Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cottonwood Students Learn About Mars

By John Larson

SOCORRO – Students of Cottonwood Valley Charter School learned that there was evidence of underground water in large aquifers on the planet Mars. Scientist Bill Feldman gave the talk to the Charter school’s fourth through eighth graders Friday, Feb. 5, at the County Annex meeting room.
Using close-up photographs of the planet’s surface, Feldman said, “evidence shows that Mars once had large oceans. The question we have to ask is, where did all that water go?”
“There must have been liquid water at one time because certain features on Mars shows mass wasting,” he said. “A lot of soil that is missing.”
Feldman, Senior Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, has had a long and distinguished career in the scientific community. Formerly with Los Alamos National Laboratory, Feldman was the principal investigator of the neutron spectrometer on the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission.
At PSI, Feldman and his team use satellite images of geographical features on Earth to interpret what is seen on the surface of the red planet.
“Look at the color of big rivers running on the Earth. The water is brown,” he said. “Running water can hold a certain amount of soil in it.

“On Mars you have these huge canyons. They are cut deep, cut wide. All that soil has gone somewhere,” Feldman said. “And how much water was needed to carry that huge amount?”
He said current thought is that under the surface is a global aquifer.
“We have only been able to dig down a half foot, which is nothing, really. We need to go down a couple of hundred feet,” he said.
Another indication is the makeup of Mars’ polar ice cap.
“What we can sense from the outside is only a fraction of what's below the surface of the ice on the poles,” he said. “It only accounts for five percent of what we think we see on Mars at any one time.”
Scientists are also continuing to look at deep craters for evidence of water ice.
“We have to land in these deep places, and then see if we can look in detail at the sides of these craters to see if there’s water coming from them,” Feldman said.
The problem to solve, he said, was how to ascertain the presence of water, and then how to measure it. There is evidence that any aquifers may start about 750 feet below the surface.
“People come up with a lot of ideas. There’s a lot of creative thinking,” Feldman said. “One was to have a balloon close to a canyon wall that rises in the day and falls at night. There would be cameras mounted under it that could take close up pictures of the canyon walls where there was evidence of water streaks.”
Another was to get to bottom of glaciers with heaters on, say, the polar ice cap, and have it melt its way to the bottom,” he said.
After the talk, students were able to get an up close look at the neutron measuring instruments Feldman helped to design; one was attached to the LCROSS project that slammed into the Moon, and another that’s currently on its way to study the surface of Mercury.

Pictured: Students from Cottonwood Valley Charter School examine instruments used to measure the amount of water on the Moon and Mercury. Bill Feldman of the Planetary Science Institute gave a presentation to fourth through eighth graders, sponsored by Karen Gram’s Fifth Grade Science Program.

Photo byh John Larson

‘Everybody Has A Story’ Including Dora

By John Severance

SOCORRO -- Dora Lucero has a pretty simple philosophy when it comes to her job.
For 40 years, she has worked at the El Camino Restaurant on North California St. She can be found from 5 p.m. until close during the week at the El Matador Lounge, serving drinks to locals and tourists alike.
“I like the people. I love to talk to people,” Lucero said. “I ask them why they are in Socorro and all kinds of questions. Everybody has a story. And I like to make them feel like they are home.
“Personality has a lot to do with it. Without personality, you don’t have what it takes to be a bartender or a waitress. I get to hear all the married gossip. I know all the stuff that is going around town.”
And what does she remember about her first day?
“They just threw me in there,” Dora laughed. “The first drink I ever made was a margarita.”
Lucero is known for her margaritas.
She was honored in 2000 for making the best margarita and for being the best bartender. Lucero, who also worked as manager of the El Camino for 25 years, also has a simple philosophy to the bar.
“I run it like its my own place,” Lucero said. “This is the way I want the bar to be run.”
Lucero, 64, says she is blessed with tremendous amounts of energy. Besides her five nights a week, Lucero also works at Socorro Leather three days a week.
She works Monday through Friday night at the El Matador.
For 25 years, she worked in the school cafeterias before retiring six years ago.
“I started off as the ticket lady, then the salad bar lady and then I became supervisor,” she said. “I would get up at 6, work at the cafeteria. I would come home and get something to eat and then get to the El Camino at 5. I would get to sleep at midnight and start the day again.”
Lucero loves her job. She has her health. And she enjoys coming to work everyday. As far as quitting, she says “I’m going to work until I can’t walk.”
Lucero moved to Socorro in 1965 from Springer.
“I moved here because it was a nicer climate,” she said. “I came back and put in some applications. I did not move here because of Johnny.”
Johnny is her husband of 43 years. They met at the KC Hall and Johnny’s band “The Vibratones” was playing there.
“I met Johnny on Halloween night,” Lucero said. “He had to go ask permission from my aunt to ask me out. She was really strict and she told him you have to be responsible. Nine months later, we got married. On July 23, it will be 44 years.”
The Luceros have a daughter Doreen, who is married to AB Baca Jr. They have two grandsons AB Baca III and Nathaniel and one great granddaughter, Audrianna Rose.
Lucero laughs when she thinks about when she first moved here.
“I didn’t know anybody. I had an uncle and that’s all I knew,” Lucero said. “From there, I met everybody in town. I don’t think there is anybody who doesn’t know me.”

Photo by John Severance.

Zimmerly: 30 Years ‘Went By Fast’

By John Larson

SOCORRO – After serving 30 years as a city councilor, Chuck Zimmerly is stepping down.
Zimmerly, who had not filed for re-election in February, said at the meeting that he felt proud of serving the people of Socorro over the years, both as a councilor and as a county
“Thirty years is a long time but it sure went by fast,” Zimmerly said. “I’ve spent half of my life in the city council. Now there will be room for new blood.”
He said the city government has “some fantastic people.
“I’m leaving the city in tremendous hands.
Our infrastructure is solid. Out wastewater plant is the envy of the state, and our landfill is destined to be the envy of all the small towns in New Mexico,” Zimmerly said. “The city looks as good as it ever has.”
Zimmerly cited his tenure on the city’s budget committee, to which he was appointed in 1973.
“With Mable's (Gonzales) guidance, we’ve been very, very conservative on the budget,” he said. “We have become the envy of other towns fiscally. During these times, we’re not looking at layoffs, a problem others are having with budgeting problems.”
Zimmerly said he had barely returned from service in the Navy when he found himself following the family tradition of public service.
“When I first came back to Socorro, I wanted to get my degree in petroleum engineering at New Mexico Tech. I got off track because I started teaching part time,” Zimmerly said. “The powers that be at that time, [Mayor] Dr. Gene Colson, [Councilor] Tony Jaramillo and others, got me started in city politics.” I did get my BA in Petroleum Engineering.
Zimmerly was the youngest city councilor in the state at that time. He said he guessed politics was “just in my blood.”
His father, Richard Zimmerly; grandfather, Richard Zimmerly Sr.; and great-grandfather Samuel J. Zimmerly, were all involved in Socorro politics.
Samuel J. Zimmerly, an immigrant from Switzerland, was a corporal in the U.S. Army stationed at Fort Craig when he was discharged from the service. In 1864 he settled down in Socorro and married Pablita Torres.
“We were the first ‘Stallion Siters’,” he said, referring to the term given to GIs from White Sands Missile Base who married into local families.
“My great grandfather Samuel was on the very first Socorro School Board,” Zimmerly said.
Besides being a city councilor, Chuck Zimmerly served two terms as a county commissioner in the mid-1980s.
Teaching math since 1973, he retired from the school system in 2008 as principal of Sarracino.
He continues to coach football and track at Socorro High School.
“Last football season … what a year,” Zimmerly said. “To see the kids overachieve the way they did was great.”
Zimmerly said his immediate plans are just to relax, be with family, and “pay more attention” to his health.”

Pictured: Longtime city councilor Chuck Zimmerly (right) serves cake to councilor Toby Jaramillo (left) and Mable Gonzales at the Socorro City Council meeting Monday night.

