Thursday, September 3, 2009

Missing Man Found In Old Abandoned Mine

By John Larson

SOCORRO – The body of a Magdalena man was recovered Friday night from an 65 foot mine shaft after being missing for over a month.
David Heiss, 53, was last seen July 22 by Deputy Marshal Ed Sweeney following a report of Heiss threatening two men with a firearm at his campsite above Patterson Canyon.
Magdalena Marshal Larry Cearley’s police report stated that on Wednesday, Aug. 26, Nester Martinez told him he found a makeshift cover built over the abandoned Mask Mine, and also spotted Heiss’ pickup high centered in an arroyo near the mine. Martinez said he went to the mine and found personal items including a rifle owned by Heiss.
Heiss had renamed the mine the “Iron Mask Mine.”
The report said that Cearley investigated Martinez’ statements, arriving at the mine, a quarter-mile from the dead end road at Patterson Canyon, at about 3:30 p.m.
Cearley found Heiss’ orange pickup truck stuck in an arroyo next to a tree, and noticed spider webs around the tires, indicating the truck had been there some time.
The pickup’s door was also open.
The report said that there was a campsite at the mine, which was a vertical shaft covered by several wooden planks making a frame. A bedroll was on the frame. Food was thrown about the area from animals.
Cearley saw a single rope attached to a log and the frame that stretched across the opening of the mine. The rope had been used by Heiss to lower himself down into the mine.
Cearley took a mirror and looked into the bottom of the vertical shaft, about 85 feet down.
He noticed the east wall of the shaft had fallen in, and with the mirror a white object was seen “which could have been Heiss.”
The east wall of the shaft had fallen into the shaft and the rope was stuck.
Cearley left the area and returned at about 6 p.m. with New Mexico State Police officer Steve Carter, who attempted to pull on the rope, which broke under the large rock that had fallen into the shaft.
The rope was pulled out and left on the outside of the shaft.
Before investigating the scene further, Cearley went back to town and checked Heiss’ residence at 1302 First St. in Magdalena. They found the doors padlocked from the outside and no sign of Heiss.
Heiss’ mother, Lucy Pino, said she had not seen her son for about a month, and that she was worried.
Carter then contacted Captain Randy Trujillo for a search and rescue mission.
Rescue and recovery personnel from several agencies, including the State Police dive team, and other personnel from as far away as Carlsbad and Questa.
New Mexico State Mine Inspector Terence Foreback and his staff also assisted with the recovery of Heiss. Foreback, whose office is under the auspices of New Mexico Tech, received a call August 27 from Cearley, requesting assistance.
“At that point we contacted the Bureau of Mine Safety at New Mexico Tech to begin a coordinated search of the shaft,” Cearley said. “We need to recognize those people. They really know what they’re doing.”
A press release from New Mexico Tech said that Foreback first contacted Robert Eveleth, senior mining engineer with the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources at New Mexico Tech to obtain the history of the mine to ascertain what conditions could be expected.
Then, Foreback assembled experts for the purpose of examining the old shaft at the Iron Mask Mine to determine if Mr. Heiss had suffered an accident. Mine rescue personnel from several organizations were contacted for assistance: Chevron Mining Inc.’s Questa Mine, Carlsbad Waste Isolation Pilot Project, AML personnel from the New Mexico Mining and Minerals Division AML Bureau in Santa Fe and search and rescue personnel from the National Park Service. These groups converged at the site Thursday, Aug. 27, and made preparations to begin exploring the mine shaft the following morning.
“The University of New Mexico owns a pickup truck with a hoist and cage that Dr. Scott Altenbach, bat biologist, uses to enter abandoned mine shafts for the purpose of internal mine bat surveys,” Foreback said. “Dr. Altenbach agreed to offer use of this truck for the search and possible recovery effort.”
Associate State Mine Inspector Chris Hefner was on site at 6 a.m. Friday, Aug. 28, to oversee the safety of the search and recovery operation.
“We lowered a National Park Service Search and Rescue member down into the mine in the basket of Dr. Altenbach’s hoist. He found the body about 65 feet down floating in water,” Hefner said. “A haz-mat team had to be called in, because of the biological hazard and gasses that may have been present at the bottom of the mine, and we contacted the State Police dive team.”
The dive team arrived on site Friday and recovered Mr. Heiss late in the afternoon.
“This was a very successful operation” said Hefner. “The cooperation between state and federal agencies, state and local law enforcement and private industry was remarkable. We hope to never have a rescue situation in the future, but we will be much better prepared if we do.”
The Iron Mask Mine was last operated in the 1930’s as a silver and copper operation and is on patented claims. The Iron Mask Mine is one of what could be hundreds of old mines in the Magdalena Mountains that haven’t been sealed off after they were abandoned.
Five weeks earlier was apparently the last time anyone had seen Heiss, Cearley said.
His report said that Addy Allen and Gary Edder had called him to report a fire burning in Patterson Canyon on July 22. The two men went ahead up to the area and found Heiss, who was irate. They said he ran them off and threatened them with a firearm.
Cearley and Deputy Marshal Ed Sweeney, along with Seventh District Attorney investigators R.D. Hayes and Levi Lovato, met Heiss in his parked pickup truck next to the mine shaft. Heiss told them he was planning on staking a claim on the mine, and showed Cearley a knotted rope he had fashioned to lower himself into the mine from a head-frame he built over the shaft. Heiss also had a bedroll over the mine shaft where he slept.
According to Socorro County Clerk Rebecca Vega, Heiss had filed a lode claim in 1989, but apparently for a manganese mine. Vega had no record of a claim for Heiss’ Iron Mask Mine.
After two days of preparation, Heiss’ body was recovered Friday afternoon.
Cearley said people must be careful when running across open mines.
“I can’t emphasize this too much. Mines are dangerous. Stay away from them,” he said. “The reason these mines are closed because there’s nothing in them, except a level of water at the bottom.”
Cearley said there are at least 100 open mines in the Magdalena Mountains.
“Even on the north side of town,” he said.
A memorial service for Heiss is scheduled for 11 a.m. this Saturday, Sept. 5, at Montosa Campground on Highway 60, west of Magdalena.

