Thursday, July 22, 2010

Who’s To Gain From All Of This?

We have an idea for a good editorial cartoon in next week’s Mountain Mail.
On one side of the page, Socorro Electric Cooperative trustees and its members are trading insults while on the other side of the page, co-op attorney Dennis Francish is hightailing it up I-25 back to Albuquerque with the back end of his car stuffed with $100 bills, saying to himself, “When’s the next co-op meeting? And better yet, I hope the judge certifies the class-action suit.”
If the trustees want to do something good for the community, they can decide on July 28 that there will be no more co-op meetings for the attorney that got us into this mess in the first place.
All it would take would be for one trustee to make the motion, another one to second it and then take a vote. After they get rid of the attorney, they also can drop the suit.
Right now, the community is being ripped apart by this guy.
Basically, he has advised the trustees to sue their own families, their own friends, the police, the sheriff, the judges, and in fact, everybody in the Co-op coverage area.
Francish wants to drag everybody into court to test three bylaw amendments that some trustees - and he - think keep the co-op from doing its business.
Since we are all getting sued, we the members also need legal representation.
Beware of attorneys who want to fight this because they also want to be aptly compensated.
The Mountain Mail cares about this community, so if the trustees and Francish decide to pursue the lawsuit, this newspaper is prepared to file a class-action suit and everybody is invited to join along.
Perhaps an attorney is prepared to represent the class “pro-bono.” No charge.
If the trustees turn their back on the community by keeping the status quo, we will see them in court.
Perhaps an attorney will open that box of Pandoras and who knows what he will find.
The trustees have one chance to save face in the community and that will come on Wednesday. If they don’t that will be a shame.
We will be opening that box of Pandoras, and they will get what’s coming to them.
Dennis, Arguendo, welcomes a class-action suit.

Authorities Bust Another Pot Plantation

By John Larson

SOCORRO – Officers from local, state and federal agencies eradicated a fourth marijuana plantation along the Rio Grande July 17.
Over 430 four-and-a-half to five foot tall marijuana plants were removed from the area.
The site was a few miles south of San Marcial on the west side of the river, and officials say evidence indicates it was maintained by the same growers as the three sites discovered in June. Socorro Police Detective Rocky Fernandez said “the site was almost identical to the previous three sites we eradicated. There were the same kind of pumps, batteries, pipings, solar equipment, and similar types of food.
“It was similar but messier than the other three. It was probably different individuals, but with the same larger operation,” he said. “There were two sleeping bags in one large tent and some clothes left behind, but it looked to be abandoned for awhile.”
He said the plants were spotted by hikers in the area. Socorro County Sheriff Philip Montoya and Chief Deputy Shorty Vaiza were part of the law enforcement contingent which included officers from the Socorro Police Department, BLM, Bureau of Reclamation, and New Mexico Game and Fish.
Fernandez said the site was accessible by four-wheelers, which were
used to haul out the evidence.
“We started at 6 a.m. and were out of there by noon,” Fernandez said. “It was a lot easier than the Escondida site, and we had more officers this time.”
He doesn’t discount the discovery of additional sites hidden in the Rio Grande bosque areas.
On July 9 another, smaller, patch was discovered just over the Valencia County line. Fernandez said that 24 plants were removed, and a warrant was issued following that incident. That case will be presented in Belen Magistrate Court, Sept. 14.

The Story Behind The Boil Water Advisory

By John Severance

SOCORRO -- It was a long and stressful weekend for Socorro residents.
They were forced to boil their water for five minutes after an advisory was issued by the New Mexico Environment's Drinking Water Bureau on Friday, July 16.
The advisory was lifted Monday afternoon.
The city's Wastewater Superintendent, Dixie Daniels, says her department conducts routine sampling on a monthly basis at different areas around the city. But on Tuesday, July 13, a sample was taken from a home on Granada Street in Socorro.
Twenty four hours later, the NMED called Daniels to inform her that the sample came back positive for coliform but negative for E. coli.
“That meant we had to resample,” Daniels said. “We had to resample upstream and downstream from where the positive test was detected.”
Daniels said the city had to abide by the groundwater rule that required the sampling of a water source prior to any disinfection or treatment. On Thursday, the city was required to sample all five sources prior to disinfection. Those sites were Evergreen Well. South Industrial Park Well, Eagle Picher Well, Socorro Spring and Sedillo Spring.
“That water (at Sedillo Spring) is 82 degrees Celsius,” Daniels said. “I knew where we going and it didn’t surprise me..”
On Friday afternoon, NMED delivered the news. The samples upstream and downstream from the original routine sample site was free of total coliform. But the water taken from Sedillo Spring was positive for coliform and E. coli, which caused NMED to issue a boil water advisory.
Sedillo Spring provides water to the western part of the city as well as New Mexico Tech. Jim McLain, assistant director of Facilities Management at Tech, said the west and north sides of campus draw water from sources other than Sedillo Spring. The south side of the main campus draws water from Sedillo Spring.
Meanwhile, Daniels mobilized her staff and some volunteers to get the word out to the public. Councilors handed out information sheets at different locations around the city. Daniels’ staff manned the phones from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., giving residents information.
Daniels also got in contact with Mario Gonzales of the New Mexico Rural Water Association.
“He acts as a neutral party between the city and the environment department,” Daniels said. “He arrived Saturday morning and evaluated our site to see if there were any breakdowns. He tested our site and we needed to score above a 4. We scored a 121. He was in contact with Mike Huber (compliance operations manager) of the environment department in Santa Fe and he said if it is as good as you say it is, we will lift the advisory on Monday.”
Before noon, Daniels was on a conference call with Huber and the advisory was verbally lifted. Daniels still had to send a written copy which she eventually was able to do after 2 p.m. after figuring out a computer glitch.
At the city council meeting Monday night, mayor Ravi Bhasker said, “I just want to stress to the public that the water coming out of the taps here in the city was never compromised.
“…It’s obviously a concern there was an advisory but we did everything the environment department told us to do. We took this very seriously.”
Daniels said the positive sample result from Granada Street could have been "a lab error or a sample error. We could have contaminated our own sample.”
The wastewater production department continues to take chlorine level readings every four hours and Daniels said they will update equipment around its system so something like this will not happen again.
“Chlorine residual will be monitored at each of our sources,” Daniels said. “If chlorine residual is below a certain level or we have equipment failure, we immediately will be notified. That’s our corrective action plan.”
Daniels said her department will continue to sample water at their various distribution points. “We want to provide the safest drinking water possible,” she said. “At no time was there E. coli in our drinking water."
Most strains of E. coli are harmless and live in the intestines of healthy humans and animals. However, a positive test for E. coli in the drinking water supply may indicate the presence of dangerous strains of E. coli or other disease-causing organisms. These types of organisms may cause severe gastrointestinal illness and, in rare cases, death. Children, the elderly and immuno-compromised individuals are at an increased risk for illness.

