Thursday, March 18, 2010

Late Winter Blast

Sunday night and Monday snowfall in the western part of Socorro County kept many Magdalena commuters stuck at home and snow removal crews busy. Unofficial measurements of snow depth ranged from 8-10 inches in Magdalena, to over two feet on South Baldy Mountain. MRO Maintenance Technician Ed Iker told the Mountain Mail that drifts along the access road to the telescope ranged from four feet, to almost 16 feet. Pictured: Steve Grayson clears snow from the Magdalena Clinic. Photo by Glenn Bigelow.

Spring Run-off Higher Than Normal

By John Larson

SOCORRO – The recent winter weather, although troubling for some, has been a moisture bonus for river valley farmers.
According to the New Mexico Natural resources Conservation Service, the spring runoff will be well over twice the normal amount in the Gila and, at the very least, close to average in the Rio Grande basin.
Hydrologic Technician Wayne Sleep told the Mountain Mail that “basically we’re looking pretty decent this year.
“Approximately 60 percent of our New Mexico water supply comes from snowmelt,” Sleep said. “Because of this, local communities, reservoir managers, irrigators, and many others pay close attention to our winter snowpack.”
In addition to measuring snow depth and measuring weather and climate at more than 50 remote, high-elevation sites in New Mexico, NRCS measures the water content in the snowpack.
Sleep said the moisture reading at the snow measuring station at McKnight Cabin, located on the highest peak in the Black Range in Gila National Forest “was the highest on March first than since the site started operation in 1969.
“Moisture levels in Catron County and the Gila region are at 180 to 200 percent of average. The winter weather certainly favored southern New Mexico,” he said.
“The Rio Grande basin is hovering right around 100 percent. San Marcial is right at the average forecast for this time of this year,” Sleep said. “The reservoirs upstream are in pretty good shape, even though snowfall in northern New Mexico has been a little higher than average, as well as a drier season in southern Colorado.”
In southwestern New Mexico “we’re looking at highest levels on record,” he said.
The San Francisco River is expected to be “over 200 percent of average runoff for the March to May period.”
Snowpack in the Mimbres River Basin contained 246 percent of the average water content for this time of year. In contrast, the Mimbres measured at 51 percent of average water content this time last year.
“The ongoing snowfall and weather in March will be important factors affecting water supplies for the remainder of the year,” Sleep said.
Socorro County Extension Agent Tom Dean said water for irrigation will be plentiful this year.
“This has been definitely one of our wetter winters,” Dean said. “With the information from the NRCS - the measurements being as high as they are - it will be a good irrigation season for the farmers.”
Dean said although the winter moisture is up, the next concern is the possibility of continued high moisture through the summer, which could hurt the chile growing season.
“Also keep in mind that ranchers rely heavily on summer rainfall. It’s a catch-22 situation,” he said.

Magdalena Mountain Mail Founder Passes Away In Colorado

Mountain Mail reports

Jacky Barrington, 82, founder and longtime publisher of the Magdalena Mountain Mail newspaper passed away Tuesday, March 9, following a brief illness in Centennial, Colo., where she was comforted by her family.
Born Jacqueline Louise Seddon in Wichita, Kansas, to William Podmore Seddon and Mabel Ione (Cheatum) Seddon July 13, 1927, she was an influential member of the Magdalena community for many years.
Jacky graduated as a member of the National Honor Society from Wichita High School North, class of 1945.
She married Delmar Wayne Barrington August 3, 1947, and is survived by four children, Kathryn Spuhler of Castle Rock, Colo., Victoria Lindsey of Centennial, Colo., Terrence Kent Barrington of Naperville, Ill., and Thomas Brian Barrington of Magdalena; and one sister, Barbara J. Slover of Cheney, Kan. She was the loving grandmother to nine grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.
Jacky received her BA degree from Marquette University in 1966 and a MS in Sociology from University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee two years later. She came to the Magdalena area in 1975 to work at the old BIA dorms as a counselor.
On November 1, 1980, Jacky published the first monthly edition of the Magdalena Mountain Mail, which focused on the politics, ranching, and mining of the area past and present, along with other historical facts about people, places, and events. The paper evolved over the years as Jacky continued to publish it even though nine months out of the year she was overseas either in Iceland or Okinawa, Japan from 1988 to 1993 while working for the Department of Defense - again as a counselor to school age children.
After retiring from the defense department, Jacky began publishing the Magdalena Mountain Mail weekly in the fall of 1994, and the focus of the paper shifted slightly to cover current community events such as meetings of the local school board, village board, Old Timers’ Association, and so on.
The paper also expanded its coverage to include western Socorro and Catron counties, with reporters in Alamo, Reserve, Datil, Quemado, Glenwood, and Luna. The last issue of the Magdalena Mountain Mail appeared on newsstands March 18, 2002.
The newspaper continued being published by new ownership as the Mountain Mail, and has strived to continue in the community spirit she established in 1980.
Jacky Barrington loved the communities and the people who lived in the high country of western New Mexico, which she demonstrated by her 22 year commitment to bring positive, informative news to all who enjoyed reading the MMM. She is missed by many.
Next week’s Mountain Mail will feature the legacy of Jacky Barrington and her contributions to Magdalena.

Candidates File For Primaries, Elections

Mountain Mail reports

March 16 was filing day for candidates who will run for two County Commission spots, County Assessor, County Sheriff, Magistrate Judge and Probate Judge positions.
M. Michael Olguin (D) and Pauline Jaramillo (R) will run for the County Commission District I seat. In the District 3 race, Philip Anaya (D) will try to retain his seat and his Democractic challenger in the primary will be Anthony E. Baca. Running on the Republican side will by Amanda Gallegos.
Valentin Anaya will attempt to be reelected as county assessor and his democratic challenger will be Henry A. Jojola. The Republican candidate will be Gayl Dorr.
Philip Montoya will run again as sheriff and his Republican challenger will be Joseph R. Lopez. The Democratic challenger will be Kenny Gonzales.
Jim Naranjo Jr. will run unopposed as the magistrate judge.
The most crowded election will be for probate judge. Five Democrats will run in the primary. They are Cindy Rivera, Toby Jaramillo, Carlos Carrillo, Bill Bottorf and Richard James Sanchez. The Republican candidates are Ray Spurgin and Emma M. King. Primaries will be held June 1 and the general election will be held Nov. 2.

