has left, leaving her open to have it happen again.”
Ward said the victim “amply illustrated” in her testimony the repeated sexual assaults by Shaddock.
“This was a school counselor, a family friend, who was trusted,” she said.
Shaddock’s arraignment in District Court had not been set as of press time.

Artists Touch Up Logo, Paint Pillars At San Antonio School

By Mike Sievers
San Antonio Elementary now has a freshly painted logo in the middle of its gymnasium, as well as Character Counts pillars lining the hallway.
The logo was created about 10 years ago by the school’s principal, John Ray Dennis. It had faded from the years of use, so local students sanded it down and re-painted it to make it look bright. The paint came from Randy’s Ace Hardware and Rak’s Building Supply.
Jean-Paul Alvarez, Damien Baca, Leslie Ramzel, Gigi Alvarez, Antonio Gonzales and Andre Gonzales worked on the project with help from art teacher Elizabeth Alvarez. Jean-Paul is entering the sixth grade at Cottonwood Valley Charter School, while Baca and Gigi are going to be freshmen in high school. Ramzel will be a senior at Magdalena High, while the Gonzales brothers are students at the San Antonio School.
The pillars in the hallway are painted in the three different orders of classical architecture: Ionic, Doric and Corinthian. They represent the Six Pillars of Character Counts: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.
Gigi will attend the Albuquerque Institute of Math and Science, a charter school, this fall at the University of New Mexico.
Gigi decided to use her artistic talent for her 4-H Club community project, which she will submit to the 4-H office for a scholarship to Horse School. Scholarships are available from 4-H in varying amounts. She and Ramzel created the pillars from scratch.
Gigi has attended the school for the past three years. She said students at Horse School spend a week with their horse and other riders at the fairgrounds in Albuquerque, learning lots of different things, including rider-ship and teamwork. Gigi said Socorro County 4-H Extension agents Tom and Teresa Dean have been a big help in the process.
Gigi said she spent much of the week of July 27 to 31 working on the project, putting in about 40 hours of work overall doing the organizing, layout and purchasing of supplies. Gigi laid out the pillars by hand with a ruler.

Photo caption: Standing (from left) are Elizabeth Alvarez, Antonio Gonzales, 4-H coordinator Sonja Gerard, Leslie Ramzel and Gigi Alvarez. Kneeling on the logo are Andre Gonzales, left, and Jean-Paul Alvarez. Photo by Mike Sievers

The Mountain Mail Presents Biography Of Evelyn Fite

By Brenda Wilkinson
Bureau of Land Management

NOTE: This is an introduction to an extensive oral autobiography of Evelyn Fite. To see the complete biography, log on to the special blog we created just for this story,

SOCORRO – As the 150th anniversary of the 1862 Homestead Act approaches, the Socorro Bureau of Land Management’s Cultural Resource Program is increasing emphasis on oral history collection, particularly as it relates to homesteading.
This interview with Socorro resident Evelyn Fite is a part of that effort. After years of struggle, a homestead claim eventually resulted in the development of a large ranch for Dean and Evelyn Fite. A 640-acre homestead claim under the Enlarged Stock Raising Homestead Act enabled the Fites to develop a large ranch by establishing a basewater, and to gain leasing preference on adjacent public lands after the passage of the Taylor Grazing Act.
They did without a lot in the early years, saving up to buy more private land as it became available. Early on, Evelyn wanted to build a house, but Dean told her, “You can’t make any money with a house.” So they bought more cattle and eventually more land.
Evelyn Fite’s oral history was collected April 24. A second visit was made June 29 to go through photos. Her comments on the photos were recorded, and a few questions were repeated that had been asked after the tape recorder had stopped on the first visit. Results of the two visits were combined and edited slightly for this document.
Evelyn was born Evelyn Agnes Galonzowfski in 1918 in Outlook, Saskatchewan, Canada. Her grandparents had moved there in 1904 from southern Russia. They were wheat farmers of German origin and moved to Canada to farm wheat. At that time, Evelyn’s mother, Emma (nee Brown), was 9 years old. She grew up, married Herman Galonzowfski and gave birth to Evelyn in Canada.

It's That Time Again ...

Photo caption: Erasmo Garcia of Rosales Produce turns the green chile roaster at the Socorro Plaza on Tuesday during the Farmers Market, which is every Tuesday starting at 5 p.m. and Saturdays starting at 8 a.m. Photo by John Larson

Village Approves Utilities Rate Hike

By John Larson
MAGDALENA – The Village Board passed an ordinance Monday night that will raise the rates for water, sewer and trash pickup.
During a public hearing, Diane Allen asked if customers will be notified prior to the rate increases going into effect.
“We will let everybody know one month before they go into effect,” Clerk Rita Broaddus said. “The rate will be going into effect Oct. 1, so a notice will appear on the Sept. 1 bill.”
The ordinance passed 3-1, with Trustee Dolly Dawson casting the dissenting vote. Broaddus said the new rate structure is available to the public at village hall.
In other business:
• Mayor Jim Wolfe said he took advantage of an opportunity to apply for stimulus money.
“The governor made $22 million available out of the state’s stimulus money for small projects (under $400,000) that were shovel ready,” Wolfe said. “We have to show that the projects can be awarded within 60 days and must be completed within 12 months.”
He said two projects qualify for the stimulus money.
“One is to put in a new well, and the other is to repair the telemetry on the water tanks,” Wolfe said. “I feel confident we may get at least one of the projects funded, because they are both water related.”
He said he submitted requests for $75,000 for the new well and $45,000 to repair the telemetry.
“We probably won’t get them both, but one would help us,” Wolfe said.
• The board tabled a discussion about paying EMTs a $50 stipend for each ambulance run. Broaddus said she has researched the proposal and found that $50 per run would be too high to qualify for a stipend.
“A stipend is used to compensate for someone’s out-of-pocket expenses. With some EMT’s, it would run up to $6,500 a year, which would be more like a salary,” she said. “We could not justify that much for an EMT getting reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses.”
Broaddus said a range of $15 to $20 would be more realistic. Wolfe said he thought the stipend would encourage people would show up for a call.
“If you need three people and five showed up every time, there could be some confusion. You have to have some policy laid down that shows how this works,” he said.
Marshal Larry Cearley said he will draft out a stipend policy and present it at the next meeting. Broaddus said the stipend money would have to come out of the ambulance fund.

Senior Center To Cut Back On Transportation

By Mike Sievers
The Socorro Senior Center is cutting back on the transportation services it offers because of budgetary reasons, county senior centers Director Lewis Auerbach said at Tuesday night’s county commission meeting.
Auerbach said the centers’ transportation priorities will be transporting seniors from their homes to medical facilities and pharmacies; and transporting them from their homes to the senior center.
“I just don’t have the budget to do the things that the seniors want me to do, so I prioritized the things we can do,” Auerbach told the Socorro County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday. “I don’t have the money to do the transportation that seniors want me to do – Wal-Mart, Smith’s – so I had to implement this policy.”
Seniors who have alternate means of transportation are not eligible under the policy. There is a two-stop limit, and transportation must be completed by 1 p.m.
In July, transportation costs used up 13.3 percent of the amount allocated in the centers’ transportation budget for the current fiscal year, according to a worksheet Auerbach provided to the commissioners. That number would have been about 8.3 percent if the centers were on track to meet their budget this fiscal year.
Auerbach said the centers were under budget for home-delivered meals in July, so after this month, he should have a good idea as to how the program is going, and he should be able to start addressing people on a waiting list for that service.
Auerbach said he also has had to cut back on homemaking services for seniors, stopping service for three seniors in Veguita and two in Magdalena, also because of his tight budget.
“I feel we should have more money in the budget for homemaking,” he told the commissioners. “Maybe next year we can get some more money for that.”
The commissioners said they agreed.
Auerbach said the centers have 11 vans total, most of them being older gas guzzlers. He said by the end of the year, the centers will be able to purchase four new vans and eliminate five gas guzzlers, which would cut down on transportation costs.
In other business:
• County Manager Delilah Walsh reported that she has applied for three federal stimulus grants through the State Government Services Fund.
Walsh sent in applications for: the Veguita Health Center for $181,674; improvements to County Road 91 for $109,588; and the EM Saiz Park in Polvadera for $400,000.
• Walsh said her office decided to re-bid for the new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system at the senior center so that “all bidders were bidding ‘apples to apples.’ … This will delay the project, but we’ll have an award recommendation for the commission soon,” Walsh wrote in a report to the commission.
• The county awarded a bid to Golden Equipment Co. for $194,781.64 for a much-discussed and badly needed new chip spreader for the Road Department.
• With Commission Vice Chairman Danny Monette recusing himself from discussion, the commission awarded three bids to the lowest bidder, Monette Ford: one for a sport utility vehicle for the DWI office for $28,110; another for a Ford Fusion for the Road Department for $14,500; and another for a diesel mechanics’ pickup for $43,611.
• The commission also awarded a bid for a 3,000-gallon water tender for the Abeytas Fire District to Freedom Fire Equipment of Marietta, Ga., for $154,300.
• The commission approved the annual roster of the Community Health Improvement Council for the county’s health council, Socorro Community Options, Prevention and Education, or SCOPE. The commissioners were concerned that all the members were from Socorro except two: one from Magdalena and one from San Antonio.
SCOPE coordinator Bobbi Jo McIntire said she wants to set up teleconferencing at the meetings so people from northern Socorro County and Magdalena could join in without having to make the trip.
“It seems a little unbalanced,” commissioner Rumaldo Griego said.
“Honestly, it’s a lot unbalanced,” McIntire replied.
McIntire said part of the problem is people don’t want to drive to a half-hour meeting just to make an hour-long drive back home. She said membership is open to any individual, organization, non-profit, or any group that wants to address health issues.
“Between myself and Leo Mendoza, I think we can get some people from up north to become members,” Griego said.
McIntire said it is easy to become a member; people just need to attend three meetings. “On the third meeting, I put them on the agenda for a vote. We’ve never turned anyone down,” she said.
SCOPE meets from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. the third Thursday of every month at the state Human Services Department at 1014 N. California St., next to Socorro Springs.
• The commission canceled its next regular meeting, which was scheduled for Aug. 25. There will be a brief business meeting at 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 21.

