Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Snowman On The Plaza

Amber and Brittany Nash of Socorro show off their snowman on the Plaza Wednesday Dec. 30. About two inches of the white stuff fell on the area which melted off early in the afternoon.

Photo by John Severance

OBITUARY: Dale Smith

Dale Smith
May 4, 1935 – Dec. 24, 2009

Dale M. Smith, 74, passed away Christmas Eve morning in Socorro, New Mexico, after a short bout with pneumonia. He was born in Albert City, Iowa, on May 4, 1935.
Dale was preceded in death by his father, Harold T. Smith; his mother, Edith Smith; and his brother, Harold Smith Jr.
Dale is survived by his wife of 23 years, Nancy; and son Will Smith, both of Lemitar.
Other survivors include two sons: Mark Smith and wife Debbie of San Antonio, Tex., and Gary Smith and wife Michelle of Omaha, Neb.; Four daughters: Laureen Stephenson of Council Bluffs, Ia., Dawn Cunningham and husband Paul of Omaha, Karen Curtis and husband Kevin of Lincoln, Ia., and Jackie Clark and husband Michael of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.; and 17 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
He is also survived by four sisters: Carol Dyer and husband Duane of Upland, Calif., Shirley Samuels of Vallejo, Calif., Evelyn Waltenbaugh and husband Gary of Portland, Ore., and Lilly Watters and husband Curt of Santa Rosa, Calif.;
Stepchildren Rheinhold Schmitt and wife Heather of Latrobe, Penn., and Shiloh Schmitt of Greensburg, Penn.; and three grand-stepchildren.
Dale was a career serviceman in the United States Air Force, and retired after 27½ years as a Senior Master Sergeant. He served in Vietnam at Pleiku Air Base as a radio specialist.
Dale spent the last six years employed by the Mountain Mail, driving to Albuquerque every week to pick up the week’s newspaper at the printer, and bring it back to Socorro. He also delivered the paper to various locations in Socorro.
He was known by all who knew him as a warm and good-natured friend, ready to laugh and tell stories.
Dale was an avid collector of classic Hudson automobiles, and drove his ’52 Hudson in parades in Socorro and Magdalena.
He was a member of the Hudson-Essex-Terraplane national car club in the Zia Chapter, based in Albuquerque, and the Western Reserve Chapter in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio.
He was also a member of the Socorro Old Car Club, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, DAV, Retired Enlisted Association, and the Air Force Association.
Funeral services were held at 11 a.m., Wednesday, Dec. 30, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Socorro. Arrangements were under the care of Steadman-Hall Funeral Home in Socorro. The family asks that donations be made to the American Cancer Society

Magdalena Senior Center

Vivian Torres, Rosemary Wilburn, Benny Zamora and Arthur Cisneros of the Magdalena Senior Center enjoy some holiday cake courtesy of the Mountain Mail. Paul Gutierrez recently donated $500 to the center. Gutierrez, a Magdalena native, is the New Mexico state director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Programs and the director of the association of counties.

OBITUARY: Bernold Henderson

Bernold Henderson
Feb. 14, 1929 – Dec. 21, 2009

Bernold J. "Bern" Henderson, 80, passed away On Monday, Dec. 21, 2009, in Truth Or Consequences. Bern was born in Dusty, on Feb. 14, 1929, to Bart L. and Rachel E. (Ramsey) Henderson. He is survived by his loving wife of 56 years, Carlota (Sanchez) Henderson of Magdalena; son, T.J. Henderson of Grove City, Ohio; daughters, Terrie L. Romer of Las Cruces; and Rachel I. Buford of College Station, Texas; grandchildren, J.T. Buford; Christina I. Henderson- Jimenez; Velinda Henderson- Armijo Gonzales; 2nd Lt. B.J. Buford;Trinitty Dawn Henderson; and Cindy Mae Henderson; great grandchildren, K-Von Armijo-Jimenez; Antonio (AC) Gonzales; Zackery (ZZ) Gonzales, Anissa Denae (AD) Gonzales; and Kaya Armijo-Jimenez.
Bern served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, attended New Mexico Tech, and later worked as a Maintenance Super-visor for the state highway department for 23 years. He was also a Rancher.
Bern was a member of St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church. He cooked BBQ for the church for 11 years and also for Old Timers in which he was a life member. He was also a life member of DAV, VFW, and American Legion. Bern was in a band and played for many functions. He was proficient with 11 different instruments. Bern loved to sing, play his fiddle and banjo, hunt, and cook.
A Rosary was recited Saturday, Dec. 26, at 10 a.m. at St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church in Magdalena with a Communion Service following with Deacon Nick Keller . Burial was in the Magdalena Cemetery. Cremation arrangements were under the care of Steadman-Hall Funeral Home in Socorro.

