Thursday, October 28, 2010

Magdalena Quilt Show

Several quilters of Magdalena – Kelly Barnitz, Annie Danielson, Aleta Gray, Lynda Middleton and Nancy Newberry - presented their quilts, purses, aprons and other handmade items last Saturday on Highway 60. “We sold quite a few things, but we did it mainly to visit with our friends and have a good time,” Barnitz said. She said they plan on doing it again next spring. Pictured: Nancy Newberry (left) and Aleta Gray with an unidentified shopper.
Photo by Sara Creekmore

County Gives Old Senior Center To Magdalena

By John Larson

MAGDALENA - The former Magdalena Senior Center building on Spruce Street may soon be property of the village. According to Magdalena Village Clerk Rita Broaddus the Socorro County government has offered to give the building to the village.
“The county has decided to give us the building if we decide to accept it,” Broaddus told the Village Board at its Monday night meeting. “We told them we are interested.”
Broaddus said the offer was confirmed in an email from County Manager Delilah Walsh.
“I emailed her to inquire about the offer, and she emailed me back saying that all they needed to do was execute the deed,” she said. “It looks like they are just going to give us the building.”
Broaddus said she understood the County Commission might finalize the transfer at its November 9 meeting. “I thought it may be a good idea for the trustees to attend that meeting,” she said.
County Manager Delilah Walsh, in her report to the County Commission Tuesday, said she contacted Broaddus to get a firm answer “by the end of November so we can move forward with transferring or listing the building for sale.”
What the village plans to do with the property has not been decided, but Broaddus said it would probably be utilized as a multi-purpose building.
“It may be the place for the Youth Council for meetings and activities, and be rented out for private events,” Broaddus said. “The mayor and the Board will be the ones making those decisions.”
Originally a church, the building has been vacant since June 2007.
In other business:
The Board approved a request by Donna Dawson to apply for a grant through the state’s EMS and the New Mexico Department of Health to purchase a new ambulance. She said the cost would be about $150,000, with the Village being responsible for 25 percent in matching funds.

PRC Launches Investigation Into Unlicensed Title Agent

Mountain Mail reports

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission’s Division of Insurance warns residents of Socorro and Catron counties of unlicensed title agents operating in their midst.
An investigation is underway into what Division staffers characterize as “an increase in possible solicitation and sales of fraudulent title policies issued by the Socorro-based JM Abstract and Title Company and its owner, Joseph Vallejos.”
In August officials with the Division of Insurance officially notified Vallejos that he was operating in violation of the New Mexico Insurance Code. That apparently did little to deter Vallejos from continuing to violate the code.
“The evidence we’ve gathered indicates that violations may be continuing,” Investigator John Gaherty said.
Gaherty said the Division of Insurance is concerned that several consumers may be holding invalid policies purchased through Vallejos over the course of the past few years. Any area resident who has purchased a title policy from Vallejos is encouraged to contact the title policy company to verify the validity of their policy.
Consumers can also call the Division of Insurance at 505-827-4601 or 800-947-4722 for assistance.
The situation, Gaherty said, is a reminder to all consumers, real estate agents, brokers, bankers and mortgage companies to verify licenses of any and all insurance agents through the NMPRC’s website ( Licenses should be verified prior to entering into any contractual arrangement.
The Division of Insurance’s investigation into Vallejos continues. Anyone with questions or with information regarding Vallejos and/or JM Abstract and Title Company should contact Investigator John Gaherty at 505-827-4439 or via e-mail at

Youth Boxing Club Without Power, Water

By Rebecca Rose

The Socorro Boxing Club sits without power and water, while dozens of local children find themselves wondering if they’ll be back in the ring anytime soon.
David Castillo is the main trainer at the gym, and has worked there since it first opened nearly a year ago. In an interview with Mountain Mail on Wednesday, Castillo said he had no idea the gym was in any kind of financial trouble. He said he first discovered there was an issue on Oct. 2, when he returned from a fight in Kansas City.
“All the utilities were off.” he said. “We had nothing.”
The problems with the gym date back to earlier this year, when the tenant who held the original lease opted to not continue with his involvement in the property, which is owned by the County. He signed it over to another party, who reportedly failed to make payments. Now, the building is behind on rent and utilities.
A professional Lightweight boxer ranked 49th worldwide, Castillo said he was shocked to find out the amount of money that was owed. The outstanding bill owed to Socorro Electric Co-op alone is reportedly over $800.
In an effort to try and keep the club open, Castillo and his wife, Valerie Maez, approached the County Commission at Tuesday night’s meeting to request to be allowed to take over the lease. Maez is a sanctioned judge on the professional boxing circuit, and spoke about the success of the gym.
“We have out of Socorro, three state champions and one regional champion.” She said. This is a positive thing for these kids.”
Adren Nance, Socorro County Attorney, said the matter isn’t as simple as signing a few papers. He spoke with Mountain Mail about the next steps for the couple and the gym.
“Due to New Mexico’s strict Anti-Donation Laws, the County cannot simply be allowed to give the property away.” Nance said that the couple will most likely have to apply for the lease from scratch. That means going through the Department of Finance Affairs, and could take as long as two months. The property will first have to be re-evaluated, and then they can apply. “They will have to get DFA approval, and then we can execute the lease.”
There are solutions for the short-term. “We can do a temporary rental agreement. The County often leases out buildings for events and other things. We have a policy for that. But that doesn’t solve the problem long-term.” Nance said.
Castillo admitted that the problems are daunting, but pointed to the positive attributes the club brings to the community’s children, all of whom come from diverse backgrounds.
“It’s a melting pot in the gym. A lot of them are vulnerable. They come from single family homes. Their parents want them to do something constructive.” he said. “We teach life building skills and discipline. It keeps the kids out of trouble.”
He said that the kids have put a great deal of work into their boxing. “We do bag work, we work mitts, cardio conditioning, and we have speed bags. We travel almost every weekend to different cities to participate in tournaments.”
“A lot of times they win their first trophy, and you see the look on their face, and they’re so happy. It’s all worth it.” Castillo said.
Nance stressed that Castillo and Maez would in no way be liable for any rental debts incurred to the County as a result of the previous tenants default. The same does not go for the mounting utility bills.
Despite the current situation, Castillo is adamant that the kids he works with will get the gym back.
“Even if I have to get the money out of my pocket, I will find a way to turn it on.”

