Thursday, January 21, 2010

Oral History: Experiences On The Magdalena Stock Driveway

First of a series.
As the 150th anniversary of the 1862 Homestead Act approaches, the Socorro Bureau of Land Management’s Cultural Resource Program is increasing emphasis on oral history collection, particularly as it relates to homesteading.
This interview with Socorro County rancher Dave Farr is a part of that effort. Dave Farr brought in the last herd of cattle on the storied Magdalena Stock Driveway, or Magdalena Trail, in 1970. Just one of countless drives for him, this cattle drive marked the end of the 85-year history of the trail. This is part one of an oral history interview with Farr conducted by the Bureau of Land Management, Socorro Field Office, in 2008. This article focuses on the trail drives and the Stock Driveway.
Collected and transcribed by Brenda Wilkinson, Archaeologist, BLM, Socorro Field Office. The following questions are asked by Wilkinson, and BLM Assistant Field Manager Mark Matthews.

Can you describe a typical cattle drive on the Magdalena Stock Driveway?

Well, we always worked shorthanded. Like in the spring with straight yearlin’s there’d be two of us and a horse wrangler and a cook. And the horse wrangler would bring the horses in to the wagon and hook a rope on the wagon wheel and build a rope corral and catch our horses and saddle ‘em.
Well, we was always a’horseback so we’d change horses. We’d start out with the cattle, and the cook would start out with his wagon, horse wrangler go with his horses. We’d have a pow-wow with the cook, where we’d camp for noon maybe. We just grazed the cattle along, and the horse wrangler grazed the horses. Cook would hook up with the mules and get ahead so he could have dinner or supper ready. We’d change horses morning noon and night…we had night horses.
On earlier trips we made we’d have to stand guard every night, after everybody got in and ate, and the cattle bed down. Why, they’d look at a watch and divide the time up and each fella had so many hours, two or three hours, to ride around the cattle and hold ‘em. And they’d come wake the next guard up and then in the mornin’, usually the last guard he’d pull out with the cattle while the other cowboys were eatin’ breakfast and we’d whip up and relieve him and he’d come back and eat. This is all before the sun comes up, just daylight you know.

Was there decent grass left on the driveway by the time your family got there?

Well, in the '50s sometimes it was pretty scarce, you know, during the drouth. But general rule, you had good grass.

How many horses did you take?

Not many - about three, three each. You’d ride one in the mornin’, and one in the afternoon and one at night, and have an extra horse. And then in the fall we’d maybe have three men with the cattle, and the horse wrangler and the cook.
During the drouth we’d get close to Magdalena and there’d be arroyos this wide and ten foot deep, and blowed full a tumbleweeds. And we just saw a yearlin’, got off the trail and, tumbleweeds closed over. We’d never a known, but we saw ‘er and then you had to get a branch or somethin’ and dig it out from the mouth of the arroyo clear up there. They’d get down there and couldn’t see nothin’ , they’d just stand still.

Was there a road for the cook’s wagon or was the wagon able to make it cross-country?

Oh there’s an old road that goes from here clear to Magdalena but the wagon would have to take off when we’d get to camping spots. We were looking at one picture there and cook and the horses were not even on the driveway; they were taking a shortcut way away from the cattle. They must have been out on Bruton’s or somewhere.
Well, when we'd come to eat dinner, we'd string the cattle out, and get ‘em in to water. And somebody'd have to hold em, and then we'd take turns eating, and you know those deals, you'd have to stay on the side of the wind where you wouldn't make the cook mad, and we'd hobble our horse and put a rope on the bridle reins and hang onto that while we's fillin' our plate. And eat right quick, and then it was change horses, and go again. You always had a’hold of your horse. Here to Magdalena. Even at night, you’d keep your horse right by your bed. Well, without a horse, you're worthless.

In upcoming installments, Farr relates more stories about cooking on the trail, the patience of Navajo cowboys, weather on the Plains of San Agustin, and missile firings west of Magdalena.

Photo: George, Dave and Ed Farr on a cattle drive. Taken by photographer Harvey Caplin.

Council Gets Lobbyist For One Dollar

By John Larson

SOCORRO – With Mayor Dr. Ravi Bhasker absent and Councilor Donald Monette filling in as Mayor Pro Tem, the City Council decided Tuesday night to retain Michael Olguin and Associates as lobbyist for the City’s interests during the current legislative session in Santa Fe.
According to the resolution passed by the council, Olguin will be paid one dollar for the entire 30-day session.
In exchange for the compensation, stated the resolution, Olguin “will provide the City of Socorro with following services: government relations, lobbying before the New Mexico State Legislature and state agencies and bodies, and other government relations services…”
The resolution states that “all other expenses will be accrued by Michael Olguin and Associates other than those agreed to by both parties.”
Councilor Michael Olguin Jr., who presented the issue at the Jan. 4 City Council meeting, said the city is in need of representation at the legislature. “The City’s never gone this way before, having a lobbyist in Santa Fe,” he said.
Olguin said three people submitted bids, ranging from $1 to over $4,000.
“We went with the one dollar,” he said.
Monette said that “Mayor Bhasker was generally opposed to spending $5,000 on a lobbyist, but for one dollar we really have nothing to lose.”
The council voted unanimously to send Michael Olguin to Santa Fe.
In other business:
•The council approved a request by Dave Finley, Commander of the Socorro Civil Air Patrol, to provide hangar space at the airport for search and rescue units of the CAP. “Having a hangar will encourage the overnight keeping of airplanes,” Finley said. “In emergency exercises we can have people from all over state. When there is a search, maybe in the Gila, they will think of Socorro and our position in those efforts.” A city owned hangar will be leased to the Civil Air Patrol for a nominal fee, said City Clerk Pat Salome.
• The council passed an ordinance setting connection fees for the wastewater project on sections of Harold Drive, and Chaparral Drive. Initial fees for residences, both outside and within the city limits, will be $280 per connection if signed on during the first year. The fee rises to $1,000 for the following year for those outside the city limits. For customers within the city limits, the fee rises to $600 during the second year, and $1,000 in the third year. Monette said that “early public participation is the most important part. It would benefit people to sign on as soon as possible.” Mabel Gonzales said customers will be informed of their options in writing.

Haitian Relief

The Mountain Mail Staff and Management will be accepting monetary donations as a Satellite station for the Red Cross in New Mexico. Our readers may send money in the form of cash, cashier’s checks, money orders all made out to THE RED CROSS. Our email address is: Our location is at 413 North California Street in the Adobe Plaza. Our phone number is: 575-838-5555 should you need any further information about the Haitian Collection Program here at the Mountain Mail. You can call us and we’ll pick up your donation. The Mountain Mail will be accepting donations Monday thru Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 a.m. We also invite everyone to drop in with their donation at any time. All donations will be given to the Red Cross to help with clothing, food, medical supplies and housing. Please find it in your heart to send anything you can afford, Together with the Mountain Mail Newspaper we can make a difference in the lives of Haitians and their country. Call the Red Cross at 800-733-2757.

