Friday, November 12, 2010

Last Mass In San Miguel Church

By John Larson

SOCORRO – Last Sunday Father Andy Pavlak performed the last Mass for a long time in the San Miguel Church building. As of this week, services will be held in the Parish Hall, “maybe for the next five years,” he said. “Our beautiful old adobe church is in danger of falling down.”
On October 29 our adobe specialist, Antonio Martinez and an engineer did another assessment on the condition of the adobe walls,” Pavlak said. “We got the word on Friday it should be closed as soon as possible. With the moisture sample and problems with the beams and continuing problems in the walls it was determined that we have to close the church. The ultimate goal is to keep people safe.
“I got permission to use it through the weekend, and after the last Mass on Sunday morning the altars and statues were moved over to the Parish Hall. Everybody pitched in and helped,” Pavlak said. “We’ll be moving the crucifixion scene, and then eventually the pews.”
He said the basketball hoops will be removed and the Parish Hall will be regarded indefinitely as the permanent sanctuary.
“This is just another step in the process to save the building. We have no choice. We’re concerned with the south wall and north wall, and the two main beams holding up the sanctuary roof,” Pavlak said. “The fact that we made cuts in the wall adobe is better than being completely covered with detrimental plaster and stucco.”
He said there is a basic idea on what has to be done, “but do not know at this point how we are to proceed.”
“We are waiting right now for prioritization on what to do first,” Pavlak said. “The roof may have to be braced. The floor will need to be done over. We’ll have to take out a lot of concrete and bad plaster. Take out broken adobe bricks, and then replaster.
“We’re talking about years and years of bad decisions in the maintenance of this old structure,” he said. “No disrespect intended. It’s what people thought was the best thing to do at the time.”
Pavlak said the church has “about $200,000 in the building fund account.
“Hopefully it will get us through to some point. After that we’ll look to a vigorous fund raising plan,” he said. “We always appreciate the great and supportive people of San Miguel.”

Photo of Parish Hall by Gary Jaramillo

Thursday, November 11, 2010

WWII Vet Shares Memories Of War

By John Larson
This Veterans Day the Mountain Mail salutes all who spent part of their lives serving our country in wartime and in peacetime, and while some are hesitant to talk about their wartime experiences, Miguel “Mike” Martinez of Socorro still has vivid memories of his time spent in one of the most hazardous duties in the U.S. Army Air Corps.
“I was a belly turret gunner on a B-17 flying out of England,” Martinez said. “Our missions were simply to destroy the German war machine. We only bombed military targets. Marshalling yards, armament factories. The British bombed at night and we bombed during the day because we used precision bombing with the Norden bombsight. He did a very good job.”
He was a member of the 562nd Bombardment Squadron, one of four squadrons in the 388th Bombardment Group, part of the 8th Air Force, based in Knestisshall, Surrey, England from 1943 to 1945.
Martinez’s position was in the belly turret (or ball turret), which was much like a bubble on the bottom of the plane.
“It was very cramped. There wasn’t even enough room for a parachute,” he said. “The shortest guys got that job, and that was me. It was just me and two 50 caliber machine guns.”
Martinez said he would enter the ball when entering enemy territory.
“You had a big crank to swivel the ball up to where you could climb in through a small door. When you’re in the turret, your feet are level with your head,” he said. “To get back out, into the plane, there was an electric motor.”
According to some wartime accounts, ball turret gunners were a breed apart. “It felt kind of lonely, but I was confident because we were trained. The rest of the crew was just a few feet away.”
He said the gunners on the B-17s would stay in constant communication with each other - and the rest of the crew - through the intercom.
“It wasn’t like you see in the movies where they say something like ‘pilot to bombardier.’ We would use our names. That’s how much of a team we were. Once you were in the air there was no rank – officers and NCOs were equal. We, each of us, depended on each other for our lives.”
The B-17 also had a tail gunner, nose gunner, top turret gunner and two ‘waist’ gunners.
“You would hear somebody say on the intercom ‘bogie at 10 o’clock,’ and you knew where the ME-109s or ME-190s [German fighter planes] was coming from,” he said. “In the ball I had a 360 degree field of view and turned the ball around to where I needed it.”
He said he never knew how many enemy aircraft he hit. “All the gunners would be shooting at the same plane,” so the kill was credited to the entire crew.
Martinez said although the German fighter attacks were bad, they weren’t as bad as flak from anti-aircraft.
“With the [fighters] you could shoot back, but the flak, that was bad,” he said. “Sometimes you would see a large dark cloud far ahead. That was the flak and that was your target. We experienced heavy flak most of the time.
“The worst was our mission over Berlin. It was heavily defended. The flak was very heavy and there were more fighters. But we hit our target and made it back,” he said
“After some missions we would come back and count the holes in the aircraft. Sometimes a small piece of flak would tear a hole four to five feet in the fuselage,” Martinez said.
But from his position he couldn’t see what was going on above him in the plane.
“I had a good view of everything from the Plexiglas window, including the ground, and could watch the bombs coming out of the bomb bay, just a few feet in front of me. And then watch them hit our target – pop-pop-pop. We bombed at about 25,000 feet altitude.
At that altitude crewmen wore heavy fleece-lined jackets and oxygen masks. “You have to shave well the day of a mission,” he said.
“It was 50 degrees below zero up there, and sometimes water vapor in the breathing apparatus froze. I would have to squeeze the bladder to break up the water vapor ice,” Martinez said. “Later we had electrically heated suits which was a big improvement.”
Belly turret gunners routinely spent 8-10 hours in the ball while over enemy territory.
“We had no food (K rations) on the missions, but they gave us unsweetened chocolate bars to eat on the way back,” Martinez said. “Once we dropped our bombs we headed straight for the North Sea. I would get out of the turret and we all could relax. The plane was put on automatic pilot for the trip back to England.”
Bombing the Mainz, Germany, marshalling yards was his first mission. “There were 20 to 30 railroad tracks we had to put out of commission.”
Martinez said everyone on the crew felt stress on each mission, but “the mission we were assigned to successfully complete was the priority.”
“I remember thinking, if anything happens, it will happen to the other guy,” he said. “That may sound a little insensitive, but that’s what was in everyone’s mind.”
Martinez also thought about any civilians that were being killed on the ground.
“That is something I didn’t want to think about, but I knew it was happening,” he said. “But what could you do? I was hired by my government to do a job. We all were.”
Martinez remembers one mission above all the others.
“There was one memorable mission,” he said. “The retreating Germans had to be stopped at the Rhine River, and the 388th was assigned to knock out the bridges at Cologne, Germany.
“Flying over Cologne. with the bridges knocked out by bombs, the city was completely devastated, but on one side of the river was a great cathedral. It was completely undamaged. I thought it would be hit but was not. It meant a lot to me to see it standing there, like there was hope in the midst of all that devastation.”
There were other missions when not everything went according to plan. One was on Christmas Eve, 1943.
“I went over to Europe not on a military transport ship, but aboard the Queen Mary, with about 18,000 troops. The British ran the ship, of course, and also cooked the meals,” he said. “It was fried liver and tea for every meal and I got so sick of eating that, I went to the ship’s store and bought a whole of Butterfinger candy bars.
“On Dec. 24, 1944 we had mechanical trouble coming back from a mission and had to make an emergency landing at a nearby British air base. They invited us to Christmas dinner,” Martinez said. “We thought about those meals on the Queen Mary and said ‘no thanks, we will wait,” and people from our base came over and picked us up to take us back to our base. We had turkey and dressing for Christmas dinner.”
On his eighteenth mission, an engine exploded after take-off and the B-17 caught fire, while still over England.
“I had not entered the turret yet, and we all had to bail out. There were a couple of injuries. One landed in a tree, one in a concrete ditch, but I was lucky and landed in a field,” Martinez said. “That was my last mission.”
Martinez still has a souvenir of that mission. He saved the “D” ring – the metal ring that operated the ripcord - from his parachute pack.
“I became a proud member of the Caterpillar Club,” he said. “Caterpillars make silk and parachutes are made of silk. I was even given a caterpillar lapel pin, but it was gone when someone stole my duffel bag.”
He said he was already back in the States when the 388th took part in the bombing of Dresden, Germany.
Martinez said one of his missions was a little different, because “our target was Paris. Orly Airport. We had to bomb the whole aerodrome because it had been taken over by the Luftwaffe.”
One oddity during several of his missions were the appearance, not of enemy fighters, but “foo foo fighters. Balls of light. You would see one out there flying at the same altitude and same speed.
“Then they’re gone, flying up at 90 degree angle out of sight. Planes could not go up 90 degrees at that speed. We never knew what they were,” he said.
The B-17 is credited with dropping more bombs than any other U.S. aircraft in World War II.
The casualties for airmen totaled 52,000 at war’s end, and although the tour of duty for an airman was 25 missions, life expectancy of a bomber crew member was just 15 missions.
For his service as a ball turret gunner in the Army Air Force, Martinez was awarded the European/African Theater Ribbon with three bronze stars, two Air Medals with oak leaf cluster, and a Presidential Distinguished Unit Badge
“It was an interesting job, but I didn’t consider myself a hero. The term hero implies that this guy was braver than others. All of us did a job and did a good job,” Martinez said.
On the home front in Socorro for the three years he was serving in the military was his future wife. Vivi.
“I waited for him the whole time,” she said. “We were married in 1945. I had to propose to him.”
Mike and Vivi Martinez celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary this year.
The Mountain Mail wished to extend its condolences on the recent loss of their son, Mike.