Zombies invade Socorro

Members of the Student Association at Tech used inspiration from their favorite horror movies to bring zombies to life during the annual 49ers parade. Students pictured here include Kristen Sorenson, Daniel Wermer, Sean Martinez, Jacob Kolar Daniel Castelo Cameron Fullinwider, Lydia Wermer, and Joaquin Roibal, Tech Student Body President.

Photo by Rebecca Rose

Co-op Audit Reveals Policy Issues

By Rebecca Rose

The Socorro Electric Co-op Board of Trustees met on Monday, Oct 25 and revealed the results of two separate audits.
The audits, conducted by two individual firms, BKD and Bolinger, Segars, Gilbert and Moss, exposed numerous issues concerning internal financial policies, but did not find any loss of funds as a result.  Jeff Roberts, the auditor from BKD, gave a report to the Board.
In his presentation, Roberts said that since 2008, 28 employees received between $1000 and $7000 loans, borrowed against their 401Ks. The practice of borrowing against one’s retirement plan is a common one in many corporations and organizations. “If an employee wants to get a loan from their 401K account, they’re entitled to that.” Roberts said. “At some point, the Co-op decided they were going to go ahead and advance the money, using Cooperative funds until that 401K money came in from the NRECA.”  All of the loans were known to the Board, and were part of regular financial reports they signed off on.  
“We even found a policy that was not in the current policy manual, that looks like [the CoOp] had a policy of allowing this.” Roberts said.  The policy was so old, it had been discovered on old paper pre-dating computer print-outs.
Roberts said he believed at some point the policy had been rescinded, but was still in practice until very recently.   “That’s what brought some of the problems.” he said.  The policy is not in the current Co-op policy manual, and it is unsure if it was removed with or without the Board’s oversight.
But Roberts noted that there were  issues beyond the out dated policy. The Co-op was not adhering to its guidelines.  allowing employees to take out loans that exceeded set limitations, or take out multiple loans beyond what the policy .  “If [the Co-op] were to decide that the policy were still valid, it wasn’t even followed.” 
Despite the irregularities, Roberts’ report stated clearly that Co-op members did not suffer a financial loss because of them.  “There [were] a lot of advances on these 401Ks,” Roberts said. “But we didn’t see any damage in the end to the finances of the cooperative.” 
The BKD audit also addressed the issue of employee and trustee per diems for travel.  He pointed out that the Co-op’s rates for daily travel ($120 out of state, $80 in state) were higher than comparable rates set by the Federal government. The Co-op’s current policy is to provide a flat rate per day. Roberts pointed out that the Co-op could consider offering to pay back employees and trustees for actual travel expenses incurred.
“We even found a policy that was not in the current policy manual, that looks like [the CoOp] had a policy of allowing this.” Roberts said.  The policy was so old, it had been discovered on old paper pre-dating computer print-outs.
Roberts said he believed at some point the policy had been rescinded, but was still in practice until very recently.   “That’s what brought some of the problems.” he said.  The policy is not in the current Co-op policy manual, and it is unsure if it was removed with or without the Board’s oversight.
But Roberts noted that there were  issues beyond the out dated policy. The Co-op was not adhering to its guidelines, allowing employees to take out loans that exceeded set limitations.“If [the Co-op] were to decide that the policy were still valid, it wasn’t even followed.”
 Roberts’ report stated that Co-op members did not suffer a financial loss because of them.  “There [were] a lot of advances on these 401Ks,” Roberts said. “But we didn’t see any damage in the end to the finances of the cooperative.”
The BKD audit also addressed the issue of employee and trustee per diems for travel.  He pointed out that the Co-op’s rates for daily travel ($120 out of state, $80 in state) were higher than comparable rates set by the Federal government. The Co-op’s current policy is to provide a flat rate per day. Roberts said that the Co-op could consider offering travel reimbursement instead of flat rates.

OBITUARY: Michael Martinez

Michael Martinez
Oct. 21, 1947-Oct. 21, 2010

Michael T. Martinez, 63, passed away on Thursday, Oct 21, 2010 at his home in Socorro, NM. Michael was born on October 21, 1947 to Miguel P. and Vivianita (Trujeque) Martinez in Socorro, NM.  He is survived by his loving parents; his devoted wife of 45 years, married July 31, 1965, Gloria (Padilla) Martinez; his loving children, Michael A. Martinez and wife, Francine of Phoenix, AZ; Peter Martinez and wife, Sandra, of Socorro; and Julie LaFortune and husband, Ken of Andrews, TX; four grandchildren, Brianna T. Martinez; Clinton R. Martinez; Andre Martinez; and Emily LaFortune; one great grandchild, Marcus Martinez; his sister, Margie Ortiz and husband, Xavier; three nieces, Karen; Angela; and Victoria; his aunt Rose Benavidez; his cousins, Linda Benavidez; and Dave Benavidez;  and his loving In-Laws; Michael was a lifelong resident of Socorro and a devoted member of San Miguel Catholic Church. He retired from NM State Police in 2005, after 25 years of service. Michael and Gloria had the privilege to serve as foster parents for 15 years and 16 children who blessed their lives. Even though, Michael came from a small family, he loved being a part of and was welcomed into the Padilla Family. Michael was preceded in death by his beloved grandparents, Conrado and Luisita Trujeque; his aunt, Analee Baca; his uncles, Morris Benavidez; Tomas Baca; and Ramon Trujeque; and his cousin, Windy Benavidez. A Memorial Rosary will be recited on Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 9:15 am at the San Miguel Catholic Church in Socorro. A Memorial Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated immediately following with Father Andy Pavlak as Celebrant. Interment will take place in the San Pedro Cemetery in San Antonio, NM. Pallbearers are his sons, Michael and Peter. Honorary Pallbearers are Jon Rosas, William West III, Carlos Padilla, Christopher Padilla, Nicholas Padilla, and Justin Taylor. Any Memorial Contributions may be made to the Cancer Services of New Mexico Foundation, Albuquerque, NM. Those who wish to send condolences may do so Services have been entrusted to:Services have been entrusted to Daniels Family Funeral Services, 309 Garfield, Socorro, NM  87801 (575) 835-1530.

