Monday, September 14, 2009

Mountain Mail’s Last Issue

After nearly 30 years of publishing local news for Socorro and Catron counties, the Mountain Mail will cease to produce a local newspaper.
Owner Thomas Guengerich said the newspaper’s financial situation is unsustainable and that the outlook for the future does not seem to look any brighter.
“I want to sincerely thank all the people who have been faithful readers of the Mountain Mail for many years,” Guengerich said. “Hearing positive feedback from people in all communities in Socorro and Catron counties was the most gratifying part of being involved with the Mountain Mail.”
He also expressed thanks to all the contributing writers and photographers who have helped produce the newspaper over the years.
Over the past year, the newspaper’s advertising revenues have continued to slip in every area. Cost-cutting measures, such as eliminating full-color printing, were not enough to make a difference. While readership remains strong with only a small decrease in subscriptions over the past year, the advertising revenues have fallen dramatically.
“The decision to close the doors and stop publishing was very difficult,” Guengerich said, “In the end, going out of business is regrettable, but the best choice. We had a good run, but it’s time to call it quits.”
The last edition of the Express will be published next Monday, Sept. 14. The Magdalena Mountain Mail was first published in 1980. Valley Independent Publishing purchased the newspaper in 2002.

The Earth Doesn’t Need Us

Magdalena Potluck
by Don & Margaret Wiltshire

The planet would do wonderfully well without us. When we talk about saving the planet; we are really talking about saving us. We are destroying what we need to survive, air, water, food.
The wolf would limit numbers of grass eaters and the prairies would grow grass to maturity. The aquifers would remain and feed moisture to those grasses. The grasses would shelter seedling trees. The air would have more oxygen, less erosion.
We have been destroying it all. That’s what we are good at.
We destroy species that help us live and could help us live.
Over grazing destroys grasslands. It is natural for a wolf to help the grasslands as it lives to survive. It does the earth a service. We don’t.
We live to survive. We have good brains to help us. Yet we often don’t use them well. Our brains are compromised by our egos and our greed.
Every year we learn more about the intelligence of animals and plants. For centuries we have been too ego centered to acknowledge their intelligence. We live in a constant state of denial.
Chief Seattle’s speech on land is one of the greatest documents in our recorded history. Politely, he told us how we are destroying ourselves. He told us how we could save ourselves. In turn, Western Civilization just took advantage of him.
Some think that on the close horizon there is the end of Western Civilization. If that is the case, some will survive who want to do it all over again with the same ego-greed orientation. They, of course, will save their weapons.
Others are raising their consciousness. They know we belong to the earth, we don’t own it. The earth’s crust is the EARTH’s crust. The aquifers belong to the earth and no man can own them. The grasslands belong to all, not just the greedy.
To raise your consciousness you don’t have to read a book, belong to a group, join a political party. All you have to do is breathe deeply. Use your senses. See the truth before you. Listen less to the ego voice in your head and more to what is around you. Consciousness is awareness.
Many indigenous people have told us we live in a dream world. We are not conscious. We want things to be as we want them to be. Usually because of our own greed; that nagging sense of being empty, alone and fearful.
Being conscious one can discover they are all they need to be, they are never alone and their needs are truly few. Conscious-people don’t need ego tasks like proving identity and personal value. They are in tune with nature, wholly part of the universe.
However, food, shelter, air and water needs to be available. It needs to be good.
Using science we have made some poor choices in the past. Pesticides continue to handicap us worldwide. They hurt plants, animals and humans. Still we continue using them.
Now environmental science tells us we are in our 11th hour, in the last few minutes of the last hour, historically speaking. They want us to make it, to survive. They are speaking to us just as Chief Seattle did years ago. Will we listen?
Many don’t want to listen. They think economics is the bigger problem. Economics is nowhere without nature and its resources.
We are nowhere without nature and its resources. Living in a box that’s gold lined, diamond studded and dollar padded will kill you if you don’t have good water, food and air. Not to mention how fast you’d get bored!
We have the ability to remember the past and look to the future. They say that separates us from animals and plants. I have my doubts. Whatever the case, they plan for the future better then we do.
Take a deep breath, live and let live.