Above: Kenny Gonzales and Tanya Tenorio, of Creative Graphic Design, decorate the front window of the Mountain Mail.
Photo by John Larson


Who Is Killing, Maiming Cattle?

By John Severance

VEGUITA -- Somebody is killing and maiming cows in northern Socorro County.
In the past two years, Socorro County Sheriff deputies have been called at least nine times and possibly more to investigate who has been shooting, injuring and dragging cattle in the Veguita area.
The Barela family owns three cows that have sustained injuries in the past five months. One cow was shot, another cow was run down by a truck and still another was the victim of a bow and arrow. Socorro County is considered to be open range and cattle do not have to be fenced in.
Deputies were called to the intersection of Escobar and Diaz in Veguita on Dec. 25.
According to the report, it was noticed that a cow had been injured and was lying off the roadway. It appeared the cow had been struck, possibly by a vehicle. The cow had been shot. Both of its legs were broken from being dragged across a dirt road and Carlos Barela had to put the cow down.
"You could see her trying to get up but kept falling down," Carlos Barela told KRQE television this week. "Once we saw the legs curled up there was no way."
The Animal Protection of New Mexico is offering a reward of up to $5,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in the Christmas Day incident and any of the other incidents. If you have any information, call 877-5-HUMANE.
The Christmas Day incident is just one of many. On Nov. 17, Gilbert Barela called deputies to his La Joya residence. The complaint said the victim witnessed the suspect chasing his cows. The victim stated he was using a scope at the time and saw the suspect chase the cows in his vehicle and then exit that same vehicle at his residence. Deputy Casey McFadden met with the suspect, who was very uncooperative, according to the report. One of the cows that the suspect was chasing arrived at the livestock pen limping, apparently struck by the suspect’s vehicle.
On Oct. 31, Gilbert Barela called deputies to his La Joya location. Barela stated the suspect was allowing her dogs to chase after his cattle. The victim told Barela that she was going to shoot his cows because they had damaged her fence and would shoot them if they returned to her property. The deputy met with the suspect who showed him the damage caused by victim’s cows.
On Aug. 25, deputies were called to Veguita by Joseph Barela, who stated the suspect was chasing his cattle with her vehicle. The deputy met with the suspect at an earlier date in regards to her chasing cows and the suspect had been cited into magistrate court.
In December, Veguita resident Brett Jones presented a livestock petition to the Socorro County Commission. Jones wanted to apply for an order that would prohibit the running of livestock within the limits of Rio Grande and Terra Grande Estates.
County attorney Adren Nance said in December, “The petitioner has not met all three elements required for the Board of County Commissioners to issue an order prohibiting livestock running at large.
“Although at least 25 residents of the area did sign the petition, they are not residents of a “town or district” as the area is a subdivision, not a townsite. Additionally, the area was not properly posted. Therefore, the Board cannot issue the order,”
Jones issued his objections and told the commission he was going to sue.
As Jones was being escorted from the commission meeting by Sheriff’s Deputy Preciliano “Shorty” Vaiza, vice chair Dan Monette yelled out, “We’ll see you in court.”
On Dec. 14, Jones filed suit against the commission, County Manager Delilah Walsh and Nance in Socorro Magistrate Court.
On the same day, Jones filed two other suits. One was against Gilbert Barela and deputy Casey McFadden. The other was against Myles Cubertson, Bobby Pierce and Mary McCoy for unspecified damages.

Reserve Pastor Way Dies At Age 71

By Richard Torres
For the Mountain Mail

RESERVE -- Sam Way, a minister and resident of Reserve pastor of Alpine Community Presbyterian Church, died at the age of 71 Saturday in Mesa, Ariz.
Way was in Luna the day before, when sudden pain prompted a medical evacuation via helicopter.
Joking as always, when the medical team asked what happened he stated: “I got the bill.”
Way and his wife Lisa were married for 12 years.
They met at Walgreens in Chandler, Ariz. After a courtship of six months, they were married in Flagstaff.
“He once told me all he wanted to do was save me, but then he fell in love,” Lisa Way said.
They arrived in Catron County about 10 years ago.
He was born September 5, 1938 in New York to Samuel Belvin Way and Effie Jefferson in New York. Way served in the Navy from 1958-62.
Way preached over the years at the Baptist Church, Presbyterian Church, Joy Fellowship, in Reserve, Glenwood, Silver City, cowboy camp meetings, and Alpine.
Survivors include his wife Lisa Way, his sons Keith Way of W. Bloomfield, Mich., Sam Way III of Detroit and Christopher Way of Byram, Miss, his stepdaughters Candi Brinson of Gilbert, Ariz., and Natalie Garcia of Chandler, Ariz., and 10 grandchildren.
Services for Sam Way will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23, at the Reserve High School gym.
“So many thanks to everyone who has reached out to me,” Lisa said.
Way will be buried, next to his mother, at a private ceremony at Apache Creek Cemetery.
Donations may be made to Alpine Community Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 658, Alpine, Arizona 85920. Phone number 928-339-1867.
To leave an online condolence, please visit

Pictured: Lisa and Sam Way

Repairs Needed

Good Samaritan Village on Highway 60 will be getting a face-lift of sorts, if Rosie Tripp, Denise Shrum and the Good Sam’s Committee have anything to say about it. Tripp said the current need is to make minor repairs and to dress up specific areas. “It is need of re-stuccoing,” Tripp said. “Other areas include improvements to the foyer. We’d like to have some plants, and add some things to make it nicer. We want it to feel more like home.” The committee is in need of volunteers and donations to proceed with the project. “Most of us may be living here at one time or another,” she said. Pictured: Denise Shrum points to cracking in the stucco on the building’s front.

Photo by John Larson

Tripp: Governor Too Vague On Cuts

By John Larson

SANTA FE – The New Mexico legislature opened its 2010 session Tuesday, with solving the state’s budget problems the main agenda.
The state faces a $500 million to $900 million shortfall for the coming year, a problem the special session last fall tried to solve.
In his opening speech, Gov. Bill Richardson called for targeted tax increases – for tobacco and liquor - and spending cuts.
In addition, Richardson said he would push for domestic partnerships; a statewide ban on hand-held cell phones for motorists; a newly created ethics commission; tougher penalties for gang involvement; and stricter domestic violence legislation.
Socorro’s Don Tripp, the 49th District Representative and member of the Legislative Appropriations Committee, told the Mountain Mail Wednesday that he felt the governor was too vague when referring to spending cuts.
“He came forward with all the things he wants to do, but offered us nothing to go on,” Tripp said. “He doesn’t come out and say where he needs to cut. He wants us to do it.”
Tripp said Richardson “is still in denial about the budget,” by not trying to reduce the number of state employees.
“The general thing is to get the overall number of state employees down to the national average,” Tripp said.
“For instance, support personnel for higher institutions is way out of whack, and more than twice or three times those in neighboring states.”
He said major changes to the state payroll would not be immediate, but that the budget crises is a “wake up call, to change a bloated government.”
Tripp said much of the budget shortfall can be made up from cutting one time money.
“The $150 million in extra capitol projects that are stalled can be diverted to help short funding,” he said. “The money in sponge bonds is good for another $100 million.
“With careful decisions like these we make it through with very little impact on the people were there to serve,” Tripp said. “Personal income taxes and capital gains are off the table.”
At the end of Day 2, he said he felt two things would come out of the session.
“What’s going to come down, I feel at this point, is the legislature will institute a surcharge on higher income people, and pass a one-half percent raise to the gross receipts tax to put in the state coffers,” Tripp said. “I get the feeling that’s what going to happen.”

