Thursday, May 13, 2010

Unoccupied Magdalena House Burns

By John Larson

MAGDALENA - A house at 102 North Oak Street in Magdalena burned to the ground in the early morning hours of Monday, May 10. Fire Chief Arthur Rauschenberg told the Mountain Mail he and three Magdalena volunteer firefighters answered the call, as well as six firemen from Hop Canyon Fire Department.
The house, the former residence of Carlotta Salome, was owned by local businessman Nick Innerbichler and used for storage and office space. It was unoccupied at the time.
Rauschenberg said truck drivers from Arizona passing through noticed the flames and reported the fire.
“When I got the call I went outside and could see the fire from my place,” Rauschenberg said. “When I drove by the fire I saw it was totally engulfed. I went straight to the Fire Department for equipment and trucks.”
Marshal Larry Cearley said he received the call at 1:15 a.m.
“Once I arrived there, I drove by the fire I saw it was totally engulfed. I went straight to the Fire Department for equipment and trucks.”
Marshal Larry Cearley said he received the call at 1:15 a.m.
“Once I arrived there I found an empty fire truck with the red lights on and the driver’s door open,” Cearley said. “I waited about five to seven minutes and became worried that a fireman had ran into the building and got caught in the fire.”
Rauschenberg then drove up in another truck. Also responding to the fire was Magdalena fireman Justin Cearley and Tylor Chavez.
The truck driver stayed to lend assistance for the three hours, he said.
Cearley said the roadway was blocked from traffic with the help of Armand Romano.
“I connected to the hydrant and then to the pumper truck at the fire. As more people arrived, I directed them to charged hoses for the fire,” Cearley said. “After Hop Canyon arrived they set up their truck to run in series for water to a third truck inside the property.”
Cearley started the third truck for citizens who were helping with the fire, and then went to Highway 60 where he directed highway traffic with the help from Socorro County Deputy Larry Smith.
Hop Canyon Volunteer Fire Department brought six firemen and two rehab volunteers, thanks to a Joint Powers Agreement with Magdalena, Chief Bill del Guidice said.
“I want to commend Larry, Justin, and Tylor, who all did everything they could do,” Rauschenberg said. “And I can’t thank Hop Canyon enough for their assistance.”
Rauschenberg, himself, was overcome by smoke and had to be taken to Socorro General Hospital.
The cause of the blaze has not been officially determined, and is under investigation by the state Fire Marshal.
“What’s suspicious is that it started in the middle of a room in the front where nothing could start a fire. No electricity, no gas, no nothing,” Rauschenberg said.
According to Marshal Cearley, the fire investigator was on the scene Monday and Tuesday.
“That’s pretty standard when there’s a fire,” Cearley said.
He said Innerbichler lost everything stored in the house, including suits valued at $10,000, Navajo rugs valued at $12,000, weapons, and Indian jewelry.
The fire was battled for about seven hours, Cearley said.

Top photo by John Larson
Bottom photo courtesy Magdalena Marshal Larry Cearley


Tech Graduation Set For Saturday

By John Larson

SOCORRO – Commencement for graduating students at New Mexico Tech is this Saturday, May 15. Those students finishing their degrees include 251 students.
Adding in the numbers from August and December 2009, a total of 363 graduates have completed their degrees in the past year and are eligible to walk in commencement. Of those degrees, Tech is awarding 200 bachelor’s, 140 master’s and 23 doctoral degrees. Registrar Sara Grijalva said she expects about 250 students to participate in commencement.
University President Dan Lopez said the academic year has posed some interesting challenges.
“It was a year full of challenges and also great opportunities,” Lopez said. “We took advantage of the opportunities and worked to meet the challenges.
“We had a slight increase in enrollment this year, and more next year. In light of the rise in tuition and fees, this indicates students are willing to pay a little more for the quality of education,” he said. “Our faculty continues to be writing very competitive proposals, as well.”
He said the school was successful in being able to obtain “a lot of external funding” for both research and academic areas.
“Despite our budget limits this year and last, we’ve been able to maintain high quality education,” Lopez said. “Our students continue to compete vey favorably at top of the heap in national competitions in math and science. That to me suggests that quality is maintained.”
As for off campus research and development, “another exciting project is the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Testing Program that is being undertaken at Playas,” Lopez said. “We have other ongoing projects at Playas, and carried out very large exercises with the U.S. Joint Forces Command.”
Lopez said the projects are valuable for the university on different levels.
“I’m worried that people think it is just a military project,” he said. “But through these operations we can build the infrastructure necessary for academic programs.
“There are a multitude of different activities that are directly connected with academic programs.”
Commencement exercises being at 9 a.m. on the lawn just north of Macey Center.
The community is invited to attend graduation.
he top student award winners will not be determined until Friday, May 14. The top undergraduate awards are the Cramer Awards, given to the top male and top female students academically, the Brown Award, given to the top student in academics, research and extracurriculars.
The top graduate student awards are the Langmuir Award, given to the student who has published the most significant research paper, and the Founder’s Award, given to the student who has excelled academically and contributed to the Tech community.
The top faculty awards have already been determined. Professor Rick Aster is the 2010 winner of the Distinguished Researcher Award. Aster is the chair of the Earth and Environmental Science Department and the principal investigator for the IRIS PASSCAL Instrument Center. He has distinguished himself in geophysics and Earth science research, outreach and public service efforts.
The Distinguished Teaching Award recipient is Paul Arendt of the Physics Department. Arendt has earned the accolades of students from various departments for his effective and engaging teaching style.

Change Of Address Scam Uncovered

Mountain Mail reports

New Mexicans are being warned about a criminal enterprise that is using their residential addresses to create false documents and obtain drivers’ licenses for foreign nationals.
In a press release from the Department of Taxation and Revenue, Secretary Rick Homans said the perpetrators are selecting random names and addresses of New Mexico residents from the phone book and using that information to file the “Official Mail Forwarding Change of Address Order Form” with the United States Postal Service. Using the same information, they are also generating false residential documents to obtain drivers’ licenses. Those driver’s licenses would then be forwarded to out of state addresses.
Unsuspecting homeowners will receive a notice from the Post Office about the request submitted for the mail to be forwarded for unknown individuals. It is important that homeowners respond to the notice or the request will be honored by the U.S. Post Office and the mail will be forwarded.
Individuals with any other concerns with this issue could either contact the post office or call the state’s hotline at 1-866-457-6789.

Two Arrested In BLM Break-in, Robbery

By John Larson

SOCORRO - Two Socorro men were arraigned in Magistrate Court, Monday, May 10, on four felony charges stemming from a break-in and robbery at the Socorro offices of the Bureau of Land Management on S. California Street.
According to a criminal complaint filed with the court, Julian Lugo, 21, and Ruben Maxwell, 23, were arrested Monday after $15,000 worth of electronics and computer equipment belonging to the BLM was found at a residence owned by Patricia Gonzales on Richardson Court.
Sgt. Richard Lopez of the Socorro Police Department said that he was able to arrest the two men shortly after the theft was reported due to investigative work by Detective Brandi Perkins and Officer Bobby Aragon.
“Officer Aragon had located several items of property on High School Road that appeared to be items that were taken from the burglary,” the complaint said. “Officer Aragon had located some items in the area of Richardson Court on at least two previous occasions.”
Lopez said he had been involved in two previous burglary investigations in the past six months which resulted in stolen property being linked to the residence at 1107 Richardson Ct., which is about three blocks from the BLM.
The court document states that Lopez, assisted by Aragon and Officer Justin Gonzales found the two men at the residence, along with the stolen computer equipment, which was found in a locked room occupied by Lugo.
Lugo and Maxwell were arrested and booked on once count each of larceny (third class felony); receiving stolen property (third class felony); burglary (fourth class felony); conspiracy to commit a burglary (third class felony); and criminal damage to property (petty misdemeanor).
Gonzales was not charged.
The equipment was returned to the Bureau of Land Management building later that day.
Preliminary hearings for the two men have not been scheduled.