Outlaws Shoot ’Em Up At Old Timers

By John Larson

MAGDALENA - One of the surprise events during Old Timers weekend was the performance of a gunfight re-enactment in Magdalena by the High Plains Outlaws.
Visitors and families were entertained by an Old West “shoot ‘em up” in the Spanish Village area Saturday, July 10, by characters such as Pat Garrett, Wyatt Earp, Ike Clanton, and other notable lawmen, outlaws, saloon girls, and townspeople.
“I put this particular group together last year. It just fell into place,” said Larry Iams of Datil, founder of the troupe. “I wasn’t expecting to get this good of a response.”
After each performance Iams talks to the audience and enjoys fielding questions from kids.
“We try to be as historically accurate as possible, while still be entertaining,” Iams said. “I never liked the Hollywood versions of the Old West, you know, where you have 50 rounds in your pistol and can hit something a mile away with a .45.”
Iams said the drama in historical events is more compelling than their fictionalized accounts.
“Things like shootouts, in reality, happened very fast and at close range,” he said. “We might add a little extra dialog for our actors, but the style of dress and the weapons are historically accurate.”
Most of the rifles and pistols used in the re-enactments are replicas, but the cartridges are, of course, blanks.
“Sometimes we have problems with [misfires] during the show, but that happened even in the Old West,” Iams said. “Normally I load all our blanks, but problems with ‘em come up. Maybe with the altitude.”
Now he has to buy blanks from the same company that sells blanks to movie companies.
“They can cost up to one dollar each. That can get quite expensive,” he said. “Our shows are free, but we do take donations from audience members.”
Iams said the group now numbers a little over a dozen people.
“They’re mostly from Datil and around that area, but we could use a few more. Everybody does it on a voluntary basis. Because they all share the same love of Old West history,” he said.
Each member portrays a historical figure, and Iams is looking for three or four more men, and three or four more women.
“Having their own firearms is a plus,” he said. “They need to have their own firearms. Using someone else’s gun is like wearing somebody else’s shoes or hat.
“Me and Fred Ferguson have been supplying guns to those without guns so far.”
Also needed is a period musician, he said.
Iams has been part of Old West re-enactments for several years, after he worked as a wrangler in Colorado in the early 1990’s. “I started doing this in California,” he said. “Started in 1995 with the Fallbrook Outlaws in Fallbrook, California.”
That group has earned several awards for staged gunfights and stunts.
Iams said the next performance will be in Pie Town for the Pie Festival.

Pictures: (top) Larry Iams displays his six shooter and gunbelt
(bottom) One of the skits performed at Old Timers.

Photos by John Larson

And The Suspect’s True Identity Is ...?

By John Larson

SOCORRO - The Socorro County Sheriff’s office filed a corrected criminal complaint as a suspect was misidentified as Robert Hinton.
A supplemental report attached to the complaint by Chief Deputy Shorty Vaiza stated that the suspect’s real name is James T. Cramberg, who used the identifiers of his brother, Robert Hinton.
“I received a phone call from the real Robert Hinton, who is the brother of the suspect,” Vaiza stated. “Hinton advised that his brother … has used his name and identifiers before and has been charged with this crime [concealing identity] in the past.”
Hinton sent Vaiza a photograph to confirm that he was not the man arrested on June 30.
“The person I arrested on June 30 is James T. Cramberg,” Vaiza’s report said. “I also learned that the suspect has a warrant out for his arrest in Valencia County.”
Vaiza said (the real) Robert Hinton is filing an Identity Theft report with the Albuquerque Police Department.
Cramberg is charged with larceny, burglary, trespass, evading/obstructing an officer, breaking and entering, criminal damage to property, and the new charge of concealing identity.
The charges stem from an incident on June 30 when three suspects were arrested in connection with a burglary on Monterey Road in Veguita as reported in last week’s Mountain Mail.

