The New Mexico Supreme Court on Monday upheld the conviction of Steven Lee Lucero for the 2014 brutal murder of Isaiah Sanchez in Roswell.
In their ruling, the five justices agreed with the Criminal Appeals Division of the state’s Office of Attorney General.
In August 2016, Lucero was sentenced by Judge Kea Riggs of the Fifth Judicial District to the maximum prison term, 40 years, plus at least two years of probation to follow incarceration should he receive parole.
Although Lucero was convicted on three counts, state statute required that the third count dealing with the use of a firearm be subsumed by the other counts, felony murder and conspiracy to commit murder. The jury found Lucero not guilty of another count, tampering with evidence.
“Keeping the most violent, dangerous offenders behind bars in New Mexico is our priority,” Attorney General Hector Balderas said in a released statement. “The defendant’s methodical actions to lure the victim to a house party, brutally beat and stab him and then return to the body to deliver the fatal stab wound demonstrates the extreme danger Lucero posed to the Roswell community.”
Balderas praised the Fifth Judicial District Attorney’s Office and the Roswell Police Department for the successful prosecution of this case.
Lucero set into motion a methodical plan to rob Sanchez that ended in the cold-blooded murder of the victim and the ultimate theft of a mere $15 from his wallet, Balderas said.
Lucero’s older brother, Gilbert Lucero, also was charged in Sanchez’s murder, but was acquitted on all counts in February 2017.
According to a criminal complaint, the Lucero brothers plotted the killing of Sanchez, who was 30 at the time, because of his involvement with the ex-wife of Steven Lucero.
Authorities said Vanessa Lucero, the ex-wife, lured Sanchez to the former home of Gilbert Lucero in the 1800 block of North Maryland Avenue, where the Lucero brothers were lying in wait and attacked him with a gun and knives.
The Lucero brothers shot and stabbed Sanchez repeatedly, leaving him still breathing face down in a pool of blood in the home’s kitchen, court records state.
Officer Robert Scribner of the Roswell Police Department, who wrote the criminal complaint for both Luceros brothers, said there were several areas of blood on the home’s ceiling.
“(I) observed a very large amount of blood in the kitchen on appliances, kitchen cabinets, walls, ceiling and floor,” Scribner wrote in the criminal complaint, adding the right shoe of Sanchez had been removed after the killing.
The two brothers subsequently stole clothing and jewelry from Sanchez, and also dismantled Sanchez’s pickup truck for parts, including stealing the motor, court records said.
When the Lucero brothers returned to the scene, Steven Lucero realized Sanchez was still alive.
Seeing Sanchez on the floor gasping for air, Steven Lucero remarked with profanities that he’s “still breathing,” the Supreme Court stated in its ruling.
Steven Lucero then asked Vanessa Lucero and another woman to leave, and they did so. The two women waited down the road until Steven Lucero called and said that he and Gilbert Lucero were ready to be picked up. When the women returned, Steven Lucero told Vanessa Lucero that he had stabbed Sanchez again. Steven Lucero took the victim’s wallet, $15 and one of his shoes. The Luceros left and dumped the shoe, weapons and their bloodied clothes into the Pecos River.
In his defense, Steven Lucero claimed there were cumulative errors in the prosecution of his case that should result in a reversal of his convictions.
However, the supreme court stated in its ruling the prosecution’s case was absent of any identifiable error in the record that would support a reversal.
Community News reporter Timothy P. Howsare can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Around 60 sportsmen, ranchers, adventurers and citizens from Roswell, Artesia and even Carlsbad attended a meeting to show their opposition to the proposed county road closures at Los Cerritos at 6 p.m. on Monday.
“Clearly, this shows that people are passionate about this,” Gabriel Vasquez said. “I don’t know how many issues that people of Chaves County can rally around, but public lands are just built into our lives — not just in Chaves County, but in southern New Mexico. Public lands are just a way of life.”
Gabe Vasquez of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation (NMWF) sponsored the meeting along with Access NM and the New Mexico Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. Vasquez said he is from Las Cruces where he is a city councilor and said he hunts in and around Roswell.
Vasquez said he hopes the meeting shows the Chaves County Board of Commissioners that there are more people interested in the issue than the three ranchers following their own interests.
A map of the closures, a copy of NMWF’s publication Outdoor Reporter, and a document listing the contact information for county commissioners, land council members, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and New Mexico Department of Game & Fish (NMDGF) representatives. Vasquez and other members of the NMWF encouraged the public to write letters to the editors of local press outlets, publish thoughts on social media and speak at the county commissioner meetings on the third Thursday of every month.
Helen and Oscar Sosa, avid hunters, came from Artesia and shared their stance with the Daily Record. Both said access to public lands was an ongoing issue they have been fighting for and they hope the public’s voice will come out as the winner this time.
David Romine, a rancher, said he had been fighting this issue for years when Old School House Road was going to be closed near his property, which is 80 miles away from Roswell in the Flying H Community near Picacho Road.
Romine said his property has access to nearly 1,500 acres of landlocked public land and when Romine and his wife Virgie were going to open their land up to hunters and their lives were threatened along with two of the hunters and sportsmen on state trust land. Law enforcement would not assist them after the threats according to Romaine.
“It’s the public’s!” he said. “I’m sorry — that’s just the way we feel.”
Access New Mexico
“The public needs to get out and oppose this closure,” David Archibeque said, “or eventually nobody will be able to get out and go hunt — not even hunters — hikers, any outdoorsmen. That area has a lot of history. It has some Billy the Kid ruins.”
Archibeque said he was in attendance to oppose three road closures ahead of time, instead of facing what happened with the Feliz Canyon closure. Vasquez called the actions at the Felix Canyon bad government because the voice of the constituents was not heard and called closing access to public lands a bad economic move since visiting hunters can boost the economy.
“It’s bad economic policy apart from keeping us out of our constitutional rights to access these public lands,” Vasquez said.
Archibeque and a few others started a group Access New Mexico in response to the Felix Canyon closure. Archibeque asked for more people to join with the group to prevent issues before they happened.
Dino Wilcox, another member of Access New Mexico, said the group is trying to gain nonprofit access within the year and wants manpower to help with the roads, fences, or whatever is needed to keep public lands accessible.
“I’m tired of watching us get locked out of all of this,” Mark Pantuso said. “The only thing that these county commissioners understand is votes and money. That’s it. They don’t care about the truth. It’s just money. We are all here from all of the districts that they are in. We need them to know that every district has someone representing from all of the districts. We are holding them accountable to this.”
