Thursday, July 1, 2010

No One Injured In Church Wall Collapse

By John Severance

LEMITAR – A day later, general contractor Dewey Christenson still was shook.
Christenson and his crew had been working on restoring the La Sagrada Familia, a Catholic church in Lemitar.
But at 12:35 Tuesday afternoon, the wall, all of the sudden, collapsed.
“It was horrifying,” Christenson said. “I am sure God protected us by bringing it down without anybody in there.”
Christenson and his crew had installed some scaffolding inside the church in the morning and decided to take a lunch break.
When they returned from lunch, the wall came down.
“I was going to send two of my guys underneath the floor to help shore up the structure by putting in some blocks,” Christenson said early Wednesday morning. “It just went. We wanted to shore up the structure and then bring the wall down.”
“Praise God, it’s near miraculous nobody got hurt,” said Father Andy Pavlak, the pastor of San Miguel Parish that includes missions in Lemitar, Alamillo, Kelly, Luis Lopez, San Antonio, Magdalena, Polvadera, Riley and Socorro.
“This is truly a sad day for the Roman Catholic Church in Socorro County. We have been working diligently to preserve the history and integrity of this church and unfortunately, time, wear and the elements have taken too great a toll on this historic and holy place.
On Wednesday, Christenson said he was waiting on an adobe specialist and structural engineer.
“I am not qualified to say if it is fixable,” Christenson said.
La Sagrada Familia is 179 years old.
“The wall is made of adobe plaster and a lot of churches made back then have this problem,” Christenson said. “The water whicks up into the adobe and deteriorates it. We have lost several churches around the state with the same problem. “This is an incredible wakeup call,” Pavlak added. “We will be inspecting all the churches. All of them have been plastered with cement plaster including this one (San Miguel Church in Socorro).”
Pavlak said walls collapsed at a church in Questa recently.
“The water gets trapped between the cement and the adobe,” Pavlak said. “You noticed that there was a lot of powder where the wall collapsed. Dewey put his hand behind the plaster and there was nothing.”
Pavlak and Christenson had gotten a go-ahead from a structural engineer Tuesday night to go into the choir loft area inside the church.
Early Wednesday morning, two angels, 10 statues, some pews, an organ, and old confessional and nine of 14 stations were recovered from the church.
The church had been closed since last fall when plaster started falling from the ceiling and the floors began to buckle.
Pavlak said he has been conducting mass once a month in Lemitar at the home of Lorella and Bill Chavez, who are the majordomos (or caretakers) of the church. The Chavezes live across the street from the church.
The pastor also said he has heard from Beau Braswell, who put the last roof in at the church and they talked about ways to take the pressure off the remaining three walls.
“I am hoping we can take the pressure off the walls, but we also don’t want to destabilize it,”
Pavlak is fearful that some strong gusts of wind could bring the whole church down.
On Tuesday night, Pavlak held a mass and he cited Gospel Mathew 16:3-19, which is about the feast of Saint Peter and Paul. About halfway through the passage, there is this quote, “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church.”
“I’m glad God has a sense of humor,” Pavlak said. “How ironic. Or is that a message?
According to a history book about the San Miguel Churches, Sagrada Familia Mission was built in 1831 and the land was donated by Juan Platero. The building has a resemblance to San Miguel in Socorro. And according to the book, Don Pablo Sanchez and his wife are buried underneath the present Altar. They were a prominent family in the Catholic Community. In front of the church are buried other notables of the town who were bearers of responsibility known for their work in the church.
One Lemitar resident probably summed it up best Wednesday morning when she said, “It’s a sad day for Lemitar.”

Photos by John Severance

Flooding Wreaks Havoc In San Antonio

By John Severance

SAN ANTONIO -- Rhonda Malone has lived off Highway 1 near San Antonio for the past 19 years.
And she has never seen anything like it.
Monday’s thunderstorm caused the arroyos and the ditches to overflow, which closed roads, stopped trains, flooded properties and farmer’s fields.
“I was scared,” said Malone, who works at the Socorro Police Department. “I didn’t want it to come into the house. After it was over, I was out there shoveling, trying to get the water off my property.”
Next to Malone’s house was a field that was still underwater 24 hours later.
“That field filled up quickly,” Malone said. “I had never seen it fill up that quickly. It filled up a couple of years ago when it rained three days in a row. But never like this.”
Undersheriff Les Torres said his office received numerous calls Tuesday night.
The sheriff’s department closed the road as mud and water caked the asphalt and boulders could also be found in the roadway.
“Highway 1 experienced a lot of problems,” Torres said. “There was a big puddle by the Savedras. And there were some other washouts. We were out there for a long time. The arroyos were running and the ditches were at capacity.”
According to the National Weather Service, only .56 inches of rain fell on the Socorro area on Tuesday. Many believe that more than an inch and probably two fell south of Socorro in the San Antonio area.
“Heavy rain caused the ditches to overflow and there was too much arroyo water and it couldn’t handle it all,” said Johnny Munyo of the Socorro Water Conservancy. “It has happened before in different places. It’s never the same.”
At John Montoya’s farm down Highway 1, the field was flooded and damage was done to a cement ditch that runs down the side of the property.
John Montoya Jr., Montoya’s son who works in the public affairs office of the National Guard, pointed out holes that run underneath the ditch and cracks that appeared in the cement.
“See that crack?” Montoya Jr. asked. “That was not there yesterday.”
The Montoyas and the Soil Conservation District had split the cost of the ditch.
“It’s going to be tough to get this ditch system fixed,” Montoya Jr. said. “The water undermined the integrity of the system. This storm was as bad as the one we had three years ago when it rained for three straight days.
“There definitely was a lot of water. The damage was really really bad.”
On the other side of the Montoya’s property, Chris Lopez’s field also was under water.
Also in the San Antonio area, the Wades, who live on Farm-Market Road, breathed a sigh of relief.
“Dad (Dave Wade) said without a doubt we got about two inches of rain,” said his daughter Cindy Wade. “It was a combination of rain in the hills and us getting the rain. It could have been worse if the rain had lasted longer.
“We were lucky. We had just bailed our hay by 1 p.m.. There are farms out here that still had their hay down.”

Magdalena In Search Of Backup Well

By John Larson

MAGDALENA – The residents of Magdalena may face another water crisis similar to the one last year if a backup well is not in working order, according to a report by Mayor Sandy Julian at Monday night’s village board meeting.
“We have no backup well. The Spears and Benjamin wells are down, and if something happens to our (one working) well, the people of Magdalena will have no water,” Julian said. “The secondary well is near the Trujillo well and it was never hooked up to the main line. We’re going to have to get engineers in to have it checked.”
The need for a backup was exemplified last year when water was in short supply for three days in March, 2009, when a major pump failure in Magdalena’s main water well resulted in the draining of the village’s water tanks.
Because of water shortage, classes at Magdalena Schools were cancelled for two days, and Fred Hollis and Jerry Wheeler of Socorro County Fire and Emergencies Dept. helped Marshal Larry Cearley get bottles of drinking water to the elderly and home-bound.
The American Red Cross in cooperation the Walmart Distribution Center in Los Lunas responded to the situation with a pallet of 54 cases of bottled water.
The failure was due to the fact that the contractor - four years before - had failed to install a anti-vibration collar, what’s called a “spider”, on the submersible pump. Over time the normal vibrations damaged the pump’s wiring, resulting in a short circuit which burned out the pump.
In April, 2009, the village government began the process for getting that backup well on-line.
That process was halted when the state government pulled funding from the project.
Julian said funding for getting the exploratory well completed will be hard to acquire.
“I might have to go to Santa Fe to try to get loans or grants,” she said. “Rita will have to help look for other places to apply for grants.
“I’m worried that if something happens, we won’t have water. Right now we have nothing to back us up. We may have to be in debt for the rest of our lives, but we need to have a backup well.”
Julian said in the meantime
she located a company in Albuquerque that could get a pump installed within 24 hours.