Photo by John Larson

Civil War Re-Enactors To Take To Streets

By John Larson

SOCORRO – Amidst the smoke of cannonading and musket fire, Civil War re-enactors will battle it out in Socorro and Escondida next weekend for the 13th annual Battle For Socorro.
Three battles will be fought over the weekend. In between, the public will have a chance to mingle with the soldiers and others involved in the event.
The most conspicuous event is the battle fought in the center of Socorro, when rebel forces – Texas Volunteers – attack Federals defending the Plaza. The Siege of Socorro will commence at 5 p.m. Saturday in the area of Spring and California, and proceed - muskets and cannons blazing - along Center Street. The rebels will push the Federals to a final skirmish at the Plaza.
‘Of all the re-creations of Civil War battles around the country, not one uses city streets,” Civil War enthusiast and re-enactor Charles Mandeville said. “We’re doing it on the actual site of the original battle.”
The taking of Socorro by the Texans will be formalized with the surrender of the Union troops and the raising of the Confederate flag at City Hall.
“Texan Confederates move against the rear guard of the Second Regiment, New Mexico Militia, to capture the town and liberate it from the Union,” Mandeville said. “The surrender will take place at the Baca House [occupied now by the Stage Door Grill] where we are led to believe it actually took place.”
Earlier in the day period music, demonstrations, and tours will be given Saturday in and around Fort Escondida - a redoubt to represent Fort Craig - at the Rio Grande bridge. This where the re-enactment of the Battle of Valverde will take place.
The re-enactment will attract about 200 re-enactors.
Mandeville said the Battles of Socorro weekend is one of the premier re-enactment events in the four states of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Utah.
“We’ll have a fairly large contingent,” Mandeville said. “We have people coming in from El Paso, Las Cruces, Albuquerque, and Alamogordo and others from Arizona and Colorado.”
Volunteers have been preparing the fort and the battlefield for the past few weeks. A wooded area east of the battlefield has been cleared, giving re-enactors more options, especially with cannon fire and cavalry charges.

“We’ve been clearing out a lot of salt cedar to give us room to recreate the lancer charge at Valverde,” he said. “It was the only lancer charge in the Civil War.”
He said seven cannons will be present. Cannons will fire and buried charges will explode at various places in the field.
“There are always some surprises, even to the re-enactors,” Mandeville said. “Last year, they were surprised by the appearance of a Gatling gun. It was very realistic.”
The Battle of Valverde in 1862 was fought Feb. 20-21 near the town of Valverde, which no longer exists, located about 30 miles south of Socorro on the Rio Grande. Confederate forces, led by Sibley, needed to capture Union forces at the fort to clear supply lines to Santa Fe.
Some walls and features of Fort Craig, which was established to protect settlers from Apache and Navajo raids, can still be seen today. It was one of the largest Union forts constructed in the west.
Mandeville said the Battle of Valverde will begin at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, and last until about noon. Spectators can line up on the Escondida Bridge to view the action, and listen to a narration of the battle from Don Alberts, Civil War historian and author of the book, Rebels On The Rio Grande.
The Socorro chapter of the DAV will be selling hamburgers and hot dogs for the hungry, he said.
Following the conclusion of the battle, visitors can take advantage of various medical, artillery, cavalry and infantry demonstrations until 4 p.m.
A third battle, the Battle of Escondida, a mock battle – not an actual re-creation – will begin at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. Mandeville said the battle will exemplify typical tactics and movements used in the Civil War. “This year, the rebels will be the defenders,” Mandeville said. “It should wind up around noon. Before that, a period church service will be held.”
“Also we’d like to see people come out to visit the encampments at Escondida Saturday and Sunday mornings, beginning at 8 a.m.,” he said.
Weekend activities also include:
Lantern Tour – 5 p.m. Friday, Fort Escondida
Escondida camps open to the public – 8 a.m. Sat. and Sun.
Victorian Fashion Show and Ladies Tea – 3 p.m. Saturday, Garcia Opera House
Fandango with the New Mexico Territorial Brass Band – 7 p.m. Saturday, Garcia Opera House
Period Church Service – 9 a.m. Sunday, Fort Escondida

File photos by John Larson

Area Students Ready For Science Olympiad

By John Larson

SOCORRO – The brightest students from Socorro High School, Sarracino Middle School, and Cottonwood Valley Charter School will be testing their knowledge and skills this weekend at the 24th annual Science Olympiad at New Mexico Tech.
The games begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 20.
Socorro High School is entering the event with several seasoned pros, with the addition of four new members. Spokesman for the team, Trey Thunborg, said his team should do well in both written and building events.
“I think we’re going to be pretty strong again this year,” Thunborg said. “Everybody is working hard on their events.”

The Socorro High team boasts the talents and brains of Tim Abeyta, Mariah Anaya, Siddhartha “Squid” Dhawan, Jonathan Haede, Leroy Lopez, Sarah McLain, Brian Melanson, Mariah Otero, Moaaz Soliman, Cody Sonnenfeld, Trey Thunborg, Kaitlin Warden, and Brittani Webb. Their teacher/coach is Jared Kempton.
In the middle school division, Cottonwood Valley Charter School came out of the regional tournament in Silver City last month as a formidable competitor.
Nancy Engler, teacher/coach of the Charter School team feels good about going into the state tournament.
“The team is strong overall,” Engler said. “Cottonwood came in second in the regionals at Silver, missing first place only by two points.”

Charter School team members include: Ariel Dillon, Will Benson, Sarah Frail, Alq Fuierer, Dushan Gacanich, Anjik Ghosh, Maggie Kerkmans, Matthew Lassey, Kate Magedova, Jenna Melanson, Tionne Molina, Seamus Parker, River Van Riper, Jacobi Walsh, Karl Young, and Alice Zhang.
At Sarracino Middle School, assistant coach Jeff Tull said he and coach Amanda McCleary have great hopes for that school’s team.
“The kids are really into it this year,” Tull said. “They like the academics of it all.”

Members of the Saracino team include Julie Aster, Camilla Aitbryev, Melanie Chavez, Elias Flores, Clayton Forbes, Halley Forbes, Freddy Lam, Ashly Nash, Swaraj Pand, Chynna Pearson, Alizabeth Saenz, Greg Stover, and Ivy Stover,
Both middle and high school students will pit their skills against other high schools in 23 subjects within the disciplines of Earth and Space Science; Physical Science And Chemistry; Technology and Engineering; Life, Personal, and Social Science; and Inquiry and The Nature Of Science.
Each team can have up to 15 members, with two “intelletes” competing in most competitions. The winning team earns 20 points; second-place earns 19 and the 20th place team gets 1 point. The team with the most points takes home the state title and a trip to the national competition.
Science Olympiad State Director Tony Ortiz stated that the event allows academically gifted students to excel, earn recognition and explore different potential career paths.
“This event promises to be a full day of fun and excitement for these students,” he said. “These competitors are the brightest young people in New Mexico. They’re here to compete and win, but we’ll make sure they enjoy themselves too.”

Photos by John Larson.

Man Escapes After High Speed Chase Through Socorro

By John Larson

SOCORRO – A high speed chase in Socorro last Friday ended when the suspect’s car crashed into a fence on Nicholas Ave., near a group of children playing.
According to the police report, at 7:45 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12, Officer Stanley Montano spotted a Mercury headed west on Spring Street moving at a high rate of speed. The car then turned north at the intersection at Highway 60, and turned into Lincoln Ave., followed by Montano, who had activated his lights and siren.
The report said that the male driver of the Mercury attempted to make a left onto Nicholas Ave., but lost control and struck a fence in the 500 block of Nicholas. The driver then exited the car and started fleeing on foot, ignoring the officer’s order to stop.
The suspect, heavily tattooed on his head and body, was able to evade a search by Montano and backup officers. A female passenger in the car was questioned at the Police Department and released. The vehicle was towed by Hicks’ towing service to the Police Department where it was processed for evidence.
The report stated that when the car crashed into the fence there were children present at the house next door playing basketball.
Sgt. Richard Lopez said the suspect is still at large, and that investigators are waiting for evidence which includes, samples of DNA and fingerprints.
“We will release his name after we make the arrest,” he said. “He’s currently still at large.”