Pantuso encouraged everyone to speak their two minutes at the future meetings and at the public hearing on April 19. Pantuso said he found in a policy that the commissioners cannot vacate or close a county road when the road is necessary, beneficial or valuable for public use on that road.
Many of the attendees said that if the roads were closed, it would take 30 minutes longer for them to access Ruidoso, which would take away a primary route.
“We need this to be viral,” Vasquez said. “We need everybody to be against this so it makes it such an unpopular decision so that these county commissioners cannot close these roads.”
Vasquez said the groups would send a request for an inspection of public records for emails sent to commissioners if the concerned citizens cannot make the 9 a.m. meetings, which would then be shared online.
Vasquez said the BLM, NMDGF, NMWF and other stakeholders have created an agreement to consider for a two-track easement cut around the Casabonnes ranch and the Felix Canyon closure on BLM land once it is mapped out, which Vasquez is confident will work out. He said the new road is 13 miles and the NMWF is asking for help to make it happen.
City Councilor Barry Foster is the secretary of AccessNM and said every agency that spoke out said to not close the roads.
Romine shared his story again and also said the current sheriff refuses to send deputies into the surrounding land to enforce the law and closures of the county that has affected fire department access.
Toby Marrujo said he attended the road viewing at the Casabonnes and that Sheriff Britt Synder and the commissioners asked the group to leave without public comment, which Vasquez confirmed. Seth Taylor said to look at the friendship of Synder with the commissioners and compared it to the “Good Ole Boys.”
Vasquez asked the room to raise their hands if they supported not closing the county roads and every hand went up, which he videoed and took a couple photos to send to the county commissioners.
City reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at email@example.com.
A man accused of murdering Stormy Joel Vargas through the means of a single gunshot to the head in October 2013 stood trial in Chaves County District Court Monday.
A 12-person jury was set by 2:15 p.m. Monday for 29-year-old Steve Gonzalez Guardado before District Judge Freddie J. Romero.
Guardado had been previously represented by Harry G. Wilcox Jr. and assistant public defender Debra Lautenschlager after he was placed under police custody following a traffic stop in Modesto, California.
According to a substitution of counsel form, in July 2016, Gary C. Mitchell, of Ruidoso, would instead defend Guardado.
After Judge Romero instructed the proceeding of the set five-day trial, the state of New Mexico gave its opening statement.
Deputy District Attorney Kristen Cartwright began after thanking members of the jury for their participation, and informed them the trial will include multiple names — and that every name might not have a face to go with it.
Cartwright then began to provide more context of a murder that had happened Oct. 23, 2013 — just two days before the murder of Vargas.
“A gentleman by the name of Victor Oaxaca was murdered by — it was later learned — Chris Trujillo,” Cartwright said. “How this all comes into play with this case is that Victor was best friends with Stormy. And when I say ‘Stormy,’ I’m referring to Stormy Vargas.”
Cartwright explained Oaxaca and Vargas were seen everywhere together, even that the two used to play basketball together at New Mexico Military Institute.
“The night that Victor died, Stormy was with Victor — Stormy was in the car that took Victor to the hospital; that was on a Wednesday,” Cartwright said. “On a Thursday, Stormy goes to pay his respects to the Oaxaca family and tells (them) about what happened the night before.”
Cartwright said, after Vargas told the Oaxaca family what had happened, the situation got “a little crazy.”
“Stormy’s story wasn’t believed by a lot of people, and that’s where blame and revenge come into play,” she said. “The defendant blamed Stormy for Victor’s death. He didn’t understand why Victor died that night, and he was angry.”
The defense began his opening by being more direct.
“Steve Guardado did not commit this murder — did not shoot Stormy Vargas, and did not go to Stormy Vargas’ house,” Mitchell said. “So, let’s talk about what we do know — from the facts that will be presented to you.”
Mitchell explained to the jury key parts of the case centered on a 911 call made Oct. 25, 2013, the day Vargas was killed, the way the RPD first handled the scene and a sample of saliva authorities found at the crime scene.
“One of the two people inside the house that gives a description of the shooter as being 5’10 to 5’11, having a gray hoodie or shirt like (it), no hat on. Black hair — not too long, somewhere around 180 to 175. Not a big guy. Not a thin guy. Average size guy — no beard. That’s the description he sees. He couldn’t identify the person other than that.”
Mitchell continued, adding that some of the members of the RPD have been “in the business for a lot of years.”
“At the scene, the commander tells them, ‘rush this, so we don’t lose any evidence,’ and they began to collect evidence that they find as quickly as possible,” he said.
Mitchell went over pieces of the evidence found, noting the 9 mm shell casing found was a common brand.
“But right close there, within a short distance, you’ll see a police marker with a ‘D’ on it,” he said. “And when you get a close-up of that, it’s spit. Saliva.”
Mitchell said after the saliva sample was tested, it was determined the DNA found was not his client’s.
“There’s no dispute about this, it came back as the DNA of Miguel Barraza,” he said. “So they take that, and the description that the detectives obtained that night (and found that it) does not match Steven Guardado.
“Because at the time, he was right around 280 to 300 pounds. He was large — he’s lost a lot of weight since 2013.”
The defense attorney also made a mention to the importance of Coordinated Universal Time.
RPD patrol supervisor Kim Northcutt, who handled the Victor Oaxaca homicide case, was the first to testify.
The sergeant confirmed with the prosecution Vargas was not connected to Oaxaca’s death, which had happened at The Variety Lounge Oct. 23.
“Through my investigation, (it) showed that (Vargas) didn’t play any role in that. Any part of that.”
The defense asked Northcutt whether he had learned the Trujillos were related to the Oaxacas or Vargas from his investigation. The sergeant replied with, no, not to his knowledge.
Northcutt was last asked if he was part of another investigation that had happened two weeks prior to the incident in which Vargas’ house was shot at. He stated he was not.
Miguel Barraza, 33, was the second to testify. He was asked about the time when he visited the Oaxaca residence on Oct. 25, 2013.
Barraza stated he went to the property with his girlfriend Lisa. He remembers seeing family, friends and people he didn’t know inside and outside the area drinking and possibly smoking marijuana.
Barraza told Deputy District Attorney Michael Thomas he remembers seeing the defendant, Guardado, at the Oaxaca residence and identified him in court.