Salomon Abeyta

March 18, 1925 - Jan. 13, 2010

Salomon Abeyta, Col., USANG (Ret.) passed away peacefully on January 13, 2010 in Scottsdale, Ariz., surrounded by his loving family.
He was born in Abeytas on Mar. 18, 1925. Col. Abeyta served as a gunnery pilot during World War II and later used the GI bill to complete his education at the University of New Mexico, where he earned first a Bachelor of Arts in Education and later a Masters in Counseling He initially taught civics at Belen High School, later becoming a counselor in the Belen Public School system, and then retiring from the Socorro School system. He was a member of the New Mexico National Guard and served in several capacities, including assignment at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. He received numerous military awards, including the Meritorious Service Medal for his work with developing a program for minorities for the Department of Defense.
Col. Abeyta is survived by his loving wife of 58 years, Doris; his children and their spouses, Sharon Abeyta-Levey (Lee) and Randy Abeyta (Brenda), and his beloved grandchildren, Bree, Coree, Walker and Hawk. He is also survived by his sister, Petrita Barela.
Visitation was held at Romero Funeral Home Chapel, January 18, with a rosary recited afterward. A final visitation was held at Our Lady of Belen Catholic Church, January 19, with a Funeral Mass following. Interment was at Our Lady of Belen Memorial Gardens. Salomon’s online register book can be signed at Romero Funeral Home, 609 N. Main St., Belen, were in charge of arrangements.

Rigoberto Chavez

Nov. 26,1993 - Jan, 17, 2010

Rigoberto Chavez, 16, a resident of Cruzville entered eternal rest on Sunday, January 17, 2010. Rigo was born on Nov. 26, 1993 in Deming, to Melissa Baca.
He was a student at Reserve High School and was also a member of the basketball team. He was a true outdoorsman. His favorite pastimes included hunting, fishing, and looking for horns. He enjoyed spending time with his family, especially his cousins.
Rigoberto is survived by his mother, Melissa Baca; sisters, Vanessa and Yuri Chavez and Carmen Varela; brothers, Martin and Teto Steen and M.J. Chavez and numerous extended family members.
He is preceded in death by his grandparents.
Visitation was Wednesday, Jan. 20 at the Santo Niño Catholic Church in Aragon, followed by the prayer vigil and rosary recited by Father Jeff King. The funeral service was Thursday, Jan. 21, at Reserve High School, Reserve, with Mr. Loren Cushman officiating. The rite of committal and interment followed at the Aragon Cemetery.
Pallbearers were Henry, Lincoln, Vidal, and Lawrence Baca, Ricky Kelly, Patrick Lucero, and Frankie Chavez. Honorary pallbearers are Patrick Lucero, Jr., Perry McCall, Jason and Henry Chavez, Scott Johnston, Jr., Brandon and Isaac Johnston, and Shelby Lucero.
To send condolences, please login to:
Arrangements by Baca’s Funeral Chapels of Silver City.

OBITUARY: Carol Lynne Eager Laney

Oct. 1, 1939 - Jan. 20, 2010

Carol Lynne Eagar Laney, 70, died Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at her home in Eagar. She was born October 1, 1939 in Eagar to Lynn and Larna Eagar.
Carol was a homemaker. She was a resident of Luna. Carol made delicious baked goods and had a caring heart and a giving spirit. She was a friend to everyone she ever met. She was a loving wife and mother.
She is survived by her husband, Joe W. Laney, Eagar; daughters JoLyn Schofield, Eagar; Emily Landrin, Page; Elizabeth Madrid, Springerville; Judith Schneider, Eagar; sons Leslie D. Laney, Washington; Lloyd F. Laney, Phoenix; Andrew L. Laney, Phoenix; mother Larna Eagar, brothers Richard Eagar, Jim Eagar, Tim Eagar, sisters Janice Moss, Etta Hamilton and 29 grandchildren.
Carol was preceded in death by her father Lynn Eagar, brothers Jack Eagar, David Eagar and one son Larry Laney.
A Viewing is scheduled for Sunday, January 24, 2010 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Burnham Mortuary, Eagar, Ariz..
A Funeral Service is scheduled for Monday, January 25, 2010 at 11:00 a.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Luna Chapel, Luna, N.M.

EDITORIAL: A Pledge For More Coverage In The Catron County Area

By John Severance

RESERVE – I like to keep my eyes on the road but it’s almost impossible not to gaze at the magnificent scenery while driving through Catron County.
Wide-open spaces, spectacular views and magnificent landscape are constants.
It’s amazing I didn’t wreck the car.
It’s been said that longtime Catron County residents do not care much for outsiders.
I know I am one. But that is OK.
My job is to make sure the Mountain Mail remains the No. 1 news source for Catron County residents.
With our fine contributors, we do a good job of covering Catron County.
But I want to make it better.
I want to delve into the issues that Reserve, Glenwood, Pie Town, Datil and Quemado residents deal with everyday.
Our plan each month is to have a Catron County edition on the first week of each month.
On my recent trip to Reserve, I got an earful from residents, saying how much they missed us but they also said we are not doing enough in our coverage of the area.
I agree.
We need to find out what’s happening with the downtown improvements in Reserve.
We need to find out more about the garbage situation and how it’s going to get shipped off to Arizona after a nearby landfill closes down. We need to find out what’s going on in the areas of the county.
But that is where we need your help.
If you have any story or photo ideas, feel free to email me at or call 575 838-5555.
We also can not do all of this without the support of the businesses in Catron County as well. Call the newspaper and we will work with you.
Cheeseburgers and Basketball
A trip to Reserve, though, would not be complete without doing a couple of things.
I had one of those famous green chili cheeseburgers at Ella’s Café on Main Street. It was fabulous.
And on the day I went, it was the first day of the Mountaineer Invitational and it was nice to see both Reserve basketball teams score resounding victories.
The girls team ended up third in the tournament, which meant it picked up two wins on the weekend.
And the boys team improved to 13-1 as it cruised to the championship title.
The Mountain Mail offers its condolences to the families of Sam Way and Rigoberto Chavez.