Solid Waste Fees To Increase $20 Annually

By Rebecca Rose

County Commissioners voted to approve a $20 per year increase in residential solid waste fees during a Public Hearing on Tuesday night.  The new measure would bring the total costs for residential fees to $80 and $375 for commercial businesses.
County Manager Delilah Walsh explained that move was a response to an increase in disposal fees from the city of Socorro, which manages the dump.  According to Walsh, fees for the County have more than doubled in the past two years. Socorro County residents have not had fee increase in five years. “The fact is, the cost to run the landfill has increased,” said Walsh.  “I just want to cover the cost of the landfill.”
In her recommendation, Walsh pointed to an anticipated annual cost of $325,000 to cover landfill costs for the next fiscal year, with no residential boom predicted to cover increasing costs. “Our objective is to cover the landfill expense, not operational expenses.” she said.
Several constituents wrote letters to the Commission to voice their objections to the increase. “This increase in today’s economy is going to put a financial strain on many senior citizens who are on a fixed income,” wrote Ismail Romero and Dianne Perry in a joint letter.  “Everything is going  up in price, but our income is not going up.”
 In her letter to the Commission, Millie Sigman asked “Has the County tried other measures to reduce cost increases? Such as limiting the number of days that the waste stations are open? Increasing more stringent efforts to collect annual waste fees from property owners?”
Michael Jojola, Director of the Solid Waste Department spoke during the Commission meeting, stating that his department was also looking into ways to alleviate costs, such as exploring recycling options, and cracking down on “sticker lending”, to stop non-County residents from borrowing stickers and dumping their waste in Socorro.  He also said that using wood chippers to mulch heavy branches would not only help cut down on landfill tonnage but also provide residents with a useful by-product.
The average annual fee for solid waste disposal in surrounding counties is $130 annually. Catron County, which does not operate a dump within the county, pays $400,000 annually to transport their waste to an appropriate site.
Commissioners approved the increase, with the stipulation that residents be allowed to pay the fee in installments, if needed.  The measure will go into effect within five days, with the increase reflected on billing starting on the first of the new year.

