Friday, October 22, 2010

Blessing Of The Animals

Father Woody Peabody of the Epiphany Episcopal Church in Socorro conducted a Blessing of the Animals in Magdalena Sunday. Lending assistance to the event was the Grizz Project of Magdalena, a group committed to giving aid to lost and stray pets, mainly dogs and cats, but have also helped other animals. Founder Marguerite Sweeney said The Grizz Project in not an animal shelter. “Our object is to help the families keep their own animals,” she said. If that is not possible, the last resort is to have the pet transferred to various shelters around the West. More information on the groupd can be found at Pictured (from left): Catherine DeMaria, Jack the Chihuahua, and Father Woody.

Photo by John Larson

San Agustin Water Meeting Set For Nov. 9

By John Larson

SOCORRO – A conference in Socorro has been scheduled for November 9 by the Office of the State Engineer to describe the administrative hearing process and clarify issues that are in dispute – specifically the permit filed by a company owned by Italian businessman Bruno Modena to remove water from the San Agustin aquifer.
Bruce Frederick, attorney and hydrologist with the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, said the meeting was to establish a schedule for the actual hearings on the San Augustin Ranch LLC’s permit. Frederick is representing about 80 individual protesters, members of the San Agustin Water Coalition.
“It’s a standard pre-hearing conference the state engineer calls when there are a large number of parties involved,” Frederick said. “The state engineer’s hearing officer will set time limits and deadlines for when the actual evidentiary hearing will be. With so many parties it may be strung out over a year for the whole hearing process.”
Frederick said the state engineer’s hearing officer, Victor Kovac, will be letting valid protesters or their lawyers offer comments or make suggestions.
“If they are represented by an attorney the attorney will speak for them, but individual protesters without an attorney can speak for themselves,” he said.
Two protest periods were scheduled. The first one ended in December 2007. The second, after an amendment to the original request was filed, ended in early September, 2008. Over 900 people or entities have filed protests.
If approved, the permit would allow San Augustin LLC to pump 6.9 billion gallons of water per day from the San Agustin aquifer and sell it back to the state to meet commitments to the Rio Grande Compact.
The company wants to pump the water from 37 wells on ranchland it owns in western Socorro and eastern Catron counties.
The original proposal - which has since been amended - asked for permission to “divert and consumptively use 54,000 acre-feet of water yearly for domestic, livestock, irrigation, municipal, industrial, and commercial uses to include providing water to the state of New Mexico to augment its capacity to meet deliveries to the state of Texas at Elephant Butte dam and offsetting effects of ground water pumping on the Rio Grande in lieu of retirement of agriculture via a pipeline to the Rio Grande.”
The proposal was amended in May, 2008 to allow the drilling to go deeper; from 2,000 feet to 3,000 feet.
In the meantime, representatives from the San Augustin Water Coalition gave a presentation to the state legislature’s Water and Natural Resources Committee Tuesday, Oct. 19.
Addressing the committee were Coalition members Eileen Dodds and Anita Hand-Gutierrez of Datil.
State Representative Don Tripp, a member of that committee, said their presentation was “excellent.”
“They let the committee know, very plainly, what’s going on. Anytime constituents appear before a committee and knows the law and is well informed the committee listens,” Tripp said. “One thing the legislature needs to look at is a statute limiting interbasin transfers, which they recommended.”
In her presentation, Dodds said, “Catron and Socorro Counties won’t survive the mining of this aquifer. There’s a delicate balance between usage and supply that these counties have always nurtured for their needs. Ranching,  farming, hunting, tourism and recreation, State and National forestry, wildlife habitat, and just plain quality of life will be destroyed.”
She told the Mountain Mail that whatever happens, “we are in it for the long haul.
“We believe it will end up in the courts,” she said. “We believe it will become a landmark case that will eventually find its way to the United States Supreme Court.
“We here today may not be alive to see the outcome,  but we may well determine, by the decisions we make in the immediate future,  the water usage not only for New Mexico, but for the entire western United States,” Dodds said.
Tripp agreed and said, “This has far reaching implications the legislature needs to look at. As far a policy decision in water speculation.”
He said the committee was in total support of the SAWC’s positions.

Five Arrested For Buglaries

By John Larson

SOCORRO – Three Socorro men and two Alamo women were arrested Monday morning, Oct. 18, in connection with multiple burglaries on Cuba Road and Charley Drive.
The would-be thieves were caught in the act while removing items from the home of former Socorro Chief of Police Joel Haley, and two other residences.
Lanora Apache, 21, and Alysia Ganadonegro, 22, both of Alamo Navajo Reservation were charged with four felony counts of disposing stolen property, and two counts of providing alcohol beverages to minors.
Chad Padilla, 18, Richard Guerro, 19, and Joe Blanford, 20, were each arrested on four felony counts of burglary, four felony counts of disposing of stolen property, and one count of resisting arrest.
All five suspects were arrested within minutes of the mid-morning burglaries.
Police Sgt. Richard Lopez said all of the residences that were burglarized were within several hundred feet of each other.
“We haven’t got an exact value yet of items taken out of the residences,” Lopez said. “But it was easily into the thousands.”
Among the items from the properties were two large flat screen televisions, computers, DVD players, a small portable electric fireplace, jewelry, and a stove.
According to the criminal complaint, Officer Stanley Montano was called at 10:45 a.m. to a residence in the 500 block of Charley Drive on a report of a burglary in progress, but while still en route, dispatch advised them that one subject, Chad Padilla, was already in custody.
Montano, along with Capt. Angel Garcia and Officer John Hiebert, learned that the other suspects were hiding in a trailer “right down the road,” at 1210 Cuba Road.
“I covered the back door while other officers knocked on the front door,” Montano’s report stated. “When the officers knocked I heard several footsteps running back and forth in the trailer. An unknown subject attempted to open the back door and I immediately announced my presence, and the subject closed and locked the door.”Hiebert then kicked the door in and all four suspects were arrested and handcuffed, the complaint said.
During questioning, Apache and Ganadonegro, admitted that they were involved in the burglaries.
“Captain Garcia asked if the three males were involved, and the females stated yes,” the complaint said. Both females then stated that Blanford and Padilla “were the main guys and [Guerro] helped.”
The complaint said Apache and Ganadonegro admitted to breaking into two houses and a barn.
All five were arrested, and as of press time preliminary hearings in Magistrate Court have not been set.
Apache and Ganadonegro have posted bond, according to the Magistrate Court Clerk.