OPINION: Heart Attack In Haiti Absolutely Hurts Us All

Magdalena Potluck
By Margaret Wiltshire

When a 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti last week, it went right to the hearts of all Haiti and most of the world.
Death, destruction and collapse in this small, very poor democracy has greatly saddened and challenged humanity everywhere.
It has become a major challenge for the “have” countries to get into this isolated island country with timely help.
We can be proud that we Americans have so much we can give.
Proud that we do.
What moves us though is not pride, but compassion.
Experts in disaster relief are facing the challenges of even getting in, in time, to do the heroic things they know how to do. Organizations already in place to help this country, like the UN and Doctors Without Borders have taken great losses themselves.
They are there, they are on the way, organizing and reorganizing and risking life and limb to help in this overwhelming disaster.
I can’t help but feel in the next 25 to 50 years, we will need as many of these people as can be trained.
I believe this is a very “angry” planet. Some may believe it’s a very angry creator God.
It could be just the turn of time and nature. I am fully aware I may be “projecting” my own disappointments about what the world I’ve lived in is like.
My reality is that the earth has been good to me. My disappointments are with humankind. The paradox, much of my happiness has been because of the goodness of humans.
It is really hard as a human not to be ethnocentric. Thinking the world doesn’t revolve around oneself is a level most of us achieve.
Thinking the earth doesn’t just exist for we humans alone, is another challenge.
Only some of us seem to be able to handle this bit of maturation.
In between thinking the world is mine or the world is ours, there are a lot of other groups working on a hen-pecking order.
Within this hen-pecking system many like to think their group is at the top, or close to it.
Some feel Haiti is at or close to the bottom.
Haiti, discovered on December 5, 1492 by Christopher Columbus, became known as La Isla Espanola, the Spanish Island.
Later it was taken over by the French and in 1791 a revolt began Haiti’s difficult trek to independence. It is a quite a story and well worth looking into.
The news media covering Haiti however has been more than professional, it has been heroic. In history, reporters reported the news; they did not participate. They did not “make” the news.
I have been watching CNN and have only caught a little of other news groups. From what I have seen, they all have been heroic, well beyond competence. They have been involved.
Professionals like Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Anderson Cooper, Ivan Watson, Elizabeth Cohen and many more have not only reported the news fairly, honestly but have made a major difference in saving lives themselves.
They have pin-pointed areas of need and have rolled up their own sleeves to help. They are heroes in any sense of the word.
After many days without food, water and the quality of medical help that is needed, there have been reports of some violence. “Reports” more then actual witnessing.
Time will bring more looting, more violence.
How would you act after five or more days without food, water, housing, family?
Is it looting when in complete destruction people look about debris for what may help them survive?
When it comes to violence, Albuquerque and other mid-sized American cities should be so lucky.
The bigots of our world have crawled out of the mud to sling hate and misunderstanding. It is our job to silence the lies.
These “poorest” people of the world, these Haitians, have proven themselves to be among the best of humanity.
I have “witnessed” what a great people they are.
Let’s help, they ARE family.

Write Margaret Wilshire at Wilshire’s views do not necessarily reflect those of the Mountain Mail.

OPINION: These Are The Times Of Mixed Emotions In The World

The Right Emphasis
By Doug May

The pictures coming from Haiti showing hundreds of corpses lying in the street in front of the morgue in Port-au-Prince and the women crying for their children buried in collapsed buildings are cause for great anguish and weeping.
Each of us shudder as we think that I could be standing there and my children and spouse could be dead. We pray, “Dear Lord, have mercy.” Death at any age is a horrible thing, a time for weeping.
The young college student killed in an auto accident, a father in his forties struck down by a heart attack, a five-year-old with cancer or a grandmother, all are missed and mourned when death takes them away from us.
Many mourn at this time of year for the nearly 1.2 million infants in this country that die each year by abortion. Jan. 22 is the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade Decision that legalized abortion in the United States. The weeping is done off camera in the quiet of many homes. And many still pray that one day these tiniest of infants will see the light of day and be nurtured by loving fathers and mothers.
There is still more weeping over the most pathetic of all situations. Last year in Wichita, Kansas Scott Roeder shot to death Dr. George Tiller, an abortion doctor in his church. Scott knew that killing tiny infants was wrong, but he was not the one to bring judgment on the offender. His sin was deplorable because he took another person’s life. And by so doing he disgraced the cause of all who those who long for the end of abortion and pray for the safety all infants in and out of the womb. We all weep.
At this very time, many are weeping as they consider the possibility that the new health care bill will treat abortion as an acceptable medical procedure whose costs are covered by health insurance. And to further add to the sorrow is the possibility that medical personnel will be required to participate in abortions even against their conscience. I can not put into words how sad this whole situation has become. We treat endangered species with more respect than our own offspring.
But in spite of all this, there are reasons and seasons for joy and laughter. Who doesn’t rejoice to see the outpouring of donations for the survivors of the earthquake in Haiti?
Millions around the world are praying for them and volunteering to help. We thank God for those who speak French and Creole who can speak words of comfort for those who mourn. We rejoice for the medical and rescue workers who have been putting in unbelievably long hours to find and save the injured.
Just one year ago this month, millions were rejoicing and still rejoice because Captain Sullenberger and his co-pilot landed his powerless plane safely in the Hudson River. All 155 people aboard were rescued from the icy waters by ferry boats and small crafts. Lives were saved and millions rejoiced.
When we do all that is possible to save and enhance lives it lifts the spirits of everyone. But when we talk about limiting care for the elderly it is depressing. People rejoice for life. I have seven children and I got chocked up with joy and gratitude at the birth of each one of them. We celebrate birthdays to express that joy. I know of no one who celebrates the anniversary of an abortion.
I hope all our laws will respect and support human life in every stage of its development.
Finally, we rejoice for those at Birthright here in Socorro who are encouraging and helping women with “problem pregnancies.” Phone 838-2326 or 835-4236 for information.