In other village business:
• Julian appointed Trustee Barbara Baca to assist Fire Chief Art Rauschenberg with paperwork. “I want her to work with Art on what needs to be ordered and what not to order,” Julian said.
•Deputy Marshal Brad Welton has turned in his resignation to be effective July 11. “He will work through Old Timers weekend and that’s it,” Julian said, “He sent a letter to Larry which was given to me.”
•Julian asked the Board for guidance on how to proceed with a request to making sidewalk repairs on Main Street between Third and fourth streets. The sidewalk can either be removed completely or replaced with new cement, Julian said. “Dean Otero said he could do the work himself, but we have to buy the cement. Or we could just tear it out and pack the dirt down, and not worry about it anymore.” She said, if approved, there was a possibility of other residents wanting sidewalks on their streets repaired. The board tabled the issue “until we know which way we’re going.”
• The Board approved a request from Rauschenberg to spend $9,000 on supplies and needed upgrades for the volunteer fire department, including a new glass front door and various firefighting tools.
• Julian said repairs to one of the village vehicles needs to be done and a quote has been submitted by Winston’s garage. “I was told he could go ahead and do the work, and hold the bill until August, “to help out the village (financially).”

Something Happened On The San Agustin Plains In ’47

By Anne Sullivan
For the Mountain Mail

Editor’s note: This was written and published in the June 25th and July 2nd, 1997 issues of Magdalena Mountain Mail for the 50th Anniversary of the UFO Incident in 1947.

July 3rd, 1997 was the 50th Anniversary of the Roswell Incident. For months the motels in Roswell were sold out for the entire week devoted to celebrating the famous 1947 UFO crash. The scheduled hoopla in Roswell included a parade, a film festival, a rock concert, a costume contest, a bicycle run and a glow-in-the-dark golf tournament. Any spare time the visitor has can be spent at the two UFO museums. Any spare money can be spent for teeshirts, toys, gimmicks and statues that only the outer limits of the imagination can curb.
But what about the other UFO crash in 1947, the one on the San Agustin Plains?
The story goes this way: at the very same time as the Roswell crash on July 3, 1947 something most peculiar may have happened somewhere on the San Agustin Plains.
The players in this drama are:
• Barney Barnett - resident of Socorro who worked for the Soil Conservation Service. Barnett, who died around 1969, was very well thought of and respected as a model of probity by all who knew him, many still living in this vicinity.
• Harold Baca, neighbor and friend of Barney Barnett and father of the
proprietor of Harold’s Store on South California Street in Socorro.
• Gerald Anderson, five years old in 1947, has an amazingly perfect recollection of the happenings in early July, 1947.
• Six or so archeology students from (maybe?) the University of Pennsylvania. Never identified and never located.
• Air Force personnel, identified only as a disagreeable red-haired officer and a black soldier.
Nothing at all was heard about any odd events on the Plains for many years. Fast forward two decades. Around 1967 or 1968 when he was very ill with cancer of the mouth and throat, Barney Barnett told Harold Baca that his cancer was caused by the flying saucer he saw on the San Agustin Plains. “Where?” a startled Baca asked Barnett, who replied, “The San Agustin Plains out past Magdalena. There was three little guys and I leaned down to look at them and I got some of that radiation.”
The Roswell Incident written by Charles Berlitz and William Moore includes an interesting account of Barnett’s encounter on pages 57 to 63 in which Barnett is supposed to have told several people about it in 1950.
According to the book, on or about July 3rd, Barnett was out working near Magdalena and came across “a large metallic object” with some not-exactly-human dead bodies around it. He described the bodies as having large round hairless heads with small eyes. Also viewing the remains were some archeology students from the University of Pennsylvania or the U. of Michigan. All were escorted away by Air Force personnel and cautioned strongly not to say anything about what they saw.
Enter Gerald Anderson who came forward in 1990 after viewing a segment of Unsolved Mysteries telling about the San Agustin Plains crash. Gerald Anderson was five years old in 1947 and claims to have been with his father, his uncle, his cousin and his brother on a summer morning when they came across “a silver object stuck in the ground at a weird angle.” Later in 1990 Gerald picked out a small hill on Dave Farr’s land east of Horse Springs and declared it the place. He remembered the archeology students and Barney Barnett and being chased away by the Air Force in the person of a nasty red-haired officer and a black soldier. He also reported that two of the four aliens were alive. Gerald Anderson passed a polygraph test in 1991 but his testimony is understandably disputed by some UFO experts. Note that Barney Barnett makes no mention of the Anderson family’s presence.
Crash At Corona by Stanton Friedman and Don Berliner, written in 1992, covers Anderson’s account on pages 87-97 and 105-108.
Stanton Friedman has done some speedy research on the incident at Horse Springs, as have several other UFO experts. But the lengthiest research, as yet unpublished, has been done by Victor Golubic.
Victor, who lives in Phoenix, was one of a number of UFO aficionados that Jacky Barrington, editor of the Magdalena Mountain Mail, sicced on me, all for the sake of a story, the big story. All of them were nice but single-minded and multi-worded. Volumes of words on UFOs and aliens bombarded my ears in the spring and summer of 1995.
So it was with trepidation, if not earplugs, that I offered to accompany Victor on an excursion to the supposed site of the crash near Horse Springs.
However, Victor wasn’t at all what I expected. First of all, he was young enough to be my grandson. Although extremely enthusiastic about UFO research, he was able to converse about other things. Unlike the authors of a few books I’ve read about the Roswell crash, Victor doesn’t have a theory into which he bends and crushes the facts to prove. Like me, Victor would love to find evidence of a UFO crash here but he’s equally open to the possibility that it never happened.
On July 5th, 1995 we drove down State Road 12 to the place near Horse Springs identified by Gerald Anderson. Victor had already obtained permission from Dave Farr to enter his land. Just north of Horse Springs, we turned east on a dirt track. By and by we came to a hill on our left and Victor said, “This is it.” It was a hill looking much like every other hill with a few trees. Nothing to say that it was or wasn’t something fantastic. My main reservation was, that if this were the place, it would be most unlikely for anything to have crashed there without everyone in Horse Springs knowing about it.
No one did. Victor and I spoke with several people who resided in Horse Springs in 1947 and none remembered anything unusual that summer.
Several remembered a plane crash by the Armijos’ Old Horse Springs store sometime around 1945. No one could pinpoint the exact year, but one had a distinct memory of going to see the crashed plane. “It was a military plane and the pilot was dead,” said one resident of Horse Springs.
That site, when Victor and I looked at it, yielded nothing, but 50 years wipe away a lot.
The Air Force was a presence in Catron County during the late forties, staffing what they said was a radar tower on the road to the Marvin Ake ranch. People remember seeing Air Force vehicles on the roads, but no one we spoke to spotted one carrying bodies of the extra-terrestrial kind.
From Quemado to Reserve to Datil and Socorro, in person and by telephone, Victor interviewed people who had lived in these here parts during those years. Occasionally I went along, and I quickly became an admirer of his technique. Infinitely patient, he was willing and eager to spend hours listening to people talk on all subjects. Gradually Victor would lead them back to the subject at hand. He would return a few months later to talk to them again and telephone at intervals to see if they remembered anything else. With the aid of his computer and out-of-town phone books, Victor tracked down people all over the country.
Tracked them down, talked to them and found nothing really conclusive regarding the San Agustin Plains UFO crash.
These sources are not named in this unscientific article because we never mentioned any intent to publish our findings; we were just making inquires.
We heard many fascinating tales handed down over the years, but no first-hand knowledge.
A Quemado resident recalls a visitor in 1946 (a year before the famous crash) who said, “I just stopped in Magdalena and there was a thing from space. There’s people in it and they tell me one of ‘ems still alive.”
Another Quemado resident knew a man from Mangus who saw a shiny thing in the mountains one summer in the late forties.
A few Aragon residents recall hearing about the incident. “Just that there was tracks,” said one. And from another, “There were strange people. They were moving. It looked like a plate.” They admitted that this was hearsay, which they did not necessarily subscribe to.
Most remembered first hearing about the UFO crash in the 1980s when the investigators started appearing in Catron and Socorro counties. There must be people out there who saw or heard about something in the fifties or before. But where are they?
Instead of answers, there are questions.
Did Barney Barnett, whose Soil Conservation work usually took him west from Socorro, go east that day and come across the Roswell UFO crash?
Could the crash that Barnett saw be the main part of the crash that also left pieces at Corona?
Did the crash occur on San Agustin Plains but not near Horse Springs? This is the theory I prefer. Remember, Harold Baca quotes Barney Barnett as saying, “out past Magdalena.” To me that means on the way to Datil but closer to Magdalena. Describing Horse Springs, one would more likely say, “south of Datil.”
There is some – not evidence, but hearsay to support this theory. According to a Magdalena resident, the UFO is purported to have crashed about 15 miles west of Magdalena, possibly around Wolf Well or Tres Montanas.
Yet a man from Socorro says Barney Barnett told his father that the crash occurred somewhere between Datil and Horse Springs.
And there we have it. Or don’t have it.
Can you add anything to this research? If you know or have heard anything, please get in touch with me in care of this paper.
I’d love it if a UFO had really landed or crashed on the Plains, but I’m not starting to stencil any teeshirts or make a mold for the souvenir mugs. Certainly if I were a UFO pilot and had to crash land my ship, the San Agustin Plains would be a mighty tempting spot.
Perhaps on the 100th anniversary on July 3rd, 2047, we’ll outdo the Roswell celebration. Perhaps by then we’ll know the answer.
Did it or didn’t it?