Village Board Looks Into Recycling

By John Larson

MAGDALENA – The New Mexico Recycling Coalition is offering help to small municipalities with a population of 10,000 or less who want to institute recycling programs, and Village Board trustees Monday Feb. 8, reviewed an informational letter detailing ways the Coalition can help.
The letter, submitted to the board by Laurie Ware, listed several free resources, including technical assistance from recycling professionals, and assistance in applying for a grant from New Mexico Recycling and Illegal Dumping (RAID).
According to English Bird, Executive Director of the Coalition, the New Mexico Environment Department is looking for RAID grant application projects or programs that can be completed within six months.
“Possible fundable activities include recycling trailers, which cost approximately $10,000 each for the commonly used mobile collection trailers,” the letter said. “Or other collection equipment such as recycling bins or compartmentalized collection trucks.”
Ware told the Mountain Mail that she was contacted by the Coalition because of her involvement with the successful recycling program at Cottonwood Valley Charter School in Socorro.
“They can help write grants to get money for a variety of recycling equipment, such as containers. Some villages have been awarded up to $20,000 worth of equipment,” Ware said. “They want villages to have the capability to recycle.”
Communities that have taken advantage of the grant include Tucumcari ($10,000), Truth or Consequences ($15,500), Cimarron ($24,000), Carlsbad ($20,000), Melrose ($20,000), and 30 others.
“This letter is to let them know is that the money is out there,” Ware said. “The village government has to be the body applying for the grant.”
Mayor Jim Wolfe said Magdalena currently recycles cardboard, motor oil, tires, and car batteries at the village transfer station.
“What to do with the other recyclables is the problem. The hang up is that most of it has to be taken to Albuquerque,” he said. “We’ve tried to start this up years ago, but ran into the same problem. How to pay for it. Hopefully we could get with the county and Socorro and combine it all at some point.”
In the meantime, the City of Socorro will be holding its “Third Saturday Recycle Day” collecting mixed paper and cardboard at the Plaza this Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

OBITUARY: Earl Towner

Oct. 16, 1907-Feb. 13, 2010

Earl Towner, 102, a long time resident of Luis Lopez, died Saturday, Feb. 13. He was born Oct. 16, 1907 in Dewey, Okla.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 54 years, Louise, who passed away in 1989.
He is survived by Margie Garcia; five children, Marlene Horton of Rogue River Ore., Herman Towner of Fence Lake, Melvin Towner of Socorro, Sammie Jones of Murphy, Ore., and Tommy Towner of Quemado. A third daughter, Francis Beevers, passed away in 1989. Survivors also include 15 grandchildren; 38 great grandchildren; and 20 great-great grandchildren.
Earl traveled all over the Southwest, from Oklahoma to California, during the late 1920’s to the early 1930’s, first in a 1928 Model A Roadster which broke down after 12,000 miles, and later hitch-hiking, “hobo-ing” and riding the rails. He first arrived in Socorro in a boxcar. He settled down with Louise, whom he met at a dance in Tingle, in 1933 to pursue his passions of family and farming.
Over the next 60 years, Earl provided for his family by farming his seven sections, including livestock. In two of his best years he sold 250 head of hogs one year, and 2,000 turkeys in another year.
Earl did most of his plowing with horses. “I drove as many as ten horses for plowing, but most of the time six,” he once said.
In 1942 he bought a second hand Model A John Deere tractor, which broke down after two years. “They had a company man come out to replace the drive shaft,” Earl remembered one time. “I thought about going back to horses, but my father said between tractors and horse, tractors will win.”
The family had his casket painted yellow and green – John Deere equipment colors.
Earl retired from ranching in 1992, at age 80, but had said, “I could still make a hand at 80.”
Visitation was held at Steadman-Hall Funeral Home Wednesday, Feb. 17. Burial was in the family cemetery in Fence Lake Thursday, Feb. 18.

Unpaid Property Taxes Take Center Stage

By John Severance and Nathalie Nance

SOCORRO -- With a little less than two months to go, the collection rate for 2009 property taxes stands at 62 percent, county treasurer Genevie Baca said this week.
During last week’s County Commission meeting, unpaid property taxes originating mostly from the Rio Grande Estates and Magdalena area were discussed. There are other areas in the county that are unpaid and many of these properties can not be located or identified.
“When are we going to have an estate sale?” asked commissioner Rumaldo Griego.
“That would be very appropriate” said county attorney Adren Nance, and added that legislators are working on a bill to give counties the right to foreclosure.
Baca cautioned, however, that most of the properties in question are less than an acre and difficult to sell.
Baca said there are 97 parcels that are identified as unknown with property taxes due of more than $48,000.
“These unknown parcels reflect on our delinquencies,” Baca said.
The county treasurer also said the parcels in Magdalena were bought by somebody in 1944 and that person recently died and there are no known heirs.
“There are $2,400 in delinquent taxes and no one has come forward,” Baca said.
Nance said after 10 years, whatever delinquent taxes are due, they are wiped away. “So every year, the county loses tens of thousands of dollars,” Nance said.
The last auction sale was in 1999 in Socorro County.
“People are willing to buy these parcels but they have to go to auction first,” Baca said.
Nance is hoping for legislation that would give the state and county equal jurisdiction when it comes to calling for these auctions. After two years, the county hands over the delinquent cases to the state.
And if the unpaid taxes are paid, the state gets two-thirds of the funds and the county one-third, Nance said.
In other business:
•The public nuisance ordinance was approved. “It is basically the same ordinance that has been in effect since 2001,” county attorney Adren Nance said. “We have made very few changes.” One of the changes that was made was that the ordinance now includes a definition of a nuisance.
•The funding for the Socorro General Hospital was approved and administrator Bo Beames was pleased that the hospital has scored top results in opinion polls. “I’m fortunate to work with a really great organization and great staff,” Beames said.
•Sheriff Philip Montoya reported that training of the Socorro deputies in Navajo law and police code has started, after which the cross commission between the Navajo Nation and Socorro County can take effect.
•Anthony Baca of Socorro was appointed to the DWI Planning Council. “I want to give back to my community” said Baca, who wanted to work with DWI for personal reasons. He said a friend committed suicide after being convicted for DWI several times.
• County Manager Delilah Walsh reported that the county’s insurance premiums have increased 26 percent. “We get more exclusions every year, but the premiums go up” said Walsh and added that Socorro County might share a penalty for counties that are not doing that well. Walsh assured the commission she would look into it.

Sheriff's Blotter

The following items were taken from reports at the Socorro County Sheriff's Department.