Drugs Seized After Gas Theft

By John Larson

SOCORRO – Not paying for $48.59 in gas at a Socorro Conoco station resulted in the arrest of a female juvenile and Belen man Monday, Oct. 11.
Joseph Sandoval, 35, was charged on two felony counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, one felony count of possession of methamphetamine, one felony count of conspiracy, one count of theft, and the petty misdemeanor of concealing his identity.
According to the criminal complaint, police were notified at 5:30 p.m. that a gas skip had occurred at the Conoco on South California. A witness said the gas pump nozzle had been laid on the ground to prevent a beep from sounding inside, notifying the cashier.
A description of the green and white Chevy pickup was given, as well as a description of the two occupants, and that the suspects were headed south.
The vehicle was spotted by Detective Rocky Fernandez on Interstate 25 at the 142 mile marker and pulled over. City police Lt. Louie Chavez and Sgt. Gilbert Padilla joined Fernandez in the questioning of the two occupants.
The complaint said both the driver and the female passenger – neither of whom could provide identification - gave police false names.
The female passenger initially told police she was 22 years old, but an ID found during a subsequent search of the pickup revealed her true name and that she was a juvenile, the complaint said.
The driver gave his name to police as ‘Jesse’ Sandoval.
In a further search of the vehicle, officers turned up a set of blank keys with several patterns used to steal vehicles, an amount of methamphetamine, and two pipes commonly used to smoke meth.
After Sandoval and the female juvenile were arrested, it was discovered that the juvenile had outstanding warrants in Valencia County. Fernandez contacted the Juvenile Probation and Parole Office, who arranged detention for her in Santa Fe.
Sandoval, incarcerated at the Socorro County Detention Center, was correctly identified as ‘Joseph’ Sandoval two days later. The charge of concealing his identity was added at that time.
Preliminary hearing for Sandoval is set for Oct. 27 in Magistrate Court.

Tech Celebrates 49ers Reunion This Weekend

By Rebecca Rose

SOCORRO - The annual 49ers reunion kicks off this weekend at Tech. Highlights of the popular event include a parade, live music, Casino night, and a cash prize contest to “Paint the ‘M’”.
Tony Ortiz, Assistant Director of Alumni Relations and Special Events at New Mexico Tech, says the event offers something for everyone. “The 49ers celebration is the traditional Tech homecoming. Current students host events, but we also have lots of alumni events.” Those events include a dinner on Friday, a picnic at Water Canyon on Saturday and a breakfast Sunday.
Ortiz estimates about 50 prior Tech students are returning to participate. “It’s a great way for former students to reconnect with past classmates, and make connections with current students.” Alumni can register for the weekend's events in the Fidel Center atrium. from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday.
Alumni can also take part in a wide variety of student events, coordinated by the Student Activities Board and other groups at Tech. Jessie Morris, Student Activities Director, is planning many of this year’s activities. “I think this year is going to be really incredible. People are going to get really hyped up this weekend.”
Casino Night features a live “Bordello” auction, which Morris promised will be unique from years past. “This year, we had a professional choreographer teach a dance for the auction. Each girl has her own special routine.” she said. Proceeds from the auction and Casino Night go to a charity to benefit battered women.
Morris was also excited about bringing a famous comedian and movie star to campus for a special performance. “Our best event is Pauly Shore on Thursday. I think that the students my age are really into him. I’ve seen all of his movies and so have all of my classmates. Student tickets went like hot cakes. It’s exciting.”
The Athletic Field will host numerous sports themed events as well. On Thursday, students and alumni can play human foosball from 4p.m. to 7p.m. Several residence halls will host competing volleyball games. Powder Puff football gets underway at 6p.m.
The weekend concludes with the traditional “Paint the ‘M’” event on Sunday morning. Participants will meet at EMRTC at 8a.m. Past and present students as well as faculty and community members are invited to join in the climb to the top of ‘M’ Mountain. The first 20 students or teams who carry 50 pounds of crushed marble to the top will receive cash prizes. (Please note: Participants must be registered no later than Friday at noon. Registration is by email only: Phone registration is not allowed).
More details can be found online at

OBITUARY: Luther Broaddus

Luther Broaddus
(May 9, 1932 Oct. 14, 2010)

Luther Broaddus III, 78, passed away on Thursday, October 14, 2010 at his home in Magdalena, NM surrounded by his family. Luther was born on May 9, 1932 in Berryville, Virginia to Luther and Sally (Williams) Broaddus Jr. He is survived by his loving wife of 24 years, Toni Broaddus, married March 29, 1986 in Chama, NM; his devoted children, daughters, Lucia Hartwell and husband, George; Laura Jean Roman; Linda Lou Broaddus; sons, Harry Lee Broaddus and wife, Carol; Frank Broaddus and wife, Rita; Parker Broaddus and wife, Charis; Daniel Broaddus; Toni’s daughters, Jerri Rush and husband, David; Martha Woodward and husband, Bill; 13 grandchildren; 3 great grandchildren; 5 sisters; 3 brothers; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Luther was a resident of Magdalena since 1985 and was a member of the First Baptist church of Magdalena. Luther Broaddus was a man of duty, and he was an example of what it is to be a real statesman who sincerely concerns himself with res publica. He was a former writer, editor, and publisher for the Mountain Mail newspaper and the New Mexico Stockman Magazine. Luther also was a former chairman of the Livestock Committee of Catron County and assisted with the publication of the Catron County, NM Comprehensive Land Use Plan from 1990-1995. Luther served on the board of directors of the Coalition of AZ-NM County Governments.
He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, and one sister. A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 11a.m. at the Broaddus Family Ranch. Pallbearers are Parker Broaddus, Daniel Broaddus, Frank Broaddus, George Hartwell, David Rush, and Bill Woodward. Honorary Pallbearers are Harry Apache, and Harry Lee Broaddus. Memorial contributions may be made to the New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home, Portales, NM; the New Mexico Boys and Girls Ranch, Belen, NM; or the Alzheimer’s Association, Albuquerque, NM. 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: Charles R. Dutra