Second Thoughts In 2010

On rereading bits of material for retyping this article I found something very interesting on page 60 of The Roswell Incident concerning a conversation with Mrs. Maltais, a long-time friend of Barney Barnett’s to whom he told his story in 1950. When asked if Barnett had said exactly where he saw the wreckage, Mrs. Maltais replied, “I remember he said it was prairie – “the Flats” is the way he put it.”
To me and old time residents of our locality, the Flats refers to the flatland east of Magdalena, most of it located north of U.S. 60.
Could we have been looking in the wrong place?

Old Timer’s Reunion

By John Larson

MAGDALENA – No matter what the weather – come rain or come shine- nothing puts a damper on the fun locals and visitors can have at this year’s Old Timers Reunion weekend.
The annual three day village party returns for its 39th year with rodeos, music, family fun, and, of course, the barbecue.
In the very beginning the Old Timers Reunion was a small event.
Juan Gutierrez, who was Magdalena’s mayor in 1972, said no one expected it to grow larger over the years.
“It was just a few people who started it,” Gutierrez said. “Cecil and Vera Owsley I remember were part of it. But just about all the old timers are gone. We’re the old timers now.”
He was owner of the West Bar until he closed it in1994, and has seen many changes in the town since the first Old Timers Reunion. Gutierrez is a Socorro County Commissioner now, but his involvement in local government goes back to the late 1960s, when he was on the Magdalena Village Board of Trustees. From 1970 to 1974 he was Socorro County Clerk. He was also county road superintendent from 1966 to 1970.
Things get underway Friday, July 9, when vendors will be open for business at the rodeo grounds with cuisine to please every palate.
The Arts and Crafts building (Community Center) is the place to register for a quilt donated by the Magdalena Quilters who are making the quilt.
From the rodeo arena to the Indian Village to the Spanish Village to Magdalena Schools’ Fine Arts Building, visitors will find something to entertain them throughout the weekend.
Activities at the rodeo arena start at 10:30 a.m. Friday morning with the Stick Horse Rodeo, where toddlers and Kindergarten age kids are seen riding their wooden steeds in a variety of contests that simulate traditional rodeo events.The grand entrance for the Kids Rodeo happens 9 a.m. Friday when the older ones, ages 6-18, get the chance to ride and rope for the spectators in the grandstand.
The popular Murillo Brothers’ band provides the entertainment for the Street Dance beginning at 9 p.m. Friday near Village Hall on North Main Street. No alcoholic beverages are permitted, and families are invited to join in the fun.
The most attended event during the Old Timers Reunion weekend is the parade down First Street (Highway 60). The parade beings at 10 a.m., and Highway 60 traffic will be diverted on the east side of town at Chestnut, and on the west side at Highway 107. Old timer Bobby Baker, a retired Forest Service employee, is the Grand Marshal this year and will be leading the parade.
Immediately after the parade the annual barbecue lunch begins serving, generally at about 11 a.m. Pat Trujillo is head honcho of the barbecue who gets much needed help from Charlotte and Chad Perkins. The beef is cooked in a pit starting Friday afternoon. The price of the complete meal is $9 for adults and $6 per child, and includes a drink.
The Century Rodeo and Roping gets underway immediately following the crowning of Darlene Pino, who has the honor of being this year’s Old Timers Queen, in front of the grandstand at noon.
For those wanting to learn what the old days in Magdalena were like, Old Timers story-telling will be held on the old railroad loading dock outside the public library at 1 p.m. The Old Timers Reunion Saturday night dance commences at 8 p.m. at Magdalena Schools' Fine Arts Building. Music is provided by DJ Heavy C Carlos Vega. Admission is $8 per couple, $5 single, and children under two are admitted free. Refreshments will be available at a concession booth manned by the Yucca 4-H club. A silent auction is to be held in conjunction with the dance. No alcohol is permitted. Bright and early Sunday morning the air around the rodeo grounds will be filled with the cooking of sausage, bacon, and pancakes cooking on the grill. The pancake breakfast starts at 7 a.m. and the $5 price goes to helping Magdalena’s volunteer fire department. Follow the aroma to the grandstand kitchen at the rodeo grounds. Pancakes will be served until the batter runs out.
At 6:30 a.m. eager runners will sign up at the new Village Hall to participate in the Magdalena to Kelly 7K Run/Walk, and hopefully make it back to town before the pancakes run out. Entry fee is $10.
The final event in the rodeo arena starts at 9 a.m. Sunday when the roping competition begins.

Magdalena Marshal's Blotter

Information for the following items was provided by the Magdalena Marshal's office.

June 18
An officer took a report at 7:10 p.m. of an Aggravated Battery on a Household member located on Ash Street in Magdalena. Charges have been filed against the male subject.

June 20
An officer took a report at about midnight on an intoxicated juvenile.

June 21
An officer took a report at 1:30 p.m. of violations of release and phone threats. The male subject was picked up and taken to the Socorro County Detention Center. Additional charges have been filed.