Barraza stated Guardado had eventually left in a black Chrysler but didn’t recall actually talking with him.
Mitchell questioned Barraza’s height, weight, hair and dress at the time of the incident, trying to see if he met the description originally given by the 911 caller. The two did not match.
Throughout his responses, Barraza would often not give eye contact. He stated the saliva could potentially have been from him smoking marijuana, but didn’t recall spitting at the residence. He also said he had never seen Guardado with a gun.
Twenty-four photographs of the crime scene were admitted as evidence.
Barraza stated he left the residence with Lisa. He was unable to remember the vehicle he drove but stated he did not drive a black Chrysler. After news of Vargas getting shot, Barraza said everyone at the party started to leave, and he went to the hospital with Lisa.
Barraza was also asked by the prosecution if he had first-hand knowledge of who killed Stormy Vargas, or if he had killed him. He stated he did not to both questions.
Recess for the trial was called by Romero later Monday afternoon and was set to resume Tuesday morning.
Multimedia-Crime reporter Trevier Gonzalez can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Mexico State Police are investigating two crashes with double fatalities that occurred in Southeastern New Mexico.
Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in either of the crashes, according to NMSP.
On Sunday around 7:30 a.m., police responded to a fatal crash on U.S. 285 around mile-post 17 near Loving in Eddy County that claimed the life of a Roswell man, Michael Ponce, 39.
The initial investigation determined a 2004 Freightliner semi-truck was traveling north on U.S. 285, when for reasons that are still under investigation, the 2004 semi-truck crossed the center line into the south-bound lane. The 2004 semi-truck sideswiped a south-bound 2007 Freightliner semi-truck and then impacted a third south-bound 2013 Dodge passenger truck head-on, according to the crash report.
The driver, Ponce, and passenger of the Dodge, Fernando Garcia Martinez, 60, of Carlsbad both sustained fatal injuries and were pronounced deceased at the scene. The drivers of both Freightliner semi-trucks were uninjured.
The crash is still under investigation with charges pending against the driver of the 2004 semi-truck. The driver will not be identified unless charges are filed.
U.S. 82 crash
At about 11 a.m. Friday, NMSP responded to a fatal crash on U.S. 82 around mile-post 36 near Mayhill in Otero County.
The initial investigation indicates a 2006 Chevy Impala was traveling east on U.S. 82 at a high rate of speed. The driver failed to negotiate a sharp curve in the road, struck a tree and subsequently rolled down an embankment, according to the crash report.
The male driver, Vicky Eudy, 63, of Alamogordo, and rear-seat passenger Mark Torrez, 53, of Artesia, both sustained fatal injuries and were pronounced deceased at the scene. A front-seat passenger in the Chevy was transported to an area hospital with injuries not believed to be life-threatening.
ARTESIA – Did you know that Nick Saban, Hines Ward and Tom Brokaw have something in common?
All three are listed as prominent graduates of the American Legion Boys State program and right now Kenneth Hart of Artesia serves as the president of the board of directors for New Mexico.
Hart said Boys State has been active in New Mexico for decades. In the past he said over 300 boys were involved in the program. Last year, he said 88 were involved.
Hart is looking to get more boys in the program, which will take place later this year at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales.
He said the American Legion Auxiliary sponsors Girls State which is a mirror program of Boys State.
“The goals are the same, but the program is completely different,” he said.
He said Girls State will take place after Boys State and it is also held in Portales.
Hart said boys from across New Mexico gather in Portales to learn more about the government process.
“It’s a non-partisan program with fictious cities and fictious parties with no real platforms,” he said.
Hart added that the cities are grouped into counties, “and right from the get-go we’re putting them into government.”
He said the participants get a crash course on the inner-workings of government.
“And right off the bat they start campaigning and start building government,” he said.
“The entire program is a mock government situation that lasts a week long and as the program progresses we move them from city government to county and state government and we try to encompass as many of the facets of the government that we can,” Hart added.
Hart said they also explore schools boards, regulatory agecnies and others that are appointed by the governor.
“One of the things we try to do is get everybody involved so that the cities are asking for grants from the state, the state is dealing with issues that come to it and the county is trying to do things in the county and they have to deal with city land, so there is really this picture going on with government,” he said.
Hart said those who have participated in the program usually come back and serve as counselors and mentors to new participants.
He said that scholarships are usually given, “every boy who completes the program is awarded three credits in political science from ENMU. When you consider tuition and such, that’s probably something like a $500 value right there. So in essence everybody walks out with $500 worth of education.”
Hart was asked how many kids particiapte from Southeast New Mexico.
“Our numbers kind of vary,” he said. “I’ve seen from Carlsbad as many as three or four here recently. Unfortunately I haven’t seen anyone from Artesia since I’ve been with the program. Roswell, we generally see a few more, in the neighborhood of about ten.”
He added that kids from Loving, Hobbs and Dexter have also participated.
“Obviously I’d like to see more from everywhere,” he said.
Hart said more information maybe obtained at nmboysstate.org or you can reach him at 575-513-4105. Hart also commands American Legion Post No. 7 in Carlsbad.
“Boys State is the best summer program out there in my opinion. It’s a great resume builder, it’s a great experience and opportunity to learn public speaking and general leadership, attendees of Boys State come out of the program more informed and better prepared for life, in my opinion,” Hart said.
General assignment reporter Mike Smith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 307, or at email@example.com.
ARTESIA — Stacy Heacox runs the Eddy County Office of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeastern New Mexico and she is heading into the final days before this weekend’s Bowl For Kids Sake, and that means there’s still plenty of preparation.
She said it will take place this Saturday, Feb. 24, at Artesia Lanes at 1701 Tumbleweed Road and it will start at 1 p.m.
“We did lose a couple of teams due to scheduling conflicts,” she said.
“We’ve got some sponsors now and we’ve got most of our prizes in order,” she added.
She said HollyFrontier has signed up 19 teams, “they’re doubling up some lanes for their individual session and one team is bowling in the afternoon.”
Heacox added, “HollyFrontier fills up an entire session every year. Debbie Bell, (community affairs administrator) is on the ball.”
Teams from Central Valley Electric-Energy Staffing Services, Artesia General Hospital and the New Mexico Department of Workforce Connections are also participating.
The Artesia Downtown Lions Club will have two teams, according to Heacox.