Small Quakes Shake Valley

By John Larson

SOCORRO – The ground has been rumbling under the Socorro area in recent weeks.
The second local earthquake of greater than 2.0 magnitude in the last two weeks was felt last Sunday in the Lemitar area.
The epicenter of the quake was about seven miles northeast of Socorro and 3.1 miles below the surface. In the last 10 days of August, a swarm of micro-earthquakes occurred, keeping the seismologists busy, but not noticeable to residents.
The first quake to shake up Socorro this month was August 19. According to measurements taken by instruments operated by the New Mexico Tech Geophysics Program and U.S. Geological Survey, the 2.6 magnitude quake occurred at 7:57 p.m.
It was centered about three miles northeast of Socorro. Many residents also heard the quake rumble. As of early Tuesday, New Mexico Tech seismic technician Jana Stankova-Pursley had identified hundreds of small earthquakes, most much too small to be felt, in the area associated with the recent activity.
The chairman of the Earth and Environmental Science Department, Dr. Rick Aster, told the Mountain Mail that the epicenter was only about four miles below the surface.
“That’s why it was felt so strongly in the immediate Socorro area even though it was a tiny earthquake,” Aster said. “It also created a loud boom that was heard throughout the area.”
Within two hours following the event, two aftershocks smaller than magnitude 1.0 had occurred, Stankova-Pursley said.
The recent earthquakes appear to be similar to hundreds of such quakes that have been documented in the area during the past several decades, Aster said.
The quakes, just east of the Rio Grande, are linked to a thin lens of molten rock – known as the Socorro Magma Body – situated 12 miles under the surface in the Belen-Socorro area.
Aster said the pancake shaped “blister” is slowly inflating and stressing the rocks above it, causing the ground above it to rise one to two millimeters a year.
“This inflation, and rising, probably in association with shallow heated water, causes shallow earthquakes, generally in the 1.0 or 2.0 magnitude range,” he said.
Records at New Mexico Tech show that the Socorro region averages six earthquakes a year with a magnitude of 2.0.
The strongest recorded earthquake was recorded in 1906, and measured near 6.0 in magnitude.
“This is the most seismically active area in New Mexico,” Aster said. “And the Socorro magma body is the most studied geologic feature of its kind in the world.”


Lester Garland Davidson
July 5, 1918 – Aug. 28, 2009

Lester Garland Davidson, 91, who was born in a dugout home in Plain, N.M., in Quay County, on July 5, 1918, and came to Albuquerque through Tijeras Canyon in a covered wagon in 1928, passed away Friday, August 28, 2009, at his home in Bosque Farms. He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary June Wright Davidson.
Davidson lived in Socorro County (Bosque and Veguita) for many years following his retirement in the 1980s in Albuquerque.
Davidson was the son of John C. Davidson and Elizabeth Rector Davidson, who came to Quay County and Plain from Bowling Green, Ky., to homestead in 1907.
A World War II veteran, Davidson was an Army infantryman in the Pacific theater, and was part of an invasion force into Japan until the use of the atomic bomb ended the conflict. He was one of four brothers in the war. The others, all of Albuquerque and still living, are Clint Davidson, 94, and younger brothers James (Jay) 87, and Dave, 82. Lester is also survived by a sister, Jean Seck of California. Two sisters, Daisy Givens of Albuquerque, and Lena Neuman of Tucumcari preceded him in death.
He is also survived by four children – daughters Lesta Davidson Moffett of Bosque Farms, Leslie Anne Gabaldon of Albuquerque, and Elaine Hurd of Haskell, Okla., and son, Lester Davidson Jr., of Bosque, N.M. He left nine grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.
Davidson will be laid to rest at the Santa Fe National Cemetery next to his wife.
He attended Forrest Grade School, Quay County, before coming to Albuquerque where he attended Monte Vista Grade School, Lincoln Junior High and Albuquerque High. He worked at Kinsella Glass for more than three decades, and served as shop foreman for most of that time.
As a young man, Lester played semi-pro baseball in Albuquerque’s top league, along with his brothers and father, who often made up most of the infield, including the pitcher. In the late 1930s an American Legion team he played for, Coca Cola Bottling, represented New Mexico in a national tournament in Wichita. He also bowled in Albuquerque’s highest leagues.
He will be remembered for many things, including his strong work ethnic and love of family.
There will be a celebration of his life at the home he shared with his daughter Lesta and her husband in Bosque Farms, 900 Green Acres Lane, at 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 4. All are invited to attend the celebration and share memories.