June 23
An officer responded at 10 p.m. to an unattended death on Kelly road.
June 28

An officer took a report at 9 a.m. of a Burglary located on Ash Street. A suspect has been located and charges are pending.

June 28
An officer took a report at 9:40 a.m. of a Burglary on Oak Street. The case is under investigation.

According to Marshal Larry Cearley, bears have been seen looking for food in the Magdalena area. “Please be cautious with trash and animal food in and around your residences,” he said.


Fourth Of July

Fourth of July festivities at Macey Center feature a full day of live music, along with a water slide, jump balloon, and barbecue.
Sponsored by the Performing Arts Series, City of Socorro, and EMRTC, there is no charge for the music, but food will be sold onsite.
11 a.m., Socorro Community Band
Noon, Martial arts display by the Tech Martial Arts Club and Socorro Martial Arts Academy
1 p.m., Clan Tynker: juggling, magic, stilt-walking, comedy
2:15 p.m., Stasia-Marian-Jim Band: country, folk
3:30 p.m., Syd Masters and the Swing Riders: Western swing
5:30 p.m., Robbie Jude: Spanish music
8 p.m., Remedy: variety
After dark, about 9:30 p.m., fireworks.
Organizers ask that people do not bring fireworks to the concert site.

Reported Bear Sighting In Magdalena

By John Larson

MAGDALENA -- Reported sightings of a black bear, or bears, on the southern fringe of the village is a reminder to leave no edibles outside, according to Marshal Larry Cearley.
“The normal pinon crop and other staples of bears is low this year, and they are looking for something to eat,” Cearley said. “We’ve had reports of bears begin attracted by pet food, bird feeders, feed for horses, like oats, and of course, open trash barrels.”
The state’s Department of Game and Fish District Wildlife Supervisor Bobby Griego, based in Magdalena, said one trap has been set for a few days.
As of press time Wednesday plans had been made to set an additional trap.
“We think it is the one bear that has been hitting two or three houses,” he said. “Hopefully we can catch it.”
But bears are doing what comes naturally, looking for food when they are hungry said Marty Frentzel of Game and Fish.
“If there’s something to eat they will go for it,” Frentzel said. “This is the time of year we try to help people ‘bear-proof’ their property. Although the bears [in the Magdalena Mountains] are not being as aggressive as in the Sandia-Manzano area, the late spring damaged some of their food sources. They are usually eating a lot of vegetative materials, grass, plants. Some of that is simply not available.”
Frentzel said “attractants” include grain in bird feeders, dog food left outside, compost piles with watermelon or cantaloupe rinds, and household trash.
“Another precaution is to not have firewood stacked against the house. That’s the perfect place for rodents to breed, and bears will sniff them out,” Frentzel said.
Special Hours
The Magdalena Post Office will operate under special hours Saturday, July 10, due to Old Timers Weekend activities.
Postmaster Greg Vivian said counter hours for this Saturday only will be 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Vivian said all mail will be in boxes by 10 a.m.
Vet Van Available
As a public service for veterans in need of transport to the Albuquerque Medical Center, Socorro D.A.V. Cinnabder Paul Drake has authorized a 2-3 month trial to determine if the project can be self-sustaining.
To this end, a six-seat van has been purchased. On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, trips will depart the Socorro DAV at 7 a.m. and return from Albuquerque beginning at 2 p.m.
A 10-day advance notice and small voluntary contribution are requested. Volunteer drivers to date include Jack Duffy, Peter Romero, Leonard Clapes and Charlie Hartwell. Phone 838-1094. For further details, leavea brief message, name and return phone number.

Cibola Forest Unveils Summer Fire Restrictions

The Cibola National Forest, Magdalena Ranger District implemented fire restrictions last Saturday, June 26. Cibola National Forest Supervisor Nancy Rose explained, "With the recent increase in temperatures, higher winds, continued dry conditions that are drying vegetation, the potential for Wildland fires has increased and we feel it is necessary to take these precautions.”
As always, fireworks are prohibited on all national forest system lands, she said.
The following restrictions apply to the Magdalena Ranger District.
Open Campfire Restrictions:
Campfires, charcoal grills and stove fires are prohibited on national forest lands except in Forest Service developed camp and picnic grounds where grills are provided.
Pressurized liquid or gas stoves, lanterns and heaters meeting safety specifications are allowed. Please contact the Cibola National Forest for more details regarding where fires are allowed.
Smoking is allowed within an enclosed vehicle or building; a developed recreation site; or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter and free of all flammable material.
Call Mark Chavez for more information at 505-346-3900, or the Magdalena Ranger District Office at 575-854-2281.

OBITUARY: Rudolpha A. (Aragon) Gomez

Rudolpha A. (Aragon) Gomez
Sept. 1, 1942-June 23, 2010

Rudolpha A.(Aragon) Gomez, age 67, passed away Wednesday, June 23,2010 at her home in Magdalena. Rudolpha was born on September 1, 1942 to Ramon and Beatrice (Castillo) Aragon in Reserve.
She is survived by her daughter, Jemma Gomez and fiancé Tung Pham of Gilbert, Ariz.; her sons, Joshua Gomez of Magdalena; and Jacob Gomez of Las Vegas, Nev.; her grandchildren, Jesiah; Lena; Jordan; Armando; Clarissa; Joseph; and Monique; sisters, Rose Aragon; Frances Chavez; Vivian Torres; Cecilia Abbots and husband, David; and Sr. Celine Aragon; brother, Andrew Aragon; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Rudolpha was a resident of Magdalena since 1957. She was a member of St. Mary Magdalene Church.
Rudolpha was preceded in death by her loving husband, Gilbert M. Gomez in 1989; a sister, Belia Baca; and a brother Bobby Aragon.
A Rosary was recited on Sunday, June 27, 2010 at St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church in Magdalena, NM. On Monday, a Mass of Resurrection was celebrated with Father Andy Pavlak also at St Mary Magdalene Catholic Church. Burial will take place in the Magdalena Cemetery. Pallbearers were David Aragon, Steven Aragon, Robert Torres, Michael Torres, Leroy Trujillo, and Pat Trujillo.
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: Louis Gallegos

Louis Gallegos
Oct. 18, 1925-June 23, 2010

Louis Gallegos, age 84, passed away at his home in Socorro on Wednesday, June 23, 2010. Louis was born on October 18, 1925 in Socorro to Tomas and Cornelia (Silva) Gallegos.
He is survived by his devoted nephew and caretaker, Floyd Gonzales and many nieces, nephews, and close friends.
Louis served in WWII and was a proud Veteran. He was a farmer and hard worker.
A Rosary was recited on Tuesday, June 29, 2010 at San Miguel Catholic Church. On Wednesday, June 30, 2010, a Mass of Resurrection was celebrated also at San Miguel Catholic Church with Father Andy Pavlak as celebrant. Burial took place in The Santa Fe National Cemetery on Wednesday. Pallbearers were Juan Gonzales, Tommy Gonzales, Ernest Gonzales, Philip Anaya, Leroy Anaya, and Louis Anaya. Honorary pallbearers are Thurman A. Derryberry, and Joseph Montoya. 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: Mike Davis