Co-op Unveils Board, Member Resolutions

By John Severance

SOCORRO -- The annual meeting on April 17 at Finley Gym of the members of the Socorro Electric Cooperative could change the face the co-op as we know it at least for this year. On March 27, the co-op will hold an informational meeting for its members to discuss the upcoming resolutions that will be voted on.
The annual meeting will be held at the Finley Gym and that is the day members get to vote on resolutions presented by themselves and the board. But in order for a vote to happen, there needs to be a quorum of members. That means 300 or more members have to attend and vote on the resolutions.
Here is what members will be voting on after the Socorro Electric Cooperative released a report by its bylaw committee, which is chaired by trustee Leroy Anaya. Other members of the committee include Jack Bruton, Manny Marquez, Donald Wolberg and Leo Cordova.
Members will get to vote on such major issues as how many trustees will sit on the co-op board. tenure of office, compensation, redistricting, number of meetings per month and the format of meetings.
“If members want to take part and make a difference, they have to show up at the annual meeting and vote,” said trustee Donald Wolberg, the chairman of the informational meeting committee and a member of the bylaw committee. “If they show up, their voice can be heard. If they don’t show up, that sends a message as well.”
In the committee meetings, Wolberg said trustees talked about every single one of the resolutions and a lot of thought was put into the wording of each of the proposed resolutions.
“The process has been pure and the vast majority of the board has been very cooperative,” Wolberg said. “There have been no complaints and no ulterior game plan. It is up to the membership. The co-op is looking forward and not back.”
Whatever changes the members do vote to make, Wolberg said a professional group will have to be hired to implement the changes. For example if members vote to have five trustees run the co-op, the professional group will have to be hired to redistrict the co-op coverage area.
“It will be done by a professional group in a professional way,” Wolberg said.

Ohio Man Arrested On Drug Charges

By John Larson

SOCORRO - Dudley W. Palmer, 75, of Hamilton, Ohio was arrested Thursday Mar. 4, on one charge of possession of marijuana, possession of paraphernalia, and trafficking marijuana.
The arrest followed a traffic stop by New Mexico State Police officer Greg Valentino on Interstate 25, nineteen miles north of Socorro.
According to the criminal complaint, Palmer, driving a blue Chevy van with Ohio plates was pulled over by Valentino for going 90 miles an hour heading north.
Engaging Palmer in conversation, Valentino became suspicious of Palmer’s behavior and asked for – and received - written consent to search the van.
Inside the van, hidden in several makeshift compartments, were several parcels consistent with narcotics packing.
“The 41 bundles ranged in weight from two pounds, up to 23.6 pounds. The total weight of the 41 bundles was 271.2 pounds,” the complaint stated.
Depending on market variations, the marijuana is estimated to have a street value of between $250,000 to $300,000.
A cash surety bond was set at $26,500. Palmer bonded out the next day.
According to the criminal complaint, Palmer was carrying close to $4,000 at the time of his arrest.
He is scheduled to appear before Magistrate Judge Jim Naranjo Monday, Mar. 22 at 1 p.m.

Socorro County Sheriff's Blotter

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

Feb. 7
A woman from Santa Fe was driving north on Interstate 25 at 9:15 p.m. when a large dog ran out into the roadway at mile marker 138 and was struck by the car. The vehicle sustained heavy damage to the right front and entire front end.
Feb. 14
An officer was informed at 10 a.m. of an abandoned U-Haul truck at Sixth and Vigil in Socorro. A check on the license plate showed all was fine with the vehicle. A call was then made to the U-Haul number on the truck, and it was learned that the truck was going to be classified as stolen later that day. U-Haul took possession of the truck.
A man on Kelly Canyon Road reported at 10:30 a.m. that solar panels and solar tracker had been stolen from his property. The solar panels and tracker were on an eight foot pole and had been removed.
A Veguita man reported at 4:30 p.m. that unknown suspects had caused damage to his doorway. He stated that he heard gun shots coming from a neighbor’s home and heard the rounds strike his trees and his doorway. The officer made contact with the suspect, who stated that a friend of his had used his weapon and fired off the rounds. The man stated that his friend’s name was “Froggy” and could not provide any further information.
Feb. 15
A driver was pulled over at 8 p.m. on Fisher Street for not using a seatbelt. While making contact with the driver the officer noticed a black bag with a weapon sticking out of it. It was learned that the gun had been stolen in the Socorro area. The suspect stated that he bought the weapon. He was arrested and charged with possessing stolen property, negligent use of a firearm, and not wearing a seatbelt.
Feb. 19
A woman in San Acacia reported at 10 a.m. that she received calls form a subject who informed her that she had won a sweepstakes and that money was available to her. She stated that she was asked to wire money to a Western Union office in New Jersey, which she did. It was picked up, and she was then requested to send more money, which she did not. The officer obtained phone numbers used by the caller, but those numbers were disconnected or out of service.
Two vehicles were traveling north at mile marker 183 on Interstate 25 at 1:36 p.m., when vehicle 1 struck vehicle 2 from behind. Vehicle 2 swerved, but the Albuquerque driver was able to maintain control, but vehicle 1 began a side to side roll and rolled over vehicle 2, which left the pavement, striking a fence. Vehicle 1 continued to roll and came to a rest facing southeast off the roadway. The driver and occupant of vehicle 1 were injured and transported by ambulance and lifeguard to hospitals. The driver and passenger of vehicle 2 were uninjured.
Feb. 21
A Magdalena man reported at 2 a.m. that another man battered him. It was learned that the suspect’s daughter was with the victim in Paterson Canyon when the suspect battered him. He did not want to file charges at the time of the incident, but now wanted to pursue charges. He stated that when the suspect made contact with him he tried to explain what had transpired, but the suspect grabbed him and battered him.
Feb. 22
A man on Highway 1 reported at 10 a.m. that he had received a harassing phone call from another man in Veguita. He stated that the suspect was complaining on some road work done near his property and said that the job was done poorly due to someone not liking him in the county. The suspect called again the next day and accused him of a racial slur. The victim had witnesses in the room both times the Veguita man called, and they stated that he never made any racial comments. The victim just wanted the incident documented.
A Mountainair man was eastbound on Highway 60 at 2 p.m., and was making a left turn onto Highway 47, when another vehicle was approaching from the opposite direction. Road conditions were wet and slick due to rain and snow, and the other driver skidded when he braked. His vehicle struck the turning vehicle, damaging its rear. The Mountainair driver stated he did not see the oncoming vehicle due to a heavy downpour.
Feb. 23
A Bosque man reported at 5 p.m. that a suspicious vehicle was seen in the area and that an attempt was made to steal copper wiring from a breaker box at his property. He had taken down the license number, and a check showed it was registered to a man in Belen. No contact with suspect at time of report.
Feb. 25
A Veguita woman reported at 10:30 a.m. that someone had entered her residence and stole her jewelry. She produced a list of jewelry taken. No forced entry was evident, and there were no suspects at the time of the report.
An officer on patrol at 11:18 a.m. noticed that a vehicle parked at the Walking Sands Rest Area had its trunk lock missing. A check showed the vehicle had been reported stolen out of the Albuquerque area. It was towed and the rightful owner was advised of its recovery.
A woman in Polvadera reported at noon that someone had taken the street sign “Glamours Lane” from atop the stop sign at the intersection of Glamours Lane and Polvadera Heights Road. The officer went to the area and found the street sign on the ground nearby. It was put back atop the street sign.