Police Seize $1,200 In Heroin

By John Larson

SOCORRO – A Socorro man was arraigned in Magistrate Court Tuesday on one second degree felony count of possession of heroin. Arthur Jojola, 32, was arrested Friday, Oct. 22, by city police after receiving a tip that he was driving down from Belen with “a load of heroin” and that he would be arriving in a maroon Dodge Intrepid at about 12:30 p.m.
According to the criminal complaint, officers were waiting at the north end of town when the vehicle in question pulled into the McDonald’s parking lot.
“Sgt. [Richard] Lopez and myself observed a female getting into the car and we pulled our unit up behind Arthur’s car,” Detective Rocky Fernandez said. “We walked up to both sides of the vehicle just when Arthur was observed pulling a large plastic baggie out of his pocket. He must not have seen us because he was in the process of making a deal. Sgt. Lopez told Arthur not to move and Arthur quickly put the bag back into his pocket.”
The complaint said that Arthur Jojola admitted to having the narcotics on his person. He was handcuffed and the heroin was taken as evidence.
The baggie contained 4.3 grams of heroin, which is estimated to have a street value of up to $1,200.
A search of the woman’s car revealed no drugs. She was interviewed and released.
As of press time, Jojola is being held in the Socorro County Detention Center on a $15,000 cash or surety bond. If convicted he faces nine years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Chief of Police George Van Winkle praised all the officers involved in the continuing narcotics investigations and arrests.
“They do an outstanding job,” Van Winkle said. “With drugs now coming down from Belen, we’re not going to let up. Our officers will continue to go after these guys.”
Fernandez said heroin continues to be problematic in Socorro.
“Meth and cocaine, and even marijuana fluctuates in demand, but heroin is usually steady,” he said. “Also, when you buy it around here you don’t really know what you’re getting, and how easy it is to OD.”

EDITORIAL: Where To From Here When All Seems Lost?

Just Thinking Out Loud
By Gary Jaramillo

Everyday the onslaught of horrible commercials from both sides never stop coming – they never stop with their terrible deep cuts and cruel slashes upon one another. They talk about how absolutely low and despicable their opponents are in every way possible. They say that these people we have elected in the primaries have done nothing of any value in their lives, and not one iota of good can be found in who they are and what they stand for.
Our children look at the television in total frightened confusion because the role models that they are supposed to mold their young lives after have fallen to their knees in the mud, dirt and sludge, wrestling in the gross and absurd lies and filth that has become the political way in our nation. It’s America at its lowest point in centuries. It hurts. Our children must watch this barbaric live gutting of one another in an arena of shame and horror.
Every side of the political spectrum has turned our country into a virtual massacre. Gone is respect for one another. Gone is the adult way of conversing and working out those things to which we disagree. People are carrying guns to rallies and holding up signs of Hitler and other, horrific people. Even more disturbing are those people who are calling our very own elected officials by those names and teaching our children that that is the way to gather and teach about our National Political System.
I wonder, are we really the most evolved animals walking the earth? Do we really have the compassion that we say wild animals lack? Have we really come so far as to offer our hand in understanding to another, instead of warning that if the election doesn’t turn out to our liking, we should bear arms to make the changes we want through violence? Where did we all become okay with these kind of blatant words and actions by others who are obviously very sick.
We can vote. It’s one of the most wonderful things that is given to us as United States citizens. Other countries average voting percentage is upwards of 98%. But we can barely get to 30% in most small cities in America. How shameful is that? Some say they care enough to kill their neighbors if the vote doesn’t turn out the way they like it. Yet when asked if they voted in the last election, they say “NO”.
What the hell is wrong with this country?
This Tuesday, go out and vote for who you think can help you. But listen to those who actually have a plan and also to those who are just kicking up the political craziness and hoping to slow our countries progress even more. They are easy to find, and they live in every political party. Listen to what they all say, then look around and ask yourself which one is lying and which one is just jerking your chain.
This election has to be about common sense and respect for one another. You all know who’s done what – So vote your convictions and walk away with a smile and maybe even a hand shake for the next person in line behind you. Now that’s American!

OPINION: I’m Sorry; What Was the Question?