Mike Davis

Mike Davis, age 49, a resident of Pie Town, passed away on Thursday, June 24, 2010.
He enjoyed hunting, fishing and gun collecting. Mike was formerly a custodian for Quemado School, where he enjoyed being around the children and playing practical jokes on his peers. Prior to that he worked milking cows for more than twenty years. He also liked classic country music and collecting movies.
Mike was preceded in death by his father, Theo Davis; brother, Charles Miller and mother-in-law, Lillian McKinley. He is survived by his wife, Leah Davis; children, Vera Davis of Kanab, Utah, Randa Roper of Mangas, Lance Davis of St. George, Utah and Kyle Hill of Fort Campbell, Ky.; grandchildren, Randin, Ayden, Ross and Reese; mother, Joyce Davis of Mountainair; Bobbie Connell of Mountainair, Dawna Langley of Mountainair, Tonia Kayser of Mountainair and Jimmy Davis of Belen. Also surviving Mike are numerous nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Mike's life will be take place on Monday, July 5, 2010 at 11 a.m. at Quemado School. A reception will follow also at Quemado School.
Interment will be private.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made in Mike's name to the Memorial Scholarship Fund P.O. Box 128, Quemado, New Mexico 87829. Arrangements are being handled by the caring professionals at Riverside Funeral Home of Belen, 418 W Reinken Ave., where an online guest register is available at www.riversideof

Lopez Featured On PBS Program

Mountain Mail Reports

The PBS program, “Report From Santa Fe,” will feature a 30-minute interview with New Mexico Tech president Dr. Daniel H. Lopez this weekend.
The show aired on Channel 5, KNME last week. Host Lorene Mills and Lopez primarily discussed the funding situation for higher education in New Mexico and the contribution of universities to New Mexico’s economy and the global community.
After talking about the history of the university and giving an overview of Tech’s largest research divisions, Mills and Lopez discussed how funding cuts are affecting higher education.
“I think this is a misconception about how higher education can sustain itself,” Lopez said. “There is a misconception that we have a lot of outside resources that can go directly to support state functions and that is simply incorrect. Higher education does attract a lot of money to the state but unfortunately we can’t use it for the primary mission of research and education.”
Lopez said Tech has cut employment, including faculty members, by about 10 percent already.
“We are getting to a point where I think it could really hurt our educational mission so I don’t think it’s that the legislature is against higher education but I don’t think that there is a full appreciation of how we manage our business,” he said. “We have taken a disproportionate hit … not only on direct cuts but in addition to that some fairly hefty credit which means that we have to pass on the costs to students.”
Lopez explained the tuition credit concept and the state’s funding formula for higher education. He also dispelled the myth that four-year institutions are more expensive for the state to maintain than are two-year colleges.
“When you compare the first two years of higher education meaning four year schools to the first two years at community college actually the four year schools are less expensive but that usually doesn’t come across in the aggregate statistics,” Lopez said. “It is that kind of mythology I think that works into the political process and after a while we end up thinking this little cut is not going to hurt that much … and it really lands up being very difficult on the part of the four year institution.”
Lopez then talked about how universities around the world contribute intellectual capital, discovery and new ideas, thus improving the global way of life.
“That’s what creates wealth in this country,” he said. “That’s the added value and that’s why I hope we don’t give up on higher education. That that really I think is the cutting edge of what will make a difference of whether we remain globally competitive or we fall back to a second degree status as a society in this country.”
Mills brought the discussion back to state policy, budgets and higher education funding.
“I don’t envy the legislature,” Lopez said. “They have extraordinarily difficult decisions to make. But the fact of the matter is that you cannot pursue a short-term fix on a long-term problem and the long-term problem has to be solved and that has to do with creating this workforce that is at the highest competitive level. So when you are choosing to cut, you are going to have to really be mindful of whether you are doing it in order to solve a short-term problem at the expense of a long-term gain. … We are not used to thinking in global terms, we are much more parochial than that but we need to shift our paradigm. We need to think that we are no longer a society that competes just around the corner. We compete on a global scale and we have got to understand that.”
Mills asked Lopez what he would suggest as a long-term solution to the state’s dwindling tax base and shrinking budget.
“The solutions are not pretty,” he said. “We all know what the division of resources is and our public education takes a big chunk. … You have to look at each of these sectors and be willing to say we can’t afford what we have been doing all these years and that talks about issues nobody wants to talk about. It may talk to consolidation in some sectors and I won’t name which. It may talk about grouping universities and two year schools in another context.”
Lopez said the state must either do away with some services that are not essential or raise taxes.
“Those are the only two choices,” he said. “We are going to have to address needs rather than desires and so a little movement towards the middle and away from the extremes I think would permit us to make some decisions that will hurt the least and have the best opportunity to maximize our opportunities to be successful.”

July Skies On The Horizon

By Jon Spargo
New Mexico Tech Astronomy Club

We are told that the word ‘planet’ is Greek in origin and translates into ‘wanderer.’ This month a better term to describe our planetary parade might just be groupies or congregation. All of the action seems to be happening in the western sky, just above the horizon and about an hour after sunset.
The fun begins on the 1st and starts with brilliant Venus shining at magnitude -4.2. From Venus you can draw an imaginary straight line up and to the left that will encounter the bright star Regulus in Leo and continue on to both Mars and Saturn.
As the days progress, and using the star Regulus as a reference, watch as the planets change positions relative to each other. On the 9th Venus will catch and pass Regulus seemingly exchanging positions in our imaginary line. On the 13th we can add tiny Mercury to our planetary lineup.
Mercury will put in a fairly extensive appearance although it will never get much more than 7 degrees above the horizon. On the 27th Mercury will be about ½ degree from the bright star Regulus and can be found about 10 degrees below and to the right of Venus.. However, you will probably need binoculars to pick out this pair which are near the horizon.
Not to be left out, Saturn and Mars will form a close pair at the end of the month. Separated by 2 degrees on the 29th they will be the closest, 1.8 degrees, on August 1st. As it moves slowly toward the western horizon Saturn will be worth viewing through binoculars or small telescopes as its rings continue to slowly open.
With all of the early evening activity in the west, we shouldn’t forget magnificent Jupiter. At the beginning of the month Jupiter rises around midnight, about the same time Saturn sets, and will rise around 10:30 p.m. by the end of the month. Shining at magnitude -2.7, Jupiter will be spending most of the month well placed above the celestial equator. If you have a decent pair of binoculars, look 2 to 3 degrees west of Jupiter and you’ll probably be able to pick out the planet Uranus.
The Moon will be last quarter on the 4th, new on the 11th, 1st quarter on the 18th and full on the 25th. On July 8th, about an hour before sunrise, the waning crescent Moon will be found about 2 degrees below the famous Pleiades (the 7 sisters) star cluster. During the early evening hours of the 13th through the 16th the waxing crescent moon passes below a congregation of planets that include Mercury, Venus, Mars and Saturn. On the 30th the waxing gibbous Moon will be about 6 degrees above Jupiter.

Locked Up For MDA Fundraiser

Domino’s Pizza General Manager Heather Norton is put in cuffs by Socorro police officer Wes Mauldin and taken to jail at Socorro Springs Brewery as part of a fundrasier for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Photo by John Severance

OPINION: Indifference, Who Cares?

