Thursday, December 2, 2010

4 Charged in Connection With Burglary

By John Larson

Four men have been arrested in connection with burglaries at a Luis Lopez home over a two day period, Nov. 3-4. The arrests followed joint investigations by both the Socorro City Police officers and Socorro County Sheriff’s deputies.Justin Zamora, 20, Bobby Zamora Jr.. 21, and Louis Zamora, 29, have each been charged with aggravated burglary (armed after entering) and criminal damage to property worth more than $1,000. Louis Zamora has also been charged with receiving a stolen firearm and conspiracy to commit a crime. In addition, Robert Gaudern, 39, of Socorro has been charged with receiving a stolen firearm, felon in possession of a firearm and conspiracy to commit a crime.
According to the criminal complaint, the men were arrested following a series of seemingly unrelated events. On Nov. 4, Socorro County Sheriff deputies Shorty Vaiza and William Armijo, while working a DWI Compliance project, came upon a gray Chevrolet Malibu adjacent to an arroyo in Luis Lopez.
Vaiza recognized two men at the scene as Louis Zamora and Justin Zamora. While speaking to Justin Zamora, Vaiza observed several items in the back seat of the car, including a bag of assorted tools and a reddish wooden box.
Vaiza was given permission to examine the box, and found it contained silverware. Justin Zamora said the tools belonged to his uncle and that the silverware was his mother’s. The deputies left the area and a report was filed.
On Nov. 9, Socorro County Sheriff deputies Ed Sweeney and Shawn Baca were dispatched to 2293 State Rd. 1 in Luis Lopez on the report of a burglary. The rear floor and door frame had been broken in and several items were seen stacked near the back door. Apparent drag marks were observed leading from the back door down an incline into an arroyo about 100 feet north of the residence to the spot where deputies Vaiza and Armijo had encountered Justin Zamora and Louis Zamora.
Fingerprints were taken at the residence and photographs were taken of the drag marks.
On Nov. 12, the owner of the home, Donald R. McCance Jr., made himself available at the Socorro County Sheriff’s Department to provide elimination fingerprints. While there, McCance discussed the burglary with Armijo, who recalled his Nov. 4 interaction with Justin and Louis Zamora. Armijo asked if one of the items stolen included silverware in a reddish wooden box, and McCance said yes. Armijo then contacted Sweeney, who took the initial burglary report, and gave him the information.
A search warrant was then served on Louis Zamora’s residence at 2332 State Route 1 in Luis Lopez by Sweeney and Armijo. During the search, Louis Zamora waived his Miranda rights and confessed to taking part in the burglary.
According to the criminal complaint, Louis Zamora said the burglary took place over a two-day period, from Nov. 3 to Nov. 4. Luis Zamora confirmed that Justin Zamora and Bobby Zamora Jr. also participated in the burglary, and added that Justin Zamora had left for California and had taken some of the stolen items with him.
According to the complaint, a wide variety of items were stolen, including flat screen televisions, tools, a Mig welder, a vacuum cleaner and other household appliances, military medals, paperwork, and a pistol.
The complaint said that the three men used a hand truck, clothes basket and plastic trash cans to transport the items from the residence to an arroyo north of the house.
Based on that information, a second search warrant was served by Armijo and Deputy Casey Spurgin at the residence of Bobby Zamora Jr., 2350 State Road 1. A vacuum cleaner was later seized from the residence as evidence.
On Nov. 13, Justin Zamora told Sweeney, during a telephone conversation, that he did not enter the property at 2293 State Rd. 1 in Luis Lopez. “I just helped them move the stuff,” said Justin Zamora. “I knew it was wrong but I have kids here and it was wrong.”
On Nov. 15, Spurgin was contacted at his residence by Jimmy Zamora, the grandfather of Bobby Zamora Jr. Jimmy Zamora told Spurgin that he had seen some items in the ditch next to his residence which he believed were from the burglary. Spurgin later recovered the items and noted that footprint impressions were similar to those at the arroyo near the residence where the items where initially hidden.
On Nov. 23, Socorro Police Det. Rocky Fernandez received a tip that Gaudern, who he knew to be on probation, was in possession of a stolen firearm and was trying to sell it. Fernandez later located Gaudern, who turned over a .38 caliber handgun and said Louis Zamora had given it to him. Armijo confirmed that the gun was the one stolen from the residence in Luis Lopez.
The preliminary hearing in Magistrate Court for Gaudern is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 2.
Louis Zamora was arraigned on Tuesday, Nov. 30, and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Dec. 15.
Justin Zamora and Bobby Zamora Jr. are scheduled to be arraigned in Magistrate Court on Dec. 13.


Solar Heating at Magdalena Library

by John Larson

Volunteers took a step last week toward reducing heating costs at the Magdalena library by installing a passive solar heater.
The home-built unit is attached to the southern facing outside wall of the library in the old Santa Fe depot and, according to interim librarian Don Wiltshire, is as good as a furnace “when the sun is shining.”
“It’s known as a hot air collector,” said Wiltshire. “It will definitely cut our heating bills to some extent.”
The concept is simple. “It draws in cold air out of the building from the floor, and circulates warm air back into the building,” said Wiltshire.
The apparatus has no moving parts, working only by convection.
The four-foot by eight-foot contraption is mounted flush on the outside, coming out about nine inches from the building’s wall, and has a Plexiglass layer on the outside.
“Behind that is a couple of layers of wire mesh painted black,” said Wiltshire. “There’s a four-inch vent on the bottom which draws in the cold air from inside, and another four-inch vent at the top which lets the heated air go back into the building. The only thing you see in the room are the two vents.” The upper vent is about seven feet from the floor.
He said that he feels warm air coming through almost immediately after the sun hits it.
“I came in to open the library one morning and it was already toasty,” said Wiltshire.
And Wiltshire isn’t the only one who feels that way. Library patron Michael Danielson of Magdalena said that he could feel that the library is much warmer compared to how it was before the solar heater was added.
“You can tell the difference,” said Danielson. “I put my hand up by the vent and felt hot air coming out.” He said that the new heating system will most likely cut heating costs this winter.
Once the sun goes down, however, the unit stops working, according to Wiltshire, and any cold air coming through the vents is negligible.
The addition of the heat exchanger is part of an overall effort to reduce heating costs. The installation of storm windows in October also contributes to lowering the heating bill.
Prior to the improvements the library relied on propane and electric heaters.