OBITUARY: Ernest Zamora

Ernest Zamora
Jan. 10, 1945-July 16, 2010

Ernest Zamora, 65, passed away on Friday, July 16, 2010 surrounded by his loving family at his home in Luis Lopez, New Mexico.
Ernest was born in Albuquerque on January 10, 1945, to Nazario and Lupe (Garcia) Zamora. He is survived by his loving wife of 43 years, married September 24, 1966 in Socorro, New Mexico, Beatrice (Gonzales) Zamora of Luis Lopez; His daughters, Diana Zamora of Luis Lopez; Laura Zamora of Albuquerque; his son, Louis Luke Zamora of Luis Lopez; six grandchildren, Melinda; John Jr.; Michael; Megan; Breanna; and Enijah; two great-grandchildren, Kayla; and Hunter; brothers, Pat Zamora; Jimmy Zamora and wife, Barbara; and Ray Zamora; aunts, Aurora Garcia; Amalia Garcia; Maria Garcia; and Isabelle Arrevellos; his mother–in-law, Lillie Gonzales; brother-in-law, Sammy Gonzales; and sisters-in-law, Jenny Pyland and husband, Bill; and Roseann Savedra and husband, Danny; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Ernest was a resident of Luis Lopez for 40 years. He worked for the MRGCD and was a hard working farmer.
Ernest was preceded in death by his son, Ernest Zamora Jr. (September 1, 1998); his parents, Nazario and Lupe Zamora; his sister, Marian Marino; brothers-in-law, Eddie Gonzales; Joseph Gonzales; and Henry Gonzales; his father-in-law, Abran Gonzales; nephew, Richard Zamora; and great nephew, Floyd Savedra Jr.
A Memorial Rosary was recited on July 21, 2010 at San Miguel Catholic Church in Socorro with a Mass of Resurrection immediately followed with Father Andy Pavlak as Celebrant. Inurnment took place in the Luis Lopez Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family would like any memorial contributions be made to Socorro General Hospital Hospice.
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: Edna Genevieve Zamora

Edna Genevieve Zamora
Dec. 14, 1945-July 19, 2010

Edna Genevieve Zamora, 64, passed away Monday, July 19, 2010. Edna was born in Magdalena, New Mexico, on December 14, 1945, to Martin Sr. and Josie (Duran) Chavez.
She is survived by loving mother, Josie Chavez of Magdalena; her devoted children, Michael Zamora and wife, Dorothy of Magdalena; Matthew Zamora and Lorraine Henderson of Magdalena; Mark Chavez and wife, Sharon of Grants, New Mexico; and Mary Jean Cearley of Magdalena; her loving grandchildren, Aubriana; Juliana; Machaela; Joseph; Christopher; Jeremy; Daniel; Selena; Mark; Martin; Christina; Amber Rose; and Rebekah; one brother, Martin Chavez Jr. and wife, Barbara; and two sisters, Lorraine Baca and husband, Cruz; and Sandra Montoya and husband, Tommy; and many nieces and nephews. Edna was a lifelong resident of Magdalena and a devoted member of St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church.
She was preceded in death by her father, Martin Chavez Sr. and her husband, Joe A. Zamora. A Rosary will be recited Friday, July 23, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at St Mary Magdalene Catholic Church in Magdalena. A Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated on Saturday, July 24, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. also at St Mary of Magdalene Catholic Church with Father Andy Pavlak as Celebrant. Burial will take place in the Magdalena Cemetery. Pallbearers are Christopher Chavez, Jeremy Chavez, Daniel Chavez, Andres Montoya, Dominic Zamora, and Joaquin Zamora. Honorary Pallbearers are Martin Chavez, Cruz Baca, Mariano Latasa Jr., Robert Zamora, Pete Zamora, and Henry Zamora.
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

EDITORIAL: How Long, How Far, How Come?

