Thursday, August 19, 2010

Socorro County Declared Disaster Area

By John Larson

SOCORRO – Several washed out county roads will be repaired or cleaned up thanks to Socorro County being designated as a disaster area by Governor Bill Richardson.
Richardson signed the Executive Order Tuesday, Aug. 17 that also included Mora and McKinley counties, as well as portions of the Navajo Nation in Western New Mexico, the City of Farmington and the Pueblo of Acoma. A total of $1.9 million has been allocated for all locations.
Socorro County will be receiving $750,000.
County Manager Delilah Walsh said the county had requested $1.2 million after heavy rains in late July and early August wreaked havoc on outlying gravel roads.
“Most of our damages are where roads washed out,” Walsh said. “We’re going to have to re-do sections, starting with laying base course. We’ll be reimbursed after we get the work done.”
Jerry Wheeler from the county’s Emergency Management office said work has already been started on the worst cases.
“We’re starting on the ones we get the most calls on, and work from there,” Wheeler said. “In total there are about 40 miles that are in need of repair.”
Some of the worst damages include the road going into Hop Canyon, along with a cattle guard; Paterson Canyon road; the first seven miles of the road from Magdalena to Riley, including a culvert; and La Jencia Road.
East of the Rio Grande work will be done on roads 127 and 131, north of highway 380; Highways 179 and 135, and 129/147; County Road 63; Bosquecito road; and the Quebradas Byway (Escondida to Highway 380).
The Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management will coordinate all requests for assistance.
Cabinet Secretary John W. Wheeler said, “Our Response and Recovery Bureau has been working with the local agencies since the Monsoon rains started. Even though the rain came late this year, it has been intense and according to the National Weather Service there is more to come.”
The Governor has also authorized to New Mexico National Guard to provide military support to civil authorities as needed for this emergency.
Wheeler said officials from the federal government will be visiting Socorro County Monday, Aug. 23 to assess the damages.
“We may be getting additional help, as well, if we qualify for federal disaster funds,” he said.

Picture: Recent heavy rains severely damaged many roads in Socorro County, prompting the governor to declare the county as a disaster area. The county road department’s maintenance supervisor, Art Gonzales, stands in a washed -out section of Highway 131, north of Stallion Road.

Photo by Jerry Wheeler

Police, Sheriff’s Dept. Bust Another Plantation

By John Larson

SOCORRO – Officers from the Socorro Police Department and county Sheriff’s office eliminated another large marijuana plantation Wednesday morning in the San Marcial area, south of Socorro.
According to Sheriff Philip Montoya, two men connected to the marijuana operation were arrested. Shannon Martin, 33, of Los Lunas was charged with one count each of trafficking marijuana, cultivation and paraphernalia, and possession of a firearm by a felon.
Vincent Biancardi, 38, of Belen was charged with trafficking, and cultivation and paraphernalia.
“The site was very similar to the previous locations we eradicated,” Montoya said. “There were tents, pumps, piping, and other items that indicated the same kind of operation.”
Chief Deputy Shorty Vaiza, along with Montoya, took part in eradicating the plants Wednesday morning. “There were about 200 plants, up to four feet tall at the site,” he said.
He said the plantation was on a small island on a lake off the main channel of the Rio Grande. The officers approached the site from the east side of the river. “We had to wade through three foot deep water across a channel and then use a rowboat to get to it,” Vaiza said. “The two suspects were there in the process of watering the plants.”
According to the criminal complaint, city police Detective Rocky Fernandez received information about the site Tuesday afternoon.
“During surveillance, we noted to men coming out onto the lake in front of the [marijuana site]” and unloaded a small boat, the complaint said. The officers kept the area under surveillance and noticed activity that indicated the men were watering the plants.
“We decide to leave the area and proceeded to the other side of the grow site on the channel road” where a pickup was parked, the report said. Officers then gathered at a staging area and waited for the men to leave in the pickup, which happened at about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Due to the thick dust thrown up on the dirt road, the suspects were able to elude officers temporarily. Fernandez radioed the Sheriff’s office with the license plate number and description of the vehicle.
Montoya, assisted by city police Sgt. Gilbert Padilla pulled the truck over in Socorro. A search revealed a bundle of about 20 plants in the bed of the pickup and a firearm.
Shannon and Biancardi were interviewed and then incarcerated at the Socorro County Detention Center.
The plantation was the fifth to be discovered and eradicated in Socorro County by city, county, state and federal law enforcement officers in the last few months.

Sheriff Philip Montoya (left) and Chief Deputy Shorty Vaiza display two of the bundles of marijuana plants confiscated from the plantation near San Marcial Wednesday. Each bundle is estimated to weigh about 100 pounds.

Photo by John Larson

Tech Receives Grant For Carbon Project

By John Larson

SOCORRO – Scientists at New Mexico Tech will be receiving $400,000 to develop a technology for storing carbon dioxide underground.
The funding, a portion of $21.3 million for 15 separate carbon sequestration projects, was announced by Energy Secretary Steven Chu last week. Carbon sequestration refers to techniques used to capture and store greenhouse gases in geologic formations to reduce global warming.
According to Chu, the project “will support the goal of helping reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, developing and deploying near-zero-emission coal technologies and making the country a leader in mitigating climate change.”
Peter Mozley, geology professor in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department at New Mexico Tech is part of a three person team looking into the feasibility of injecting and storing CO2 deep underground. Mozley, along with Thomas Dewers of Sandia Labs and James Evans, geology at Utah State University in Logan.
“The idea is that you capture CO2 before it makes into the atmosphere. Then compress it and put in a pipeline and pump it into an underground reservoir,” Mozley said.
Mozley said their research is focused on two types of formations.
“We’re looking at two types of repositories,” Mozley said. “One is a depleted oil reservoir, where they got as much oil out as they can. The pre-existing wells can be used as injection sites.” But on the other hand, he said, the wells could be a source of leakage of stored CO2.
“The other type is deep saline aquifers. Aquifers that can are not be used as drinking water or anything else,” Mozley said.
The researchers returned from field work in Utah this week where they were gathering data on specific geologic formations that could be considered as CO2 repositories.
“We look for caprock, like a shale, which would be like a seal to keep the gas from escaping back into the atmosphere,” he said. “Shale has very tiny pore spaces that would prevent CO2 from leaking through.
“Our project is to look at detailed features on how fractures behave at the interface, and look at ways to make the seals work better,” he said. “Our research is focused on field sites that have good examples of caprock.
Research into carbon dioxide reduction has been going on for several years. New Mexico Tech is also involved in a study on how to capture the carbon dioxide at the point of occurrence, such as a smokestack.
“The capturing is the trick, collecting it right a the point, and leaving nitrogen, oxygen, and a small amount of carbon dioxide,” Reid Grigg, Tech’s senior petroleum engineer said in a 2007 interview.
Mozley said the ultimate goal of the overall DOE project is to combat global climate change.
“CO2 one of the biggest greenhouse gasses to contribute to global warming,” he said.
New Mexico Tech will provide matching funds of $100,000 for the three month project. Tech is part of the South West Partnership for CO2 Sequestration which includes nine member states including New Mexico and Colorado, the Navajo Nation, universities, and electric utilities, and coal, oil and gas corporations.