General Manager Application Review Meeting Postponed

by Patrick Jason Rodriguez

A meeting scheduled for Monday, Nov. 29, to review the applications for the vacant position of general manager at the Socorro Electric Cooperative was postponed indefinitely. All members of the co-op’s board of trustees were invited to take part in the closed meeting.
The job of general manager has been open since August, following the dismissal of former general manager Polo Pineda Jr.
Members of the board of trustees received a letter on Nov. 24 from co-op administrative clerk Eileen Latasa stating that the Nov. 29 meeting was postponed.
Trustee Charlie Wagner said in a telephone interview on Wednesday that he arrived Monday evening at the site of the meeting and was met there by fellow trustees Donald Wolberg, Prescilla Mauldin, Luis Aguilar and Leo Cordova, all of whom are on the board’s search committee.
Wagner then asked Wolberg why the meeting was cancelled. “Wolberg said, ‘The meeting wasn’t cancelled, it was just postponed,’” said Wagner.
Wagner said that the co-op has received 27 applications for the job of general manager since it has been open, and it is important that a proper hiring process be conducted.
During a telephone interview on Wednesday, Wolberg pointed out that Wagner is not a member of the board’s search committee and need not have been at the meeting even if it had taken place. Wolberg added that the number of applicants for the general manager position has not been made public and he doesn’t know where Wagner obtained the figure of 27 applicants.     
Wolberg also cited Policy No. 209 in the co-op’s policy manual, which states that the process for hiring managers follows the protocol of specific channels, in this case a search committee is established, the search committee appoints a chairperson, the committee vets the applicants, and then the entire board convenes to conduct the hiring process on the advice of the search committees findings.   
Wagner sent an email on Monday, Nov. 29, to Mauldin and Aguilar saying that “… setting up the (closed) meeting was a formal action of the board by majority vote. . . It can’t be cancelled without action of the majority of the board in another open meeting.  So we have another example on record, of illegal action by either the president, a committee, the attorney, or some other entity without proper authority.” 
Aguilar, chairman of the board’s search committee, as of Wednesday, Dec. 1, did not return a telephone call seeking comment.
In other co-op news, a status hearing in the case of the Socorro Electric Cooperative’s lawsuit against member-owners has been set for 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 14 at the 13th Judicial Courthouse in Los Lunas.

Gingerbread House Contest Returns

by John Larson

Another sign of the holiday season is coming to New Mexico Tech.
The gingerbread house contest will make its return this month, and the competition is open to the general public.
Organizer Edie Steinhoff said she hopes to see a wide variety of creations this year.
“Over the past six years most of the entries have been breathtaking,” Steinhoff said. “Besides very creative houses, we’ve had people make a fire house, a farm, Brown Hall and other Tech buildings. It doesn’t have to be a house. One year we had a cave created by Dr. Penny Boston’s Cave and Karst people.”
Steinhoff said all major components, such as walls and roofs, must be constructed of gingerbread. However, contestants 12 years old and younger may use graham crackers, cookies, or other edible building materials. “All parts must be edible,” said Steinhoff. “For example, wrapped candies must be unwrapped and lollipops must have edible stems. The only exception is the addition of electricity, like adding Christmas lighting.”
All entries must be delivered to the Fidel Center between 1 and 6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 13. Judging in two age groups will be on Wednesday, Dec. 15. The contest is open to anyone.
Entries will be judged on originality, overall appearance, choice, and use of materials and difficulty of design. Contestants are not limited to building a house; any type of structure – real or imaginary – is eligible.
Gingerbread creations may not be taller than 26 inches and must be attached to a plywood base no larger than 18 inches by 24 inches. Additionally, the base surface (but not the sides) must be concealed with an edible product.
Judging will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 15. Prizes will be awarded in these age groups: 12 and younger, and 13 and older. Youth entrants must complete their own construction.
The entries will be on display at the Fidel Center from Dec. 13 to 18. Entries must be picked up by 3 p.m. on Dec. 18. Any entry not picked up will be donated for distribution to The StoreHouse to area families. 

Tech Pledges Academic Quality in Wake of Budget Constraints

by John Larson

New Mexico Tech’s budget concerns might lead to more financial restrictions, but university President Dan Lopez says that the school’s academic programs will maintain high standards.
The university has between 12 and 15 faculty positions currently vacant and is not at the moment in the process of filling those positions. “That means the faculty work load has increased tremendously,” said Lopez.
In addition to shrinking staff, the university is taking steps in other areas at reducing costs, said Lopez.
On the vehicle fleet, said Lopez, the university has reduced the size and reduced travel, including the use of smaller vehicles for travel around campus. “They cost a lot less to operate,” he said.
“We’ve reduced expenses in every category so that the burden is shared,” said Lopez, “and have done it without furloughs or layoffs. We’re hoping that what we do today will offset any future budget concerns.”
Lopez told the Board of Regents on Nov. 18 that the university has accommodated a 16 percent budget cut from the state during the past two years by across-the-board reductions, largely by halting wages and leaving many open positions vacant.
A university statement said that if the state authorizes more cuts during the 2011 legislative session – which appears likely – the school will begin to scrutinize individual departments to identify cost-saving measures.
However, Peter Gerity, vice-president of academic affairs, said the academic departments have been creative in ways to reduce costs, such as employing adjunct and part-time instructors.
In 2008, New Mexico Tech had approximately 1,300 employees. But now, the university has fewer than 1,000 on its payroll.
The state has slashed funding of higher education by $122 million over two years, with 97 percent of those cuts targeting public schools, said Lopez.
“We’re trying to sensitize policy-makers that we [the public universities] are bearing virtually all of the negative impact of these cuts, with two-year schools not shouldering an equitable portion of the cuts,” said Lopez. “That’s an issue we’ll keep harping on.”