Magdalena Potluck
By Don Wiltshire

My head is so full of sound bites and PhotoShop creations that I just can’t seem to think a complete thought any more. I do seem to have an impressive gallery of glossy photos of the Good Diane and the Evil Diane; the Good Susanna and the Evil Susanna not to mention the Good and Evil Steve, Harry, Ben and Tom. Just think of the forests that have been cut down to provide us with all of these images! At least they make good kindling for my wood stove. This is what happens when we slam the doors wide open to Corporate Political Contributions. Sound bites designed for short attention spans seem to actually foster short attention spans!
The sum-total effect of this barrage of empty slogans and name calling is one of revulsion and disgust. What once was a privilege and honor to vote, has turned into a dreary selection of the least of two evils. The candidates seem to be little more than hand puppets used by Corporations in our winner-take-all elections.
Nevertheless, there IS a good reason to go to the polls next Tuesday. There are four Bond Issues that need your nod of approval. The one of greatest interest for me is Bond Issue B. It would provide much needed acquisition funds for academic, public school, tribal and public libraries, including the Magdalena Public Library and the Socorro Public Library. Please Vote “Yes.”
You can vote on the other three Bond Issues as you see fit: Bond Issue A would provide funds for senior centers, Bond Issue C would provide funds for pre-kindergarten classrooms and Bond Issue D would provide funds for higher educational and special schools capital improvements. You can find more information on these Bond Issues from a link at the Socorro Public Library’s most excellent web site at
I expect to see all of you at the State Engineer’s Preliminary Hearing on the “Water Grab” on Tuesday, November 9th at 1:30 p.m. at the Macey Center. We need to show our serious concern over this matter. NO rowdiness! We need to be on our best behavior in order to lull the State Engineer into holding the Formal Hearings in our “neck of the woods.”
There will be free flu shots available on Friday, October 29 at the Magdalena Public Library during our normal hours of 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Come pick out a book, a movie and get a free flu shot. Does it get any better than that? Yes it does! On Saturday, October 30, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., there will be an Appreciation Potluck for Lucy Pino, our former Library Director who did so much to build the Magdalena Public Library into the facility that it is today. Bring your favorite dish, share stories and add a note of thanks to Lucy’s scrapbook. The weather forecast looks good and we should have a grand time out on the deck; perhaps the last before we all hibernate for the winter.
I’m starting to miss our Wednesday evening Water Meetings. The last one will take place on November 17 at 7 p.m. at the Magdalena Library at 7 p.m. Frank Titus will discuss the hydrology of the San Agustin Plains and the effect that this insane water mining project would have on our community.
Read Magdalena! There is a way that we can bring up the reading levels in Magdalena and our surrounding area. The Adult Summer Reading Program will be having a meeting on Wednesday, November 3 at 7 p.m. at the Magdalena Public Library. We will discuss literacy in Magdalena and how a Village can make a difference. Everyone interested in improving literacy levels in Magdalena, please come. Teens are very welcome. There is no reason that we, as a community cannot augment and supplement the Magdalena community with efforts to teach and improve reading skills for everyone.
What a great gift this would be for the children and adults of this community and how rewarding it would be for those of us willing to spend a few hours a week, sharing the skills that many of us now take for granted.
The Adult Reading Program has been concerned with “Water” as a subject and will continue to do so as the State Engineer’s Hearings get under way. Other subjects of interest will come up . If you have a suggestion, please come and share. Together we can do so much.

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

OPINION: Juan Williams Firing is Red Meat for Privateers

The Pencil Warrior
By Dave Wheelock

So now, through the decidedly un-savvy firing of news analyst Juan Williams by National Public Radio president Vivian Schiller, those who speak for the “haves” of this country have their latest entrĂ©e in their long war to not just influence public opinion, but to monopolize it. According to NPR Media Correspondent David Folkenflik, Williams was let go not so much for making remarks that could be interpreted as prejudiced toward Muslims - “when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous." - but for expressing his opinion at all. In other words, Folkenflik explained, “eliciting opinions is the role of NPR news analysts and journalists, not expressing them.”
The debate over objectivity in news media will probably rage forever, but like the layers of an onion there’s more to the Juan Williams flap than meets the eye or ear, especially those tuned to commercial news. You’re not likely to discover these back stories among the talking heads of corporatized broadcasting, yet that’s the real point. For those who would do away with publically-funded media, the only theme really worth trumpeting in this story is the unacceptability of forcing citizens to pay for liberally biased programming with their tax dollars.
Liberal bias? Compared to what? Analysis of the Public Broadcasting System’s television news and public affairs programs by media watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) documents that “public television is failing to live up to its mission to provide an alternative to commercial television.” In its November 2010 issue of Extra! magazine, FAIR reports that so-called public television “features guest lists strongly dominated by white, male and elite sources, who are far more likely to represent corporations and war makers than environmentalists or peace advocates.”
I’d wager many if not most Americans, like Juan Williams, “get worried, get nervous” when they see the terms “environmentalists” and “peace activists” used in the same sentence. Why might that be? Are those who are greatly concerned about the Earth and/or don’t believe violence solves problems really radical subversives, or does their enforced absence from public dialog just make them easy targets for those who profit from their invisibility? And if systematic exclusion works on treehuggers and hippies, Muslims are a slam dunk.
So-called conservative politicians were bound to leap at this red-meat excuse to renew their historical demands to cease all government funding for non-commercial media, and South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint hasn’t disappointed. “We can't keep borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars from China each year to fund public radio and public TV when there are so many choices already in the market for news and entertainment. If CPB is defunded, taxpayers will save billions.” I can’t help thinking that in a more honest world, DeMint would have said “there are so many choices already in the market for news AS entertainment.”  
Despite the heroic volume of outrage welling up inside Mr. DeMint, he can’t change the fact that public broadcasting in the United States is funded at an abysmal level compared to other developed countries. In an October 21 article by Josh Silver, president of Free Press (like FAIR a source worth bookmarking), each U.S. citizen contributes one dollar and forty-three cents toward public media per year.
In Canada, it’s $22, and in England, $80. Further, “if the United States spent the same per capita on public media and journalism subsidies as Sweden and Norway . . . we would be spending . . . $30 billion a year on public media instead of $440 million.” Silver goes on to note these two countries rank near the top of the decidedly not-liberal Economist magazine’s annual Democracy Index, in which the U.S. ranks 18th.
On the subject of democracy, it was that early radical subversive James Madison who said “A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy or perhaps both.” The United States has a long tradition of government support for media, first expressed in free postage for newspapers from the time of independence. Many of those who seek to end this tradition are the same monopolists who argue for the privatization of education, another path leading down the slippery slope to unaccountable corporate control of how and what we are allowed to know. I can’t imagine we can afford to borrow millions from China to support public libraries much longer, either. 
Dave Wheelock, a member of the Oneida Nation, is a collegiate sports administrator and rugby coach. Reach him at Mr. Wheelock’s opinions are not necessarily those of the Mountain Mail.