Fire Academy

Photo caption: Firefighters work to contain a raging blaze at the New Mexico Firefighters Training Academy. Courtesy photo

Community College Classes On Sale

By Kathleen Hedges
New Mexico Tech

Selected Community College classes at New Mexico Tech are on sale to community members. People who do not want college credit but just want to take classes for fun may sign up at a lower tuition rate.
“Tech employees have always been lucky, because Tech would pay their tuition,” said Lillian Armijo, director of Community College. “All they had to pay were fees. However, community members had to pay full price for tuition and fees, and as tuition rose, that was getting expensive. This is an effort to reduce prices for community members.”
Two-credit courses available for a flat fee of $200 are:
• Ceramics I – Handbuilding (Tuesday evenings, with Emma Lujan De Rison)
• Introduction to Drawing and Watercolor (Monday and Wednesday mornings, with Peter Rice)
• Acrylics Painting (Tuesday evenings, with Ramona Aragon)
• Stained Glass (Tuesday evenings, with Donna Nowicki).
One-credit courses available for a flat fee of $100 are:
• Pilates/Yoga Fusion (Tues-day and Thursday afternoons, with Camille Scielzi)
• Water Aerobics (Tuesday and Friday evenings, with Patricia Morgan)
• Jazzercise (Thursdays at noon with Rosa Armijo-Pemble)
• Jazzercise Circuit Training (Thursdays at noon with Rosa Armijo-Pemble)
In addition, Community College offers its normal full range of courses in fine arts and physical recreation, including golf, yoga, ballroom dancing, enameling, martial arts, knitting and wine-tasting. Classes begin Aug. 25 and go through Dec. 11.
For a full list of classes, or to sign up, visit or call 835-6581.

CVCS Student Represents State During Leadership Tour

Mountain Mail reports
Cottonwood Valley Charter School student Matthew Lassey represented Gov. Bill Richardson and the state of New Mexico this summer with a group of his peers during the 2009 Leadership Tour that took place in late July and early August.
First place winners of art, essay and talent competitions from the 12th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Leadership Conference, held at the University of New Mexico in June, were invited to join the New Mexico MLK Jr. State Commission on the annual 2009 Leadership Tour.
The students, ages 10 to 17, joined the MLK Jr. State Commission for a trip that took the group on a chartered bus tour through nine states, including the cities of Atlanta and Memphis. Along the way, they visited the King Center, Martin Luther King’s birthplace; Ebenezer Baptist church, where Dr. King preached; World of Coca-Cola; Emery University; Spelman and Morehouse Colleges; Stone Mountain Park; Graceland; Mud Island River Park; the Georgia Aquarium; the National Civil Rights Museum; and the Burkle Estate.
Students also visited New Orleans, touring Hurricane Katrina sites and the French Quarter. Each stop along the way was chosen because it offered insight on Dr. King’s principles of non-violence and a tangible historical glimpse of the country and the civil rights movement.
Matthew, 13, is a transfer student from northern California, where he was part of the gifted and talented program. He currently is an eighth-grader in the Socorro School District and attends the Pre-College Science and Math Academy at the University of New Mexico.
He hopes to be selected for the next MLK International Leadership Tour to South Africa. Matthew is the son of Donna and Kelly Lassey of Sacramento, Calif., and the grandson of Mr. And Mrs. Pete Archuleta of Socorro.
The New Mexico State Martin Luther King Jr. Commission was established in 1991 by the Legislature of the state of New Mexico. The mission of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission is to promote cultural awareness and human rights through Dr. King’s life philosophy and six principles of nonviolent social action to all peoples of New Mexico. The Leadership Tour is an annual event.

Socorro Police Aid Feds In Bust Of Mail Thief

By John Larson
SOCORRO – Officers from the Socorro Police Department aided U.S. Marshals in the apprehension of a man who they believe has been stealing mail from post office boxes across the state.
Socorro police Detective Richard Lopez and Capt. Lawrence Montano were alerted by federal agents that the suspect, Louie Sanchez, 28, had rented a room in a local motel.
“We were contacted by the U.S. Marshal’s office that these people were in Socorro. They were tracking a Citibank credit card,” Lopez said. “They had gone to Farmington and then found the credit card was used at (a motel) in Socorro. They provided me with a photo of Louie and a federal arrest warrant.”
Lopez and Montano proceeded to the motel and as they were about to knock on the door another man, Christopher Gomez, spotted them and “he looked at me and started to run,” Lopez said.
“I chased him to the parking lot of the Holiday Inn, arrested him and handed him over to Capt. Montano,” he said. “I ran back upstairs to the motel room with the key and found Mr. Sanchez in the room. He was on a laptop computer when I went in.”
Sanchez was arrested in the room without incident and escorted out of the room.
“He then escaped custody from the patrolman,” Lopez said. “He kicked the patrolman and began running, wearing handcuffs.”
He didn’t get far.
“We initially detained a total of six people,” Lopez said.
Officers executed search warrant on room and a rental car.
“There was overwhelming evidence in the room. We found mail from Farmington and Bloomfield area, and equipment for making fake IDs,” he said. “We also found meth in the purse of Rachel Sanchez. She was charged with meth possession.”
Louie Sanchez was arrested on charges through the U.S. Marshal’s office.
“Louie Sanchez had six felony warrants, including credit card fraud and two counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer. He struck a federal agent with a car several months earlier,” Lopez said.
He said U.S. Marshals had been tracking the case since May. “They were constantly on the move,” he said
“They thought they were one step ahead of the feds. They’ll hit an area, like Farmington, breaking into boxes and take all the mail,” Lopez said. “Federal agents from the U.S. Postal Service told us these guys had been destructive in Farmington. They take whatever information they can get from your checking and savings accounts and credit card numbers.”
Lopez said all suspects were turned over to the custody of the U.S. Marshals.
“The investigation is continuing, and we were asked to be available to assist further, if needed,” he said.

Tech Scientists Begin Project To Detect Makeup Of Distant Planets

By John Larson
SOCORRO – A team of scientists at New Mexico Tech is beginning a project to detect atmospheric makeup on planets outside the solar system, ranging in distance from 10 to 100 light-years out in space.
The research program titled New Mexico Exoplanet Spectroscopic Survey Instrument, or NESSI, has received $732,016. Michelle Creech-Eakman, associate professor of physics at Tech, is the lead scientist for the program.
“This is an instrument that goes on the back of the Magdalena Ridge Observatory’s 2.4-meter telescope,” Creech-Eakman said. “It works with a different part of the spectrum and has to do with the colors that can determine the molecules in the atmosphere of exoplanets.”
She said the instrument is designed to look at planets’ atmospheres only when the planet is transiting in front of the star it’s orbiting.
“Numbers of known exo-planets are increasing, but it’s only the transiting planets we can look at. Some have only a two-hour transit, but we see 60 of them out there in any given month, so there is always one to study,” Creech-Eakman said.
Creech-Eakman said several different surveys are looking at transiting planets.
“It’s a really hot topic in astrophysics right now. The team I’m working with is the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where I used to work,” she said. “They are one of the top teams in looking at exo-planets right now. The actual funding for the NESSI is coming from Dr. (Van) Romero’s office.”
Another member of the research team is Tech astrobiologist Penny Boston, who has been most recently leading a project looking into the possibility of finding microscopic life in lava tubes on Mars.
Boston said the whole idea for the project grew out of an astrobiology class taught by Boston, Creech-Eakman and biology department chairman Tom Kieft.
“The last time we taught this class, JPL’s Mark Swain was involved, and he was talking about the exoplanet stuff they were starting to do. Looking at planets orbiting other stars,” Boston said.
“He knew that the MRO and its 2.4-meter telescope were looking for projects and users. The talk got around to this cutting-edge astronomy using ground-based telescopes as opposed to the Hubbell and Spitzer space telescopes.”
“My part is to put together the tiger team – a team that looks to incoming data with fast response – to interpret the kinds of environments you would find on these fast moving objects,” Boston said. “The spectrometer will show which chemical compounds are in the atmosphere, which should give an indication of the makeup of the planet’s environment.”
The Exoplanet Spectroscopic Survey Instrument is being built by Magdalena Ridge Observatory scientist Colby Jurgenson, who is an integral part of the team.
“A spectrometer is not unique, but this one’s purpose is to study the exoplanet’s atmosphere,” Creech-Eakman said. “It will take measurements to pick out photons from the planet.”
Jurgenson is expected to complete the specialized exoplanet spectroscopic survey instrument within the next 18 months.
She said the project is drawing on experts from around the world, like SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) founder Frank Drake, who spearheaded the establishment of the world’s largest radio telescope at Arecibo, Puerto Rico.
Other researchers include David Westpfahl, Tech physics professor and department head; Pin Chen of the California Institute of Technology; and Gautam Vasisht and Pieter Deroo, from the NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Quemado News: Pool Tourney, Other Entertainment