OBITUARY: Clory Aragon

Clory Aragon, age 81, passed away on Wednesday, November 24, 2010 in Socorro, following a brief illness and hospitalization. He is survived by sons, Alan M Aragon and Edward Aragon; daughter, Ruth Aragon Weaver; grandchildren, Katy Aragon, Ryan Aragon, Allison Aragon, and Ashley Aragon; brothers, Bill Aragon and Juan Aragon; and many loving nieces and nephews. 
He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 38 years, Dawn Fraijo Aragon; parents, Ben and Crucita Aragon; brothers, Frank Aragon and Sam Aragon; sister, Marie Aragon Atkinson. 
He had a long and prosperous life as a soldier, a master head chef at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, a restaurant owner, and a local rancher, but he was best known in this area as the school bus contractor that watched over the children on his daily route to and from the Reserve schools.
He will be missed by all.
Rosary will be held on Friday, December 3, 2010 at 7:00 p.m., at Santa Nino Parish in Aragon, NM.  Mass will be held on Saturday, December 4, 2010 at 11:00 a.m., at Santo Nino Parish in Aragon, NM, immediately followed by a reception.
Those who wish to send condolences may do so at Services have been entrusted to: Daniels Family Funeral Services, 309 Garfield, Socorro, NM,  87801, 575- 835-1530.

OBITUARY: Charles Robert Farmer

Charles Robert Farmer Sr. born October 9, 1924 in Grady County, Oklahoma, died November 26, 2010 at his home in Socorro, New Mexico. He was preceded in death by his wife, Christine; his mother and father, Calvin and Cora; his sisters, Alma and Mary; and his brother, Arthur.
He is survived by his son, Rev. Dr. Charles R. Farmer Jr. and wife, Jenny of Socorro, NM; and  his daughters, Gail DeGeer and husband Donald of Overland Park, KS; Patricia Steele and husband, Walter of Custer, SD; and Michele Ryan and husband, Tony of Deming, NM. He has twelve grandchildren, Joshua, Jeremiah, Anah, Charlie, and Faith Farmer; Kirstin and David DeGeer; Don and Rob Steele; and Zachariah, Joshua, and Myriah Ryan; Five great grandchildren, two brothers, Jack Farmer and his wife Ruth of Magdalena, NM; and Dale Farmer and his wife, Diane of Missouri; and a brother in law, Dee Baker of Arizona.
Charlie was an avid hunter and fisherman. He served in the Pacific theater during WWII in the US Army and was a life member of the VFW.
He was a long time member and served as a Deacon and Elder at The First Christian Church of Albuquerque and Community Christian Church of Rio Rancho.
After his retirement from Sandia National Labs, he lived for a time in Datil, NM; Rapid City, SD; finally moving to Socorro, NM in 2004.
He was a member of First Baptist Church of Socorro where the Memorial Services will be held at 203 Spring St. on Thursday, December 2, at 2:00 pm with Rev. Dr. Charles R. Farmer Jr. officiating.
Those who wish to send condolences may do so at Services have been entrusted to: Daniels Family Funeral Services, 309 Garfield, Socorro, NM  87801.

OBITUARY: Luis Watson Graham

Luis Watson Graham, 40, passed away Tuesday, November 23, 2010 in Albuquerque, NM. Luis was born on January 1, 1970 in La Grande, OR. to David and Ariopajita (Valadez) Graham.
Luis is survived by his loving mother, Ariopajita Graham of Socorro, NM; his son Roberto Esquivel of Albuquerque; his daughter, River Baggs of Socorro; his devoted brother, David Graham and wife, Andra of Costa Mesa, Ca; his nieces and nephew, Bailey; Sophia; and Luke Hudson; and numerous cousins.
He loved music and was a talented musician and songwriter.
Luis was preceded in death by his father, David Sr. and one sister, Virginia Graham.
Cremation has taken place but no formal services have yet been arranged. Those who wish to send condolences may do so at Services have been entrusted to:
Daniels Family Funeral Services, 309 Garfield, Socorro, NM,  87801 (575) 835-1530.

OBITUARY: Christine M. Nykiel

Christine M. (Foerster) Nykiel, 84, passed away on Sunday, November 28, 2010 in Socorro, NM surrounded by her loving family. Christine was born on July 16, 1926 in Chicago, Illinois to Henry and Mary (Winkler) Foerster.
She is survived by her loving daughters, Mary Ruff and husband Jim, of Socorro; Valerie Pourbaix and husband Kurt of Mead, CO; and Susan Mueller and husband Terry, of Spencer, WI; her devoted sons, Tom Nykiel and wife, Lolita of Beverly Hills, CA; and Jim Nykiel and wife Julie of Des Plaines, IL; eleven grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Christine was a resident of Socorro since 2008. She was a great Lover of the “Good Sam Band” and Socorro Music Scene. Christine was known for her great sense of humor.
Christine was preceded in death by her husband, Ted Nykiel.
A Memorial Service will be held Saturday, December 4, 2010 at 11:00 am at the Daniels Family Funeral Services Chapel. In Lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Socorro Hospice.  Those who wish to send condolences may do so at Services have been entrusted to: Daniels Family Funeral Services, 309 Garfield, Socorro, NM,  87801 (575) 835-1530.

OBITUARY: Tomasita G. Martinez

Tomasita G. Martinez, 85, passed away Sunday, November 28, 2010 in Socorro, NM surrounded by her loving family. Tomasita was born on March 29, 1925 in San Antonito, NM to Mariano and Emma (Chavez) Gonzales.
She is survived by her devoted and loving children, Emma Jojola and husband Michael; Juanita Rosas and husband, Lawrence; Esther Sena and husband, Mario; and Ernestine Griego and husband, Salo; her sister, Aveni Contreras; her brother, Eddie Gonzales and wife Vera; numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren, great great grandchildren, and many other family members and friends. Tomasita was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Max Martinez Sr; her beloved parents, Mariano Gonzales and Emma Gonzales; her beloved step mother, Concepcion Gonzales; her beloved sons, Max Jr., Orlando, Eugene, Chris, and Dennis; her beloved sister, Prudencia; and two brothers in laws, George and Tolano.
A Rosary will be recited Thursday, December 2, 2010 at 7:00 pm at Daniels Family Funeral Services Socorro Chapel. A Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated on Friday, December 3, 2010 at 9:00 am with Father Andy Pavlak as celebrant at San Miguel Catholic Church. Interment will be in the San Antonito Cemetery. Pallbearers are Robert Griego, Sal Griego, Eric Rosas, Michael Jojola, Timothy Gonzales, and Eugene Martinez Jr. Honorary Pallbearers are Richard Pino, Salo Griego Jr., Mario Sena, Andre Sena, Evan Sena, and Jaime Luna. Those who wish to send condolences may do so at Services have been entrusted to:
Daniels Family Funeral Services
309 Garfield, Socorro, NM  87801 (575) 835-1530.