OPINION: Sylvia And Her Mining Company Become Victims of Squirrel

by Anne Sullivan
“Sylvia!” I shrieked, “How many times have I told you to stop digging under the house?”
Without stopping, her paws spraying dirt behind her, Sylvia answered, “I don’t know exactly. Maybe four or five times.”
“So why are you still digging?”
“Because the gold from the Lost Adams Diggings is buried here. I know it.”
“No, it’s not,” I said to divert her. “I happen to know it’s buried up-canyon where the tall rocks are. Why don’t you do more digging there?”
‘I would,” she replied over her shoulder and still without ceasing her labor, “but there’s no way to transport the gold down here.”
“What about your sweet little wagon pulled by squirrels?”
“There’s been a problem with that,” Sylvia said, actually stopping her digging. “The squirrels have gone on strike.”
”How come? I thought you were paying them with my walnuts.”
“The strike wasn’t because of lack of payment. You remember that two-timing rat of a squirrel I was interrogating under the house. The one that escaped when you stopped me from killing him.”
“Yes, I remember well. It was considerably more than interrogation.”
“Not really,” Sylvia said. “It was sanctioned by the government of Swingle Canyon.”
”What government is that?”
“RingWorm, Gordo and me. The Big Three Government.”
“Lord help us and perish the thought,” I said with a sigh. “Anyway, what’s that poor squirrel got to do with the strike?”
Sylvia’s usually kind face registered her rage. “The big sissy evidently went to the grievance rep to complain about his treatment and the union steward took his side. I tell you, help isn’t what it used to be.”
“Maybe not, but what happened?”
“All our squirrels went out on strike and now they’re suing me for everything I’ve got. That stupid squirrel said I bullied him. It’s all your fault; you should have let me kill him.”
“It’s a poor leader who passes the blame.”
“Huh?” said Sylvia, resuming her digging. “Anyway, now we have no way to transport the gold.”
After digesting this news, I suggested, “What about using some other animal to pull the wagon?
There’s Gordo. What about him?”
“I already asked him. He says it’s not in his job description. I have been wondering about the mice. Didn’t they pull a carriage for that Cinderella person?”
“I believe they did. That’s a great idea,” I said. “We have a plethora of mice this year. Giving them honest work might keep them out of my bedroom. Think of the mouse lives that could be saved.”
“A lot, I guess,” Sylvia allowed. “It will take many mice to pull the wagon, especially when it’s full of gold.”
“How will you recruit them?”
“I’ll put it to them that it’s better than death by sticky trap and axe. That ought to convince them,” Sylvia said. “If that doesn’t, RingWorm and Gordo as their overseers can crack the whip. Gordo enjoyed practicing his whip cracks until he broke the whip.”
“To show you how sincerely I believe the gold is buried up-canyon and not under my house,” I said, “I’ll stake you to another whip, a bigger one.”
“Do you really and truly believe there’s gold in these here rocks?” she asked.
“Bound to be,” I said, and maybe it wasn’t a lie.

Man Awaiting Murder Trial Accused Of Theft

By John Larson
SOCORRO - A Socorro man who was free on bail and awaiting trial on a murder charge has been arrested for the theft of a boat, its motors, and related fishing gear.
Atanacio “Smokey” Cordero, 25, who will be tried in District Court on Feb. 1, 2010, for the Christmas Eve murder of Michael Martinez, was arrested Monday, Aug. 31, following an investigation by Off. Rocky Fernandez of the Socorro Police Dept.
In addition, Juan Benavidez, 34, and Jennifer Garcia, 30, have each been charged with the same four felony counts. If convicted on all counts - burglary, larceny, conspiracy, and vehicle theft – each could be sentenced to nine years in the penitentiary and pay fines of up to $30,000.
According to the criminal complaint, Cordero removed a boat and trailer from a storage establishment on Frontage Rd. with the assistance of Benavidez and Garcia.
In his report, Fernandez said that Juan Benavidez confessed the robbery. Benavidez told Fernandez that he and Cordero initially tried to take the motors off the boat while still in the storage yard. Attempts to remove the motors at the scene failed, so the entire boat and trailer were hitched to Jennifer Garcia’s vehicle and towed off the property.
The report states that the boat and all of its contents were then taken to a spot near New Mexico Tech, where they had time to figure out how to remove the motors. The motors eventually ended up at a residence in Valencia County, the report said.
The stolen property was valued at $13,421.52, according to an itemized list submitted by the owner. Fernandez said the final amount could be substantially higher. An arrest warrant has been issued on Juan Benavidez. Jennifer Garcia hearing will be Thursday, Sept. 10, at 9 a.m.

Chemist Drawing Metals From Soils Using Native Plants

By John Larson
SOCORRO – The mining of the future may be in the extraction of metals, such as uranium, from a crop of blue fescue, rather than digging it from the ground. A scientist at the Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center is working on research that will accomplish just that.
New Mexico Tech Professor Dr. Christa Hockensmith said that her project has proved successful in reclaiming soil polluted by toxic chemicals and even radiation.
The plants concentrate these metals in above-ground portions of the plants. The plants can be harvested, dried, and smelted to recover the metal in a process known as metal phytomining.
“I’ve been working with this for the last ten years,” Hockensmith said. “Even before I came to New Mexico Tech. Here we’re testing which are the best plants to absorb the heavy metals out of the soil.”
She said her research has been successful with lead, mercury, uranium, and other heavy metals.
“Suppose you have a field contaminated with heavy metal, and you would like to grow corn or whatever,” Hockensmith said. “You test the soil for what metals are present. Then you plant a crop of plants that ‘like’ that metal. Then you harvest that crop and test the soil again to measure the remaining amount of metal. If it’s still present, you can plant the crop again until the soil is clear of the contaminating metal.”
The process is known as phytoremediation.
She said uranium can be remediated by blue fescue, and salt cedar is a “sponge for nickel.”
“Some plants are also used for removing pesticides, and you can even remediate PCPs with plants,” Hockensmith said.
After the toxic substance is pulled into the plant, the metals can be removed.
“You can do a number of things with the plants after harvesting,” she said. “For example, you can burn them at relatively low temperatures and harvest the metals from the plants.”
Phytomining is a win-win situation because the cost is low, and the recovered metals are valuable, Hockensmith said.
Hockensmith is conducting further research into which plants are the most productive in a special greenhouse at EMRTC.