Charles R. Dutra
(May 27, 1944-Oct. 17, 2010)

Charles R. Dutra, 66, passed away Sunday, October 17, 2010 in Socorro, NM. Charles was born on May 27, 1944 to Elmer and Mary (Ham) Dutra in Pecos, TX. He is survived by his adoring wife of 41 years Barbara (Mall) Dutra of Socorro, whom he married on Feb. 15, 1969 in Carlsbad, NM; also surviving are his devoted children, Margaret Clare Silver and husband, Micah of Lafayette, LA; and Mary Catherine “Katy” Jablonski and husband, Michael of White Salmon, WA; one grandson, Asher Robert Silver; and his Aunt, Stephana Moore of Carlsbad, NM.
He was preceded in death by his parents. Charles was a resident of Socorro since 2004, coming from Lake Charles, LA. He was a member of the San Miguel Catholic Church, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and graduated Phi Beta Phi from New Mexico State University. He was a former Chemical Engineer for SaSol Company and was a Veteran of the Vietnam Era, serving with the U.S. Air Force.
Charles loved music, dancing, and traveling.  He was known for his abundant generosity and enjoyed life to its fullest.  He loved living in New Mexico and all its splendor it had to offer.
A Memorial Rosary will be recited on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010 at 7p.m. and a Memorial Funeral Mass will be celebrated, Friday Oct. 22, 2010 at 9a.m. with Father Andy Pavlak Celebrant at the San Miguel Catholic Church in Socorro, NM.  Interment will follow on Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010 at 3p.m. at Sunset Cemetery, Carlsbad, NM.  Memorial contributions may be made to the San Miguel Catholic Church Building Fund. Those who wish to send condolences may do so Daniels Family Funeral Services has been entrusted with the services. They are located at 309 Garfield, Socorro, NM  87801 (575) 835-1530

EDITORIAL: Enjoy The Open Road

By Rebecca Rose
Mountain Mail editor

Some of you may have been reading last week’s paper and wondered what happened to our longtime reporter, John Larson. To answer your questions: No, I did not have him kidnapped and taken to Siberia; no, I did not  scare him away by being too “California”.  John and his wife took a vacation, to visit family in Ohio.
Before he left, I asked John if he was looking forward to the trip. Of course, he was looking forward to seeing family and friends.  But one thing was really bothering him.
“I hate to fly.”
I was absolutely surprised to find I had this in common with another person. But maybe I shouldn’t be. 
It turns out most Americans are increasingly dissatisfied with air travel.  Reports of everything from invasive searches to rude personnel to  wait times that make the building of the pyramids seem lightening fast.
Why is this, I wondered.  When I was a child, I loved nothing more than flying, my nose pressed against the window, watching the world outside get smaller and smaller with each passing second.  As I grew older,  I loved flying because I could play my walkman with my own soundtrack. I perfectly timed the start of my favorite song to the plane taking off and landing. It was like my very own MTV music video. 
Then of course as I got older, the writer in me took over. I loved sitting next to a stranger, talking, getting to know who they were and where they were going.  It was as if all the mysteries of the world could be found in the seat next to you.
Eventually, as everyone knows, things changed.
People on planes are  nervous, distrustful and mostly irritated. They’ve been tricked out of frequent flier miles, booked on ridiculous flight routes (Why do I have to fly to Miami to get from LA to Dallas?) and treated like suspects on the FBI’s Most Wanted List, simply for wanting to do some traveling. 
But none of that matters to me anymore. I’ve discovered the simple joy of an old fashioned road trip.
It’s true. I haven’t been on a plane in seven years, and I don’t miss it one bit.
Why stand in an airport line for two hours, being padded down like I’m the Unabomber, when I can sit in the comfort of my car, and experience the beauty of the open road. 
I’ve driven from New York to San Francisco, from Chicago to Palm Beach, from Texas to Boston and more. I’ve watched the sunrise over the Golden Gate Bridge and a sunset at Joshua Tree, all in the same day. Yes, it’s certainly taken me longer to get to where I’m going.  But if settlers in the 1800s could pack rickety covered wagons with their life’s possessions and travel across an unchartered, snow covered trail in the Rockies, I can handle I-95 on summer’s day.
There’s so much simple beauty in this country that still blows my mind. Interviewing Greer Price about New Mexico’s awe inspiring landscaping reminded me of as much.  I can’t wait to climb in my car, with Charlie beside me, and head off into the beauty of the sunset over the Jemez Mountains, or drive up to Box Canyon at Ghost Ranch.  Best of all, I’ll get to see it all from my car window.
And I get to carry as much hairspray as I could possibly need.