NRAO Discovery Explains Gravitational Phenomenon

By Dave Finley, NRAO

Scientists using a continent-wide array of radio telescopes have made an extremely precise measurement of the curvature of space caused by the Sun’s gravity, and their technique promises a major contribution to a frontier area of basic physics.
“Measuring the curvature of space caused by gravity is one of the most sensitive ways to learn how Einstein’s theory of General Relativity relates to quantum physics. Uniting gravity theory with quantum theory is a major goal of 21st-Century physics, and these astronomical measurements are a key to understanding the relationship between the two,” said Sergei Kopeikin of the University of Missouri.
Kopeikin and his colleagues used the National Science Foundation’s Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) radio-telescope system to measure the bending of light caused by the Sun’s gravity to within one part in 30,000.
With further observations, the scientists say their precision technique can make the most accurate measure ever of this phenomenon.
“With more observations like ours, in addition to complementary measurements such as those made with NASA‘s Cassini spacecraft, we can improve the accuracy of this measurement by at least a factor of four, to provide the best measurement ever of gamma,” said Edward Fomalont of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory NRAO.
Kopeikin and Fomalont worked with John Benson of the NRAO and Gabor Lanyl of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. They reported their findings in the July 10 issue of the Astrophysical Journal.
“Since gamma is a fundamental parameter of gravitational theories, its measurement using different observational methods is crucial to obtain a value that is supported by the physics community,” Fomalont added.
Bending of starlight by gravity was predicted by Albert Einstein when he published his Theory of General Relativity in 1916. According to relativity theory, the strong gravity of a massive object such as the Sun produces curvature in the nearby space, which alters the path of light or radio waves passing near the object. The phenomenon was first observed during a solar eclipse in 1919.
Though numerous measurements of the effect have been made over the intervening 90 years, the problem of merging General Relativity and quantum theory has required ever-more-accurate observations. Physicists describe the space curvature and gravitational light-bending as a parameter called “gamma.” Einstein’s theory holds that gamma should equal exactly 1.0.
“Even a value that differs by one part in a million from 1.0 would have major ramifications for the goal of uniting gravity theory and quantum theory, and thus in predicting the phenomena in high-gravity regions near black holes,” Kopeikin said.
To make extremely precise measurements, the scientists turned to the VLBA, a continent-wide system of radio telescopes ranging from Hawaii to the Virgin Islands. The VLBA offers the power to make the most accurate position measurements in the sky and the most detailed images of any astronomical instrument available.
The researchers made their observations as the Sun passed nearly in front of four distant quasars – faraway galaxies with supermassive black holes at their cores – in October 2005. The Sun’s gravity caused slight changes in the apparent positions of the quasars because it deflected the radio waves coming from the more-distant objects.
The result was a measured value of gamma of 0.9998 +/- 0.0003, in excellent agreement with Einstein’s prediction of 1.0.
The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.

San Antonio Home Listed On State Historic Register

By John Larson
SAN ANTONIO – A Victorian-style adobe house in San Antonio is now on the State Register for historic buildings.
The house, at 1776 Main Street, was built by Constancio Meira in 1907, and is now undergoing renovations by current owners Robert and Denise Selina.
Selina said the project will take from 18 to 24 months to complete.
“As for our plans, over the next 18 months or so we are trying to renovate the exterior of the house and outbuildings,” he said.
The Selina’s renovations will include new architectural shingle roof on the main residence, restoration of windows, repairing wood and trim molding along the eaves and gables, restoration of the chimneys, stucco repair, and other renovations.
“We’re currently working on some of the landscaping work and the chimneys. We’ll get the electrical work done next, followed by the new roof for the main residence,” Robert Selina said.
The state is recognizing the structure as having historical merit. A press release said that Constancio Miera was a mover and shaker in San Antonio in 1906 when the Carthage coal fields re-opened and gave the community its second boon. 
The following year, Miera built his family a large Territorial Victorian home out of adobe and today it is one of the few remaining buildings from San Antonio’s heyday.
In 1880, San Antonio de Senecu, which was originally settled in 1660, was the largest city in New Mexico south of Albuquerque. The Santa Fe Railroad built a line to the coal fields in 1881, which greatly accelerated the town’s growth. The fields closed 10 years later, but re-opened in 1907 and operated until 1951.
During the early part of the twentieth century, Miera built several buildings, some of which still stand including his first home, also listed in the State Register.
He built the modern day San Antonio Catholic Church and the now-closed Crystal Palace, whose historic “Hilton Bar” also is listed and in service to patrons at the Owl Bar and Café, a destination for locals and travelers and the watering hole for scientists and personnel who prepared the Trinity Site for detonation of the world’s first atomic bomb.
Miera lived in the home until his death in 1951 and a daughter continued to reside there until 1983. San Antonio peaked shortly after construction of the family’s second home. Floods in 1929 and 1937 destroyed many of the town’s buildings and quite a few of those that remained were scavenged for materials as the town sank from its period of prosperity.  The Miera House is significant as one of the few remaining buildings from the era.
“The newest listings in the State Register focus on turn-of-the-century New Mexico shortly before it achieved statehood and up into the 1960s. They illustrate how preservation can help provide an important link from a community’s past to its present,” said Jan Biella, who began serving as interim State Historic Preservation Officer for the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division in August.
The Selinas will preserve the home using state income tax credits for rehabilitating historic properties. Their tax credit project was approved by the Cultural Properties Review Committee of the Historic Preservation Division of the Dept. of Cultural Affairs. 
Persons owning listed properties in New Mexico are eligible to receive credits on their state income taxes over a five-year period for up to 50 percent of rehabilitation costs or a limit of $25,000 per project. 