LETTER: No Dog Pound In Socorro

Dear Editor,
Did you know that Socorro does not have a dog pound?  Socorro has an animal shelter.  It is not just a place to take care of physical needs of abandoned or lost dogs.  Shelter implies something greater.  It says to me that the concern is with emotional and mental health as well. 
Being taken from your accustomed environment and placed in a cage is very stressful.  It happens mostly to animals four months or older, no longer cute babies.  Those old enough to create mischief and who have not received basic training fro whatever reason.  These animals are not wild.  They are totally dependent on humans.
In order to reduce their stress and to make our shelter animals more adoptable we need volunteers to give a few minutes of positive reinforcement consistently and often.
We can do better for them.  Please call 838-3103 to learn how you can volunteer.

Dorothy Brook

LETTER: Respect For Teague

Dear Editor,
Rep. Harry Teague must be doing something right, as both the political right and left are ticked off at him in this election cycle. Harry famously voted against the administration’s health care legislation, a decision which the left hates.
However, he also voted in favor of the climate-related cap and trade bill to control emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The latter vote infuriated his Hobbs petroleum industry buddies to the extent that they are taking it out on his oilfield services business. That and the sour economy have forced him to drop health coverage for his employees, a decision which is being exploited in truly vicious attack ads.
Personally, I disagreed with Harry’s vote against the health bill and tried to persuade him to change his view. However, I have to respect his judgment that a significant weakness of the bill is its failure to do more to control health care costs. I am sure that second congressional district politics played at least some role in his decision; it is a conservative district and you have to represent your constituents.
One vote, even a major one, can’t be allowed to obscure the broader picture. Overall, Harry is a voice of reason in an increasingly lunatic political scene. Harry cares enough about the people in his district to show up in New Mexico almost every weekend during the legislative season. He has taken a particular interest in helping returning veterans get the aid they need. Though an oil man, he clearly understands that the age of petroleum is coming to an end, and that measures to limit climate change are sorely needed. His vote in favor of cap and trade was an extreme act of courage, given the neighborhood he lives in.
At this moment people are lashing out in anger as the results of decades of bad decisions come home to roost. In my view, Harry Teague is not part of the problem; he is part of the solution and we urgently need to return him to Congress.

David J. Raymond

LETTER: Vandalized Signs

Dear Editor,
Over the past couple of weeks, property from both the Democratic and Republican Party has been vandalized.  We as chairs of both the Democratic and Republican Parties respect each other’s property.  This is Socorro and we are all friends, and in some cases family.  Although the issues may be different, the goal is the same: Making Socorro a wonderful and safe place for our children and community.

Sefie Anaya, Democratic Party Chairman
Della Vega, Republican Party Chairman

Hand In Hand

Red Ribbon Week is a time for education and commemoration. It also serves as a way to honor the memory for Enrique "Kiki" Camarena, who was killed by drug traffickers in Mexico. The project seeks to raise awareness about drug and alcohol abuse and more. “We will have all the students of Socorro Elementary schools gather “Hand in Hand” around the school grounds and pledge to be Drug, Alcohol and Tobacco Free” said Socorro County DWI Coordinator Theresa Rosales. Pictured above from left to right are Michael Dirmeyer, Athena Gassoumls, who works with the DWI office, Isabella Dirmeyer, and Ruth Dirmeyer.

Photo by Gary Jaramillo

Quemado: Food Pantry Open

Quemado Connection
By Debbie Leschner

The Quemado Food Pantry will be open on Friday, Nov. 5 at the Community Center . The event is sponsored by the Datil community Presbyterian Church. Eligible families and individuals will receive about 50 pounds of food per household. You must arrive and sign up before 3:30 p.m. You will then be called in order, so prepare to wait. (Bring your own containers. Ice chests are recommended for frozen and refrigerated foods.)
Food distribution is on the first Friday of every month at the following locations/times:
Quemado: 3:30 p.m. at the Community Center.
Datil: 11 a.m. at the Presbyterian Church
Horse Mountain: 12:30 p.m. at the Fire Station
Pie Town: 2 p.m. at the Community Center
You may attend any of these locations, but only one location per month. For more information, call or email Anne Schwebke at 575-772-5602 or For local contact, call 773-4627 and leave a message. Someone will get back to you as soon as they can.

The Quemado Community Center will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 2 for general election voting.

Quemado Schools: District Volleyball Tournaments begin on Friday, Nov. 5. Good Luck Lady Eagles!
Happy November Birthdays to Clara Germaine, Mary Medlin, Doug Miller, Steve Padilla, Ray Pittman, Helen Walker and Jeanne Wimberley.

The Quemado Senior Center will be going to Gallup on Wednesday, Nov 3 so be sure to call ahead and let Diana know if you are going. Other activities for the week: Pool practice on Tuesday, quilting and bingo on Thursday. All seniors are welcome. Please call the center at 773-4820 before 9 a.m. to make your lunch reservations.

Mark Your Calendar with these upcoming dates: Community Thanksgiving Meal will be on Saturday, Nov. 20 at the Catholic Church. The Community Christmas Cantata will be on Saturday, Dec. 19 at the Quemado school gym.