Water Grab Meeting

Upwards of 200 people attended the scheduling meeting concerning the San Augustin Ranch LLC water grab. After a series of comments and suggestions by attendees – many of whom were from Catron County – and lawyers from San Augustin Ranch, the state engineer’s hearing officer, Victor Kovac, announced that due to the heated debate between the protestants and the lawyers, no decision could be made on scheduling at this time. Pictured (from left): Andrew Core, Kovac, and Charles Kinney, all from the Office of the State Engineer.
Photo by John Larson

Village Postpones Vote On Economic Development Measure

By John Larson

MAGDALENA – The Village Board of Trustees put off a motion to being the process to adopt a new village ordinance proposed by the New Mexico Economic Development Dept. that would ostensibly encourage new businesses to locate in Magdalena.
Tim Hagaman, NMED’s Region 1 representative, proposed the new ordinance at the Board’s Monday night meeting.
He said 60 to 70 communities have already passed the ordinance and that the Municipal League supports it.
“It would be a platform from which to work with the state’s Economic Development department,” Hagaman said. “It would require the trustees to assign an outside agency to forward the plan. I recommend the Magdalena Community Development Corporation. They have been around for a while and this will give them more focus for Magdalena to bring in infrastructure that is needed. They would also help with other local businesses to expand their business.”
He also pointed out that the state would require the village to impose its own gross receipts tax.
“Only village can bring in economic development and so far it has not brought in economic development,” Hagaman said.
Trustee Diane Allen said she had serious reservations about the proposal.
“With jobs coming into the community we would face a gamut of problems,” she sad. “In my hometown outsiders came in and got into positions of power and open it up to a lot of development. When the voters asked questions these people did not listen to them.  There was no real forethought put into it and right now they have major problems.”
Allen said there were certain sections in the ordinance she would need further information on.
“What is the liability to the village. What type of village control would there be. It can get so out of control down the road,” Allen said. “At this point in time I am opposed to it.”
Trustee Barbara Baca said she felt that some change is good and some change is bad.
“I don’t want Magdalena to become a Santa Fe,” Baca said. “It used to be a  nice community, and now you have to go down the road with your doors locked.”
Baca then made the motion to table the item until the ordinance can be examined with an attorney.

OBITUARY: Lena Anaya

Lena Anaya passed away on Monday, November 8, 2010 in Albuquerque, NM.
Lena was born on November 13 to Salomon Sr. and Maria (Gonzales) Montano in Socorro, NM.
She is survived by her loving husband of 48 years, Paul Anaya Sr.; her devoted daughter, Arlene Lindsey – Torres and husband, Tony; her loving son, Paul Anaya Jr. and wife Louise; six grandchildren, Neil, Mark, Jonathan, Derrick, Brett, and Aubry; three great grandchildren, Bradley; Juliana; and Christian; her brother, Salomon Montano Jr.; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Lena was a lifelong resident of Socorro and a devoted member of San Miguel Church.
She was the first elected woman as County Assessor of Socorro County and was a member of The New Mexico Counties Association.
A Rosary will be recited on Saturday, November 13, 2010 at 10:00 am at the San Miguel Catholic Church in Socorro and A Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated following at 10:30 am with Father Andy Pavlak as Celebrant. Interment will take place in The San Miguel Catholic Cemetery. Those who wish to send condolences may do so at Services have been entrusted to: Daniels Family Funeral Services 309 Garfield Socorro, NM 87801 (575) 835-1530.

EDITORIAL: An Apple A Day...

By Rebecca Rose

This week we bring you a special section, focused on Your Health, with issues directly relating to our community. This feature couldn’t have been timelier. People keep asking me if I’m getting homesick. Well, this week I just got plain sick. I was laid up for almost five days. It was awful.
I’ll admit. I don’t like seeing the doctor. I’d rather be dragged on my belly through a cactus field.
I know I’m not alone; there’s a lot of you out there who can’t stand getting sick, mostly because it means exposing yourself to a process that only slightly rivals the humiliation and frustration of an IRS audit.
When I grew up, my doctor was a family doctor. His name was Dr. Wachs and he saw me regularly from the time I was 5 years old until the day I left for college. (Seriously, it was the exact day, because my mother made me go see him, so he could warn me about all the “bad things” that happen when college kids “get stupid”.) Dr. Wachs didn’t need a chart or a medical history; he remembered the last time I got the flu, all the bones I had ever broken and how many teeth I had pulled. He didn’t just treat me. He cared for me.
A lot has changed since then.
The last time I went to a doctor was in California. The office was in a medical building that more resembled a military base than a health care center. There were a lot of very angry, menacing signs that said things like “STAND BEHIND THIS LINE” and “DO NOT CROSS THIS LINE” and ‘SERIOUSLY WE MEAN IT ABOUT THE LINE”. Area 51 is more inviting than this place.
I had to wait in one line for 45 minutes so I could get my “forms”. The forms were baffling, filled complicated questions about the medical history of my ancestors dating back to the Crimean War. You need the Rosetta Stone to translate these things. Plus, they had very little to do with my actual physical health. “Please list your last six employers” does not seem like a question that’s going to help someone figure out why my head feels like it’s going to blow up whenever I blink my eyes.
On top of everything else, this visit means that at some point I’m going to have to call my insurance company and file a claim. I dread talking to them.  Vlad The Impaler was friendlier than my health insurance provider.
I didn’t give these forms to an actual person; instead, I deposited them into a drop box like the ones gas stations use in really bad neighborhoods to keep robbers from murdering their employees. A red light flashed and a buzzer sounded, which either meant I was approved to get treated, or they had reported my presence to Big Brother.
When I finally made it to the actual treatment room, I waited for another 20 minutes, reading a Glamour magazine from 1987 until my alleged doctor arrived. He looked like he should be reading X-Men comic books, not the intimate details of my complex medical history. I wasn’t sure he was old enough to know how to spell “doctor.” He called me “Rachel” at least 3 times. I think he looked up at me once during the entire five minutes he spent “examining” me. I use the term “examination” here loosely, because I’m not sure how exactly you can “examine” someone when you sit 10 feet away from them and never actually put your hands on them. I might as well have been a dinosaur wearing a Wonder Woman outfit for all he knew.
Anyway, after three hours and 1200 forms, I was told I to stay in bed...which is pretty much where I wanted to be in the first place.