Electric Co-op Unveils A New Four-Year Plan

By John Severance

SOCORRO -- Richard Lopez, the engineering head and operations manager for the Socorro Electric Cooperative, along with Randall Shaw of SGS Engineering, unveiled a four-year plan for the cooperative at the Board of Trustees meeting Monday night.
“We spend money to save money,” Lopez told the trustees during a Dec. 28 meeting.
Among the highlights:
• The five-year average for system losses was 8.5 percent. The recommended Rural Utility Service guideline is 8.4 percent for a system this size.
• Power outages were 237.32 minutes per customer per year. RUSe guidelines call for 300 minutes per customer per year, according to Lopez.
• In 2007, there were 8.61 percent in losses and there is a projection for 7.9 percent for 2013 if there had been no system improvements. With the proposed improvements, those losses could be 7 percent, according to Lopez.
• The co-op is taking bids for a Quemado Substation that would involve 16 miles of transmission line from Springerville, Ariz., to the New Mexico border and then 33 miles of line to the proposed substation, Lopez said.
“If all goes well, we should be in operation by the fourth quarter of 2010,” Lopez said.
• With the proposed Quemado substation and all the improvements to the system, Lopez said the projected system load would be at 49.6 percent.
“If we didn’t do any work in the next four years, we would be at the high end of our capacity,” he said.
• Lopez and his crew continually monitor the electric poles owned by the co-op. The average life span of a light pole is 35 years but with the continued maintenance the pole has additional lifespan of 10 to 15 years. “With those winds we had earlier this month, we might have lost 20 to 25 poles if we had not done that maintenance,” he said.
• The growth rate for 2008 was 1.27 percent after it was 7.86 percent. Lopez attributed the drop to the economy and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita which escalated the cost of equipment and poles.

The co-op also announced the hiring of attorney Dennis Francis, who previously worked for the co-op between 2001-2005. And contrary to previous reports, co-op president Paul Bustamante said Francis will deal with all legal matters and the organization had just one attorney and not three.
“We wanted an attorney to attend all the meetings,” Bustamante said.
In the Nov. 16 minutes, though, a motion was made and passed to employ Joanne Aguilar to counsel the SEC on issues involving contracts, employment and regulatory matters and a second motion was made and passed to utilize the services of Paul Kennedy for matters involving redistricting, bylaw and policy issues.
Wagner said nothing has come up before the board that would involve the termination of Aguilar’s and Kennedy’s services.
Wagner also asked if Aguilar and Kennedy were on retainer. Bustamante said they were not.
The board also heard a presentation from Michael Olguin of Socorro about insurance and after a motion from District V Trustee Charlie Wagner that was seconded by Milton Ulibarri, Olguin was hired to be the agent of record for the co-op.
The AON group previously consulted the co-op on its insurance issues.
During the two-hour meeting, the co-op also went into executive session at the request of accountant Kathy Torres.
Torres said she was part of a teleconference on Dec. 18 to discuss IRS Form 990. After saying who was at the meeting, she requested the co-op go into executive session with a complaint about Wagner.
The motion was passed.
Then trustee Milton Ulibarri made a motion that the people who were asked to leave should go all the way outside (to the freezing cold) and not wait in the anteroom adjacent to the Board chamber.
As members and the media left, Bustamante asked that the three incoming trustees Donald Wollberg, Priscilla Mauldin and Luis Aguilar stay.
But two minutes later, all three newly elected trustees were standing outside.
“They changed their mind,” Wollberg said.
After 20 minutes, the board reopened the meeting with no discussion of the sex discrimination charge against Wagner.
The next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 12, when the three new trustees will be sworn in.

City Council Sets Fee For Water Connection Hookups

By John Larson

SOCORRO – The Socorro City Council approved the second reading of an ordinance raising water connection rates. The law sets the fees for both residential and business hookups.
The fee for a standard residential water connection will be the cost of materials and labor, plus 20 percent.
For a commercial connection, the fee will be the cost of materials and labor, plus $200.
The cost of asphalt, concrete cuts, and dewatering, if needed, also will be charged.
In a public hearing held before the vote, there were no comments from the public.
The council heard a first reading for an ordinance that will require home owners on Harold Drive, and Chaparral Loop to hook up to the city’s sewer lines. The ordinance states that if homeowners outside the city limits sign up within the next 12 months, the cost to them will be $280. After the first year, they must pay $1,000 for a connection.
For homeowners inside the city limits, the cost will be $280 during the first year; $600 the second year; and $1,000 after that.
The goal of the administration and council is that all residences and businesses within 100 feet of sewer lines to be on the wastewater system.
In other business:
The Council passed an ordinance to approved a bond measure to help pay for a wastewater project. The total cost of the project is $1.2 million. The city’s matching amount is $132,000, which will be fulfilled after 40 monthly payments of $5,400.

Christmas Food Drive

Bags were set up for the Toby Jaramillo Food Drive that was on Dec. 23 at the San Miguel Parish Center.

Photo by John Severance

2009: Co-op Elections; Warriors

by John Severance

2009 was quite a year and probably one Mountain Mail readers will not forget for a long time.
The Mountain Mail staff completed an informal survey and came up with the top stories of the year.
The top five stories were:

1. Three District III incumbents getting voted out of the Socorro Electric Co-op Board elections.
2. The Socorro High School football team advancing to the state final.
3. The Mountain Mail folding but not for long.
4. Heroin/drug overdoses in Socorro and Magdalena.
5. National Guard Deployment to Iraq.

Other stories that garnered strong consideration were the Magdalena girls basketball team advancing to the state final, the opening of the Alamo Mini-Mart, the Bataan Death March Veterans Reunion, the stranded Albuquerque television crew in the San Mateo Mountains and the pay raises for Socorro’s Mayor and City Councilors.
Here is a brief recap of the top five stories.

Socorro Co-op Elections
In the Oct. 8 issue, all three reform candidates were victorious in the Socorro Electric Cooperative’s District III election in Socorro on Saturday night. Running for re-election were long time board members Harold Baca, Juan Gonzales and Herman Romero. Donald Wolberg, Priscilla Mauldin and Luis Aguilar won four-year terms on the board.
Mauldin had the widest margin with 59 percent of the vote in her race with Gonzales, who had served as co-op trustee for nine terms. District III covers the city of Socorro, and is represented by six SEC Board members.