Co-op Selects Anaya As Tri-State Delegate

By John Severance

SOCORRO – It was a little more harmonious but some things don’t change.
The regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, Mar. 10, became contentious when Socorro Electric Cooperative Trustee Charlie Wagner challenged motions concerning SEC’s delegate to the Tri-State convention.
The disagreements surfaced when General Manager Polo Pineda told the board they had to choose a delegate for the convention, set for early April in Denver. And immediately, trustee Manny Marquez nominated Leroy Anaya, who also happens to the co-op’s representative to be the Tri-State board. Prescilla Mauldin then made the motion for a vote to nominate Anaya and Donald Wolberg seconded.
When it came to discussion of the matter, Wagner objected, saying there was a conflict of interest because he already is the co-op representative but he also has allegiances to Tri-State and he might not have the best interests of the co-op in mind.
“Mr. Anaya knows what is going on and another person might not,” Trustee president Paul Bustamante said.
Wagner said Bustamante was missing the point.
Attorney Dennis Francish chimed in and said, “Leroy Anaya is a delegate to Tri State. He would have to wear two hats so to speak and it’s a balancing act. Mr. Wagner is not far off in what he saying. Charlie is correct to a certain degree.”
Anaya said there were 44 co-operatives in Tri-State and almost everyone has the same person as representative and delegate. Last year, though, Juan Gonzales acted as the Tri-State representative and Harold Baca served as the delegate.
After the discussion, the trustees voted 9-1 in favor of Anaya being the Tri-State delegate at the convention.
Later, Anaya brought up the fact that he thought the SEC had passed a resolution that it was against the New Energy petition. And that he had heard that Wagner spoke at the EIB meeting March 1 at the same time that most proponents of the petition were talking.
“I objected to our stand and I didn’t vote with the board on that,” Wagner said. “My view is on both sides of the issue. I am for clean air and affordable rates.”
Bustamante said, “There is nothing wrong with that.”
But trustee Donald Wolberg said, “Everybody is entitled to their opinion but you have to be careful if you are speaking for the board when you are out in public. Whether we agree or disagree, we have to be careful how we are viewed.”
Wagner said he was speaking for himself and he questioned who was speaking on behalf of the co-op.
He answered his own question when he said nobody, despite the fact Pineda and trustees Milton Ulibarri and Leo Cordova were in attendance at the EIB meeting in Santa Fe.
The board eventually called for executive session and when it resumed regular session board members were discussing a rough draft for a the change of bylaws. The board released the final draft to the public on its web site on Monday.

OPINION: The Water And Breath Of Life

Magdalena Potluck
By Don Wiltshire

This year’s Summer Reading Program at the Magdalena Public Library will include not only the usual activities for kids but an adult program as well. The topic for both programs this year is “Water.”
I just finished the selection recommended by the New Mexico State Library: The Secret Knowledge of Water by Craig Childs. It’s cram-filled with information about the water that is found (or not found) here in the Southwest. It’s also quite an adventure story as Craig hunts down hidden pockets of life saving water in the desert, finds streams and life forms that appear and disappear and finally, runs ahead of a thundering flash flood just to see how the water will behave.
Childs is certainly in touch with the spiritual qualities of water found in the desert. Not only does it sustain all of the life forms found here, but it has a memory, a purpose and a plan as it carves out our landscape and waits and moves below the surface. I would certainly recommend this book to all participants of the State Engineer’s Office up coming hearing regarding the application by the San Augustin Ranch LLC to drain the aquifer west of us.
The purpose and intention of this tens of thousands of years old Ice Age water is not only to slowly seep into the Alamosa Creek and eventually feed the Rio Grande but also to support the water table of rain and snow-melt recharge, keeping it available for the use of us humans and other life forms. Without it, this area will shrivel to a dust bowl.
Multiple copies of this book will be available for reading and for discussion groups. I’ll pull together a list of other books on our water resources. Let me know what other programs or resources you would like or that might be available. Sign up for the adult program here at my e-mail address or at the Magdalena Public Library.
I just ran across an interesting chart of geologic time scale at Wikipidia, as supplied by the International Commission on Stratigraphy. It’s not only a handy reference for “what-the-heck-happened-when” and shows just how recently we have arrived here on this earth but also tracks the concentration of CO2 through the ages.
The earth’s climate has always been one of extremes, mirrored by the amount of CO2 available to trap our sun’s heat. Hot and steamy was just fine for the dinosaurs (with CO2 at 1200 - 1500 ppmv). The Mastodons were very happy with the Ice Age conditions after extensive forests had absorbed and fixed massive amounts of CO2, driving the concentration down to 100 ppmv. We humans, having burned all the oil and coal that we can get our hands on and cut down all of the forests that we want, have pushed the CO2 concentrations back up to 385 ppmv.
Humanity has a very narrow range of comfort zones and most scientists agree that if we continue to add CO2 to the atmosphere, dinosaur friendly, hot and sticky will become the climate du jour. Take a look at the receding glaciers and disappearing ice caps and decide for yourself. This is why I’m following with great interest the lawsuit that the Electric Cooperative and others have filed against the Environmental Improvement Board. The Big Question at the moment is whether the Board has the jurisdiction to regulate CO2 emissions or not. If not, who does?
Here again, the defenders of the earth and of the environment are at odds with the interests of business and profit. It’s going to be a painful choice. Don’t rely on all of those glossy special interest ads for the information that you need to make a responsible choice. It’s your future and your children’s future that we’re talking about here.
On a lighter and more creative note, you only have until March 28 to finish decorating your eggs for Magdalena’s Eggsibition. The show of completed eggs will be held at the Bear Mountain Gallery & Coffee House throughout the month of April. The CafĂ© will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. For more information, please call Yvonne Magener at (575) 854-2151 or visit

If you have any Comments? Problems? Solutions? Up coming Events? Unhatched Dinosaur Eggs for Decoration? Contact me at or (575) 854-3370.

EDITORIAL: Lady Steers had a heck of a basketball season

Just Thinkin Out Loud
By John Severance, Editor

A lot of credit should be given to the Magdalena girls basketball team, which finished its season with a 28-1 record.
I am sure the Lady Steers would have liked nothing better than to win a state championship. And they were close. Really close.
Magdalena lost 48-46 to Floyd Thursday night in the Class A state semifinals at the Santa Ana Center and it had its opportunities.
But that’s basketball and sometimes a little luck is involved in trying to win a championship.
The Lady Steers and their coaches should not hang their heads. They should be proud of what they have accomplished.
March Madness
Even more college basketball fans in the state of New Mexico will be afflicted with the disease called March Madness.
New Mexico already knew it was going to the Big Dance even before the Mountain West Tournament. And despite losing to San Diego State in the conference tournament semifinals, the Lobos still earned a third seed and a date against Montana on Thursday night in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Lobos aren’t the only New Mexico school dancing.
The New Mexico State Aggies rolled through its conference tournament and earned an automatic bid and they will face Michigan State Friday night.
Both games can be seen on KRQE Channel 13.
Ride The Express
Hopefully, you have looked at your last two installments of the Mountain Mail Express. Each month, we will publish the Express with all new original content. It’s a great chance for our advertisers to be seen in every household in Socorro and Catron County. Why is that? We mail it to every single post office box and residence in the two counties. Nobody can beat that kind of coverage. Call the Mountain Mail at 575 838-5555 if you are interested in advertising. You won’t be disappointed.
Proper Credit
The Mountain Mail failed to give proper credit for the photo of the Magdalena girls basketball game against Grady last week. The credit for the photo should go to