Lady Warriors Golf Team Romps To 4th Straight State Title

By John Severance

SOCORRO – Socorro coach Margaret Stanley knew the Lady Warriors golf team had a case of the butterflies.
It’s to be expected of a team that has no juniors and seniors.
But what Socorro accomplished Monday and Tuesday at the New Mexico State Golf Tournament was nothing short of remarkable.
The Lady Warriors overcame the nerves and a ferocious wind to win their fourth straight championship with a two-day total of 749, 57 shots better than second-place Hot Springs at the New Mexico Tech Golf Course.
“After the way we played at the 3A Invitational and at district, I thought we might win by many 10 to 15 shots,” Stanley said. “I didn’t envision this margin of victory.”
Socorro freshman Kristen Cline claimed medalist honors with scores of 84-84-168, four shots better than St. Michaels’ Jamie Palermo (172).
Cline admitted she was nervous on the first day when on the first hole she hit her tee shot out of bounds and ended up with a double-bogey 6.
“I knew I had to calm down because I knew it was going to get better,” Cline said.
And it did get better for Cline and the Lady Warriors.
On the first day, Socorro shot a 372 with Cline leading the way. The Lady Warriors also got solid contributions from eighth grader Shania Berger (90) and sophomore Brittani Webb (90). Theresa Chavez added a 108 and Mirjana Gacanich had a 122.
The Lady Warriors knew they had things well in hand after the first day after they led by 30 strokes.
“They are a young bunch,” Stanley said. “I am very proud of them. They handled the wind. They handled the course. I am proud of all of them.”
Before Tuesday’s second round, Stanley gathered her team behind the practice green for a little motivational speech.
The Lady Warriors didn’t really need it.

They went out and played their games on the second day and they cruised to victory.
“The first day definitely, they were all very nervous on the first tee,” Stanley said. “And it didn’t go away for 10 to 12 holes. Today, it was just play the game and the course. I told them to go out there and enjoy the moment.”
And they did.
They also had a long time to enjoy the moment as rounds lasted close to six hours. But that didn’t stop the celebration afterward.
The girls piled into the back of Stanley’s pickup and they received a police escort and held a parade through town after the victory.
“It was a lot of fun,” Stanley said. “The girls love it. It’s one of their favorite parts.”
Stanley has to be smiling too.
Not only does everybody come back next year, Stanley said there are six or seven seventh graders who will look to make an impact next year.
“It will be good. I think the girls coming up will be pushing the girls on the team. It will be a good competition,” Stanley said.
On Tuesday, an eighth grader helped Socorro to the title as Berger finished third overall with scores of 90 and 84.
“I had a couple of problems and made some mistakes I shouldn’t have made,” Berger said. “But I will work on it.”
And that’s what Stanley likes about her team.
She says a lot of them come to the course in their spare time and work on their games.
“Kristen is just a freshman but she is right up there with the top players we have had here,” Stanley said. “Every year, she gets better. Kristen has a beautiful natural swing and she works very hard during the year. But as far as Kristen goes, I am proud of her. She has matured so much this year by the way she has handled the different tournaments this season. She has become a strong mental player.
“Shania works hard and has a great work ethic. She is out here all the time. Brittani had a wonderful round the first day. That was awesome the way she handled it. And Theresa had been not been playing well but she came through. I got the key words into her head and she pulled through. I am really proud of all of them.”

Picture: Socorro’s Kristen Cline checks her scorecard after her round Tuesday en route to being medalist of the tournament.

Photo by John Severance

OBITUARY: Leonides Garcia

March 13, 1935-May 5, 2010

Leonides “Leo” Garcia, passed away on May 5, 2010. Those who wish to send condolences may do so at Services have been entrusted to: Daniels Family Funeral Services, 309 Garfield, Socorro, NM 87801, (575) 835-1530

OBITUARY: Refugio P. Chavez

March 7, 1918-May 11, 2010

Refugio P. “Cuca” Chavez, 92, passed away on May 11, 2010 in Las Cruces, NM. Refugio was born March 7, 1918 in Juarez, Mexico to Juan and Ausencia (Burciaga) Jurado.
She was originally from Carrizozo but resided in Socorro since 1957.
She was a member of San Miguel Catholic Church.
Refugio is survived by her children, Stella Reichenbach of Socorro, NM; Vera Keaton of El Paso, TX; Elise Castillo and husband Roger of Albuquerque, NM; Tony Chavez and wife Leatsia of Las Cruces; and Arthur Chavez; 26 Grandchildren; 23 Great Grandchildren; her sister, Tillie Nobles of Jasper, TX; and many nieces and nephews.
She is preceded in death by her beloved husband, Antonio Chavez; her daughter, Emily Schultz; sisters, Felipa; Juanita; and Josephine; her brothers, Benny; and Senovio; three half sisters, Antonia; Lucy; and Kiteria; and one half brother, David.
A Visitation will be held at Daniels Family Funeral Services- Socorro Chapel on Friday, May 14, 2010 starting at 5 p.m.. Followed by a Rosary which will then be recited at 7:00 PM . A Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated on Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 10 a.m. at San Miguel Catholic Church with Father Andy Pavlak as Celebrant. Burial will take place in the San Miguel Cemetery. Pallbearers are Anthony Chavez, Joe Reichenbach, Robert Schultz, Joe Louis Torrez, Cosme Gallegos, and Rudy Coloridio.
Those who wish to send condolences may do so at Services have been entrusted to Daniels Family Funeral Services 309 Garfield Socorro, NM 87801

OBITUARY: Agnes M. Halls

Jan. 31, 1914-May 6, 2010

Agnes M. Halls, 96, passed away on Thursday, May 6, 2010 in Socorro, NM. Agnes was born in Bronx, New York on January 31, 1914 to Oswald and Theresia (Wergles) Steiner. She is survived by her loving and devoted children, Marian Vassello of Huntington, NY; Susanne Reisner of Homossasa, FL; Barbara Duncan of Huntington Station, NY; Marjorie Bassler of Albuquerque, NM; Allen Bassler of Datil, NM; and Eva Cox of Proctersville, VT; 11 grandchildren; 18 great grandchildren; and 1 great great grandchild. Agnes is preceded in death by Edwin Johnsen Bassler; Leon I. Caldwell; Rainford R. Halls; sister, Marian Brown; and son, Edwin “Butch” Bassler. A Memorial Rosary will be recited on Friday, May 14, 2010 at 8:30 a.m. at San Miguel Catholic Church in Socorro, NM with a Memorial Mass of Resurrection immediately following with Father Andy Pavlak as Celebrant. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, gifts and memorial contributions may be made to Good Samaritain Society of Socorro, 1203 Highway 60, Socorro, NM 87801.
Those who wish to send condolences may do so at Services have been entrusted to: Daniels Family Funeral Services, 309 Garfield, Socorro, NM 87801, (575) 835-1530.