Socorro football
In the Dec. 10 issue, the Warriors did all they could Saturday Dec. 2 in the state championship game against Lovington. It just wasn’t quite enough as Lovington escaped with a 28-21 victory to claim its 16th Class AAA state title.
“I am proud of the kids,” Socorro coach Damien Ocampo said. “They played with a lot of effort and passion. They played hard and that was our goal. We just made too many mistakes to be a good team like that. People thought it was not going to be close.”
But it was -- it was extremely close. Check out the stats: Lovington held a 357-341 advantage in yards and a 17-16 margin in first downs. The key for the Warriors is that they were able to run the football as they gained 326 yards on the ground. “We got in a groove on offense,” Ocampo said. “We did a good job blocking up front and our running backs ran really hard.” The team had the total support of the community and brought Socorro together.

Mountain Mail
Also in the Oct. 8 issue, three weeks after announcing it was closing its doors, the Mountain Mail newspaper is resuming publication – under new local management and ownership. Jaracienda LLC, of Socorro, purchased the newspaper as a subsidiary after publisher Thomas Guengerich ceased publication.
Guengerich cited in the Sept. 10 issue that advertising had fallen, even though readership remained strong. Jaracienda LLC is owned by the family of Socorro’s Tony Jaramillo.
Overseeing the day to day operations as business manager and general public relations will be Gary Jaramillo, who said, “We are committed to continue the fair, impartial and factual reporting that has earned the Mountain Mail its respect among readers.”

Heroin/Drug overdoses
This issue was the most tragic of 2009. There were numerous heroin and other drug busts, and two young people died because of overdoses.
It’s still a huge problem and one that is not easily solved.

National Guard Deployment
A crowd numbering in the hundreds gathered at Socorro’s Plaza Park on June 10, to meet and show support for members of the 515th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, formerly headquartered at the National Guard Armory on Highway 60.
Disabled American Veterans Chapter Commander Peter Romero opened the program from the park’s gazebo by directing the 515th’s commanding officer, Lt. Col. Ken Nava, to “bring in your troops.”
Led by SSgt. Pedro Guerrero and Spc. Gilbert Murrillo, carrying the battalion’s battle flag and guidon, the soldiers marched between lines of residents displaying homemade signs of support and holding up small American flags.

OBITUARY: Andres Vallejos

Andres Vallejos
Oct. 11, 1928 – Dec. 26, 2009

Andres Vallejos, 81, passed away on Saturday, Dec. 26, at home in Socorro. Andres was born to Andres L. Vallejos Sr. and Vivianita (Padilla) Vallejos in Polvadera, on Oct. 11, 1928.
Andres worked as a Mining Supervisor with Southwest American Minerals until he retired. He is survived by his loving wife of 59 years, Orfelita"Fela" Vallejos of Socorro; sons, Mike L. Vallejos and wife, Marie Valles of Socorro; and Tony D. Vallejos of San Francisco, Calif.; daughters, Charlene V. Montoya and husband, Lonnie of Polvadera; Berlinda A. Vallejos and husband, William Dias of Las Vegas, Nev.; and Cora J. Tracy and husband, John also of Las Vegas; brothers, Raymond Vallejos and wife, Sefie of Socorro; Johnny Vallejos of Socorro; Manuel Vallejos of Sierra Vista, Ariz.; and Jimmy Vallejos and wife, Mary also of Socorro; sisters, Christina Garcia and husband, Joe of Taos; Susie Clubb of Kansas; and Della Celetano and husband, Joe of Riverside, Calif.; sister-in-law, Lupe Vallejos; 17 grandchildren and 22 great grandchildren. Andres is preceded in death by sons, Jerry Vallejos; Ronnie Vallejos; and Andy Vallejos III; daughter, Cora Jean Vallejos; brother, Isidro Vallejos; and sister, Josie Healy.
A Communion Mass is being celebrated on Thursday, December 31 at 11 a.m. at San Lorenzo Catholic Church in Polvadera with Deacon Mike Ybarra officiating.
Burial will take place in the Polvadera Cemetery. Cremation arrangements are under the care of Steadman-Hall Funeral Home, Socorro.


Mrs. Finch, 81, a long time resident of Luna, Reserve and Silver City, passed away Monday, Dec. 14, 2009, in Redmond, Wash. , after a long battle with cancer.
She is survived by daughter Norma and husband, Leonard Emerson, and daughter Barbara and husband, Ricky Durham of Washington, daughter Brenda and husband, Robert Stabler of Kansas; and son, Roy Finch and wife, Donna of Texas; nine grandchildren: Terzah and husband Randy Farley of Texas, Donna and husband Matt Landes, Carol and husband Aaron Barnett and Christina Stabler all of Kansas, Sean and Rachel Durham of Washington, Matthew Maul, Amy and husband Michael Henderson of Texas, and Sarah Maul of Kentucky; Five great grandchildren in Kansas and five in Texas. Three Sister-in-laws: Jewell Derrick and Velma Russell of New Mexico and Josephine Skaggs of Texas; very dear cousins, Ramah and husband Johnnie Shaw of Nevada, Mary Pat Lansing and her brother Paul Lansing and wife Brownie of Arizona, Annell and husband Jim Bacon of Oregon, and numerous nieces, nephews, and too many dear friends to list here.
She was an active member of the Church of Christ in Reserve, and loved to study the Bible. She worked alongside her husband in the mines, operating a hoist, on the property they leased in PiƱos Altos.
She was an organizer and was always working to make her home more livable. She loved working with tools for carpentry projects and learned to work on vehicles when needed. She liked hunting for rocks and pine nuts with her mother and grandmother. She learned to use a chain saw from her husband and would gather her own firewood.
She enjoyed music and especially enjoyed traveling. She appreciated all types of scenery and would take many pictures. She was a genealogy expert for her family and her husband’s and created photo albums for each ancestral line for any family member who wanted one.
She enjoyed working with her two computers and would play solitaire for many hours and kept the ‘books’ for her congregation.
She was preceded in death by her husband, John J. Finch, mother, Mildred McAllister and son, Stanley Finch. Memorial services in Reserve will be set at a later date. She will be buried next to her husband and son in the Reserve Cemetery. Honorary pall bearers will be: Van Coleman and Jeff Turner of Silver City, Tom Caddel of Santa Clara, Charlie McCarty, Dave Land, Rick Johnson and Earl Pitt of Reserve, Mark White, and Tom Collins of Arizona and Edwin Carlisle of Texas.