A Socorro man reported at 11:45 a.m. that the license plate off his 2003 Class C motor home parked at an RV park in San Antonio was missing. He stated that it appeared that the plate was forcibly removed. The bracket holding the plate was broken at the frame. No suspects at time of report. The plate was a permanent New Mexico plate.
Jan. 6
Deputies from the Socorro County Sheriff’s Department and the Magdalena Marshal’s office conducted a search warrant on a residence on County Road 91 in Lemitar. The Marshal’s office had learned of weapons stolen in the Magdalena area were being kept there. Weapons and a controlled substance, and drug paraphernalia were found in a vehicle at the address. The weapons were identified as those taken from the Magdalena area.
Jan. 7
A woman on Abeyta Street reported at 11 a.m. that she received e-mails from the suspect in regards to placing a food order. She stated that during the course of the e-mails the female suspect asked for up front money. The victim became suspicious and called police. The officer learned that the suspect was attempting to use a credit card that was not hers, and the credit card had been flagged by the credit card company. The officer was unable to obtain any further information on the suspect. An agent of the credit card company stated that the credit car fraud unit would handle the incident. The victim was advised of the status of the credit card.
A woman in Veguita reported at noon that animals belonging to the suspect have broken down her fence and eaten her trees. It was learned that the suspect had agreed to cover the damages. The woman was advised that this matter was civil, and she stated she wanted the report to pursue in civil court.
A Socorro man reported at 4 p.m. that persons unknown had cut the lock on a gate and entered property on East frontage Road in Lemitar. The suspects then pried open the workshop and entered. He stated he was unsure if what, or if anything, was missing until a full inventory is taken. He is to forward that inventory list to the officer when completed.
Two vehicles were traveling north on Interstate 25 at 7:12 p.m. A cow wandered into the roadway at mile marker 122 and was struck by both vehicles. The vehicles sustained moderate to heavy damage. No injuries to the drivers or passengers.
Jan. 8
A Socorro woman reported at 11:19 a.m. that unknown suspects had caused damage to her vehicle on Church St. It had one long scratch on the left side, hood, and the right front headlight. No suspects at time of report.
A deputy met with a Bureau of Land Management officer at 1 p.m. who reported that a vehicle had been located on BLM land and no one was anywhere near it. It was believed the vehicle belonged to an 80 year old female and there was concern for her safety. It was later learned that the lady was fine and in Belen.The vehicle was towed from the area and charges are pending through the BLM ranger.
Jan. 12
An officer responded at 9 a.m. to a residence in Veguita on the report of an unattended death. The complainant stated that she went to give the deceased her medication and found that she had died. The victim had a long history of medical problems. OMI was called to the scene and the deceased was pronounced.
A La Joya woman reported at 10 a.m. that unknown suspects tore the screen of her east side window and gained entry into her home. Suspects took a Wii game console, a hunting knife, and approximately $100 in loose bills and change. Footprints were located and followed to another residence where suspects attempted to break in. No suspects at time of report.
Jan. 22
Vehicle 1 pulled into the northbound lane from the rest stop at mile marker 167 on Interstate 25 at 8:50 a.m. Vehicle 2, a semi tractor trailer, occupied that lane, and vehicle 1 became lodged under the trailer up against the rear wheels. Vehicle 1 sustained heavy damage, and its occupants were transported by ambulance to the hospital where they were treated and released.
Jan. 23
A complainant from Socorro reported at 1 p.m. that someone had broken into the vending machines at the Walking Sands Rest Area at mile marker 167 on Interstate 25. Padlocks were cut and entry was made into the beverage machine. An unknown amount of money and/or beverages were taken. The snack machine was broken into but not damaged.
A Bosque man reported at 5:45 p.m. that someone broke into his house by prying open the back door and stole some jewelry. He stated that the jewelry was of different types and values. The thief left the residence the way he came. No suspect at time of report.

An Expression Of Concern At Bosque Del Apache

Guest Commentary
By Kale Batsell, Lu Ann Pavletich, and Phoebe Wood

Those of us who have lived in the area for decades, or moved here to enjoy its natural beauty, have become used to the rhythms of life in the central Rio Grande Valley: the first water in the irrigation ditches, the spring planting and fall harvests, the annual return of the migrating ducks, geese and sandhill cranes to the Bosque del Apache. For many years, we have been able to take the wonders of this national wildlife refuge almost for granted. We proudly show it off to our guests; its visitors contribute to the economy of Socorro County; it refreshes and inspires us and helps to bring new residents eager to share in the region’s special pleasures.
This year, however, many visitors have been denied the transforming, wondrous spectacle of thousands of wintering birds flying in and out of the refuge at sunset and dawn. Due primarily to the failure of this year’s corn crop at the refuge, the number of birds actually staying there is alarmingly low. They have been forced to wander up and down the valley, feeding where they can and the refuge has not been able to function as it should, as their sanctuary.
There are real reasons to care about this year’s crisis. Socorro County is one of the poorest in the state and the Bosque del Apache NWR is certainly one of its chief attractions. A survey cited in a recent Bosque economic impact statement indicates that 74 percent of visitors come to the area “specifically to visit Bosque del Apache NWR.” More than 43 percent of these visitors “stay more than one day in the area.” The money they spend on food, lodging and the other goods and services is crucial to the region’s economy. The potentially negative effect of a decline in Bosque’s reputation as a showplace, as one of the jewels of the national wildlife refuge system, cannot be over-stated.
The refuge is critical for the welfare of the geese, crane and waterfowl populations, and it has a long history of partnering with local farmers to grow corn for them on its lands, The birds can forage for foodstuffs in the wetlands in November when the weather is mild, but when the marshes freeze in the winter, birds need a more nutritious supplementary food – corn. In fact, the refuge estimates a need for about 1.5 million pounds of corn.
Current practices require a two-year cycle of rotation between alfalfa and corn, with one quarter of each unit being planted in corn. But the refuge’s farming program is in trouble for a number of reasons.
Corn is much more labor-intensive to grow and irrigate than alfalfa and is prone to damage from weeds and insects.
Recent declines in alfalfa prices increase the risk for the prospective farmer.
Fields upon which the refuge had long ago improved the drainage to reduce salinity may require further remediation.
Transporting the necessary equipment to and from the refuge is time-consuming and costly.
The fact that corn is no longer widely grown in the valley means that there are fewer farmers with the experience to be successful.
Certain steps are being taken to restart the farming program. According to a recent ad aimed at attracting local farmers, the refuge will help prospective farms “in the purchase of seed corn, fertilizer and corn-related pesticides.” The Fish and Wildlife Service has issued a two-year approval for the use of genetically modified corn on the refuge for this coming year.
Of even more importance to resolve, however is the issue of trust between the refuge and its farmers. In the midst of drought conditions in 2001, the regional director of Fish and Wildlife decided that the refuge’s water should be left in the river for the benefit of the endangered silvery minnow. The resulting hardship to the refuge farmers who had crops at state caused a deterioration in their relationship with the refuge and its government supervisors. Since then, the rules and regulations that farmers have to contend with, have made it difficult to convince them that farming on the refuge is a worthwhile endeavor. It is hard to understand, therefore, why the prospective farmers answering the refuge’s recent advertisement have also requested a meeting with the regional director of Fish and Wildlife. It is important that the refuge’s relative physical isolation not become an unnecessary bureaucratic isolation as well. At present, the refuge needs its farmers, and their partnership should be a fair one, a source of benefit and pride to both parties.
At the regularly scheduled meeting of the Friends of the Bosque board of directors on Jan. 16, Refuge Manger Tom Melanson summarized some of the steps the refuge is taking to relieve the crop problem this year and plans for the future, The refuge already has spread 3,000 pounds of the 300,000 pounds of corn it has brought down from Bernardo for supplemental feeding. The advertised meeting with local farmers offered hope that at least one farmer will sign a contract to farm a portion of the 1,049 acres currently available.
The refuge also is considering modifying its farming program to include a wetland/crop rotation. Other refuges have experimented with this process which involves flooding a parcel of land for two to four years in a wetland and then planting it. The crop in the newly replanted soil tends to require fewer pesticides and often offers greater yields. The Bosque is anticipating an initial outlay of $110,000 for an aerial survey of all lands within the historic flood plain and a detailed soil survey of all current agricultural lands in order to determine with portions of the refuge would be optimal for such a program. There would then be annual costs for seed, fertilizer, labor and fuel.
It is good to know that the refuge is taking the issues raised during this disappointing year seriously. As beautiful as it is, Bosque del Apache does not run itself. Its management and staff are the stewards of our resources and cannot be motivated simply by bureaucratic and procedural impulses but must feel a real passion for the area and what it has to offer. It is absolutely important that they design and implement a long-term plan to make sure that the birds are provided for.
Those serving in the regional Fish and Wildlife office also are the guardians of our refuge and its goals. We trust that they will do their best to help our refuge deal with all its issues, large and small, now and in the future.
Challenges unmet become chronic problems that lead to mediocre results, and we cannot afford another year like this one. For many of us, the Bosque is an emotional place, magical in its power to transform us through the experience that it offers, We in the community should remind ourselves that a well-run refuge continues to make this a special place to live and that it deserves our attention and support.

OPINION: At Last, We Are Waking Up To Our Need for Good Ethics?