Quemado News

by Debbie Leschner

Quemado School Health Clinic will be holding an Open House from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8. There will be refreshments and a silent auction. Proceeds from the auction will go toward the purchase of equipment for the clinic and support services for the community.
The Open House is a way to “recognize the school board and administration for their support and initiative which enables us to provide the services” says Alisa Estrada, Clinic Administrator. Also a great big Thank You goes out to Dr. Edwin Nebblett who has been providing medical care to the community for 10 years. Recognition of his commitment to our people is much appreciated and celebrated.
The Quemado Clinic is directly across the school for a square building in the gravel parking area. On Tuesdays, the clinic provides school board medical services to all student pre-school thru 12, students siblings, teachers and staff. Dr. Joyce Stigge will be there on alternate days to give the students and staff the option of having a female provider. On Wednesday, medical services are provided to anybody in the community.
Senior Center
Quemado Senior Center will be having a pool tournament at 8 .am. Tuesday Sept. 8. Please remember if you are planning to stay or come for lunch let them know by 9:30 a.m. On Thursday, Bingo will be played at 12:30 p.m. The quilt frame is set and ready to start quilting the next project on Thursday afternoons. Beginners are welcome to join in the fun.
Bake Sale
A fund raiser Bake Sale will be at the Pie Town Festival over the weekend of the 12th. You had a week to think about that favorite family recipe you can bake. If you can’t decide on which one to do then go ahead and make them both. You may then bring your donated baked goods to the Quemado center Tuesday thru Friday or to the booth in Pie Town on Saturday the 12th. Everything is very much appreciated and welcomed.
Quemado School will have Junior Varsity and Varsity Volleyball game at home Thursday, Sept. 10, against Socorro and on Friday, Sept. 11 against Cobre of Silver City. Games both days start at 4:00 pm. Go Eagles! The School Store is now open before school and at lunch. If school supplies are needed, this is the place to go. They sell a variety of things, such as pens, pencils, glue sticks and note books. It is located in Mr. Preston’s room.
County Fair
Congratulations to our “young adults” from the Quemado-Datil area who participated in the Catron County Fair 2009: Amanda Sirman, Arissa Klumker, Bryanna Bunney, Caitlynn Atwood, Cole McKinley, Dolt Pierson, Dally McKinley, Emily Ferranti, Garret Williams, Jace Vance, Janessa Larrabee, Jarret McKinley, Lorenzo Mora, Kate Eberle, Katie Sirman, Keldi McKinley, Mary Thuerauf, Mia Cauzza, Micheon Sanders, Morgan Williams, Oran Piersin, Rowdy Cauzza, Roy Moeller, Sabrina Thuerauf, Sam Eberle, Sammatha Larisch, Savanna Williams, Shyann Vance, Tray McKinley, Tucker Perdue, Tucson Sanders, Victoria Wastchak and Wade Cauzza.
Note: 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 email at

Of Mice, Hypocrites, Justifiable Homicide And Sylvia

By Anne Sullivan

It was a beautiful morning and I had been trying to get Sylvia to budge from my comfortable chair and go outside. “Sylvia, you’ve become absolutely obsessed with The Lost Adams Diggings. You think of nothing but gold, not even food.” I must note that her breakfast was untouched.
“Don’t bother me. I’m reading my book,” she mumbled from the depths of my chair.
“Excuse me,” I said, “I was under the impression that it was my book, especially since I purchased it as well as the chair you’re sprawling in.”
“Don’t confuse me with petty details. I’m too busy trying to make us rich.”
“Rich isn’t everything, young lady.”
“That may be so, but it’s far superior to being poor.” Sylvia observed, not for the first time.
I stood over her, scolding, “You talk of nothing but gold. It’s very boring. You don’t even mention your operation anymore.”
“What operation?” Sylvia glanced up from her book to ask.
“I don’t feel I know you anymore, Sylvia. The way you went at that squirrel under the house; you could have killed it.”
“That was the idea. I would have killed it if it hadn’t escaped, the dirty rat. But look who’s calling the kettle black, Miss Hypocrite.”
“I beg you pardon. I have never been violent.”
“What do you call it when you go after mice with the flat end of the ax? You’ve even taken to keeping the ax in the bedroom.”
“I call it putting them out of their misery. I only hit the mice that are caught in the sticky traps.”
“Let’s get to the bottom of this ethical question,” Sylvia said in her best district attorney
manner. “Who put the sticky traps there for the mice to get caught in?”
“Well, I did, of course, but it was after yelling at them to get out of my house. I played fair. I told them what would happen if they ignored me, which they have consistently done. I’m just defending my territory, something anyone would do.” Around here in my lecture Sylvia vacated my chair and went over to her food dish. She slurped away at her Iams while I continued, “I don’t enjoy killing mice but I really don’t enjoy sharing my bedroom with them. It’s not just one mouse. It’s all their aunts, uncles and cousins. They’re eating my DeCon like it’s candy. And every day there’s another one in the sticky trap. If anyone has a better mousetrap, I’d like to hear about it.”
“What about the cats?” Sylvia asked. “They could earn their keep for once.”
“I can’t really have them in the house for longer than a minute or two. You know I’m allergic. That aside, I tried bringing RingWorm in once a few years ago, and she just lay on my bed and pretended the mice weren’t there, just like you do. As for Gordo, he’s so wild, he’d probably get stuck in the sticky traps himself.”
“It’s not that I mind you killing them,” Sylvia said. “I’ve never had much use for mice myself. Mickey and Minnie are OK, but they do honest work in comic books and movies and even at Disneyland, but the rest of the mice kingdom i just moochers. I could never have a mouse for a friend.” She paused for a moment before adding, “I suppose you think I’m prejudiced.”
“I’ll join you in the prejudice. Come into the bedroom and hold the plastic bag while I tip the latest trap and its deceased occupant into it.”
“Then what happens to it?” Sylvia asked.
“It goes into the trash with its relatives. Good riddance.”
“I don’t know, Boss. You say you don’t know me anymore but I can say the same of you. I never pictured you as a killer.”
“It’s not a role I fancy but it’s them or me and I paid for this house and I pay the taxes on it.”
“ I suppose it’s all right but you needn’t criticize me concerning my handling of the two-faced squirrel that was stealing our gold.”
“Here,” I proffered my hand and Sylvia extended her paw. “Shake on it and hand me the axe.”