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

Water Grab Talk At Datil Library

By Anne Sullivan

Datil’s Baldwin Cabin Public Library and The Friends Of BCPL present a talk by Jack Loeffler titled ‘Thinking Like A Watershed’ on Thursday, Nov. 4 at 2 p.m. at the library, featuring Jack Loeffler.
Water and the proposed San Agustin Plains water grab are primary concerns of citizens of Catron and Socorro Counties. BCPL and the Water Coalition hope that those who were unable to attend will take advantage of this opportunity to hear the talk without having to drive at night.
A writer, aural historian and radio producer, Loeffler has produced a radio series on the Colorado River and one on the Rio Grande based on his personal experience as a field researcher and river rat. His books include ‘Adventures With Ed: A portrait of Abbey;’ ‘Healing the West: Voices of Culture and Habitat;’ and ‘Headed Upstream: Interviews With Iconoclasts.’ He received a New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts and the Edgar Lee Hewett Award for Writing from the New Mexico Historical Society. In 2009 he was honored as a Santa Fe Living Treasure.
The library is located on Forest Road 100 just off Highway 60 three miles west of downtown Datil. Everyone is welcome. Refreshments will be served.

Pie Town Art Gallery Opening

By Anne Sullivan

The Pie-o-neer Pie Shop in Pie Town is not only the home of award winning pies but now hosts Fine Art.
Pie-o-neer proprietors Kathy Knapp and Stan King announce the Grand Opening of their Pie Star Art Gallery on Saturday, Nov. 6 from noon until 6 p.m. Throughout the day Stan King on the upright bass and Michael Robinson on the improvisational guitar will perform musical interludes.
Free samples of pie will be available for anyone visiting the Pie Star Art Gallery which is housed in a bright sunny room off the main dining area. Since its opening in 1995 the Pie-o-neer has been known for its incredibly delectable healthy pies, some organic made with absolutely fresh fruit.
Artists will be on hand to discuss their work. Michael Robinson, born in London, has called Pie Town home for 12 years. His paintings are included in collections at the Guggenheim and Castelli Galleries in New York and his works appear in corporate collections of Philip Morris, Reader’s Digest, CBS and Hermes. He has designed jewelry for Van Cleef & Arpels in New York. The entire natural world is his subject matter: plants, animals, vistas of New Mexico highlands and moonscapes of Jupiter and Saturn illustrate the symbiotic relationship between human and the other forms of life that inhabit this planet.
After retiring from a 30 year career with the California Department of Forestry and 27 years with the U.S. Army John Harrell settled in Pie Town in 2006. He began photographing thunderstorms and went on to wildlife photos on canvas so alive they appear to jump right out at the viewer. For more information call 772 2711 or email at

The Pudding Is Proofed By Sylvia Herself

By Anne Sullivan

“Sylvia!” I screeched in horror. “Did you come into the house expressly to throw up?”
“No, boss, I came in to drink some water because I wasn’t feeling good,” she answered with a feeble wag of the tail.
“Well,” I corrected. “Feeling well.”
“Out.” I opened the door. “Right now.”
“Aw, gee whiz,” Sylvia said as she stalked out.
“One more thing.” I followed her onto the porch to avoid cleaning up the mess.
“What have I done wrong now?”
“Was it necessary to bark ALL last night?”
“If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing well. Now, if you must put me out, kindly leave me with some paper. I’m on the fifth rewrite of Chapter One of my mystery novel and I’m almost finished.”
“You’re making good progress. That mysterious man, that editor, whoever he is, must be proud of you.”
“You think so?” Sylvia perked up, color returning to her face.
“Yes, you’ve been working very hard for the last week. I must say, I’d like to meet your mystery editor friend. Have you seen him lately?”
“Oh, yes, he comes by every day.”
“How come I’ve never seen him?”
“I couldn’t say. He always seems to drop in when you’ve gone to the Post Office.”
“Have you found out what his name is yet?”
“He said I could call him Max.”
“Max? I don’t know anybody called Max. As a matter of fact, I’ve never known anyone named Max. Does he live around here?”
“I really don’t know but I don’t think so. He doesn’t dress like anyone from here. But, guess what? He said I was beginning to understand the art of writing.”
“That must have cheered you up, Sylvia. It’s a nice compliment. Would you permit me to read the latest rewrite of your first chapter?”
“Certainly, boss. I just happen to have a copy right here in my doghouse.”
And this is what she wrote:
‘The cat and I watched as the body swung in the wind. A rope attached the body to a ponderosa branch.
“Who do you think that is?” Fatso, the Cat Detective asked.
“He has the look of a spy,” I, Veronica O’Leary, Dog Detective, answered.
“No doubt you are correct. You always are,” remarked Fatso, somewhat of a
sycophant. “But what was he doing here?”
“That’s what we must discover, my dear Fatso. From the looks of his Italian shoes, I deduce that he has something to do with the Water Grab.”
“That’s very clever, Veronica, but how can you tell?”
“Elementary, my dear Fatso. His shoes are wet. Come, we must head out to
the San Agustin Plains.”’
“That’s ever so much better, Sylvia. I really like it. Lots of action,” I interrupted.
“You haven’t finished it,” said Sylvia. “There’s much more.”
“That’s for another time. We’re out of space.”

Fish And Game Checkpoints

Mountain Mail Reports

The Department of Game and Fish will be conducting roadblocks to apprehend those who violate fish and wildlife laws. Hunters, campers and other travelers could be affected by road blocks beginning as early as this month.
Fish and Game officers will be checking for compliance with hunting and fishing laws, registration requirements and safety provisions. They will be working with several other agencies including New Mexico State Police, Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service to conduct the stops. A special notice is being issued to drivers hauling wood products to remind them that they will be asked to produce required Forestry Conservation Act documentation.
Callers wishing to report violations can contact the toll-free Operation Game Thief hotline at(800) 432-GAME (4263) or their local conservation officer. Callers can remain anonymous, and can be eligible for rewards for information leading to the apprehension of game law violators.