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

OPINION: Haiti’s Agonies Are Not Self-Inflicted, Part One

The Pencil Warrior
By Dave Wheelock

Haiti. As Americans struggle, most for the first time, to understand how one island nation so close to our own shores could play host to so much tragedy - the storms, coups, and grinding poverty, and now, an apocalyptic earthquake - old attempts at whitewash are again trotted out in popular media: The land is barren and unfit to support a population of eight million. The people are lazy, violent, and incapable of self rule. For some of course, the fact that most Haitians are of black African descent accounts for a lot; what can you expect from the descendants of slaves?
In the view of ultraconservative Christian evangelist Pat Robertson, the people of Haiti bear the curse of crossing his (and by Christian definition, everyone else’s) god: “They were under the heel of the French, you know Napoleon the third and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said 'We will serve you if you will get us free from the prince.' The Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since they have been cursed by one thing after another.” Never mind the legend is a fiction, and a damned intolerant one at that.
Whenever rationalizations that trade on a people’s stupidity or unworthiness emerge, thinking people will suspect there’s another story, one that perhaps remains purposefully hidden. And in the case of Haiti, they’d be right. Now, with the spotlight on Haiti, the opportunity presents itself for us to look behind old stereotypes and managed history to see the policies our government has supported, and is likely to continue, in the cover afforded by disaster.
Randall Robinson is an African-American lawyer who campaigned effectively against South African apartheid. A longtime observer of Haitian history, he is the author of An Unbroken Agony: Haiti, from Revolution to the Kidnapping of a President. Says Robinson, “The American people know almost nothing about what happened in 2004, about the abduction of President Aristide, about the destruction of Haiti’s democracy as a result of the efforts of both the United States and the French government.
“And I think that the only way we can move ahead constructively with Haiti is to begin by telling the full story of our relationship with Haiti since 1804, what happened in the nineteenth century and what has happened in the twentieth century, so that Americans will understand at long last that Haiti’s misery is largely not of its own making. They will learn of a Haitian people who are quite different from those who have been described to them.”
Viewed in the light of the history of Haiti, Robinson’s assertions begin to take on the air of truth. Like all histories, Haiti’s is complex, yet the intact thread running throughout is the exploitation of a rich land and its people by outsiders.
First, we must not forget that history is written by the victors, in this case invading ones. Christopher Columbus’s first act upon making landfall on the island of Hispaniola in 1492 was to claim the “tierra nueva” for Spain and the Catholic Church. His second was to begin the systematic enslavement and butchery of the native Taino population, while the debate developed in Spain over whether these savages were human or not. In retrospect, not an auspicious start for the Europeans, and certainly a disastrous turn for the Tainos, who predictably enough disappear from most history books from this point.
France eventually pushed its way onto the island and to be rid of them Spain ceded the western third, to become what’s now known as Haiti. Thousands of slaves were brought to Haiti from Africa in the late 1600s, the second wave of dehumanization brought to her shores by a more advanced civilization.
The first (or is it second?) myth to retire is the poverty of the land itself, which surrendered more riches for her French captors than the 13 colonies in North America produced for Britain. Next on the chopping block is any libel about the spirit, courage, determination, or abilities of this collection of slaves. Drawing from their ranks an array of able leaders, notably Toussaint L'Ouverture, the Haitian slaves overcame forces from Spain, England, and France in an epic revolt between the years 1791 and 1803. In 1804 Haiti became the first republic ruled by African descendants and the only permanently successful rebellion by slaves in our hemisphere.
Which brings us to the Americans, who had good reason to be nervous about developments in Haiti. The Haitian rebellion had not occurred in a vacuum, and every slave state in the world had an unbearable share of their economies to lose if their working capital became emboldened by the success in Haiti. Thus France did not formally recognize Haiti as an independent nation until 1834, and the United States not until 1862.
In the second installment of our inspection of Haiti, we’ll have a look at more recent history, and how things could have gone so awry in paradise.

Dave Wheelock, a member of the Oneida Nation, holds a history degree from the University of New Mexico. Mr. Wheelock's views do not necessarily represent those of the Mountain Mail. Reach him at


Storehouse Raises Funds For Haiti Relief

The Socorro Storehouse raised a little more than $1,500 in its burrito sale with a few pledges outstanding for its emergency relief effort for the citizens of Haiti, according to Randall Westfall of the Socorro Trinity Church.
“We hope to be around $1,700 when all of those are received,” Westfall said.
People can still donate to the cause by sending a check to P.O. Box 701, payable to Socorro Storehouse, with "Haiti" on the memo line.
Westfall said: “We were also blessed with $120 in donations specifically earmarked for Socorro Storehouse projects; we will use those funds as 'seed money' for our Community Garden project.”
Westfall said he did not have a final count on the burritos because of several walk-in orders.
“But we do know we went through 40 dozen eggs, which would indicate we sold approximately 240 burritos,” he said. “We received contributions above the price of the burritos from several generous Socorro citizens.”

LETTER: Fur and Feathers Still Needs Vehicle

Dear Editor,
In the December 17th issue of the Mountain Mail, it was reported that Vince DeMarco of Magdalena submitted two bids for two surplus vehicles from the Marshal's Office. The two vehicles were to be used by Fur and Feather Animal Assistance of Pie Town and Datil.
FFAA knew nothing of this until it was read in the Mountain Mail. DeMarco was contacted three times by us, and it was clear that we were not getting either car. We wonder why DeMarco used our name on the bid and did not follow through.
Needless to say we are very disappointed, as we really do need a vehicle for a "neuter scooter" to transport the many animals we care for, to the vet.
Perhaps in the near future we may be the recipient of a suitable auto or van to continue our efforts to help the critters and the people of Catron and Socorro Counties.
Jae Senych
Treasurer FFAA

Magdalena Girls Stay Unbeaten

By John Severance

The Magdalena girls basketball team just keeps rolling.
The Lady Steers improved to 12-0 with a 66-48 win at Gallup Catholic on Jan. 16.
The Magdalena boys basketball team rebounded from a 43-30 loss at Gallup Catholic on Jan. 16 to beat Carrizozo 58-37 at home. The Steers are 9-3 overall and 2-1 in district play.
Magdalena will host Temple Baptist on Jan. 21.
The Quemado boys basketball team improved to 12-3 with an 86-44 win against Pine Hill and an 89-57 victory at Mountainair on Jan 16. The Quemado girls (5-7) lost at Pine Hill 40-22 but won at Mountainair 59-56.
Quemado will be at Hot Springs on Jan. 22 and host Mountainair Jan. 23.

Mountaineers Win Own Invitational

By John Severance

RESERVE – The Reserve boys basketball team took first place and the girls team finished third at the three-day Mountaineer Invitational on Jan. 16.
In the finals, the Reserve boys defeated Academia Juarez 65-51 and in the consolation finals, the Reserve girls topped 51-41.

“The kids are playing really good defense,” Reserve boys coach Stan Thompson said. “We don’t have a lot of size but we are using our speed to our advantage. We just try to put pressure on teams.”
And that pressure seems to be working.
The Mountaineers (13-1) defeated Cobre 67-44 and Santa Fe Waldorf 66-57 to get to the finals.
“We pressed them and we played man to man,” Thompson said of the Waldorf game. “They had two really good ballhandlers and one kid who shot well. We put one of our toughest defenders on him. He got his points but the rest of the kids did not. Our kids played really well.”
Tanner Lengstorf, Nolen Snyder, Scott Johnston, Trevor Kaber made the all-tournament team.
In the finals against Juarez, Snyder scored 23 points, Kaber and Mark Estrada added 12 each and Scott Johnston had 10.
“Everybody is doing their job and we are playing as a team,” Thompson said.
“We could not ask for more effort than that.”
The Reserve girls (4-10), meanwhile, defeated Cobre in the third place game 51-41.
Lorissa Estrada led the way with 30 points and Sara Baca added 10 and Mariyah Delgado added eight points.
“We did OK,” Reserve coach John Payne said.
“We have begun to shoot better and we are starting to run our offense better.
“ The girls have gained a lot of confidence and by playing well that should be a boost for us for the rest of the season and they realize they can compete.
Both Reserve teams will be at Cobre Jan. 28.