OPINION: Honor Among Thieves

Magdalena Potluck
By Margaret Wiltshire

Are you voting for Tweedle Dee or Tweedle Dum?  Will it be a street gang loyalty vote or have you been thinking on your own?  I believe everything they are saying about each other.  I believe nothing they say about what they will do in office.
Chanting slogans works for dictatorships and cults but it is a sign of disease in a Democratic Republic.  It is rule  number one in selling lies and the manipulation of crowds.
There are always people of honor and experiential truth.  When they get together, empires fall.
Democrats and independents that voted for President Obama know that what they voted for isn’t going to happen.  Republicans and independents still think that giving more to and taking less away from the richest 1% will help us all out.  That has been the theme since the 1980s.  Current economics says this doesn’t work.  If I “just really believe” only works for Tinker Bell and little boys who don’t grow up.
Democrats and Republicans will go on working for this 1% even though the 1% prefers “multinational” to patriot for an adjective.  P. T. Barnum is credited with “There’s a sucker born every minute” and I think many of them vote.
We have bond issues to vote for and sometimes they make things happen faster than they do in Congress.  One is for education and libraries, two of my favorites.
When is an F an F?  When does it mean Failing?  When New Mexico reading levels slant downward to 49th in the country and funding for reading evaluation and testing slants upwards that does not make a V for victory.  When can we give this system an F and be done with it?         
By the time I was four my mom got tired of reading me stories again and again.  She always said, “I’m not a teacher, and never wanted to be a teacher.  She was however desperately bored.   She opened the book and said, “this is the word The.” What a stupid word I thought.  “What does it really mean?”  I asked.   “It’s in all the books and when you know it you will always get that word right.”  I looked through my book and was impressed.  I could read “the” a lot.  “So tell me some real words”, I asked.  In the beginning... 
 What a world reading is.  To be 49th in the country says we are a very poor state indeed.  A poor people.
Between my mom and some teachers, I learned to read.  For me what is essential about learning to read is having someone’s undivided attention for at least a few minutes once in a while.  Reading level circles, reading evaluations teach lessons in humility, not reading.  I’ve seen children blanch, almost faint and develop a hatred of school in some of these situations.  What is your experiential truth?
What would happen if we built schools?  Besides more work for more people, including teachers.  What would happen if there were 12 to 15 kids in any class, besides education?  There might be community, fellowship, respect and a sense of personal validity for each student and teacher.  What kind of society would that make?
Not the kind of society of individuals that street gang politics could manipulate easily.  It’s never on the agenda.  So they will spend money on evaluating how little a people you are and how much you need them.  They’ll have you chanting their slogans.
After all, few of you can read, and what do you know?
I was teaching a teen with Downs Syndrome how to read and four of his friends who also had Downs decided they wanted to learn too.  They had great symbol memory, and what is reading anyway?  How hard can it be?  Learn to read or teach someone to read.  You can give them the world. Call me or the library for some help.
I met a Maya shoe shine boy from a rural village.  He taught himself Spanish, then English, then French and he was working on Japanese and Chinese when I met him.  No money for school, he taught himself enough to go to University part time.  He opened the first Computer Cafes in Guatemala and last I knew had about 14 Cafes.  He also saw to it his siblings got an education and could start their own businesses.  He had a black belt in Karate “to boot.”   Still able to speak his Maya dialect he’s lost nothing and gained the world.
Where are you and what are you doing?

Write to Margaret at

OPINION: Fairweather on Elections: Vote Despite Disillusionment 

Can We Talk?
By Jack fairweather

There is a short time left now before Americans engage in a secular ritual in which they will, little doubt, ensure continuation of a system that keeps them barely conscious of the manner in which they are manipulated and kept subservient to a national/global, political/economic elite. 
Thousands of votes will be cast for candidates that are to great extent beholden to the corporations and powerful individuals who pay their way through the campaign sewers. Men and women, young and old, will listen and read campaign propaganda cleverly structured to obscure the truth that the candidate, whether he/she claims to be right, left or centrist is, in reality, owned by a system that preaches might makes right, winner take all, war is good and, indeed, necessary, peace is only possible if it is on our terms, the “other” , those with dark skins, funny sounding names and crazy belief systems must be kept in their place. So, they cast their ballots and elect an endless parade of politicians who will continue to bless “family values” while they manipulate and conscript adolescents to fight their eternal war. To kill and die for them.
OH!  Sorry!  I’ve been ranting again.  Oh,well, so long as some of you understand that when your victorious candidate takes office he/she will, especially if he/she is new to the position, receive a definitive agenda that, in effect says, “we will tell you when, and how and why, things get done around here.”  And that will be the way it is.  The office holder will do what has to be done in order to satisfy the source that feeds an appetite for power and greed.
Well,  go vote anyway while there is still the illusion that positive change, benefiting all, is still possible.  As you do, think about the following;  the Congressional session now ending has been one of the most productive in nearly half a century.  Back in the 1960’s, with a Democrat majority, the 89th Congress passed Medicare and Medicaid and civil rights laws, despite Republican opposition.  The voters hammered them anyway, costing them 48 seats in the House and 4 in the Senate.  Medicare and Medicaid, however, became so popular that Republicans, the party that resisted it, are now trying to accuse Democrats of trying to cut the program when they proposed a slow down in its growth  in order to use the savings to provide medical care for the millions who lack health insurance. 
The right wing has  attempted to cover up the truth that the unpopular bank bailouts were actually brought about by the last Congress, before the Obama administration took over.
This session of Congress also passed two landmark acts, the overhaul of the health care system, an enormous move toward universal coverage that had eluded every president since FDR and the Wall Street accountability act.
Other significant legislation, signed into law, includes action to make college loans more affordable, Cash for Clunkers that benefited an ailing auto industry, new consumer protection for credit card users, legislation to make it easier for women to challenge pay discrimination, giving businesses tax incentives to hire unemployed workers and tax credits for first-time homeowners.
This past Congress did accomplish a lot, as did the 89th in passing Medicare and important civil rights legislation back in the 60’s.  The voters beat them up anyway. It makes one wonder if a people subjected to so much corporate and political propaganda, out right lies and appeals to prejudice, a right wing/corporate controlled media, will again act out their pettiness and mean spiritedness.