OPINION: A Look On The Bright Side

Magdalena Potluck
by Don Wiltshire

I’m often accused of being just too up-beat, too positive and just too darn happy. I never saw the point in hanging around a situation that was negative, stressful or, heaven forbid, “awkward.” So, I set about to write a new year’s column that would bring a ray of hope and encouragement to those of us living in the high desert plains. My train-wreck of thought started out something like this:
The Ultra-Rich CEO’s of the now Multi-National Corporations have seen fit, in their infinite wisdom, to relocate all of our manufacturing jobs to countries other than ours. It just makes common sense: cheaper labor + fewer emission standards = cheaper product production costs = higher profit margins.
This, of course, translates into lower prices for us, back here in the USA: “Save Money, Live Better.” There is one small flaw in this way of thinking: without jobs, how can we afford all of this stuff?
The big, really creative corporations can wave their magic wands and actually “create” vast sums of money. “Quantitative easing”, “derivatives” and “speculative trading” are some of the magic words used with the wands (think Enron).
You and I, having no wands or magic words, are stuck making our dollars the old fashioned way: one-at-a-time.
I’m so old now that I can remember when the USA used to produce lots of good stuff: textiles, clothing, shoes, electronic gear, even light bulbs. Just about the only things that we seem to be exporting now are military armaments and soy beans.
Looking for “good news” to ring in the new year, I stumbled upon which ranks countries by many categories. That site gets most of its information from (believe it or not) the CIA World Factbook (more of your tax dollars at work). There is a wealth of information here. Shop around; I’m sure you can find information that will curl your toenails and keep you up long into the night. Some of their ranking methods are strange and unexplained but let’s, for now, take them at face value:
For example, even though we spend more per capita on healthcare than any other country in the world, in a 1997 study “Health Performance” we’re ranked # 72, right down there with Argentina and Bhutan. Top honors go to Ornan (where the hell is Ornan?), Malta, Italy and France. Cuba clocks in at No. 36. One can only hope that the Senate/House “compromise” Health Bill will boost our ratings a smidgen.
Our prison population tops the charts at 2,186,230. That’s 738 people behind bars for every 100,000 of us. China comes in at No. 87 with only 1,548,498 people locked up. That represents only 118 for every 100,000 Chinese citizens. The least incarcerated rate goes to Nepal ranked at # 155 with only 26 “baddies” per 100,000 Nepalize.
It’s no surprise that the US ranks No. 1 in a 1993 study of “Gun Ownership” with 39 percent of our households owning a firearm. The Netherlands was the lowest in this study with only 1.9 percent of their population packing heat.
May I have the envelope please with the 2007 Global Peace Index? That category ranks countries who are “most at peace or driving for peace.” And we clock in at: No. 96, right between Iran and Yemen! Top honors went to Norway, New Zealand and Denmark.
As far as “Privacy” goes, if you scroll down 38 countries on the list, you’ll find us tied with Thailand for the No. 13 slot.
It’s not always good to be at the top of a list. In the 2009 “Unemployment” category, Nauru, Liberia and Zimbabwe take top honors with 80 – 90 percent of their population unemployed. The US ranks No. 71 at 7.2 percent (seems low, doesn’t it?) right there between Pakistan and Armenia. Monaco and Andorra tied for the 122nd slot at 0 percent unemployment.
So where is all of this “good news” that I promised? Well, here in Socorro and Catron Counties, we don’t have religious wars or race riots, we’re not worried about rising sea levels and we pretty much do what we want.
We don’t think much about terrorism except when UNM stages a training exercise in our back alleys. We can fairly well take care of ourselves, grow our own food, create our own jobs and ignore the rest of this crazy world. Leave us alone, don’t take our water, don’t raise our taxes and we’ll get along just fine.

If you have any Comments? Problems? Solutions? Up coming Events? Good News? Contact me at or (575) 854-3370.