Lady Warriors’ Win Streak Snapped At 10

By Nicky Romero
For the Mountain Mail

SOCORRO - The third-ranked Socorro Lady Warriors (12-5) split four basketball games last week. The loss to Santa Fe Indian School on Friday ended Socorro’s 10-game winning streak.
On Jan. 12, Socorro won at Ruidoso 50-41, leading 18-7 after one quarter and 28-19 at the half.
Ruidoso cut into the Socorro lead, trailing 44-41 in the fourth quarter. But the Lady Warriors hung on, led by Roxanne Silva, who had 10 of her game-high 25 points in the fourth quarter.
Socorro then traveled to Albuquerque to play in the Hope Christian Tournament.
Socorro opened play by thrashing No. 5 Class 2A Mora 79-48.
“We shot well, hit 55 percent from the field and 80 percent for free throws,” Socorro coach Joseph Garcia said.
Silva led the Warriors with 44 points. Kianna Gonzales added 12, Jaden Jones chipped in nine and Mayra Acosta 8.
In the semifinals, Socorro fell to No. 4 Class AAA Santa Fe Indian School 54-43.
“They have two guards, who are sisters and they just lit us up,” Garcia said.
“One lit us up for 17 points in the first quarter and the other scored nine in the second. Santa Fe was huge and we had a hard time getting the ball inside.”
With Socorro unable to get the ball inside, Santa Fe extended its lead to 14 points in the third quarter and it never looked back.
Silva had 23 points and Gonzales had 12 points on three three-pointers. Santa Fe was led by Justina Cortiz with 22 points and Jenine Cortiz with 12.
In the third place game, Socorro lost to host Hope Christian 50-46.
“You live and die by the outside,” Garcia said. “We shot 19 three-pointers. We never shoot 19 threes. We made just six of 19, which was a better percentage than our inside shooting.”
Despite the poor shooting, Socorro led 24-12 in the second quarter and led 30-28 at halftime. After three quarters, the Lady Warriors still led 43-42, but the wear of tear and four games in five days took their toll.
Hope Christian finally broke down Socorro’s press, outscoring the Lady Warriors 8-3 in the final quarter.
Foul shooting also contributed to the loss. Hope Christian made 14 of 20 free throws and Socorro converted 8 of 11 but did not shoot one in the second half.
Silva led Socorro with 24 points and Gonzalez added nine.
Socorro was scheduled to play St. Michael’s at home on Tuesday, but because of snow in Santa Fe, the game was postponed to Monday, Jan. 25.

Victories Prove Elusive For Socorro Boys Basketball Team

By Michael Olguin Jr.
For the Mountain Mail

SOCORRO -- With five games remaining in non-district play, the Socorro boys basketball team still is trying to find its winning ways, losing two close games on back-to-back nights last week. The Warriors fell to the Chaparral Lobos on Friday night, 54-52, followed by a loss to the Wingate Bears on Saturday night, 53-45.
The Warriors’ grueling schedule continued Thursday in the Warrior Dome as they hosted the 17-0 Mesilla Valley Son Blazers. Even though the Son Blazers are a 2A school, they are putting up 5A numbers and rolling through their season defeating each team from 2A-5A by an average of 22.8 points per game.
On Friday night, the Warriors will host 3A powerhouse Sandia Prep Sundevils. The Sundevils are currently ranked second in 3A. Sandi Prep will be the fifth top 10 team the Warriors have faced in 3A this season.
The Warriors almost dug themselves out of an early first-half hole against the Lobos (6-12) trailing 33-21 at halftime. Socorro made a run in the second half cutting the Lobo lead to 7 after three quarters 46-39. The Warriors continued to mount a comeback in the fourth quarter but fell short losing 54-52.
According to Assistant Coach Robert Mata, Socorro tied the game at 52 with a four point play by Jared Marquez.
Marquez was fouled while making a three point bucket and made his free throw to complete the four point play. After Socorro tied the game, the Lobos failed to score which gave the Warriors final possession of the game.
Kenneth DeCosta had an open look under the basket with 20 seconds to go which would have given the Warriors the lead but was unable to convert. The Lobos drove down and scored with about 15 seconds left. Socorro had one last opportunity with one second left. Erik Garcia put up the final shot which bounced off the rim.
Jared Marquez and Andrew Contreras each had 14 points to lead the Warriors.
On Saturday night in Socorro, the Warriors went up against the eighth ranked 3A Bears (9-6). Marquez was the lone scorer in the first quarter with 15 points to give Socorro a 15-9 first quarter lead.
Socorro maintained their lead with four more Warriors getting into the scoring mix which included Zach Esquivel, Michael Contreras, Ibrahim Maiga, and Andrew Contreras.
The Bears recaptured the lead after a technical foul was called on Andrew Contreras with 12 seconds left in the half. Wingate converted both free throws followed by a last second bucket to give them a 26-25 lead.
The third quarter ended up being the deciding factor in the game.
“We ended up just doing quick shots and playing their game not ours,” Assistant Coach Robert Mata said of the third quarter. “They like to run up and down and score fast break points we needed to slow it down and look for some inside buckets and we just didn’t do that.”
Socorro was only able to score three points in the third quarter, allowing the Bears to go on a 21-3 run that spanned from the end of the first half to the start of the fourth quarter.
Wingate had built up a 41-28 lead before Socorro came battling back.
Six quick points by Andrew Contreras cut the Bear lead to just four, 45-41, with 2:36 left in the game. However the Bears did not let the Warriors get any closer.
Marquez led the Warriors with 20 points followed by Andrew Contreras with 10.

Cushman Gets 3-Year Contract

RESERVE -- Loren Cushman, Superintendent of Reserve Schools, was given a new three-year contract by the Reserve School Board on a unanimous vote.
“I’d like to thank the Reserve School Board for their continual trust,” Cushman said.
As the Superintendent for the past three years and with over15 years of school experience, Cushman said, ”I am happy to be here. We have the finest staff in the state and the best students.
”We continue to expand the curriculum of the online courses available to the students.
“We instituted this year a hands-on Agriculture Program. We have an agreement with local business-K & B Timberworks-to train students in timber management. We continue to offer to the community computer technology,” Cushman said.
Cushman has been elected to represent rural small schools before the Secretary of Schools in New Mexico.
“The coalition I represent fights hard to receive appropriate funding for our schools. In addition, our collaboration with Quemado School District has resulted in closer student/faculty interaction more than ever,” he said.