Bass Fishing License Plate

Ron Gilworth, Vice President of the Socorro Bass Club, proudly shows off the very first bass fisherman license plate distributed in New Mexico. The Socorro Bass Club, which has existed for 35 years and boasts 43 members,  was instrumental in lobbying the 2009 State Legislature to authorize the Motor Vehicle Division to issue the special plate.

Photo by Gary Jaramillo

LETTER: "Jack" And Fox News

Dear Editor,
I was phone-banking for the Democrats the other night and I spoke with a Socorro resident--whose name and number I did not take note of.  I will call him Jack just for convenience.  Jack was a member of the Tea Party and he had an answer for everything.
He said we need smaller government and government out of our lives; he said government is not for helping people.  He said Richardson and Denish did some terrible stuff and he knows about it.  He said we need to get back to the Constitution and to have our taxes lowered.  He said the current administration (Obama) has ruined our economy and we need to lower our deficit.
He spoke of his children, who were or are in the military--as was he himself--and who complain because they will have to continue working after they retire because it's so hard to get by these days.
It turns out he watches Fox News.  I told him Fox News is very untrustworthy and I asked him if he checks the facts he hears there.  He said yes, that he reads the NY Times.  He cited a recent article in the NY Times that spoke of the Democrats walking away from the job, leaving a bunch of things undone (e.g., the budget, unemployment, the Bush-era tax cuts, etc.).  He said the Democrats want to raise our taxes.  He said he doesn't want Socialism like they have over there in Europe.  He said we need Capitalism.  So he plans to vote for Republicans in November.
I looked at the NY Times article he spoke of.  I certainly agree that the Democrats should not be walking off the job in order to campaign.  However, it says quite clearly there that the Democrats do not want to raise taxes on people with incomes over $250,000.
I am wondering how undoing tax cuts for a very small, rich minority equates with raising taxes. I'm sure you have an answer, Jack. On the issue of small government and whether government is there to help people, I guess that depends on how you interpret those concepts.
I don't think anyone could take issue with the fact that government is the glue that holds everything together:  We need laws, we need police, we need a mechanism whereby every person's needs are taken into account--unless we don't want a democracy.
And, by the way, the military is the government.  You and your children were/are all employed by the government, Jack.  The military is the biggest-spending branch of the government.  Jack, did you know that 15 billion of your tax dollars are unaccounted for by the companies that were supposed to rebuild Iraq?
 One of the main points where Jack and I part ways is the interpretation of history where Obama's 2-year regime is to blame for the economy.  That is just completely untrue.  The economy tanked and Bush's Congress threw money at it and at the businesses that caused it, before Obama was there.  Before Obama, Republicans were in power for 8 years.
Jack is going to get his way.  The reason I believe this is that Jack's already gotten his way for 40 years or more.  He just doesn't know it because he’s been listening to the corporate propaganda machine, which is still feeding him the same story that's worked for so long:  "We want to lower your taxes, reduce the size of government, clamp down on criminals, protect the country, etc."
You are going to be very disappointed in the results after you get what you wanted, Jack.
Of course, it could be said that you will deserve it:  You have the bad taste to watch Fox News, wholly owned by Big Business.  (I myself get annoyed if my newscaster shouts all the time.)

Jan Deininger
Socorro, NM


On Sept. 28, 2010, Marie Watkins requested copies of audits from the Co-op.  Her request was denied.  In their response, dated Oct. 5, the SEC replied:
“After discussing your letter with the SEC Attorney, he indicated that the Counterclaims filed against the SEC regarding the three resolutions are pending and information should not be released until all claims have been settled.  Also, you must state in your letter the purpose for requesting the information.”
The following is her follow-up request.

To Socorro Electric Cooperative and All Board Members:
As a member in good standing, I am again requesting the following documents.
Annual Audits for the years 2005-2006, 2006-2007, 2007-2008, 2009-2010 RUS 7A for each year from 2005 to the present
The purpose of my request is to find out how much loan money we as a co-op have borrowed, how it was spent, who actually received the money (which our contractors were paid), how our system was repaired, upgraded and extended, where in our service area these projects were and what we got for our money (more reliable service? new customers? etc.) Since we are being asked to accept a rate increase, this information concerning completed projects would provide a reasonable explanation for such an increase.  As the reports of overcharges and irregular use of co-op funds prove, little or no oversight has been given to financial matters by the SEC.  I want to see for myself the history of expenditures by the board.
The current bylaws, as voted on by the members, requires you to abide by the Open Records Act.  The only reason I can see for withholding this information is fear of what it will reveal.
Marie Watkins,
Socorro, NM