Last year around $16,000 was raised and this year Heacox said they are hoping to raise around $20,000.
She said there is still time to sign up as the cost is $100 a person for a five-person team.
“You can still sign up a couple of days before the event,” she said.
Heacox said the job of her organization is to match children with strong mentors and she said the need for those mentors is great in Eddy County.
For people who might be concerned about today’s youth, Heacox said there are some high school students who act as a mentor to the younger kids in the community.
“The high school is really great to work with here,” she said.
Heacox said high school kids and adults who volunteer with BBBS go through an extensive background check.
Heacox added if anyone wants to sign up for bowling or to become a volunteer they can call her at 575-910-1882.
She’s inviting people to, “swing by the bowling alley to find out more about Big Brothers Big Sisters.”
General assignment reporter Mike Smith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 307, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the Roswell Lady Coyotes softball fans, it may seem like yesterday as softball season approaches. Many can’t help but to look back to a year ago in March to a game against Kirtland Central.
It was their first game of the state playoffs with perhaps coach Art Sandoval’s best team and chance to win a blue trophy to this point in his career. It was certainly his last chance to win one with daughter Sheyanne, the starting shortstop, who was a senior.
With runners on first and second base and one out, a hitter hit a slow roller to shortstop, as Sandoval came charging in to field the ball, she was brutally blindsided by a Central Kirtland base runner.
The hit was so vicious that Sandoval laid sprawled on the ground for 10 minutes without moving. The game was delayed for 30 minutes before resuming. Coach Sandoval was disturbed that the official did not call the runner out for running his daughter over, and that all runners were safe.
Sandoval protested the game, but it was too little too late, because the hit not only shocked the Coyotes as they lost, 2-0, but that loss sent them into the loser’s bracket and changed the course of their tournament, as they wanted for their appeal to be denied.
In a scene reminiscent of nine months earlier when it was all over for the Lady Coyotes after they were beaten by Alamogordo, 5-1 to end their season, one of the most enduring photos was of the Sandovals in tears as they embraced each other.
“I missed the connection me and my dad had,” Sheyanne said. “I miss playing with all my high school teammates. I miss the things we did on and off the field.”
Nine months later, Sheyanne Sandoval is on a Trinidad State Trojans softball bus pulling into the Coyote softball complex as her junior college team gets ready to practice at the Coyote complex on their way to Midland for a tournament.
As soon as the bus stops and the doors open, the first person Sheyanne seeks out is her father, Art Sandoval. Both Sandovals smile and hug each other for what seems like an eternity as they catch up and talk.
For the Lady Trojans who are a Division I junior college, the season is still young, with a 1-4 record, they are headed to play in the Midland tournament. At that tournament they will go 1-4 and 2-8 on the season. Softball is more than a sport; it has become a business to Sandoval, who has been playing softball since arriving on campus in August, waking up to do conditioning drills at 5 a.m. and then going to class.
“It means a lot to me as a parent and coach,” Coyote coach Art Sandoval said. “Most importantly what she has done for herself. She’s always been a hard worker. This has been a blessing in disguise because she has done well academically and athletically. I’ve always explained to her to use softball to get an education. It’s a big deal of mine to see any kids, but especially your kid going to the next level.”
Sheyanne’s biggest adjustment hasn’t been on the field with the speed of the pitches or playing the game against top-notch competition. However, off the field academics matter.
“I always tell kids about softball,” Art Sandoval said. “There’s nothing soft about softball. With softball, you’re going to have to work your tail off to get to the next level. Statistically, a lot of kids don’t make it to the next level. Every year we have someone go on to the next level. Our program is about heart and dedication.”
Sheyanne Sandoval has taken her game to the next level. She has appeared in 11 of the 12 games and has six hits on the season with five RBIs knocked in. Sandoval plays first base, catcher and shortstop. One of the biggest adjustments for her was getting used to the different pitches pitchers throw and their speeds.
Sandoval is third on the team in hitting with a batting average of .222, with players who have over 20 at-bats on the season. Sandoval is the leading fielder on the team with a fielding average of .971 and has committed only one error on the season.
I like that Sheyanne (Sandoval) is a true utility player,” Trojan coach Steve Swazo said. “She can play shortstop. She can catch. At the college level, we are looking forward to recruiting athletes. She has been our designated player (who) played shortstop. I look forward to big things from Sheyanne (Sandoval).”
Sheyanne credits playing softball in the summertime for helping her with the different pitches she sees at the college level. She would like to go to a Division I school and continue her softball career after her Trinidad career is over.
“I would love to play for Oklahoma University,” Sheyanne said. “I want to work on everything this year. It is a lot of work to play at this level. My dad was hard on me all throughout high school and didn’t take it easy on me. That helped me a lot when I got to college. I would tell other athletes, it is a lot of work, but if they keep working hard they can do it. Don’t take anything for granted, play every game like it’s your last game.”
HAGERMAN — The Goddard Lady Rocket basketball team came ever so close to claiming that elusive district championship as they fell to district rival Artesia 51-47 in a game played at neutral Hagerman High School. The Rockets held a late double-digit lead only to miss five free throws and commit numerous turnovers down the stretch as the Bulldogs came from way back to gain the victory.
The Bulldogs got the game-winner from senior post Kali Crandall who drove the lane to put in the layup and get the foul. Her free throw completed the three-point play and put the Dogs up by three with :11 seconds remaining. A late free throw following a desperation heave wrapped up the district title for Artesia.
“It’s hard to beat a team three times,” stated coach Jared Neighbors. “You know, we lost our focus at the end, but at the end of the day all four of us are still tied for first (in the eyes of the state seeding committee), so we have to do our job this week and we are going to take the positives and focus on those and we are going to take the negatives and fix them for our next match up.”
The game was played following a crazy four-way tie for first place in ultra-competitive district 4-5A. The Rockets had swept the Bulldogs, while Roswell High swept the Rockets, the Bulldogs had swept the Coyotes, and the Lovington squad had won all of their home games while losing all of their road games. The NMAA used point differential to determine the top two teams and ordered the game for the #1 seed in the district tourney and for purposes of crowning the district champ.
The Rockets fell behind early in the contest 7-2, but settled down and played well for the remaining of the opening quarter. The Rockets limited the looks for the Bulldogs’ Graci Puentes – their leading scorer – and kept the turnovers to a minimum.