EDITORIAL: Socorro Co-op Continues To Play By Own Rules

by John Severance, Editor

Monday night was further proof that the Socorro Electric Co-op board makes up its own rules as it goes along.
Roberts Rules of Order?
Apparently, the co-op has never heard of it. Well, it might have heard of it but it certainly does not abide by it.
First off, how can an accountant call for an executive session?
Well, that’s what happened Monday night when co-op accountant Kathy Torres called for it to discuss a complaint against trustee Charlie Wagner.
I can understand if the new attorney Dennis Francis had requested it, but an accountant?
Last week’s meeting also went into executive session to discuss the co-op’s attorney situation.
The co-op never called the meeting back into regular session and the media and members standing outside only knew it was over when trustee Harold Baca walked out of the building.
In most other meetings, the board makes a motion to go back into regular session. Then the chairman of the board is supposed to announce what was discussed in executive session.
After last week’s meeting, Wagner walked out and told the media that a motion had passed to hire an attorney.
That, however, was not Wagner’s duty. That should have been the duty of the president of the board.
During Monday night’s meeting, trustee president Paul Bustamante then told Wagner that he would face disciplinary action for telling the newspapers about what was discussed in executive session.
I’m thinking Wagner was just helping out the trustee president.
One other issue is troublesome.
Three new trustees – Donald Wolberg, Priscilla Mauldin and Luis Aguilar – have been treated unfairly. None of them were notified of a special meeting last week to discuss the attorney situation. And none of them were allowed to attend the last two times the board went into executive session. They were standing outside in the freezing cold with the other members and media in attendance.
One would think the board would show some common courtesy.
While on the subject of new trustees, why does it take so LONG for them to take office? They were elected back in October. The board may be wise to look into this policy but I am sure they won’t.
I could go on and on and on.
But it’s not going to matter.
The board makes up its own rules, does not follow its own bylaws and is not accountable to anybody or anything.
And that’s too bad.

Smart guy
Richard Lopez is a really smart guy. And the Socorro Electric Cooperative is very lucky to have him as an employee.
Lopez is the engineering and operations manager for the co-op and he is the one who keeps the business running on all cylinders.
Lopez is smart, though, because he totally stays out of all the turmoil that surrounds the co-op board and he is the one responsible for everybody having electricity in this area.
If the co-op had 11 people like Lopez on its board, the community would be a much happier place.

Sad loss
The Mountain Mail lost a member of its family on Dec. 24 when Dale Smith died unexpectedly because of complications rising from pneumonia.
Dale worked for the newspaper for six years as a driver. He was a great guy and our condolences go out to his family.

OPINION: A Sneak Peek Into A Possible Cheney Administration

Leftist Drivel
by Paul Krza

The year is 2013, one year into the new Cheney administration. Dick is on the radio, chatting with his most understanding pal in the media, Rush Limbaugh, about Dick’s newly launched effort to spy on and round up “dissidents” who have been out in the streets opposing health care repeal, a new draft and cuts in Social Security.
“I know this is tough,” Limbaugh says. “But with those idiots and liars out there, the last thing we want is to let them regain power.”
An unlikely fairy tale? Needless worry about the future? Perhaps, but after living with a party in power that gave us Nixon, Reagan and Bush – Watergate break-ins, lies, Iran-Contra and loads of fear – it’s a depressingly plausible scenario.
How could this happen?
One, the guys on the right and in D.C. continue to pound away on the airwaves, raising fears about communists in the government anxious to strip wealth from hard-working regular folk and hand it out to those lazy welfare-cheating bastards and illegals, all aimed at bankrupting the good ol’ USA.
And two, when the Democrats and others who in 2008 lined up behind Barack Obama stay at home next time around, dismayed that he hasn’t whipped out quick miracles to stop war, brought prosperity and fixed all the other evils that confront the country.
It’s the second element that concerns me most. The spewing and foaming right, on its own could self-destruct into its vortex of hate and intolerance. But aided and abetted by a slew of Obama no-shows, it might just develop into a viable alternative for people hungry for real action.
The time is here, I think, for some perspective. Obama is no miracle-maker – he never was. In fact, it was right-radio that tagged him as “the messiah” during the campaign. When the messiah doesn’t do miracles, then, well, he’s a failure.
And on the left, there’s understandable dismay, mostly over Obama’s disconcerting plans to escalate, rather than quickly end, the war in Afghanistan . He was a peace candidate, folks will remind us, when he ran for office.
Then there’s the economy. On the left, the worry is that he’s loaded up his economic team with too many Wall-Streeters and wheeler-dealers.
My view: Obama ain’t perfect, but he’s more than the best that we can get. He’s a smart, savvy guy who knows what’s going on and is doing what he can with what he got handed and with the world as it is, not as we would ideally like to see it. And he will be there in the coming years, in that spot of premium power, when the big deals, the major crises and the decisive decisions go down. He will be the kind of person we will be glad is in charge at those yet unknown but key times.
Perhaps we have already forgotten that sense of relief, when no longer was Bush (or Cheney) in charge. That feeling alone should pump us up for another four years with Barrack at the helm, steering us further from
the international shoot-first Bush/ Cheney doctrine and wild-eyed capitalism responsible for our economic malaise.
How likely is a Cheney run? Recently, Newsweek’s editor, Jon Meacham, was actually suggesting he should, saying it would give the country a dramatic choice between two distinct philosophies. Trouble is, we’ve already had a big dose of Dick (Cheney). Peace in our time? It’s certainly not going to happen with Cheney in the captain’s chair, that’s for sure.
No, Obama is not the lesser of two evils. And, yes, it does make a big difference who is president. So mark your calendars now: Obama in 2012.