OBITUARY: Gary Dale Perry

May 1, 1951-May 5, 2010

Gary Dale Perry headed for his last roundup on Wednesday, May 5, 2010.
To carry on Gary’s passion for living life to the fullest is his devoted wife, Vannetta of San Antonio; his sons, S/SGT Galen of Aviano Air Force Base, Italy; Dustin of San Antonio; and daughter, Brette also of San Antonio; his loving and devoted parents Glenn and Betty Perry of San Antonio; brother, Larry Perry and wife Michelle of Mountainair, NM; sisters, Charlotte Jones and husband, Wilton of San Antonio; Shanna Allison and husband, Frank of Farmington, NM; and Cheryl Crosley and husband, Randy of Albuquerque, NM; and many nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, and friends.
Born May 1, 1951, in Magdalena, NM, Gary lived in Pie Town, Socorro, and near San Antonio. An avid supporter of youth activities in Socorro County, Gary enjoyed watching athletic events, especially when his children were playing. He was president and member of the Socorro County Fair and Rodeo Association for over twenty years. His commitment to community also involved serving as member and chairman of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, representing Socorro County for over fifteen years. He raised and trained registered Quarter horses and farmed north of San Antonio. An avid outdoorsman and hunter, Gary’s favorite activities were best shared with family and friends. His passions of hunting and training horses were inspiring to his children who continue to enjoy these.
The graveside service was held Sunday, May 9, 2010 at 2 p.m. at the Greer Cemetery in Catron County with Pastor Sam Norris officiating. Pallbearers were Johnny Ray Mounyo, Travis Harris, Billy Jack Pound, Randy McKee, Joe Pound, Gene Harvey, Bob Hudgins, Bill Spears. Honorary pall bearers were Larry Perry, Terry Hudgins, Buddy Tigner, Fletcher Tigner, Wilton Jones, Frank Allison, Randy Crosley, and Marty Greenwood.
To celebrate the life of Gary, a memorial service was held Monday, May 10, 2010 at 11 a.m. at Kelly Hall, Socorro County Fairgrounds in Socorro.
To honor Gary, contributions may be made to the NM Boys and Girls Ranches or any charity of choice.

Sheriff's Blotter

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

Mar. 30

A woman in Veguita reported at 4:15 p.m. that a trailer was missing from her property. She said it was a black 30 foot flatbed gooseneck type trailer with ramps at the rear. A Socorro man reported at 5 p.m. that someone had broken a window at a residence in the 600 block of Park and gained entry. The suspects did not remove anything but did stay in the residence during the night. Suspects apparently stayed in the residence for a few days. The residence is uninhabited and undergoing renovations.

The landlord of a trailer park in Socorro reported at 5:41 p.m. that a tenant was given a writ of restitution and advised that she had to vacate the premises. The woman was given time to collect some of her belongings and escorted off the property. She was told trespass charges would be filed should she return without authorization. She is to make arrangements to pick up the rest of her belongings.

Apr. 2

Two vehicles were southbound at mile marker 116 on Interstate 25 at 3:30 p.m. The driver of vehicle 1 stated that he was in the right lane of travel when a vehicle attempted to merge into traffic off the ramp and he had to swerve into the left lane to avoid contact. Vehicle 2 then made contact with vehicle 1 causing damage to both vehicles.

Apr. 6

Vehicle 1 was southbound on State Road 1 at 11:10 a.m. Vehicle 2 was northbound on State Road 1. Vehicle 1 was a dump truck which was hauling gravel. The passenger side locking device on vehicle 1 broke and the gate opened causing gravel to fall out. The gravel struck vehicle 2 causing damage to the windshield and the front end. This also happened to vehicles 3 and 4.

Apr. 7

A woman in Veguita reported at 10 a.m. that a neighbor’s dogs came out of their yard and attacked her dog. The neighbor’s dogs were unsecured and the neighbor’s gate was left open. Upon entering the suspect’s yard the dogs were not aggressive towards the officer but were aggressive towards the victim’s dog. The dogs were secured and the gate was close.

An employee of the City of Socorro reported at 1:30 p.m. that unknown suspects had caused damage to three water meters which were located in the alley between Troy Street and Albany Street. Two of the damaged meters belonged to two separate residences on Albany and the other to a residence on Troy. The complainant and city crews repaired the meters. The complainant gave the name of a possible suspect.

An officer was advised by the State Police dispatcher of a possible drunk driver on Interstate 25 at 5:30 p.m. The officer was given a description of the vehicle and located said vehicle. The vehicle was pulled over due to the driver’s failure to maintain his lane of travel. A strong odor of an alcoholic beverage was noticed. The driver, from Sierra Blanca, Texas, was given and failed field sobriety tests. He was placed under arrest and transported to the Socorro Police Department for a breath test, and then transported to the detention center where he was booked and incarcerated.

Apr. 9

A Veguita man reported at 5:47 p.m. that he had been battered by another man at his residence. The victim was intoxicated at the time of his report, and stated that he got into an argument with the suspect and the suspect struck him with a belt. The officer met with the suspect who stated that he got into an argument with the victim, and the victim came at him in an aggressive manner, holding a kitchen knife and threatening to kill him and/or batter him. The suspect took the knife away and placed in back in the kitchen. He then told the victim he would not let him batter him anymore and took off his belt and struck the victim with it.

Rancho Magdalena Airport Access Denied

By John Larson

MAGDALENA – A proposal by Rancho Magdalena to allow direct access to the municipal airport was rejected by the Village Board of Trustees Monday night.
The request, in the form of a memorandum of understanding, submitted to the Board for approval, stated that a “permittee” would pay the Village $300 a year to have private access to the airport.
Trustee Diane Allen asked if there was a potential problem of other property owners in building their own hangars and wanting private access. “Is there a conflict there?” Allen said.
Mayor Sandy Julian said that allowing a private gate to Rancho Magdalena might open the door to other property owners adjacent to the airport wanting their own access.
“The request said that the access would only be used in an emergency,” Julian said. “But how do we know there’s an emergency? He (Lee Scholes) said it would only be used if his private runway was snowed in or too muddy, and that he would use the airport access only for non-commercial use.”
Marshal Larry Cearley said that since Sept. 11, 2001 the federal law restricts use of municipal airports.
“Under the Department of Homeland Security, the airport has to be secure,” Cearley said. “By allowing someone to taxi onto the airport would violate federal law.”
Deputy Clerk Carlene Gomez said the allowing the opening would also “raise our insurance.”
“There are several issues with this, but basically Homeland Security requires airports to be closed,” Cearley said.
The Board voted to deny the request.
In other business:
• Julian said the village needed a committee to advise the Board of Trustees on how to spend Lodgers Tax money. “I can start picking out so many people, from businesses and one local person, and you can decide who will be chosen for or the advisory board,” Julian told the trustees. “They can advise us, but this board is still in charge. It’s a state statute that we have to have this.”
• Allen recommended that each department head receive a quarterly statement of expenditures and balances. “Just to see where they’re at, where they’ve been,” Allen said. “I went through and looked at the utility costs for both electricity and propane. The budget is tight and it will be getting tighter next year, and everyone should begin ready to conserve.”
• The Board tabled a request by Donna Todd for $800 in Lodger’s Tax money.
• The Board tabled a request by Cearley to purchase three bullet proof vests for the Marshal’s office.
•The Board tabled a request by Donna Dawson to make improvements to the rodeo grounds in time for Old Timers Weekend. Dawson said improvements included a new barbecue pit with fencing, repairing of metal sheeting and boards on the back of the grandstand, removing barrier pipes in front of the Spanish Village section, repairing or replacing doors and windows, as well as the swamp cooler at the arts and crafts building. “Old Timers is willing to do some of it but we can’t do all of it,” Dawson said.
• The Board delayed action on a request for Lodger’s Tax money by Heather Kresser of the Magdalena Trail Drivers, who is hosting the Single Action Society’s New Mexico State Championship to be held on private property owned by Rancho Magdalena. Kresser said they are expecting up to 120 shooters and their families for the event Sept. 17-19. Julian said she supported the request but recommended delaying any decision by the Board until the proposed Lodger’s Tax advisory board can consider it. “I had thought this was a private event, but I learned that the public is invited to come out,” Julian said.
•A recommendation was made by Dr. Eileen Comstock that the village needs to recruit more volunteers for EMT positions. “The people working there now are doing as good a job as possibly be expected,” Comstock said. “They are doing well, but the EMS needs more people. You’ll have a burn out factor with only two or three answering all calls.” She recommended that notices be posted that the village is looking for more volunteers.