Eden Wiggins would nail a three to make it 7-5 and Camarynn Villalpando would follow with a deuce to give the Rockets their first lead at 8-7 at the 4:39 mark. Allie French would get a bucket to give the Rockets a 10-9 lead late in the quarter and a lead that they would hold until the aforementioned Crandall hoop at the end of the game.
French would score with :03 seconds remaining off of a nice feed from Wiggins to give the Rockets a 15-11 after the initial quarter.
Both teams would play solid defense in the second quarter as the game would remain close. The Rockets would stretch their lead to 20-13 following another Wiggins hoop, but the Bulldogs would answer with a nice 7-2 run. A final Wiggins basket would make it 23-20 Rockets at the halftime break.
The Rockets would open the second half getting two big three’s from PJ Villareal and Wiggins. Following a Crandall hoop, Wiggins would make two free throws to make it 31-25. Wiggins would finish with 11 points while playing solid defense on the Dogs’ point guards.
Villalpando would then take over as she would get three offensive boards that led to seven points and a 38-27 lead – the first double-digit lead for the Rockets. Villalpando, the district leader in points and rebounds, would finish with a game-high 14 points and a plethora rebounds, both offensively and defensively.
The Bulldogs would cut it to 38-32 at the quarter break as Stacia Martinez would get a deuce and Alexa Riggs would hit a three following a Rocket turnover.
The fourth quarter saw the Bulldogs employing a full-court press in order to get back into the game. The ploy worked as the Rockets – who led 44-34 – started to turn over the ball on repeated possessions.
“We didn’t stop penetrations like we usually do,” said Neighbors. “We got a little (apprehensive) as they tightened up how they were calling it. It kind of scared us and we got into foul trouble and didn’t play as aggressively as we normally do. We just got to fix it and keep going.”
The Rockets would hang on to the lead, but it was obvious that the Bulldogs were slowly stealing the momentum as the Rockets started to miss free throws and throw the ball away. Puentes would make a layup to tie the game at 47-all with :37 seconds to go which led to Crandall’s late hoop for the Bulldog win.
Coach Neighbors was still positive following the heart-breaking loss. “In Philippians 4:8 it says Whatever is True, Whatever is Honorable, Whatever is Just, Whatever is Pure, Whatever is Lovely, Whatever is Commendable – if there is any Excellence or worthy of Praise – think about these things.” Neighbors is explaining that we are commanded to focus our lives – ball players, coaching staff, fans – on things much more important than a basketball game.
The Rockets now have to host the semi-final contest on Thursday against the winner of tonight’s Roswell-Lovington quarterfinal contest. The Bulldogs host the semi-final winner on Saturday.
Amy Marriott Johns, 91, passed away on Monday, February 12, 2018.
Amy was born on September 18, 1926, in Boulder, Colorado, to Fredrick and Katherine Marriott. Because the family traveled throughout her growing years, Amy attended various schools throughout her life, ending up in college at The University of Colorado, where she was a member of Alpha Phi. It is also where she met James Johns. They were married on December 23, 1947.
When Jimmie finished his degree in 1948, he and Amy moved to Roswell, where she was a homemaker and raised three children. She and the family enjoyed many activities together, including tennis, at which she excelled; water skiing, snow skiing and traveling.
Amy was very active in and a long-time member of many Roswell organizations through the years: Daughters of the American Revolution, Shakespeare Club, the Roswell Symphony Guild, Sweet Adelines, and the Roswell Reading Club. She was Past President of the Roswell P.E.O. and a member for 68 years. She was also a member of the Alto P.E.O. group. Music was her life. She played the violin, sang with the Sweet Adelines, and performed in the Roswell Frolics.
Amy was an active, vital, and long-time member of the First United Methodist Church, where she sang in the Chancel Choir for at least 60 years, played in the Kaler hand bell choir, served on the Worship Committee, and supported the church in many other ways. She also supported the Salvation Army, the Roswell Humane Society, the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art and many other worthy organizations.
Amy is survived by her two sons, Kirk and wife Elizabeth; James and girlfriend Wendy Stephens; half-brother Fredrick Marriott; cousins Jimmy and Sue Johns of Carlsbad and their family; Leslie and Donald Dongan of Artesia and their family; countless friends; and her beloved dog Rascal.
She was preceded in death by her oldest son, Chris, and husband, James. Her family and friends know she is singing in the Heavenly Choir and saying, “Isn’t this a kick!”
In lieu of flowers, the family wishes donations be made to one of the organizations she supported above.
A memorial service will be held 2pm on Thursday, February 22, 2018 at First United Methodist Church, 200 W. 2nd Street, Roswell, NM. Inurnment will follow the memorial service in the First United Methodist Church Columbarium.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Ballard Funeral Home and Crematory. An online registry can be accessed at www.ballardfuneralhome.com to convey your memories and thoughts to the family.
William Edwin Eaton, 64, passed away on Wednesday, February 14, 2018. Services will be held at a later date. Anderson Bethany Funeral Home and Crematory is honored to serve the Eaton family in their time of need.
Camille Graham from Runyan Ranches Rescue Zoo said one of the comments she hears most from customers is how well the animals at the zoo get along.
Gentle giants Runyan the camel and Wallace the Asian water buffalo live in the same pen with several goats less than a fourth their size. The animals get along well with people, especially children, and that’s the biggest thing that draws people to this stop along U.S. 82 on the way to Cloudcroft.
“This is our favorite place to stop,” said Carlsbad resident Michelle Hernandez. “We count down the miles.”
Hernandez was traveling on a recent Sunday afternoon with her daughter and several members of her daughter’s softball team on their way back from Las Cruces.
On any given day, weekends and school vacations especially, cars with travelers from local towns such as Lovington and Carlsbad, along with tourists from across the globe, will stop at the roadside attraction. It started out as an apple stand. Along with fruit, jellies and jams, the stand now sell sother goodies like soft drinks and snacks.
“In the summer there is not one spot to park,” said Graham, who lives on the property in a historic house.
The rescue zoo, which has existed for about 12 years, evolved as farmers and ranches in the area needed a place to turn over animals they couldn’t keep.
During their brief moments of down time, Graham and the Runyans can be found sitting in the three well-worn upholstered chairs inside the fruit stand. Of course, they have to compete for those chairs with felines Jacob, Goat and Simba.
The rescue zoo, which allows visitors to feed and pet the animals, is a veritable United Nations of critters of all sizes, colors and species.