OBITUARY: Kenneth Lee Ulibarri Sr.

Kenneth Lee Ulibarri Sr., 53, passed away Tuesday, November 23, 2010.
The lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside still waters. He restoreth my soul: leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, thought I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; they rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surly goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23.

OBITUARY: Alpha Lee “Penny” Brammer

Alpha Lee "Penny" Brammer passed away peacefully on Nov. 27, 2010. Daughter of William Penn Brammer and Dora Charlotte Sutton Brammer, she was born July 2, 1928 in Margaret, Texas.
She is most remembered in the Socorro area as being instrumental in the creation of the first Socorro General Hospital, and one of the founders of the Socorro Food Cooperative, as well as being a teacher and librarian.
She is survived by her seven children: Michael Smith and his wife Susan, Barbara Cover Spear and her husband John, Suzanne Smith, Charlotte Odom and her husband Richard, Rosemary Smith and her husband Bradford Billings, Alison Summers and Benjamin Brammer and his wife Linda; as well as many loving grandchidren and great-grandchildren.

Socorro County Sheriff's Blotter

Information for the following items was provided by the Socorro County Sheriff’s office.

Oct. 18
An officer was dispatched at 11:40 p.m. to Slaton Road in Lemitar in regards to a 911 hang up. The suspect stated that she had tried to run over her husband, causing damage to their trailer home. She was intoxicated and admitted to driving a vehicle used in her attempt to run over her husband. She was arrested and transported to the Socorro Police Dept. for a breath test before being booked into the Socorro County Detention Center.

Oct. 20
A woman from Las Cruces was pulled over for speeding at 12:11 p.m. on Interstate 25 at mile marker 139. The deputy and a State Police officer met with the disoriented woman, who was taken to the State Police office. The family was contacted.

Oct. 28
An officer was contacted at 9:08 p.m. by complainant 1 in Magdalena, who stated that complainant 2 had left their children at her home in Luis Lopez unattended and with food. The officer met with complainant 2 who was at the residence with the children. Complainant 1 went by the house to check on the children and he started an argument with complainant 2. He was asked to leave by complainant 2. Complainant 2 was going to be away from the residence for approximately two hours and the children were being cared for by her 12 year-old son. There are three children in the home.

Nov. 1
A man in Escondida reported that a neighbor’s dog bit him when he was at the mailbox area. He said he normally carries a stick for protection against the woman’s dogs. The officer met with the dog’s owner and she stated that the dog jumped the wall and that she told the victim to stay still and the dog would not attack. He made a motion with his hat in hand and the dog bit him. The man stated that the woman had another dog who is the aggressor and wants it taken by the animal control officer. This was not the first time law enforcement has been called to this residence in regards to dogs.

A Polvadera woman reported that she is being harassed by a man and woman. She stated she has a child with the man and they do not have joint custody. She said that the woman has made comments in regards to her status as the child’s mother. She has asked the man to bring the woman along when he picks up the child. She said he is not abiding by a court order regarding the visitation.

Nov. 2
A man was backing up at the Polvadera post office at 12:20 p.m. and struck a fence causing damage. He spoke with the postmaster and made arrangement to repair the damaged area.

Nov. 3
A man in San Antonio reported at 9:15 a.m. that damage had been done to his mother’s vehicle. He stated that the suspect came by his residence and barged into the home. She yelled at him and threatened him. She then walked out of the residence and entered his mother’s car and pulled the face plate off the stereo. She then left the area. An officer met with her and denied everything.

Nov. 4
A man in Veguita reported at 8:20 a.m. that someone stole a submersible water pump, a new pressure tank, and wiring for the system from his property in Bernardo. The unknown suspect took the items and cut the electrical wiring and even attempted to pull the copper wiring out of the ground from the power pole. The victim is to forward information on tenants living there.

An officer joined a Parole and Probation compliance officer in a home visit in Lemitar at 8:15 p.m. The male suspect admitted to having consumed alcoholic beverages in violation of his probation. He was arrested and taken to the detention center.

Magdalena Marshal's Blotter

Information for the following items was provided by the Magdalena Marshal's office.

Nov. 9
An officer assisted New Mexico Game and Fish at 1 p.m. in questioning two subjects on an illegal trespassing case while the two were hunting in the area.

Nov. 10
An officer stopped a subject who was reported DWI at 4:50 p.m. During the investigation a female passenger was arrested on an outstanding arrest warrant from Socorro Magistrate Court. The driver was arrested for DWI and driving on a suspended or revoked license. A 17-month-old child was given to her grandmother after the arrest of the parents. The parents were also charged with Child Endangerment.

Nov. 13
An officer was called to a residence on Highway 169 at 12:30 p.m. where a female and male were involved in a verbal domestic dispute. Both parties were separated and no charges have been filed.

An officer was called to a residence on South Chestnut at 4:25 p.m. in reference to a domestic involving a child and parent. The case is under investigation.

Nov. 15
An officer was called to investigate a credit card fraud at 9:15 a.m. The card was used in several parts of the United States. The investigation was turned over to the authorities in those jurisdictions. The case is still under investigation by the Marshal’s office.

An officer assisted U.S. Army investigators at 9:30 a.m. in an investigation where classified documents were found at a residence. A report was sent to the U.S. Army investigations division.  

An officer took a report at the Magdalena Schools at 2 p.m. where a student was using marijuana. The student was removed from the school and turned over to the parents. Charges were filed with Juvenile Probation and Parole.

Nov. 17
An officer was called to an Aggravated Battery case at 11 a.m. where a caretaker had struck a patient. The investigation is continuing and charges are pending. 

Nov. 24
An officer stopped a male subject at noon for speeding. The driver was arrested for driving on a suspended or revoked license.
An officer stopped a vehicle with an expired license plate at 1:30 p.m. The driver was charged with driving on suspended license as well as several traffic violations. A passenger was arrested on an outstanding arrest warrant from Socorro Municipal Court.

An officer took a report of a larceny at 11 a.m. The larceny occurred when someone took cash and a wallet from a locked vehicle at a local residence. The case is under investigation.