The Quemado Area Connection
By Debbie Leschner

A Quemado Senior Center pool tournament will be played starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 18. No sign up is needed, just come and play, and stay for lunch – bean burrito with cheese, red chile on the side, fried cabbage, summer salad and fruit cocktail cake. Sign up by 9:30 a.m. for lunch. Seniors 60 or older and spouse pay $2, while those 59 and younger pay $8.50.
On Friday at 7 p.m., there will be a big screen movie at the Quemado Cowboy Church on Highway 32.
Everyone is welcome to come and see One Night with the King. An all-star cast includes Peter O’Toole, Omar Sharif, John Rhys-Davies and Tiffany Dupont in a sweeping epic about Hadassah, the young Jewish orphan who becomes the biblical Esther, queen of Persia. It is filled with lush cinematography and a mesmerizing score. There is no charge for the evening. Bring snacks. Call 773-4739 for more information.
Dinner and Entertainment: on Friday, Aug. 21, the Quemado Senior Center will have an evening of live entertainment and dinner as a fundraiser. At 4:30 p.m., enjoy a ham dinner, followed by Bill Martin portraying Houdini. The cost for both is $6.50.
Martin’s performance was given an outstanding review. The Road Runner Art Council is sponsoring the entertainment. Sign up early so the center will know how many to expect for dinner, or call 773-4820.
A double wedding ring quilt is being raffled by the Quemado Senior Center. The quilt is queen size and was hand quilted by Bonnie Armstrong, Earlene Bowlby, Betty Chavez, Tilly Chavez and Placy Padilla. Bowlby also donated the quilt top and backing.
Tickets can be purchased at the center for $1 each. A date has not been set for the drawing, but people shouldn’t wait too long or they will miss their chance to win. I have seen the quilt, and if my opinion counts, it is absolutely gorgeous! The ladies are planning their next project and getting it in the frame. Anyone interested in learning to quilt or want to help can attend the meeting, which is every Thursday at the center. Call first to see if they are meeting this Thursday, since they are still setting up the next quilt (773-4820).
How is your garden coming along? We are approaching the time when you find there is too much zucchini and not enough peppers … how about a garden swap? If you have extras or may want to acquire some fresh produce from someone who has too much, just let me know. I will try to match people, and if there is enough of a response, maybe set up a farmers market for a day. Elk, rabbits, grasshoppers and other critters need not apply.
We want to wish Sylvia a speedy recovery on her surgery so she can go look for all that gold!
Know of anything going on or a special event in a family or school? Please let me know. Good news can’t be shared if it is unknown. Call 773-4119 or e-mail

Warriors To Begin Season On The Road

By Polo C’ de Baca
For the Mountain Mail

SOCORRO – The Warrior football team will open its season on the road against the Class 4A Pirates of Grants at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 28, before playing the home opener the following Friday, Sept. 4, against Ruidoso.
Socorro will field about 13 seniors, a few of them with starting experience.
“I think our schedule is one of the toughest 3A schedules in the state,” said Socorro head coach Damien Ocampo. “We play three 4A teams (Grants, Valencia and Santa Teresa), and they’re all going to be good this year.”
Also on the Warriors’ schedule are the always tough 3A schools Bloomfield and Raton. Ocampo said the only top 3A teams that Socorro won’t face in pre-district play will likely be Portales, Lovington and St. Michael’s.
“It’s going to be rough season,” Ocampo said. “If we can have some success early on and if we can stay away from injuries, we’ve got a great shot to make a run late in the season, to make a run in district and be competitive. It’s going to be the toughest year since I’ve been here. Not just to be successful in the wins but to be successful in the confidence part of the game.”
The Warriors have about 70 players trying out for the team. Ocampo expressed concern that although they had pretty good numbers this summer, he was disappointed because a lot of the returning starters and players he expected to start didn’t show up in the summer for one reason or another. Some players were away for the summer and some had jobs.
“We’re way behind right now,” Ocampo said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do to get back on track. The good thing is we did have pretty good younger numbers. We’re playing catch-up. It’s going to be awful tough just because of the kids that we had missing. Even into this fall’s two-a-days, we’ve had a lot of starters missing. It’s going to be a challenge.”
Two returning quarterbacks are senior Ryan Romero and junior Zach Esquivel. Romero also will play at the tight end position. Ocampo said Esquivel also will start as a receiver.
“Zach is going to be on the field all night,” Ocampo said. “He is going to be a tired puppy.”
Ocampo said as a coach working with the Athletic Director in putting together the schedule, they want to make it tough so their kids will be ready for district play and the playoffs.
“If it’s too tough and you lose a lot of ball games early, it’s tough to get those kids up believing in themselves,” Ocampo said. “But I think this is a resilient group, and they can make it.”

Photo caption: The Socorro football team practices in helmets Tuesday afternoon at Warrior Stadium. Photo by Polo C’ de Baca/For the Mountain Mail

AYSO To Continue Registering Players Aug. 22 And Aug. 29

Mountain Mail reports
The American Youth Soccer Organization Region 364 continues registration for 2009-10 on Saturday, Aug. 22, with a skills clinic, and Aug. 29 with a 3-on-3 tournament, both from 9 a.m. to noon at Sedillo Park in Socorro. Season games begin Sept. 12 at Sedillo Park.
Under AYSO’s “Open Registration” philosophy, any child between the ages of 4 to 14 who registers will be placed on a team. The “Everyone Plays” philosophy, unique to youth sports, means that every player will play at least one half of every game.
For children who were registered for the previous year in Socorro AYSO, there are pre-printed forms to speed the process. Parents should bring the following:
• Check, cash or money order for the registration fee of $35 for first family member and $30 for additional children. Fees include fall and spring registration and uniform loan, Saturday games and accident insurance.
Parents of children who were not previously registered should bring the following to registration:
• Two copies of a completed online pre-registration form (
• Check, cash or money order for the registration fee
• Child’s birth certificate for age verification
• Medical doctor’s name and phone number
To learn more about AYSO, call 838-3900 or visit

Inaugural Magdalena Fireman's Ball Draws A Crowd

Photo caption: Magdalena residents danced to the music of the Murrillo Brothers Band, featuring vocals by Tori Murrillo, Saturday night at the inaugural Fireman’s Ball. The event at the WPA Gym/Theater was sponsored by the Magdalena Fire Department, and there was no charge for attendees. Fire Chief Tim O’Neill said the dance was successful, and everyone had a good time. “We had quite a few donations, too,” O’Neill said. Photo by John Larson/Mountain Mail

Obituary: Jennie Marie Peringer

Jennie M. Peringer
April 25, 1961 – Aug. 5, 2009

Jennie Marie Peringer, 48, passed away Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2009, in Scottsdale, Ariz. She was born April 25, 1961, in Socorro, N.M., to Guadalupe and Jovita (Valenzuela) Lozano.
Jennie was preceded in death by her brother, Christopher Lozano. She is survived by her parents; her husband, Daniel Peringer; her daughter, Gina Peringer, of Coupeville, Wash.; brothers: Jose Lozano and wife, Lena, of Socorro, N.M.; and Donicio Lozano of Albuquerque, N.M.; sisters: Mary Martinez and husband, Lloyd, of Socorro; and Virginia Vivian and husband, Sammy, of Socorro.
A rosary was at 10 a.m. Monday, Aug. 10, 2009, at the San Miguel Catholic Church in Socorro with the mass of the resurrection following. Father Andy Pavlak was celebrant.
Burial was in the San Miguel Cemetery. Pallbearers were Miguel Lozano, J.R. Lozano, Joshua Martinez, Jordan Martinez, Eddie Gonzales and Samuel Vivian.
Honorary pallbearers were Thomas Rivera, Tyrone Rivera, Ruben Gonzales, Kevin Gonzales, Sammy Vivian and Lloyd Martinez.
Arrangements by Steadman-Hall Funeral Home, Socorro.

Obituary: Ruben F. Padilla

Ruben F. Padilla
Jan. 2, 1967 – Aug. 9, 2009

Ruben Francisco Padilla, 42, passed away Sunday, Aug. 9, 2009, in Albuquerque, N.M. He was born Jan. 2, 1967, in Torrance, Calif., to Isabel S. and Aggie (Silva) Padilla.
Ruben was preceded in death by his father. He is survived by his daughter, Elena Padilla, of Socorro, N.M.; godson, Jared Padilla, of Albuquerque; his goddaughter, Desiree Sedillo, of Socorro; mother, Aggie Padilla, of San Antonio, N.M.; brothers: Carlos Padilla of Albuqueque and Diego Padilla of California; sisters: Rosalie Silva of Los Lunas, N.M.; Jane Davalos and Teresa Ruiz, both of Albuquerque; and Delilah Padilla of Socorro; and many nieces and nephews.
A visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15, 2009, at Steadman-Hall Funeral Home. Cremation will take place, and there are no other services scheduled at this time. Cremation arrangements by Steadman-Hall Funeral Home, Socorro.

Obituary: Joseph R. Heeter Sr.