Picture: James Evans, Thomas Dewers, and New Mexico Tech and Utah State University students examine fractures and mineralization in an outcrop at Goblin Valley State Park, Utah.

Photo by Peter Mozley

Two SEC Employees Placed On Unpaid Leave

By John Severance

Two Socorro Electric Cooperative employees have been placed on unpaid leave for an indefinite time as the SEC appointed a committee to investigate certain financial irregularities.
That’s what came out of a special meeting of the Board of Trustees on Friday night. The meeting was restricted to personnel matters and it was discussed under executive session.
Co-op attorney Dennis Francish called the Mountain Mail Monday morning to read the following statement.
“A committee was appointed by the President of Socorro Electric Cooperative to investigate certain financial irregularities reported under the whistle blower policy of the cooperative.
“Two SEC employees have been placed on unpaid leave for an indefinite period while the investigation proceeds. Until the committee completes its investigation, there will be no further statements from the Board of Trustees or the cooperative regarding this matter.”
When asked if he had any more details, Francish said, “I am just the messenger.”
Trustee Donald Wolberg, the head of the investigation committee, said Tuesday the two employees are general manager Polo Pineda and accountant Kathy Torres. Pineda has been general manager since 2003 and Torres has worked for the SEC for 22 years.
Pineda and Torres could not be reached for comment.
The committee met for the third time in two and one-half weeks Tuesday. Wolberg said the meeting lasted five and one-half hours and he hoped to have another committee meeting before all the trustees meet next week.
When asked what was discussed at Tuesday’s meeting, Wolberg said, “I can’t tell you. We need to find out more.”
On the committee were Wolberg, and fellow trustees Luis Aguilar, Leo Cordova, Leroy Anaya and Prescilla Mauldin.
Wolberg said Richard Lopez will be the interim manager and Eileen Latassa will be the office manager. Other department heads will be David Montoya, Francis Herron and Sophie Chavez.
“We are not attorneys or judges and everybody is innocent until proven guilty,” Wolberg said. “But what’s most important is that we make a seemless transition as soon as possible. We have a very experienced staff and there will be no diminishment of services for our members.”
Wolberg said the committee was formed after anonymous letters were circulated around the community. One was addressed to the Mountain Mail and the other was posted on the website.
Both letters, apparently written by an SEC employee, complained of no management at the SEC and that the employees needed help. The letters also referred to embezzlement.
“We realized we had to do something when the letters came out and we realized the employees needed help and they referred to themselves as we,” Wolberg said. “We had to give confidence to the people who are coming forward under the whistleblower act. We want to make sure our members and our employees can get through this difficult interim period. As a committee, we are going to get to the bottom of this.”
Wolberg said the committee will ask for statements from trustees and former trustees.
“In fact, I would volunteer to be the first in line,” Wolberg said. “Of course, nobody is obligated to give a statement. But as a committee, we are going to move ahead.”
Wolberg also wanted to assure the members that records at the co-op premises have been secured as security guards were posted at the SEC facility over the weekend
“We are following legal advice and we are in a bit of uncharted territory in that we are investigating ourselves,” Wolberg said. “We can only report what we find and think it means. We have to do what’s best for the members.”
Wolberg said his committee will present its findings to the board at its next meeting.
When the committee concludes its investigation, Wolberg said he was uncertain of what the next step would be in terms of legal ramifications.
“That is up to attorneys,” said Wolberg, who also said he would welcome a forensic audit of the SEC books.
“The driving force is what is best for the members. As far as I am concerned, trustees are on the bottom of the list.”
At the special meeting called Friday, which was held under executive session, many thought the trustees would be discussing Torres’ claim to the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions. The Mountain Mail received Torres’ complaint to the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions in an unmarked envelope last month.
Torres wrote that she had been verbally and sexually harassed by trustee Charlie Wagner.
She wrote, “He has done such things as accuse me of fraud, which I believe was racially motivated as he has made racial comments about Hispanics. He has made comments in Board Meeting to other members that they are ‘hiding behind my skirt.’ I believe when the board of directors is reduced from 10 to 5, Mr. Wagner will have me fired.
“I did file a formal complaint against Mr. Wagner for sexual harassment and for sex discrimination. Nothing was resolved and I believe that a lot of the harassment is retaliation for filing this complaint.”
The next regularly scheduled meeting is Aug. 25 and a meeting to discuss the audit is the following day.

Various Publications Give New Mexico Tech High Marks

By John Larson

SOCORRO - As the fall semester for New Mexico Tech gets underway Forbes, U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review are ranking the Socorro university as among the best in the nation.
In its latest issue, U.S. News and World Report ranks New Mexico Tech number two in its list of best colleges in the West, just behind California Polytech, and 17th best college nationwide.
From the students’ point of view Tech comes out at number 334 in Forbes Magazine, which was the result of a study on student satisfaction.
According to the Forbes article, “whether they're in the top 10 or near the end of the list, all 610 schools in this ranking count among the best in the country. We review just 10 percent of the 6,600 accredited postsecondary institutions in the U.S., so appearing on our list at all is an indication that a school meets a high standard.
“While other college rankings are based in large part on school reputation as evaluated by college administrators, we focus on factors that directly concern incoming students,” the report by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity said.
Tech was also included in Princeton Review’s list of the 2011 best 373 colleges.
“That publication has always looked favorably on us,” New Mexico Tech President Dan Lopez said.
Lopez told the Mountain Mail that “enrollment numbers look positive, with 100 new students coming in.”
According to Cathi Van Fleet in the Academic Affairs office the number of undergraduates actually registered was 1,163. The number of graduate students registered was 293. “Of course, Friday is our big registration day. We expect those numbers to go up quite a bit,” Van Fleet said.
Lopez is expecting the upcoming academic year to present a few challenges, mostly related to fiscal realities.
Construction of a new building for the geology department may be delayed.
“We’ll have $12.4 million from a general bond issue, but that will be up to the voters to approve that GO bond,” he said.
A high student population this semester has presented a different kind of problem.
“With the increased enrollment there was an issue of having enough housing,” Lopez said. “We had to take inventory of what we had in terms of dorm space. We will have to double up students in some cases, such as dorm monitors. We have a whole series of things to accommodate them.
“One of our back up plans is that we contacted some hotels for temporary housing,” he said.
One issue that would affect faculty and staff is a possible rise in what gets taken out of paychecks for insurance.
“Insurance rates have gone up. We have a pretty substantial reserve but that cannot be relied on in the long run,” Lopez said. “We’ve changed the plan to a PPO, which is not as generous but not as expensive either.”
He said a decision on an employee’s contribution will not be made until the first of next year.
Convocation, the official opening of the fall semester, is Monday, Aug. 23 at 2 p.m. at Macey Center.
First day of classes is Tuesday, Aug. 24.