Enchantment endearment
There’s also a load of dismay these days in New Mexico over Bill Richardson, a lot even coming from Democrats.
Well, Bill is no angel – in fact, he’s abrasive, domineering, egotistical and impatient. Still, my gut feeling is that he’s not a crook. He’s simply not the kind of guy who would steal public money, like, say, Manny Aragon.
In his zeal to get things done, people he employed may have cut corners, or worse, saw opportunities to line their pockets. If that happened, these scoundrels should be punished.
But let’s at least pause to rightfully give him big credit for the groundbreaking stuff he’s done for New Mexico – the Railrunner, Spaceport and film industry. On those counts alone, he’s a big-time history maker.
Sure, he spent some bucks, those tight-fisted Republicans whine. But like with Obama, let’s remember their last guy – Gary Johnson, a nice enough fellow with some good ideas but somebody who didn’t do much for the state.
It reminds me of the hospital in the town where I once lived. Critics complaining of lousy care were told, hey, we’re the lowest-cost hospital in the region. Translation: Cheap, and dangerous. Sometimes you have to dig deep to get things moving. Bill did, and we should thank him for it, no matter what comes down the indictment pike.

Mr. Krza's views do not necessarily represent those of the Mountain Mail.

OPINION: How Do You Teach Resourcefulness?

The Right Emphasis
by Doug May

As we begin a new decade it is good to take a glance backward to see what lessons we learned in the past that might help us to meet the challenges of the future. We look back to an ancient era before duct tape. During the World War II, farm boys drafted into the army confirmed their worth by putting together damaged military equipment with bailing wire. Their resourcefulness surprised many and saved numerous disastrous situations.
I believe that all of us are going to need to be more resourceful in the years to come. Webster defines resourceful as being “able to deal creatively and effectively with problems, difficulties, etc.” There are very few critics of this virtue. And yet, we don’t hear talk about encouraging, praising or teaching it.
When a difficulty presents itself it seems that the tendency is to organize, protest and try to force someone else to help us. Not only is the process of organizing and protesting a drain on our resources, but it seldom brings the results we had hoped for. And even when some help does come it is often at the expense of higher taxes and more regulations. We don’t need more activists. We need common sense and resourceful people.
The proposed health care legislation is not promoting resourcefulness. It is forcing employers to pay for health care insurance. There is no value in having employers involved providing health care insurance. They should pay decent wages, but the responsibility for health care is with each individual. Then, when a worker changes jobs he does not have to worry about getting new insurance that is often hindered by preexisting conditions. We need to provide information so the individual can set up a health-savings plan and catastrophic health insurance. If he could pay cash for doctor visits and medications the cost of these services would come down dramatically.
The prevailing attitude among our political leaders is that the individual cannot take care of himself. It is true that we all need more help in doing a better job of taking care of ourselves. Maybe we should promote resourcefulness.
The government seems to be doing just the opposite. For example, many schools have a goodly number of children coming to school without having eaten breakfast. The administration feels that they would learn more if they had breakfast. So the schools provides breakfast for the children. Did it solve the problem? No, the problem is bigger than we thought, for many workers, including teachers, come to work without having eaten a good breakfast. Does it effect their ability to work or teach?
The solution is teaching families, and not all of them are poor, the importance of good nutrition. And when the income is low it becomes doubly important to be resourceful, to be “able to deal creatively and effectively with problems, difficulties, etc.” I can hear some saying, “It will never work and some people will suffer.” It is true, some will suffer. Some of the most valuable things I have learned came from the consequences of my not planning for the future. It is unfortunate that we have to learn from our mistakes. Most people learn after being arrested for DWI, unfortunately some do not. However, the efforts to reduce DWIs are helping.
How do we teach resourcefulness? First we recognize its value, we call attention to it and we praise it. And in some cases we reward it. At this point we need legislation that encourages resourcefulness. People who learn to be more resourceful are more positive and happier.

Doug May is a retired Lutheran pastor and his views do not necessarily represent the Mountain Mail.

Message To Our Mountain Mail Friends

From The Publisher

First, let all of us here at the Mountain Mail thank every business, school, residence and government office in Socorro and Catron Counties for choosing our newspaper to advertise and announce family events and important issues in your lives for the last 30 years.
We also want to thank you for buying and reading the Mountain Mail throughout the years and letting us be a part of your families.
The Mountain Mail invites all Socorro and Catron County businesses to call 575-838-5555 and ask about our low cost advertising.
We understand that times are tough and we’re all in this together. We just want all of our fellow business associates to get through this economic challenge as safely and as financially sound as possible.
We’re willing to adjust and help so that your business can continue to advertise in an affordable fashion and still continue to pay your employees and keep your business moving until we all get through these rough times.
The Mountain Mail and its staff know that advertising is an important part of doing business, and like you, we want to be able to work through this, and we promise to be by your side and help in any way we can.
We’re a local small community newspaper that really cares about our neighbors and we want to see everyone come out of the current economic situation stronger and even more determined than ever.
Our advertising prices will continue to be fair and lower than any of our competitors.
We’re a phone call away and we’re ready to stand by you and your business for as long as it takes. If you need us to come and sit with you and work on any aspect of your annual advertising ideas, we’d be honored to do that at your convenience. Together, we can work it all out, and together we’ll all be just fine.
We wish every business, their families and our neighbors from across the vast Socorro and Catron Counties A HAPPY NEW YEAR FILLED WITH GOOD HEALTH, HAPPINESS AND PROSPERITY!
Our Mountain Mail Management and Staff.