The Right Emphasis
By Doug May

By Doug May
After a decade of fraud and corruption and with no end in sight, it is not surprising that people are talking about ethics. Good ethics, it seems, are in short supply. Kenneth Lay and others at Enron took home millions in stock options, by “cooking the books.” There was similar corruption in leadership at WorldCom, Qwest, Tyco International, HealthSouth and others. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, Bernard Madoff’s $50 billion swindle was exposed.
Is it any wonder that this is reflected in our children? In 2008, 30,000 students in 100 high schools were surveyed. Thirty percent said they had stolen something in the past year and 64 percent admitted they had cheated on a test.
Here in New Mexico, we have corruption at all levels: two former state treasurers, the head of the Senate and the secretary of state have all been convicted. Investigations into the handling of the State’s investments is ongoing. Corruption is common at all levels in government and in the private sector.
The encouraging thing is that our legislators in the 2010 session saw the need for higher ethical standards. A total of seven bills were sponsored dealing with ethics. On Jan. 25, the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce purchased a full page advertisement in the Albuquerque Journal and devoted 20 percent of its message to five specific recommendations dealing with ethics.
The struggle to create an ethics commission has not been easy. Sarah Welsh, executive director of the Foundation for open Government said that her group still can’t support a bill that has closed proceedings and no documentation available to the public. Sean Olson of the Albuquerque Journal quoted Stuart Bluestone, special counsel to the attorney general who said “that without bipartisan support, the commission would be started with a cloud of suspicion that would erode public public trust.”
A fair ethics commission would be a welcome step forward, but much more is needed. The two important factors to reduce abuse of power are 1) checks and balances and 2) personal ethics.
There are no checks and balances when an official that appoints a board or commission and then sits as the chairman. It is prone to abuse. Any body whose meetings, minutes and decisions are not open to the public are prone to abuse. The public media can provide some checks and balances if they have access to the information. The financial records of any public organization should be yearly audited and financial reports made available monthly or at least quarterly. Regulatory boards should be monitored closely. We should be careful to provide checks and balances at every level of government.
Good personal ethics is probably the most important factor and the most difficult to promote. Personal ethics are those standards that a person adopts freely for himself or herself. Everyone has some ethical standards that guides their actions. Some personal ethics are good and some are bad.
The following are some examples:
 • Treat others the way you would want them to treat you.
• Finders keepers, losers reapers.
• It ain’t my job, man.
• Be prepared.
• Do what you have to do to reach your goal.
• All is fair in love and war.
• Be content with what you have.
• Never admit you were wrong.
• You should never rat on someone in your group.
• Tell the truth.
I would like to hear some of your ethics ( Next week’s article will address good ethics.
Checks and balances and good personal ethics are essential for a free society. The late Paul Harvey frequently reminded us that self-government cannot exist without self-control.

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

OPINION: Haiti’s True Story Deflates Myth of America as Savior

The Pencil Warrior
By Dave Wheelock

For surviving victims of the great Haitian earthquake of 2010, the struggle continues for the most basic elements of a dignified existence, beginning with water, shelter, food, and living conditions that will support a healthful existence. From around the world, aid continues to pour in from governments and millions of good people who are moved to assist those less fortunate than themselves. But the best gift we could give the people of Haiti is to finally face up to the awful history of the place, including what our own country has perpetrated on behalf of American business interests. Only then will Haiti at long last have a hope of healing herself, and on her own terms.
Not that the United States has been the only agent of misery in Haiti. Fortune seekers acting with the blessings of the governments of Spain, England, and France had plenty to do with the extermination and replacement of the original inhabitants of the once-bountiful island with hundreds of thousands of African innocents kidnapped into slavery. From the landing of Columbus in 1492 until the Haitians’ violent self-liberation at the dawn of the 19th Century; through the endless legacy of debt first placed upon the economy by France and perpetrated by interventionist U.S. policies cloaked in the Monroe Doctrine and the Washington Consensus, Haiti has seen her lands despoiled and her people impoverished. Yet justice could emerge at last if the light of attention brought about by this tragedy brings the American people to reject the imperial tendencies their government has so vigorously denied for over one hundred years, not only in Haiti but throughout Latin America.
The pronouncement of Haiti’s independence in 1804 elicited a response from the United States Senate eerily prophetic of more modern times, when that august body declared Haiti “the greatest threat to U.S. interests at home and abroad.” In 1806 the U.S. even joined a French and Spanish embargo on trade with Haiti in sympathy with French demands for massive compensation from the new republic for the loss of her slave-powered plantations. Terrified by the prospect of American slaves also rising to throw off their bonds, Uncle Sam refused to recognize Haiti’s existence as an independent nation until after the southern states had seceded over fifty years later.
Meanwhile, business interests of the U.S. and other European nations had moved into Haiti and the rest of Latin America, establishing fruit, sugar, and coffee plantations and generally trampling the nation’s sovereign rights, to the point of periodically raiding the national treasury. U.S. gunboats became a fixture in Haitian waters, ready at a moment’s notice to protect U.S. business interests from European rivals or any ideas the locals might get about asserting their own rights. In 1910, the U.S. State Department supported a takeover of Haiti’s national treasury by the National City Bank of New York, known today as Citibank.
And so it’s gone. In 1915 the U.S. Marines invaded Haiti and occupied the country until 1934. Through popular revolts, military coups, and constant pillaging, Haiti has never been far from the thoughts of Washington, whether for the purposes of arming right wing dictators against perceived communist plots or “stabilizing” the population. In the process a tiny, fabulously wealthy ruling elite evolved as Washington’s clients, who delivered – and continue to deliver - what remained of Haiti’s wealth in return for superpower validation. The commonly accepted portrayal in the U.S. of the Haitian people as incapable of self rule adds outrageous insult to injury.
The crowning glory came in 1996, when Haiti was pressured by the International Monetary Fund into implementing a broad program of neoliberal reforms in order to receive economic aid. Under the rubric of “structural adjustment” wages were reduced, import tariffs protecting domestic businesses slashed, and state-owned enterprises sold off to foreign bidders. American crops including rice, subsidized by the U.S. government, were dumped on this new market at the price of the destruction of Haitian farmers, who migrated in droves into substandard (read "earthquake vulnerable") housing in Port-au-Prince. Notably, the Emergency Economic Recovery Plan contained virtually no benefits for the chronically poor of Haiti.
The full scale of offenses against Haiti boggles the mind, yet her uncensored story is required reading for anyone professing to care about her fate. To throw crumbs in charity while ignoring the root causes of poverty is to collaborate in its permanence.
What has happened in Haiti is not a unique phenomenon but a reality that is allowed to flourish wherever myth goes unquestioned. May we all learn to be skeptical of narratives that sound too good to be true. A good place to start is with the United States as noble savior of the world.

Dave Wheelock, a member of the Oneida Nation, is a collegiate sports administrator and coach. His history degree is from the University of New Mexico. Reach him at Mr. Wheelock's views do not necessarily represent those of the Mountain Mail.

LETTER: Why $20,000?

To the editor
I'm a member of the SEC Reform Group who attended the Board meeting last week, and I'm deeply concerned about the proposed informational / special meeting that has been proposed for this upcoming March.
a) This informational/special meeting is only three weeks away from the annual meeting that we've been awaiting for a whole year. The only way to pass the member resolutions that are so necessary in restoring fairness and returning some of the control to the member-owners is to have an excellent member turnout. Many of our fellow members live in Magdalena, Datil, Quemado, and many places both north and south of Socorro. Is it fair to expect them to drive that distance twice?
b) The figure quoted for cost of the meeting is $20,000. Why? Employees will be there, but it is assumed they'll just be getting their regular salary, however, they're going to pay for security in case any of us decide to get rowdy.There will be printing costs associated in mailing out notices, and for postage, and while that will be a considerable amount, it's way less than half of the projected cost. I'd bet the trustees are going to be paid also. These guys get $75 every time they attend a 10 minute Board meeting, and of course, the attorney will be well-paid. Thank God they don't plan on handing out cash prizes!
c) By tacking on the word "special" to the type of meeting this is supposed to be, they have acquired to right to have voting. Oh, oh. This board, with a few notable exceptions, is opposed to passage of our resolutions. If those of us who want change are few in number, some changes could be made (if they have a quorum) that could completely stop further progress by us.
I believe this meeting is being used by the board to offer resolutions counter to the member resolutions. If you agree that we don't need this duplication of meetings, I urge you to let the representative for your district know.