Celebrate Life As Best You Can

Luna News
By Kaye Mindar

I apologize for not submitting a column last week. It had been a long and stressful week and come deadline day it was my birthday. I had a wonderful day full of surprises and after a relaxing trip to Show Low. Yes, relaxing and unhurried. I decided I needed to make one more phone call of the day. I called my Dad.
In a twist of things I thanked him for never giving up on me, for prayers and support, and for holding my Mom so tight while she was with us. I thanked him for my birthday. I was a sick baby and caused my parents many long nights at the hospital and worries as one problem lead to the next.
I am the fifth of six children and I know that life was difficult; but also fun. I am grateful that I can finally be grateful for all that I have in my marriage, my children, my grandchildren, my education, my choices of stay at home jobs, and our home here in Luna.

Although they did not live in Luna, our love and prayers go out to the Way family at the passing of Pastor Sam Way. Our children know and love Lisa and will truly miss Sam through the 4-H and county extension programs. Also Sam was an important figure in Luna with his work and skills.

The family of Joe and Carol Laney is truly grateful for all of the well wishes and visits from “Lunatics” as Carol slipped into the final stages of her cancer. She passed away Wednesday morning. Her family truly appreciates the love that surrounds them with family and friends.

All of our love and prayers go out to Sally Hulsey as she recovers from a fall while visiting family.

Last Friday evening many friends, family and neighbors enjoyed a potluck dinner and plenty of down-home music performed by the Nicolds’ family at the Luna Community Center. These informal evenings are a true Luna style social event.

The Community Center library also holds two new books written and donated by Pat Jenks. They are available for free checkout and for more information you can contact Alberta Nicolds.

Old material in circulation at the Luna Ward Library; such as old Church magazines, Primary items and Church conference videos can be picked up at the library and are available for anyone interested until the end of February. Please contact Joyce Laney for more information and arrangements for picking items up.

Food orders are due Sunday, Jan. 24, and our first canning session of the year will be held on Friday, Feb. 26. Please contact Joyce Laney for information.

Luna’s Family History Library is opened again on Wednesday’s from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. depending on weather; you may want to call Phyllis Price ahead of time. Also there is help available after hours or as needed by contacting Phyllis Price or (me) Kaye Mindar.

“In every home, neighborhood, and community, we ought to strive for peace and never be party to stirring up contention or division.”
~M. Russell Ballard


Sylvia, Friend Endure Quite An Arctic Winter

By Anne Sullivan

“You’re late with my breakfast this morning.” Sylvia stood before me, paws on haunches, accusing.
“I know,” I said from (where else) my comfortable chair. “I simply couldn’t get going today. It’s so-o-o cold I just wanted to stay in bed.”
“You mustn’t give into to your selfish desires,” Sylvia admonished. “You need to get some discipline into your belly instead of eating all those chocolate truffles you got for Christmas. You must remember that you have responsibilities.”
“I know, I know, but the will just isn’t there.”
“It had better get there soon.” Sylvia glowered at me. “The weather man says it’s going to snow again and the wood on the porch is running low.”
“It’s all very hard.” Cowering in my comfortable chair, I defended myself, “The rest of the wood is buried in the snow and I have to dig it out piece by piece while standing precariously on I-don’t-know-what. I wish you would help.”
“It’s not in my job description,” said Sylvia very quickly. “Dogs don’t carry wood.”
“I’m sure some dogs do. If it was a deer leg, you’d carry it.”
“That’s different. You don’t seem to comprehend. I have to keep up my image of superiority here in Swingle Canyon.”
“And I don’t?”
“No, not really. You just have to see that the work gets done.”
“Which means I have to do it.” I watched Sylvia as she nodded vigorously. “So I need to carry the wood, is that it?” I questioned, knowing all too well the answer.
“If you want to keep warm, it is,” Sylvia replied with a smirk on her face. “You have that choice. Warm or cold. Then again, there are other ways of keeping warm. You could turn the thermostat way up.”
“I could if I wanted to use up all the very expensive propane,” I protested.
“It’s your choice, you see. You could spend a lot more money for propane.”
“I’m already spending a lot of money for propane. A lot more money than I used to spend, let me tell you.”
“That’s the game of choice. Up the thermostat or carry more wood for the fireplace or you could freeze.”
I groaned at the thought and said, “None of these are very attractive choices.”
“But they’re all under your control and control in life is everything. As I said, that’s the way the game is played.” A certain amount of glee glowed in Sylvia’s eyes as she explained the rules of this game.
“It’s a game I’m losing. I don’t want to do any of the above. I just want to stay under my heated throw and read the books I got for Christmas.”
“The world isn’t about what you want,” lectured Sylvia. “Listen to Steve Stucker. He says it’s going to snow again. Soon. And then the wood will be buried even deeper. Get out of that chair. It’s really nice outside. Nice and brisk. It’ll put roses into your cheeks. Come on,” she said, tugging my electric throw off my legs. “I’ll go out with you and watch you to make sure you don’t disappear into the snow. I’ll even cheer you on.”
“Bah, humbug,” I said, removing my throw from Sylvia’s teeth and returning it to my frozen legs.
“You’ve got to get a hold of yourself, my girl,” Sylvia said, having the last word as usual.

Quemado: Rural Book Mobile To Make Rounds

By Debbie Leschner
For the Mountain Mail

QUEMADO – The Rural Book Mobile will make their rounds on Tuesday Jan. 26 to the Post offices in Datil from 1 to 2 p.m., Pie Town from 2:30 to 3:15 p.m. and Quemado from 3:45 to 4:45 p.m. On Wednesday, Jan. 27, they will be at the Aragon post office from 9:30 to 10:30, Apache Creek store from 11 to noon and Reserve Rode Inn motel from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

The Catron County Spelling Bee will be held in Reserve on Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 1 p.m. Good luck to all those who will be participating.

The Quemado Elementary School will have a Family Math and Science Night on Wednesday, Jan. 27 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Elementary students will have various activities through out the evening.
The Quemado Boys Varsity, Junior Varsity and Girls Varsity, Junior Varsity Basketball Teams will play at 3 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 29 at home against Cliff. This is the first of the District games for Quemado.

The Quemado Senior Center Pool Tournament will be at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, January 26. Datil seniors will join Quemado seniors on Thursday, January 28 for Quilting and an afternoon of Bingo. Lunch for the week will be Monday – sweet and sour pork, Tuesday – sausage pizza, Wednesday – ham gravy with mashed potatoes, Thursday – beef fajita and Friday – tostadas. Please call the center at 773-4820 before 9 a.m. for lunch reservations.
The Senior Center Bingo Fund raiser will be the evening of Friday, Jan. 29. It will start out with an All you Can Eat Beef Stew dinner at 4:30 p.m. for $6.75. Come and play bingo at 6 pm. Cards are 25 cents each.

A New Feed Store in Quemado has opened off Hwy 60 at mile marker 33.6 next to Sierra Propane. Hours are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. through noon. They carry alfalfa, oat hay, corn, blocks, food for dogs, cats, rabbits, chickens and more. The phone number is 575-773- 4768.