Though the numbers are constantly changing, Graham said the animal population averages around 200. Graham said she does a lot of networking on the internet. Animals can call the zoo home for their entire lives or a short period of time.
“We rehome more animals than we keep,” she said. “We try to have a good variety of animals from farm animals to exotics.”
Graham said the animals at Runyan Ranches are well-cared for, but it’s always a happy moment when an animal can be moved to a new home where it will get more personal attention.
A special license is required by the USDA to raise and sell exotic animals, Graham said. A USDA inspector does random checks on the zoo.
Living at the zoo are sheep, goats, cattle, pot belly pigs, llamas and their close cousin, the alpaca, axis deer, a yak and a capybara, which looks a bit like a javelina but is the largest rodent in world and from South America.
Other animals include Zipper the zebra and Monkey the donkey, who loves attention.
There is a bit of mystery surrounding Monkey, whose abdomen appears to be a bit swollen.
“Is she pregnant, or is she just fat?” Graham speculated.
The only things Runyan the camel and Wallace the Asian water buffalo seem to have in common is their large size and insatiable appetite for food pellets. But if you could speak to them in animal talk, the big guys would tell you they are “twin brothers.”
Graham said they were brought to the zoo as “bottle babies” on the same trailer from different locations in Texas. They bonded right away on that long, dusty drive across Texas.
At one time, Runyan Ranches was a working cattle ranch established in 1918. Along with cattle, the ranch raised goats and angora sheep.
The ranch is now owned by Tom and Pam Runyan. Graham is a close family friend who is like a daughter to the couple. The trio work together to operate the concession stand, rescue zoo and two fishing ponds that are fed by a natural spring.
Graham said the spring water is cold, around 55 degrees near the surface.
The ponds are stocked with rainbow trout, black bass, blue gills and catfish, and fishing is permitted.
The trout are catch-and-keep while all the other fish are catch-and-release. Graham said that she cleans and guts the fish for free the customers.
“I call myself a fish caddy,” she said.
There are camping areas with “dry” sites (no hook ups) along the Rio Penasco. Visitors can commune with nature on the hiking trails.
Much of the ranch property has been sold off over the years. On the remaining patch work of land, Graham and Runyans breed livestock such as sheep, mini horses, pigs, rabbits and chickens. They also own orchards where they grow apples, cherries, peaches, pears, plums and apricots every now and then.
Most of the fruit sold at the concession stand is seasonal, but Graham said they try to keep some fresh fruit available for customers year-round.
Tom Runyan’s grandfather, also named Tom, came to New Mexico in the 1870s during a cattle drive from the sprawling Y.O. Ranch in Texas. The house on the property was built in the 1880s by J.F. Hinkle, the sixth governor of New Mexico.
At an elevation of 5,400 feet, the ranch has nearly ideal weather — not too hot in the summer and not too cold in the winter.
Though Runyan Ranches is located in the middle of nowhere, it is ideally located in the middle of nowhere at the halfway point between the drive between Carlsbad Caverns and the White Sands National Monument.
“People will stop here to stretch and use the restrooms,” Graham said.
Tom Runyan added: “We get visitors from all over the world — Germany, Switzerland, Australia and Israel.”
One day a group of South Korean tourists stopped at the ranch.
“None of them could speak English well, which made it difficult to do business with them,” Tom Runyan recalled.
Fluent in Spanish, Tom Runyan asked the South Koreans if any of them could speak Spanish.
It turned out that one of the South Koreans was well-versed in Spanish and everyone was happy.
Graham said that along with the international tourists, they also get visitors from the surrounding area who make Runyan Ranches their destination.
“People will stay here for 10 minutes or for the entire day,” she said.
Community News reporter Timothy P. Howsare can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or email@example.com.
An article in the Roswell Daily Record dated Feb. 27, 1931, tells of a performance hosted by the Chaves County Historical Society, with at least one actor who actually knew Billy the Kid. What a fun event this must have been!
The drama of Billy the Kid in song, story and dance was unrolled last night to more than 1,000 people who packed the Junior High school auditorium to its utmost capacity. It was one of the largest crowds ever within this beautiful building and everyone was enthusiastic and delighted with the result of the few weeks of work by members and friends of the Chaves County Historical Society.
The object of the evening was primarily to set the people right on many events of the early days of old Lincoln County, which then included Roswell and practically all of southeastern New Mexico. A further object was to raise some money for the use of the Historical Society in caring for relics and the preservation of the old days, and such other objects of historical and archaeological value as might be deemed worthy of preserving. Both were successfully carried out. Information of real value was disseminated by the “0ld Timer,” for he is John Meadows of Tularosa, who was closely associated with both Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett during the troubled days that finally led to the death of Billy the Kid at the hands of the noted sheriff, Pat Garrett. A considerable sum of money was realized for the Historical Society. The exact amount is not known for all ticket sellers have not yet reported, but it must be in the neighborhood of 500.
There are so many persons to whom real credit should be given for the success of the evening that one hesitates to start on the task. There were many on the stage who aided in the background and others who starred. Miss Elizabeth Garrett, daughter of Pat Garrett, was general director in charge of the performance. Mrs. John C. Martens, soloist in the chorus, was also responsible for the beautiful arrangements of the stage and it was really beautiful. Lieutenant M. Sansom was soloist and dancer and impersonated The Kid. Elza White directed the square dancing and called the numbers in real old time style and he knew how from many years of experience in this almost lost art.
And then there were the dancers, the singers, the fiddlers, the cowboys and then the Old Timer himself!
The curtain rolled up for the first time upon a beautiful scene, the New Mexico Military Institute band conducted by Capt. Jack Fletcher. The band of 38 pieces, ranged in an arc facing the audience, with the beautifully decorated stage and the multi-colored lights playing over it, presented a picture that will not soon be forgotten. Three numbers were played by the band, the stirring Zacatecos March and Old Loved Irish Melodies. The band played like veterans, and only a musician can write how well they did. But it pleased the audience and they were enthusiastically greeted as a great credit to the Institute and to Captain Fletcher, so long identified with the band music in Roswell and at the Institute.
The theme song, “My Pecos Valley Home,” written by Elizabeth Garrett, was sung by Lt. M. Sansom, attired to impersonate Billy the Kid and he did it extremely well. It is a beautiful song and caught the fancy of all who heard it.