OBITUARY: John M. Jewett

John M. Jewett
Feb. 26, 1928-Aug. 15, 2010

John M. Jewett, 82, passed away August 15, 2010 at his home in Socorro after fighting a losing battle with Esophagus Cancer.
He was born in Laconia, New Hamp. on February 26, 1928, the son of Maurice and Hattie (Morrison) Jewett. He spent most of his life in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region and resided in Belmont, New Hamp. for 25 years before moving to Socorro in 1997. He attended Laconia Schools and was a graduate of Laconia High School, Class of 1946. He also attended Tilton School and the University of Maine.
John was a World War II Navy Veteran and served as a Damage Control man aboard the Battleship Wisconsin. He was a member of the U.S.S. Wisconsin Assoc., The American Battleship Assoc., The Bainbridge NTC Historical Assoc., and The American Legion Post 64 of Socorro.
He had been employed by the New Hampshire Dept. of Transportation for 24 years, retiring in 1988. He was a Highway Surveyor and Design Engineer and worked as a Survey Supervisor for 16 years. John had also been employed by the U.S. Forest Service in Colorado, The New Mexico Highway Dept., and Consulting Engineers in York, Penn. He was a registered Professional Engineer and Professional Surveyor.
John was also known as a musician and played drums for numerous musical organizations over the years. After he retired, he played in “Uncle El’s Golden Oldies”, Laconia, New Hamp. and Rev. Ed Adams’ “Good Sam’s Band”, in Socorro. He also enjoyed writing in his retirement years and his first book of Navy Memoirs “Once Upon A Wagon” was published in 2003.
As a youth, he was active in the Boy Scouts and attained the rank of Eagle Scout.
John is survived by his wife of 52 years, Pauline Livernois Jewett; one sister, Ann Saad of Greenland, New Hamp.; and several nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Socorro General Hospital- Hospice or to the Good Samaritan Nursing Home in Socorro. A Memorial Service will be held on Friday, August 20, 2010 at 11 a.m. at the Daniels Family Funeral Services, Socorro Chapel with Rev. Edward Adams officiating. Interment will take place at a later date in the Sanbornton Union Cemetery in New Hampshire.
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: Marie F. Hanson

Marie F. Hanson
July 11, 1915- August 13, 2010.

Marie (Frederickson) Hanson passed away August 13, 2010 at Good Samaritan Village in Socorro. She was born July 11, 1915 to Axel and Ingeborg Frederickson in Frankfort, Mich.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her first husband, Chester; her second husband, Nels; her son, Carl; and daughter, Christine. Marie is survived by her daughter, Ann Hansen and husband, Ray Abbott of Socorro, six grandchildren, several great grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews, and step-son Eric Hanson and wife, Hilda and children of Albuquerque.
She lived in Frankfort, Mich. until Marie, Chester, and family moved to Las Cruces in 1946. She was one of the founders and a charter member of Peace Lutheran Church in Las Cruces. She was also a member of Order of Eastern Star and Beta Sigma Phi. Marie moved to Socorro in 1999 to live with Ann and Ray. As a result of an injury she moved to Good Samaritan Village in 2004.
A Memorial Service will be held at the Peace Lutheran Church in Las Cruces, NM, on Saturday, August 28, 2010 at 1 p.m. with Pastor Jeanne Lutz officiating. Interment will be held in the Masonic Cemetery also in Las Cruces at a later time. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Socorro Good Samaritan Village. 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.

515th Battalion To Be Honored Sept. 12 In Socorro

By John Larson

SOCORRO - The 515th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion will be honored Sunday, Sept. 12 with a “Celebration of Thanks” for serving our country.
The National Guard unit, which includes nine soldiers from Socorro, deployed to Iraq on June 22, 2009, and returned May 5 after an 11 month tour of duty.
Formerly headquartered at the National Guard Amory in Socorro, the 80 members of the battalion have been based in Belen since March 2009. The battalion’s beginnings date back to before the start of World War II as the 200th/515th Coast Artillery Regiment, formed to defend the Philippines against Japanese aggression. The anti-aircraft gun in Isidro Baca Memorial park was used by the regiment in the battle of Bataan.
Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Ken Nava refers to the battalion as “guardians of the flame.”
The welcome home celebration will commence at noon at the gazebo on the Plaza, Sept. 12.
“We are in need of contributions to purchase food for the event,” said Valerie Moore, one of the organizers. “Checks can be made out to Disabled American Veterans (DAV), 200 5th St.
“We are also in need of volunteers to help with this event,” Moore stated in an e-mail.
The free event is sponsored by the City of Socorro and Socorro County, in conjunction with the local DAV chapter.

OPINION: What’s Going On Around Here At The Co-op?

Just Thinking Out Loud
By Gary Jaramillo

Have elected officials across the country gone absolutely nuts? What the hell is going on with the people that we all knew and really thought would take care of our well being? Where did those people go that we were so positive would do such a super job for us? Well, I hate to say it – but – they’ve all gone plumb crazy – and greedy. Democrats and Republicans alike.
What the hell is going on at the SEC? While the field services men and women of the Coop are out there doing a super job keeping all of us in sparks, the big wigs in the building on Manzaneras are running what I call “a clusterpluck” – if ya know what I mean? What in the wide world of sports is a going on in our neck of the woods? Has the water made these people go completely crazy? Now that the board has found a couple of scapegoats, I bet they’re feeling pretty great about themselves and they’re thinking that this is going to help them dodge the cork that’s about to leave the pop gun. Well - hey Pendehos – it’s not!
This SEC thing is not going to end pretty. It’s all about smart asses leading jackasses to slaughter. You just can’t do what these people have done and get away with it – in the end. You just can’t! It may take awhile, but those kind of people always get caught. And the sad thing is, I’m afraid some really harmless office opportunists decided to go along with all of the shenanigans because they were told by someone who’s been puttin’ it to us for a long time, “who’s gonna know?” “Trust me”. Hmmmm.
This sort of thing has been going on here in our area for decades. Good people get stomped because they bring bad things to light and are called trouble makers. Believe me, I know oh so well. But we don’t have to wish bad things to happen upon the elected officials, just give them a minute and they take care of stupidity all by themselves.
Take a look at Bernalillo County and Albuquerque going through nepotism craziness in just about every department around. These donkeys know that it’s illegal to hire or work for family members in government entities, but they do it anyway.
Now there are rumblings going around Socorro that there is a nepotism problem in progress at the Socorro Fire Department. I really hope it isn’t true because the department has gone through enough as far as raises (or the lack thereof), ridiculously irregular shifts and crucial equipment in desperate need of repair.
The last thing our firefighter/EMTs need is an unfair family advantage coming from the Mayor and Chiefs office. What the hell ever happened to right and wrong.
If there is a written nepotism policy that says it’s illegal and unfair to have family members working for and under another family member, steps should be immediately taken to remedy the situation. But, the more things change the more they sadly stay the same, that is – until a town stands up like we did against the Coop - and says ENOUGH! We’ll be doing a more in depth investigation into this possible nepotism thing at the Fire House real soon.
I’m not saying that all elected officials are bad people who don’t care because I know some fine, honest and caring people in office in our county and around the state, but there are some lost souls who have forgotten why they ran for office in the first place.
Not only in Socorro, but sadly all across the state – and what’s really terrible is, the bigger they get, the more people they hurt. The best and only way to deter someone who is obviously in it for themselves from the start, is for all of us to demand term limits.
Anyone in power for too long is dangerous and a huge risk to all of us and our futures. How many more hometown kids that want to raise their families here are we going to lose because their parents and neighbors didn’t have the guts to stand up to the ruthless actions of a few cruel people in power who believe that they have inherited everything. We must not ever forget that “we, the taxpayers” run this show, and we own it too!