Joseph Heeter Sr.
Nov. 9, 1950 – Aug. 8, 2009

Joseph Russell Heeter Sr., 58, passed away Saturday, Aug. 8, 2009, at his home in Lemitar, N.M. 
He was born Nov. 9, 1950, in Warsaw, Ind., to Arthur T. and Rosemary (Riggins) Heeter. 
Joseph was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Arhtur L. Heeter; and sister, Marjorietta Sloan. 
He is survived by his wife, Julia Griffay Heeter, of the family home in Lemitar; son, Joseph R. Heeter Jr., of Warsaw; daughter, Rosie Cothran, and husband, William S. Sr., of Warsaw; step-son, Edward C.R. McGinnis, and fiance, Tasha, of Albuquerque, N.M.; sister, Margaret R. Morrow of Granbury, Texas; grandchildren: Angel M. Cothran, William S. Cothran Jr., Austin M. Heeter, Chrissie Heeter, Alexander Heeter and Andrew Heeter. 
Graveside services were at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 13, 2009, at the Magdalena, N.M., cemetery. Cremation arrangements by Steadman-Hall Funeral Home, Socorro.

Obituary: Berna "Bernie" L. Johnston

Berna L. Johnston
Sept. 14, 1921 – Aug. 11, 2009

Berna “Bernie” L. Johnston, 87, passed away Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2009, at his home in Lemitar, N.M., surrounded by his family. He was born Sept. 14, 1921, in Grady, N.M., to Dallas and Yola (Lobban) Johnston.
Bernie lived in Belen, N.M., for 25 years before moving to the Socorro, N.M., area, where he had resided for the past 37 years. Bernie was a veteran of World War II, in which he served in the Army Air Corps in the European theater.
He was a waist gunner in a B17. After the war, he became a honey producer and served as president and/or executive secretary of the American Honey Producer’s Association for seven years. Bernie spent a lot of time in Washington, D.C., educating public servants to the needs of the American honey producer.
He was preceded in death by his brother, Ray Johnston; sister, Rita McCormack; and grandson, Marty Burris. Bernie is survived by his loving wife of 68 years, Pansy Lear Johnston; sons: Ronnie Johnston and wife, Addie; and Larry Johnston and wife, Pat; daughters: Jeanne Burris and husband, Lewis; and Donna Boston and husband, Max; brother, Buren Johnston, of Clovis, N.M.; sisters: Gladys Gordon of San Jon, N.M.; and Cora Henson of Clovis; 15 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-granddaughter.
Services were at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 13, 2009, at the First Baptist Church in Socorro with Rev. Bob Farmer officiating. Burial will be in the Santa Fe National Cemetery at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 14, 2009.
Honorary pallbearers will be all of Bernie’s grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-granddaughter.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the First Baptist Church, PO Box 1126, Socorro, NM 87801, or to the Socorro Hospice Program, PO Box 1009, Socorro, NM 87801.
The family wishes to thank Socorro Hospice for the excellent care and support they provided during this difficult time. Arrangements by Steadman-Hall Funeral Home, Socorro.

New Mexico Tech To Host Community Day Sept. 3

By Thomas Guengerich
New Mexico Tech
SOCORRO – The New Mexico Tech Student Association and the Socorro County Chamber of Commerce invite local business, civic groups and other organizations to participate in Community Day on campus.
The event is free to anyone interested and will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3, in the atrium at Fidel Center.
Businesses are invited to distribute promotional information, including coupons, giveaways, discount cards or other items. Exhibitors also are welcome to hold raffles or conduct other promotional activities.
It is the university’s effort to introduce Tech students to the community. 
Restaurants, retail stores, services providers, civic groups, volunteer organizations and other groups are welcome.
The event is a way for local businesses to introduce themselves to newcomers to Socorro. This fall, Tech has an incoming class of about 330 freshmen out of a student body of more than 1,900 and many new faculty and staff members. To reserve a table, call LaVern Robinson at in the Tech Public Information Office at 835-5616.

Area Briefs

Veterans Service Officer Visits Friday

An opportunity for military veterans to voice their concerns and ask questions about their benefits is coming up Friday, Aug 14.
Theresa Zuni, New Mexico veterans service officer, will hold office hours from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the council chambers of Socorro City Hall.
Zuni will be able to help vets with paperwork or address questions concerning veterans affairs.
All veterans – from Socorro, Magdalena, Alamo and surrounding areas – are welcome.
Vets are requested to have with them their DD-214 and any other pertinent paperwork .

AARP Offers Driver Safety Class

AARP is offering a driver safety class, and participants will receive a certificate entitling them to an auto insurance discount.
AARP will offer the class at the Socorro Senior Center from 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 26.
Cost is $12 for AARP members and $14 for non members, per person, by check or money order made out to AARP, paid at the session.
The class is the nation’s first and largest classroom for motorists age 50 and older that helps them become better and safer drivers, according to a press release from AARP. Older drivers become more aware of changes that occur because of aging (vision, hearing and reaction time) and how to adjust driving accordingly.
Seating is limited. Call the Socorro Senior Center at 835-2119 or Tom at 835-1369 to reserve a seat.

Free Meals Available At Children’s Center

The New Mexico Tech Children’s Center has announced the sponsorship of a child and adult care food program, which offers free and reduced price meals.
Children who are members of Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations or food stamp households are automatically eligible to receive free meal benefits.
All children will be offered the same meals with no discrimination. Yearly income standards for eligibility are determined by the number of household members.
Yearly income standards for free meals, by number of household members: one – $14,079; two – $18,941; three – $23,803; four – $28,665; five – $33,527; six – $38,389; seven – $43,251; and eight – $48,113. Add $4,862 for each additional household member.
Yearly income standards for reduced price meals are: one – $20,036; two – $26,955; three – $33,874; four – $40,793; five – $47,712; six – $54,631; seven – $61,550; and eight – $68,469. Add $6,919 for each additional household member.

STARS Program Meets Tuesday

The Healthy Family Initiative’s STARS (Socorro Teens Are Reaching Students) – STAT (Socorro Teens Against Tobacco) after-school program for students in sixth to 12th grades will meet Tuesday, Aug. 18, at First Baptist Church on 203 Spring St.
The meeting will run from 6 to 8 p.m. If interested, call Richard or Laura at 835-8707.

Thom Guengerich Scores Hole In One

Thomas Guengerich of Socorro aced No. 9 at the New Mexico Tech Golf Course in Socorro on Monday, Aug. 3. He used a 7-iron from the white tees (157 yards). The witness was Jessie Rameshwaram.

Golf Tourney To Benefit CASA

Rio Grande Valley CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates) will hold its eighth annual golf scramble Saturday, Aug. 29, at the New Mexico Tech Golf Course.
Registration will start at 7 a.m., and the event will begin with a shotgun start at 8:30 p.m. There will be an awards lunch at 12:30 p.m. “A” players will tee off from the blue tees, “B” and “C” players will tee off from the white tees and seniors and ladies will tee off from the gold tees.
Cost is $60 per person or $240 per team and includes practice balls, green fees, gift bags, carts and awards luncheon. Mulligans will go for $30 per team. There will be a casino hole for double or nothing.
To register, call the Tech Golf Course pro shop at 835-5335.

Car Seat Safety Class Is Aug. 26

Healthy Family Initiative offers a child safety seat class the last Wednesday of each month. This month, the class will be at 10 a.m. Aug. 26. HFI is located at 107 Faulkner St. Participants who need a car seat are required to bring $15 in either cash or money order made to Safer New Mexico Now. For more information, call Betty Cline at 835-8709.

Civitan Club Plans Annual Yard Sale

The Socorro Civitan Club will have its annual yard sale from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, at the local Disabled American Veterans Hall at 200 Fifth St.
Donations will be greatly appreciated. Items like good usable furniture, miscellaneous household items, clean linens, blankets, small working appliances, dish sets, toys, art work, musical instruments, books and new to almost-new clothing items will be welcome.
There also will be a silent auction during the event. The money raised will go into the community to continue to help those in need. It is an opportunity for the community to browse and buy items at affordable prices.
For more information or to donate, call Mike or Mary at 838-0343 after 6 p.m.; Keith Valles at 835-0052, ext. 101; or e-mail