OPINION: Student Writer Initiates Vital Dialogue At Tech

The Pencil Warrior
By Dave Wheelock

A March 1 front page opinion piece in the New Mexico Tech student newspaper, Paydirt, provides a glimpse of contemporary student life at a small American engineering and science research university.
Freshman minerals engineering student Kathryn Daniel’s 833-word piece, entitled Special Report: NMT "Breaking Up" with the Arts" bemoans the low level of student participation in arts classes offered through the university’s Humanities Department - "stained glass creation, painting, (and) performance arts such as choir and orchestra."
Ms. Daniel notes that a planned spring production of the musical "Grease" had to be cancelled due to a scarcity of auditioners. "Students have many classes to choose from at the start of each semester . . . yet the actual participation in the programs is dismal, and as with any class with small enrollment, the classes tend to be terminated."
Ms. Daniel asserts the importance of balancing the kind of thought generated in the left side of the brain (“logical/sequential, rational, analytical, objective”) with what’s recognized as right-brain activity, characterized by subjective, intuitive, or synthesizing thought.
“New Mexico Tech prides itself on its export of smart, educated, prepared people. Yet the emphasis on science, mathematics, and technology encourages students to tend to access only the left side of their brains . . . it is vital for ‘well-roundedness’ that any student access the right side of their brains, if not only for experience, but for sanity.”
Katy’s words echo a sentiment not uncommon among students, administrators, and several faculty members I’ve met in this academic community.
Yet the difficulty in maintaining the balance between the rigors of a curriculum almost notorious for the demands made on students with their need for a more holistic educational experience may be more deeply rooted in contemporary perceptions of higher education’s role in society than is commonly perceived. Katy’s choice of words, unconsciously perhaps, reveals the new market approach to education: “export of . . . prepared people.” Prepared for what? is a question that begs an answer.
As club sport director and rugby coach at New Mexico Tech, I feel a sense of shared purpose with those few who also deal primarily with the right side of students’ heads. Like the music instructor, the ceramic teacher, the art and literature professor, my dealings with the young adults of Tech involve developing thinking and cooperative skills fundamentally different than those associated with the acquisition of raw knowledge and know-how involved in engineering or the sciences.
Our presence at Tech is testament to an awareness of the need for broad-minded citizens in a healthy, dynamic, and vibrant society. Yet we often see the intangibles get lost among the constant grind of homework and innumerable projects, labs, and presentations to which students must attend.
In exploring possible causes of this “non-involvement” at Tech, Ms. Daniel characterizes the attitude of many if not most parents: “you need to do something worthwhile with your life, something that makes money; art will not make you money.” While acknowledging that many parents may downplay the role of the humanities in a modern education, Katy concludes that “we are now responsible for ourselves and consciously make our own choices daily.”
Yet I wonder to what extent the factor of money affects the trajectory of modern college students. Although New Mexico Tech is one of the more affordable universities of its kind, graduate debt levels can still be considerable, and current uncertainties of landing a job must be a major factor in the choice of study.
Ms. Daniel exposes a daily influence in many students’ lives which we never thought of in my college days, namely the ubiquity of media technology and video gaming: “students who only come out of their rooms to eat and go to class, and spend the rest of their time building their online profiles, blogging, and playing WOW.” World of Warcraft, a “massively multiplayer online role-playing game” (MMORPG) had 11.5 million subscribers in the western hemisphere as of December, 2008.
Here Katy raises a crucial point for dialog with her characterization of digital communication as often taking the form of a “shying away from expression of oneself in front of other people, face-to-face, due to the fact that it is easier to interact and express oneself on-line.”
"Breaking Up" with the Arts" is undoubtedly the most intriguing and relevant article I have seen in 11 years of reading our campus newspaper. I hope students, faculty and staff take Katy Daniels up on her closing call for reader responses.
Opportunities to share our thoughts and perspectives – exercising our right brain skills – are far too uncommon at Tech and not to be missed, especially when the subject involves the ideals of the society we serve.

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 davewheelock@ Mr. Wheelock's views do not necessarily represent those of the Mountain Mail.

Younger Family

To the editor
I have found Mr. Farr’s story very interesting. Four of the Younger family homesteaded, about 21 miles north of Pie Town, in 1931. There was the father, Ernest, two sons, Kenneth and Justin and a son-in-law, Art Anschutz. This became the Greer Community after the school was built. I moved to Pie Town in 1939 and met and married Justin Younger. I may be the oldest survivor of this community.

Geneva McKee Younger

Catron's Air Medical Service

To the editor:
Pat McKenzie of PHi Air Medical out of Albuquerque presented to a group of Reserve area citizens the PHi Air Medical program on Saturday, March 15 at the Reserve Community Center.
Their air medical flight crews include highly trained pilots, critical care flight nurses and paramedics. The service, "PHi Cares" covers air transportation from the scene of the emergency and air transportation from hospital to hospital. The program works on a membership basis with an annual fee.
There are two types of membership; a family and a corporate.The corporate annual fee is $40 per household and there is no need to have insurance to be covered under the PHi Cares program.
PHi Cares flies out of Show Low and Safford in Arizona and Grants, Albuquerque and Santa Fe in New Mexico. A fourth helicopter site for the state will be located in Socorro and expected to be operational in early April.
PHi Air Medical has been assisting in the formation of groups in Red Hill, Quemado, Pie Town, Quemado Lake, Datil and Apache Creek. The program is available now in Reserve through a local Reserve fire department representative. I am the local contact person at 533-6831.
This service is a great benefit to our area as a person can have the option of being medivaced in case of an emergency with the concern being about their health not about the money.

Ron Smith

LETTER: Appreciation For The Co-op

To the editor,
The Socorro Electric Cooperative (SEC) has been in the local media recently for the Board of Trustees doings or undoings. The SEC overall does an outstanding job for our community by providing reliable electrical service and a fair rate. If the rates were extremely expensive and /or we experienced “black or brown outs” all the time, I could understand the negativity towards the SEC’s Board of Trustees.
The fact is that the SEC provides safe reliable electrical energy to our homes and businesses. The SEC also has many programs to help its members save money. The SEC offers subsidized priced electric water heaters and heating systems. The SEC staff can also assist members with receiving cash rebates on energy star rated electric appliances.
The SEC will accept used compact fluorescent light bulbs to avoid heavy metal pollution, and assist many of the government agencies by donating or recycling their used power poles.
The SEC is well known for their support of our community and assisting our youth activities, especially scholastic and athletic programs. Currently, the SEC is one of the many community orientated businesses that have donated to the Socorro’s youth fishing derby at Escondida Lake and assisting with the establishment of a Community Commercial Kitchen.
The SEC employees work night and day to ensure that no one loses power or restores power as soon as possible after an outage. Our local crew members put their lives on the line each and every time they make a repair and improvement to our electrical system. Our SEC employees are always there to protect and serve us.
After talking to a few of the Trustees, they recognize the need for improvements so I am very confident that they will make positive changes to the SEC rules to make the Cooperative more available to the membership, reduce board expenditures, and review redistricting. Change is hard and it takes time, so let’s give the Trustees time to make good solid decisions for positive changes.
I wish to express my thanks to the employees of the Socorro Electric Cooperative for all they do for our communities.