Audrie Clifford

LETTER: Co-op Member's Observations

To the editor
Thankful there is newspaper coverage of the SEC meetings. This is important to me to explain and verify what I have witnessed at the confusing meetings. The meetings are convoluted, contentious and muffled and it seems to me that nothing is ever resolved just passed on to the lawyer to “research the matter.” (Case in point: Mr. Stennerd’s request for a commission to be appointed to do an independent study to compare trustee compensation packages with other comparable member-owned cooperatives.) I have a feeling this request will, like others, get lost in limbo.
The cooperative lawyer, Mr. Francish, after all, made the statement at the meeting that he is “representing the corporation.” Had I been allowed, as a member of the “audience” to ask who the corporation is that he refers to, I might know something more than what I suspect is just another way to cloud what should be transparent. There was even concern that someone might be taping the meetings. Heavens! I think that matter was also referred to the lawyer to check on whether taping was legal, though no one was doing so.
Mr. Wolberg is trying to organize a special meeting March 27 to inform the member-owners of the reform-related resolutions that will be voted on in the April annual meeting. He was blindsided by the other two people on his planning committee, Mr. Milton Ulibari and Mr. Leo Cordova. The informative (special meeting) has a proposed extensive agenda that would take several days to carry out. Then there is a matter of expensive security. Surely this special information meeting would not attract terrorists. Surely the member-owners won’t need to be restrained. And why should we have to register in order to be informed?
A question by Mr. Charlie Wagner regarding guidelines for a quorum at this meeting was passed to Mr. Francish whose inconclusive answer was “That is a touchy area that is open for different interpretations.” The board approved the committee’s report (What was there to approve?) without resolving the question.
Score: Two hours of meeting. No resolutions. Nor will there ever be as long as the board’s vote for any proposal can – and will continue to be – 7-4.

Ruth White

Lady Warriors Keep Rolling

By Nicky Romero
For the Mountain Mail

The No. 5 Socorro Lady Warriors clinched the 3-3A season district championship to im-prove to 20-5 overall and 5-0 in district play.
The Lady Warriors ran their win streak to eight games and moved two games ahead of Hot Springs with one game remaining.
By placing first in district, Socorro will receive a bye to the championship game of the district tournament on Feb. 27 at home.
Socorro easily defeated district opponent Cobre Indians 81-16 on Friday, Feb. 12 at home. Cobre's record fell to 3-21 overall and 0-4 in district.
The story of this game was Socorro's senior Roxanne Silva who again ruled the court. Almost scoring at will, Silva scored a state high of 57 points. She not only broke her school record, which she set three days ago, but also broke the New Mexico state individual scoring record of 53 points. The previous record was held by Deming's Melanie Maynes, which she held since February 3, 1998.

Silva was proud to talk about her performance, “I was happy with the school record. My mom, friends, my teammates kept telling me to push it. They told me, Rox just get it, you can do it. I pushed myself and I did it. I'm happy.”
Silva (averaging 30 points a game) scored thanks to many assists from her teammates. She scored on a variety of layups, putbacks, short jumpers, and three 3-point shots.
Jaden Jones added 14 points.
Coach Joseph Garcia talked about his star player “Roxanne had a heck of a week, she broke two big records in one week. She wanted that state record and she got it. Now we can focus on other things the rest of the year.”
Socorro led this game from start to finish. The Lady Warriors led 46-8 at halftime, ensuring the running clock for the second half.
“Senior Night” was played against the Hot Springs Lady Tigers on Tuesday, February 16. Seniors Tristen Peralta, Brittany McDaniel, and Silva were honored this night. They ended their last home season game with a 63-40 win against the Lady Tigers (13-11, 3-2).
“This was a big win for us”, Garcia said. “ It give us 20 wins now for the eighth time. ”
It wasn't as easy as the score looked, especially in the 1st half. Socorro was leading 5-2, when Silva received her second foul with five minutes left in the 1st quarter. Coach Garcia quickly sat her down and she did not return until the second half.
Jaden Jones, Brittany McDaniel, Kianna Gonzales, Samantha Sedillo, and Tristen Peralta than took charge, especially defensively. Socorro would have had the lead at the end of the 1st quarter, but Hot Springs hit a three-pointer for a 14-13 lead.
It was all about defense in the 2nd quarter. Socorro's full-court press defense held Hot Springs to only three points. Jones, McDaniel, Gonzales, and Peralta combined for all 11 points scored in this quarter to take a 24-17 lead into halftime.
Garcia said, “It showed these other girls that they can play too. The last couple of games it's been Roxanne. Now we were able to close a whole half without her and still go in with a seven point lead.”
In the third quarter, Silva returned to play and scored 15 points to help her team increase their lead to 49-20 at the end of the quarter. Silva finished with 25 points.

Pictured: Seniors Roxanne Silva, Tristen Peralta and Brittany McDaniel and their families are honored at Senior Night before the Lady Warriors’ game against Hot Springs on Feb. 16.
Photo by John Severance.


Quemado Boys Bounce Back To Top Reserve

Mountain Mail Reports

QUEMADO -- The Quemado boys basketball team rebounded from last week’s loss to Reserve by edging the Mountaineers 52-50 at home on Feb. 13.
In the past week, the Reserve boys lost to Cliff 70-45, defeated Quemado 76-65 and beat Animas 46-37. Reserve was at Quemado Feb. 13.
The Reserve girls lost to Animas 67-16 but rebounded to beat Quemado 37-31.
The Quemado boys (13-6, 1-3), meanwhile beat Animas 88-49 but lost to Cliff 76-64.
The Quemado girls also lost to Cliff 63-16.
The Alamo boys fell to1-11, losing to To'Haijiilee and Gallup Catholic.

Warriors Gain Top Seed For District Tourney

By Michael Olguin Jr.
For the Mountain Mail

SOCORRO -- After two convincing road wins, the Socorro boys basketball team is in the driver’s seat for District 3-3A. The Warriors clinched the regular season district title on Tuesday night in Hot Springs, defeating the Tigers 76-54. The win in T or C came after a 87-31 thrashing of the Cobre Indians in Bayard last Friday night.
The Tigers defeated the Hatch Valley Bears last week and the Warriors defeated the Tigers twice and the Bears once. That gives each the Bears and the Tigers two losses in district play and gives the Warriors (11-13, 5-0) the regular season title regardless of the outcome of the final home game on Friday night against the Bears.
Friday night will not only conclude the regular season play, but it will also be senior night as Kenneth DeCosta, Andrew Contreras, Erik Garcia and Avery Ngo will be honored.
Last Friday night in Cobre, the Warriors had no trouble handling the Indians (0-18) 87-31. Every Warrior was able to get into the scoring column with Jared Marquez leading the way with 24 points. DeCosta and Garcia each had 10 points and Sophomore Ibrahim Maiga added 10 points as well.
Tuesday night in T or C, the Warriors accomplished one goal coach Lawrence Baca and the Warriors set at the beginning of the year -- regular season district champions.
“We got off to another slow start,” Baca told KMXQ after the game. “We can’t do that when it comes to tournament time, when we are playing good teams.”
The Tigers kept the game close until the second half of the game. Socorro held a 48-41 lead until the Warriors’ defense took control. Socorro went on a 21-1 run to extend its margin to 69-42 heading into the fourth quarter.
“We come out lackadaisical for some reason on the road,” Baca said. “The first two and a half quarters our defense just wasn’t there. All year long, we have been trying to find our defense and we are starting to find it now.”
The Warriors went on to win 76-54. Marquez led the Warriors with 33 points. Zach Esquivel had 17 points followed by Garcia with 11.