OPINION: Confidence and Incompetence, an American Challenge

Magdalena Potluck
By Margaret Wiltshire

In our culture today, confidence is everything. Since Norman Vincent Peale’s 1952 book “The Power of Positive Thinking” was printed there has been wave after wave of “positive” philosophies.
Some people go so far as to feel if someone says anything not positive about themselves they lack confidence and might lack competence. Dress for success, wear your confidence everywhere and in every way.
I read about American school children who did very poorly in a reading evaluation.  When asked how they thought they did, they expressed complete confidence in their reading abilities. I found this sad and distressing.
The wonderful thing about reading is it’s the beginning of a conversation. The writer names the subject and gives their take on it. The reader chooses the subject to read. Then the reader either agrees, disagrees, or spins off in their own thoughts.  It’s the same as viewing art and theater. Scientists and explorers of all kinds use this stimulation and sharing.
Socially, wonderful conversations often begin with “Have you read anything interesting lately?”
It makes me sad that American children on the whole are not reading well. It doesn’t promise much for future conversation and achievement.
One of my teachers noted that I was a person whose glass was always half-full and always half-empty. For me, that is always the way it is. That’s the equality of reality, the balance. For the most part that’s just fine, but sometimes it is troubling.
Now that our cultural cup is full to the brim with confidence, we might be missing something. That something might be competence.
Competence comes from being able to assess skill, risk, limitations, and possibilities. It’s fed by the desire to improve, achieve, learn and excel. It’s a constructive response to success and failure.
Both success and failure are equal stepping stones toward achievement. Self criticism is not easy. You bake a pie, build a bench, paint a picture, write a paper. Your best help is to be able to see it clearly. All the good, all the bad evaluated objectively leads to better and more rewarding things. Guilt and emotional whippings or conceit and denial are walls in the path to achieving more.
In other words, self criticism does not mean self contempt. Actually it’s more like building a house on rock instead of sand.
Thirty to 50 years ago, we had one of the highest skilled labor forces in the world. Is that true today? For 30 years now or more we’ve been told our value lies not in what we can do and build but in what we can buy. Are we making ourselves useless but conceited?
We are suppose to run our government but do we? The taxes we pay are for the government to serve our needs, does it?
Did former President George W. Bush say he was spending money we didn’t have for a war in Iraq we didn’t need? We’ve had a decade of tax breaks for the rich. Are you wealthier for it? Want to do it again? Do you have a choice? Do you know?
History is a fine teacher given realistic attention. As Rome perched ready to fall, the Romans went to the coliseum. We don’t feed Christians to lions, only Muslims, Jews, non-believers, gays, etc. Have you bought the Black Ops games available for this Christmas? We are sending the police into our schools for protection and teaching our kids how to be sociopaths and killers. Hate and destruction is becoming a national pastime.
What makes negatives so destructive? Judging, usually judging others. It can get pretty mean. This is not about realities, this is about fear. No one instills fear and is so full of fear than the boastful bully. Abuse sires abuse.
Rick Brenner, in an email newsletter from Chaco Canyon Consulting, writes that we usually assume a confident manner is evidence of competence. Studies at Cornell University show this is not so. Now called the Dunning-Kruger effect (after those who led the study) this study shows a paradox.
Incompetent individuals often overestimate their abilities and performance. Incompetent individuals are less able to recognize competence in others. As incompetent individuals gain competence they gain ability to have insight about their true level of performance.
Humility is not self-hatred. Conceit is not success. We are so attuned to choosing the most boastful as the best, we are blind and crippled.
Basically, a living human is a success. From there whatever else happens is up to us. Really knowing who you are now will help get you where you want to go. Fake it, you lose.
In Magdalena, the school offered another wonderful Thanksgiving lunch to the village.  Many are responsible but the kitchen staff gets the biggest nod. Thank you, all.

Margaret Wiltshire is a Mountain Mail columnist. She can be reached  at

LETTER: Socorro DWI Program

Dear Editor:

With the holidays approaching, it is necessary to remind everyone about the dangers of impaired driving. In 2009, exactly 12,998 people were killed in alcohol-impaired collisions, while many others were injured in the United States. That means on average about 36 people are killed daily because of an intoxicated driver, or roughly two people per hour. More than 37,000 people in the U.S., including more than 200 people in Socorro County, were arrested for DWI in 2009, and out of every 200 to 2,000 alcohol impaired drivers on the road, only one is arrested. Moreover, while the number of alcohol related deaths have decreased, impaired driving is still the leading cause of death for people under the age of 30.
The winter holiday season is an especially crucial time of the year to address the issue of impaired driving and its impact upon communities. With the proliferation of celebrations, family reunions, college friends gathering, and holiday parties, the potential risk of impaired driving becomes even greater.
In order to create a real difference in the way the Socorro County community views impaired driving, we need your help. Impaired driving is not just a problem for the courts or the victims, but it is a problem for all of us. When impaired drivers take the road, they not only put themselves at risk, they put our lives, our children, our friends, our grandparents and our society at risk, too. In addition to the physical and emotional damage they inflict as a result of their careless behavior, impaired drivers place a financial burden on the community in the form of court costs, emergency services, the repair of public property, and more.
What can Socorro County residents do to help?
First, do not drive after drinking. Encourage safe driving behaviors among family, friends, and coworkers. You can do this by volunteering to be a designated driver, planning to ride home with a sober driver, staying put, and plan ahead. Support law enforcement efforts to rid roads of impaired drivers and encourage their continued enforcement of impaired driving laws to protect your family, friends, and our community at large. No one wants to face the New Year with a loss of a loved one, and if we treat impaired driving as the grave problem that it is then hopefully no one will have to.
The theme of the state’s winter superblitz is “Working Together Toward a Safe and Sober Holiday”. The campaign will include increased law enforcement operations, new radio and television advertisements, and “Safe and Sober Holiday” kits to be handed out to the community in anticipation of the holiday season. We hope to meet up with drivers and give a small gift of gratitude for making the decision to stay safe and sober this holiday season.
If you would like any alcohol or drug related information, please feel free to contact the Socorro County DWI Program for the Prevention of Substance Abuse at 575-838-2208.

Theresa Rosales

LETTER: Thanks From Quemado

Dear Editor:

On the evening of Nov. 21, I had a major fire. I lost four vehicles, a barn/shop, 60 years of tool acquisition, parts, etc.
But thanks to three (at least) volunteer fire department EMTs, Socorro Electric Cooperative, Ag Co. Propane, and several other individuals, I still have a house, a bunk house, and a vehicle.
I don’t even know all the people who were involved but would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped and all those who have offered assistance since.
Thank you, all.