Just Thinking Out Loud...
By Gary Jaramillo

Those are questions I found myself asking the television the other night while watching a program about the war in Afghanistan and other ones across the planet.
I was just young enough to barely miss the Vietnam War, and now I’m too old for the wars that seem to have gone on forever. I was watching the kids in 60-pound gear walking through sewage up to their knees in fields so they could avoid the IEDs in the street where their daily patrols should be taking place – but they can’t - because it’s too easy to be blown up by these improvised explosive devices.
I can’t imagine having to wake up to that every day of my life. I found myself crying alone in front of the TV while those children – 18, 19 and 20 year old boys and girls - doing what is expected of grown men and women in a place that can only be described as a nightmare. And they do the job of men and women and much more – because that is what they have been asked to do for all of us.
I thought, my God, those kids should be playing a pickup game of basketball, shopping for nice new pretty things or sitting in the shade at a Sonic listening to music hugging on their high school sweethearts. Damn. While I’m climbing into bed in my safe and comfortable home, those kids are opening their eyes to another day of absolutely terrifying and uncertain hell – that is – if they have been able to sleep at all.
What’s gone wrong? How long will this insanity last? How far are we willing to go with the idea of sending our children to their death or total life mental and physical injury? How come it just never seems to end? And why - in this day and age is it still OK?
Please don’t mistake this writing as a rant against doing what has to be done. And please don’t mistake me as someone who is not patriotic or understanding of the fact that sometimes we have to fight for our futures continued freedom.
This writing is not about any of that. It’s about the shame of it all. That right now - in this new millennium – we still are killing one another to make a point- instead of finding a way to talk with each other. The excuse that we come from different upbringings and religions and “they’ll never change” (the enemy) - is a cowards way out.
We speak different languages and look a little different than each other, but even after millenniums – we all still bleed the same color, cry the same tears, have the same hopes and know how to love those we care about the most. How on earth did we become so separated when we are of the same genetic make up and identical in a majority of so many wonderful ways?
It kills me that our countries decide that the only way to come to agreement is through war and who carries the biggest stick. The powers that be don’t think twice about packing up one of our kids and sending him or her to their doom, yet only cry after they have been sent home long past and gone to their makers.
It’s robbery. We steal our children’s lives in the name of country and our freedoms, but nothing is ever said about what they would have wanted. Perhaps a wife, children, laughter in a safe home - and old age. When will the insanity stop? Why is it so damn easy to send our babies away to die in a strange place while we sit here and pound our chests and act like this is the way it’s supposed to be - and we can’t change it?
There will be those upset with me and still believe that I’m against all of this sadness. You would be wrong. I’m against the reasons why supposed intelligent people decide that war, death and the loss of someone’s child is the only way to find common ground and respect for each other.
Personally, I get physically sick when I think about young American boys or girls trudging through waste high dirty water and crap and possibly dying there, so that a suit or uniform in Washington can make a point about who’s right or wrong. I think of their momma’s and daddy’s who won’t ever see their babies again. I swear – what the hell are we doing? The minute we resign ourselves to believing that killing is the only way – to get our way – all else is lost. Gone forever.
I know our kids sign up for service, but I’m sure it’s with the hope they don’t have to die for wanting to make a living and feed their families and maybe get the help to go to college after they have served in our military. It’s time the pomp and circumstance and parades were held only for those children who have served for many many years and are retiring for serving in a country that hasn’t seen war in 100 years because we all finally learned to discuss the problems of our world and lives as kind, understanding and hopeful people across this vast planet.
God Bless America, and God Bless our beautiful, brave and honorable boys and girls who stand guard and protect us through sunsets and sunrise each and every day. May their battles abroad and battles within - be forever stilled.

OPINION: Technological Culture Has Been All Mouth And No Ears

The Pencil Warrior
By Dave Wheelock

I find an article on the Gulf oil spill crisis by Naomi Klein in the July 12 edition of The Nation magazine most intriguing, if not for its content then for the fact it made its way into the mass media in the first place. Like other weekly opinion publications either right or left of center, The Nation does not enjoy a massive circulation, just 175,000 in 2008. Still the magazine has regularly collected and distributed the perspectives of accomplished and respected writers since 1865, and is a key player in the national political consciousness.
Entitled A Hole in the World, Klein’s piece points to a view of the world normally treated as taboo in the standard reading fare of Government Versus Free Enterprise. “This Gulf Coast crisis is about many things – corruption, deregulation, the addiction to fossil fuels. But underneath it all, it’s about this: our culture’s dangerous claim to have such complete understanding and command over nature that we can radically manipulate and re-engineer it with minimal risk to the natural systems that sustain us.”
Klein’s route of argument is to remind Euro-American readers of their heritage of not so long ago. (Take note, all ye enamored of traditional values.) “Europeans – like indigenous people the world over – believed the planet to be a living organism, full of life-giving powers but also wrathful tempers.” In these societies, the earth was most often considered a maternal being, mother to all things.
Klein notes the role of the Scientific Revolution of the 1600s in changing the paradigm of those who would later thrust their beliefs upon the rest of the world. “In 1623 Sir Francis Bacon best encapsulated the new ethos when he wrote in De Dignitate et Augmentis Scientiarum that nature is to be ‘put in restraint, molded, and made as it were new by art and the hand of man.’ ”
By “art and the hand of man” Bacon was referring to science & technology, the new gods of self-proclaimed civilized peoples. And of course, gods tells it like it is. But don’t take my word for it; listen to some present-day adherents. Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski: “It’s better than Disneyland in terms of how you can take technologies and go after a resource that is thousands of years old and do so in an environmentally sound way.” Ex-governor Sarah Palin: “My goodness, folks, these areas have been studied to death. Let’s drill, baby, drill; not stall, baby, stall.” A plaque on British Petroleum CEO Tony Hayward’s desk: “If you knew you could not fail, what would you try?” President Barack Obama: “Oil rigs today generally don’t cause spills. They are technologically very advanced.”
In the face of what must now be seen as grossly misplaced confidence about the workings of the natural world, Klein asserts as “the most surprising twist in the Gulf Coast saga: it seems to be waking us up to the reality that the Earth never was a machine.”
If Naomi Klein is correct, the wisdom expressed in the words of a Northern Plains tribal elder may finally fall on listening ears. Excerpts from Neither Wolf nor Dog, by Kent Nerburn:
“Your religion didn’t come from the land. It could be carried around with you. You couldn’t understand what it meant to us to have our religion in the land. Your religion was in a cup and a piece of bread . . . You couldn’t understand that what was sacred for us was where we were, because that is where the sacred things had happened and where the spirits talked to us.
“For your people, the land was not alive. It was something that was like a stage, where you could build things and make things happen. You understood the dirt and the trees and the water as important things, but not as brothers and sisters. They existed to help you humans live.
“The worst thing is that you never even listened to us. You came into our land and took it away and didn’t even listen to us when we tried to explain.
“And here is what I wonder. If she sent diseases and harsh winters when she was angry with us - and we were good to her - what will she send when she speaks back to you?”
Cultural perspectives too long considered obsolete by the technological juggernaut offer an escape from all manner of manmade disasters now expanding across our planet. Misplaced faith in technology and arrogant disregard for the Earth’s unpredictability needs to be replaced with the sense of humility and respect necessary to live harmoniously with her ways. The taboo against serious consideration of traditional lifeways which have withstood the test of time must be put to rest, so we can begin to relearn principles that may yet deliver us from our own toxic fruit.