The Socorro General Hospital’s CASA Alegre Program held the graduation ceremony at Sedillo Park for youngsters transitioning into the school program. The Mountain Mail reported the wrong name of the program in a story two weeks ago. For more information on the CASA Alegre program, contact 835-8367.

OPINION: Lifting Our Heads Out Of The Sand

Magdalena Potluck
By Don Wiltshire

I don’t know how to put this delicately but we’re about to be raped! The master plan is for 37 water wells with 20 inch casings to be driven 3000 feet down into our aquifer (oh, my!). When the pumping action begins, 17.5 billion gallons of our water a year will be sent down Rt. 60 in some sort of pipeline to be dumped into the Rio Grande. This will be rape of the first order and the time to start screaming is now!
This is no small amount of water. I’m having trouble just getting the 554 ½ red, white and blue gallon water jugs together that will represent one second’s worth of pumping. These will be used creatively to protest the current water “plan.”
At our last Water Meeting at the Magdalena Library, Jack Loeffler offered up a deluxe version of his program Thinking Like a Watershed. He tailored it for our needs in fighting this insane project. Origins of water law and attitudes toward water in the arid west were explained. Consequences of these attitudes were then laid out: none of the major rivers in the west now flow to the sea; we use it all, and soon we will be wanting more.
Jack then reminded us that in order to make our case to the broader public, we need to reintroduce passion into our fight. This land of ours is sacred; our water is sacred; and the communities which we have built here are sacred. This runs contrary to the promptings that we’ve received from lawyers, hydrologists and politicians for the “proper” way to conduct ourselves at the upcoming hearing.
We seem to be surrounded by many, many apathetic ostriches with their heads stuck firmly into the sand. Don’t our neighbors realize that without water, we’ve lost it all? All of Catron County and the western half of Socorro County could turn into barren wastelands at first. The Gila River, Alamosa Creek and the entire southwest corner of the state would soon follow. Jack finally asked us where all of our twenty year-olds were. We looked at each other and shrugged our shoulders.
There seems to be a misconception here and in the rest of the state, that we’re sitting on a huge pile of gold (water) like some sort of selfish, diabolical Leprechauns. The rest of the state wants it; they need it. The horrible truth is, we need it as well. Without the underlying base of groundwater which has been there for hundreds of thousands of years, the recharge of rainwater to this area that we use for domestic and agricultural activities would become unreachable. This area would turn into the Great San Augustin Desert.
I, for one, am not about to let this happen. The final decision, of course, rests with the State Engineer, a Governor’s appointee. If you have the opportunity, please ask each of the candidates for Governor, where they stand on this issue then get back to me. Like Jack said, the only way to stop this thing is to stand together and let the rest of the state know how we feel about this insane “water grab.”
The next meeting of the Summer Reading Program on Water will be on Wednesday, August 25 at 7 p.m. at the Magdalena Public Library. We had hoped to have Representative Harry Teague there to give us his take on our situation. Unfortunately, he was unable to commit at this time. I have definitely decided not to vote for any candidate who does not pledge to support us in saving our water. Remember, a “no-vote” option sends just as strong a message as checking one of those little boxes.
It’s time we all started looking a little more closely at our political representatives. Are they representing US or do they only care about catering to the needs of large corporations, growth at any cost and “business as usual” including our never ending wars. Why must we keep cutting back on funds for education, infrastructure and human needs just to keep feeding the military-industrial-corporate complex?
Our backup plan for the Water Meeting is to show Robert Redford’s movie: The Milagro Beanfield War, based on John Nichol's book. This is billed as a quirky “feel good” movie. Set in a tiny New Mexican town, it has close parallels to the situation we are soon to face and shows just how effective a little organized action can be. It stars John Heard, Christopher Walken and Melanie Griffith. Because the movie runs 2 hours, it will start promptly at 7:00 as the Library closes at 9:00.
Let’s get more vocal; let’s show our neighbors, our representatives and the rest of the state how we care about our community.

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

OPINION: Crazed Enviros Looking to Lock You Out of Your Forest

The Pencil Warrior
By Dave Wheelock

I’m probably not going to create any new conservationists with this column. My observations suggest that most people open to logic already realize the importance of maintaining a diverse range of healthy ecosystems.
For many of these readers, the call for public comment on a proposed new travel management plan that can begin to reverse damages done by motorized travel on limited parcels of Forest Service lands will be enough to spur them to exercise their principles. But for the inevitable few who never seem to get a “round tuit,” a small helping of outrage may get their motors running, so to speak.
We in the so-called environmental community (I sit on the board of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance) have a bad habit of pulling our punches. We educate, we alert, we “outreach,” and we plead - for citizen action on a multitude of issues, and for donations. We extol the virtues of conservation and decry the multiplying threats to nature. But too often we fail to specify who is doing the threatening, other than in ways that give the impression we face inevitable processes.
A 2007 story on off-highway vehicles (OHVs, also called All Terrain Vehicles, or ATVs) in the Sierra Club’s official magazine explains the escalating negative impacts of OHV use as “the confluence of population growth, advanced technology, and consumer affluence. While backpacking numbers are going down, the refinement of off-road engineering has yielded a wide array of vehicles at a multitude of price points, making off-roading, for many, the default way to interact with nature.”
The article makes no mention of aggressive industry marketing or its connection to our waddling new culture of exertion avoidance; not a word about manufacturers’ lobbyists in Congress, right-wing think tanks espousing the sanctity of “individual rights,” or the financial support of motorized user clubs by vehicle makers and dealers.
According to the New Mexico Off-Highway Vehicle Alliance, “Motorized recreation on the public lands of New Mexico is under attack right now and all around you. Aligned under the guise of ‘environmentalism’, selfish elitists have determined that you have no right to recreate in your chosen way and are determined to LOCK YOU OUT (sic) from enjoying your motorcycle, ATV, snowmobile, or 4WD on public land.”
Elsewhere the NMOHVA website purports to stand for “responsible OHV recreation through education, safety training” and “land conservation.” But the “lockout” alarm suspiciously echoes that used by right wing echo chambers like the American Enterprise and Cato Institutes to condition citizens to view the formation of public policy narrowly in terms of their own rights rather than a process to find the necessary balance between citizen rights on one hand and the responsibilities required to maintain natural integrity on the other. In this time-tested strategy of the right virtually every instance of government regulation is framed as an unconstitutional “taking” of “individual rights.” Further, the demonization of “selfish elitists” betrays an ideology that intentionally misrepresents the motives of those concerned with conservation and seeks to devalue empirical knowledge itself.
The NMOHVA website contains a list of “business supporters,” including Kawasaki Motors Corporation and State Farm Insurance that reveals the commercial aspect of its interests. All the more reason, I presume, to strike out at the “selfish elitists” concerned with land preservation.
The NMOHVA and like-minded groups are already gearing up for the latest “LOCKOUT” howl. As part of its responsibilities to sustainably manage public lands under the National Environmental Policy Act, the Cibola National Forest is calling for public comment until August 24 on a Proposed Action for new Roadless Area Travel Management rules for the Magdalena Mountains that lie within its jurisdiction. Developed through a combination of public input and internal Forest Service analysis of nine key issues including the growing impacts of off-highway travel, the Proposed Action calls for closure of some redundant and non-authorized roads.
The recommended closures will reduce damage to sensitive areas while allowing sufficient access for fire suppression, recreation, and other regulated activities dictated by the Forest Service’s dedication to “multiple use” – including off-highway vehicle use.
Longtime Magdalenas visitor and fellow NMWA board member Dr. Rick Aster says it well in his written comment on the proposed travel guidelines: “The District has done its homework and come up with a financially, logistically, and functionally manageable network of non-redundant core roads that will serve the public and Forest Service, as well as wildlife, very well in the future.”
I hope readers will take this opportunity to help restore and sustain the health of our nearest and dearest mountain range by filing comments on the Plan. An internet search for Cibola National Forest will take you to the proposed Travel Management Plan for the Magdalenas, as well as Plan updates for the Sandia, Mountainair, and Mt. Taylor districts in New Mexico. You can also contact Magdalena team leader Cliff Nicoll for information at (505) 346-3833.