Swim Team Ready To Compete At State

By Nicky Romero
For the Mountain Mail

“We Train, Because :01 Counts!” is the slogan printed on the Socorro High School Warrior Swimming Team t-shirts. Diedra Vinson is the swim coach who passionately reminds and trains her swimmers according to this slogan.
Vinson is a 5th grade teacher at Zimmerly Elementary School. She has been the swim coach for four years. She coaches nine months out of the year (summer squad and high school squad). In the summertime, she coaches 120 swimmers. For the second year in a row, she has had 30-plus swimmers on the varsity team.
“The summer program feeds the high school program,” Vinson said. “To have as many kids that we do, the program is getting stronger and stronger.
“I know how hard the kids work in the pool and the commitment it takes. We practice in the evening when all the social activities are going on. I know the sacrifice they make. But when you see them grow and reach their goals, it is worth all the work and sacrifice.”
According to Vinson, all New Mexico high school swim teams are lumped into one division (5A), regardless of school size. Socorro has qualified for state during all four years of her coaching.
She adds, “For these kids to keep up that caliber of swimming and that commitment is totally amazing.”
Commitment consists of five days a week, 2½ hours a day, and up to 16 hours on a Saturday for swim meets.
“To get up when it's 16 degrees outside to go swimming, they're a little crazy” she laughs. “Even seniors that come out for the first time, they don't quit.”
“On the boys side, I have Joe Carilli, whose a good swimmer for his first year out. Returnee David Chavez came out to the pool to get stronger for football. Sean Ernst, a first year senior, is swimming good and has a strong work ethic. Avery Ngo, who is also on the basketball team, is only two seconds away from qualifying in the butterfly.
“Randall Romero has been on the team for three years and is our backstroker. Randall got into swimming to get stronger for golf. Peter Vogal, a third-year swimmer, joined swimming so that he wouldn't drown while he kayaks and now does the 500. Derrick Vinson, my son, and that's all I'm going to say about that.”
The swim team has three senior girls.
“Nikki Engler is a complete athletic phenom. She has qualified at the state level in every sport that she's played -- soccer, swimming , and track. She is a hard worker and the anchor of our relays. Jennell Higgs' work ethic is second to none. She's a fierce competitor and she pushes the rest of the team. Then we have Maureen Trujillo swims to get that strength to play softball.
Six girls have already qualified for the state meet. They are Janelle Higgs, Nikki Engler, Angelina Stanzione, Jordan Vinson, DariAna Contreras, and JeriAna Contreras.
Janelle Higgs has qualified for six events at state, but she can only particpate in two individual events according to swim rules.
Last week at the district meet in Albuquerque, the boys finished fifth and the girls were seventh out of 10 teams.
Engler was fourth in the 50 freestyle and third in the 100 freestyle, Higgs was second in the 100 butterfly and third in the 100 backstroke and the girls were third in the 200 freestyle relay.
The state meet will take place Feb. 19 and 20. Qualifiers include Higgs, Angelina Stanzione, Jordan Vinson, JeriAna Contreras, Mirjana Gacanich, and Avery Ngo.
On Saturday, Feb. 6, the swim team traveled to Albuquerque to participate in the West Mesa Invitational. Teams that competed were West Mesa, Sandia, Del Norte, and St Pius.
Higgs, Angelina Stanzione, Engler and Jordan Vinson won the girls 200 medley in 2:04.52, Stanzione won the 50 free in 27.7, Higgs won the 100 butterfly in 1:02.36, Ngo was third in the 100 butterfly in 59.62, Engler was second in the 100 freestyle in 1:01.16 and the girls won the 200 freestyle relay as well.

Steers Garner Three Victories

By Nicky Romero
For the Mountain Mail

MAGDALENA -- The Magdalena Steers basketball team won three games this past week increasing its win streak to seven games.
Magdalena improved its record to 17-4 overall and 9-1 in district, with two games remaining on their season schedule.
Magdalena first defeated Temple-Baptist Academy (2-6, 4-11) 61-34 on the road on Feb. 11.
Bryce Milligan had a team high of 23 points. Reg Peralto scored 12 points and Daniel Hand had 11 points.
Scoring for Temple-Baptist was Devin Padilla with 14 points and Trent Webb with 12 points.
Magdalena’s second win was against the Pine-Hill Warriors (1-16, 0-10) on Saturday, Feb. 13 at home. Magdalena took the victory 74-18.
This game featured a number of scoring runs in the first half. After Pine Hill scored the first two points of the game, Magdalena went on a 12-0 run. Then later in the half, the team went on runs of 8-0, 9-0, and ended the half with an 11-0 run. Magdalena scored inside and outside of Pine-Hill's tight 2-1-2 zone defense. Magdalena led 47-11at halftime.
Coach Jory Mirabal talked about his team's scoring runs, “Those start on the defensive end and we talk about getting consecutive defensive stops. These lead to runs on the offensive end. Solid defense leads to easy offense.”
“Super-sub” and sixth man Ryan Alguirre scored 18 of his 22 points in the first half. Alguirre hit three three-point shots, including a three-point buzzer beater at halftime. Milligan also did damage with 10 of his 13 points coming in the first half.
Mirabal said, “Ryan feels better coming off the bench. He has pretty much asked for the 6th man role and has shined in it.
Magdalena opened the second half with a 10-0 scoring run and easily outscoring Pine-Hill 27-7 this half.
Magdalena's Gene Leseberg added 15 points. Pine-Hill's Sheldon Barney scored 14 points.
Magdalena was again at home on Tuesday, Feb. 16. They defeated To'Hajiilee High School 77-33.
Magdalena was on the road Thursday against Menaul High School. They finish their regular season on Saturday, Feb. 20 at home against district leader Gallup Catholic High School at 3:30 p.m. Magdalena's only district loss came against Gallup Catholic, a 43-30 loss.
Magdalena must beat Gallup Catholic by more than 13 points to get the No. 1 seed in the district tournament. During Saturday's game, five players will be honored on “Senior Night.”

Lady Steers Improve Their Record To 22-0

By Nicky Romero
For the Mountain Mail

MAGDALENA -- The undefeated and No. 2 ranked Magdalena Lady Steers continue to win by big scoring margins.
They added three more wins to their record improving to 22-0 overall and 10-0 in their 6-1A district.
They stand alone in first place in district, only one game ahead of Gallup Catholic High School.
Magdalena first rolled past Temple-Baptist Academy (0-8, 2-14) 81-21 on Feb. 11.
Magdalena jumped out to a 33-6 lead at the end of the first quarter. They led 53-10 at halftime and outscored Temple-Baptist 28-11 in the second half.
Magdalena had three players in double-figures---Camille Mansell (19 points), Nicole Hardy (15 points), and Kameron Armstrong (13 points). The highest scorer for Temple-Baptist was Naomi Goldsmith with 8 points.
On Saturday, Feb. 13, Magdalena was at home and defeated Pine Hill High School (3-7, 5-14). The final score was 79-25.
Pine Hill suited up only eight players to Magdalena's 14. Magdalena's bench depth, unselfish passing and scoring proved too much for Pine Hill to overcome. Pine Hill's 2-3 zone was ineffective, especially against inside player Nicole Hardy who scored 21 of her team-high 27 points in the first half.
Coach Wally Sanchez talked about Hardy, “Nicole is a four year starter. She's always been a scoring threat. This year her defense has gotten better and her passing has got 100 percent better, which makes everyone on the team better.”
“In year's past, teams would focus on Nicole. But now there are two other people in town, that's Camille Mansell and Jennifer Matai. The days that you can scout us and say let's stop Hardy is over.”
Pine Hill scored the first two points of the game. Magdalena than answered with a 12-0 scoring spree and never looked back. Magdalena led at halftime 50-16. Magdalena than outscored their opponent in the second half by a 29-9 margin.
Eleven of the fourteen Magdalena players scored points. Along with Hardy's 27 points, Camille Mansell scored 15 points. The highest scorer for Pine Hill was Jessie Gaddy with 8 points.
Magdalena's third game was played on Tuesday, Feb. 16 at home against the To'Haijiilee Lady Warriors. They defeated To'Haijiilee 68-26.
Magdalena played Thursdayt against Menaul High School. They end their regular season at home on Saturday, Feb. 20 against Gallup Catholic High School, who is in second place in district. This game will also be “Senior Night” for eight of the Magdalena players. Game time is at 2 p.m.

Pictured: The Magdalena cheerleaders. Photo by Nicky Romero.