“Marching On In New Guinea”

By Anne Sullivan

(Continued From Last Week)

On the next day’s schedule was a spectacular chartered flight from Amboa Lodge to Karawari. A small plane held Sylvester, the pilot, and me, the passenger. Just before takeoff Sylvester gave the safety talk which consisted of, “If the wing catches on fire, exit by the rear.” Since no parachute was issued and given the advanced age of Sylvester, I comforted myself by reciting to myself the motto, “There are old pilots and there are bold pilots but there are no old bold pilots.”
After flying over mountains covered by rain forest jungle for over an hour we landed in an even smaller field by a river. A thatched shack open on all sides boasted an ambitious sign – Karawari Airport. Gate 1 Arrivals. Gate 2 Departures. I was met by Paul, my guide, who retrieved my small backpack and a red carry-on and we trudged through the damp field to a launch on the Kariwari River. In ten minutes we landed at a wharf where we climbed into the back of a truck dating from the thirties or forties. It rattled its way up the hill to Karawari Lodge, where I was now not only the only person on the tour but also the only guest.
My quarters in the lodge were a little way up from the main building built to resemble a Spirit Lodge. I had a breathtaking view of the river and a mosquito net on the bed.
Karawari was hot, sticky hot with a humidity that felt like 200 per cent. Returning from a visit to a neighboring village to watch the making of sago, a staple crop, morphing from wood to flour pancake, I collapsed on the sofa in the main room of the lodge. The time until dinner was spent drinking glass after glass of iced tea and admiring the religious carvings and statues that surrounded the room.
The next day while the morning coolness was still with us, Paul and I paid a visit to the hospital  halfway down the hill. It was more of a clinic with two hospital rooms. Serious cases were evacuated by launch to the hospital in Wewak. Two doctors, who I think were more like paramedics, saw between 100 and 150 patients a day, the majority being women with sick children plus many cases of malaria and asthma.
That day, my second in Karawari, was spent almost entirely in the launch going down the river. Elvis drove the launch very fast except when passing the many people fishing from canoes. We stopped at a school run by a church group where I was recruited to speak to students in four different classes. When I asked them what they wanted to do after they left school, the boys wanted to be soldiers, pilots, doctors and one a sailor. The sole bashful girl who answered wanted to be a nurse. I got into the rhythm of telling them they could do anything they wanted to do as long as it didn’t hurt anybody. I think my words fell on deaf ears, as they mostly wanted to know how many grandchildren I had.
Our day’s journey ended with a climb up a steep hill from Paul’s village to see the Catholic Church where Paul was an elder. At St. Michael of the Archangel Church the walls were open at the sides, the pews low planks set on the dirt floor, and the statues beautiful wood carvings.
Yanked away from breakfast the following morning with the news delivered via radio that my chartered plane to Mt. Hagen was about to land, I packed hastily and took off in the launch with Elvis going at top speed. Saying a quick hello to four incoming guests from Seattle and a sad goodbye to Paul and Elvis, I found myself once again ensconced in the plane with Sylvester piloting. After taxing up the hill to take off, Sylvester revved up the engines which sounded a little off even to me and definitely to Sylvester. We taxied back to the airfield shed while Sylvester radioed Mt. Hagen to send another plane and an engineer to fix the ailing engine. We, Sylvester, a man I think from the lodge, several village women and a bevy of children, waited in the shack. With a swiftness that would never happen here, in several hours a plane piloted by Bob and carrying an engineer with tools landed on the grass. In a very short time I was in Mt. Hagen, PNG’s third largest city, at the Highlander Hotel and in the company of another tour of 15 Americans who were all very nice and welcoming.
The big Sing Sing was scheduled for my last full day. I was half looking forward to it and half dreading it because, after 23 years in Datil, I am not comfortable with crowds. Beyond my wildest dreams, it was glorious. We watched and photographed the participants dress in their elaborate costumes and put on their makeup. Clan by clan, they marched by, stopping to dance and sing in front of the pavilion holding the 40 or so tourists. Once the 12th tribe had passed, all of them marched, drums beating, singing and dancing all at once covering the entire field. Very stirring, it was nothing less than spectacular. My camera couldn’t take pictures fast enough. My favorites were the mud men and the skeletons. Once back in Mt Hagen, we explored the Main Market, an enormous building filled with stalls and people selling mostly foods – beautiful fresh vegetables, coffee and meat. All the vendors said “good noon” to us and wanted to shake our hands and thanked us for visiting their country.
Then it poured rain and I left PNG the next evening....
And that is the end of my story.