EDITORIAL: Hats Off To the Socorro High School Golf Teams

By John Severance

Everybody loves a parade … especially the Socorro girls golf team.
And the Lady Warriors like nothing better than having a parade in their honor.
Right after accepting the state championship trophy for the fourth consecutive year, the girls piled into the back of coach Margaret Stanley’s pickup in the New Mexico Tech parking lot.
They were all smiles as they gave the No. 1 signal and displayed the latest hardware.
After winning by 57 shots, one has to wonder how the Lady Warriors rank with the big schools in the state.
The Lady Warriors finished second to Deming during the season and it was Deming who won the big school title.
I’m guessing the Lady Warriors will continue their streak,
With no juniors and seniors and a talented group of seventh graders waiting in the wings, it looks like the Lady Warriors are on the verge of a dynasty.
Maybe they already are there.
It was the 15th state title for the Lady Warriors golf program.
Watch for many more to come.
The Socorro boys are not to be overlooked either. The Warriors battled the elements and came away with a second place finish in the state golf tournament.
It was a sweet end for senior Ryan Romero, who finished fifth individually. It has been quite the senior year for Romero, who was the starting quarterback for much of the season before sustaining a shoulder injury.
Football coach Damien Ocampo said Romero was done for the year. But the Warriors made their dramatic playoff run and kept winning. Romero finally talked his parents and coach into dressing for the state title game.
Romero knew the consequences if he was to get hurt and he was only supposed to take a couple of snaps in the Lovington game.
But when starter Zach Esquivel got hurt late in the first half, Ocampo had no choice but to insert Romero.
And he almost led the Warriors to a dramatic victory.
So it had to be satisfying for Romero to be able to compete in a state title game and then try his best to lead the golf team to a title of their own.
They ended up just short but they have a lot to be proud of.

Sun Zia Update

It was not surprising to hear what the Socorro County Commissioners had to say about the Sun Zia Transmission project.
I took a look at the various routes and most of them came through the county in one way or another.
I also took a look at how they hook up their lines and commissioner Daniel Monette had it right when he said it was “an eyesore.”
Here is hoping the Sun Zia folks bypass Socorro County and go east of White Sands Missile Range.
After all, Socorro County does not benefit a bit from the project.


Last month, the Mountain Mail printed a photo from the Science Fair and misidentified the person in the photo. The person in the photo was Nikki Mortenson and not Angelina Stanzione.

OPINION: Take A Deep Breath ...

Magdalena Potluck
Don Wiltshire

There now, isn’t that better? Sometimes, the world and the people around us seem so hopelessly out of control, so bent on self destruction and so out of touch with reality, that a big step backward is called for. A long walk with my dog last week was the beginning of a fascinating thought experiment that seemed, for a moment anyway, to put all of our local and national problems into perspective.
I became enraptured (well, OK, maybe only mildly interested) in the surface of the earth. It seemed to be so infinitely thin and definable at the moment. At other times, like after the snow-melt and in the middle of our “rainy” season, the ground has a more ambiguous “surface.” I was feeling, not the weight of my body, but the earth pulling me firmly to its self. Thanks be to our iron-nickel core which, by the way, is spinning faster than the surface of the earth. It manages to complete one additional revolution below our feet every 400 years.
I started to wonder what was directly below my feet on the other side of the world, some 7,900 miles down or 12,450 miles away as the crow flies (in any direction that it might so choose). My Mother always told me that if I dug down deep enough, I’d find myself in China. I thought at first that it might be some peaceful Indian village, rich with curry sauces and colorful saris. Turns out that it’s right in the middle of the southern Indian Ocean, just about midway between South Africa and Australia. The closest islands are the French Southern and Antarctic Lands, some 1,000 miles south. Or perhaps you’d prefer the lovely islands of Reunion and Mauritius off the coast of Madagascar, 1,000 miles to the northwest. The only people out here might be some seriously off-course Somali pirates.
Did you know that the Somali fishermen resorted to piracy as a last resort after their own fishing grounds were decimated by international fisheries, then used as a dumping ground for toxic wastes? Their latest claim is that they’ve been hired by Goldman Sachs. Oops! Sorry, I wasn’t going to go there this week!
Meanwhile, back to my thought experiment: Carpenter levels or bubble levels are marvelous tools. There is nothing more comforting to an anal-retentive than a gallery of exquisitely leveled paintings. A water tube level is even more accurate on large projects. Not having a ready supply of plastic tubing at hand, the ancient Egyptians probably used shallow water channels to level the blocks of their impressive pyramids.
As you try to “level” things over a longer and longer distance, you start to loose it. What had started out to be comfortingly “level,” now takes on the disturbing curvature of the earth. (What? You mean the earth isn’t flat?)
Now imagine, if you will, a really, really long water tube level: one end here in Magdalena, the other end in the apparently upside-down boat of a Somali pirate in the middle of the Indian Ocean. We want to hang a painting that is mutually pleasing to both of us. Because of our extreme elevation here, the pirate would have to hold his end of the tube at the top of a 6,572-foot high mast on his boat. We end up hanging the painting on its side with the “top” and “bottom” being completely arbitrary.
Well, that didn’t go well. We never did arrive at a consensus for hanging our painting but we had fun thinking about it and we got to meet some fascinating pirates. These “flights of fantasy” or thought experiments seem to me, to reestablish our true place and scale in the world. They challenge our basic assumptions of what is “real.”
. . . stuff yourselves . . .
Here’s a chance to eat yourselves silly. There will be a spaghetti supper on Sunday, May 16 at the High Country Lodge from 12:30 till 2:30 p.m. to benefit the Samaritan Center. All manner of sauces, salads and breads will be available. Come eat, enjoy, hob-knob with the locals or, if you’re feeling reclusive, partake in the Silent Auction in the next room. Who knows what will be available? The cost to you? A mere $6 per adult or $3 per child.
. . . and feed your brain.
The Magdalena Public Library is continuing to plan for this year’s Summer Reading Program for Adults. The subject this year: Water! This year’s program will start on Wednesday, June 2 at 7 p.m. with a screening of the eye-opening documentary Flow: For the Love of Water. Programs are being scheduled for every other Wednesday eve thereafter with speakers, discussions and workshops. Come learn about the water below our feet, how to conserve, protect and enjoy it.

If you have any comments, problems, solutions, upcoming events or pirate booties, contact me at

LETTER: Reserve Public Library Fundraiser

To the editor
Thank You All Who Made The Village of Reserve Public Library a huge success!
The Reserve Public Library Book and Bake Sale with Raffle generated $2372.60. We thank all the local bakers who donated the wonderful baked goods as well as to all the people who donated books to our sale.
Many hours of time and hard work by the board members and volunteers contributed to the success of this event. It would not have happened without all of your support.
The raffle was supported by many area businesses and individuals to the extent that 36 prizes were given away. The top prize of 100 gallons of propane donated by Jimbo Williams of Ag Country Propane of Quemado generated $1,329 in ticket sales.
The top three winners were John McCann of Reserve who won the top prize of 100 gallons of propane. The second prize was won by Wilford Estrada of Reserve who won the electronic dart board donated by Woodland Building Supply of Springerville, AZ. The third prize of a $100 shopping card donated by Wal-Mart Supercenter of Socorro was won by Whitney Cordell of Reserve.
Congratulations to all of the raffle winners as there were many other wonderful prizes donated by Luna Service Station, Harris Auto, Reserve Auto, Safeway Food & Drug, Apache Gas, Adobe Cafe, Mane Attraction Beauty Salon, Frisco Stables, Ella's Cafe, Henry's Corner, Jake's Merchantile, Black Gold Emporium, Avon, Alex Smith Photography, artists Andres' Giron, Grem Lee, Tom Bauer, Joyce Smallwood, author Nancy Coggeshall, The Rode Inn and many individuals.
The Reserve Public Library gives heartfelt thanks to every business and person who made this first ever fundraiser a huge success!