Quemado: Health Fair

Quemado Connection
by Debbie Leschner

Beef Stew Dinner and Bingo Night on Friday, October 22 at the Quemado Senior Center starts at 4:30 p.m. There will be door prizes with 15 bingo games played with cards at 25 cents each. Come have a good time and help raise some money for the senior center.
 The Catron County Historical Society will be taking a trip to the DanCyn Windmill Museum in Pie Town on Saturday, October 23 at 2 p.m. This trip will be a walking tour of the outside with a presentation by the Lee’s.
Glenwood’s Saturday Market will be happening on October 23 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. off Highway 180 next to the Community Presbyterian Church. There is still seasonal produce available along with herbs, various arts and crafts.
October 25 to 29 is red ribbon week at Quemado Schools. On Thursday, October 28 at 3 p.m. the Junior High, Junior Varsity and Varsity teams play Reserve at home. This is also Parents Night and “Dig Pink”.  A raffle will be held to raise money for breast cancer awareness with lots of great prizes such as 2 fleece blankets, several gift baskets and much more. Come by the school and get your tickets. They are $1 each , 6 for $5 or 12 for $10. You do not need to be present to win. After the games the Halloween Carnival will start at 6 p.m. Everyone can come in costume. Lots of games and prizes for the children. On Friday, October 29, all three volleyball teams play away games against Carizozo at 2 p.m. Datil’s Halloween Carnival will be on Saturday, October 30.
Quemado Senior Center activities for the week: Pool tournament on Tuesday and exercise at 1p.m. on Wednesday. The center will be closed on Thursday and Friday due the senior health fair being held at the Reserve Senior Center. Lunch for Monday – cooks choice, Tuesday – taco soup, Wednesday – hamburger stroganoff. All seniors are welcome. Please call the center at 773-4820 before 9a.m. to make your lunch reservations. Congratulations to Verlene Baca who was the winner of the blue quilt.
Catron County Senior Health Fair will be held on Thursday, October 28, and Friday, October 29 at the Senior Center in Reserve.  The health fair is open to all seniors in Catron county.   The hours are 9a.m. to 4:30 p.m..  There will be flu shots, diabetes screenings, blood pressure checks, health product information and equipment, nutritional education and food storage supplies.  While there you can also get a hair cut, massage, facial, nail care, get your knives sharpened, get your boots polished, and much more.  A  cold breakfast, lunch and snacks will be available both days.  The lunch menu for Thursday is chicken and gravy and Friday’s lunch is meatloaf and sauce.  The meals are a donation of $2.  There will be many giveaways during the fair.  Mark the dates on your calendar!
The Central Region Educational Cooperative and Quemado Independent Schools will hold its fall Child Find event on Thursday, October 28, from 3 p.m to 6 p.m. at Quemado Schools.  Child Find is a free developmental screening for children, newborn to 5 years of age.  Attend this important screening and sign up to win a tricycle and other prizes.  For more information contact Carmelita Chavez at 575-773-4660.

Luna: Upgrades For Community Center

Luna News
By Kaye Mindar

Last week we introduced a new goal setting section co-named “The 12 weeks to the New Year.” In it we will introduce a new concept headlining each column that you may adjust to your individual circumstances to be sure that 2012 will be your happiest year ever; no matter what life hands you.
Now in Week 2: With Halloween approaching and the stores pushing Thanksgiving and Christmas filled shelves upon us, this goal will take a little more effort. This step is still very simple, just breathe: if you must; count 1, 2, 3 as you inhale and 1, 2, 3 as you exhale. Write in your journal or booklet about a special smell, memory, color or store display that all by itself makes you smile throughout your day. Hold on to it, dwell on it and savor it. But oh yes, above all else; show your gratitude for it, no matter how small.

New Business in Town

We would like to welcome to town Jason Duncan’s new gun store. The Southwest Shooting Authority is located at the old Trout Creek facility and here is one way we won’t soon forget their phone number; it is 575-547-AK47. There are big plans for the new facility including a shooting range with certified instructors, gunsmithing, reloading equipment, gun and ammo sales and LE discounts. Stop in and welcome them to town and see what they have to offer.

Community Center Upgrades

A much needed septic tank was installed at the Luna Community Center. With more and more clubs and groups suing this facility it is a blessing to be able to upgrade it as it shows its age and wear. Thanks to Gusty Faust for the work that was done.

Reserve Schools

At 6p.m. on October 29 Reserve High School will hold its annual Fall Carnival for all to celebrate the Halloween Season.

A Trip of a Lifetime

It has been many years in the planning stages, but Susan Ley, Joyce Smallwood and Arlene Setterbo finally got to experience a vacation of a lifetime when they recently flew to Virginia, then drove the Sky Line drive of the Shenandoah National Park. They stayed in a cabin built in 1830 and then saw parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The lucky women also visited sites such as President Jefferson’s home at Monticello in Virginia and enjoyed a carriage ride in Lexington. It is always fun to hear of the travels of others and the enjoyment our freedom allows us in this great country.

Preparedness Corner

Have you ever wondered what to do with the food storage items you’ve been asked to store? This is the perfect time of year to find the books and items needed and in the most unusual places. This is a perfect time for end of the year yard and estate sales and over flowing thrift stores as people clean out cabins and relocate for the winter months.


Is there someone in your family who shows specific characteristics of a long ago relative? Take the time to write their story, along with photos and any information you or other close relatives may have and present it to them for a keepsake Holiday gift. You can put together as little as a page of statistical information that they can add to or add as much as a full basket of make-ups, perfumes, aftershaves, or trinkets that were once worn by that ancestor. You are only limited by your imagination.

Quote of the week:
“A grandmother pretends she doesn’t know who you are on Halloween.” 