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

OPINION: The Scourge of Corporate Coprolalia Syndrome

Magdalena Potluck
By Don Wiltshire

I consider myself to be a fairly mild-mannered person; usually able to find humor or at least able to find an appropriate punch-line to dark or dismal situations. Badda-Boom. Lately, however, I’ve found myself swearing at the “feel-good” ads on TV that BP has been releasing. It’s uncontrollable and growing more inclusive of other corporate ads.
I’ve managed to self-diagnose my condition thanks to Google and have coined a handy label for my affliction: Corporate Coprolalia Syndrome. There, I feel better already. Coprolalia, from the Greek copro- (dung) + -lalia (chatter, babbling), is found in about 15% of the people who suffer from Tourette’s syndrome. Not to make light of TS which affects about 1 in 100 people, it is an inherited neuropsychiatric disorder with onset in childhood, characterized by multiple physical (motor) tics and at least one vocal (phonic) tic. More information can be found at the Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA) home page at
And just what brought about this condition in me? I’m fairly sure it was BP CEO, Tony Hayward’s audacious, self-serving comment: “I’d like my life back.” This is not an isolated incident but is now symptomatic of most corporate behavior. Here then is a short rant that I started at the onset of my “condition”:
The great multinational corporations of this Great Earth have adopted the battle cry of the 2008 democratic campaign: “Yes We Can!”
We can behave in any manner we like, as long as our profit margin, our stock prices and our CEO’s salaries are soaring. Yes We Can.
We can lay off loyal workers, out-source jobs and set up our sweat shops in the poorest of the poor countries. Yes We Can.
We can trash our environment, externalize costs and ignore toxic clean-ups and all of those nasty government regulations. Yes We Can
We can call all of the shots now, because we control all of the government: the executive, the judicial and the congressional branches. Those few politicians who we don’t directly control will do our bidding just because they own large chunks of our stock. Yes We Can.
We can now control the lives of all citizens from cradle to grave in order to increase our “bottom line.” Yes We Can.
We can decide who is born in a hospital with all of the best medical equipment and who gets born in a back ally. We will decide who gets what medical procedure and medication as long as it results in the largest possible return to us. We will continue to lobby congress to rewrite the health care for all bill as long as we get to decide who “all” is. Yes We Can.
We decide who gets an education and what you will learn, as long as it instills loyalty, obedience and cooperation in our work force. Yes We Can.
We will decide what you will eat as long as it includes mass produced food items, fillers and additives from companies that we control and can profit from. We will grow the meat you eat, the milk you drink and the eggs you buy in the most profitable manner possible without regard to the conditions that our expendable animals are kept in. Yes We Can.
We decide, upon your passing, who gets entombed in glory and who gets sent off to the methane recovery plant. Yes We Can.
In our last bi-weekly Water meeting, Cheryl Hastings presented a jewel of a lecture by Vandana Shiva. Vandana is outraged that a corporation is trying to privatize the Sacred River Ganges for profit. Seems as though she is suffering from a touch of CCS herself.
Next Wednesday, July 28, 7 p.m. at the Magdalena Public Library, I will be leading a discussion of Craig Childs’ book The Secret Knowledge of Water. This is a strange little book that alludes to water as having a “mind of its own.” We will delve into some of these strange properties of water, its composition, its “wetness” and its life giving and destructive properties. Only then, can we begin to understand why the author puts his own life at risk just to see how water behaves.
We started to paint our collection of water jugs red because that seemed to represent the real danger of losing our water supply. They were beginning to look rather, well, dangerous. A scattering of a few white and blue jugs in with the lot, makes it a tad more patriotic and representative of US.

If you have any comments, problems, solutions, upcoming events or Empty Milk Jugs, contact me at