Terry Tadano

Spring Breathes In New Life

From The Publisher
By Gary Jaramillo

It’s the time of year when the spring sun and warmer days makes us all feel a little younger and gives us a feeling that anything is possible. Maybe it’s the flowers and the trees that keep waking up and finding a reason to keep going each spring that keeps us moving ahead. Maybe it’s the birds, bees, tiny bugs, spiders, worms and all of the other millions of creatures that lead the way every spring into summer. We can hardly wait to see the first of them marching around in the bright morning sun. Why then after a couple of weeks do people want to get rid of them? Can a few bugs blindly finding there way into the pantry really wreak havoc on our lives? The answer is no.
I say live and let live – unless they are wasps ‘cause wasps are like that mean old lady you lived next to when you were young – nothing can make her happy and she’s always out to get ya. Yeah, wasps are fair game. Sorry.
I love spring because I can go out into my yard and say hello to some of the same Robins that I have been seeing for quite a few years now. They stand next to me when I’m watering the grass and pick the grubs out as we walk together across the yard. They know I won’t hurt them and that the bird feeder and bath will be full each and every evening before I go inside.
Old Jack, as I like to call the three foot Jack Rabbit that lives in our one acre yard still just sits there quietly as I throw handfuls of mini-carrots all around the property every evening. He’s huge and I think I’ve played a big part in that. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but I enjoy knowing that he knows I’ll be there every day and he’s assured of a good meal. I have my spring routine out in the yard and lots and lots of time to think.
I find myself talking to all of the animals and even snails and bugs when I’m out there. I laugh at myself when I realize that I’m trying to have conversations with a bug, a bird and even a wasp or butterfly from time to time. Sometimes the best conversation is when you’re talking away and you can imagine what God’s little creatures are saying back. It’s always a cordial conversation and you never have to worry about saying the wrong thing. The bug shrugs his shoulders and says, what? Wadaya want from me, I’m a bug. Then skitters away. We’ve built up a trust system in my huge yard, I don’t step on them, and they don’t crawl up my leg and scare the hell out of me.
You people ever seen an old fat guy jumping up and down hitting himself with a rake because a ladybug has landed on the hair on his leg? Yeah, real funny. When I’m done jumping and my breathing is normal again I look around to see if anyone was watching and kind of pretend that I was dancing on purpose. Really sad, but I know I’m not the only man that turns into a tiny girl when a bug lands on him.
Well .... I’m not.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that spring always seems to breathe new life into every living creature. I watch people I know seem to stand a little taller. Just like flowers, we turn toward the sun. I see people smiling more and getting a little more active and interested in what goes on around them and even those we all know that hardly ever make a peep or say hello will actually stop and talk for a minute or two. Yeah, spring is too neat.
I’m going to try my tomatoes and peppers and other stuff I try growing each year. Some years good, some not so good, but it’s always the same feeling I get. We all get it. Some mornings I wanna go outside and buck and kick and roll round in the dirt and mud like a stallion, but my horsey part broke many years ago and now I just kind of slowly walk around in my 55 year old body and smell the flowers and turn my face into the sun every opportunity I get. I consider it an honor to sweat these days while I’m working outside because I get a real sense of accomplishment. My parents, in their 80’s say, “oh son, come inside and rest with us”. They think I do too much and work too damn hard at every thing I do. Truth is, I’m loving it all. I’m soaking in the sun and smelling every flower, plant and fruit that I can, while I can.
I’m outside working in a glorious place for my brother Chris and my sister Alberta who can’t do that anymore. I share those days outside for them and my parents, in the dirt, weeds, water and sunshine for as many spring days as I can. I hope all of you do the same. Get outside – drag the kids away from the dork box and show them that all kinds of life is happening in their own back yard. Get out and take the breaths that are filled with freshly cut grass smells and listen. Listen to the birds and the life sounds that have slowly become muffled background noise throughout your life. Listen. Just sit down and listen. It’s prettier than any song written. Do it for your lost loves. Make the time.
It’s springtime. It’s all brand new again. No one knows how many more there’ll be, so hurry, run outside and turn your face toward the sun, close your eyes and thank whoever you have to for all of this. Even if all of this was just one big happenstance, how damn lucky are we? Enjoy the sun and breezes and teach your babies how to run, play and lay in the tall grass and stare up into the great blue unknown and count clouds. Grab a kite and put some peanuts in a soda and GO OUTSIDE! IT’S SPRINGTIME EVERYONE! AndalĂ©