OPINION: San Augustin Plains to Dark Mountain: A Troubled Journey

Magdalena Potluck
By Don Wiltshire

For those of you who are concerned about the availability of water in our area for us, for our children and for our grandchildren, have I got a treat for you! A group of us “rabid activists” got together last Sunday to plan an early November meeting in Magdalena to discuss what we know about the local “water grab.” I’ll keep you informed as soon as guest speakers commit and plans are finalized.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with this water grab issue, here is a brief synopsis: Back in October 2007, the Augustin Plains Ranch, LLC, filed an application with the State Engineer’s Office to drill 37 water wells on their property to a depth of 2,000 feet with 20-inch casings. They proposed to pump 54,000 acre-feet of ground water (that’s 17,000,000,000 gallons) a year and dump it into the Rio Grande via pipeline. This would evidently be “sold” to New Mexico so that we might meet our water obligations to Texas.
The Ranch is supposedly owned by a Mr. Bruno Modena, a businessman who lives in Milan, Italy. Google him and you will find the heart-throb soccer star of Italy, NOT the Bruno we’re looking for … or is it?.
Protests to this application were filed by 382 groups and individuals. They saw the writing on the wall: that this privatization of ground water would devastate the entire area.
Then, in August 2008, Bruno decided to amend his application to increase the depth of the wells to 3,000 feet. This opened up the window of opportunity to protest again and, indeed, another 600 of us responded. There are now more than 1,000 official letters of protest on file at the State Engineer’s Office. Each one of these is an official document which must be responded to and dealt with, in order to move this application forward. That’s quite a large wrench that we’ve managed to throw into the gears of “progress.”
The San Augustin Water Coalition was formed to organize these protestors and the New Mexico Environmental Law Center will represent the group without charging attorney fees. The contact person at the Coalition is Carol Pittman and can be reached at
This battle is far from over. The Cordova Public Relations group, hired by Bruno, paints a glowing picture of the “benefits” that New Mexico could reap from this project. It is particularly appealing to the Santa Fe and Albuquerque residents who are concerned with keeping their pools filled. Who knows what strings might get pulled or whose palm might get greased.
It was while mulling over this insatiable greed for profit at the expense of us “common folk” that the Dark Mountain Project came to my attention. (Thanks Elaine and Elliot). Every once-in-a-while an idea comes along that seems to burrow beneath the daily static of “economic crisis,” “healthcare reform,” or “global warming.” Dark Mountain consists of a group of writers in England who bill themselves as “a new literary movement for an age of global disruption.”
In spite of the ominous sounding title, this does not seem to be a “doomsday” group. Rather, they seem to be concerned with how we will manage to live in harmony with the Earth after the collapse of civilization.
From the home page of their website: “We aim to question the stories that underpin our failing civilization, to craft new ones for the age ahead and to write clearly and honestly about our true place in the word.” I can’t wait to get started on their suggested reading list.
After the unimaginable horrors of the collapse, it will be refreshing to imagine a world without bubble wrap, WalMart bags, credit cards, e-mail (but wait! How will I get my column in?)
If you’re intrigued, check out their site at

Comments? Problems? Solutions? Up coming Events? Volunteers to be Book-people? Contact me at Don Wiltshire lives in Magdalena. His opinions do not necessarily represent the Mountain Mail.

Performing Arts Series Has Stellar Season Planned

The Performing Arts Series this season brings to Socorro a highly diverse schedule of entertainment, from Native American flute music, to magic and illusion, to a musical version of Dracula.

National Dance Institute
Sept. 11

Socorro County Youth star in a heartwarming display of high-energy dance and teamwork. 7 p.m. Admission: Adults $6/Youth: Free

Flamingo Express
Sept. 18

Flamingo Express is the companion band of the widely successful international touring troupe Pink Flamingos: The Big Band that involves audience, is fun, has great costumes and choreography.
The group provides a wide range of music from elegant and classy dinner music to Broadway show tunes, from themed extravaganzas to the most energetic, spontaneous dance party ever seen. The Pink Flamingos have built a reputation on their ability to get audiences involved. Their enthusiasm is contagious. Throughout their non-stop performance they have the audience out of their seats, on their feet, and up on the stage all night long.
Admission: Adults $16/Seniors $14/Youth $12

Presidential Chamber Music Series: String Quartets
Sept. 21

Hosted by violist Willy Sucre, joined by violinists Krzysztof Zimowski & Justin Pollak, and cellist James Holland. Admission: Free

Lula Washington Dance Theater
Oct. 16

This award-winning African American troupe is athletic, fun and accessible, yet intelligent and evocative, performing “Ode to the ‘60s” and more. Based in the inner city of South Central Los Angeles, this company has risen to become one of the largest and most admired African-American dance companies in the West. Lula Washington is the main choreographer and the artistic “voice” of the company. She augments her work with choreography by famous artists such as Donald Byrd and Donald McKayle. Admission: Adults $14/Seniors $10/Youth: Free

Sol y Canto
Oct. 29

Joyful, original Pan-Latin roots music. Sol y Canto is the nationally-touring and Boston Music Award winning Pan-Latin ensemble led by Puerto Rican/Argentine singer and bongo player Rosi Amador and New Mexican guitarist and composer Brian Amador.
The band features Rosi’s crystalline voice, Brian’s lush Spanish guitar, and virtuoso musicians from Uruguay, Perú, Panamá and Argentina on piano, winds, bass, and percussion. The sextet has established a reputation for their quirky original compositions that address matters of the heart, social and global aspiration, and for their unique and driving interpretations of contemporary Latin music. Admission: Adults $6/Youth: Free

Dracula The Musical
Nov. 6

ABQ Stages performs Rick Abbot’s light-hearted romp through the familiar horror classic spotlighting Van Helsing’s musical battle against the evil Count Dracula. Admission: Adults $16/Seniors $14/Youth $12