Douglas Marable

Lady Warriors Fall in Season Opener

by Patrick Jason Rodriguez

The debut of Socorro girls basketball coach Marleen Greenwood could have gone better.
“During the pre-game warm ups I could tell that this was going to be a difficult game for us,” she said.
It turned out to be an accurate premonition, as visiting Ruidoso turned a fast start into a 65-35 win over the Lady Warriors in a nonleague game Tuesday night at the Warrior Dome.
The Lady Warriors of Ruidoso (2-0) went on a 7-0 run to start the game, including two quick baskets by Abrianna Herrera. Herrera finished with 15 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
Socorro finally scored when Mayra Acosta hit a free throw with 3:47 seconds left in the first quarter. The Lady Warriors shot only three of 24 from the free throw line.
Socorro went on a 4-0 run to start the second quarter, but three turnovers by the Lady Warriors’ defense helped Ruidoso take a 28-12 lead into halftime.
Socorro (0-1) wouldn’t get any closer than that, allowing 21 points in the third quarter.
“This game was something we can build on,” said Greenwood, who was previously the coach of the junior varsity team. “We could have given up after (Ruidoso) took that big lead in the first half, but we kept on pressing them to take bad shots. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough.”
Only two players on Socorro’s starting lineup Wednesday night were on the squad last season.   
Jaden Jones scored a team-high 14 points and grabbed five rebounds, while Makayla Jacobs had five rebounds and three blocked shots for Socorro. Samantha Sedillo chipped in with six points and three assists for the Lady Warriors.
As a team, Socorro finished with 20 rebounds, six assists, seven steals, including four by Marissa Marquez, and four blocked shots. The lady Warriors made 15 of 52 shots, for 27 percent.
The Warriors have only five players that played on the team last season, inlcuding two starters.
Socorro will host Bernalillo on Friday. The Lady Warriors defeated the Lady Spartans in their only contest against each other last season, 77-39.

Picture: Lady Warriors Samantha Sedillo (22) and Shaina Lopez (10) look on as Marissa Marquez’s jump shot falls in during a 65-35 loss to Ruidoso on Tuesday.

Photo by Patrick Jason Rodriguez

Socorro Boys Drop First Game at Valencia, 61-55

Mountain Mail Reports

The Socorro boys basketball team opened its season with a 61-55 road loss at Los Lunas Valencia during a non-district game on Wednesday night.
The Warriors  had a 16-15 lead after the first quarter, including six points from Jared Marquez and four points from Zach Esquivel.
The Jaguars (1-0) came back and took the lead going into halftime, 20-17.
That was as close as it got for the Warriors (0-1).
“We had our chances, but we let them slip away,” said Socorro coach Lawrence Baca.
Marquez finished with a game-high 16 points, inlcuding two three-pointers, and Esquivel chipped in with 14 for the Warriors.
Valencia was led by Shane Lewis with a team-high 12 points.
Although the close loss was tough to handle, Baca said that he was pleased with his team’s overall performance in the season opener.
“We’re further ahead than what I expected,” said Baca. “We weren’t as sloppy as I thought, and that’s good.”
Socorro plays at Ft. Wingate on Friday. The Warriors will then host Tularosa on Tuesday, Dec. 7, for the first home game of the season.

Versatility Makes Squash Useful

by Nancy Newberry

Winter squash is no zucchini. It does not multiply until there are so many zucchini that you find yourself sneaking it onto your neighbor’s porch in the dead of night because your family won’t even look at it anymore.  Instead, winter squash is more like a collectible. It comes in beautiful shapes, colors, and sizes, each with a subtly different flavor. Your stash of winter squash is a wealth of soups, pies, muffins, and casseroles, neatly packaged in sturdy hard cases. Winter squash does not rush you. If you keep it dry and cool, you have weeks to decide what to do with it. If you put a small amount of oil on a paper towel, and polish the skins of your squashes, you can admire them for most of the winter while you make those decisions.
Squash grows well here, too, so if you enjoy eating locally and supporting local farmers, these recipes fit right into the program. My collection is all local: from Magdalena, a blue pumpkin grown by Bob Enders and acorn squash from Ian Jenness ; from San Antonio, Delicata and Sugar Pie pumpkin from Sichler’s Produce; and from Datil, an heirloom variety Australian butter squash grown by Rebecca Pache . This beauty, from seed by the Baker Seed Company, looks like a light-orange version of Cinderella’s coach.  These recipes also feature local garlic from Nick at Polvadera Farms, and onions and parsnips available at the Socorro Farmers’ Market from Tom Hyden.
Few vegetables are as versatile as winter squash. It can be the base for rich or light, savory or sweet dishes, from side vegetable to dessert, which means even the most skeptical eater can like it. For instance, you can cut any squash in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp, and place it cut-side down in a baking dish, and roast in a 375-degree preheated oven until it gives no resistance when poked with a sharp knife (about 1 hour). To serve it, flip it over, and place a dab of butter in the hollow. For the sweet lovers, a little cinnamon and brown sugar on the table will make it delightful; for those who prefer it savory, a sprinkle of salt is sufficient.
And, just so that we can all get on the same page, save those seeds.  Heirloom varieties will grow true from seed (many hybrid squashes will grow a different generic type from saved seed), and you can grow them next spring if you try. And we all know that you can toss pumpkin seeds with a little oil and toast them on a baking sheet in the oven for 10 minutes for a wonderful snack.
Squash Basics. How can you tell which squash to buy? Choose an unblemished squash or pumpkin that feels heavy for its size. As for flavor, butternut and kabocha tend to be rich, with a nutty, earthy flavor, while Delicata and acorn squashes are lighter. Blue pumpkin has a coarse texture and medium flavor, and the heirloom Australian butter squash is nothing short of sublime. Store squashes in a cool, dry place. For long-term storage, wipe the skins with olive oil using a paper towel, and turn them occasionally.  A 3-pound squash or pumpkin will yield about 2 1/2 cups of pulp when cooked.

Ginger Carrot Squash Soup
The natural sweetness of carrots and the tang of ginger make this a very fresh, light soup.
Yield: 6 servings
2 large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
7 cups Squash Soup Base
 ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger root, or to taste
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Heat carrots with enough water to cover to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until carrots are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain. Mash the carrots with a potato masher.
Add soup base and ginger to the saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.