OPINION: There’s A Gun Pointed At Our Heads

Magdalena Potluck
By Don Wiltshire

Don’t look now but the State Engineer has a gun pointed directly at our collective heads. By the time you read this, the Preliminary Hearing will have taken place. The only thing that will have been decided is just when and where the State Engineer will take aim at us again. The application being discussed is whether or not the San Augustin Ranch has the right to withdraw a quarter of a mile cube of water every year from the San Augustin Basin and sell it to whomever they want to.
The Cordova Public Relations Company was hired by the Ranch to produce the “Background Memorandum: Augustin Ranch Aquifer Evaluation and Water Development Project” back in 2007. The report stressed just how beneficial this plan would be to provide water to all of New Mexico and that our water rights and access would not be impacted in the slightest. The report went on to point out that there was enough water out there to last us for 300 years. That’s a total volume of water of nearly five cubic miles. So the State Engineer must decide if those five cubic miles of water exist to benefit Bruno Modena, the owner of the Ranch, and his children and grandchildren and great grandchildren or if the water should remain in Catron and Socorro Counties to benefit us, our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. The decision is his alone and whether or not he squeezes the trigger remains to be seen.
Bruno is being represented in this case by John B Draper, Esq. and Jeffrey J. Wechsler, Esq. from Montgomery & Andrews, P.A. in Santa Fe. A quick Google reveals that this law firm has won numerous cases including the approval for Louisiana Energy Services (LES) to construct and operate the National Enrichment Facility (NEF) in Lea County near Eunice, N.M. LES is a subsidiary of Urenco, a partnership of the Dutch government, British Nuclear Fuels Ltd., several German utilities and two United States energy companies. Urenco controls 25% of the worldwide uranium enrichment market. It was also accused, in 2004, of selling sensitive uranium enrichment technology to North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Libya.
The NEF opened its doors last June with much fanfare and political rhetoric but it still has no plan in place to dispose of its 4,800 tons per year of chemically contaminated depleted uranium waste. Good choice for your legal representation, Bruno!
The Protestants (the “good guys” in this case) are no lightweights either. There are twenty legal teams in place, representing Socorro County, the Catron County Board of County Commissioners, the University of New Mexico, the US Department of the Interior, the NM Interstate Stream Commission, the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, the NM Commissioner of Public Lands, the Department of Game & Fish, the Navajo Nation, the Pueblos of Acoma, Kewa, Santa Ana, San Felipe, Isleta & Sandia, Kokopelli Ranch LLC, Last Chance Water Company, Monticello Community Ditch, Luna Irrigation Ditch, Santa Terecita Ranch and my personal favorite, the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, representing 69 individuals and business entities. There are also 129 pro se ProTESTants ( not to be confused with PROTestants, the religion) who will be advocating on their own behalf before the court.
The entire process promises to stretch well into 2012 or 2013 by the time everyone gets their two cents ($25?) worth in and gets cross examined. After two years of this grief and nonsense, we may all feel like throwing in the towel and giving Bruno his five cubic miles of water. Go ahead, pull that trigger!
On a lighter note, our last Water Meeting of the year will take place on Wednesday, November 17 at 7:00 p.m. in the Magdalena Public Library. Frank Titus, the “Grandfather of New Mexico Hydrology” will give a presentation on just what lies below the San Augustin Plains. How much water is there? How fast does it move? How soon will we start to feel the effects of this hair-brained scheme? Come, join us; practice your court deposition; get cross examined; then let the festivities begin!

If you have any comments, problems, solutions, upcoming events or 250 more Empty Milk Jugs, contact me, Don Wiltshire at

OPINION: Midterm Elections Reflect the Tightening Grip of the Corporate State

The Pencil Warrior
By Dave Wheelock

Last week’s midterm elections didn’t define the will of the people. Too many frustrated citizens stayed home for the results to be an inclusive measure. But it did provide a snapshot of prospects for the middle class and democracy in this country. As (reality-based) climate scientists increasingly warn, there exists a tipping point beyond which existing atmospheric conditions cannot be restored. The same is true for the rule of citizens; if that belief is too consistently betrayed, it will wither. I know I’m not the only one who wonders if we haven’t already crossed the threshold. I wonder if we’ll stop kidding ourselves before there’s no longer a doubt.
For better or worse, the elections have confirmed for many Americans that they live in a world built by a wealthy elite with plans for expansion. Better, if they set themselves and each other to do something about it; worse, if they resort to negative means to relieve their suffering. Worst of all would be capitulation.
In this, a non-presidential election, over 4 billions dollars were spent. Most of this bonanza was corporate money poured into corporate television ads designed to destroy a potential mass teachable moment by stoking the fires of negative emotion. Debate over America’s vital issues – the costs of maintaining an overseas empire, unchecked corruption in both business and government, increasing unemployment and homelessness, climate change and energy choices, escalating wealth inequity, destruction of ecosystems, etc. etc. – was systematically and purposefully scuttled to maintain current power structures. In its place we got the simplistic drumbeat of “small government, less taxes, individual freedom, support for our military.”
Like the skillful puppeteer or illusionist who draws our attention away from his actions by creating a diversion, those whom David Korten called the “Stratos dwellers” in his seminal book When Corporations Rule the World have turned each branch of our government – legislative, judicial, and executive – into a dog and pony show.
Everyone acknowledges that big money largely controls the selection and actions of our elected officials (except the elected officials). Our judicial system, from municipal courts all the way to the Supreme Court, consistently rules in favor of concentrated wealth, most recently in loosing all those uncontrolled billions into our elections. Governmental agencies with responsible-sounding names like the Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Emergency Management Administration, Minerals Management Service, and the Food and Drug Administration operate at bedrock level to insulate large-scale offenders from responsibility for their actions against the public.
The common thread in this flimflam which corporate media try their best to bury is the organizing structure: the corporation. Like a loaded gun, a large corporation embodies awesome power and seemingly irresistible force. Corporate status in support of property, profits - and now “freedom” - routinely trumps that of individual citizens, communities, and in the case of so-called free trade, even sovereign nations. In a nation once proud of its traditions of bottom-up authority, corporations are the antithesis of democracy.
Every day I receive at least one plea in the mail from a nonprofit or activist group concerned with a cause perfectly worthy of my support. I try to help, but there’s a limit. And the good guys are all losing, whether they know it or not. Mere coincidence, I suppose, that the corporations are winning.
But what can we do to free ourselves from the power of huge corporations? “TINA,” sigh the corporate insiders, their collaborators, and the hopelessly colonized. “There Is No Alternative.” If ever there was a self-defeating attitude, this is it. We’ve had enough of that already.
The citizens of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, have been doing their homework. I’m sure they’d be happy to share just a few tidbits from their Chambersburg Declaration of February 20, 2010:
“Most reformers and activists have not focused on replacing the current system of elite decision-making with a democratic one, but have concentrated merely on lobbying the factions in power to make better decisions . . . reformers and activists have not halted the destruction of our human or natural communities because they have viewed economic and environmental ills as isolated problems, rather than as symptoms produced by the absence of democracy.
“Therefore, let it be resolved: That a people’s movement must be created with a goal of revoking the authority of the corporate minority to impose political, legal, and economic systems that endanger our human and natural communities . . .”
We can’t know yet if democracy is dead in the United States. Our choice is to assume it is, and do nothing; or start resisting and yes, attacking illegitimate corporate power over our families, governments, and environments.
Dave Wheelock, a member of the Oneida Nation, is a collegiate sports administrator and coach. Mr. Wheelock’s opinions are not necessarily those of the Mountain Mail. Reach him at