OPINION: Clean, Green Reddy Kilowatt Meets The General

An Original Digest of Global Affairs
By Kathryn Albrecht
By now, most of you have probably heard that a very large electrical transmission line may be headed straight for San Antonio, N.M. Imagine emerald San Antonio – historic and pre-historic village, annual destination of hundreds of thousands of migrating waterfowl, and hamburger heaven, too! – dissected by two parallel 500-kilovolt lines atop massive towers (the sort you see marching across the deserts of Arizona, California and Nevada).
If you haven’t “commented” yet on the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project, you may just want to listen up. The public’s “scoping” comments – key to the writing of an Environmental Impact Statement (which studies issues raised by the public and all interested agencies, per the National Environmental Policy Act) – are due to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management by Aug. 28.
So what’s with this power line? It’s an initial segment of a new national grid planned for distributing the increased solar, wind and geothermal electricity being developed across the West. Economic stimulus funding drives the project, and it could be completed by 2013. Cities west of New Mexico will initially gulp up the juice. Sigh … I suppose that running Phoenix’s air conditioners with renewable energy – rather than coal, nuclear and oil – is the wiser way to go.
But dual, zing-ing high-voltage cables on huge towers, flung across the migratory flyway above an alfalfa field near you? Is this our only alternative? The answer is “NO.” And you, dear readers, have the power to drive the outcome – if you exercise your right to “comment” both now and when the draft EIS is published. Let’s take a look at an alternate route for the giant industrial line – the route initially proposed by the project’s planners.
Crossing the Rio Grande below Perchas/Caballo reservoir at the top of Mesilla Valley, the corridor was originally planned to run north either just west of White Sands Missile Range or further west, closer to Engle and the rail line. This is all BLM and state land, miles east of the river’s greenbelt. As this kinder corridor nears Bosque del Apache, it passes miles to the east of the visitors center, then veers out to Highway 380, entirely missing historic old San Pedro.
Bossy, Bossy
But as it now stands, the line slashes right across Milligan Gulch ranches, descends through San Antonio (and Laborcita, south of Luis Lopez) and clobbers Bosquecito right between the eyes. The problematic route plows across three Areas of Critical Environmental Concern and proposed wilderness on its way to Bingham. So who in their right mind would favor this currently proposed siting? Guess.
The commanding general at White Sands, employed by the Pentagon, that’s who. Ooo, they just don’t want anyone doing anything near their touchy-touchy boundaries – even though they long ago absconded with the heartland of our state, not offering New Mexicans one red cent for it! And their nearest terrorizing test-beds are dozens of miles in from the range’s western borders. But the general assumed his post last October, and the powerline’s proposed route maps were abruptly altered by November. The general said, “Move away!” although he has no jurisdiction beyond his fence.
SunZia’s project manager believes his line could cross WSMR diagonally and not interfere with the general’s precious little pulsed-laser, mock-nuclear, electromagnetic and “mid-infrared advanced chemical laser” (MIRACL for short) weapons testing. And the SunZia guy ought to know. A 35-year veteran of western powerline siting and construction, when this fellow started in the business, the commanding general was still in junior high school.
So what to do? Send your sought-after comments to the BLM by the 28th. Handy forms are at the front desk on California Street in Socorro. You may e-mail comments to Or snail-mail them to BLM/SunZia Transmission Proj-ect, PO Box 27115, Santa Fe 87502. Remember, at issue are wildlife health, tourism’s wealth, visual pollution, Indian pueblo ruins, early Spanish “contact” sites, wilderness values, rural homes, small farms and quietly grazed ranches – all threatened by the selfish, senseless militarism infesting a beautiful desert crawling with defense contractors throwing our money around. What are the issues for you?
Another Cheery Note:
A passel of bio-terrorism laboratories have been constructed across the country by the dubiously-titled Department of Homeland Security. But disturbingly, the federal government cannot say how many. The “estimated number ranges from” 386 to 630. Whew! That’s a lot of wiggle room when you’re permitting research on anthrax, hoof and mouth, tularemia and Marburg hemorrhagic fever.
One number is known: at 15, we now have three times the hardened “high containment” labs in the United States than we did a decade ago. These “little shops of horror” experiment with the surest killers, incurable and untreatable, such as Ebola. All of this pushing-the-envelope and our luck in a stated “defense against bio-terrorism,” when no foreign terrorist has ever attacked America with a biological agent.
More hi-con laboratories are under construction – one in Tornado Alley (right where a big one touched down last year), another in a densely populated Boston neighborhood. Brilliantly, one of our “most deadly” labs opened in autumn on Galveston Island, that dicey Texas sand pile entirely washed over (and considerably demolished) by hurricanes three times in the past 109 years.
source: The Los Angeles Times

Kathryn Albrecht, a Missile Range neighbor, plans to lighten up (with luck), jar her racial memory, and file reports from a distant continent for a couple of months. Her opinions do not necessarily represent the Mountain Mail.

OPINION: We Can Only Hope ‘Reform’ Is On The Ropes

The Right Side
By Rick Coddington
According to Bingaman, health-care reform is “on the ropes.” We can only hope …
This was a very close call, if it is in fact going to go away. Last week a friend of mine asked me if I thought it would pass and I said “absolutely.” My reasoning was that since the big corporations had signed on to the disastrous plan, the politicians (who are bought and paid for by the corporations) would pass it regardless of the will of the people.
In my cynical view of Washington, the politicians are terminally out of touch and completely uncaring about the lives of us peons. I went on to say the only reason there was any delay in the passage was because the big special interests were throwing suitcases full of money around and the politicians wanted the extra time to cash in as much as possible.
I still believe that, by the way, whether it passes or not. Of course, they don’t really pay off with cash anymore. They do it with VIP loans (See Dodd’s latest scandal) and with cushy positions on the boards of the corporations for the politicians’ wives (again, see Dodd, and don’t forget Dodd is the second in command in the Senate Committee on Health, behind Kennedy, who has brain cancer).
The way Washington works is by greasing the wheels. I don’t care if the Senate’s supposed ethics hearings say it is OK to get sweetheart deals, it’s not right. The whole bunch is rotten to the core. The things they permit, like the time-honored tradition of hiring Senators’ spouses on corporate boards, is just plain conflict of interest.
We share in the blame for all this, because we don’t make election reform a critical issue in elections. It is an unchangeable fact that as long as politicians have to run for re-election on short cycles that cost millions of dollars, they have no choice but to prostitute themselves. “Fundraising,” they call it.
Back to the chance that health-care reform will die, even though the corporations have thrown buckets of money at it. How could that happen? How could I possibly be wrong? Well, in my cynicism, I lost sight of the fact that the politicians need all that money so they can stay in office, so the money is not the object, it is the means.
So folks, there may be one way to trump the big corporations’ money. And that is to make the politicians fear that they will get booted out of office no matter how much money they have to campaign with.
They are feeling already the pressure. Witness the near riot that Rep. Dingell got in Michigan. He set up a “town meeting,” expecting 100 to 200, and more than 1,000 angry folks showed up. To make a long story as short as possible, the AARP emcee opened the meeting and immediately got shouted down as a “liar” and a “traitor.” Very appropriate, I’d say, since AARP is supposed to represent the people who will be hurt the most by Obama’s “health care.”
Rep. Dingell caught it too. With his meeting ending in what I would consider a personal disgrace, when he had the police remove protestors, like a man who demanded to know what the outcome would be for his wheelchair-ridden son suffering from cerebral palsy. Anyway, the meeting was a disaster. Hey, it’s a start … Now, if you are one of those who care about the Medicare recipients that will suffer from this disgraceful plan, or if you have thought about the fact that, whatever your age, you will eventually be one of those unfortunates … Start screaming at these guys who are supposed to be representing us!
Call Udall at 505-346-6791, Teague at 835-8919 and Bingaman at 1-800-443-8658. Speaking of Bingaman, I have to say that he must be very confident in his health-care package or he would not have the courage to risk choking on the term “public option” he used to describe “the plan,” since it is not optional at all.
I’m dead sure that he knows about the provisions to force people to take their “option” whether they like it or not. If, for instance, they are (like me) one of the ne’er-do-wells who chooses to not have health insurance.
Speaking of Bingaman’s own little slice of health-care heaven, why are we common folks not able to get in on the plan that the politicians enjoy? Or, better yet, why are they not forced to join whatever plan they come up with for us? I bet that would forever settle the question of old people getting thrown off of Medicare to die more cost-effectively! Yep, if those gray-haired lawmakers were facing the same system they are trying to force on us, I bet it would get fixed muy pronto.

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: Bless Yourself And Have A Great Life

Magdalena Pot Luck
By Margaret Wiltshire
I live in Magdalena, a village filled with people doing the right thing, whatever it is for them. Some have worked to bring peace about, some work to share the bounty of food and goods, and others are fighting to keep the “rug” of aquifer water beneath New Mexico’s feet. Still more want to see an energy co-op be cooperative and fair. Many are working to keep families well and functional.
These are only some of the issues worked here. There are other issues as well, like literacy, animal care, sports and creative efforts. Fewer than 1,000 of us, but what a group!
We don’t have a lot of money, a lot of jobs or a lot of power. We do have space. Science says we need space for movement, to exercise energy. Space to be and do, that we have.
So what am I doing? Just a little here and there.
Now I have found my own project. Why is all this good work needed? What is it about humankind that creates these situations? Most of all, what CAN a person do?
Wise minds say we can only fix ourselves, not others. If you have been around awhile, you know, like it or not, this is true.
As a species, humankind brings more misery and destruction to the planet than any other. We separate ourselves into groups, always judging, always wanting more then we need.
We are taught the Pharaohs of Egypt thought they were God. Don’t we all act that way?
We lie to have things as we’d like, and we justify the lies. We lie, justify and judge. We always want more. We are the most dangerous critters on the planet.
We are not happy, either. The usual solution is go for more. That means more lies, more justifications, more comparisons and judging. We use the same means to “protect” what we have. It doesn’t work, but that doesn’t stop us.
I want to leave the planet a better, happier person than I have been. I have been looking for, and I have found, for myself, some simple guidelines. Simple, but not easy. If I can leave my grandchildren anything, it would be these guidelines. My youngest child, Rebecca, introduced me to the writings of Don Miguel Ruiz and The Four Agreements. Ruiz has a wonderful mind and straightforward writing style. There are a number of books by that author. He has a great way of making sense of things.
The Four Agreements is offered to find a happier and more satisfying life. His premise is that we are born perfect and honest. Yet right from the beginning, we are taught social lies and how to lie. Our parents went through the same thing.
In fact, Ruiz takes it back to the Western creation story, the Garden of Eden. In his book The Voice of Knowledge, he presents Genesis as a teaching story and perhaps an explanation.
The apple was consuming the first lie. The first lie was that we are separate from the Creator. We started looking for something lost, that oneness. We also were in competition with the Creator and everything else.
It doesn’t matter if you come from a culture descendant from this creation story or not. It doesn’t matter if you believe it or not.
Not all cultures believe they are separate from the Creator, most do. Other people may not believe in God, but they accept the lie. The lie has spread worldwide.
The separateness we believe exists breeds judging, competing, greed and aggression.
Ruiz’s concept is worthy of thought. For me, it makes sense of world history.
The Four Agreements are simple, not easy. Something to develop with effort and practice.
1. Be impeccable with your word. First, do no harm and be as honest as you are able to be right now.
2. Don’t take anything personally. What is said or done by another is said and done by another, not you.
3. Don’t make assumptions. We are smart and lazy. Assumptions are often wrong or incomplete. Assuming others understand your needs also is inviting frustration.
4. Always do your best. Ruiz says our best will vary with our circumstance (tired, sick, inexperienced); accept that.
The Four Agreements, the complete book, is in the Magdalena Public Library.My quest is understanding why humankind creates so much misery. My goal is self-improvement. My wish for you: live well, be well and do well.