Alamo Navajo Homecoming Court

Here is the Alamo homecoming court. Filbert Apachito, William Herrera (Homecoming King), Kaland Secatero
(Homecoming Prince), Ambrose Begay, Elijawah Apachito. Bottom left: Eberta Apache, Jovita Smiley (Homecoming Queen), Rocilla Monte (Homecoming Princess), Lancina Gomez, Kristen Apache.

Photo by Nathalie Nance

Roosevelt Impersonator To Perform At Datil School

Mountain Mail Reports

Theodore Roosevelt in the persona of Randy Milligan, actor and Chautauqua performer, will be at the Datil Elementary School on Feb. 24 at 1 p.m.
The New Mexico Humanities Council is sponsoring the Chautauqua performance.
In anticipation of this performance the Datil students have been reading and watching DVD biographies about Theodore Roosevelt and his family.
Several months ago Milligan, who bears a definite resemblance to the 26th president, performed as President Roosevelt at the Quemado Senior Center where last year he was also a hearty and delightfully wicked Judge Roy Bean.
As well as acting and directing at the Carlsbad Community Theatre, Milligan is a Speech and Theatre Instructor at New Mexico State University and President of the Carlsbad Arts & Humanities Alliance.
The performance will be in the school library and everyone is invited to attend. There is no charge for admission.

Careful With That Alarm Clock

Luna News
By Kaye Mindar

I own a great alarm clock; it’s atomic, so it always has the correct time and battery back-up, so power outages are never a worry. There is just one problem; the little switch that you set what time zone you are in is right next to the alarm set button. I set the alarm wrong and got my husband up at 3:45 instead of 4:45 and he had to drive to Flagstaff.
The problem is some people are grumpy when they have a meeting in Flagstaff and just need a little more sleep. I’m the last of a dying breed of 1950’s wives (but born in the sixties); packing lunches and cooking breakfasts. I talked to some family this morning and we all decided we’d rather be busy than bored, but sometimes I could use that extra hour of sleep. I know papa bear could too.
Pot luck
Love and good wishes go out to Ann Snyder who celebrated her 80th birthday on Thursday in true Luna style at the community center. There was a full pot luck dinner and plenty of friends and family.
Reserve School
Congratulations to Kayli Laney who placed second in the recent BPA state competitions. We would also like to recognize Aubrey Laney who also placed and represented Reserve Schools well with her presentation.
The reunion committee is currently working on a Reserve Schools high school reunion for all who have attended in the past. No date has been set yet and any further information will be printed here as it becomes available.
Luna Fire and Ambulance are proud of those who move on with skills they have learned from being a volunteer and would like to recognize Melissa Mindar. She worked hard after leaving Luna to continue her education. Melissa is now certified in Texas (and nationally) as an EMT and is working full time for El Paso County.
Preparedness corner
What do you do when chicken little is right? The first step in successfully responding to crisis and trauma is to be prepared – mentally, emotionally and physically. Being mentally prepared is often the hardest obstacle to overcome. To be mentally prepared, one must first accept that something bad can happen. It’s not a pleasant thought and as a result most people would rather not consider it – the "it will never happen to me" or "it’s always the other guy" attitude seems to prevail. I like to think of being mentally prepared as playing the "what if" game.
What will I do if this, or that, happens? How will I respond? Am I prepared to respond? This simple exercise allows for some thought as well as the formulation of an action plan in response to a given situation. Without some mental preparation there is a good chance that fear, panic and the inability to act appropriately will result and our goal is to be in control when the world around you seems out of control.
Genealogy corner
When my dad dug out our root cellar we made a “time capsule” and it was cemented in the wall. I remember putting pictures and being asked to write the letter to whomever finds it, if ever. For a family project a genealogy capsule is a great idea when you are constructing anything. Remember to add things like toys, a family tree chart, a letter or newspaper of current events. Be creative and make it fun, and get as many as you can in your family involved. This may just get the ball rolling for more genealogy projects and that’s what we like.

Quote of the week:
“A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.”
~Attributed to Arthur McBride Bloch


Reality Show Craziness Grabs Our Sylvia

By Anne Sullivan

“Good morning, Sylvia. How are you this fine day?” Opening the front door, I greeted Sylvia with unaccustomed cheer when she and a lot of cold air burst into the house.
“Busy, busy,” she replied. “What’s for breakfast?”
“Souffle de kibble et les biscuits du chien,” I answered as she raced to her favorite dish in the kitchen.
Wrenching a biscuit from my fingers, she ordered. “Hurry up. Times a’ wasting. Gotta get going.”
“Going doing what?”
“I’ll need paper and a pen,” Sylvia said as she chomped. “I’ve got to get to work on my Reality Show.”
“Oh, I wasn’t aware that you were going to be in a Reality Show and who’s driving you there, wherever there is?”
“I’ll have a chauffer with a limousine.”
“Not on this road, you won’t.”
“I haven’t exactly got the job yet,” she said, ignoring my retort, ”but you have to admit I’m a shoo-in.”
“How so?”
“The Canine Factor. I haven’t heard of a Canine Reality Show yet but it’s a well-known fact that everyone likes dogs. I just have to think of something new and electrifying to base this Reality Show on.”
“There’s losing weight,” I suggested. “That’s very popular these days and you’re certainly built for it.”
“Too trite. What else is there?”
“Some have tried taking off in a flying saucer but you’re not built for that at all. A dance contest?”
Sylvia shook her head. “No good. I have four left feet. I rather fancy something along the lines of an eating contest. Maybe something like sampling pigs’ ears all over the country. They could be hidden and we contestants would have to find them using a GPS.”
“That sounds good. Do you have a GPS?”
“No, but you do. I could borrow yours.”
“Do you know how to use a GPS?”
“No, but you could show me.”
“Think again.”
As soon as Sylvia finished gobbling her breakfast, she grabbed the paper and pen I’d laid out for her and dashed to her bed to concentrate.
Soon the deep contented sound of canine snoring filled the room.
Time passed and I must have dropped off as I read the paper, but my snooze was violently interrupted when Sylvia suddenly screamed, “I have it! I know what we’ll do!”
“Do about what?” I mumbled, startled into dropping my paper.
“The Reality Show. Don’t you remember ANYTHING?”
“Not much,” I admitted.
Sylvia spoke loudly and slowly, “For hours and hours I’ve been trying to think of a subject for my Reality Show. Now I’ve got it. This is, if I do say so myself, a superb idea.”
“Am I going to hear what this wonderful idea is?”
“But, of course, Boss.” Here she paused to heighten the suspense. “What do dogs do?”
“They eat,” I said. “Some dogs eat a lot.”
“No,” Sylvia shouted. “What else do they do?”
“Incorrect. You have one more guess.”
“Let’s see. Pee and –“
“Wrong!” Sylvia cut me off. “They dig.”
“Yes, they dig. So?”
“So we’ll have a Reality Show Contest. Each dog will dig a hole to China. The first one to emerge in Shanghai gets the prize.”
“China’s a long way off. Do you think any dog can make it that far?”
Sylvia didn’t have to pause to consider before answering, “With the right prize as an incentive, I’m sure I could. How do you say hello in Chinese?”
“Ni hao.”

Quemado: Pool Tourney, Fundraiser Scheduled

Quemado News
By Debbie Leschner

The Quemado Senior Center will hold its pool tournament on Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 8 a.m. Movie and popcorn will be Wednesday at 1:15 p.m. Quilting and Bingo will be on Thursday with exercises on Friday. Lunch for the week will be Monday – Chicken sandwich, Tuesday – Lasagna, Wednesday – Beef Brisket, Thursday – Stuffed chicken breast, and Friday – Salmon patties. Please call the center at 773-4820 to make your reservations.
On Friday, Feb. 26, the Quemado Senior Center will have a fundraiser with dinner to start at 4:30 p.m. Dinner is $6.75 and will be Beef Stew, coleslaw, cornbread and dessert.
At 6 p.m., Jane Voss and Hoyle Osborne will perform “I Want to be Bad – a Flapper and her song”. This is a presentation of songs and stories of women from the 1920's.
It is sponsored by the Roadrunner Arts Council and the New Mexico Humanities Council which pay for the performers’ time and expenses.
Note: Know of anything going on or a special event, call 773-4119 or email at