LETTER: Appreciating Veterans

Dear Editor:
It is Veterans Day!  Why do we have Veterans Day?  It is to show appreciation to the vets for their sacrifice. What sacrifice?
They left the comfort of their homes, their families and loved ones to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces—Infantry, Army, Navy, Air Force or one of the many support groups.  A Veteran put their life in danger—some vets didn’t come back.  Some came back wounded in many different ways.
To show appreciation one day a year is an honorable thing to do because we have life, liberty and freedom.  We have the right to vote any ticket we please to or not. Vets did their duty, jobs and obligations.
It is only right that the rest of America be obligated to show their appreciation for the men and women who served their country.

Ryan L. Hall
Chapter 24, Disabled American Veterans

New Gallery

The Pie-O-Neer Restaurant in Pie Town officially opened its art gallery, adjacent to the dining area Saturday. Pie baker Kathy Knapp said she has been wanting the gallery for the last couple of years. “I can’t believe we are able to have this quality of talent in little ol’ Pie Town,” Knapp said. The grand opening featured the work of John Harrell. Pictured is the staff of the Pie-O-Neer (from left): John Harrell; Megan Bartasevich; Michael Robinson; Nita Larronde, who was just helping out Saturday; Stan King; and Kathy Knapp.
Photo by John Larson

Release of Wolves Delayed Indefinitely

Mountain Mail reports

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, along with the Arizona Game and Fish Department announced that the planned release of Mexican wolves into the Apache National Forest of the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area will be postponed until sometime in 2011.
The Service, after coordinating with its partners in the Mexican wolf recovery program in Arizona and New Mexico, determined that a release at this time would not be possible. After concerns were expressed by some of the partners the Service decided to step back and assess those considerations. The Service determined that additional time to plan and prepare for the release is needed to ensure the best possible outcome.
“We were hoping that a release this fall would signal our continued commitment to a successful recovery program, but the timing must be right for the wolves to have the very best chance for survival,” said Benjamin Tuggle, Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Southwest Region. “Although we have been working with our partners, we haven’t completed all of the necessary coordination and work, and in keeping faith with our commitments to our partners, and especially to the wolves, it became clear that the time isn’t right.”
“I believe that Dr. Tuggle made the right decision in delaying this release until conditions are optimum,” said Larry Voyles, Director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “We will continue to work with the Fish and Wildlife Service and our other partners to find common ground and ensure the success of this important program.”
“We will continue our efforts on the ground, and the coordination with our partners, until we determine the most favorable time for their release and we’ll move forward then,” Tuggle said.

Quemado: Veterans Honored

Quemado Connection
By Debbie Leschner

The Quemado roads are done and look great. Thank you to the three person county road crew from the Quemado Maintenance Yard, County Commissioner, Allen Lambert and others who worked on the project.
Quemado Senior Center activities for the week: Pool on Tuesday, quilting, bingo and Thanksgiving Day celebration on Thursday. Lunch for Monday – frito pie, Tuesday – BBQ beef ribs, Wednesday – sausage pizza, Thursday- turkey with gravy and Friday- chicken fajitas. All seniors are welcome. Please call the center at 773-4820 before 9 a.m. to make your lunch reservations.
Quemado Schools Basketball season has begun with the Jr High team playing at Reserve on Thursday, Nov. 18. The Junior Varsity and Varsity play a home game on Friday, Nov. 19 at 3 p.m. against Pine Hill. Homecoming will be on Saturday, Nov. 20 with a home game at 4 p.m. against Gallup Catholic.
Community Thanksgiving Meal will be on Saturday, Nov. 20 at the Catholic Church from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Side dishes and desserts are needed. Everyone is welcome.
Western New Mexico Veterans Group Rummage Sale will be held Saturday, November 13 and Sunday, the 14 from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. in the Veteran's Hall located at the corner of Baca and Church Street in Quemado. All proceeds go to help local veterans, their families and repair the hall.
The Women's Fellowship Luncheon will be held Tuesday, Nov. 16 at noon in the Cowboy Church located off Hwy 32 near Quemado. All women are invited to come share in this special time. The Mens Fellowship Breakfast will be on Saturday, Nov. 20.
Western New Mexico Veterans Group will not be having a monthly meeting for the months of Nov. or Dec. so veteran can have more time to spend with their families during the holiday season.
Mark Your Calendar with this upcoming date: The Community Christmas Cantata, The Journey of Christmas, will be on Saturday, Dec. 19 at the Quemado school gym.