Lady Steers Fall Just Short

By Nicky Romero
For The Mountain Mail

RIO RANCHO -- Magdalena players said they were going to play with heart and leave it all out on the court.
They did exactly that Thurs-day, Mar. 11, but it was not quite enough as they fell to the eventual 1A state champion Floyd Lady Broncos 48-46 at the Santa Ana Center in the New Mexico State Basketball Championship semifinals.
“We were going down fighting, if we were going down,” said sophomore Kameron Armstrong. “Before the game we said we were going to play with heart. I think we did.”
The Lady Steers felt defeat for the first time this season ending up with a remarkable 28-1 record.
The #6-seeded Lady Broncos were crowned the 1A State Girls Champions on Saturday, Mar. 13, at the Pit by upsetting undefeated and #1-seeded Cliff 41-36.
The Lady Steers were able to stay close to the Lady Broncos in the first quarter, tying the game at 3-3 and 6-6. Senior Nicole Hardy hit a short jumper to give them their first lead of the game 8-7. Floyd's Tori Tucker made a three-pointer at the end of the quarter to give her team a 10-8 lead at the end of the quarter.
In the middle of the second quarter, Magdalena fell behind by 12 points. Hardy's hustle, rebounding, and shooting led the charge back. She scored five points and teammate Keanda Chavez hit a mid-range jumper at the end of the quarter to whittle the deficit down to six points, 27-21. Hardy scored 12 of her 13 total points during the first half.
The Lady Steers played catch-up in the third quarter. Floyd's Hunter scored quickly and gave her team a 29-21 lead. The Lady Steers' man-to man defense held strong and steady this quarter allowing their offense to make up the deficit. With 3:35 on the clock, Camille Mansell scored on a layup to finally tie the score at 31-31.
“There was a time there where we thought they were starting to tire out,” Coach Sanchez said.
“All of a sudden, they got a second wind and kept coming at us.”
Floyd regained the lead, but this time Armstrong scored to tie it again at 33-33. With 1:04 in the third, Magdalena finally got the lead on a basket by Mansell, who was fouled. She made the free throw for a 36-34 lead. Hunter again struck and scored on a layup at the buzzer for a 36-36 tie.
Mansell opened the fourth quarter with two short jumpers to give her team their biggest lead at 40-36. The two teams went toe-to-toe the rest of the quarter, exchanging the score or tying the game a number of times. Down by three with 1:56, Keanda Chavez was fouled on a three-point shot. She made two of the three free throws to edge to one down. Jennifer Mati was then fouled and made one free throw to tie the game at 46 with 1:38 remaining.
Floyd's Ronnie Mendoza scored her only two points of the game on a layup with 38.4 seconds left and a 48-46 lead. Magdalena was able to get the ball back on a Floyd out of bounds call with 9.6 seconds. They immediately in-bounded the ball and Keanda Chavez was fouled. She missed the first and intentionally missed the second. Floyd was able to rebound the ball, but Magdalena tied up the ball for a jump ball. The possession arrow was on Floyd's side and ran off the two seconds for the victory.
“Our game plan was to stop Tucker from getting 25 points and stop Whitecotton from getting 13,” Sanchez said. “We didn't do a very good job there.”
“You have to give them credit. They are two real good basketball players.”
“These kids have always kept fighting and fighting and truly believed it's not over. And I'll be darned up to that last free throw that we missed on purpose, we get the rebound and put it up, the game is tied if we make it. There's not a quitter in that locker room.”
Mansell finished the game with 14 points and 7 rebounds. Mati had a game high of 10 rebounds.
Floyd's Tucker finished with 25 points, 7 steals, and 5 rebounds. Teammate Tanna Whitecotton had 11 points
Magdalena shot 14 of 48 from the field for 29 percent. Floyd shot 16 of 38 for 42 percent. From the free throw line, Magdalena made 17 of 28 for 61 percent. Floyd made 14 of 18 for 78 percent. Magdalena finished with 41 rebounds to Floyd's 25. Magdalena also had 6 steals to Floyd's 10. Both teams had 19 turnovers.
“I think we all did good,” Hardy said “I'm really proud of my team. They all worked hard. We accomplished a lot.”
“We're losing a lot of good girls, but we have a lot of girls coming up,” Armstrong said. “We're going to come back just as tough next year. We'll be ready.”
“We talked about winning state, that was our goal. We talked about winning district, that was another goal. We talked about winning 20 games again for the seventh year in a row, that was a goal. We achieved all those and just came up short on our goals.”

Pictured: Keanda Chavez looks to make a pass against Floyd in the state semifinals Thursday.

Photo by

Baseball Team Second In Own Tourney

By John Severance

SOCORRO – Alan Edmonson knows he is coaching a young Socorro baseball team.
That inexperience came to the forefront last weekend as the Warriors finished second in the Socorro Invitational, falling to Robertson 20-7 in the final on Saturday March 13.
“We didn’t play well for three days,” Edmonson said Tuesday at a morning practice. “We didn’t pitch very well and we didn’t hit very well. Our pitchers got behind on too many counts. We walked too many people and committed too many errors.
“We have a lot of new guys and we are behind schedule. We will catch up and have the opportunity to get better.”
Robertson advanced to the final by beating Hope Christian 8-7 and Taos 10-7.
The Warriors advanced by rallying from a 3-0 deficit in the third inning to post an 8-3 victory against Thoreau. In the semifinals, Socorro defeated Hot Springs
Edmonson said there were some bright spots.
“Michael Chavez pitched a great game Friday night (against Hot Springs),” Edmonson said. “And also on Friday, we hit the ball much better. On Thursday, we were losing 3-0 in the fourth inning and we found a way to win despite having so many mistakes.”
This week, Socorro High is on spring break and Edmonson is putting his baseball team through its paces.
Each day this week, the Warriors hold a two-hour practice in the morning to work on defense and in the afternoon, they have another two-hour practice and work on offense.
On Thursday, Socorro will travel to Gallup and take part in the Gallup Catholic Tournament. Also in the tourney are Thoreau, Wingate, Navajo Prep, Miyamura, Grants and Hot Springs. The Warriors will meet Miyamura at 3 p.m. Thursday in the first round of the three-day tournament.

Lady Warriors Golf Team Off To Fast Start

By John Severance

SOCORRO – Margaret Stanley says she is not allowed to make any more predictions.
When she was asked about what expectations that she had for the Socorro girls golf team, Stanley laughed and said, “I have not been allowed since 2007. That team forbid me to make predictions.”
The 2010 Lady Warriors are off to a good start, winning the Belen Invitational with a 381, 10 shots better than 5A Rio Rancho and four other teams.
Eighth grader Shania Berger was the low scorer with a 90 and sophomore Brittany Webb and freshman Kristen Kline both had 91.
Other members of the varsity are freshman Teresa Chavez, freshman Mirijana Gacanic, freshman Sarah Lane and sophomore Jordan Vincent.
“We are young but we also didn’t play very well,” Stanley said. “It was cold and windy. It probably was Kristen’s first time out and Teresa had only been out a couple of days as well.”
Stanley has the Lady Warriors working on their swing mechanics and the mental approach of the game. As the season continues, Stanley will have them work harder on course management.
The Lady Warriors will be at Santa Ana on March 22 and host the Seery Tournament on March 29. New Mexico Tech also will host the district tournament (May 3) and state tournament (May 10).

Pictured: The Socorro girls golf team opened its season by winning a tournament in Belen last week.

Photo by John Severance

State Bar Honors Kase, Reed

Mountain Mail Reports

Socorroans Edmund “Ted” Kase was recognized as the “Longest Serving Judge” and Lauren Reed was recognized as the “Youngest Active Member,” by the New Mexico State Bar Association last week.
Kase also celebrated 50 years in the State Bar and interestingly Reed frequently appears before Kase in his 7th Judicial District Court.
Reed, 25, graduated from the University of New Mexico School of Law in May 2009 and was sworn in as a member of the State Bar of New Mexico that September. She currently works at Deschamps & Kortemeier Law Offices, P.C. in Socorro.
Kase earned his undergraduate degree at Princeton University and his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1956. After graduation, he took the Colorado bar exam and, while waiting for the results, visited his parents in Socorro.
At the encouragement of a local judge, he took the three-day New Mexico bar exam and learned on the fourth day that he had passed.
Kase worked in private practice before becoming an assistant district attorney. For the next six years, he handled cases in Socorro, Torrance and Catron counties. Then in 1971 he was appointed by Governor Bruce King to fill the unexpired term of District Judge Garnett R. Burks, Sr., who had resigned due to illness. He served for seven consecutive six-year terms as district judge for the 7th Judicial District. He has been on the bench for 38 years, making him the longest serving judge in New Mexico.