Elza White then took charge of the old time dancing. The square dancers in their old time costumes, the ladies with the long dresses of fifty years ago and the men in old time cowboy costumes, brought back to memory pictures of the Old Times when The Kid roamed from the Rio Grande to the mountains of Colorado. The square dancers, led by Elza White, who also called the numbers, were Mr. and Mrs. Elza White, Mr. and Mrs. R.F. Ballard, Mr. and Mrs. Harold Crosby, Mr. and Mrs. John Beers, Mr. and Mrs. Albert H. Pruit, Mrs. E.A. Cahoon and John C. Peck, Mrs. C.A. Baker and Henry Russell, Mrs. W.W. Phillips and H.M. Dow.
The dancers took part enthusiastically and not only gave the audience great pleasure but seemed to enjoy themselves to the limit.
Old Time Fiddlers
The Old Time Fiddlers were real artists in the tunes of old, “Turkey in the Straw,” etc., and the very quick tunes started toes to tapping and brought back old memories to the older people.
The fiddlers were W.C. Massey, Eric Graves and Frank B. Coe, all old-time experts with the resin and the bow. They were accompanied by Albert Stockley, who played the banjo for W. C. Massey and Frank Coe, and by A. D. Bynum, who played for Eric Graves during the fiddling.
Then came the old time songs and solo dancing. The chorus, again in costumes of the old times, and some of them were beautiful, as well as somewhat wonderful in the light of today’s styles, both for men and women.
The chorus was directed by Elizabeth Garrett, who was also at the piano. They sang beautifully and presented a most picturesque scene.
The numbers follow:
• “Long, Long Ago,” by Mrs. John C. Martens and chorus.
• “Old, Old Day,” chorus.
• “Darling Nellie Gray,” by J.E. Wolfe and chorus.
• “Pop Goes the Weasel,” chorus.
• “Juanita,” chorus.
Theme song:”My Pecos Valley Home.”
A Spanish dance with castanets was executed beautifully by Miss Ruth Daughtry, who was heartedly applauded by the audience.
During the intermission at this point, H.M. Dow appeared before the curtain and thanked not only the audience, but those who had assisted in any way in making the event a success. Also, a cowboy quartet with string music and song, entertained during the intermission. Their performance was realistic and very entertaining. The quartet was composed of Odie Bynum, Eric Graves, Alex Dunnahoo and Henry Chewning.
The Camp Fire
Part two after the intermission show, the stage arranged to represent an old-time cow camp, with chuckwagon, campfires and cowboys arranged around the old timer, John Meadows. The cowboys sang songs of the old range, with stringed music and there was a beautifully executed clog dance by Mary Elizabeth Bell and Lt. M. Sansom.
Whoever arranged the scenery for this event knew their stuff. It was a fine representation of the campfire on the range.
The cowboys on the stage were Ed Amonett, Dick Ballard, E.E. James, and Buster James, of Caprock, who led the cowboy singing; Harold Crosby, Alex Dunnahoo, Odie Bynum, Henry Chewning, Albert Stockley, Eric Graves, C.D. Bonney, who questioned the Old Timer; Lucious Dills.
Story of The Kid
Then came the story of The Kid, as told by old-timer John Meadows of Tularosa. Mr. Meadows was closely associated with The Kid, with Pat Garrett and other famous characters of the Lincoln County War and the days that followed. He arrived in old Lincoln County in 1880 and has lived in this section ever since. Mr. Meadows is far from being a young man and in view of that, his performance last night was most remarkable, of the scenes of 50 years ago. He spoke clearly and one could easily follow the trend of his story.
The Record is getting a stenographic report of Mr. Meadows story in shape, it being revised and added to by Mr. Meadows and it will be published in The Record.
However, here is a brief summary of the story best told last night by Mr. Meadows:
Old Timer came to Lincoln County in 1880. He was then associated with The Kid and befriended by him. Old Timer and his partner, Tom Noris, of whom he spoke affectionately, came to the country, in March of that year. He was in the Fort Sumner section and had lost his hat there. His face had been badly burned and in that condition he was found by The Kid who took him to Pete Maxwell and arranged for his care until he was well. He said he could never forget that act of kindness by The Kid, of whom he spoke in most friendly terms, picturing good qualities, while fully recognizing his habits of outlawry and killing.
Then came the story of the killing of Tunstall, the Lincoln County War, the capture of The Kid by Pat Garrett near Portales, the protection of The Kid from the Las Vegas mob, his confinement in old Lincoln County and his escape.
After his escape, The Kid went to the Meadows home and was given food there. Meadows tried to persuade him to leave the country but he refused and went on to Fort Sumner where he was later killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett, who was accompanied by Deputies John Poe and Tip McKinney.
The story was well told and contained some new facts, as well as a beautiful tribute to Sheriff Pat Garrett as the officer in performance of his duty, rendering the lawless country safe for civilization. Mr. Meadows spoke most highly of Pat Garrett. It was his work in cleaning up the hard criminals and outlaws that made the country fit for development in the building of homes.
With the close of the story, the old timer came to the closing theme song by the chorus back of the stage.
One must not forget the work of the ushers, both men and women. They did their work well, quietly and with dispatch.
Mrs. C.D. Bonney and Mrs. T.E. Whitney were at the door in old time costumes. Ewing L. Lusk took the tickets.
The ushers were in cowboy attire, being Prager Miller, Willard Prager, Henry C. Lutz, Hial Cobean, Walter Gill and Ed Amonett.
A wonderful and educational time was had by all!
Janice Dunnahoo is an archive volunteer at the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico Archives. She can be reached at 575-622-1176 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first hearing about possible county road closures has not occurred, but a couple of people already have lined up to let county commissioners know that they are not happy about some of the property owners’ submitted requests.
“I live off of Picacho Road and I have seen a couple of things to close some of the road, and, if they do, it is going to land-lock some of us,” said Richard Joy of Flying H, New Mexico. “And I am against it.”
Joy was one of three people, two expressing concern, to address the Chaves County Board of Commissioners during its Thursday meeting about some of the 16 road change requests to be considered this year. This year, all requests are for road vacations, or turning over of county roads to private property owners.
Chair Robert Corn told the speakers that they should stay in contact with county and that they will have three opportunities to state their concerns.
Chaves County Public Works Director Bill Williams later said that the county has received notification of opposition to three requests already.