Ron Smith
Reserve Library Board Chair

LETTER: Spring Tea A Success

To the editor:
Thanks to the Community for the large turnout and support we received at our 6th Annual Spring Tea, an event to help raise funds for the Socorro General Hospital Healing Garden. A very special thanks to everyone who donated the items for the silent auction and for the lovely fresh flowers used for the centerpieces.
The Spring Tea event has grown and a special thanks goes out to Jess Landers and Dave Jones of Ranchers Steakhouse, Bambi's Flowers and Gifts, The Christmas Store, Gene's Flower Shop, Greenleaf Flowers, Clea Montgomery for the handmade quilt and Wanda Bassler for the framed cross stitch sunflower picture.
We invite everyone to visit the Healing Garden at SGH and to join us for next year's Spring Tea event, tentatively planned for March 20, 2011.

Lorraine Archuleta
Spring Tea Committee Chair

LETTER: Welcome Home 515th

To the editor:
I just returned from the touching welcome home ceremony in Belen for our New Mexico national Guard 515th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion who returned from Iraq.
We also heard that Socorro turned out to line the streets when they passed through. It sure gives a special meaning when they post the colors and sing the National Anthem when you are among those who served in harm’s way.
The 515th provided logistical support first in Mosul and then at Camp Buca, located at the southern tip of Iraq. Lt. Col. Nava said they were there when the people of Iraq voted, sometimes at great personal risk.
There were no combat injuries among our Guard and they served honorably and with distinction. The history of our Guard goes back to the Bataan Death March at the beginning of World War II. They put in a Bataan Park in Iraq while they were there and remembered the Bataan veterans in other ways as well.
This is the first time in many years that all our new Mexico Guard is home. Thank you to all those in the 515th who served so well and honorably. We are proud of you and God bless you and your families for their sacrifice. We are so blessed to live in America and are inspired by your service to our country. Welcome Home.

Valerie Moore

Kindergarten Spelling Bee

Thirty Kindergarteners from the county competed 20 rounds in a spelling bee at the Socorro Consolidated Schools Building Thursday morning. The winner was Scott Bunning (left) of Charter School, who correctly spelled jump and drill in the final round to win. Finishing second was Elise Madril (right) of Parkview and third was Joshua Walsh (center) of Parkview. The judges were the top spellers from the county: Joseph Sanchez, Sean Moore and Alice Zheng.

Photo by John Severance

Young Artists

Winners of an art contest for third graders sponsored by the Rotary Club were recognized Tuesday at Parkview Elementary School. Bill Bottorf handed out prizes to the top winners. Front row (from left): Cecelia Villarael – Midway, Alana Chavez – Parkview, and Tyra Gonzales – Parkview. Back row: Justine Markland – San Antonio, Ricardo Maldonado – Parkview, Zabrina Baca Griego – Parkview.

Photo by John Larson

OPINION: Red Tape Never Was What It’s Cracked Up To Be

The Pencil Warrior

By Dave Wheelock

Hidden beneath the drama of media accounts detailing efforts to halt the massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico are the glimmerings of more essential questions: how did this unnatural disaster happen, and how can we prevent anything like it from reoccurring? The answer to these questions depends, if you will pardon the pun, on how deep beneath the surface you wish to drill. What if we tunnel beneath the blowout preventers, acoustic switches, and frantic finger-pointing between BP and its subcontractors, all the way down to the origins of the first federal regulatory agency in 1887?
Corporate hucksters, of course, have long decried the wave of “over-regulation” that needs to be peeled “off industry’s back.” As if it was sudden. As if it was a problem for them. As if it was happening.
As reported by the New York Times on May 7: “Federal regulators (from the Mineral Management Service, or MMS) warned offshore rig operators more than a decade ago that they needed to install backup systems to control the giant undersea valves known as blowout preventers . . . The warnings were repeated in 2004 and 2009. Yet the . . . Service . . . never took steps to comprehensively address the issue, relying instead on industry assurances that they were on top of the problem, a review of documents shows.”
The MMS, which is tasked with both “regulating” extractive industries and collecting royalties from companies plying those trades (the government’s second revenue-producer after the Internal Revenue Service), has a history that falls somewhat short of the watchdog image. You may remember revelations a few years back that agency officials took bribes and engaged in drug use and sex with oil industry types in the Western U.S. The agency’s own scientists have accused senior agency officials of revising staff reports to eliminate environmental concerns surrounding oil drilling applications for offshore sites near Alaska.
Space prohibits a directional drill to Vice Resident Dick Cheney’s 2001 top-secret Energy Task Force, graced with cameos by such rightwing darlings as Grover Norquist, founder of something called the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy. Suffice to say the Task Force gang had their own ideas about environmental concerns. But anyway, that’s why you have Google (hint: Washington Post, 7/18/2007; Pencil Warrior 8/24/2006 and 11/10/2005).
Instead, let’s recall the origins of the regulatory system the drill, baby, drill crowd are so desperate to get off their backs. The first U.S. regulatory agency, the Interstate Commerce Commission, owes its birth in 1887 not to the farmers and workers of the U.S. Populist movement, but rather to the notorious railroad barons who attracted so much of their ire. The transport of passengers and especially freight was the nineteenth century’s equivalent of the automobile or the computer in terms of revolutionizing business. The vast potentials for profit attracted fierce competition among railroad companies, and the biggest outfits started looking for ways to protect “their” turf by buying political leaders, artificially fixing prices, and other nefarious means.
But citizens did their homework in those days. Due to their natural wariness of early right wingers atop mounds of cash, most states had laws preventing one corporation from owning stock in another, thus closing off the strategy of corporations simply merging to squeeze entrepreneurs out. In 1890 the Sherman Anti-trust Act outlawed monopolies by denying the formation of business trusts.
Worst of all for the corporations, people were organizing to push their government to abolish the methods railroads, mines, banks, and factories were using to cheat and exploit them. A tense period of strikes ensued, bringing vicious counterattacks by owners often backed by the public’s own law enforcement forces. Yet the resistance continued.
And so the railroads and their cronies in office decided to settle for a new government creation that would pacify the public while paying the costs of organizing an industry they themselves would otherwise have to pay (quality control, safety inspections, enforcement of standards). The Interstate Commerce Commission even provided a mechanism to legally fix prices by mandating minimum costs emerging companies could charge. Thus was set, from the beginning, the pattern of "captured agencies".
Richard Olney, a lawyer for the Boston and Maine Railroad who later became President Cleveland’s Attorney General, gave comfort to troubled railroad tycoons. “The [Interstate Commerce] commission, as its functions have now been limited by the courts is, or can be made, of great use to the railroads. It satisfies the public clamor for a government supervision of railroads, at the same time that that supervision is almost entirely nominal.”
No doubt in public Olney put it another way. For all we know he may even deserve credit for “the wealth-producing engine of this country is being strangled by regulatory red tape.”
In a system of captured regulatory agencies, citizens can only wonder where to expect the next manmade disaster.

Dave Wheelock, a member of the Oneida Nation, lives and works in Socorro. Contact him at Mr. Wheelock’s views are not necessarily those of the Mountain Mail.