To the editor:
Regardless of what Co-op President Paul Bustamante said, “We don’t like to hear people say that we are ‘suing’ the members…”; the Socorro Electric Co-op is suing its members, He may not want to hear it said, but it is happening!!!
The suit holds that the newly adopted by-laws requiring transparency of the SEC Board of Trustees don’t apply to our Co-op, because the SEC is a private entity. This is smoke and mirrors!!!
The State of New Mexico may not be able to require the SEC to comply with New Mexico’s “sunshine” laws, but WE CAN!!! We own the SEC!!!
We have every right, obligation, and responsibility to require honesty and transparency from our trustees. The fact that we chose New Mexico’s Open Meetings Act and New Mexico’s Public Records Act as our templates merely saved everyone a lot of time and effort, and relieved us from drafting our own sets of rules.
The arrogance shown by the SEC Board of Trustees is beyond the pale. The blatant disrespect they continue to exhibit toward the owner/members is appalling. The lack of trust, eroded confidence, and loss of faith the owner/members have for the board is well-earned.
Rather than accede to the redounding wishes of the owner/members, the trustees have quibbled, prevaricated, complained, and ignored us.
The final insult is this legal action against the owners of the SEC.
When elected representatives of any jurisdiction lose their humility and respect for their constituents, they become petty autocrats. This seems to be the direction the SEC trustees are heading.
The idea that the trustees can’t conduct business with the owners of the SEC or members of the media in attendance is preposterous!!
Honorable commissioners of thousands of counties across the country conduct well-run meetings every week; and these meetings include residents, voters and reporters of every stripe.
Reasonable assumptions why the trustees would want closed meetings have to include incompetence, squandering of resources, lack of ingenuity, or downright malfeasance. All these reasons demand owner/member attention, recognition, and action.
The owners of the SEC have indeed paid attention, recognized some problems and then on April 17th we acted. We are not as cagey or evasive as Mr. Bustamante; we really mean we want open and transparent meetings and access to SEC’s books and records.
That’s my nickle.

Gene Brown

LETTER: Who Will Pay For Status Quo?

To the editor:
When I visited friends in Albuquerque at Christmas one of the questions asked was “what on earth is happening at your electric co-op?
I advised my hosts the SEC Trustees functioned like a kindergarten – everything by the spitwads.
Now as We the People vote for operational oversight the legal wrangling continues.
Should the Court rule in behalf of the SEC member/owners recent vote will the current Trustees be required to reimburse the Co-op for legal expenses incurred in the maneuver to retain status quo?

Andrea Blodgett

LETTER: Reprehensible

To the editor:
I find it reprehensible that Nick Innerbichler would charge $74.00 and demand immediate payment for twenty four burritos to feed the fire fighters trying to put his warehouse fire out! So much for coming here to "help our community!"

Sylvia Troy

LETTER: Bear Story

To the editor:
There have been several incidents of bears being a problem up here in the subdivisions around Horse Mountain reported in the past month.
I was awakened Friday night, July 16, when a bear got into my garden and trash. The dog ran out and there was noise of a fight. However, the dog returned unharmed and very upset.
Next morning I found a bear tracks and a tuft of bear hair in the driveway. While this was being examined a shot from the neighbor’s place was heard. The 110 pound female bear had gone to his place - lured perhaps by the cat food - and started to follow him while he was returning from the outhouse.
“I was concerned that the bear would attack me," the neighbor said.
After an attempt to scare the bear away with shots at her feet, my neighbor was forced to shoot her.
“I hated to do it but, I was scared," he said.
Please everyone, be aware that we live in the wilderness and the wildlife is part of this. Do not leave pet food outside overnight.
Do keep your trash in a heavy duty can with a lid. Make a lot of noise while hiking, such as singing or talking, even if you are alone.
Above all I recommend a dog as a deterrant. I want to thank the folks out at Fur and Feathers for matching me up with a Catahoula silver brindle male name Levi that saved me the having to make a decision of weather or not to shoot one of God's creatures.
The bear was removed by the Fish and Wildlife officer and will be examined to see if there were any health problems which led to the bear's behavior.

Buddy Zeisweiss
Teepee Ranches
Horse Mountain

Reynolds Issues Ruling On San Marcial Water Rights

By John Larson

SOCORRO – Can a property owner claim irrigation water rights on land that that is non-irrigable? That was the question before District Court Judge Matthew Reynolds at a hearing last Thursday, July 15.
The issue concerns three tracts of land in the San Marcial area – forever ruined by the 1937 Rio Grande flood – that Chuck Headen of Socorro acquired in 1976.
Abandoned by the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District in their official plan in 1928, the communities of San Marcial, Val Verde and La Mesa were left to defend themselves against flooding and river overburden, and were eventually “squeezed out” by Federal Reclamation projects.
Headen is requesting the court to provide declaratory judgment of the rights based on the fact that irrigation became impossible after such activities had occurred. In the 1937 flood the levees were destroyed and the river changed its course running over farms in San Marcial, Val Verde and La Mesa. The State Engineer does not view this as a valid excuse for non-irrigation.
Both lawyers argued the issues of abandonment and forfeiture, assuming that the water rights on those lands remained attached to the land.
Reynolds offered a third interpretation, quoting a state statute that referred a right to use water “so long as the water can be beneficially used thereon…”
He wrote in his decision that no water rights have existed on the land from 1937 on – due to the nonirrigable land , and that the tax deeds in 1938 irrigation water rights were not part of those deeds.
By the time the land was acquired by Headen in 1976, Reynolds stated, water rights to the land had not been mentioned in previous deeds, so there were no water rights transferred.
Reynolds is giving each side of the issue 30 days to respond to his tentative decision – that grants summary judgment in favor of the state engineer.