Harvest Pumpkin Bread
This delicious moist loaf is rich with chocolate and pecans, and the spicy glaze, while optional, makes it very indulgent.
Yield: 1 (4x8 inch) loaf or 3 mini loaves
1 ¾ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda (use ¾ teaspoon above 7000 feet)
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
¾ cup pumpkin or roasted squash pulp
½ cup chopped pecans
¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips
Glaze (optional)
½ cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon half and half cream
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 4x8-inch loaf pan, or 3 mini loaf pans. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, the 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar together until well combined. Whisk in the eggs and pumpkin. Stir in the ½ cup chopped pecans. Combine the flour mixture and the pumpkin mixture quickly, stirring just until all ingredients are moistened. Spoon into the prepared loaf pan.
Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes; remove to a plate.
Meanwhile, make the glaze. Whisk together the cream, remaining nutmeg, cinnamon and pecans. Pour glaze over the bread slowly, allowing it to absorb into the warm loaf.

Winter Squash and Parsnip Hash
Similar to a sweet potato hash served in the Common Grill in Chelsea, Michigan, you’ll want to serve this unusual dish alongside eggs for breakfast, brunch, or supper.
1 ½ pounds winter squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 –inch cubes
¼ pound parsnips, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Place squash cubes and parsnip pieces in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, and cook just until tender. Drain; place in an ice water bath to cool. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and cook and stir the bacon until crisp. Pour in the vegetable oil and the onion, and cook and stir until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the squash and parsnips, and cook, stirring gently, until golden, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the parsley; season to taste with salt and pepper.

Nancy Newberry arrived in Magdalena from Seattle about a year ago, where her DIY food exploits are, while not quite legendary, pretty daring. She has worked in coffee shops and deli kitchens, cooked for camps and field trips, and worked as a site producer for the #1 Food and Entertainment website on the web,

From The Editor

by Patrick Jason Rodriguez

It didn’t matter that the temperature was 23 degrees. I left the house a few minutes before five in the morning regardless, ready to partake in the same grueling activity that I’ve done for the past 12 years on the day after Thanksgiving. No, I’m not talking about schlepping shopping bags from store to store on Black Friday – after all, I prefer to do my holiday gift buying in the late afternoon on Dec. 24 – but rather jogging outside when the sun still hasn’t risen above the eastern plains.
I don’t do this because of some post-adolescent anti-establishment gripe about all the hoopla surrounding the busiest shopping day of the year. I do this jogging stuff for my health, and also it seems like a fitting way to bid farewell to another American Diabetes Month. 
Anyway, I was running. I started off by heading west toward the New Mexico Tech campus. The aesthetically pleasing architecture, the manicured rolling green hills (even in late November), and the tall broadleaf trees with red and yellow leaves all provided the right amount of serenity. And the good news was that I wasn’t the only one exercising while braving the bitter cold, either by jogging, walking, or bicycling.
I lost count after an hour and a half, when I arrived at the Plaza, but the tally at that point had reached 34. I know that seems like a small number, but it really isn’t all that bad for a western city with a population of about 9,000.
I bring up all of this because diabetes is a serious issue. It’s a disease that about 171 million people worldwide suffer from, roughly 2.8 percent of the population. I’m fortunate enough not to be one of them, though my mother isn’t so lucky.
She was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes 21 years ago, at age 40, and every day since she’s had to poke herself on the tip of one of her fingers with a needle stick in order to draw a tiny blood sample which she uses to test her blood sugar levels on a handheld glucose monitor. And then there are the bruises on her abdomen from the syringe and needle that she uses to provide her with a sufficient amount of insulin due to a failed pancreas.
There’s a strong genetic basis for contracting type-2 diabetes, so you can see why I tend to exercise vigorously, though environmental factors also come into play. Better to be safe than sorry, I suppose.
Still, it pains me to know that my mother has suffered from this kind of abuse, and I wished that she had taken better care of health in her youth. In fact, even today I wish that she would exercise and eat healthier.
When I returned home, after two hours of jogging, I prepared a bowl of oatmeal with cinnamon and soymilk, peeled a banana, and then poured myself a glass of orange juice and water mixed together.
Then an hour later I called my mother, and she said she was okay.

Routine Traffic Stop Leads to Drug Bust

by John Larson

A Las Cruces man on Wednesday, Dec. 1, was bound over to District Court by Magistrate Judge Jim Naranjo on three felony narcotics counts, including the possession, and trafficking, of the narcotic ecstasy and conspiracy to commit a crime. He was also charged with possession of marijuana, which is a misdemeanor.
Kevin J. Wilson, 19, was arrested on Nov. 21 following a routine traffic stop on Interstate 25.
Arrested with Wilson was David A. Pedraza, 21, also of Las Cruces. Pedraza pleaded guilty for possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, a petty misdemeanor.
Making the arrest was Socorro Sheriff’s Deputy Casey Spurgin, who said he learned that Wilson and Pedraza were on their way back from Colorado Springs, Colo., where they were allegedly selling the pills at “raves” for $10 to $15 per pill.
According to the criminal complaint, Spurgin pulled over Wilson’s car, which had been clocked at traveling 85 miles per hour, in the southbound lane of Interstate 25. Spurgin said he noticed a “heavy odor of burnt marijuana” coming from the driver’s side window, and asked the driver for his license, insurance and registration.
“While talking to the driver (Wilson), I noticed his hands were trembling, his voice was cracking and he was just fumbling for various papers,” Spurgin said. “When he finally handed me his driver’s license, he said he was just a college student trying to get home.”
Spurgin asked him to step out of the vehicle, and directed Wilson to go to the back of the car.
According to Spurgin, Wilson started rapidly moving around, repeating that he was just a college student, saying he has a future ahead of him, that he’s trying to move out of his parents’ house. “I asked him if he had any more marijuana in the vehicle, and if so, now was the time to produce it,” said Spurgin.
“Wilson took me to the passenger’s door and told the passenger, Pedraza, to hand over the marijuana. After denying that he knew anything about marijuana, Pedraza pulled a baggie out of his pocket,” Spurgin said.
When asked if there were any other narcotics in the vehicle, Wilson assured Spurgin there were none.
“After he gave me permission to search the vehicle, I opened the driver’s side door and immediately in front of me in the center console was a clear plastic baggie containing a number of small, round pills,” Spurgin said. “I asked him what they were and at first he said that he’s never seen those before in his life.”
Wilson then admitted that they were ecstasy pills, and after waiving his Miranda rights told Spurgin he had originally purchased 390 pills in Las Cruces but had only taken 250 to Colorado Springs, where he and Pedraza sold 80 to 100 pills. Spurgin found 141 ecstasy pills in the baggie.
Spurgin was assisted in the arrest by Sheriff’s Deputies Ed Sweeney and Zack Holcomb.
Wilson’s preliminary hearing in district court has not been scheduled as of press time on Wednesday. He was released to the custody of his parents.