Dave Wheelock, a member of the Oneida Nation, is a collegiate sports administrator and coach. His opinions are not necessarily those of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance or the Mountain Mail.

Fitch, Tausch Want Day in Court

By John Severance

Lost in the latest SEC controversy is the lawsuit between the coop against its members, Charlene West, the Mountain Mail et. al.
Attorneys Polly Ann Tausch and Thomas G. Fitch filed a motion to strike any more disqualifications of judges on Aug. 16. Attorney Lee Deschamps, for his clients West, Charlie Wagner and Clark Hust of Magdalena, recused three judges in the past month.
In their motion, Tausch and Fitch claim that Deschamps is “judge shopping.” And as the case drags on, their costs have increased.
Now, Judge John F. Davis is assigned to the case.
The Mountain Mail, meanwhile, will be filing this week. Read about it in the next issue.

No Replacement

At last month’s Trustee meeting, president Paul Bustamante brought up the possibility of filling the seat of Manny Marquez, who resigned for personal reasons.
Francish wrote a letter to the Trustees, saying they could not fill the vacancy. Francish wrote “Since there is no incumbent, the Board or members in that District can not replace the director and make the replacement an incumbent. Therefore effective 4-17-10, any director whose term expires or who resigns cannot be replaced until there are less than five board members.”

Socorro High Sports Calendar

Aug. 27: West Las Vegas, 7 p.m.
Sept. 3: at Ruidoso, 7 p.m.
Sept. 10: Raton, 7 p.m.
Sept. 17: Santa Teresa (Homecoming) 7 p.m.
Sept. 25: at Pojoaque, 1 p.m.
Oct. 1: at Estancia, 7 p.m.
Oct. 8: at Hatch, 7 p.m.
Oct. 15: T or C, 7 p.m.
Oct. 29: Silver City, 7 p.m.
Nov. 5: at Cobre, 7 p.m.

Aug. 20-21: Magdalena Invite
Aug. 24: at Chapparral, 4 p.m.
Aug. 31: at Magdalena, 5 p.m.
Sept. 9: Quemado, 5 p.m.
Sept. 14: Bernalillo, 4 p.m.

Sept, 15: at Sandia Prep, 4 p.m.
Sept. 18: at Fort Wingate, 11 a.m.
Sept. 21: Magdalena, 5 p.m.
Sept. 23: at Quemado, 5 p.m.
Sept. 28: at Hatch, 4 p.m.
Sept. 30: T or C, 4 p.m.
Oct. 5: at Deming, 4 p.m.
Oct. 7: Silver City, 4 p.m.
Oct, 12: at Cobre, 4 p.m.
Oct. 14: Hatch, 4 p.m.
Oct. 19: at T or C, 4 p.m.
Oct. 26: at Silver City, 4 p.m.
Oct. 28: Cobre, 4 p.m.
Nov. 1-6: District tournament
Nov. 11-13: State tournament

Cross country
Aug. 27 Valencia
Sept, 4: Alamogrdo
Sept. 10: Socorro Invitational, 3 p.m.
Sept. 18: Belen
Sept. 25: Cloudcroft
Oct. 2: Mayfield
Oct. 9: Los Lunas
Oct. 16: Rio Rancho
Oct. 22: Ruidoso

Oct. 29: District meet at Ruidoso
Nov. 6: State meet at Rio Rancho

Boys soccer
Aug. 26: Bernalillo, 5 p.m.
Aug. 28: Santa Fe Prep, 1 p.m.
Sept. 7: Rehoboth, 5 p.m.

Sept. 10-11: Roswell Invitational
Sept, 14: at Pojoaque, 5 p.m.
Sept. 16: at St. Michaels, 5 p.m.
Sept. 17: at Bosque, 5 p.m.
Sept. 21: at Hatch, 4 p.m.
Sept, 23: NMMI, 5 p.m.
Sept, 25: at Robertson, 3 p.m.
Sept. 30: Silver City, 5 p.m.
Oct. 5: at Ruidoso, 5 p.m.
Oct, 7: Hatch, 4 p.m.
Oct. 12: at NMMI, 5 p.m.
Oct, 19: at Silver City, 5 p.m.
Oct. 21: Ruidoso, 5 p.m.
Oct.29-30: first round of state tournament
Nov. 4-6: State tournament

Girls soccer
Aug. 20-21: Socorro Cup
Aug. 27-28: Roswell-Goddard Invite
Sept. 9: at Belen, 4 p.m.
Sept. 11: at Santa Fe Prep, 1 p.m.
Sept. 13: Bernalillo, 4 p.m.
Sept. 14: at Pojoaque, 3 p.m.
Sept. 17: at Bosque, 3 p.m.
Sept. 23: at Valencia, 4 p.m.
Sept. 25: Richardson, 1 p.m.
Sept. 28: at Deming, 4 p.m.
Sept. 30: at Hatch, 4 p.m.
Oct. 5: Ruidoso, 4 p.m.
Oct. 7: at Silver City, 4 p.m.
Oct. 12: Hatch, 4 p.m.
Oct. 14: at Ruidoso, 4 p.m.
Oct. 19: Silver City, 4 p.m.
Oct. 29-30: First round of state tournament
Nov. 4-6: state tournament

Fall Sports Season Gets Underway

Mountain Mail Reports

The Socorro girls soccer team opens its season Friday when it will take part in the Socorro Cup.
Socorro coach Mitch Carrejo said the Lady Warriors will play at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Friday and game times and opponents will be determined for Saturday.
As well as Socorro, other teams will be Monte Del Sol Charter School of Santa Fe, Alamogordo, Aztec, Valencia, Grants, Belen, and Hatch.
Volleyball season also will open and Socorro will travel to Magdalena for a tournament on Friday and Saturday.
Other teams competing include Quemado, Alamo, Mountainair, Lordsburg, Springer and Cobre. Pool play begins at 1 p.m. Friday. The championship match will be Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
Socorro and Magdalena have new coaches this year with Melissa Laborin leading the Warriors and Trisha Saulsberry leading the Steers.