~Erma Bombeck


FYI: "Plea deals" offer resolution, not injustice

Ask some residents of Socorro County, and they’ll likely tell you that the first thing they would change about our criminal justice system is the number of “plea bargains” criminals seem to receive. Most people hate the idea that accused criminals are allowed to “get off” for their crimes, simply by making a deal with a few lawyers.
But did you know that there are many factors that go into resolving a case before it goes to trial? Everything from cost to practicality and even the victim’s own opinion plays some role in the process.
Defendants and prosecutors are oftentimes not the only parties involved in the resolution process. In some cases, it is the victims themselves who seek resolution without a trial. A court case can drag on for months, and can be extremely arduous, especially someone who has been victimized by a crime.
Socorro County employs two full time “Victim Advocates”, who work closely with crime victims to ensure their wishes are known by all parties involved in trying their case.
Taking a case to trial can be risky, with any number of possible outcomes. Many prosecutors find that settling a case before it goes to court a way to ensure justice for an injured party, while saving tax payer dollars.
Like any business or government operation, courts have a limited budget that they must operate under. Court costs, which encompass everything from staff salaries to building maintenance fees, can be staggering. Oftentimes, the budget is not enough to accommodate the sheer number of criminal cases resulting in a district.
In many states and counties (not just in New Mexico), courts simply lack the funds to try each and every case that appears before them. If every single person arrested for every single crime were to be put on trial, the back log for cases would skyrocket. Decades could pass before a case even came before a judge.
Mediating a just resolution in certain cases frees up much needed resources of the court. Adjudicating minor cases out of the courts also allows resources to be freed up to deal with more significant crimes. Every minor infraction a prosecutor is allowed to “plea”, equates to more time they can spend trying criminals who pose a serious threat to society.
Some people might have the impression that a defendant who pleas out his case gets off without having to admit any wrongdoing. But in order to resolve a case, he or she must admit to all or at least some guilt in the matter they are accused of.
Out of court resolutions are also meant to afford first time offenders an opportunity at a second chance. Typically, most first offenders (unless the crime is especially heinous) are given probation, and monitored under supervision of the court.
But the system is also designed to punish repeat offenders, or those those who don’t take advantage of the opportunity to rehabilitate. A prior felon will, in many instances, face mandatory convictions for his or her crimes. Certain statutes call for automatic sentencing “enhancements”, which can be automatically applied when a defendant fails to meet the conditions of their plea.
Special thanks to Clint Wellburn of the Socorro County District Attorney. Socorro County Victims Advocates are Mary Gorton and Herman Romero.

Rebecca Rose

Santos Workshop Saturday

By Rebecca Rose

This Saturday, aspiring artists and fans of folk art will get a chance to learn up close about a unique form of local art.  A special presentation on Santos will be given by artist Mary Rose Pino at Socorro County Arts, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Santos are traditional Spanish wood carvings that represent Catholic Saints.  The art form originates directly from Spanish settlers, who came to Socorro and surrounding areas around the 16th century.  They utilized regional materials, including soft pine, to make their icons.  This tradition has been carried on to the present day. 
“To some people, it’s part of their religion. For me, it’s an art.” said Rose.  “I enjoy carving them. I gather the wood, I let go.”
Rose started working with Santos over 15 years ago. “It’s still exciting to me, because you can never make two that are alike. You can’t even copy from yourself.”
The following weekend on Oct. 30, starting at 1 p.m. Rose will also give a hands-on workshop in the art of Retablos.  Retablos are paintings done on a flat piece of wood.  Rose also uses native materials and the same type of pigments that were over 100 years ago. 
“I think people want to do it because there’s a history to the pieces.  It’s exciting to be able to make one.” she said.
Rose also offers private lessons.  Interested students can contact the artist herself at interested at 575-854-2705
“This is folk art.” Rose said.  “You don’t have to be an artist, you can just carve away. It doesn’t have to be perfect.”
To register for either workshop, please call Socorro County Arts at  575-838-2724

$3.2 Million Grant For Tech

Mountain Mail reports

The U.S. Department of Education recently approved New Mexico Tech’s request for a second multi-million grant for educational development and new technology.
The federal agency announced October 1 that Tech will receive $3.2 million over five years, in addition to a $2.8 million Title V grant for the Center for Graduate Studies, which was awarded in 2009.
“We would never be able to get these resources from any other source,” said Peter Gerity, vice president of academic affairs. “These funds provide direct support of our major efforts in retention and improved technology.”
The existing grant for the Center for Graduate Studies, under the supervision of Graduate Dean Dave Westpfahl, is funding several initiatives, including Smart Classrooms, graduate student lounges and customized services for graduate students. The new grant is very similar, but tailored for undergraduate students.
Dr. Scott Zeman, associate vice president of academic affairs, said students will begin to see the impact over the coming years.
“These grants will have a tremendous impact, not only our Hispanic students, but on the entire institution,” said Zeman, who is also the principal investigator for the undergraduate grant. “The grants provide a huge leap forward by providing us with the vital resources to implement many of the retention and graduation initiatives that we have been wanting to do as an institution.”
Chemistry professor Michael Pullin will serve as the project director of the undergraduate program. He said the goal of the latest Title V proposal is to increase retention and graduation rates and minimize failure of early-year “gateway” courses, such as chemistry, mathematics, and physics.
The program will also try to improve the involvement of freshman on campus.
Pullin said the proposal identified five possible themes:
  • Sustainability at New Mexico Tech
  • Science and Engineering of Automotive Design
  • Environment of the American Southwest
  • Computing and Information Technology for Society
  • Criminal Minds: Human Behavior and Forensic Science
Students in each learning communities will also be grouped together in a dormitory, where they’ll have access to a high-tech study area. The grant will fund 10 new Smart Classrooms across campus, which will be used for all undergraduate classes. The initial Title V grant is funding similar technology for the graduate program.
Westpfahl has used the Smart ClassRoom technology for classes.
“The technology is exceptional,” he said. “The instructor just has to learn how to master the technology.”

“Everything’s Up To Date In Papau New Guinea”

By Anne Sullivan

Mountain Mail contributor Anne Sullivan made a once in a lifetime decision to vacation to New Guinea.  This week, we are thrilled to bring you the first part of her exciting adventures overseas.  