Eliza Gilkyson with special guest Ellis Paul
Nov. 20 (Festival of the Cranes week)

This poetically gifted singer-songwriter from Austin has become one of the most respected musicians in roots, folk, and Americana. The daughter of successful folksinger Terry Gilkyson, Eliza is a third-generation poet/musician who, growing up in Los Angeles, knew that her life would revolve around music.
“I got into it for all the wrong reasons, more as a survival tool then anything else, but it proved to serve me more than I dared to imagine it ever could,“ she said.
As a young teenager she recorded demos for her dad and started writing and recording her own material as well. In her late teens, Eliza moved to New Mexico to pursue an alternative lifestyle and eventually raised a family, while continuing to perform, write and record.
Over the years she developed a loyal fan base in the Southwest and Texas, as well as a uniquely intimate style shaped by her personal experiences and her need to stay true to her muse.
Admission: Adults $14/Seniors $12/Youth $10

Presidential Chamber Music Series: Trios for Viola, Clarinet & Piano –
Nov. 30

Willy Sucre will be joined by clarinetist Lori Lovato and guest pianist. 7:30 p.m. Admission: Free

Merri-Achi Christmas presented by Les Torres
Dec. 12

Mariachis, local flavor, and rising stars Manuel Romero and Lorenzo Mendez make this a seasonal favorite. 7 p.m. Admission: Adults $16/Seniors $14/Youth $12

Pine Leaf Boys
Jan. 22

Louisiana’s finest, two-time Grammy-nominated, youthfully exuberant, band have made a name for presenting their own inimitable brand of Cajun music with youthful exuberance. Hailing from the southwest Louisiana, the Pine Leaf Boys, known for their wild shows and thoughtful arrangements, have breathed new life into Cajun music, reviving ancient songs and bringing them to the bandstand.
The variety and energy they release evolves through their shows, bringing multi-faceted angles to Cajun, Creole, and Zydeco. Their mission is to present the awesome music of their ancestors and present the real Cajun music to the world and prove that it is still thriving and full of life. Adults $16/Seniors $14/Youth $12

Yjastros, The American Flamenco Repertory Company
Feb. 12

(following Club Macey Valentine’s Dinner)

Flamenco dance and music from the acclaimed National Institute of Flamenco’s professional troupe. Yjastros performers, recognized internationally for their artistry, present breathtaking flamenco choreographies created exclusively for the company by some of the finest flamenco artists in the world.
Through these exciting choreographies and masterful professional performances, Yjastros proudly brings the creative visions of world renowned flamenco artists to the American public and becomes a living flamenco archive. Admission: Adults $16/Seniors $14/Youth $12

Around the World in 90 Minutes by Marty Essen
Feb. 19 (Science Olympiad weekend)

Author of “Cool Creatures, Hot Planet,” presents a high-energy, seven continents, digital slide show full of laughs, surprises, and interesting facts. Marty’s show features interesting facts, humorous stories, and the best of thousands of photos he took while traveling the world for his book, Cool Creatures, Hot Planet: Exploring the Seven Continents.
It’s the type of show where the audience has fun laughing at the stories, ooh-ing and aah-ing at the photos, and then, when it’s all done, they realize just how much they’ve learned. Admission: Adults $10/Seniors $8/Youth $6

The Wiyos
Feb. 26 (Civil War Re-Enactment weekend)

Fun mix of Vaudevillian Ragtime Blues, Hillbilly Swing and Old Time Country. Taking their name from the late 19th century New York City Irish street gang, the Whyos, the band began as street performers in New York and New Orleans.
Their song repertoire combines original compositions with covers from tin-pan alley to western swing. A typical show may include rustic sounds of the 1930’s and 40’s as well as electric post-modern sound-scapes with smart lyrics. Admission: Adults $14/Seniors $12/Youth $10

Presidential Chamber Music Series: Piano Quartets
Mar. 22

Willy Sucre on viola, Katie Wolfe on violin, Anthony Arnone on cello, and Ksenia Nosikova on piano. 7:30 p.m. Admission: Free

Enter The Haggis
Mar. 26

Celtic Rock from Toronto. To engage this quintet is to indulge rock, fusion, bluegrass, traditional Celtic fare, folk, even Latin flavors. Alternating between upbeat rock numbers with sing-along choruses and slower, more introspective alt pop songs, the band plays progressive and lyrically driven music that’s strongly rooted in Celtic tradition - from the storytelling to the bagpipes. Admission: Adults $16/Seniors $14/Youth $12

The Jason Bishop Show (Illusionist)
Apr. 9 (Science Fair weekend)

An amazing display of magic and illusion. From his breathtaking double levitation to his cutting edge Op-Art and Plasma screen illusions, Jason Bishop features stunning and origional state of the art magic.
One thing that distinguishes Bishop is his virtuosity. Each show features award winning sleight of hand, exclusive grand illusions and even close-up magic projected onto a huge movie screen. Admission: Adults $16/Seniors $14/Youth $12

Robert Mirabal … Dancing Earth
Apr. 23 (Earth Day)

Grammy Award winning Taos Pueblo flutist, musician and composer with Indigenous dance troupe, Dancing Earth. Robert Mirabal weaves ancient and contemporary music in a thoroughly original way.
Described as a Native American “Renaissance man,” Mirabal is a master flute maker. His flutes are world renowned and have been displayed at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of the American Indian. Mirabal is acomposer, painter, craftsman, poet, actor, screenwriter, horseman and farmer. Robert travels extensively and plays his music all over the world.
Admission: Adults $16/Seniors $14/Youth $12

Esperanza Spalding
May 7 (Mother’s Day Pow Wow weekend)

Captivating jazz vocalist, bassist, composer, this 23-year-old prodigy turned pro is reviving classic jazz. Blessed with uncanny instrumental chops, a multi-lingual voice that is part angel and part siren, and a natural beauty that borders on the hypnotic, Spalding pro might well be the hope for the future of jazz and instrumental music.
“She is an irresistible performer,” according to an article in The Seattle Times. “She sings and plays bass at the same time and does a sort of interpretive dance as she plays. Her analysis of what’s going on in jazz today is perceptive.” Admission: Adults $16/Seniors $14/Youth $12

All shows begin at 7:30 p.m. and are at Macey Center, except where noted. Senior is 65 and over. Youth is 17 and under.