Tech Researcher Presents Work on Self-Healing Materials

Mountain Mail reports

SOCORRO -- Akshin Bakhtiyarov, a Tech graduate and current Bureau of Geology GIS Technician, was selected to present research at a Department of Homeland Security conference in Washington, D.C. Bakhtiyarov was one of only 20 researchers selected to both display a poster and present his research.
“This is a great opportunity for me to be involved in such a highly regarded group,” he said.
A 2009 graduate with a master’s in mechanical engineering, Bakhtiyarov will present his research titled, “Thermally Activated Self-Healing Pheno-menon in Metal/Metal/Ceramic High Temperature Coating Systems.” The conference was the Fourth Annual U.S. Department of Homeland Security University Network Summit and was from March 10 to 12.
One of his advisors Dr. Nadir Yilmaz said he was not surprised that Bakhtiyarov was selected to present research.
“He has already proven that he’s a good researcher,” Yilmaz said. “This invitation was even more proof. They just chose very high quality research papers and his project was one of the best in his field.”
Bakhtiyarov has found that chromium is a key additive to iron-aluminum alloys that creates a “self-healing” material. His research has practical applications in aerospace applications, where cracked surfaces can be costly and even fatal. He has also found that the addition of specific amounts of chromium will allow manufacturers to design more ductile alloys and coating composites.
Metals can be constructed to be “self-healing” with an outer coating of composite materials. When heated, the outer layer fills cracks, thus extending the life of the base material. Bakhtiyarov said the concept of self-healing materials is inspired by biology and anatomy. He compared the process to the way human skin heals; a scar may form, but the material returns to its original strength.
Bakhtiyarov’s research is a prime example of interdisciplinary study. He started with chemistry, mathematics and physics – examining the base material and devising alloys that would serve as effective coating materials.
After analyzing and modeling how the coating layer would react, he tested the materials in a high-temperature furnace.
He also used wavelength dispersive spectrometry to characterize the materials, examine how the coating fills cracks and to test the resulting strength of the “healed” material.
“The elements we use have to go well with aluminum and other materials,” he said. “The coating layer has to work well with the base material. ”
This project results has been also presented to Boeing engineers in Seattle and also was selected to present at the 2nd Annual International Conference on Self-Healing Materials in Chicago in June 2009. His research has been funded through awards from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and NASA. He has also been named a Chevron Scholar twice, AIAA scholar winner and also NASA EPSCoR scholar winner.

PRC Warns Consumers On Insurance

Mountain Mail Reports

SANTA FE – The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission’s Insurance Division on Wednesday, Mar. 10 issued a consumer alert warning New Mexicans about companies that are offering health insurance products without proper authorization.
The alert names nine companies – Real Benefits Association; Real Benefits Association Employee Welfare Plan Trust; American Trade Association, Inc.; Serve America; Serve America Assurance LTD; Beema Insurance Group; Perfect Health of NY; Smart Data Solutions LLC and Health Allies, Inc. – that are neither licensed nor have the authority to sell health insurance or limited medical plans within the state.
In an effort to protect consumers, the Insurance Division urges New Mexicans to purchase health insurance coverage from those companies licensed in New Mexico. Consumers are also discouraged from responding to unsolicited solicitations and from responding to offers for health insurance-related products over the Internet until they are certain that the company making the offer is licensed. Consumers can consult the Commission’s web site at to determine which companies are licensed within the state.
New Mexico Insurance Superintendent Morris “Mo” Chavez said it appears that only a few New Mexicans have been affected.

Clear The Roads, Say Your Prayers, Sylvia Takes Wheel

By Anne Sullivan

“Get dressed,” Sylvia shouted through the screen door. “Hurry up. It’s late.”
“What’s the rush?” I called from my comfortable chair, not deigning to lower my magazine.
“Today’s the day you’re going to teach me how to drive!” she cried. “Oh joy, oh bliss, oh rapture unforeseen.”
I rose slowly and went to the door. “Are you sure you really want to learn to drive? You can change your mind at any time. It won’t hurt my feelings. I know you don’t even like going for a drive.”
“That’s because you’re driving. I never know what you’re going to do. I find it very unsettling.”
“And you know what you’re going to do?” My skepticism was more than apparent.
“Once I learn a few fundamentals, it will all be under control. Under MY control,” she added with a jaunty toss of the head.
“All right, Miss Smarty Pants, let’s see you get into the pickup. That’s the first step. A giant step.”
“Aren’t you going to get dressed?” Sylvia asked.
“I don’t consider this an occasion for celebratory attire. My sweats will do,” I said after picking up the keys. “Believe me, we’re not driving into town.”
“Suit yourself,” Sylvia said as she lunged at the door handle of Silver Truck.
“Not that one. We’re going in White Truck.”
“I see,” said Sylvia. “You’re teaching me how to drive in the pickup that’s already been totaled – the one the elk hit and the one you hit Brandy with. The one that has 318,000 miles on it.”
“You got it.” I pulled open the door. “Get in.”
After a series of runs and balks, Sylvia finally made a successful leap into the driver’s seat.
“I’ll have to move the seat forward so your hind feet can reach the pedals.” That done, I added, “Now this is the gas pedal and the one next to it is the brake.”
“I don’t need to worry about the brake,” she declared. “Gas is for go. I know that and that’s all I need to know.”
“Fasten your seat belt,” I ordered and helped Sylvia comply before I fastened mine.
Sylvia bounced in her seat. “How do I get this going?”
“Put the key in the ignition and turn it,” I said gritting my teeth and girding my loins (whatever that means.)
With her paws, Sylvia managed to turn the key, something I had hoped she wouldn’t be capable of. When the engine started, Sylvia was both startled and thrilled.
“What now? What now?” she demanded between chortles of joy.
“Foot…er…lower paw on the brake. Put the gear into drive. Then take your foot off the brake and step on the gas slowly.”
“Like this?” Sylvia asked as the pickup shot forward from stop to 50 MPH in one hundredth of a second.
“Slowly,” I said, trying to remain calm.
Sylvia shouted out the window, “Look at me, RingWorm. I’m driving!”
RingWorm took one look and scuttled into the woods as fast as her four paws could take her.
“Slowly!” I screamed. “Slowly. Watch where you’re going.”
“You don’t have to yell at me. It’s very rude.” Sylvia turned to reprimand me.
“Watch the road! Watch the road! Slow down.” All pretense of calmness left me.
Brandy neighed in equal terror as we passed the barn, narrowly missing it. Brandy reached the relative safety of her corral faster than I’d seen her move in years.
“Slow down!” I yelled again. “Use the brake.”
“Only sissies use brakes,” Sylvia countered as we careened down the road to oblivion for White Truck.
End of driving lesson.