By Gary Jaramillo
Publisher, Mountain Mail

I want to thank everyone for the calls to the paper who were just as concerned about the fact that everyone here in Socorro were kept in the dark about the Legionnaires outbreak that started in the Mayor’s spa in his Best Western hotel.
Everyone was just as upset with the New Mexico Health Department for downplaying the seriousness of an outbreak such as this. The first word that came to my mind was, indifference. That is the only word that describes how the Mayor and the Environmental Board and Health Department treated what could have been a catastrophic blow to Socorro residents and other people in other states as well.
Then Tuesday morning, the Mountain Mail received a notice from City Hall about our drinking water. We are sure most people got the same notice, but we’re not too sure everyone got it, according to the wording in the last paragraph of the notice?
“Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people with apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.”
Shouldn’t that be the job of City Hall? Are apartment complexes, nursing homes, schools and businesses out of the reach of the City Hall? Are these places way up in 200 ft. trees or something? Shouldn’t City Hall have someone posting this notice about Arsenic in our water and future plans for everyone to see – everywhere? We hate to keep saying it, but shouldn’t a doctor (who just happens to be the Mayor) make absolutely every effort in his power to post this notice and make sure every apartment complex, Nursing Home, School and Business is notified immediately?
Why on earth would the numbskulls in the city clerk’s office think that we should all start making copies ourselves and begin going door to door in the heat to do their job for them while they all sit idly by and indifferent to the perpetually crappy water we have had to put up with for too many years? You’d think the first people the Mayor and his group would contact would be the nursing home, schools and businesses.
Wow. Indifference. That’s exactly what the Mayor and few others suffer from. Hey guys, pull your heads out and do your job, and while you’re at it doc, load up that shiny new white big pickup with some nice clean bottled water and deliver it to those elderly and sick who you very well know – can’t afford it - and need it, but don’t ask us to get the word out for you just because you guys are too lazy to make more copies and deliver them properly.
Maybe you could ask the local papers to place your announcements as a public service? I know the Mountain Mail would be happy to help. Really.
It would go something like this: Water bad – don’t drink if you don’t want to get sicker. City Hall says (again) they’re going to fix the problem soon.
If you live in an apartment, nursing home, go to school or own a business – call City Hall right away – they don’t know how to find you.

EDITORIAL: To File Or Not To File Is The Question For the Attorney

By John Severance
Editor, Mountain Mail

Co-op attorney Dennis Francish apparently told trustee Charlie Wagner he was going to file a suit in district court, contesting three of the bylaw amendments passed by members at the annual meeting in April, including the one about the open meetings act.
That apparently has not happened yet.
After checking with district court, nothing had been filed on behalf of the Socorro Electric Cooperative and attorney Dennis Francish.
The person working at the court had a pretty good line.
She said, “Who is he filing against?”
I couldn’t answer the question so I just laughed.
Unfortunately, this is no laughing matter.
I’m not sorry I missed the last co-op meeting last Wednesday night. We were busy at the Mountain Mail at that time, trying to produce our issue.
I’m glad I didn’t hear trustee Donald Wolberg call the members a bunch of idiots.
I’m glad I didn’t hear trustees and the attorney yelling at the top of their lungs at Wagner, who was insistent that the board has to follow the open meetings act.
I’m glad I didn’t see the police come.
The whole situation is deplorable and everybody should be embarrassed.
Hitting the Airwaves
So KOB-Channel 4 in Albuquerque delved into the world of the Socorro Electric Cooperative last week.
And not surprisingly, the television station focused on the racial discrimination charges against Wagner.
The station talked with trustees Milton Ulibarri, David Wade, Wagner and Bustamante.
Ulibarri said, “He (Wagner) referred to me as a Mexican Chihuahua."
And later on, Ulibarri added, “I guess I could say that Mr. Wagner is a Louisiana cracker.”
Wade said, “"He's called us stupid, in fact, he's called me stupid.”
Bustamante weighed in by saying, “"Putting a U.S. flag in our board room to say that we know what country we're in. That's what he brought up,"
Wagner, meanwhile, did not comment last month when the LULAC letter was read by Bustamante.
But on television, Wagner said the allegations were unsubstantiated and that he was part of the SEC Reform movement, which he says was being met with a lot of resistance.
"The board is resisting the members, who have the right to change the bylaws, they want open meetings and they put the board under the open meetings act. And they also want access to records," Wagner told the television station. He says that's why he's being allegedly attacked by the other board members.
"They would like to make people think that it's a racial thing. But it's not. It's a thing of they haven't behaved properly as board members," Wagner continued.
The Socorro Electric Coop is federally funded by the Rural Utilities Service (RUS). Bustamante said on television it will be up to the Justice Department if any action is taken against Wagner.
Too bad, the television station only told half of the story.
Despite at least five people saying to the contrary, co-op trustee Milton Ulibarri called the Mountain Mail office to say that he did not call the police at the meeting last Wednesday night.
Well, somebody did.
And unfortunately, that’s nothing new either.
In last week’s issue, the citizens who reported seeing marijuana growing near the Rio Grande were misidentified, and should have been identified as bird watchers.

OPINION: Of Generals And Warriors

Magdalena Potluck
By Margaret Wiltshire

Take a picture of General McChrystal and one of President Obama to photo shop and colored them both blue. Two men more alike then not. They got along like two positive poles of magnets.
Reality? General McChrystal was at war longer then anyone should be.
Spring, 1974. With the sun on his light brown hair shining gold, a skier’s suntanned face he moves carefully around the cliff face. Below us, a stream full of winter melt roared like a young fierce river.
Our backs were to the cliff and we were finding mere footholds to rest our heels in. I could see myself falling into the water below and my head being tossed like a basketball between the rocks in the white water rush. “Could you take my hand, I don’t feel steady here?” I asked. “No” he said. Okay, I thought, this isn’t a women’s lib issue, it’s a survival issue. Thanks a lot buddy.
We made it. The terrain eased and we found bigger rocks to cross the rapids. We climbed into a wonderful spring woodland, filled with the fall’s fallen leaves and the spring’s early wild flowers. We stopped to rest.
“Let’s wait for some critters to show up,” he said. We waited, and waited. “When I was young,” this thirty year old said. “Before ‘Nam, the woods were full of critters. Now it’s like it’s dead. It’s what I miss the most.”
“Why didn’t you take my hand?” He turned to look at me very seriously, looked away and remained quiet.
Then he said you know I have a total disability that’s why I could go to college and took some time off. “You don’t look all!” I smiled back at him, but now I felt great concern.
“I lost two inches of bone at the top of my left arm, there’s a piece of steel in there and they saved the arm. I can use my arm and hand in front of me but I can’t reach back, not at all.”
“You are able to do so many things, you hike, ski. How come they say you are totally disabled?”
“There’s more,” he said and was quiet. We waited. One busy Chipmunk showed up.
This was my second meeting in a two week relationship with this veteran. The first was his going away party. He was on his way to Denver, hopefully to work for the FBI and do a lot of skiing and hiking.
He wanted to spend time with critters. I was a “surprised” blind date, arranged by his best friend. He was handsome and pleasant but the “surprise” made me shy. I went home as soon as possible.
About to head for bed, I heard drunken hollering outside my door. “I’m drunk,” he said “and I want to talk, please, please talk to me.”
“No, I’m going to bed.”
“Please, please I’ll be good, I want to talk, just five minutes.”
“Will you drink coffee?”
“Oh, yes, coffee, great, please.” We talked till 6 a.m.
He wanted to understand the anti-war hippies, why they hated GIs, what I thought about the war. He said he always loved the law and the draft was law, so he went. He admired Muhammad Ali because he took responsibility for his anti-war stand.
He told me about his family, life before the war and his best friend, our mutual friend. As a medic and body bagger, his friend had really suffered emotionally and now his work for the medical examiner was depressing him. With such an appreciation for other people, I felt honored to have him at the kitchen table.
After the hike we met a few more times before his “army pay” Corvette took him to the Rocky Mountains.
His full disability? Besides the two inches of arm, his stomach had been torn open, then pieced and stitched together like a quilt. Doctors gave him to 45 or 50, quality life.
After a year in the VA, he went to school. In college an angry “peace” hippie punched him in the stomach. This sent him to the floor in agony and back to the VA for another operation. He said it was the first time he wanted to kill someone.
This very ABLE man, was not the only warrior in my life. I grew up with warriors around the kitchen table. Support is listening and learning.
They often spoke of the “focus” in facing fatality in danger. The still, timeless, aliveness. This focused stillness, aliveness is available to us all and not just in life and death situations.
Some people misunderstand this experience. They think they are “getting off” on a terrible situation. It is an experience of focus. What you do with it makes you a warrior or a barbarian.