Pictured above: Eliza Gilkyson


Socorro Netters Defeats Mag

By Polo C’ de Baca
For the Mountain Mail

SOCORRO – The Lady Warriors volleyball team (3-1) played their first home game and opened with a win against Magdalena in four 25-16, 25-14 22-25, 25-19. Socorro dominated in the first two games. Magdalena (2-2) came alive and won the third game and threatened to take the match to five in the fourth competitive game.
Magdalena will host Hot Springs on Thursday, Sept. 4. Socorro will travel to Albuquerque to play Cleveland on Tuesday, Sept. 11.
“To open up with a win at home, I can’t even explain it,” Socorro coach Marleen Greenwood said. “Perfect.”
Magdalena started playing well after the first two games then finally managed to play with purpose and rally its fans.
“We had too many service errors,” Greenwood sad. “You can’t give up points on service errors. That cost us the game.
In game three, service errors cost Socorro three points, two on serves out of bounds and one by serving into the net. Early on in that same game Magdalena gave up two points by serving into the net.
Socorro essentially won the match dominating at the net with its front line height advantage blocking Magdalena’s hits. Greenwood said that the front line would probably be one of her team’s major strengths this year.
Magdalena coach Liz Olney said that her teams is still making communication mistakes and serving inconsistently.
“After we make a mistake we kind of get gun shy, quit being aggressive and quit communicating,” Olney said. We can’t do that. We just have to take charge and make plays happen. Now, we’re waiting for the plays to come to us.”
Olney said that when a serve goes out of bounds she still wants the next serve to be hit aggressively hard and not have the server to back off.
“When we make a mistake we’ve got to pick ourselves up and be ready to swing again,” Olney said. “They did block some of our hitters but some of our hitters were hitting soft. We’re being timid. We’re not being aggressive as we can.”

Warriors Dominate Grants In First Half Of 41-28 Win

By Polo C’ de Baca
For the Mountain Mail

The Socorro football team won their first game of the season on the road defeating Class 4A Grants 41-28. Socorro led 35-6 at the half and cruised to victory.
Socorro will host Ruidoso on Friday. Socorro coach Damien Ocampo said that Ruidoso is a dark horse in the state for 3A. They defeated Class 4A Roswell in their season opener 18-6.
“Roswell, year in and year out is a good team,” Ocampo said. “They’re the toughest district in the state for 4A. Ruidoso is good at their skill positions. They have two solid quarterbacks and are as good as we’re likely to see all year. Their team is not as big as last year’s but they’re twice as fast. I mean they are fast. It should be a great game. The team that makes the least mistakes will win.”
Socorro led against Grants after the first quarter 21-0. Their first score was on a 25-yard pass from Ryan Romero to Zach Esquivel. The Warriors scored next on a 27-yard run by Jose Alvarado. Alvarado scored again running from one yard out.
Freshman Zack Binger was 5-6 kicking extra points for Socorro. In the second quarter Esquivel scored the fourth touchdown on a 40-yard run. Charlie Savedra ran in the ball from one yard out in the second half for Socorro’s 35-6 lead at the half.
“In the first half we capitalized on a couple of fumbles,” Ocampo said. “We scored on our first three tries. We kind of hammered them the first couple of drives. We were blessed with turnovers early on and we protected the ball a good chunk of the time on offense.”
In the second half Socorro was a totally different ball club. Socorro had two turnovers and wasn’t as sharp on offense.
“I think it was just a lackadaisical mental and physical effort on both sides of the ball,” Ocampo said. “It’s just something that we need to learn from to get better. We won’t be able to rebound against these other teams we’re playing. It’s not that Grants is a bad team, they’re a good team.”
In the second half, Ocampo said the Warriors gave points to Grants with blown coverages and penalties.
“You name it,” Ocampo said. “We might as well have handed them 21 points. We can’t do that anymore. We’re not playing teams (in the future) where we can make mistakes.” Socorro’s sixth score was on a 20-yard pass to James Thornton.
Ocampo said that one major issue the team had was not being in great shape but they would work on it.
“We’re also working on being tougher up front,” Ocampo said. “If we can’t bang with the big boys up front, especially on the defense, it’s going to be a long season for us. Grants were a good football team but they can’t hold a stick to these other teams that we’re going to play.”
Ocampo said that he was proud of the kids for going out and finishing with a win but that sometimes the kids and coaches can get satisfied and have a false sense of security.
“If we learn from it, then it could be a plus,” Ocampo said.