Quemado Talent Show Tryouts Set For Next Week

By Debbie Leschner
For the Mountain Mail

The time is almost here to try out for the Quemado Talent Show. Tryouts are March 22, 23 and 24 from 4-5 p.m. each day. No sign up is necessary---just show up.
Participation in the show is open to the Quemado community. The only requirement is that a school age child be in the act. All home schooled children are encouraged to get involved. The event is scheduled for Thursday, April 29 at 6 p.m. and will be a fundraiser for the elementary school field trips. For more information, call the Quemado school at 575- 773- 4645.
The Women's Fellowship Luncheon will be held Tuesday, March 23 at noon in the Cowboy Church located off Highway 32 near Quemado. The topic for the presentation following the luncheon is “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”. A church yard sale is being planned for April to help raise money to build a little kitchen. Please start saving any items you may wish to donate.
The Quemado Senior Center will hold a fundraiser on Friday March 26. An All You Can Eat Breakfast of sausage gravy, biscuits and eggs for $ 5.50. Breakfast starts at 7 a.m. and runs through 11 a.m.. The pool tournament and exercise is on Tuesday, crafts are on Wednesday and quilting and bingo will be on Thursday. Lunch for the week will be Monday – chicken enchiladas, Tuesday – pigs in a blanket, Wednesday – beef tips on rice, Thursday – pork stir fry over rice and Friday – tuna salad sandwich. Call the center at 773-4820 to make your reservations.
The Quemado School will host a track meet on Friday, March 26 against Magdalena. The Quemado FFA will host an invitational on Saturday, March 27. School will resume on Monday, March 22 after a week off for spring break.
The Western New Mexico Veterans Group will start their Rummage Sales the weekend of March 26 and 27 in the Veterans' Hall located at the corner of Baca and Church Street in Quemado. All donations are welcome. Proceeds from the sales will support the renovation of the hall and to support veterans in Catron County and their families.
Know of anything going on or a special event in a family or school, please let me know. Call 773-4119 or email at

Alamo Conference Tackles Abuse

By Nathalie Nance
For the Mountain Mail

In an Alamo community survey asking what topics people wanted to learn about, abuse and domestic violence were the most frequent answers. Consequently Alamo Behavioral Health arranged a three-day conference on the subject. It took place last week at the Wellness Center, and was well attended by both men and women.
Statistics indeed show a higher rate of violent behaviors among Native American populations, compared to non-native ones. For instance, 50 percent of native women can expect to be battered by their spouse or partner, and homicide is the third leading cause of death for Native American women.
During the conference, different kinds of abuse, ranging from verbal and emotional abuse to physical and sexual violence, were defined and explained. Power and control are most often the driving forces behind these behaviors.
In addition, on a cultural level, the historical trauma of the Native American peoples was discussed, as well as how the discrepancy between modern life and tradition many times may cause an identity crisis and lesser self respect. This is turn may increase problems with drugs and alcohol.
“The Alamo is less traditional than the big reservation, where I grew up,’’ one of the participants said.
Another issue that came up was the boarding schools, and the impact these had on generations of Native Americans. Children were sent away and didn’t see their families for many years. Consequently, they never learned how families work or how to be a parent. In addition, abuse was common at the boarding schools, which were modeled after English boarding schools, where bullying and abuse were tradition.
“There were mean ladies at the boarding schools,” one woman said.
“My uncles and parents never show emotions,” another said. “I don’t want my children to go through what I’ve been through, but I can make my family different.”
“There is always a choice,” social worker Matilda Billy said. “To report your loved one is hard, and many times the victim doesn’t want to tell, but it is important to say no. It is not OK to be abusive.”
Behavioral Health Coordinator Tammy Edinger hoped that the conference would help to raise the awareness of these issues. The participants concluded that to talk about it and to be honest can help to break the cycle.
“It starts with us. Things can be different,” she said.

Bargains Galore Could Be Found

Mountain Mail reports

For the bargain hunters out there, last weekend had to be heaven.
On Friday and Saturday, Tumbleweed Equipment and Auction Company held its 24th annual event in Lemitar and organizer Jamye Moore said 1,200 people came out on both days of the event. Then on Sunday, the County of Socorro held its auction and Moore said $52,000 was raised.
“The county manager (Delilah Walsh) and (roads manager) Marty Greenwood were shocked at how much money was raised,” Moore said.
Moore said he gave out 738 auction tickets for the two-day event at Tumbleweed.
“Sometimes a husband and a wife bid off the same ticket,” said Moore, who had 300 consignors. Moore said he had consignors from Tennessee, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, Colorado and of course New Mexico.
In all, Moore said, about 2,500 lots were put up for bid.
During the Tumbleweed auction, Moore said the 4H kids, who sold pies and cakes and other baked goods, raised more than $500.
“I am more proud of what the kids raise than what I do for myself,” Moore said.

Pictured: Auctioneers Mike Rosenfelt (left) of Noble, Okla., and Kendall Terry of Portales auction off a saddle Friday at the Tumbleweed Equipment auction. The saddle went for $325.

Photo by John Severance

Tech Storm Chaser Club To Take To Highways

By John Larson

SOCORRO - Students at New Mexico Tech will be hitting the highways again this spring and summer, but a select group will not be heading for sunshine and relaxation. Those few are members of the New Mexico Tech Storm Chaser Club, who will possibly be driving up to 600 miles in one day in the hopes of finding and photographing tornados.
Seth Price, President of the Storm Chaser Club, is in the process of forming this year’s crew.
“We’ll be having a meeting the first week of April,” Price said. “We’re looking for people who have the time to go out once a week, usually on weekends.”
He said the thing for him is the challenge of predicting where a tornado has the best chance of developing, which could be in eastern Colorado, or as far away as North Dakota or Louisiana.
“What you try to do is get up in the morning and figure out where you need to be by six that afternoon,” Price said. “We’re looking at about one third of the United States. The challenge is, can I make a forecast, and then follow through with it and see if it was right.”
He said there are no boundaries, but “we have to stay in the United States.
“Sometimes we drive 600 miles in a day to catch a storm,” Price said. “We’ve been as far north as the Dakotas and Wisconsin, and no further south than Interstate 10.”
Price said unlike the movie Twister, storm chasers try not to drive dirt roads to get close to a tornado.
“We usually stay on state roads, or at least paved roads,” he said. “One time in Kansas we went down a road of clay. It was wet and I found myself sliding off the road.”
He said the trips are fun, even if no tornado is sighted.
“We had a chase in 2004 where we did everything right and went to where storms could be,” he said. “The crew that year was great, even though we didn’t get a sighting.”
He said there’s a certain amount of pressure on him to find a storm.
“It’s takes a lot of skill, but there’s an element of art – and luck – to it,” Price said. “You can’t chase tornado warnings. You have to be there before that happens because the event may last only maybe one half hour at most.”
Price feels the club has a chance to contribute to public safety, if only in a small way.
“If we do see something, it’s being able to relay that information to the National Weather Service,” he said. “That may contribute a bit to increasing a warning time.”
He said that in the past the team has been able to assist after a tornado has struck, especially when cell phone service was down because of the weather.
“We went through an area that was recently hit with a tornado and people were still wandering around. Houses were hit,” he said. “There was no power or cell phone service. We were able to get in touch with police and emergency services through our radio.”
Price, a Lab Associate in the Chemical Engineering Department, said he has been fascinated with tornados for most of his life.
“I was inspired when I saw a Nova special in 1985 when I was four years old,” Price said. “Now I learn new stuff every time I go out. It’s one of the driving forces for going out every weekend.”