Questions, Concerns? Write

SGMG Women’s Health Center Remodeling Completed

Mountain Mail Reports

Socorro General Medical Group, SGMG, announced that its Women’s Health Center’s remodeling was completed earlier this month. The Center is adjacent to Socorro General Hospital located at 1202 Hwy. 60 West in Socorro.
“We’re committed to providing quality care throughout Socorro County and expanding women’s health care has been a top priority,” said Socorro General Hospital Administrator Bo Beames. “In retrospect, we’ve recruited top providers and then ensured our facilities were modernized in serving patients both today and tomorrow. Our next area of focus is our primary care as Socorro County residents continue to trust us while we care for them and their families.”
The Women’s Health Center provides three exam rooms, a procedure room as well as offices for Obstetric and Gynecology Physician Dr. Chawki Nahabet and Certified Nurse Midwife Kim Swift. The Center generously offers nearly 3,000 square feet for patient comfort and convenience. Both Audiology and Podiatry services are located on the other side of the same building.
Dr. Nahabet provides a full range of services for women including routine obstetric and gynecological care, laparoscopy, laparotomy, ovarian cysts, hysterectomies and some infertility care. Swift provides full scope midwifery care to include in-patient labor and delivery, gynecological and newborn care services.
Dr. Nahabet joined SGMG in 2008 and Swift arrived in August 2009.
"We're honored to have completed this project in order to serve women throughout Socorro County without the inconveniences remodeling projects pose. This Center allows patients to go to one facility for all of their health needs," said Beames.
Socorro General Hospital is owned by Presbyterian Healthcare Services which exists to improve the health of patients, members and communities served.
Socorro General Hospital was built in 1984 and employs 200 people including 10 physicians and operates the hospital, home health and hospice services along with several clinics for family practice, podiatry, obstetrics/gynecology and general surgery serving Socorro County.

Another Take On The Co-op

By Debbie Leschner
For the Mountain Mail

Editor’s note: Mountain Mail correspondent Debbie Leschner made the drive from Quemado to attend last Wednesday’s Socorro Electric Cooperative meeting. Here is her report:

There are always two sides to every issue but there is only one side when the truth of the June board meeting of the Socorro Electric Cooperative is told. The meeting was called to order. A co-op member brought his camcorder and was filming the meeting. There was a confrontation between the trustees about the NM Open Meetings Act, if it applied or not to the meeting. Mr. Bustamante wanted the camcorder removed. Charlie Wagner objected on the basis of the NM Open Meetings Act which requires that provisions be made for recording devices.
Mr. Bustamante called for an executive session. In turn Mr. Wagner objected as executive sessions are tightly controlled under NMOMA and not allowed. It was very obvious that the board did not want to conduct any business with the co-op members present.
A vote was taken and passed to go into executive session. At this point the members began to voice their objections and did not leave the room. Mr. Bustamante called a recess as someone called the police to have the members removed. He was told that the police were on a fire call. The trustees at this point were yelling at one another, even some swearing was done. Mr. Wade was calling Charlie Wagner names. Mr. Wolberg even called the members in attendance “idiots”. With no arrival of the police, the board then called for adjournment and told everyone to leave the building as they themselves started to leave.
The 20 or so members, representing all five districts, sat in utter astonishment. One of the members had their young grandson with them. He was amazed at the meeting and asked if they (the board) were adults and why were they acting like this. Charlie stated that the members were going to hold a meeting whether or not the board was in attendance. He invited any trustees that were interested to stay. Mr. Aguilar and Ms. Mauldin remained. Civility and calmness returned to the room.
The police officer arrived asking who was causing a problem and where the disturbance was, as he entered the room. Mr. Bustamante said that the members had to leave the building because they were disruptive. Mr. Wagner said the members were holding a peaceful meeting in a building owned by the members and that they did not have to leave. The policeman asked the members to leave.
The members said no and sat still insisted upon their rights as member/owners to hold a short meeting. Arrest was threatened and the members still stayed seated. The officer asked if there were still trustees present in the room. Receiving an affirmative answer, the officer stepped outside and the discussion among members continued. Several minutes later, the police officer again appeared and asked if the meeting was about over. The members having spoken their concerns agreed and left the building. Mr. Wagner asked for a guarantee that the building would be closed after they left. The officer agreed.
Several of the members were concerned that the board would try to reconvene once they left. They were told that the board can not call for another meeting this month (June) under the proposition that restricts the board to one meeting per month.
It is important for all co-op members to know what happens at board meetings. Please consider attending one or more of these meetings.
It is a member owned co-op.

Local Writer To Lead L.A. Workshop

Mountain Mail Reports

Socorro children’s book author Chris Eboch will lead a writing workshop at the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators’ 39th Annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles this August. Her workshop, called What I Learned from Nancy Drew: Tools for Fast-Paced Plotting, was so popular at last year's conference that she was invited to present it again. In the talk, Eboch discusses how she used the fast-paced plotting style of Nancy Drew in her original series for young people, Haunted.
“Nancy Drew’s adventures have captivated generations of readers,” Eboch said. “Grab you by the throat openings pull you into the story. Cliffhanger chapter endings ensure late-night reading under the covers. Action-packed plots keep you coming back for more. I used those techniques to write and sell an original series, Haunted. In my workshop, I share how writers can use these lessons to make any story or book better, from narrative nonfiction to genre novels, for kids or adults.”
Eboch is the author of 12 books for young people. The Haunted series is about a brother and sister who travel with a ghost hunter TV show and try to help the ghosts. The series, for ages 8-12, features three books, The Ghost on the Stairs, The Riverboat Phantom and The Knight in the Shadows.
Eboch is a popular teacher at workshops around the country and the New Mexico regional advisor for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). The society, an organization for people who want to write or illustrate children's books, has over 22,000 members worldwide. The SCBWI international summer conference will be July 30 to August 2, in Los Angeles, Calif.
Rodeo Queen Signup
The Socorro County Fair and Rodeo Association will be having a sign-up meeting for the 2010 Queen, Princess and Sweetheart Contest on July 1 at 7:30 p.m. at the Administration Building at the Fairgrounds.
All girls interested in participating are invited to come to the meeting, The Sweetheart contest is for ages 9-12. The princess contest is for ages 13-16 and the queen contest is for ages 16-23. Ages are as of September 1 of this year.
For any questions, call 838-7174.