Girls Soccer Team Gets Two Big Wins In Roswell

By Polo C’ de Baca
For the Mountain Mail

The Lady Warrior soccer team weathered Roswell’s big school tournament winning two of three games. Socorro lost its first game of the tournament to Class 5A Carlsbad 0-3 on Friday. They went on to defeat Class 4A schools Roswell 7-4 and Silver City 5-1 on Saturday to finish fifth. Carlsbad won the tournament.
Socorro (5-1) will host Belen on Thursday, Sept. 10
Socorro coach Mitch Carrejo said that against Carlsbad his girls started out sluggish. The girls got there just an hour before game time after the long bus ride. He said the girls still played well. The game was scoreless until six minutes left in the first half. It was an own goal a defender bounced off of the goal keeper.
In the second half Socorro had seven shots on goal and Carlsbad had 10.
“We were pretty even in the second half,” Carrejo said. “They kind of wore us down a little bit there at the end. They had a bunch of subs and we didn’t have too many.”
Victoria Lopez, Maria Deters and Jennell Higgs were able to attend the Carlsbad game. Carrejo said that the game went back and forth and no team seemed to have the advantage. With 15 minutes left in the game, Socorro misplayed the ball on defense and Carlsbad scored again and their third goal was another own goal.
At 10 a.m. Saturday, Socorro went against Roswell High. Socorro scored two minutes into the game. After that Roswell scored twice and Socorro countered with two more goals and led 3-2 at the half.
“In the second half we came out aggressive and tried to get the ball to a forward in a breakaway situation,” Carrejo said. “We came out and scored four more goals against them.”
Socorro led 7-2 with about 15 minutes left in the game. Carrejo said that he played his bench for experience and to save the starters for their next game. Roswell scored twice. Socorro won 7-4.
Socorro played Silver next who had lost to Clovis and defeated Goddard.
“We came out real strong against Silver,” Carrejo said. “We pretty much dominated the whole game.”
Socorro scored four goals in the first half and led 4-1 at the half. Carrejo said that in the second half he rested his starters and used the lead to further the experience of his subs en route to a 5-1 victory
“I think that we were probably the second best team in the tournament,” Carrejo said. “Unfortunately we got put in the same pool as Roswell and Carlsbad. Carlsbad won the championship game by beating Clovis 8-0.”
Socorro’s only loss this year was to Class 5A Carlsbad.

Open House, Volleyball, Fair Report

Luna News
Kay Mindar

Hunting season is now on our doorstep here in Luna and we hope to have a safe season. The Luna Forest Service Work Center has valuable information as to weather and road conditions, but sorry hunters they can’t tell you where the elk are, seems they don’t leave an itinerary.
Please be respectful of our public lands and our homes as you visit the area.
Be cautious and aware of rules and regulations. In the latest news releases there is an interesting article about a Hobbs magistrate who recently ordered a man convicted of poaching a trophy mule deer to pay the state $10,000 in civil damages, this is the maximum penalty under a 3-year-old law that allows the state to seek reimbursement for the loss of a trophy game animal and the maximum penalty ever awarded by a New Mexico judge involving big-game poaching.
We are encouraged to call local authorities or visit to report any quandary of the state proclamation rules that you may witness. Reporters can remain anonymous and earn rewards if information leads to charges being filed. The citizen who reported the 2007 poaching near Hobbs declined to accept a reward.
Fair Results
A full listing of Catron County Fair results is being put together and can be viewed at Some of our big winners from Luna include; Crafts: Eugene Snyder - 3 blue ribbons, Katelyn Nicolds – 1 blue, and Riley Quetel – 4 blue ribbons. Clothing: Ale Gray – 2 blue and Cindy Howell – 4 blue ribbons. In prepared foods: Tera Laney – 1 blue and Riley Quetel – 1 blue. Patti Swapp placed in 5 separate divisions in the horse show and competitions and Jessica Swapp in 1 competition. Our Luna Valley 4-H exhibits honored Katelyn Nicolds receiving 4 ribbons, Emily Nicolds received 4 ribbons, Kory Nicolds received 4 ribbons, Rachel Nicolds received 4 ribbons, William Nicolds received 1 ribbon, and Jarred Nicolds received 1 ribbon. In the Art category William Nicolds received 1 ribbon, Emily Nicolds -1 ribbon, Susan Ley -3-ribbons, and Kayli Laney 1- ribbon. For livestock show results Troy Laney received 5 awards, Joseph Nicolds - 1, Kory Nicolds -1 and Rachel Nicolds – 1.
Results are still being tallied and I apologize if I failed to mention anyone.
Annual Chicken Fry
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Luna Ward annual chicken fry will be held about 5 p.m. with cooking to begin at 3 p.m. this Saturday in the Church parking lot. All are welcomed and invited, please bring cut and defrosted chicken pieces and a side dish for a great meal and social. This will be Labor Day weekend social and we welcome family and friends visiting to come and join the fun.
Estate Sale
Joe and Carol Laney and family will be holding an estate sale Friday, Saturday and Monday this weekend at their home on Highway 180.
Luna Community Center
At 7 p.m. September 10 the Community Center meeting will be a very important one to attend where officers will be elected for the coming year. Meetings are held 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.
Community Yard Sale
September’s community center yard sale will run 3 days over the weekend at the Community Center on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There promises to be more tables including bake sale items and produce as our gardens are coming into season. Tables are still available for $3 each. Contact Diana Moyers for more information.
Lunatic Stitchers Raffle
The Lunatic Stitchers quilt raffle will be held after Monday’s Labor Day Holiday. Tickets are still available from any of the stitchers until then. Proceeds are used each year to buy an improvement for our community center and we appreciate the hard work and effort this group so generously contributes.
Preparedness Corner
The next orders for canning foods will be due by September 27 for canning sessions October 23 and 24 and for the last canning session of 2009 orders will be due by October 25, with December 4 and 5 as tentative canning dates. Please contact Joyce Laney for more information.
Genealogy Corner
A must see web site for Catron County genealogists is sponsored by Genealogy Trails History Group and found at
Quote of the Week
“Sometimes it’s important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it’s essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow.”
– Douglas Pagels