Some of the concern is related to what happened last year, when the appointed freeholders and the Chaves County Board of Commissioners approved a rancher’s request to close a 5-mile portion of Felix Canyon Road through his property. Felix Canyon Road is near Picacho Road and the Flying H community.
That decision upset many hunters and outdoor enthusiasts, some of whom gathered hundreds of signatures on petitions and expressed their anger at public meetings to dispute the closure of what they described as an important conduit to public lands.
A few state law enforcement officials also contended that the road provided a needed route during emergencies.
The rancher and his family, the Casabonnes, won their request by saying that the road closure only diverted rather than blocked traffic and was needed to prevent increased acts of trespassing and vandalism in recent years.
This year, four of the applications requesting that vacating of roads by the county are in the same general area as the disputed road from last year, Williams said.
As one of the first steps in the road change process, the commissioner approved the citizens who will serve as freeholders. They make the first review of the road applications and the first inspections of the roads and then present their recommendations to commissioners.
The freeholders are Steven Chaves of Graves Road, Travis Johnson of North Washington Avenue and Alan Theobald of Gallina Road. The alternate is Jim Gill of Xanadu Place.
The public can submit comments to the county or freeholders now and signs soon will be posted on roads involved in the applications.
The freeholders are scheduled to begin inspecting roads March 5 and to present their recommendations to commissioners by March 15.
The first public commission meeting to consider the applications and freeholders’ decisions is planned for April 19, where the public can comment. Commissioners will then view the roads, while the public is able to view them at the same time. Commissioners can make a decision after those visits or vote at a May 17 meeting.
This year, nine of the applications for vacating roads are from the county and its Road Department.
“Most of those were essentially driveways and stuff off of county roads or state roads that we need to clean up,” Williams said. “We don’t need to maintain those.”
Other road closure requests from county residents include a mile portion of Caddo Road in Dexter that passes near a facility owned by Terry Bogle that is used for children with special needs and about 100 feet of Chickasaw Road that the BNSF Railway Co. wants to close as part of its plan to shut down a railroad crossing.
Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at email@example.com.
Renovations of the back portion of Stellar Coffee Co. will begin this coming week to prepare for the opening of an artisan and craft beer taproom.
Anne Baker, owner of the downtown Main Street coffee shop, said that the back of the building at 315 N. Main St. will be closed for a while as construction is underway to make that portion of the site ready for Milton’s Off Main, a taproom to be run by the owners of Milton’s Brewing in Carlsbad and some local investors.
“It is a great partnership,” said Baker about her decision to lease part of her store at 315 N. Main St. to the taproom. “With the non-alcoholic beverages combined with the artisan and crafted beers, it will offer people some good choices.”
Both the coffee shop and the taproom will have entertainment at certain times, she said, noting that Milton’s Off Main also intends to have a patio and outdoor seating area in the back of the building, as the coffee shop has in the front.
Stellar Coffee opened in 2014 and has become a central downtown business, the site of many meetings, music acts, talent shows and gatherings.
Milton’s Brewing opened on East Mermod Street in Carlsbad in July 2016 as both a small brewery and a taproom.
In November, the Roswell City Council voted 7-0, with three councilors absent, to approve the Carlsbad company’s request for an off-site location at Stellar. Only on-premises consumption is permitted at the Roswell taproom.
Baker said renovations are expected to be done quickly, but she was not certain when Milton’s Off Main will open. An owner for the company did not respond immediately to a phone message.
According to the Brewers Association, a trade group of independent and small craft brewers, New Mexico ranked 26th nationally for the number of craft breweries in 2016. The state had 57 by the end of that year, up from 25 in 2011. New Mexico ranked 11th in the nation for the number of breweries per capita. The state’s craft brewery industry generated about $333 million in annual sales in 2016.
Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Josh Ragsdale said there were some people who thought he might be a little crazy when he said he wanted to bring touring musical acts to Roswell.
Working in the music business can be tough, but Ragsdale felt he already had some good experience under his belt when he took the dive.
“I went to college at Vanguard University in Southern California and worked for a record label called Floodgate Records,” he said. “They were purchased by Warner Music, so I became an employee of Warner. I learned a lot about the music industry and promoting concerts. So when I moved back to Roswell I kept those connections.”
Ragsdale is now the owner of not just one, but two music venues in Roswell, Pecos Flavors Winery & Bistro and The Liberty Social Club at North Virginia Avenue and West Main Street.
For a while, he owned another business called Vita Productions that booked Christian and country artists.
However, he merged that company into a new one called The Liberty Presents.
“That added a little more consistency to The Liberty brand,” he said.
The Liberty is the larger of the two venues and can be rented out for weddings and civic events.
Besides featuring live entertainment, Pecos Flavors is a winery with a tasting room, an upscale restaurant and a deli.
Pecos Flavors was opened by Ragsdale’s parents, Paul and Cindy, in 2004. Until about two years ago, it was located on North Main Street near the former Ginsberg Music Store. Ragsdale said at one time it was a silent movie theater called The Liberty, and that’s where he got the name for his social club.
The Liberty’s building has gone through a few transformations in its lifetime, Ragsdale said, including an auto parts store and a carriage house.
Ragsdale is a 2002 graduate of Goddard High School. He has a wife, Megan, and two sons, Russell, 3, and Briggs, 2.
Asked if he sees himself as an inspiration to other young people who may want to start a business, Ragsdale replied: “I don’t know if we have set an example. I am just very appreciative of the support we’ve gotten from the community.”
Ragsdale said he is grateful to be doing something he is passionate about.
Through his work, he has had the opportunity to meet music legend Leon Russell, actor Billy Bob Thornton with his band the Boxmasters and The Wailers, most of whom were the bandmates of reggae legend Bob Marley.
“To have the honor to work with Leon Russell was really cool — to hear all of his stories before he passed away,” Ragsdale said.
When The Wailers performed at The Liberty not long ago, Ragsdale said he got to hear their personal accounts about the late Bob Marley, who more than any other musician, brought Jamaican reggae into the mainstream.
Ragsdale comes from a fifth-generation New Mexico family and is a third-generation Roswellian.
He and his family attend Christ Church in Roswell.
“All of my family is here,” he said. “I like the Southwest. We are in the desert but are a couple of hours away from skiing. He also likes to hunt and fish.
Asked if he has any plans to expand his business, Ragsdale replied: “I am always open to growth. I have a few things on the horizon but have enough to handle right now.”
Community News reporter Timothy P. Howsare can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or email@example.com.