Sylvia Has Auspicious Autobiographical Aspirations

By Anne Sullivan

“I need paper. Lots of paper,” Sylvia demanded after breakfast on this hotter-than-yesterday morning.
After a search of the computer room, originally called the library, I handed Sylvia nine sheets of blank paper.
Soon she was writing furiously, covering page after page with a surprisingly legible scrawl. “More paper,” she called. “Quickly now. I don’t want to lose my train of thought. I’m on
a roll.”
I unearthed a dozen more sheets from the piles of various organizations – SAR, BCPL, RAC, DVFD, NMOWP – that overflowed from the table. “There. That should be enough,”
I said.
“It isn’t anywhere near enough,” she complained. “I said ‘lots of paper’ and I mean lots of
paper! You could give me one of those lined spiral notebooks you use – the ones you buy for a dime every fall before school starts.”
“What are you writing?” I asked, handing her a brand-new red college-ruled notebook. “A book?”
“Actually, that’s what I plan to do. I’m just writing notes for my book now. I’ve lived an interesting life here in Swingle Canyon for a number of years now so I’m going to write my autobiography. It ought to sell very well since I’m a dog.”
“I hate to disillusion you but many dogs have already written books.”
“They have?” Her voice trembled as she put down her – -or rather, my - - pen.
“Yes, they’re mostly dogs who live with important people. A number of presidents’ dogs have penned their memoirs. I think Clinton’s dog did and I know Fala wrote about his life with President Roosevelt.”
Sylvia picked up her pen again and put a big X over what she had written. “That’s not fair. You mean I have to live with an important person in order to get published?”
“I don’t think it’s absolutely required, but it certainly would make publishing and sales a lot easier. You need a name that’s recognizable.”
“Then I’m home free. Everyone around here knows who Sylvia is.”
“That may well be here in Catron County but Catron County is not the world.”
“It is around here,” she argued. And sulked for a minute before adding, “It’s all your fault for not being important.”
“I’m sorry for being so inadequate,” I said. “Should I see if the Obamas would like to adopt
you? Of course, they already have Bo. Maybe Bo wouldn’t appreciate the company or the competition.”
“Ha, ha,” Sylvia mocked. “But seriously, if you ran for president and if you got elected, my book could get published.”
“I very much doubt that I could win a presidential election so you’ll have to think of something else.”
“You haven’t even tried,” Sylvia scolded. “I could be your campaign manager. You owe it to me.”
“Just how do you figure that?”
“You’ve kept me here in this canyon in the middle of nowhere without a chance of gaining fame or fortune, that’s how.”
“But, Sylvia, you’re the one who hates to travel anywhere.”
“That’s because of your driving.”
“All right, I’ll make s deal with you. If you finish your book with at least 200 typed pages, I’ll send it to some publishers,” I offered, thinking there was no chance of her finishing it, let alone typing it all.
“Deal.” Sylvia said and we shook hand to paw.

Quemado: Watch Out For Bears

By Debbie Leschner
For the Mountain Mail

Quemado District Wildlife Conservation Officer Mischa Larisch, NM Game and Fish has the following helpful information for this time of year.
The main thing is that the bears are out and people need to keep their areas cleaned up. Do not leave trash or food out and bird feeders need to be taken in at night. All of these attract bears. If we (NMGF) need to trap and relocate a bear, it can be a death sentence for the bear. People need to help and do their part. This applies to both households and camp sites.
Quemado Lake is at the highest level in several years. Fishing is starting to slow down and will as temperatures continue to rise, but the lake and surrounding areas are nice and green with an abundant amount wildlife enjoying the moisture we received this winter.
Quemado Senior Center The Gallup trip will be Wednesday, July 7. Please call in your reservations by Tuesday morning. Activities for the week: Pool Practice on Tuesday, July 6, with quilting and bingo on Thursday. A belated Happy Birthday to those June babies; Ursula Candelaria, Pauline Castillo, Bill Chavez and Carol Pittman. All seniors are welcome. Please call the center at 773-4820 before 9 a.m. to make your lunch reservations.
A Rummage Sale, put on by the Western New Mexico Veterans Group, will be held Saturday, July 10 and Sunday, July 11 from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. in the Veterans' Hall located at the corner of Baca and Church Street in Quemado. Get tremendous savings on many new and used items. There are many household repair and building items, clothing, mattress and box springs, books and so much more. All proceeds go to help local veterans, their families and to restore and repair the hall.
The Largo Cafe is planning some remodeling and repair work during the month of July. The cafe will still be open for business during this time. The hours are Sunday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Wednesday 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Look for the 4th of July parade results in next week’s Mountain Mail.
Note: Know of anything going on or a special event in a family or school, please let me know. Good news can't be shared if it is unknown. Call 773-4119 or email at

Datil Library Schedule Announced

Mountain Mail Reports

Datil’s Baldwin Cabin Public Library is both proud and pleased as punch to announce its lineup of summer children’s programs. The summer season opens with a bang July 7 with Cathy Bissey’s Original Origami which will include some easy figures for little hands as well as harder ones for the older kids. Suzan MacKenzie will be doing a double header this year with Lots of Leatherwork on July 14 and Animal Art – Drawing on July 21. We’re especially pleased to find someone to conduct a drawing program. On July 28 Linda Ravert will wrap up the season with her popular More Fun With Beads. All the programs will be tailored for all ages and will provide the children with something to take home to keep or use as a birthday present.
The programs, all on Wednesdays, will start at 1:00 p.m. with reading by Mother Goose and end at 2:30 pm after a snack. All children (and their parents) are welcome. BCPL is on Forest Road 100 off Highway 60 three miles west of downtown Datil. The library is open every Wednesday and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
In other library news, on Thursday evening, August 12, BCPL will sponsor a talk and book signing by well-known New Mexico mystery author Steven Havill whose hero is the unlikely Bill Gastner, once Sheriff of Posadas County and now New Mexico Livestock Inspector.
On Friday, August 20 at 8 a.m. Earl Harvey, author of ‘What Happened to Charlie,’ will lead a bird walk at the Datil Well Campground. Mr. Harvey, who used to live in Datil when he was a child, has led many a Bird Walk at the Rio Grande Nature Center in Albuquerque.
Mark your calendars and watch this paper for more information about these events.

Tough District Awaits Socorro Football Team

By John Severance

SOCORRO – With the addition of Silver High School, Socorro football coach Damien Ocampo thinks the Warriors will be playing in the toughest district in the state.
“Silver has 3A enrollment according to the state but kids from their charter schools are allowed to play and that gives them 4A numbers,” Ocampo said. “It’s going to be 10 times tougher for everybody. And they have a great reputation and tradition in football. They are good in all sports but football is their thing. In fact, they are even bigger than (perennial power and defending AAA state champion) Lovington.”
Silver made it to the 4A quarterfinals before falling to Volcano Vista last season and in 2008, the Fighting Colts also made it to the state quarters before losing to Belen.
Ocampo said Silver is on the schedule this season in place of Robertson, which also added a school to its district. Taos will be playing in the Robertson district.
With the addition of Silver, Ocampo knows the Warriors have a tough task ahead of them if they want to repeat as district champions.
Ocampo said training in the summer has become much more crucial.
“We are into our lifting program now,” Ocampo said. “There are some kids who are not showing up on a regular basis and that concerns me. Some of them are in basketball and baseball camp now so are numbers are a little down.”
Ocampo and his staff held a seven-on-seven camp a couple of weeks ago that was well attended.
“In July, we will be really busy with camps,” Ocampo said.
Preseason practice begins Aug. 11. “And we will be having a midnight practice then,” he said. “Our first game is at home on Aug. 27.”
Golf Tourney
Players and sponsors are needed for the Warrior Football Golf Tournament Saturday at the New Mexico Tech Golf Course. The fee is $60 per player and signups will be conducted at the Tech Course. Call the course for more information.