Tech Regents Reconsider 2008 Actions

Mountain Mail Reports

SOCORRO -- The New Mexico Tech Board of Regents met in special session Friday, July 16, to reconsider action from 2008 that was voided by an opinion of the Attorney General.
The Regents officially approved several construction contracts that had been approved during two emergency meetings during the summer of 2008. Those projects included construction of an engineering lab building north of Workman Center , soil stabilization work near Jones Hall and Kelly Building renovation.
The Attorney General’s opinion stated that Tech did not give ample notice for those two meetings and that those meetings did not qualify as “emergency” meetings.
Regent President Ann Murphy Daily said, “We want complete transparency and we want to comply with all aspects of the law.”
University President Dr. Daniel H. Lopez said the administration has taken steps to assure that the intent of the Open Meetings Act is always followed for providing public notice about all board meetings.
The Regents and administrators also discussed campus safety, in light of recent incidents, most notably an attack on a post-doctoral researcher who was walking home near campus.
Marquez and campus police Chief Billy Romero have met with city officials and law enforcement leaders to improve communications, coordinate patrols, inform students of services available to them and, generally speaking, improve safety. Romero said he has also established monthly meetings with local law enforcement officials.
Lopez said that crime statistics show that the city and the campus have experienced fewer assaults in recent years.
“But this incident was very egregious,” he said.
Regent Jerry Armijo, who is also the attorney for the City of Socorro , said he called a meeting with the mayor and other city leaders to discuss student safety and city-university relations.
“As a Regent, I impressed upon them our concerns for student safety, so we can tell parents who are bringing their children to campus that they will have a safe experience on campus,” he said. “There was some discussion that some of these problems are not the city’s responsibility and Tech needs to address them, but there was also the recognition that the city can do things better. The end point is that we need to collaborate.”
Gerity also reported that the victim of the assault in May had visited top administrators in Brown Hall in recent weeks. Gerity said the victim was upbeat and positive about the response she received from the university.
“Everyone was touched by her,” he said.
In other action items:
•The Regents also approved emeritus status for Dr. David Johnson, who retired as Earth science professor and Dean of the Graduate Studies office.
• The Regents approved an annuity for the President, paid by the New Mexico Tech Foundation.
All other items on the agenda were informational only.
• For the first time in university history, the Board was presented with a list of graduates, but was not asked for approval. Under a new policy adopted in May by the Board, the President has continual vested authority to approve graduates, as presented by the Faculty Senate. The Regents were presented with 14 graduates who had earned their degrees in July 2010.
• Vice President of Finance Lonnie Marquez reported that the hot water loop construction project is proceeding without any major glitches. The schedule has been re-arranged somewhat, but the project is expected to be completed within the allotted 12 months.
• Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Peter Gerity reported that Tech has submitted a proposal for a Title V funding from the U.S. Department of Education for the undergraduate programs.
Tech received a Title V grant for the graduate programs in 2009. If successful, the new grant will provide $3.2 million to expand living-learning communities, to launch a faculty development center for innovative teaching strategies and to expand Smart Classroom technologies on campus for undergraduate students.
* Lopez reported that Tech hosted a visit from U.S. Ambassador to Sudan Howard Douglas. Lopez said he received a lengthy letter from Douglas thanking him for Tech’s work in advancing relations with the Sudan .
• Lopez also presented a brief financial status report. He said the overall financial condition of the state remains very weak and that state-supported universities could see more budget cuts in January.
“We are restraining expenditures to maintain balances in anticipation of further cuts,” he said.
• Lopez also reported on the five-year capital plan, which includes six priorities. The “wish list” includes, in order, 1. Bureau of Geology construction, 2. A new Wellness Center , 3. A new Chemistry and Materials Engineering facility, 4. Brown Hall renovations, 5. Research Facility matching funds and 6. Geothermal District Heating system.
• After an executive session, the Board announced that it was sustaining the President’s action regarding an employee grievance and took no action on a student complaint.
• The Board took no action on the agenda item related to the agreement between the university and the New Mexico Tech Foundation. That item will be on the agenda at a future meeting.