November Skies: Meteor Shower

By Jon Spargo
New Mexico Tech Astronomy Club

The famous Leonid meteor shower will peak on the nights of the 17th and 18th of this month. Because of a bright waxing Moon the best viewing of the Leonids will be from about 3 a.m. (after the moon sets) until the first light of dawn. Expect rates of approximately 20 Leonids per hour with perhaps a few Taurids thrown in for good measure.
Jupiter will continue to dominate the early evening sky and at magnitude -2.7 will be visible as soon as the sun sets. High in the sky, it is well placed for binocular and small telescope viewing.
Uranus continues to hang out near Jupiter and is 3.5 degrees east of Jupiter at the beginning of the month. Due to Jupiter’s slight retrograde motion, the distance between Jupiter and Uranus will shrink to 3 degrees by the end of the month.
Mars is sinking ever closer to the western horizon but can be seen with binoculars about a half hour after sunset. Mercury makes an early evening appearance in the southwest early in the month. However, for us in North America, the viewing angle is quite shallow and as a result Mercury will never get more than 6 degrees above the horizon during this appearance.
Saturn rises a bit before sunrise on the 1st but will rise as early as two or three a.m. by the end of the month. Saturn’s magnificent rings have now opened to 9 degrees. At magnitude +0.9 it should be a great telescopic subject in the early morning hours.
Venus will begin a quick ascent into the early morning skies starting on the second of the month. It will appear as a brilliant thin crescent which will get steadily thicker as it rises into the early morning sky. By the end of the month Venus will rise about 3 hours before the Sun and will reach 15 degrees above the horizon by dawn.
The Moon will be new on the 6th, 1st quarter on the 13th, full on the 21st and last quarter on the 28th. On the 3rd, about a half hour before sunrise, the waning crescent Moon will be just above and to the left of Saturn. Below and just above the east-southeast horizon, brilliant Venus makes a morning appearance.
On the 7th and 8th a new crescent Moon can be found in the southwest just above and to the right of Mars and Mercury. For a bit of a challenge, the full Moon on the 21st will be found between the Pleiades and Hyades (Taurus) clusters.
On the 7th daylight savings time ends for most of us in North America at 2 a.m. Do not forget to “fall back” by setting your clocks and watches back one hour.
Clear Skies!

Endangered Fish Has Big Comeback

Mountain Mail reports

The silvery minnow returns to the Rio Grande.
According to a press release from the Interstate Stream Commission, about 5,500 Rio Grande silvery minnow were released from the Los Lunas Silvery Minnow Refugium by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The release followed completion of the Phase III testing of that facility.
About 10,000 one month old fish, called fry, were stocked into the facility in June as part of Phase III testing of the fish culture systems.
Prior to their release, the fish were weighed and measured to assess their growth over the five months they were in the refugium.
In addition, 30,000 of the small fish are being released into the Rio Grande on after being raised at the Albuquerque BioPark.
The famous fish was placed on the endangered species list back in 1994.
In a related move, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to designate nearly 800 miles of streams and rivers in New Mexico and Arizona as critical habitat for two small Southwestern fish species.
The agency also wants to reclassify the spikedace and loach minnow from threatened species to endangered.
Comments will be taken on the proposal through Dec. 27.
Fish and Wildlife expects to make a final decision in October 2011.
An agency spokesman in Phoenix, Jeff Humphrey, said Fish and Wildlife is proposing about 726 miles of streams as critical habitat for the spikedace and 709 miles for the loach minnow.
Much of that overlaps, for a total of 796 miles.

Sylvia AKA Det. Veronica O’Leary Solves Crime

By Anne Sullivan

“Let’s go for a walk,” said Sylvia after dinner last night.
“It’s dark and it’s way too cold,” I said, shivering in my comfortable chair.
“No, it’s not. You’re getting wimpy in your old age.” Sylvia pulled at my pants leg. “Come on, it’s a braw, bricht, moonlicht nicht tonicht.”
“The moon may be bright but it’s nonetheless too cold for this ancient person. I don’t have a fur coat like you.” As I petted her the fur coat showered broken pine needles, oak leaves and an ample sample of southwestern New Mexico soil onto the new clean rug. “Have you written any more of your mystery book?” I asked in an attempt to distract her from the frigid outdoors.
“As a matter of fact I have,” Sylvia announced with pride. “Would you like me to read it to you?”
“I’d like that more than anything.” I settled back into my chair, covering my legs with a heated throw.
And this is what she wrote:
‘I, Dog Detective Veronica O’Leary, having discovered prints on the soil of
the San Agustin Plains, raced in the direction the tracks led.
“Have you picked up a scent?” asked Fatso, the Cat detective, as he ran
beside me.
“Not yet, but I can follow the prints by sight because they‘re easy to see in
the moonlight.”
“You’re really clever,” said Fatso with admiration.
“I’m glad you noticed that, Fatso. Now, pay attention to what I do and you
may learn something.”
The tracks led us into a pasture we saw cattle huddled near the fence along the
highway. “There’s nothing but cows here,” Fatso said. “I don’t like cows.”
“Why ever not? The way I look at it, there’s not much to dislike or like about
cattle. They are what they are. But every ranch has to have some.”
The cattle rose and, as a body, strolled away from us. When Fatso and I followed,
they broke into a run.
“Now why do you suppose they’re doing that?” I asked myself aloud.
“They seem frightened of your magnifying glass. Try putting it away for a
minute,” suggested Fatso.
I tucked my magnifying glass into my night pack, but the cattle still ran.
“They certainly appear displeased about something and methinks I know what it is.”
“What, Veronica? What is it?””
“Elementary, my dear Fatso. Guilty conscience. These cattle have done something
bad, very bad. Look at them, they’ve stopped by the fence. Hey, you there, Mr. Steer, what are you up to?”
“Moo..oo.o,” said the cow, gazing up at the moon as though he hadn’t a care in
the world.
“Really?” I said to the cow. “I know you’ve been up to something. Those tracks
indicate that you and several of your cohorts got over that fence and dragged
something or some one with you.”
“Moo…oo..o who?”
“Yes, you. That’s who. I comprehend it all now.”
“I wish I did. I’d love to be as smart as you, Veronica. I have a question for you.”
“Ask away, my dear Fatso.”
“If The Italian was so awful, why do we care who killed him?”
“Because we are detectives. This is what we do. This is who we are.” ‘
“That isn’t all, is it?” I asked Sylvia. “I want to hear more.”
“Be patient,” Sylvia said. “Next week. There’s one more chapter. I think three chapters is enough. Max thinks so too.”
Max, mysterious Max. Who is he and why have I never seen him?