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

OPINION: Letters to the Editor, Aug. 13

Are Your Children Ready For School?

To the Editor:

Getting children ready for school is like preparing astronauts for a trip to the space station. There is the clothing, the medical checkups, the backpack and all the equipment, as well as the paperwork. Have you started your countdown for the liftoff?
Like astronauts, our children need to be alert when they arrive at school. Dr. Barry Krakow, an Albuquerque physician and author of the book “Sound Sleep, Sound Mind,” says the six most common sources of energy are oxygen, food, water, caffeine, exercise and sleep. The energy source, when lacking, that causes the greatest incapacity is sleep. Sleep is an energy generator that recharges our mind and body. The one problem that hampers the learning process over which the teacher has absolutely no control is drowsiness or sleep deprivation.
Drowsy students have always been one of the biggest frustrations for teachers, but in recent years, the problem has been exasperated by new digital communication devices. Students staying up late at night texting or talking on cell phones with their friends or surfing the Internet have been robbed of countless hours of needed sleep. Some are watching TV or DVD movies and others playing video games in their rooms after the family is asleep.
In a national survey in 2006, only 20 percent of American teens said they get nine hours of sleep a night. Nearly half sleep less than eight hours on school nights, and 28 percent of high school students reported falling asleep in school at least once a week. Dr. Myrza Perez, a pediatric pulmonologist in Folsom, Calif., said, “We all have this 24-7 lifestyle, and as technologies become more prevalent, the problem just gets worse.”
Sleep deprivation results in irritability, fatigue and anxiety, leading to depression and overeating, to counter the low energy level, often leading to obesity. Those who get the proper hours of sleep have less a need for other medications. They are more alert, optimistic and much more capable to learn new concepts and be more creative.
This is an opportunity for parents to prepare their children for a good and enjoyable learning experience by removing all cell phones, video games, DVDs, personal computers and any other electronic devise after 9 p.m. for high school students and 8 p.m. for all other students. It is not unreasonable to have lights out at 10 p.m. for high school students on school nights. Having a structure that will allow for adequate sleep will greatly aid the physical, mental and emotional development of children and establish good habits for the rest of their lives.
Such a discipline is not only needed by our children, but for adults as well. Many industrial accidents, auto accidents and errors in judgment are caused by sleep deprivation. An analysis of safety records for 2003 to 2006 showed that hundred of pilots, mechanics and air-traffic controllers reported fatigue led them to make mistakes on the job, including six cases where pilots fell asleep in mid flight. Likewise, many medical workers, teachers, engineers, construction workers, and so on, have been hampered by sleep deprivation.
This is an area where parents can contribute greatly to the welfare of their children and the overall welfare of our society. It might be interesting if parents told their children’s teachers they intend to help their children get the proper number of hours of sleep. The teachers could track those students performance and compare it with the rest of the class to see how much difference it makes.
We don’t want our young astronauts to be “spaced out” in the classroom. Life is an exciting trip with many opportunities if you are awake to enjoy it.

Rev. Doug May

Sponsors, Volunteers Helped Make Fireworks Show A Success

To the Editor:

EMRTC/New Mexico Tech would like to express our thanks to the many sponsors and volunteers who help produce the annual fireworks show. Every year, we ask for sponsors to donate money to help pay for the rising costs of producing this show. This year we would like to extend our thanks to the following businesses for their contributions.
The city of Socorro, First State Bank, Alliant Technologies, A-1 Quality Redi Mix, Polvadera Mutual Domestic Water Association, Baca’s 24-hour Wrecking Service, Monette Ford, G & J Management Services, Socorro Chamber of Commerce, Don and Rosie Tripp, The Water and Ice Store, the Socorro Electric Cooperative and Jerry A. Armijo, PA.
EMRTC would also like to express thanks to the volunteers who contribute their time to this program. They volunteer to give up their holiday on the Fourth to help set up the show. Socorro is blessed to have a nice fireworks show for such a small town, and it is the sponsors and volunteers who help make that happen.
Thank you,

Kelly McLain
Fireworks Program Manager

Vote In A New City Council In March

To the Editor:

I have to say to the city employees of Socorro how very sad and disgusted the majority of people in Socorro are about the fact that Mayor Ravi Bhasker and councilors Donald Monette, Gordon Hicks, Michael Olguin Jr., Toby Jaramillo, Ernest Pargas and Chuck Zimmerly decided to vote for a 50 percent raise for themselves and future elected officials, and in the same swipe of a pen could only find it in their hearts to scrape up a measly 1 percent raise for those employees who carry the city on their backs each and every day.
Their actions speak volumes as to who is first on their priority list. It’s abundantly clear that the city employees are nowhere near the top of that list. And you should be angry. The majority of people in Socorro are held hostage and really can’t do anything about the thoughtless and heartless act of the mayor and the councilors who have so blatantly said in so many words, “It’s about us and no one else.” While most city employees hover just above the poverty line and other employees that work full-time, 40-hour weeks can’t even make as much as a so-called voluntary mayor or councilor, it just doesn’t seem to bother any of the councilors at all. 
Our country is in a financially strapped situation, and Socorro is at the top of the child poverty line in New Mexico, and these clowns smile and say everything at city hall is just fine while the neighborhoods surrounding city hall starve. Many of those children are city employees’ kids. Yeah, just fine, guys. Shame on you.
There is one way you can remedy this “out-of-control monopoly.” Vote them out in March. These guys are no better than the thugs on Wall Street who picked this country clean and continue to put it to us and laugh in our faces as we swirl down the drain. 
Taking advantage of their positions and taxpayers with a 50 percent raise for themselves and throwing a 1 percent dry bone to the hard-working city employees is a disgrace larger than any other in this country in the last year.
Not one other sitting elected board or council in the United States of America of any size, shape or form has given itself a 50 percent raise since the current recession began. I couldn’t even find one elected board or council in this country that has ever given itself a 50 percent raise. Anywhere! It would seem unthinkable to any elected board or council in this country (except here) to even think of kicking its employees and its local taxpayers right smack in the teeth like that.
Twenty years of out-of-control monopolization of our city is enough. Time to clear these same old “me, myself and I” bums out of office. Not a huevo in the lot. Ravi pulls his handful of strings under the dais, and the hands jump up and a faithful “Aye” rings out.  Hasn’t changed in two decades. Don’t anyone out there think there is nothing you can do. Vote and stop these guys who have long forgotten why they ran for office in the first place. There is a giant majority of people who have to finally find their courage and stand up in March and vote against these imposters.
In closing, I would like to say to the city employees: I’m so sorry this happened, but I hope you all know that I and the majority of taxpayers and your neighbors in this city really do care about you and your families and wish you the very best. Another thing I want to say to you is: as a group you (the city employees) can place people on the council and in the mayor’s office who will really care about your everyday job problems and even build a great real retirement for you and your families by giving you the big raises.
Stop being afraid. The thing Ravi and those councilors who threw you all under the bus are most afraid of is your vote! The city employees can control who sits in city hall every election, but if you all don’t stand as one and say “enough,“ you’ll continue to be treated like second-class citizens by the guys running things now. Stand up and take care of you and your family for once. You are the boss! Vote them out in March! 

Gary 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.
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; or fax to (505) 838-3998.


Socorro Chamber Awarded Grant From State Tourism Department

Mountain Mail reports
The Socorro County Chamber of Commerce has been awarded a matching grant for $7,800 from the New Mexico Tourism Department’s Cooperative Marketing Grant program for 2009-10. The chamber applied for funds from the program to help advertise Socorro as a full-service, year-round cultural, recreational and historical destination.
The chamber will spend at least $15,600 on interstate billboard advertising, Chamber of Commerce Web site improvements and promotions, print publications and promotional giveaway items, of which 50 percent, or $7,800, will be reimbursed by the Tourism Department.
To be eligible for reimbursement, advertising efforts must have a reach of greater than 50 miles, to complement the Tourism Department’s objectives of attracting visitors from other states and countries and of encouraging New Mexico residents to travel around and within New Mexico.
The chamber is a non-profit organization that partners cooperatively with the city of Socorro, the county of Socorro, New Mexico Tech and the Socorro County Extension Service to promote Socorro as a destination and to promote local businesses, service providers and area attractions.
Some specific goals listed in the grant proposal include enticing visitors to extend their stay in Socorro by an average of a half-day through the use of coupon books and other collaborative marketing partnerships with local businesses and attractions, and employing similar strategies to attract more conferences, meetings and conventions. For more information, call the chamber at 835-0424.