Look For Mars And Venus In May Skies

By Jon Spargo
Tech Astronomy Club

Venus will continue to dominate the early evening sky. Shining at magnitude -3.9 it will maintain about the same position throughout the month. Look for it just after sunset above the west-northwest horizon.
Mercury spends a good deal of the month transiting behind the sun putting in a dim appearance in the early morning sky at the very end of this month.
Mars will be eminently viewable during the month. High above our heads at sunset, Mars continues to move slowly eastward coming to within 4 degrees of the bright star Regulus on the 31st.
About midway between the bright stars Regulus in Leo and Spica in Virgo you will find Saturn shining steadily at about magnitude +1.0. As the month progresses, its magnificent rings will close to a tilt of a mere 1.7 degrees from being seen edge on. This is the last time for almost a decade that the rings will be this narrow. So now is your chance. Folks with good binoculars or small to medium sized telescopes may be able to pick out some of the dim moons of Saturn as they move along with the material in the rings.
Jupiter will be visible in the early morning sky but by the end of the month will rise around 2 a.m. shining at magnitude -2.3. Jupiter is headed for a rendezvous with the planet Uranus in early June. More about that in next month’s column.
The Moon will be last quarter on the 6th, new on the 13th, 1st quarter on the 20th and full on the 27th. On the 9th, about an hour before sunrise, look for the waning crescent Moon just above the planet Jupiter on the eastern horizon. On the 15th and 16th, the crescent moon will bracket the planet Venus on the western horizon about 45 minutes after sunset.
If you look southeast around 11 p.m. on the night of May 27 the full Moon will be a scant one degree above the bright star Antares in the constellation Scorpius.

Warriors Place 2nd At State Tourney

By Nicky Romero

SOCORRO -- The Socorro Warriors golf team finished second place in the 2010 New Mexico 3A State Golf Championship. St. Michael's took the first place blue trophy, winning by 20 strokes at the very windy NM Tech Golf Course Monday and Tuesday.
St. Michael's won the tournament for the second year in a row. Their team consisted of three seniors – Parker Ashton, Miguel Macias, Nathan Gruda, sophomore Marty Sanchez, and freshman Zach Berhost. The team is coached by Lee Sanchez.
The team finishes and two-day totals were as follows: St. Michael's (639), Socorro (659), Lovington (669), Hope Christian (689) and Mesilla Valley Christian (703).
“Our seniors provided our leadership”, said Coach Russ Moore. “We had two very key contributors, junior Nathan Vega and freshman Willie Schaffer. That made the difference as far as us being able to compete for a trophy.
“It was a grueling tournament with the weather conditions that were absolutely awful. However, I am very proud of the boys. They hung in there and dealt with the weather conditions.”
Socorro was led by senior Ryan Romero, whose two-day total score was a 161. This was enough for Romero to finish his high school career as the fifth place medalist. Junior Nathan Vega came in second on the team with a 163. Next was Joe Carilli and Willie Schaffer who both posted a 170. Randall Romero finished with a 182.
St. Michael's Marty Sanchez, who is coached by his father, took medalist honors with a score of 154. St. Michael's Miguel Macias and eighth grader Isaac Alderete of Sandia Prep tied for second with a 158. Colin Pratt of Desert Academy took fourth with a 159. Ryan Romero and Ty Black of Lovington tied for fifth with a 161.
Moore will miss having his three senior players and realizes that he will have to regroup for next year. Moore said, “Ryan had a fantastic season this year. Especially, because of the football injuries that he suffered earlier in the year.”
“Randall Romero, you have to tip your hat to him. He played steady through most of the year.
“We're also going to miss Joe Carilli, simply because he has the ability to shoot very good scores and really bad scores, and sometimes he shoots in the middle where he should be.”
Ryan Romero concluded by saying, “Our team did alright. That's an improvement from the last three or four years. I'm proud of all these guys and happy that we all did well. I'm thankfull that we have a good coach like Russ to help us. It's kind of sad to end my high school career, but life goes on. It was fun while it lasted.

Picture: The Socorro boys golf team holds the state runner-up trophy Tuesday.

Photo by Anabelle Romero

Socorro Baseball Team Falls

By Nicky Romero

SOCORRO – The Socorro Warrior baseball post-season came to quick end on Friday, May 7, as it fell 20-9 in five innings to Ruidoso in the first round of the 2010 NM State Baseball Championship.
Socorro, the 3-3A district runner-ups, ended the season 14-13 overall and 7-2 in district play.
Coach Alan Edmonson said, “It's definitely not the way you want to go down. But you got to tip your hat to Ruidoso. They played a great game. They're heck of a lot better team than a number ten team. It was a tough draw for us. We didn't make the plays and they did.”
Senior Charlie Savedra was the starting pitcher for Socorro. Savedra got off to a slow start in the first inning. Ruidoso scored three runs in the first, with a walk, a triple, a single, and an error for an unearned run. Savedra settled down in the second inning with two strikeouts and a groundout to the shortstop.
Ruidoso tacked on five more runs in the third for an 8-0 lead.
Socorro finally scored one run in its part of the third. Ibrahim Maiga and Irving Gomez were both walked. Michael Chavez hit a ground ball to the shortstop who threw to first for an error and scored Maiga.
Justus Jaramillo was then hit by a pitch to load up the bases, with the Warriors' big hitter Savedra coming up to bat. Ruidoso decided to make a pitching change giving the ball to junior Kayle Frierson. On the first pitch from Frierson, Savedra powered the ball high over the center field fence for a grand slam to narrow the deficit to 8-5.
Savedra said, “It was good. I struck out the first time up. I was hoping I would get a hit and just swung hard on a fastball and it went over.”
Socorro narrowed the margin to 8-6 in the fourth. Jonathan DiBartolomeo ran to second base on a dropped ball by the left fielder. Gomez later hit a single and got credit for the RBI.
The Warriors ran into trouble in a long fifth inning. Ruidoso scored 11 runs for an insurmountable 20-9 lead. Savedra and relief pitcher Michael Chavez were able to get two outs and only allowed one run to start this inning. One of the outs came on a circus catch by left fielder Freddy Martinez.
Getting the third out in the inning proved to be the trick for Socorro. A Ruidoso player hit a grounder to the shortstop who threw to second. The ball was dropped by the second baseman, which should have been the third out. Instead, Ruidoso lined up nine more batters this inning and put the game out of reach. Ruidoso's Jacob Vazquez added to the damage with a three-run homer.
Socorro scored three more runs in their fifth. It wasn't enough runs to extend the game and ended up losing by the ten run rule.
“We made an error with two outs,” Edmonson said. We gave them an opportunity to stay up there and keep hitting. Once you do that, it seems that nothing goes your way. I think they got an infield single. They hit a couple of balls off the end of the bat that our pitchers made some good pitches on. We turn around and walk some guys. We hit a guy. All of a sudden they're getting a lot more base runners.”

Lady Warriors Softball Team Earns 16th Seed For State Tournament

By Nicky Romero

The Socorro Lady Warriors softball team was awarded with the final 16th seed in the 2010 NM 3A State Softball Championship.
The Lady Warrior's first opponent will be the number one seeded Bloomfield Lady Bobcats.
The first round playoff game will be played on Friday, May 14, at noon in Las Cruces at the Field of Dreams Park.
Coach Gary Apodaca said, “We're going to go out and play our hardest and do the best we can. On any given day, anybody can win.
“So we'll go over there with a positive attitude and hopefully our girls will play the game that we've been waiting for, surprise some people and take a good win at the state tournament.
“We're just happy to be there. It's going to be tough, but it's anybody's game at this point. It's win you stay, lose you go home.”
The Lady Warriors go into state with a 10-13 record and finished in third place in District 5-3A with a 3-6 record.
Bloomfield completed their regular season as the number one team in the state. They finished with a 22-4 record and an unblemished 4-0 record in District 1-3A.
“The girls deserve some credit for all the hard work they did,” said Apodaca. “This is sort of like a payoff for them, even though our season didn't go as well as it should of.
We're still proud of our girls and they stuck it out and we're still there.”