Disillusioned By Politics

by Anne Sullivan

“Bah, humbug,” said Sylvia when I opened the door to let her in.
“What’s the matter?” I asked, shivering in the brisk air of the two-degree morning.
Sylvia didn’t answer, just scowled as she wiped her paws on the doorway rug. She shook herself spraying snow and mud across the living room , trudged to her indoor bed and plopped down.
“Whatever’s the matter?” I repeated. “Are you grouchy from eating too many Christmas sweets or because you have to make a New Year’s resolution and don’t know what?”
.”None of the above,” she replied. “I know exactly what I want to resolve.”
“And that is?”
“I resolve never to be in charge of any organization involving mice again.”
“Is it the Moushelter that’s getting you down?” I asked, sitting in my comfortable chair to await the sad tale.
“It certainly is,” she said with enormous emphasis. “Here I gave those mice the perfect home with more facilities and comforts than they ever had before and all they do is fight and complain.”
“I’m afraid that’s human, and probably mouse, nature.”
“I will never get mixed up with mice again,” Sylvia sat up in bed and declared with a resounding thump of the tail. “Out of the goodness of my heart I slaved to create superior accommodations for those rodents and it’s completely unappreciated.”
“Face it, Sylvia, your motives weren’t as pristine as you claim,” I challenged her. “You built the Moushelter to get the mice out of our house.”
“Nevertheless, I designed it and I built it and I lost a good deal of sleep in the process.” She whimpered at the memory. “The least they could do is to like it.”
“What are they complaining about?”
“Everything: the accommodations, no bus service, no comfortable chairs in the library, the lack of dairy products, the exercise room, the food, but mostly their neighbors. The Jones mice don’t like being billeted next to the Smith mice. They say the Smith babies squeak constantly. Some of the mice want a more varied diet. Some of them even miss their servings of DeCon. If it isn’t one thing, it’s another. Every morning they’re lined up outside my office shouting their complaints when I arrive for work.”
“What are you going to do about it?” I asked.
“I don’t know what to do short of shooting the whole lot of them. If I rule in favor of one family of mice, all the others complain loudly and vociferously. I’m just one dog. I can’t solve all their stupid problems.” With that she turned her back to me and pretended to sleep.
After a few minutes during which her sniffing disturbed my reading of the paper, I tried again, saying, “You have now discovered the first secret of leadership: to wit, you can’t solve most problems and you aren’t going to please everybody or, indeed, hardly anybody.”
“So what can I do?” she raised her head to ask. “I tell you, they’re going to drive me crazy. I can scarcely sleep at night.”
“Funny, you manage to snore a great many hours during the night. However, as far as this problem is concerned, you could suggest that the mice elect a Board of Directors and let them fight it out among themselves.”
“You mean like the electric co-op?”
“Perhaps more civilized than that.”
“Like the Senate and the House of Representatives?”
“Like that, but again, more civilized.”
“Hmm.” She considered. “Do these boards actually come together and accomplish something?”
“Sometimes,” I answered. “It can be done. At the very least, they’re out of your hair for a little while and you can have some peace. Then, when fighting amongst themselves is at its worst, you come up with the solution you favor and they’ll probably jump at it just to get it off their desks and onto yours.”
“Does President Obama know about this strategy?”
“I’ll bet almost anything he does. Just wait and see.”
Sylvia gave a long sigh and said, “I’ll give it a try. For 2010 I resolve to let things at the Moushelter take their course without interference until they come begging and then I’ll tell them I won’t help unless they promise to abide by my ruling.”
“Very good, chief. Would you like to wish a Happy New Year to Gordo and the mice and all the citizens of Catron and Socorro Counties?”
“Sure. Why not?”

Wishing Everybody A Happy New Year

Luna News
by Kaye Mindar

Amidst a daily dose of depressing news on television, searching the Internet, and sometimes among our own families, we must step back at the beginning of this New Year and reflect on how far we have actually come. Looking at the larger historical picture gives eye-opening perspectives that offer hope - and providing stronger inspiration for the new year. In these days, with all of the gloom and doom, it should be obvious that we need mega-doses of the above. We can do it.
Luna Visitors
Luna received a beautiful white Christmas this year although there were a few uninvited guests this holiday season. Temperatures reached as low as minus 10 down by the river after the skies cleared. Patti Swapp finally got her cast off which was a blessing after suffering for so long with the inconvenience. Susie Ley brought home a nasty cold from visiting family and friends in Northern New Mexico, and I spent a seven hour visit in the emergency room in Springerville, Ariz., on Saturday for a pinched nerve - only to come home to hold a grandbaby with a fever spiking.
Here in Luna, we take the good ahead of the bad and see the blessings shine forth. I believe it is in our pioneer spirit and never taking for granted the thankfulness for what we enjoy so greatly above the trials.
Holiday Travelers
After being able to visit her son for Thanksgiving, Tana Muldoon was able to spend Christmas with Ella Hutchinson. Visits far and near always mean so much. Grace Derrick was surrounded by family with children, extended grandchildren, and great grandchildren. The Richard Nicolds family had
a traditional Christmas in Snowflake, Ariz., with their daughter Rebecca, who made enough of her infamous tamales to feed the entire family. We can’t mention everyone, of course we’ll forget someone, but we hope everyone’s travels and holidays were all they hoped for and full of love, peace and safe travels.
Preparedness Corner
Besides good nutrition, regular exercise and restful sleep play major roles in naturally preventing the problem of winter infections. Don't forget the importance of healthy, normal bacteria in your digestive system. Did you know that Vitamin D3 is a very important weapon to keep in your cold-weather medicine chest? Many rely solely on vitamin C complexes, but we must not discount the benefits in D3 complexes, which include a special form of good bacteria for digestion. They are listed under probiotics and keep the immune system working at its peak, suppressing many harmful bacteria, yeast, and viruses. It seems we fight a never ending battle to stay healthy these days, and cold and flu season are once again coming into play in the months ahead.
Quote of the Week
“People are so worried about what they eat between Christmas and the New Year, but they really should be worried about what they eat between the New Year and Christmas.”