Volunteers Work On San Miguel

By John Severance

SOCORRO -- Father Andy Pavlak likened it to exploratory surgery. And he didn’t like what was found.
Adobe specialist Antonio Martinez of Santa Fe was in town to inspect the walls of the San Miguel Church in Socorro, and the news was not good.
“We thought the north wall was going to be worse off than the south wall,” Pavlak said Tuesday. “But it was a lot worse in the south wall. There was a lot of adobe deterioration.
“What we can tell now that on the interior south wall from the back door to 20 feet in,, there is moisture damage and there also is a six inch concrete wall, poured in the 1970s. What’s probably in between there might be nothing, we don’t know.
“Further down, the south wall, there are some stacked red bricks inside the wall and there is a lot of water damage and on the floor underneath, it has rotted to nothing.
“On the north wall, there is a lot of moisture damage.”
So this past weekend, with the adobe specialist directing, cuts were made in various walls to let the adobe breathe and dry out. Pavlak said it takes several years for the bricks to dry out.
Dozens of San Miguel parishioners worked as laborers and they spent their time, making the cuts in the walls, cutting out carpet and moving pews.
The carpet was removed so the old wooden floor could be exposed and so workers could make floor vents.
“We are just waiting,” Pavlak said. “We have to see if any horizontal cracks surface. If that happens, that means the structural integrity may have been lost.”
The church will be closed for the next four weeks. But Sunday Mass will be held in the Parish Hall and daily mass will be held in the Guadalupe Chapel until further notice.
“After four weeks, we hope to get back in there and see what we have,” Pavlak said. “After making the cuts, we can see where we are at.”

Photos by John Larson

BCPL Library Presents Sylvia’s Book Signing Perhaps

By Ann Sullivan

Sylvia, having borrowed paper and pen from me, was busily engaged writing something. From the number of pages piling up on the rug, I figured it must be something terribly important.
After an hour and a half of intense scribbling, Sylvia dropped her pen and shook her paw. “Writer’s cramp,” she said in explanation. “By the way, when I finish my book will the Baldwin Cabin Public Library give me a Book Signing?”
“So that’s what you’re writing – a whole book. That’s very ambitious. If, and it’s a very big if, you get it published, the library will give you a Book Signing, I’m sure,” I said from the depths of my comfortable chair.
“It’ll be published all right,” Sylvia said.
“How come you’re so confident? It’s not all that easy to get something published.”
“It is when you know the secret,” she said, picking up her pen.
“What’s the secret? I wish I knew.”
.”You gotta have a gimmick.”
“It seems to me I’ve heard that song before. It’s from an old familiar score.”
“Huh?” was Sylvia’s reply.
“For your information, ‘You Gotta Have A Gimmick’ is the title of a song sung by three strippers in the Broadway show GYPSY. Music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by Arthur Laurents.”
“Oh,” said Sylvia. “That must have been before my time. But I guess nothing is before your time.”
“So what’s your gimmick?” I asked to change the subject.
“Well,” she lowered her voice even though there was no one listening except possibly Gordo who was sleeping on the porch in one of his three beds. “I’ve been studying mysteries since the library has a lot of them, and I discovered something.”
“What’s that?”
“There are a lot of mysteries in which the protagonist is a cat or a dog. Mostly a cat, I don’t know why.”
“So you’re writing about a dog detective, is that it?”
“That’s only part of it. My detective agency has both a dog and a cat.”
“That’s pretty good.”
“Sure it is, but there’s more.”
“More? Are you going to have birds and turtles in your agency, too?”
“That’s not a bad idea but not what I had in mind. In my study of mysteries, I also discovered that a great many of the books have recipes in them. Their detectives are cooks. My dog and cat are going to be amateur chefs and the book will be chock full of recipes for both animals and humans.”
“That’s a gimmick alright. But there’s just one problem. You can’t cook.”
“Neither could Mrs. Beeton and she was considered the last word in food preparation in the late 1800s.”
“True, but how did you know that?”
“Netflicks. I was watching through the window when you played the DVD the other night.”
“Well, you’ve certainly thought of everything.”
“True,” she said without a trace of modesty. “So, do I get my Book Signing?”
“You’d better believe it.”
“Thank you. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go out and bark all night.”

Quemado: Pancake Breakfast On Tap

Quemado News
By Debbie Leschner

QUEMADO -- An All You can Eat Pancake Breakfast will be held at the Senior Center on Saturday, Aug. 21 from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. Breakfast includes bacon, eggs, pancakes and a drink all for $6.50. Come have a great breakfast and support the Quemado senior center.

Quemado Schools will hold an Open House on Monday, Aug. 23 from 5 to 7 p.m There will be no school on Thursday, Aug. 26 due to the Catron County Fair. Good luck to the 4H'ers who will be participating in the fair.

Quemado Senior Center Activities for the week include pool practice on Tuesday, bingo, quilting and a Closet Craft session on Thursday.
Lunch for Monday is macaroni and cheese, Tuesday – patty melt, Wednesday – hamburger gravy over biscuits, Thursday - chicken strips and Friday – sloppy joes. All seniors are welcome. Please call the center at 773-4820 before 9 a.m. to make your lunch reservations.

Agate Rendezvous 2010, a ten day rockhounding camp out, will be going on at the Apache Creek campgrounds. The event is sponsored by the Chaparral Rockhounds of Roswell. People of all ages come from all over the United States to join in the field trips. For more information, please call 575-773-4119.

The Men's Fellowship Breakfast will be held Saturday, Aug. 21 at 10 a.m. in the Cowboy Church located off Highway 32 near Quemado. All menchants in the Quemado and outlying areas are invited to come. For more information call 575 772-2568.

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

Linemen Pulled From Catron

By Richard Torres

The Navopache Electric Cooperative pulled its linemen out of Catron County and understandably, that does not sit well with residents.
In an email, Catron County resident Jill Swensen wrote, “This was a hasty decision, made very underhandedly without the consent of the Board of Directors. We need to raise a stink, kindly but firmly, letting them know in no uncertain terms that as paying customers, we will not accept this treatment or lack of service.
“Please understand that this will affect all of us in a dangerous, negative way. We will not only be without local representation in a power outage, we will have no one locally to kill the power in case of fire or maintain our very decrepit lines. In addition, when we have power outages, our closest service will be Springerville. As you can imagine with a power outage, in a winter snowstorm, when they have the Arizona White Mountains as a priority, it will be hours or perhaps days before anyone can even show up, not to mention getting the power going”
Navopache CEO David Plumb said, “Due to personnel issues which left one lineman operating out of the Reserve office, he has temporarily been reassigned to the Springerville office, which will assume field operations. This is an interim arrangement to provide service to our New Mexico customers. This situation will be fully discussed at our next meeting to take place in Lakeside on Aug. 25. The Reserve office continues to provide services to our customers.”
Ann Mengus, Board of Director representative for New Mexico, is committed to keeping the Reserve office staffed with lineman to provide service. For additional information, call 928-368-1209 or 575-533-6267.