Socorro Track And Field Teams Fare Well At The State Meet in Albuquerque

By Nicky Romero

The Socorro Warriors track team finished in fifth place in the 2010 State Track and Field Championships and sophomore David Robinson brought home a state championship in the discus this past weekend in Albuquerque at the UNM Track Stadium.
Socorro competed against 18 other Class 3A teams as Lovington won with 79 points. Socorro finished with 35 points.
Socorro had 17 members of the team compete in the state meet. Besides Robinson’s winning effort, Chuck Findlay was fourth in the 400, James Torton was fifth in the long jump, Moaz Soliman was fifth in the high jump, Sam Hale was fifth in the high jump, Kendal Pyle was fifth in the pole vault and Thorton was sixth in the triple jump.
Coach Lee Cody said, “Our standout athlete was probably sophomore David Robinson. He's the state champion in the discus. The other standout was senior Chuck Findlay. He got fourth in the 400. He has come a long ways.”
The top team results were as follows: 800 relay-2nd (1:33.52 -Jorge Rivas, Avery Ngo, Dylan Gallegos, James Thorton, 4x100 relay-3rd (43.79)-CJ Barela, Avery Ngo, Jorge Rivas, James Thorton.
“Overall as a team, I think we took a step in the right direction,” said Cody. “We improved every week. I'm putting a lot of pressure on myself and on some of these younger kids. Because this time next year, I don't see a reason why we're not in the top three in the state, if everybody comes out and works hard in the off-season.
“The biggest thing this year that pleased me at the end of the meet is that we had all kinds of kids out. First year track kids were real excited and enjoyed the season. I think that's going to carry over to next year.”
Lady Warriors 7th
The Socorro Lady Warriors track team finished in seventh place overall among 21 other Class 3A teams in the 2010 State Track and Field Championships.
Fifteen Lady Warriors qualified to compete in the meet.
Hope Christian finished in first place with 97 points. Second place Robertson had 43 points. Pojoaque took third place with 40 points. Socorro came home with 29.50 points, ahead of district opponents Cobre (16 points) and Hot Springs (15.50).
Coach Dianna Jameson said, “I'm very proud of the girls. We got in the top ten. First time we have done that in a while. We had every relay in and every relay made it to the finals. Overall, they pulled together and did really well.
Dez Armijo was fifth in the long jump, Nikki Engler was fourth in the -triple jump and second in the 100 hurdles, Mileva Gacanich finished fourth in the pole vault, Zoe Howell was third in the 400 and Amanda Saenz was sixth in the 1,600.
Top team finishes were as follows: 4x100 5th place-Kierra Schawer, Dezirae Armijo, Winter Fong, Jaden Jones, 4x200-5th place (1:50.70)-Angelina Stanzione, Dezirae Armijo, Winter Fong, Jaden Jones, medley-6th place (4:37.19)-Angelina Stanzione, Jaden Jones, Victoria Lopez, Amanda Saenz, 4x4-6th place (4:18.73)-Victoria Lopez, Nicole Engler, Dezirae Armijo, Zoe Howell.
“Nikki Engler, our senior, we're gonna miss her because she had three events that she got in the top six, said Jameson. Zoe Howell had her personal best in the 400 meters came out third. Our pole vaulter, Mileva Gacanich, who just came out this year and started, came out fourth.”

Can Sylvia Find A Reality Show That Really Fits?


By Anne Sullivan

“Wake up, lazy dog,” I called to Sylvia as I opened the front door to the promise of a warm sunny day. It was past ten and normally Sylvia would have been scratching on the window several hours ago, demanding her breakfast.
There was no sign of Sylvia and, as usual, no sign of Gordo who was still mourning the arrival of Daylight Savings Time.
“Sylvia!” I yelled and just as I was starting to get worried, a shiny black nose slowly appeared in the doorway of her house followed, equally slowly, by a head. The nose was pointing down, not up.
“Breakfast, Sylvia?” I asked.
“Oh, I don’t know,” she replied in a monotone.
“You sound despondent,” I said. “Is there something the matter?”
”I’m upset, if the truth be told.” She paused before adding, “I hated to fill in my Great Hole To China. It’s like the end of a Big Dream. I’m probably too old to have another Big Dream.”
“One is never too old to follow a Dream,” said the Good Witch of Swingle Canyon otherwise known as me. “Dreams are what keep us going.”
“Maybe, but that trip to China turned out to be a nightmare.”
“But at least you went and got it out of your system,” I said as I sat on the porch bench. “It’s too bad it wasn’t all you hoped it would be. I realize that filling in that hole must have been a lot of work.”
“It was. I’m still tired and I ache all over. But mostly I ache in my heart.”
“That sounds bad. However it’s nice and sunny for once today. Let’s take a walk.” I pointed up the road, now clear of snow. “Maybe that will make you feel better about things.”
“No, it won’t. The real problem is that now I’ll never have a Reality Show.”
“Never say never, my dear Sylvia. With the sole exception that it’s never too late for dreams. Surely there is something else you can do. Maybe you could become a Search and Rescue dog.”
“I couldn’t do that.” Sylvia was plainly close to tears. “I can’t use a GPS. My paws are too big. I can’t read a map and I don’t have a radio. I’m no good to anybody.”
As expected, tears were now in full flood. I knelt down beside her and petted her dusty and shedding fur.
“Don’t cry, Sylvia. You’re good to me and for me. And you’re good to Gordo, too. Who else would teach him manners, what manners he has, anyway.”
After her sobs diminished, Sylvia put her damp head on my knee, almost causing me to lose my balance. When we got that sorted out and were both upright we walked slowly up the road, a path we hadn’t been able to take since early December. Now uncovered from snow, it was pristine in its lack of footprints.
Sylvia said, “I don’t think you understand why I want to be famous and earn lots of money on a Reality Show. It’s because I will be able to become a philanthropist and make hefty donations to Fur & Feathers and APAS Animal Rescues.”
“That’s very noble of you but since digging to China is now out, what other Reality Show do you propose to honor with your presence? I must say, I personally cannot imagine anything more revolting than being on a Reality Show.”
“That’s too bad, boss. You’d be perfect for that new one --- America’s Worst Driver.”
“Thank you very much. The next time you have to go to the Vet’s, you can walk into Socorro.”
“You’ll have to go with me,” she retorted. “Remember, I can’t read a map.”
“Enough of your sass. Let’s see, what else do dogs like to do?”
“Not very saleable, I’d say.”
“We like to chase things. Like rabbits.”
“I think that’s already been done with those greyhound races.”
“I need something different. Something unique. Something I can win.”
“That narrows it down,” I muttered.
“Something to eat.” Sylvia mused on. “I didn’t have any breakfast and right now I’m so hungry I could eat the bumper off a car.”
“I’ll give you a biscuit or two when we get back to the house.”
”That’s it!” Sylvia shouted as the comic strip light bulb appeared over her head. “My Reality Show will be an eating contest. Which dog can consume the most dog biscuits in three minutes? I bet I’ll be a shoe-in. I’ll need to start rehearsing as soon as we get home.”

Quemado News: Luncheon Scheduled

Quemado News

By Debbie Leschner

The Women's Fellowship Luncheon will be held Tuesday, May 18, at noon in the Cowboy Church located off Highway 32 near Quemado. All women are invited. If you have any items to donate for the upcoming rummage sale, please bring them with you.

With the end of this school year approaching, it is a busy week at the Quemado schools; Seniors Finals on Monday and Tuesday, Athletics Awards and Potluck will be held on Wednesday, May 19, also an Elementary Track Meet on Wednesday, Senior's Last Day on Thursday with Graduation on Friday, May 21, at 7 p.m. in the new gym. On Saturday, May 22, a school auction will be held. As part of the auction the girls basketball team will have items up for bid to help raise money for basketball camp. Call the school for more information and time at 575-773-4645.

Quemado Senior Center Activities for the week: Pool Tournament at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, May 18, also a movie in the afternoon, quilting and bingo on Thursday and exercise on Friday. Lunch menu for the week: Monday – Italian chicken, Tuesday – pigs in the blanket, Wednesday – Navajo tacos, Thursday – baked fish and Friday – sloppy joes. All seniors are welcome. Please call the center at 773-4820 before 9 a.m. to make your lunch reservations. Don't forget the all you can eat Pancake Breakfast on Saturday, May 15, from 8 to 11 a.m.