Picture: Karawari School

Photo by Anne Sullivan

Drums Of China Come To Socorro

By Rebecca Rose

In Mandarin, Jigu means "to beat or touch the drum”.  This Saturday those words will come alive as Jigu! Thunder Drums of China takes the stage at the Macey Center. Part of Tech’s ongoing Performing Arts Series, the world famous troupe of drummers, percussionist, musicians bring their world famous performance to Socorro for a night of music and dancing.  
Jigu! Thunder Drums of China is celebration of Chinese music and culture, combining traditional and modern elements to highlight ancient drumming techniques. 
The performers are from various villages in the Chinese province of Shanxi, where traditional drumming has a long and storied history.  Cynthia Dike-Hughes is the Vice President and COO of IAI Presentations, Inc., and co-producer of the Jigu! Thunder Drums of China show.  “Shanxi is the birthplace of the Chinese drumming tradition, dating back to 700 BC.” said Hughes  “Many of the performers come from a long line of drumming families.  It’s a tradition passed down from generation to generation that we are thrilled to share”
This is the fourth time the group has toured North America since 2007. “The performers enjoy sharing their ancient art form with people everywhere.  Their favorite part of coming to North America is seeing so much of America, which they have read about and heard about over the years.”  Hughes said it’s not just the culture and scenery of America they enjoy so much.  “They also love sweet treats.  Candy, cookies, cakes – they love it all.  Sweets are not as common in China as they are here in the West, so having so many sweets is a real treat for them that they are enjoying very much.” 
As a stage performance, Hughes promises the show features more than just drums. “It’s so diverse and ecclectic. There’s different vignettes,” said Hughes. “Each one celebrates the beauty and nature of China and more.”
 One of the prominent elements featured in the performance is the Yellow River, which runs through Shanxi province.  “The Shanxi is the ‘bread basket’ of China, many things such as corn, rice, wheat come from there.  Many of the vignettes tell stories about this river, and nature. ‘The Boatmen of the Yellow River’ tells the story of workers bringing goods down the river.”
One of the vignettes features musicians emulating the sound of wind blowing and nuts falling and rolling on top of the peasants’ homes, a celebration of the nuts that are grown in the Shanxi province.
Hughes said this type of aural artistry is what audience should expect from the show. “It’s not just ‘drums’.  The Chinese drumming tradition is very musical.  People will be impressed how the performers illicit music from drums.  It’s touching, it’s moving, but some parts are very humorous.” she said.
Jigu takes the stage at the Macey Center on Wednesday, November 3rd at 7:30pm.  Tickets for the show are $18 for adults, $16 for senior citizens 65 and over, and $14 for youths 17 and under; with a $2 discount if purchased by 5:00pm on the 3rd. Admission is free to New Mexico Tech students enrolled in at least 6 hours and showing a valid ID.
Tickets are available at the door or in advance at NM Tech Cashier’s Office (second floor of Fidel Center), Brownbilt Western Wear, Sofia’s Kitchen/Burrito Tyme or at the door. For more details, visit

Hamfest Free To Public

Mountain Mail reports

Amateur radio operators and emergency-communications volunteers from throughout New Mexico and surrounding states will meet in Socorro on Saturday, Oct. 30. The annual Socorro Hamfest will be held at the New Mexico Firefighters Training Academy from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
Hamfest, will include a statewide meeting of volunteer members of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES). These volunteers train regularly and work with local governments and other organizations to provide vital communication links to help in disaster situations.
Other features of Hamfest include lectures, demonstrations, door prizes, displays, a radio-electronics swap meet, and commercial electronics vendors. There also will be working amateur radio stations, literature on amateur radio and a wide variety of electronic equipment for viewing and sale. Hamfest events kick off on Friday, Oct. 29, with a tour of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s Very Large Array and an evening, pre-hamfest banquet for local and visiting hams.
Examinations for FCC amateur radio licenses will also be given at Hamfest. The examinations begin at noon, with registration for the exams beginning at 11 a.m. While Hamfest is free, there is a fee for the examinations. In addition, examinees must bring photo identification and the original plus a copy of any amateur radio license or examination certificate that they may have.
This program of the American Radio Relay League – the national association for Amateur Radio – has provided “ham radio” emergency communications for agencies such as the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, countless Emergency Operations Centers and other responders in the worst of times. In events from ice storms to Hurricane Katrina and Haiti, when normal communications systems were down or overloaded, the Amateur Radio operators of the ARES programs filled requests for communications aid.
The Socorro Hamfest is sanctioned by the ARRL and sponsored by the Socorro Amateur Radio Association, the New Mexico Tech Amateur Radio Association, and the City of Socorro. 

“Who Killed Vito?” Asks Socorro Theater’s New Play

Mountain Mail reports

Socorro Community Theater’s upcoming production will be asking members of the audience to help find a murderer when it present the play “Funeral for a Gangster,” Oct. 29-30 and Nov. 5-6.
Who killed Vito?  Was it Lena, his grieving widow, all decked out in diamonds?  Or did one of his three conniving, no-good,  mobster children have him bumped off?
This zany murder mystery is set in 1930, during the height of the Prohibition Era, when gangsters ruled the streets.  Vito “the Gut” Marzetti   has been gunned down at the local Chinese restaurant.
The audience will be attending “services” for Vito at Ruby’s Funeral Parlor and join familymembers as an FBI agent leads the way in discovering who had Vito killed, and where he hid his loot. Audience members are encouraged to help set the mood by wearing costumes from the 1920s/1930s, or to dress in funeral attire.
“We want people to feel they are a part of the funeral,” said director Rose Smith.
Halloween costumes are also accepted.  Anyone who wears a full costume will receive a $3 discount at the door.
The audience, if they wish, can put their detective skills to the test by helping finger Vito’s killer, and figuring out where Vito kept his stash. Participants will fill out a simple questionnaire and solve a riddle to answer the last question.  Prizes will be awarded nightly by drawing from solutions.
The cast of characters includes Alan Roes (Joey “the Lump” Marzetti), Bill Stone (Frankie “Marbles” Marzetti), Vicky Gonzales (Ruby “Fingers” Marzetti), Lauren Hurtgen (Lena, Vito’s widow), Thaddeus Bejnar (the FBI agent),  Heydon Hensley (the Funeral Director), and newcomer Mary Gorton (Vito’s  teacher).
 “Even though it’s a funeral, each character has their own comic flair to bring to this most dysfunctional family,” Smith said.
“Funeral for a Gangster,” by Eileen Moushey, will be performed at The Old Epiphany Church, next to the Socorro Heritage and Visitor’s Center.  “The old church was chosen because it gives the ambience of old-fashioned funeral parlors of the 1920s,” Smith said.
Tickets are $8, and $5 for people in full costume. The play runs over 2 weekends: Friday-Saturday, Oct. 29-30 and Nov. 5-6. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. for Friday performances and 3:30 p.m. for Saturday performances.
The Old Epiphany Church is located at 219 Fisher, across from the Fire Station.  Parking is available at Plaza Furniture.  Seating is limited.  For ticket information, call 835-2564. Tickets will also be available at the door.

Picture: Members of the Socorro Community Theater participated in Saturday’s 49ers parade, with an elaborate float, featuring live performances from their play. “Funeral for A Gangster” starts this weekend.

Photo by Rebecca Rose