Letters To Myscie: A Western Love Story By Suzanne E. Smith

Part 3 of a Series

Letters to Myscie, A Western Love Story is taken from original letters written nearly 130 years ago. While the script of the letters is quite handsome, it is not easily read, and so the letters are rewritten. In some cases, where the passion became too private, I have edited out, but I have not changed his tale.
Suzanne E. Smith

Socorro is located near the center of the New Mexico territory with Santa Fe one hundred fifty miles north. Socorro County being one of the original counties created by the act of the Territorial legislature of 1852, spanned some one hundred seventy miles to the Arizona border, and was nearly as wide. It’s vastness, and diverse country held a treasure in resources, and was home to some of New Mexico’s most colorful characters, most wanted outlaws, and vicious renegades.
The Rio Grande flowed gently through New Mexico most of the time, bringing floods in early spring and late summer, and dust much of the rest of the time. The acequias, or “ancient ditches”, which were dug by communities in order to bring water from the river to the valley lands had been in place for over 200 years. Catholic Churches were the hub of every little community, with extensive vineyards and farms providing subsistence for the people. Land not used for crops was pasture for cattle and sheep.
“Gringos” or Anglo Americans were resented to some extent by the natives whose primary language was Spanish. By the time J.E. Smith arrived in New Mexico, it had only been 35 years since the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo which gave the United States ownership of the conquered Mexican lands, and there was strong resistance to the American ways and customs. Political leaders in Socorro, were predominately Spanish, and Mexican (now naturalized Americans). Their resentment was so strong that they often banded together to exclude any more “American” businessmen from their community. Subtle threats, and crimes often discouraged the weak hearted and it was mostly the rich and powerful, who could buy into the protection which came with being a part of the community. It took nearly 100 years to ameliorate this gap in culture that persists even today in some areas of New Mexico.
Along with Americans, Europeans were also infiltrating the area with money for building railroads, mines and industries. Most of the railroad companies campaigned to get immigrants to come to this great land of opportunity by advertising in European languages,
The Santa Fe Railroad, fully completed in 1885, owned track from Chicago to Los Angeles. During the early 1880’s, the railroad came through New Mexico. Historians report the event by citing articles in the Socorro Sun: “A strange sound was heard in this valley a few days ago. It was not the roar of a huge monster; it was not the roar of some dashing torrent cateract [sic], cyclone or hurricane. It was a noise such as had never before been heard at this place. The mountains, hills, valleys and llanos, had slept through silent ages and had never heard such a sound before, Men, women and children climbed upon the housetops to see whence proceeded the strange sound. Cattle, horses, sheep, goats and even the birds of the air all seemed alike alarmed, confused and terrified.
The black, fiery-looking smoke snorting demon-like monster came dashing down the valley of the Rio Grande. It was the first arrival of the railroad in Socorro, yesterday, August 12th, [1880], the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railway reached the old town of Socorro.”
The railroad brought in thousands of people from every walk of life with a wide variety of trades and skills. Miners, investors, entrepreneurs and capital equipment began to pour in, and native resistance could not deter economic development.The mines in the Socorro area were booming, and new homes and businesses filled the main street. J.E. Smith came to town with no plans beyond working with his childhood friend, Edwin Bass, the photographer. He reeked of Yankee blood, and English ways. He did not know what adventures lay ahead, nor did he realize that his naiveté made him an easy target for sharpers.
It is most likely that the wedding mentioned was at the San Miguel Church. There are a number of photos in the collection, with the one shown here appearing to be the oldest. What a time those boys had the night they arrived in Socorro, New Mexico. I wish I could have been there.

Socorro, N.M. March 5th 1883
Monday night 1:30 o'ck

My Dear, dear Myscie
I must tell you before I go to my room to retire what I have seen and where I have been this evening; although as you see by the heading, it is very late and time I was in my bed long hours ago. Wonders upon wonders. First = early this morning, before breakfast, Jim and I attended a Mexican wedding = it lasted about one hour and a half and such famis[sic] and queer ceremony as was passed through was to a stranger in a strange land- a peculiar and strange sight to witness = but this is not all = I will not stop now to describe = but will at some future time = for now, I want to write you about the best thing of the day or night as it were. They (the bride and bridegroom) have been having their good times at their residence all the day and to-night[sic] to wind up the ceremony with, they give a grand dance (Mexican Dance). About 9 o'ck Mr. Bass took us over to the hall = and such a sight = such a time I never have had before = how many times I wished you were there to enjoy the fun with us. It was laugherble = very = and yet at the same time one hardly dared laugh for every one dancing was so sober = they would go through a dance with out speaking a word to one another or even cracking a smile = but between the dances it was all "hurly burly" and confusion. But I have not told you the best of all yet = I danced too. "Ed", Mr. Bass told me to go on if I wanted to and it would be all right. I could not resist the temptation, so after a little I sparked up courage ("cheek")= (as Jim calls it) and went and offered my arm to = as Jim thought "the prettiest one in the place" (but my preferance was to the bride=) she was very very pretty though-jet black hair= pretty face= and sparkling eyes= about Annie Dobson's frame though a little taller. But such a picnic Myscie= it was a walse that I was dancing= their other dances I could not dance they were so peculiar. Wouldn't you have laughed though if you could have looked in upon me= just imagine me there dancing there with all those mexicans with a partner who could not speak a word of English, and I= not a word of Spanish conversing entirely by signs, how comical. I laugh now as I think of it.
Then picture Jim off on one of the side seets holding my hat and cigar looking on and laughing at me= But this is not all either= I had a dance with the bride next to the last dance- wasn't I honored? and to wind up with Jim and I after it was all over (for we bound to see the thing through if it lasted all night) went up and shook hands with the bride & bridegroom and offered our congratulations. Oh! my! such experiences = such sight seeing. I wish I had hours which it surely would take to tell you all about these things. Oh Myscie I shall have so much to tell you about when I come home= it will take weeks for me to tell you all, and go into the details= we will have such grand good times talking it all over. Jim says he is repaid allready. Every thing is so peculiar= so strange, so different from our American ways. But= I forgot to tell you= during the last part of the dance we came near having a grand row at least so threatening were the look of things that about 2/3 of the ladies left the hall and went home= but it all settled down after a while and the dance went on smoothly for the rest of the evening or night. Oh my I could sit here and write all night to you Myscie= but I must stop and go to bed, it is two o'ck but I don't feel sleepy a bit, I am too full of excitement= But in it all Myscie I don't forget you a minute= when I'm seeing those things that are the most wonderfull to me and wrap me all up= the first thought Oh I wish Myscie was here= But you shall see it all sometime Myscie.
I must stop its no use= so good-night my dear girl= how I wish it was only good night and I was to see you to-morrow morning. Oh Myscie if you only knew how I feel as I am trying to close this letter- it does seem as if I could not let go of the pen and stop= There is such a lump in my throat.
Goodnight my dear dear Myscie.
Yours with all my love,

Letters to Myscie, a Western Love Story written by Suzanne E. Smith, All rights reserved.