Trustees Select Wehrheim as Reserve Mayor

By Richard Torres
For the Mountain Mail

RESERVE -- Connie Wehrheim, Mayor Pro Tem of the Village of Reserve, was selected by the Village Trustees to be the new mayor at a special meeting held on Tuesday, Dec. 22.
Wehrheim told the audience of approximately 30 citizens that she was honored to be Mayor.
Village Trustees then appointed Richard Torres as the new trustee, and as the new Mayor Pro Tem.
Both were sworn into office by Municipal Clerk Kathy Harris.
Photo: Ed Wehrheim observes as wife Connie Wehrheim is sworn in as the new Mayor of Reserve by clerk Kathy Harris.

London Frontier Theatre To Enter 15th Year

London Frontier Theatre Company has become a respected fixture in Magdalena, and will be entering its 15th year of producing original plays, performed by local residents.
Theatre Director Donna Todd has announced that for the 2010 season LFTC will do fewer plays but longer runs, giving casts and crews more rehearsal time to reach higher artisitic standards, and giving audiences not only finer productions but more performance dates on which to see them.
“This season we’ll return to Lost Wife Creek for at least two shows,” Todd said in a press release. “We – and our audiences – have missed the Aragons and the Trotters, who came to life in 2001 in The Luck of Lost Wife Creek.”
For those unfamiliar with Lost Wife Creek, the series is set in Depression-era 1930’s rural New Mexico. Roosevelt’s New Deal has begun and the cast of characters share in dreams of lost gold, stardom in “talkies,” and a Spanish land grant. The realities they face include drought, a ne’er do well son, and a decrepit old flivver. Each episode of the series is a complete play.
Todd said “we’ll also be promoting ‘Lost Wife Creek’ for public television. We believe it can, and will, find its place as a television series, and attract –as it has in our theatre over the years – a large and devoted audience.
“It’s not today’s typical TV fare, with its harking back to early live-television days,” she said. “But we believe that the humor, character development, history, and immediacy of presentation will create a following in much the way ‘Lake Woebegon’ has on radio. Viewer identification, and nostalgia for a lifestyle that, while difficult, is remembered as solid and enduring. And its extreme relevance to today’s hard times.”

Warriors Garner All-State Recognition

Charlie Savedra and Allen Gonzales were named first team all-state on offense and defense by the New Mexico High School Coaches Association recently.
The Warriors were well represented as Savedra made the team as a running back and a linebacker and Allen Gonzales made the team on the offensive line and defensive line.
Andrew Contreras made first team on the offensive line and Jose Alvarado was a first-team linebacker selection.
Warriors on the second team included Alvarado at tight end/slot and kick returner, and Zach Esquivel in the secondary.
Warriors on honorable mention included Esquivel at wide receiver, James Thornton at kick returner and the secondary.
Socorro made it to the state championship game where it fell to Lovington 28-21. The Warriors finished with a 10-4 record.

Lady Warriors Win Title

By Nicky Romero
For the Mountain Mail

It was early Dec. 24 when the Lady Warriors returned home to Socorro. They were an extremely tired but an excited group after capturing the three-day Ben Lujan Tournament in Pojoaque.
In the finals, Socorro defeated Class 4A and fifth-ranked Espanola 54-50 to win the title for the first time since 2005. The Lady Warriors reached the finals by routing Pojoaque 56-35 in a semifinal matchup, marking the second time in two weeks they had downed the Elkettes. In the semis, Roxanne Silva had 24 points and Kianna Gonzales added 15, with four three-pointers. Brittany McDaniel added 13 points.
In the championship game against Espanola (9-3), Socorro (6-3) got off to a slow start but still managed a 10-10 tie after the first quarter. Silva got hot in the second quarter, scoring 12 points to the lead the Lady Warriors to a 29-22 halftime margin.
“We knew we were going to get off to a slow start,” Socorro coach Joseph Garcia said, “because the girls had been at the gym since noon, eight hours waiting.”
In the third quarter, Socorro had some untimely turnovers that led to easy baskets for Espanola, which took a 38-37 lead into the fourth quarter.
Espnaola built its lead in the fourth, extending the margin to seven points with 1:47 left.
Trailing by seven, Jaden Jones grabbed an offensive rebound and put the ball in with 1:28 left. Silva stole the ball and passed to Tristen Peralta, who found Samantha Sedillo for a layup.
Trailing by three points, Socorro got the ball back and Jones passed the ball to Gonzales, who hit a three-pointer with 59 seconds left. The three was Gonzales’ only points of the night and Socorro’s only three-pointer.
Socorro again regained possession and Silva put a shot that missed. Silva, though, grabbed her own rebound and scored on the putback for a 52-50 lead with 21 seconds left.
McDaniel then made a steal and passed to Sedillo for a layup with two seconds left to ice the game for the Warriors.
It was an especially sweet win for the Warriors because the game was played in front of a predominately Espanola crowd. “Our girls played real well for the whole tournament,” Garcia said.
Silva had 27 points in the title game and Jones added 13. Jones, McDaniel and Silva made the all-tournament team.