Improved Website for New Mexico Drivers

Mountain Mail Reports

Socorro and Catron county drivers are getting improved information on the state’s road condition website, “NMRoads.”
According to a press release form Transportation Secretary Gary Girón, the latest version of the website features a simplified, map-based interfaced, with a variety of easy-to-use customizable tools
“Since it first went on line, NMRoads [] has given travelers unprecedented real-time access to road condition, construction and weather-related information,” Girón said. “With the start of winter just around the corner, the newly enhanced site will allow motorists both in and out of state properly plan their travels in order to reach their destination safely.”
Features include:
·         Easily accessible menus.
·         A fully scalable map giving users increased viewing options, all the way from a statewide perspective down to city-level views.
·         A complete listing of active travel alerts, including color-coded descriptions of roadway incidents.
·         Live traffic-camera views or road conditions, either in the Albuquerque metro area, or statewide, and current information from electronic message signs.
·         Transit and rest area information, including statewide bike routes and maps, and RailRunner schedules, as well as trucking restriction listings.
·         Real-time weather conditions statewide, plus current weather statistics by city, direct links to the National Weather Service and Doppler Radar images.
·         Links to New Mexico’s toll-free “511” travel-advisory hotline, as well as to “511” services of other states, and links to road conditions in Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Oklahoma and Texas.
·         Enhanced automatic e-mail and text message updates of travel and roadway conditions.
·         Both the NMRoads Web site,, and the “511” toll-free travel hotline are updated on a 24/7 basis.


Socorro To Get Fed Money

Mountain Mail Reports

Federal disaster aid totaling $355,313, to date, is on its way to Socorro County and four other New Mexico counties that suffered damages from summer flooding, according to officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Managemen.
President Obama issued a major disaster declaration on Sept. 13 for the July 25 to Aug. 9 flooding, designating Public Assistance (PA) funding for Socorro, Cibola, McKinley, Mora, and San Juan Counties.
“These federal disaster funds will help applicants in these counties to recoup costs from the severe storms and flooding,” FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Sandy Coachman said.
Under the FEMA PA program, supplemental financial assistance is provided to the state, its agencies, local and tribal governments, and certain private nonprofit organizations for its eligible response and recovery expenses.
FEMA dollars were awarded to New Mexico communities through a cost-sharing partnership. FEMA reimburses applicants 75 percent of their eligible costs; the state and applicants share the remaining 25 percent burden.
FEMA obligates federal PA funds directly to the state, which disburses the money to the local jurisdictions and organizations that incurred costs. 

A List and A List and A List From Listless Sylvia

by Anne Sullivan

“Have you finished your list yet?” I asked Sylvia while we were sitting in front of the TV. More accurately, I was sitting under two heated throws and Sylvia was sprawled out on the rug, poised for, but not, writing.
“No,” Sylvia said with a sour look at me. “It’s very hard to write a list of what I’m thankful for while watching the Evening News. Auto accidents, bullying, drunk driving, murders, on-line predators, job cuts, suicides. All I can find to be thankful for is that it’s not happening to me.”
“You ought to be thankful that the elections are over and we don’t have to listen to those terrible ads,” I said.
“I guess I could also be thankful I didn’t have to fly any place for Thanksgiving.”  Sylvia licked the pen and wrote.
“Hear, hear,” I agreed.
“I don’t know what all the fuss is about the pat-down though. I enjoy being petted.”
“This is more like going to the vet,” I informed her.
“Oh. I wouldn’t like that.”
“Don’t worry. You’re not going anywhere.”
“That’s good. I like it here.”
“You could be thankful for that.”
Sylvia dutifully added it to her short list.
“While you’re making lists,” I suggested, “you might start your Christmas list.”
“That won’t take long,” Sylvia said, flipping to a new page in her spiral notebook. “There’s you and Gordo. Oh, and my friend Yah Dah in Socorro. And there’s that little dog who lives in the apartment in New York with your friend Lois.”
I watched as she turned another page and began to write furiously. “What’s that you’re writing now? Another list?”
“Yes, it’s a list of things I wish would happen.”
“Aside from World Peace, what have you got?”
“So far this is what I’ve written: I wish Christmas would come once every three years instead of every year. Then I might be ready for it.”
“I’m with you on that one. I barely get the tree down and the decorations put away and it’s time to put everything up again.”
“That’s Number One. Number Two is: I wish not so many catalogs would come into this house. We need only one a year from each company. Think of the paper it would save. That ought to be a law.”
“I’ll go along with that one, too.”
“And Number Three is: I wish there was a Santa Claus for dogs.”
“Isn’t there? I should take you to see Santa. He comes to the school in Datil after the Christmas play.”
“No, I don’t want to go then. He’s there for the school kids. I’d feel self-conscious, being the only dog.”
“I’ll think on that. Anything else on your list?”
“I wish Santa would find me a publisher.”
“That might be difficult for him. I’m sure he’s a Luddite and not familiar with how publishing works these days.”
“Wouldn’t you know.”  She sighed heavily. “Another year of being unappreciated and unknown will be the finish of me.”
I watched the cloud of despond hovering over her head. “Surely not,” I said. “You have more guts and gumption than that.”
A tear dripped down on the notebook as she wrote and spoke at the same time, “I wish you’d go for more walks with me.”
“I would. I mean to. I want to. It’s just that it’s so cold and windy these days.”
“You mean it’s just that you’re getting wimpy.” She met my silence with, “I wish time wasn’t flying by so fast and we weren’t getting so old.”
“But consider how wise we’re getting to be. And don’t you think you could end your column in a more positive way?”
“If I had one of those big Vitabone biscuits to munch on I’m pretty sure I could.”