Sylvia Milks Her Operation For All That It’s Worth

By Anne Sullivan
“Let me tell you about my operation,” Sylvia said as we were sitting on the porch. Actually Sylvia was not sitting; she was lying down with her head up.
Without waiting for my permission, she went on: “I wasn’t scared at all. On the contrary, I was very brave and the vet said I came out of the operation with my tail wagging, like the good dog that I am. She’s quite nice, that vet.”
“Certainly she is. Terri’s been my vet of choice forever. She came to Socorro a week after Bernie came to live with me, and Terri took good care of her for 14 years.”
“Oh, of course, the sainted Bernie, the dog that could do no wrong.” Sylvia threw her head back in a huge grimace. “I might have known she’d come into this somewhere. I can’t even have an operation to myself. No, it has to be all about Bernie.”
“OK, tell me all about your operation,” I said to placate her, even though I’d heard about her operation eight times already.
“Did you know I had three fatty tumors?” Sylvia asked with a measure of pride. “Three fatty tumors were cut off of me, that’s a lot.”
“Yes, it is,” I agreed.
“Not that I’m fond of the name ‘fatty tumor.’ It sounds rather gross in many ways.” I had only the smallest opportunity to nod before Sylvia continued, “And did you know I have a shunt in my chest?” she asked. “Did the sainted Bernie have a shunt?”
“No, she never had a shunt. She had congestive heart failure and an enlarged heart. The cardiac specialist I took her to said he’d never seen a heart so big.”
“I suppose that tops fatty tumors,” Sylvia said with resignation.
“Bernie had difficulty breathing, and sometimes she would fall over and couldn’t get up,” I said, lost in the memory.
Sylvia chewed on her shunt in a vain attempt to pull it out.
“Don’t do that,” I said.
Sylvia stopped long enough to ask, “Did you notice that the cyst under my eye is gone?”
“Yes, and you look ever so much nicer. However, I sort of miss your piratical look.”
“When I had my operation, I had anesthesia, and I was asleep while Terri did all the cutting and sewing, and I really didn’t feel a thing. Of course, now I feel it, but I’m keeping a stiff upper lip about the constant pain and continual mental stress. I have a huge scar on my rear. Can you see it?”
“Of course, you can’t miss it.”
“And that’s not all,” Sylvia was unstoppable. “I had infected ears, you know, and –”
“I know. I had to put medicine in them.” More medicine had ended up on me than in her ears.
“That was a fun game, wasn’t it? Anyway, my ears were all cleaned out. From stem to stern I was operated on. And I walked out of the vet’s office under my own steam.”
“A good thing you did. You’re too heavy to carry.”
“Only 64 pounds.”
“That’s a pretty solid dog.”
Sylvia fixed me with a fierce scowl, causing me to add, “and every pound a gem.”
In spite of herself, Sylvia smiled at this.
“I hope you won’t be too bored while you’re convalescing,” I said.
“I’ll be too busy,” she declared. “I just noticed that we have a book on the Lost Adams Diggings in our library. It’s by J. Frank Dobie, and it’s called ‘Apache Gold and Yankee Silver.’”
“That has a nice ring to it.”
“Yes, doesn’t it? That book might give me more clues to where the gold might be buried. As my rear end has all these stitches and is so sore, I know you won’t mind if I stretch out on your comfortable chair when I read.”

Thomas Catron, School Bus Changes, Chicken Fry

By Kaye Mindar
Did You Ever Wonder
How did the name of Catron County come to be? Thomas Benton Catron (Oct. 6, 1840 – May 15, 1921) was born in Lexington, Mo. During the Civil War, he served four years in the Confederate army.
With his home in Missouri destroyed, he sought to move west after the end of the war. Catron arrived in the Territory of New Mexico in 1866 and settled in Las Cruces. Catron was a lawyer familiar with Mexican land grants, and through a variety of measures, he gained an interest or clear title in 34 land grants.
He became an influential member of a group of land speculators known as “The Santa Fe Ring.” The Santa Fe Ring was a group of powerful lawyers and land speculators in the United States during the late 19th century and into the early 20th century.
Catron became the largest single land owner in New Mexico and one of the largest land owners in the United States. His life, education, influence and subsequent rise and fall are an interesting read in the history of New Mexico.
School Bus Changes
Luna welcomes Dawn Delgado as our new Reserve school bus driver.
We thank Mr. Johnson for so many years as Luna’s bus driver before his retirement. Delgado used to drive the Head Start bus for Luna, so she is a familiar face for our students.
The old Luna bus has been retired, and the students have an upgrade this year. We wish them a safe year traveling over the mountain each day.
Fair Time
Our 4-H Club youth are preparing tirelessly, weighing their animals as the Catron County Fair quickly approaches, Aug. 28 and 29.
We have the Luna Buyer’s club to help the 4-H students raise money by buying selected animals.
More than just the younger members of Luna are working on an assortment of entries, and we hope for a great fair this year.
Annual Chicken Fry
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Luna Ward’s annual chicken fry will be at 5 p.m. Sept. 5 in the church parking lot. All are invited; bring cut and defrosted chicken pieces and a side dish for a great meal and social.
Luna Losers
Our Luna weight loss group will be meeting again each Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. beginning Aug. 17 at the community center. There will be a half-hour meeting each week to weigh in and learn new cooking skills, share ideas and support each other.
A new doctor’s scale has been donated to the center for the group. There is no charge, and anyone who would like to participate is welcome to join.
Luna Community Center
At 7 p.m. Sept. 10, the community center meeting will be an important one to attend where officers will be elected for the coming year. Meetings are the second Thursday of each month, and all are invited to attend.
We appreciate the locals who put so much of their time and talents into keeping the building running smoothly and the county managers for their help in maintenance and repair in keeping our old building useable. There is a lot of history in that building from it being used as a school, to Forest Service offices, to hosting community, club and church events.
Preparedness Corner
How many times have you left home without any cash in your pocket? It is always a good idea to keep emergency cash when you’re traveling. You might think that having credit cards would be enough if you encounter a problem while on vacation or driving in a rural area. However, you have to assume that credit cards might not always work. If that happens, what would you do?
That’s where emergency cash can come in handy. It is a good idea to keep no less than $30 to $100 with you, always in small bills. You might want to keep more emergency cash on hand, for example, if you have a larger vehicle that doesn’t get very good gas mileage.
A good way to make sure your emergency cash is available when you really need it is to use your credit or debit cards when traveling anytime it is possible to do so at an ATM. That way you will be more likely to have your emergency cash fund for when you really need it, in case it was dipped into on another occasion.
Also an important tip in today’s economy is that more and more stories are surfacing about credit cards being declined without prior notice to the card holder because of the credit card company closing the account at their discretion.
Genealogy Corner
For all of us Facebook users, there is a New Mexico Genealogical Society network authored by Robert James Baca. At this writing, there are 123 followers, mostly in the Albuquerque, Salt Lake City and Chicago regions.
In preparation for next year’s 50th anniversary conference in Albuquerque, this may be an important Internet blog to be a part of.
Quote of the Week
“I love Mickey Mouse more than any woman I have ever known.”
~ Walt Disney (1901-1966)

Catron Has Highest Percent Of Uninsured

By Mike Sievers
As the United States Congress enters its August recess with an ongoing debate about a health-care plan, the Mountain Mail decided to take a look at the most recent U.S. Census numbers on health insurance in Catron County.
This article will not attempt to delve into the specifics or politics of proposed legislation, or the possible results of any legislation that may eventually pass Congress. This will simply relay the most recent facts as compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The county had the highest percentage of people without health insurance, as well as the second highest percentage of uninsured people under the age of 19. The numbers were collected in 2006.
In 2006, there were 980 uninsured people in Catron County, or 37.3 percent of the population younger than 65, according to the statistics available through The margin of error was 130, so the actual number of uninsured could be as low as 850 or as high as 1,110.
Among the 1,327 people at or below 200 percent of the poverty line, which is more than half of the total population included in the Census’ numbers, 704, or 53 percent, were without health insurance in 2006. That was fourth highest in the state. The margin of error was 89, so the actual number of people in that category without insurance could be as high as 793 or as low as 615.
Catron County had the second highest percentage of uninsured people under the age of 19. Among the 586 Catron County residents who were younger than 19 at the time the data was collected, 165, or 28.1 percent, were uninsured, according to the Census. That was a close second to Harding County, which had 32 uninsured people in that age group.
To look at the numbers by county in New Mexico, click here. The user can then sort by different categories.

Datil Library To Host Quadruple Book Signing

By Anne Sullivan
DATIL – Four authors with local ties will be at Datil’s Baldwin Cabin Public Library on Friday afternoon, Aug. 14, from 1 to 3 p.m. for a Quadruple Southwest Book Signing.
• Earl Harvey lives in Albuquerque now, but in his younger days, he lived near and attended school in Datil, Pie Town, Magdalena, Reserve and Socorro. As a preacher, he’s been stationed all over the Southwest.
His latest book, “What Happened To Charlie?” is the book everyone in Catron County is waiting to read. It’s about a cowboy who was involved in the Elfego Baca shootout in Reserve.
It’s fiction with a true background Harvey certainly knows about since his wife, Lois, is a direct descendant of Charles McCarty. Harvey also has written his interesting autobiography, “A Different Drumbeat,” which BCPL is lucky enough to have a copy of in its Southwest Local Authors Collection.
• Pie Town resident Uncle River’s latest book, “Camp Desolation And An Eschatology of Salt,” is right up to date as it concerns Global Warming, bank failures and protests.
His other books, of which he’ll have copies, include “The Mogollon News,” a collection of colorful vignettes of Mogollon inhabitants, “Prometheus: the autobiography,” and “Thunder Mountain.”
• Another Pie Town resident is Thea Girard Marshall, whose book, “Cat’s Masquerade,” is historically accurate fiction with more than a touch of romance about a gutsy well-to-do heroine of many disguises who runs away to
London in the time of Napoleon. In addition to writing books, Marshall is an astrologer and world traveler with a love of history.
• Betsy Francois lives in Socorro and has written three books of children’s fiction all taking place in the West: “There’s A Roadrunner in the Honeysuckle Bush,” which she also illustrated, about goings on in her Escondida backyard; “Blunders of the Patriarch,” a historically accurate story of the ill-fated La Salle expedition in the Gulf of Mexico as seen through the adventures of five children; and “In Search Of Kindness,” about Frieda, a 13-year-old foster child who finds a lynx cat in the wilderness of Wyoming.
Everyone is invited to come meet the authors and partake of delicious refreshments. The library is located on Forest Road 100, just off Highway 60, three miles west of downtown Datil.