Pine Leaf Boys Come To Macey

Louisiana's two-time Grammy-Nominated Pine Leaf Boys bring their own inimitable brand of Cajun music to Macey Center on Friday, Jan. 22, as part of New Mexico Tech’s Performing Arts Series.
Hailing from 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.
Being described as, "... the link that connects the young and the old generations," and, "the best new, energetic, and fun Cajun band in a very long time," the Pine Leaf Boys play the old fashion dance hall standards while making a priority to bring many of the more obscure songs of past masters into their repertoire and play them with gusto.
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.
Steeped in music since childhood and hailing from farms and towns in Cajun country, the Pine Leaf Boys have preserved the traditional Cajun sound, while allowing it to breathe and stretch with those who play it. They present their music in multiple configurations such as twin fiddle, duo accordion/fiddle, bass, drum, and foot-stomping jurés.
Wilson Savoy, Cajun accordionist, was born and raised near Eunice, Louisiana, in 1982. He began playing boogie-woogie piano at 10 years old after becoming obsessed with Louisiana-native, Jerry Lee Lewis. While in his early teens, his father gave him a homemade accordion built from the wood of a Sasaffras tree that his grandfather planted. Wilson intensely studied the styles of Amede Ardoin and Iry Lejeune, as well as his father (Marc Savoy, known well for being one of the masters of the Cajun accordion) and soon developed a style of his own, full of punch, Creole syncopation, and energy.
Fiddle player Courtney Granger was also born in Eunice, where he lives today. Master fiddler and extraordinary strong singer, Granger hails from the Balfa family lineage, which is evident in his powerful vocals and heavily Balfa-influenced fiddling. He produced his own solo CD in the mid 90s, which brought him praise from the Cajun music scene, landing him several CFMA awards.
Guitar player Jon Bertrand was raised in the thriving hub of Jeff Davis Parish that is Pine Island or Crapeauville where he began life as a cowboy. He began playing guitar and quickly became a rhythm machine, playing with Dexter Ardoin, Cory McCauley, and the Lost Bayou Ramblers.
Drummer Drew Simon was born and raised in Lafayette, and developed an interest in Cajun music in his late teens. At 18, he started playing drums and singing with his brother in a local group called Acadien. Soon after, he learned how to play the accordion, guitar, and bass, and is strictly a traditionalist, playing and singing in a style which has been described as a "simple, older, blue collared cajun."
Bassist Thomas David was also born and raised in Lafayette. By the age of eight he was playing drums alongside his father, Ken David, bassist with Jambalaya Cajun Band. At age 16, his father bought an upright bass and David immediately fell in love with the instrument, and he quickly became become a rock-solid bass player in both Cajun and Zydeco music.
The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $16 for adults, $14 for seniors 65 and over, and $12 for youths 17 and under. Tickets are available at the door or in advance at NM Tech Cashier’s Office (second floor of Fidel Center), Brownbilt Western Wear, Sofia’s Kitchen, and Video Shack.
Before the concert, Tech Club – Club Macey (TCCM) holds a social in Macey from 5 to 7 p.m., with Cajon-themed snacks. TCCM is a social club for people 21 and over. There is a $5 cover charge if you are not a member of TCCM.
The concert is co-sponsored by New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union, Socorro Springs, EMRTC, KUNM 89.9 FM, New Mexico Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, and Best Western.

Rio Fest Environmental Film Fest Makes Return

The RioFest Environmental Film Festival returns to Macey Center after last year’s hiatus to present an array of films on environmental issues.
The festival will be held Friday and Saturday, Jan. 29-30.
Movies to be screened over the two days range from shorts to full length feature films, the festival’s executive director, Frances Deters said in a press release.
“This year’s theme is ‘Solutions,’ and we’re proud to offer a wide variety of films that can inspire people to seek solutions to the environmental problems we face,” Deters said. “Riofest seeks to empower its patrons by educating them and then providing them with opportunities to engage in sustainable practices.”
Among the 25 films scheduled, three have received critical acclaim by movie critics and the environmental movement; Food, Inc., The Music Tree and King Corn.
The two-day event takes place Jan. 29-30 at Macey Center on the New Mexico Tech campus, said Frances Deters, the film festival’s executive director.
Friday night’s feature will be Brazilian director Otavio Juliano’s The Music Tree, which had its world premiere earlier this year. The movie examines the plight of the Pernambuco tree in Brazil’s Atlantic rainforest. The wood from the Pernambuco is considered the finest for the manufacture of violin, viola and cello bows and has been used since Mozart was composing masterpieces 250 years ago. The film documents efforts to save the trees and the music that depends on it.
Saturday’s matinee will be King Corn, a 2007 documentary about two friends, one acre of corn, and the subsidized crop that drives our fast-food nation. In King Corn, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis move to the heartland to learn where their food comes from. With the help of friendly neighbors, genetically modified seeds, and powerful herbicides, they plant and grow a bumper crop of America's most-productive, most-subsidized grain on one acre of Iowa soil. But when they try to follow their pile of corn into the food system, what they find raises troubling questions about how we eat-and how we farm.
RioFest will screen Food, Inc as the featured film to close the festival Saturday night. The movie examines the current method of raw food production, which is largely a response to the growth of the fast food industry since the 1950s. The production of food overall has more drastically changed since that time than the several thousand years prior. Filmmaker Robert Kenner reveals shocking truths about the food we eat, where it came from and how some forward-thinking entrepreneurs are offering solutions to problems plaguing America’s food industry.
Deters said “cinema has the unique ability to engage emotions through communal relationships between individuals and communities.
“We want to expose people to those communities and healthy ways to get involved with their ideas” she said.
Other feature-length films to be shown during the weekend include Chaparri, the Seven Bears of the Sacred Mountain; The Greening of Southie; and Addicted to Plastic.
RioFest Environmental Film Festival will also be showing the hour-long 1997 movie Affluenza, and its sequel, Escape from Affluenza. The films deal with the social and environmental consequences of materialism and over-consumption, and profiles of people working for solutions to bring a better balance between people and the environment.
The festival will also include the Meatrix series of short animations. Spoofing The Matrix movies, The Meatrix is a creative and humorous approach to educating viewers about factory crop and dairy farming. The Meatrix II, Revolting and The Meatrix II ½, expand on the original’s theme, while promoting social action.
Other films focus on water, including Rio Grande, River of Connection, a documentary produced as an educational film for students by Alexis Rykken of San Antonio. Reviving a Watershed and Mixing: A Dialogue on Wastewater are two other films that focus on water-related issues.
“It’s important that we all recognize and understand the value of our limited resources and what we must do to preserve them,” Deters said.
RioFest Environmental Film Festival is a 501-3C non-profit entity established in 2007 under the fiscal sponsorship of Friends of the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.
Tickets for the event may be purchased by check or money order. Checks should be made to Friends of the Bosque and sent to RioFest Environmental Film Festival, Box 508, Socorro, 87801.
For more information on the RioFest Environmental Film Festival, visit the RioFest website:
Festival tickets are priced at $25 for a two-day pass and $15 for one day. Tickets for the Saturday night showing of Food Inc. are $5.