Other than the two Flight Attendants, I was the only female on the plane from Cairns in Queensland, Australia to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. I had a window seat and something even more important: leg room. I felt it was a good sign.
An hour and a half later,  we landed at the International Terminal at Port Moresby’s airport.  I found a man and a woman holding up signs with my name. They were Steven and Jennifer, guides from the Trans Nui Guinea Tour I had booked.
They agreed to my request to drive me to a drugstore to replace my toothpaste, deodorant, nail scissors and shampoo that had been taken away by Security personnel in Cairns who were unsympathetic to my pleas for mercy. It was all my fault. At 4 a,m., sleepy and hurrying to catch my bus to the airport, I had stuffed most of my cosmetics into my red carry-on bag and forgotten about it.
We stopped at a building resembling a warehouse, a corner of which housed a pharmacy with an excellent selection of everything I needed. Steven and Jennifer  deposited me at the Airways Hotel, Port Moresby’s newest high-rise five star hotel. At that time I inquired if there were other people on the tour. “Oh, yes about 35,” was the answer.
A huge hotel, it was decorated with dignity and possessed expensive shops selling native carvings and a beautiful open air swimming pool on the 7th floor. No one was swimming. Many well-dressed people of various hues and nationalities were eating in the dining room and the Deli, also on the 7th floor. From my seat outside the Deli I kept an eye out for someone who might be on my tour.
Although the staff were very polite and attentive and my room was not only ready at 9 a.m., it had everything one could possibly want in it, this was exactly the sort of hotel I hated. So big that I kept getting lost. Like all the good hotels in PNG’s large cities, the entry to the hotel was barred by enormous gates guarded by armed security. Not a good sign.
Since I had been warned not to go out of the hotel grounds, I spent most of the day catching up on the sleep that had been lost in the journey from Datil to Socorro to Albuquerque to Los Angeles to Sydney to Cairns that I had endured a few days previously.
Steven and Jennifer picked me up bright and early the next morning and I was grateful they stayed with me for the check-in process as the Domestic Terminal was an absolute madhouse with tons of people burdened with goods and chattels of every sort. There are few roads in PNG and even fewer good roads so the only way to travel from anyplace to anywhere is by air.
My seatmate on the two-hour flight to Tari was a charming young Englishman who worked in logistics and procurement for Doctors Without Borders at their hospital in Tari. That’s one of my top favorite charities and he told me it was true that they spent every cent donated on hospitals and equipment and that I should tell everyone that. So now I have.
No card with my name on it when we landed at the field in Tari. And I do mean field. No building at all, just loads of people who came to watch the plane land. One man detached himself from the mob, approached me and mumbled something. Aha, my guide from the Amboa Lodge, also named Steven. He inquired about a mysterious lady who was supposed to be on the flight and on the tour who obviously hadn’t materialized. We drove through an outdoor market and by dwellings with fancy mausoleums for the departed family members. Twenty minutes later I saw what appeared to be a village of neat thatched huts on a hillside. It was the Amboa Lodge and one of the thatched huts was mine. Complete with a modern bathroom, my hut was homey and comfortable with windows all around and a double bed, desk, small table and two chairs. The bed had an electric blanket since at 7000 feet the nights were deliciously cool. Said electric blanket had a mind of its own and refused to turn itself down to any reading below roasting. Waking that night in a pool of sweat, I yanked the plug out of the outlet. No TV which was fine by me.
After a lunch of fantastic unfamiliar fruit and good soup, I needed exercise. David, who worked in the kitchen, accompanied me on a walk through the rainforest to a small waterfall. Since I admired the flowers he drove me to the thriving orchid garden he’d started only a year and a half ago outside his home. David lived in a Man House, a house shared by several men and boys. No women were allowed to enter. I learned that women also lived separately. How do they propagate the species? In the bush, I was later told by Steven.
Here I must insert a few dry facts: Papua New Guinea is the eastern part of an enormous island that lies directly north of Queensland, Australia and has been an independent country since 1975 when it separated from Australia. The other half of the island, Western New Guinea, belongs to Indonesia. PNG, as it is known, was German, then British and in 1920 was given to Australia to govern. Those of us of a certain age will remember that Japan invaded in 1942 and New Guinea was the scene of much World War II action.
Most of the people are Melanesian and there are many tribes or clans and there has been, even recently, a great deal of tribal warfare. All is peaceful now except for the occasional clan fight. There are 820 languages in PNG alone. In order to communicate with each other most natives speak English and Pigin (Example: Mi liakim sampela halp translates to I need help) as well as their tribal dialect.
Most natives are small farmers growing sweet potatoes and coffee in the highlands. Other staples are chicken, pork and rice. Pigs are valuable as a sign of wealth and are treated like members of the family. Lately there has been much happening in mining and oil industries and now natural gas, all controlled by foreigners. Since the 1980s the New Guineans have been doing very well in the tourist industry. My tour with its guides and lodges was entirely managed and run by native New Guineans and they didn’t miss a beat.
Carving is the main art form: drums shaped like canoes, statues of humans and gods, shields, and masks. The natives also weave mats and baskets and make jewelry.
The missionaries did their work well as most of the people are Christians, with 28% Catholic and 23% Anglican Lutheran.
The Tari Valley, where the Amboa Lodge is located, is populated by the Huli who live, much as their ancestors lived, in small thatched-roof villages. Except when dressing up for tourist visitations, the men wear Western clothes, many bought second or third hand at local outdoor markets. The women wear beautiful colorful loose blouses over long skirts.
Although the lodge dining room at dinner was filled with westerners: a tour group from the U.S. as well as many Americans, Brits and Australians working at a nearby natural gas project, it was now apparent that I was the only person on this tour. This turned out to be an advantage as I got to know more about the guides and the people in general. The next morning I set off with my own guide, Steven, my own driver, Roy, and my own man to carry the lunch, to see the Huli men paint their faces and grow their wigs and see how the women mourn their husbands. We also climbed up a steep hill to visit one of the villages.
Slightly demoralized and weakened the following day by an attack of diarrhea (probably caused by all the glorious fruit), I was driven to see Spirit dancers, a Spirit doctor and medicine man. At every stop I would have to explain what I did, how old I was and why I wasn’t married. All agreed I was very old. As Steven put it, “Here people your age are usually already dead.

Pictures: (top) The New Guinea International Airport terminal. (bottom) Dancers of the Sing-sing outside of Mt. Hagen. Photos by Anne Sullivan

Anne Sullivan’s story about her once in a lifetime jorney continues next week in the Mountain Mail.