Photographs © J.E. Smith Collection

Tech’s Performing Arts Series A Cultural Beacon

By John Larson

SOCORRO - From Chinese drumming to gypsy jazz to a Mexican brass band, the Performing Arts Series at Macey Center is bringing to Socorro a diverse lineup of music and entertainment for the 2010-2011 season. The 54th season kicks off Thursday, Sept. 23, with Haitian singer and songwriter Emeline Michel.
From its small beginnings known as “Community Concerts”, the Performing Arts Series at New Mexico Tech has grown to be a cultural beacon for arts and entertainment in Socorro.
According to Ronna Kalish, director of the Performing Arts Series since 1992, what began as one concert a year, the series now offers anywhere from eight to 16 shows nationally touring shows a year at Macey Center, plus numerous youth performances.
“It started out as a totally volunteer effort, working through the Community Concerts Association, which helps schedule acts at local venues,” Kalish said. “There was a place on campus called the Tin Can, a Quonset hut used for a lot of different things, from student parties and dances to concerts.”
According to her records, the first music concert booked at the Tin Can was in 1956.
“A number of people through the years donated their time and energy to bringing good music and entertainment to Tech,” she said. “Alan and Mary Miller, Elise and Kay Brower, and a lot of other people, most notably Jacques Renault.”
In 1968 the group dropped their affiliation with Community Concerts Association and the name Performing Arts Series was adopted. “By then the booking of acts was done almost entirely by the volunteer staff anyway,” Kalish said.
By 1982 the newly built Macey Center became the home for the Performing Arts Series.
“Tech President Kenneth Ford was responsible for getting Macey Center built,” she said. “In the beginning it had little support from the community, and people were calling it 'Ford's Folly'. But eventually people donated enough money to get it built.”
Going into the 2010-2011 season, Macey Center continues to be Socorro’s cultural center for art exhibits, concerts, theatrical productions and other activities.

Thursday, Sept. 23
Emeline Michel

Named the "Joni Mitchell of Haïti," Emeline Michel has emerged as the reigning queen of Haitian song. Her songs merge native Haitian compas and rara with jazz, pop, bossa nova and samba. A captivating performer, versatile vocalist, accomplished dancer, songwriter and producer, Emeline sings in French and Haitian Creole, and her world-wide concerts and seven CD recordings have catapulted to international acclaim.

Saturday, Oct. 16
Bless Me Ultima

New Mexico's beloved novel by Rudolfo Anaya comes to the stage in its Southwest Premiere adapted by Mr. Anaya in collaboration with the Vortex Theatre, UNM Theatre Dept. and the National Hispanic Cultural Center. Set in the small town of Guadalupe, New Mexico during World War II, the main plot line involves Ultima's struggle to stop the witchcraft of the three daughters of Tenorio Trementina, the main villain. In the story Antonio, who is witness to several deaths, is forced to deal with religious and moral issues.

Wednesday, Nov. 3
Jigu! Thunder Drums of China

Hailing from the Shanxi province, this world-renown company of drummers, percussionists and musicians will astound you in this ultra-sensory entertainment experience.
Performances by Jigu! are deeply rooted in folk origins, which are blended with many modern musical elements. In this totally new show concept, tech lighting and special effects add to the drama of this spectacular and awe-inspiring cultural event. Not only can you see and hear the action, but you can actually feel the intense sound.

Friday, Nov. 19
Belleville Outfit

For a rootsy mix of sassy swing, country, jazz, blues and folk, The Belleville Outfit from Austin, Texas delivers. According to the band’s Phoebe Hunt, “The only music that hasn’t influenced us is the music we haven’t heard.” Gigs connected by long winding roads through North Carolina, Texas, Tennessee and on to Colorado and California, via the many places in between, have helped weave the charm and energy that defines The Belleville Outfit’s music.

Wednesday, Dec. 8
The Nutcracker by State Street Ballet

State Street Ballet is a vibrant, innovative professional dance company based in Santa Barbara, California. Known for combining the rigors and timeless beauty of classical technique with updated looks, special effects and digital technology, the company produces original works that captivate today's diverse audiences. By melding familiar storylines with exciting dance movement and state-of-the-art sets, production design, and lavish costuming, State Street Ballet gives each tale a modern, passionate and unique twist.

Friday, Jan. 28
Fishtank Ensemble

High-energy, cross-pollinated gypsy music. From California, they bring their unique blend of Romanian, Gypsy jazz, Flamenco, Balkan, Turkish and Tango influenced music to the world.
The LA Weekly calls them “cross pollinated gypsy music….one of the most thrilling young acts on the planet.” Tackling everything from French hot jazz to wild Serbian and Transylvanian gypsy anthems, Flamenco, and oddball originals, the band is a not-to-be-missed event for world music lovers.

Friday, Feb. 11
Michael Chapdelaine

Michael Chapdelaine is the only guitarist ever to win First Prize in the world's top competitions in both the Classical and Fingerstyle genres. From New York's Lincoln Center to the Cactus Cafe in Austin, from Milano to Bangkok, Michael continues to enchant, dazzle and surprise audiences and critics alike as he redefines the modern acoustic guitar with his amazing technique. His performances, played on both steel string and classical guitars, include musical styles ranging from blues to Bach to country to rhythm n' blues.

Friday, Feb. 25
The Lowe Family

Versatile with many instruments, the Lowes offer an amazing blend of show-stopping classical, Broadway, Irish, jazz, bluegrass, old-time favorites, spectacular dance, 6-part harmony, gospel, and more. Through music, song, and dance, the Lowe Family shares their talents via TV, radio, and live performances throughout the world. With over 250,000 hours of practicing, 10,000 music lessons, 50 instruments, and 25 years entertaining, the Lowe Family had earned the reputation as America's Most Talented Family.

Friday, Mar. 25

The Irish Times calls Slide “traditional musicians with attitude” and credits the group with “bringing drawing room grandeur and high spirits together” with diverse songs, which range from soulful and sorrowful to contagiously energetic. This rollicking band’s origins date back to Ireland in 1999, when Slide performed in various pubs for a local music festival in Bandon, County Cork. The group’s music easily won over the crowd, which demanded more of the unique sound. Irish Music Magaize awarded Slide its Best Newcomer distinction in 2001, leading to gigs for the band throughout Europe.

Friday, Apr. 1
Karin Muller’s “Perilous Journeys”

This Swiss-born author, filmmaker, photographer and adventurer set out to travel the world's historic highways. Karin Muller is an expert lecturer for the National Geographic Society and Smithsonian. Her high-energy, multi-media performance offers insights into world traveling that few ever experience. Karin's expeditions have taken her to the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Vietnam; the Inca Road, a 4,000-mile trek from Quito, Ecuador to Santiago, Chile; and Japan, where she joined a samurai-mounted archery team and completed a 1,300-kilometer pilgrimage around Shikoku.

Friday, Apr. 8

A collage of traditional and cutting-edge circus acts featuring former Cirque du Soleil artists.
Montage is a show of daring and skill that defies the perception of what is impossible. Strength, flexibility and technique foster a deep appreciation for the human body - both its capabilities and its beauty. Acrobats on German wheel, aerial straps, aerial lyra and aerial chiffon, balancers on canes, contortionists, pole climbers, jugglers, and duo hand balancers will inspire and awe every audience.

Friday, Apr. 29
Metales M5

M5, a lot of brass, a lot of music and a lot of fun! Metales M5, Mexico’s leading brass quintet, breaks the barriers of musical genre as they take the blues to the opera, Bach to the roads of Michoacan, uniting classical and world music, contemporary repertoire and pops arrangements in programs that range through the brass literature and beyond. The five gentlemen of Metales M5 have been playing a wide variety of music without regard to genre: Baroque and contemporary music, opera, blues, pop, movie soundtracks, and folk music from Spain, Mexico, and other Latin American countries.