Diabetes Support Group Provides Awareness, Empowerment

By Rebecca Rose

A new diabetes outreach group in Socorro seeks to educate the public about living with diabetes. Open to all Socorro County pre-diabetics, diabetics, and their friends and family, “Living Healthy Socorro Diabetes Group” provides information on everything from understanding the different types of diagnoses to picking out the best blood glucose monitoring device.
Socorro routinely ranks in the top percentiles of counties with the highest numbers of diabetes cases. Over 10% of Socorro’s adult residents are afflicted with diabetes, and that number is growing. Beth Beers, Director of Community Outreach for Presbyterian, started the group when she realized that there was a substantial lack of resources. “There’s a huge gap in Socorro when it comes to diabetes education.” she said.
Diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use insulin properly. Sugar builds in the bloodstream, which can cause deadly conditions, such as kidney damage and heart disease.
Diabetes is treated with medication and lifestyle maintenance options, and focues on monitoring blood sugar levels. Beers said that for a lot of people who are newly diagnosed, the treatment options can be intimidating and overwhelming at first.
The group has collaborators who bring a diverse set of skills from various medical backgrounds, including Tonya Lopez, Pat Ryan, and Laura Fazio.
Melinda Montoya, a student at the University of New Mexico in Albuqurque, helped Beers organize the group as part of an assignment for a grant writing class. A San Antonio native, Montoya said that the impact of diabetes in her community is what drew her to the project. “I think everybody sees the need,” she said. “Everyone here has at least one or two close family members that suffer from diabetes. But there really aren’t resources here in Socorro.”
Montoya said that many of the meetings are focused around the challenges people have in dealing with the disease in their day to day lives. “We have a meeting called ‘Bring Your Medication’. We’ll have a pharmacist there to give information about what they’re taking, like the side effects and more.”
Beers also wants to partner people who are newly diagnosed with those who have been successfully managing their diabetes. “It’s so much better to hear it from someone who is diabetic, who’s trying to live healthy.” said Beers.
Mary Norman, Certified Nurse Practioner, spoke at a recent meeting. She cited the unique challenges of being located in an isolated rural community as a key factor in why the disease has skyrocketed here.
“Just take a drive down California, and you’ll see it’s a challenge to find one healthy food option,” she said, referring to Socorro’s numerous fast food restaurants. The lack of qualified health care professionals also compounds the problem, Norman said.
Beers and Normal stressed that diabetes is a preventable disease. “There are numerous ways to start on the right path,” said Beers. “Avoid liquid sugar, keep a healthy weight and move. Exercise is important,” she said. “The human body was not meant to sit in front of a computer, TV or video game all day long.”
Beers said people should start thinking about where they are getting their sugar from. “Would you eat ten oranges at once?” she said, “No, but you drink that much and more at one sitting.” One consumer brand of orange juice has as much as 22 grams of sugar in an 8oz. serving. “It’s much better to just eat an orange,” she said.
Norman said there always simple options for healthy eating, such as making substitutions or eliminations at the dinner table. “Watch portion control. Take half of the meal home with you, or share it with the person with you. Always ask for salad dressing on the side.”
She said diners should request healthy alternatives at restaurants, such as starch alternatives like whole wheat pasta or brown rice. “Cooks like to cook. They want to cook what people like to eat.”
The group’s biggest goal is to help people affected with diabetes become self-guided and empowered in their exploration of treatment and management options, and to be less afraid of the disease.
“Knowledge is a powerful tool,” said Montoya. “It’s important to find out about their conditions, to help them make better decisions.”
“The Living Healthy Socorro Diabetes Group” meets on the first Tuesday of every month, at 306 N. California Street (Socorro General Hospital’s Home Health Care Conference Room next to SuperMart) Persons interested in more information can call 575-838-4690.

Socorro Welcomes New Doctor

By Rebecca Rose

Socorro General Medical Group welcomed a new doctor, Dr. Alois “Louie” Treybal, D.O., to their offices on Highway 60. Dr. Treybal is a family medicine and primary care physician, serving Socorro and its neighboring communities. In an interview with Mountain Mail, he discussed the unique challenges of practicing in a rural community, and the steps patients can take to prevent serious health issues.
Originally from Delta Junction, Alaska, Dr Treybal started out working as a petroleum engineer. An interest in medicine led him to sign on as a volunteer ambulance driver for his local clinic. “I never wanted to be a doctor, but I loved medicine. I was thinking about being a paramedic.”
When the doctor he worked for found out he was considering a career as an EMT, he convinced him to enroll in medical school. He enrolled in medical school at the the University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kansas City, where he received a degree in 2007. He spent two years studying and working in Ohio, and then completed his internship and residency program at Southern Colorado Family Medicine in Pueblo in July of this year, before moving to Socorro.
According to Dr. Treybal one of the biggest problems facing Socorro is a lack of qualified providers. “There’s an overall lack of health care in rural communities. That’s a sad and horrible thing,” he said. “We don’t see doctors going in to rural communities. Presbyterian is really doing a good job of really trying to recruit here.”
Dr. Treybal said he routinely emphasizes preventive care for his patients. “A lot of people have being getting acute care, but the long term care is lagging,” he said “We could get rid of a lot of problems if we did more preventative medicine.”
“You can’t get the flu from the flu shot,” he said, addressing a common myth. “You can go from simple cold symptoms to pneumonia and hospitalization in an instant. I can prevent that with a shot.”
He said there are other simple steps people can take to improve their health, starting with eliminating smoking, alcohol, and soda. “Soda is the worst thing in the world. They should ban it,” he said. “One can of soda averages about 230 to 260 calories. That’s the same number of calories as 2 lbs of fat.”
“The two best things you can do that will help your health is walk 30 minutes a day and eat dinner as a family,” he said. “I could fix 80% of the problems if patients had strong family support. I encourage people to walk with their families. You have no idea how beneficial walking everyday can be.”
“As a doctor, you’re trained to use medication. But the flip side is, you have to work with the patient, too,” he said. “If you’re human with people, they’re more accepting.”
Dr. Treybal’s wife is Dr. Mindy Treybal, a hospitalist for Socorro General, who holds a degree in biology from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. The couple met as medical students in Kansas City and moved to Socorro together. They were engaged on Baldy Mountain and married in town.
He and his wife are expecting their first child early next year. Dr. Treybal said they are planning to stay rooted to the community. “This is exactly where I’m meant to be. I love it here,” he said. “Somebody asked me how long I plan to stay in Socorro. I told them I’ll re-evalute in 30 years.”