The Western New Mexico Veterans Group will hold their monthly meeting on Thursday, May 20, in the Veterans' Hall located at the corner of Baca and Church Street in Quemado. This months Potluck has a picnic theme and begins at 6 p.m. with meeting to follow. It will be at this time the drawing for the raffle will be held. Prizes will include a 13 foot Radison fiberglass canoe, "custom crafted" tricolor eagle and turquoise pin, hematite bolo, two original paintings and more. The moneys raised go to support the Scholarship Fund and other WNMVG projects and programs. Donations for tickets will be $5.00 each or five for $20.00. There is still time to get your tickets by contacting Commander Rick Sharp 733-4350.

Rare Birds Seen At Bosque

By John Bertrand
Friends of the Bosque

Two weekends ago (on May 1 and 2), a flutter of rare bird sightings at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge had local birders all atwitter. Most notable among the rarities were the Elegant Tern, sighted May 2 and recorded on the Bird Alert Hotline by Nancy Hedrick and Bill West, and a female Ruff, sighted May 1 by Christopher Rustay.
Neither of these rarities has been sighted again since Monday, May 3. Not to worry, though…you still can view in its stead at Bosque del Apache some Forster’s Terns which are regular visitors there.Forster’s are just as ‘elegant’ as the Elegant Tern. Perhaps as few as one in five-hundred folks who spend time enjoying birds could tell the two species apart.
And on your visit before the end of May, you may spot some Spotted Sandpipers, Black-legged Stilts, American Avocets, Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs and Wilson’s Phalaropes…among the phalanx of shorebirds which pass through Bosque del Apache on their northward migration in April and May.
While ‘really serious birders’ get their kicks from adding a new bird to their personal ‘life list’ (or the ultimate thrill of spotting a bird species which has never been reported before in a particular geographic area), there’s much enjoyment to be had from watching the annual spring renewal of old friends passing through.
Now back to those rare sightings May 1, 2: The most recent previous verified sighting of the Elegant Tern in New Mexico was in the Farmington Area in 2001. The Ruff, a shorebird, was last sighted in Socorro County at Bosque del Apache on April 29, 1994. It was more recently sighted in Colfax County in 2005. The normal range of the Elegant Tern is off the Pacific Coast and in Baja, Mexico.
According to local birder Jerry Oldenettel, the Tern sighting is a second state record, and there have been less than ten verified Ruff sightings in New Mexico. Oldenettel is the holder of the all-time record of bird species sightings in New Mexico in a single calendar year.
According to Oldenettel, other unusual sightings at Bosque in recent days include the Clapper Rail, spotted May 3…a repeat of its first New Mexico appearance a year ago; a Ruddy Turnstone, which averages about one appearance in the state per year, and the Whimbrel, which averages two or three yearly sightings in New Mexico.
An unusual weather pattern in the Gulf and Southwest regions may account for the weekend flutter. However, many species of shorebirds and songbirds are seen regularly at Bosque during the April/May migration season. A total of 107 species was recorded on Bosque in the annual International Migratory Bird Day Count conducted last Saturday, May 9.

Forster's Tern photo courtesy of Jerry Oldenettel

Sam: ‘I Learn Something Every Day’

By Nathalie Nance
For the Mountain Mail

Tatiana Sam has worked as a Medical Assistant at the Socorro General Medical Group since she graduated in February. She checks patients, runs EKGs, checks vital signs and blood pressure. In addition, she is already working on getting her EMT-certification.
“I learn something every day,” Sam, 25, said.
At the clinic, Sam carries a stethoscope around her neck and she seems perfectly at home.
But the fact is that it has taken her a lot of will and determination to get there.
For nine months Sam commuted daily all the way from the Alamo, where she grew up, to Albuquerque and back, to take her classes. Meanwhile, her mother helped take care of her two young daughters, Sydney, 7, and Kymelia, 3.
“My mom has always been there for me,” Sam said.
Her mother was the one who inspired Sam to choose nursing, as she too is a nurse assistant. And according to Sam, her own girls were also a big motivating factor.
“I wanted to show them that you can do something, and I wanted something better for them” says Sam.
The Alamo Chapter house supported Sam as well, with scholarships and tuition. To leave home on the Alamo reservation to go to school in Albuquerque (at Albuquerque High and Apollo College) isn’t the path most traveled.
“For many, the biggest fear is to move away from home, and it is hard moving away,” Sam said, “but you have to believe in and have faith in yourself.”

Picture: Clinical Lead and Registered Nurse Lynn Major and Practice Administrator Bill Ernst, of Socorro General Medical Group, are happy about their new co-worker, Tatiana Sam (middle).

Photo by Nathalie Nance

County Commissioners Have Problems With Sun Zia Routes

By John Severance

SOCORRO – The county commissioners have big problems with some of the routes that the Sun Zia Transmission Project is thinking about.
“One of the proposed routes would go through Polvadera and anything that goes through our valley has to be under ground,” vice chair Daniel Monette said at a meeting Tuesday night.
Chair Rosie Tripp added, “What does Socorro County get out of this?”
She answered her own question when she said, “absolutely nothing.”
The Bureau of Land Management held a scoping meeting at the Socorro Fairgrounds on April 27 and a number of commissioners attended to check the proposed routes that Sun Zia is thinking about.
According to the Sun Zia website, the Southwest Area Transmission (SWAT) regional planning group has been reviewing potential interests and needs for additional transmission facilities from the New Mexico area to Arizona for the last few years. In the summer of 2006, SWAT hosted a workshop to review possible locations of future resources and possible delivery points as the regional loads continue to grow at an aggressive rate. The SWAT workshop nicknamed this effort “Project Zia”.
In response, the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project is evaluating the potential to develop a new regional electric transmission line between southern New Mexico and southern Arizona.
There are other proposed routes that go through Socorro County. And the commissioners were unanimous in their opposition.
“We have to require them to do a feasibility study to put these lines underground if they come through here,” Monette said. “Otherwise, it will be a hell of an eyesore.”
Commissioner R.J. Griego said, “I think they should use the route that goes east of White Sands Missile Range.”
County manager Delilah Walsh told the commissioners, “We need feedback from you so we can let Sun Zia know what we think about this. Maybe draft a resolution but its important you make yourselves be heard on this issue.”
After more conversation, Tripp finally said, “We are going to instruct Delilah to come up with a resolution at our next meeting.”
In other business:
• Mary Ann Chavez Lopez of the Socorro County Housing Authority said that the organization has received $29,387 in funding from HUD to protect the rental assistance provided to families participating in the Housing Choice Voucher Program.
• Steve Kopleman from the NMAC addressed the commissioners, urging them to stay in the insurance pool to help with the costs of Worker’s Comp Insurance.
• Walsh and Commissioners Philip Anaya and Tripp will meet with Judge Swayze about the county’s ankle bracelet program next week.
• The Commissioners directed staff to prepare a resolution that would consider a 20-year PERA (retirement) plan for the sheriff’s department. Sheriff Philip Montoya said the money already was in his budget that would be an additional $11,000. There also was talk for switching retirement programs for all county employees and Walsh said she could draw up a feasibility study if the commissioners wanted.

Neighborhood watch

The citizens of Veguita showed up in force at the area senior center to have an organizational meeting for a neighborhood watch Thursday, county commisioner Rumaldo Griego said.
With Sheriff Philip Montoya also in attendance, Griego said the people broke up into groups according to where they lived and elected block captains.
“It was a great turnout,” Griego said. “I was expecting 30 or 40 and we got 50. The most important thing I told them though is that you can’t sit down and you have to keep this moving in order to get something done.”