Sylvia Employs Gordo To Type Autobiography

By Anne Sullivan

After the catastrophe of the unsaved computer manuscript of her autobiography, Sylvia moped as only a dog can mope for ten solid days. She ate little, eschewing dog biscuits for an occasional bite of unadorned kibble.
I tried to interest her in the arrival of the summer rains, the tall colorful wildflowers sprouting up in Swingle Canyon and the calm beauty of a starry night with just a wisp of a breeze. Sylvia reacted not at all, so occupied was she with mourning the death of her manuscript.
Gordo, on the other hand, raced about leaping at the tall fairy trumpets and dashing up the oak trees. Sylvia told me he’d mumbled a short apology consisting of ‘oops, sorry’ and raced off, keeping well out of her sight.
Sylvia was so traumatized that she didn’t even deign to chase Gordo which was just as well since if she’d caught him that might have been the end of Gordo.
So that’s how life was when I exited my happy home on a sunny breezy morning with the hint of possible rain clouds in the west.
“Come on, Sylvia, let’s go for a walk,” I urged.
No response. Nothing. Only her nose stuck out of her doghouse on the porch.
“Sylvia, walkies. It’ll do you good. It’s a beautiful day. You might see a rabbit to chase.”
“No, thank you,” she muttered.
Reaching into the doghouse, I grabbed her collar and pulled. “We’re going for a walk whether you like it or not.”
“I don’t want to. Can’t you understand?” Sylvia’s voice was full of silent rage as her head and shoulders now emerged from the doghouse.
“You can’t spend your whole life moping,” I yelled at her as I pulled her collar with all my might. “You’ve mourned your autobiography for ten solid days.”
“It’s not long enough. I want to spend my whole life this way,” she said as the rest of her 79-pound body down to her dejected tail squeezed out of her house and onto the porch. “My life is ruined.”
“Come on, Sylvia, buck up. It’s not that bad.”
“Easy for you to say.”
“Many people…er…and dogs, too, I’m sure, have overcome adversity and been all the better for it.”
“The only thing I’d like to overcome is Gordo.”
“It may not be all his fault. Did you spend much time teaching him how to save on The Computer?”
Sylvia’s lip trembled. “I don’t remember how much time exactly but I know we went over it. He should have said something if he didn’t understand.”
“Perhaps he wanted to please you so much he was afraid to.”
“Afraid of me?” she cried. “No one is afraid of me. I only wish they were.”
“I must say he doesn’t look afraid,” I said as I watched Gordo jump between the red fairy trumpet and some purple flower of unknown parentage. “Have you paid Gordo yet for all the typing?”
“No and I shouldn’t have to pay him since he didn’t save any of the typing.”
“Nonetheless, he did do the typing.”
“It doesn’t matter anyway. I have no money. Nothing matters.”
“Perhaps you could pay him in some other fashion. In kind.”
“I’m kind enough to let him live,” she growled.
Suddenly Sylvia roused herself to bark. Loud, quick, important barks. I looked where her nose was pointing and saw – a bear. A largish black bear headed straight for the frolicking Gordo.
In less than an instant Gordo stood stock still, well aware than he was in danger of devourment
Still barking, Sylvia charged toward the bear who turned to look at her, at which point Gordo bolted away to climb up a very tall tree.
The bear, obviously annoyed, glared at Sylvia who stood her ground, growling deeply between stanzas of barking. As I picked up the one weapon on the porch, a shovel, Sylvia inhaled deeply and charged. The bear groaned, turned and fled up canyon.
“Good for you, Sylvia,” I said, petting her head.
Gordo came down from his tree, ran over to Sylvia and rubbed himself against her ample stomach.
And so peace came to Swingle Canyon.

Luna Rodeo On Tap This Weekend

Mountain Mail Reports

The Luna Rodeo will be held on July 24 and there promises to be fun for everybody.
Action starts at 9 a.m. with a slack barrel race. At 10 a.m., the parade will be held, and at 11 a.m., there will be a slack team roping event.
Lunch will be served at noon with a barbeque at the Community Center.
At 1 p.m., cowboys and cowgirls will line up for the main event – the rodeo. Considered home of the famous wild cow ride, there also will be bull riding, calf roping, bareback and saddlebronc, breakaway roping, barrel racing, team roping, steer riding, calf riding, mutton busting. There also will be an egg toss and calf scramble.
A western dance will be held at 8 p.m. and music will be provided by “Bobby and the Buckers.”
For more information, call 575 547-2176 or 547-2144, check or

Hillerman To Speak At Reserve Library

Mountain Mail Reports

Anne Hillerman, author and daughter of author Tony Hillerman, and photographer Don Strel will be visiting the Village of Reserve Public Library on Saturday, Aug. 7 to share their book “Tony Hillerman’s Landscape: On the Road with Chee and Leaphorn”.
This presentation will focus on the adventures of the two Navajo detectives who, in Tony Hillerman’s novels, solve crimes using police methods and their knowledge of Navajo culture.
The talk also will discuss exploring the landscapes so critical in Hillerman’s books , the trading posts, Chaco Canyon, Canyon de Chelly, Grand Canyon, etc. , in a photographic slide show.
The presentation at the Village of Reserve Public Library will take place at 4 p.m. on Aug. 7.
The entry fee will be $5 per adult, students and children are free. A limited number of “Tony Hillerman’s Landscape” will be available for purchase during the event. For more information contact the Reserve Library at (575) 533-6276.

Memorial Party At Glenwood

The Harley Paul Memorial Party and Trail Ride will be held Saturday, July 24, at the Glenwood Community Park from 4 p.m. until midnight.
The park is reserved for all weekend and camping and RVs are welcome.
Live music provided by The Terry Bullard Band.
Purchase Barbeque will be on site.
Come and help us celebrate Harley’s life and share your stories and memories with us!.
Trail ride: Monday, July 26 to Friday July 30.
Call Lestra (Harley’s daughter) for more information: 512-483-1106.

Parkview Elementary Making Plans For Outdoor Classroom

Mountain Mail Reports

Parkview Elementary School needs help in building an outdoor classroom for children of the community.
The school is looking to collect $12,000 this summer so when kids return to school they can begin learning immediately.
For more information on making a tax deductible contribution, phone 835-1086.
The school also is organizing a career fair for Aug. 13 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the school gymnasium.
For more information, phone 838-2545 or contact school counselor Debbie Westfall at dwestfall@socorrok12,nm,us.
Principal Kim Ortiz said there are plenty of summer programs for Parkview students and parents.
A family resource center will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily and computers will be available for use.
Also, a clothing bank will be open and parents can bring in donations or take clothes out of the bank. The school also said there will be Road Runner Food Bank Grant has been established and qualified families can pick up food.
During the year, Ortiz said the students raised $250 for Haiti.
“Most of them were pennies,” Ortiz said.
“Eighty percent of them were. We called them Pennies from Parkview.”
Ortiz said test scorers were up language arts and math, “but we have to work on math.”
Also during the year, there was a science night and a tribute to Dr. Seuss’ birthday.
In addition Parkview students went on a field trip to study the watershed project at Bosque Del Apache.