Belleville Outfit Brings Pop, Gypsy Jazz To Macey

Mountain Mail reports

Driving around the country wowing audiences wherever they go, is the Belleville Outfit, playing a rootsy mix of swing, big band and gypsy jazz, honky-tonk country, folk and blues. They will perform at Macey Center in Socorro, on Friday, Nov. 19, at 7:30 p.m., during Festival of the Cranes.
“The only music that hasn’t influenced us is the music we haven’t heard.” Belleville’s fiddler and vocalist Phoebe Hunt said.
The band plays a little bit of everything in their music, and all of it played with amazing competence and energy, or as the Austin Chronicle puts it “… the sextet is one of Austin’s most musically accomplished and adventuresome, mixing gypsy swing, big-band jazz, a touch of bluegrass and some Walter Hyatt covers into a unique mix that flows like a whiskey river.”
Belleville Outfit started with one idea: “Play and write music that you believe in, and others will come to believe in it as well. Play what speaks to your heart, and it will speak to theirs too.”
With an unwavering dedication to their craft, the raw talent, and an energy and charm that inspires nothing short of a celebration, this band of early twenty-somethings is firmly weaving their signature blend of pop, gypsy jazz, big band swing, and American roots music into the hearts of listeners across the country.
In less than three years, with two highly successful, independently released records now under their belt, the band is playing at its best ever.
“Don’t forget your dancin’ shoes,” Ronna Kalish, Director of the Performing Arts Series in Socorro said. “I saw Belleville Outfit at a festival in Colorado and couldn’t stay in my seat. I love them! And I know Socorro audiences will love them, too.”
The band, known for their electrifying live shows, maintains a whirlwind touring schedule,. Between appearances at major festivals around the country including Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, Merlefest, Floydfest, and the Strawberry Music Festival, they have made fans out of heroes like Lyle Lovett, and picked up an 2009 Americana Music Association award nomination for Best New/Emerging act - all while uniquely managing their own career. 
Tickets for the concert are $14 for adults, $12 for senior citizens, and $10 for youths 17 and under; with a $2 discount if purchased by 5 p.m. the day before the concert. Tickets are available at the Tech Cashier’s Office, Brownbilt Shoes and Western Wear, and Burrito Tyme.
Admission is free to full-time New Mexico Tech students – those taking at least six hours and showing a valid ID. Students should pick up their tickets in advance at the Tech Bookstore.
Before the concert, Tech Club – Club Macey holds a social in Macey from 5 to 7:30 p.m with appetizers. TCCM is a social club for people 21 and over. There is a $5 cover charge if you are not a member of TCCM.
This concert is a Socorro Springs Brewing Company Partner event with additional local sponsorship provided by Iris Passcal, Amec, Blue Corn Music, KUNM-FM Public Radio-88.7 and Holiday Inn Express.

PAS Presidential Chamber Music Series Performs Haydn, Mendelssohn

Mountain Mail reports

The second Presidential Chamber Music Series at New Mexico Tech features works by Haydn and Mendelssohn. The concert is on Monday, Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in Macey Center. Thanks to support by Dr. Daniel H. López, President of New Mexico Tech, the series is free and open to the public.
New Mexico Symphony Orchestra violinist Willy Sucre has long organized the chamber music series, which features a variety of guest artists. For this season opener, Sucre, on viola, is joined by Roberta Arruda and L.P. How on violins and Sally Guenther on cello.
The concert program includes string quartets by Haydn, Boccherini and Mendelssohn. States Willy Sucre of this particular concert, “this will be an evening of beautiful and accessible chamber music.”
The newest name on the list is Roberta Arruda, a Brazilian violinist who played with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra for a year, in addition to the Santa Fe Pro Musica, the Santa Fe Symphony, and the Church of Beethoven.
Santa Fe violinist Liang-Ping How made his solo debut with the National Youth Orchestra of Taiwan at the age of seven and his Carnegie Hall debut in 1974 was with the New York String Orchestra. He has been a member of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra since 1980. He has toured extensively throughout North and South America, Europe, and Asia, and is a member of the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.
Sally Guenther, on cello, graduated from Indiana University and The Juilliard School. After playing in several American orchestras including Syracuse, Cincinnati and the Metropolitan Opera orchestras, she moved to Norway, where she served as alternating solo cellist in the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra for over twenty years. She has performed regularly with the Santa Fe Opera, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Taos Chamber Music Group and Serenata of Santa Fe. She also maintains a cello studio in Santa Fe.
The free Presidential Chamber Music Series is part of New Mexico Tech’s Performing Arts Series.
Before the concert, Tech Club – Club Macey holds a social in Macey from 5 to 7:30 p.m., with light snacks. TCCM is a social club for people 21 and over.
Also preceding the concert is a meet-and-greet reception for Socorro County Arts exhibit featuring a variety of Socorro area artists.