Escape Artist Plans To Visit Quemado

By Anne Sullivan
Northern Catron County’s Roadrunner Arts Council, in conjunction with the New Mexico Humanities Council, is sponsoring Bill Martin in a Chautauqua performance of “Houdini Returns” at the Quemado Senior Center at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 21.
The performance will be preceded at 4:30 p.m. by dinner from the kitchen of the senior center. The cost for the dinner of ham and scalloped potatoes, salad, drink and dessert is $6.50. There is no charge for the performance. Everyone is invited.
Harry Houdini was born Erich Weiss in Budapest, Hungary, in 1874, and immigrated with his family to Appleton, Wis., when he was 4 years old. In 1887 he moved to New York City and started a magic show, after which he became the world’s most renowned escape artist. He died in Detroit of complications from appendicitis on Halloween in 1926.
Bill Martin, who lives in Rio Rancho, also is a magician and an escape artist besides having been a hypnotherapist, a behavioral therapist and a retired naval aviator who saw service in Vietnam, where he became interested in magic.
Don’t miss Bill Martin, also known as Harry Houdini. It promises to be a magic performance you can’t escape from.

Datil Library Hosts Medicinal Herb Walk

By Anne Sullivan
On Friday, Aug. 21, from 1 to 3 p.m., Katherine White, who gave a very popular demonstration on medicinal herbs in February, will return to Datil’s Baldwin Cabin Public Library for a new program titled “Medicinal Herbs of the Mountains, A Herb Walk.”
Katherine White has also done several children’s programs for the library on Bone Art.
Asked about her background, Katherine White had this to say: “After more than 25 years of working in Western medicine, I have retired as an RN. I am into my fifth year of studying herbal medicine, with a focus on identifying and using local wild plants. I have completed the nine- month course, ‘Foundations in Herbal Medicine,’ and have recently returned from a week-long herbal study program in Cuernavaca, Mexico.”
All are invited to wear their sun hats and comfortable shoes and enjoy an informative walk. BCPL is located on Forest Road 100, just off Highway 60, three miles west of downtown Datil.

Pie Town Water Meeting Has Been Rescheduled

The Pie Town Mutual Domestic Water Association’s annual general meeting has been rescheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 24, at the Pie Town Community Center.
The agenda includes a guest presentation by Tucker McHugh, an update on the San Agustin Water Coalition.
There also will be a review of financial reports.
Old business on the agenda includes an update from Jay Carroll, certified operator; and an update on the status of known leaks/meter opportunities.
New business on the agenda includes the election of two officers to serve four-year terms, as well as open discussion.
The meeting, originally scheduled for Aug. 3, was rescheduled because of lack of attendance. A quorum must be present to elect officers. Should a quorum not be present at the rescheduled meeting, the board will take drastic and unprecedented measures, according to the agenda.

Camping In The Gila National Forest, Part 3

By Richard Torres
This is the third installment of a series of articles about camping in Catron County. With the richness and beauty of the grand outdoors right at residents’ doorsteps, it is time to once again experience the call of the wild.
The Gila National Forest offers many possibilities for recreational activity. Fishing, ATV riding, hiking, mountain biking and exploring are available. Multiple camping areas abound to fit everyone’s needs. Once the traveling rig is loaded with supplies, extra gas and water, an understanding of following rules and regulations, load the passengers and hit the road.
A little more than 14 miles northeast of Reserve on Highway 12 is the Apache Creek cutoff for Forest Road 94. For our trip, this is the entry into the Gila National Forest. A wonderful campsite is just off the highway. Vault toilets, cooking grills, huge ponderosa pine trees and spacious campsites make it an ideal first-night stay. No cell phone service is available at the site.
Forest Road 94 is a maintained dirt road. A fifth wheel, travel trailer, truck and trailer or a vehicle on a day trip can navigate the road. For the next eight miles, the road turns and climbs up a small series of hills.
After about 21 miles of traveling, travelers reach a nice flat area with plenty of trees and a couple of narrow forest trails (4033Z and 4035N) to explore. Primitive camp sites are available in that area.
A few miles further, the road forks. Forest Road 289 to John Kerr Mountain, less than a mile, is an option. The junction abounds with trees, and with plenty of primitive sites available, it would be a wonderful camping area.
Continuing on Forest Road 94, the next 14 miles is a beautiful ride. Squirrels and turkeys were seen during the day. It is elk country, with plenty of other wildlife in the area.
The road begins to descend to the wide-open plains known as Collins Park. The road forks again just past that area. The adventure continues on Forest Road 28, which is a right turn toward Willow Creek and Snow Lake. For the next five or six miles, the road climbs through low brushy hills.
After another five miles of driving, the road tops off on a plateau. Trees are huge, with many spacious areas to camp. A narrow forest trail (141) is available to explore. That is another excellent camping area. No cell phone service is available.
Just two miles further is a fork in the road. Turn left to Willow Creek and Snow Lake (Forest Road 28). Continue straight ahead (Forest Road 141) to Reserve (35 miles): upward and onward … straight ahead.
Just past that junction is Forest Trail 4044G. It is narrow and bumpy; if one can traverse for less than a quarter-mile, there awaits a beautiful camping area. There are trees and trails to explore there. Numerous flat spots are available for trailers and tents to position for camping. Downed wood for a nice campfire at night is to be had there.
Eleven miles further down the road is Forest Road 153. Between the two spots are plenty of opportunities to pull over and take pictures, eat a snack, sneak in a nap or just enjoy the scenery and ride.
It was at the junction for Forest Road 153 that this reporter met KC Gehrt, wildlife conservation officer for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. Gehrt, 30, has been assigned to the Gila National Forest for the last three years. Recently engaged to Amanda Ruzicka, he lives in Reserve.
“The Gila has a lot to offer in the way of recreation. Be safe, respect the forest and people can have a wonderful time out here,” he said.
Gehrt patrols an area bordering between Luna, Alma, Beaverhead and Quemado. “Visitors to the Gila need to be prepared. Take a few extra minutes before you leave to visit the Gila to be sure you have not only what you need, but what you may need,” he said. “Rules and regulations are enforced. If
you have any questions regarding these, call or visit us. I get a lot of questions regarding ATV usage, and I am happy to inform our guests on these regulations.”
Born and raised in Nebraska, Gehrt developed a longing for the high country.
“I knew someday I would have a job in forestry, and here I am,” he said. “I enjoy what I do and look forward to helping when I can.”
Forest Road 153 is fewer than three miles long, ending in a wide-open flat area. After exiting a vehicle, one can’t help but notice all the young trees engulfing the area. Not just any young trees … they sure look like Christmas trees.
Back on Forest Road 141, the road becomes a blacktop heading into Reserve. With stops included, the trip took fewer than six hours, covering about 85 miles.

Photo caption: KC Gehrt and his hound dog helper “Tibbs” pose. Photo by Richard Torres

Former Party Chairman Colón Visits Catron County

By Richard Torres
RESERVE – Tia Steele, vice chairwoman of the Catron County Democratic Party, said uniting people to work together for the common good of the county is one of her goals, during a recent visit to Reserve by the state party chairman.
A lifelong resident of Datil, Steele said she understands the issues facing the county and is ready to help get people together to solve them.
“Catron County faces tremendous issues. Underground water rights to economic expansion – to name a few – decisions will define this county for years. We need to work together as a community to do what is best for us,” said Gary Clauss, Catron County Democratic Party chairman.
A resident of Glenwood, Clauss said he believes understanding among county residents to work for the common good are not only doable, but vital for everyone.
Catron County has a rich and interesting history in the political arena. Betty Radvillas, secretary-treasurer, shared the following memory.
“About 10 years ago, candidates Lena Milligan and Jim Blanc received the same number of votes for an office. To break the tie, they decided to draw high card from a deck of cards. Jim won,” Radvillas said.
Rural residents historically have a unique challenge in getting their voices heard.
“In years past, we banded together. Everyone got involved. We were able to make our needs not only known but addressed. In this day and age, we need to encourage people to become part of the process. We did it once, and we can do it again,” said Bob Atwood.
“People here recognize the strengths of family values, patriotism and strong Second Amendment rights. These are strengths we all firmly believe in. By channeling these strengths into information and education awareness, we can send our messages loud and clear,” said Brian Colón, former state Democratic Party chairman, who visited Reserve recently. He is running for lieutenant governor.
At one time in his career, Colón was sponsored by state Supreme Court Justice Patricio Serna, a prominent native of Catron County.