CLOVIS, N.M. (AP) — From above, a hole in the ground near a New Mexico park may not look out of the ordinary, but down below is a man-made tunnel that a Clovis resident calls home.
Homelessness drove Sean Heron, 43, to seek shelter underground, he said.
He began digging the hole that was initially meant to be a place where he could keep his belongings in February 2017, the Eastern New Mexico Newsreported.
The hole, located behind a recreational baseball field, is now large enough to hold a sleeping area and his belongings and has a makeshift closet and drawer space.
The entrance is marked by tree stump with a rope tied to it for support on your way down to the burrow.
After living underground for several months, Heron said he’s gotten use to his neighbors, the residential prairie dogs.
“They’re the best neighbors you could ever have, if they like you,” he said. “They’re my friends. They alert me when other people come around.”
Heron has been homeless for about a year after falling on hard times.
He lost his job and his home while recovering from an injury, he said.
Authorities learned about Heron’s underground home earlier this month after people who explored the space posted videos of itonline.
The news of a man living underground has caused concern to nearby homeowners.
The underground home is on private property owned by Dr. Ali Ghaffari, who has been informed about Heron’s presence, police said.
Ghaffari told the Clovis newspaper that he has seen a video of Heron’s hole and is not in a rush to ask to Heron to fill the hole and leave his property. Instead, he hopes that community members will give Heron assistance.
“I’d really like to help him somehow … and that’s all we are here for,” he said. “We have one of our fellow citizens living like that, there really should be something Clovis can do.”
Heron hopes to land a job doing manual labor by the summer and live above ground again.
“I don’t plan on staying here the rest of my life,” he said.
CLOVIS, N.M. (AP) — Dry conditions across eastern New Mexico have prompted officials in one county to impose a burn ban.
The Curry County Commission adopted the ban during a meeting earlier this week. The resolution prohibits open flames outside of a building in the unincorporated portions of the county, with some exceptions.
The Eastern New Mexico Newsreportsthere is an agricultural exception that allows landowners to burn off crop stubble or other vegetation after receiving prior approval.
Any violators would be subject to a fine not to exceed $300 and imprisonment for not more than 90 days.
The resolution took effect immediately and commissioners have the option of renewing it every 45 days depending on the conditions.
Curry County Fire and Safety Director David Kube described the area as “tinderbox dry.”
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — After the first package exploded on an Austin doorstep, police assured the public that there was no wider threat, no signs of terrorism. The idea of a serial bomber striking random strangers never came up.
The March 2 blast killed Anthony Stephan House, a 39-year-old man with a background in finance and an 8-year-old daughter. Investigators didn’t rule out that House may have mishandled homemade explosives.
Hours later, in an interrogation room, detectives told one of House’s neighbors their main theory: The deadly package was retaliation, maybe from a drug cartel, for a raid days earlier that seized more than $300,000 and 30 pounds of pot. The cartel just got the address wrong.
“They’re saying, ‘Who’s trying to blow you up?’ They’re trying to do the whole thing, ‘Help us help you, because they’re not going to miss again,'” said Mark McCrimmon, an Austin attorney who represents the neighbor.
It wouldn’t be the last wrong lead in the three-week search that eventually led to Mark Anthony Conditt, an unemployed community college dropout who blew himself up Wednesday as officers closed in.
The manhunt intensified after more explosions in the weeks that followed House’s death. By the time the suspect too was dead, his bombs had killed two people, badly wound four others and unnerved the Texas capital.
On Thursday, authorities gave no indication they were any closer to understanding why Conditt did it. Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said the bomber left behind a 25-minute cellphone recording that amounted to a confession but revealed no clear motive.
It’s one last mystery in a case that police struggled to crack. More than 500 federal agents swarmed Austin in what Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, called the nation’s largest bombing manhunt since the 2013 Boston Marathon attacks.
The trail to Conditt included many dead ends among more than 500 phoned-in tips. There were theories that didn’t pan out and surveillance cameras that failed to record a glimpse of the suspect.
“They got a lot of calls,” McCaul said of investigators, “but not a lot of credible leads.”
Early miscalculations stoked frustration in the neighborhoods where the second and third bombings went off on March 12.
Because police initially believed House’s death was an isolated attack, they did not warn Austin residents about suspicious deliveries before another package killed 17-year-old Draylen Mason and wounded his mother. Mason and House were both black and related to prominent Austin families, which led police to consider whether they were dealing with a hate crime.
“They didn’t consider all the alternatives, and it came back to bite us,” said Nelson Linder, president of the Austin chapter of the NAACP.
When the third bomb wounded a 75-year-old Hispanic woman, investigators wondered whether it was actually intended for a neighbor, Erica Mason, who has the same last name as the slain teenager.
Erica Mason, who is white, said she told police she had no connection to Draylen Mason’s family. Police now think the shared name was just a coincidence.
Even after three bombings, investigators were still unsure whether they were dealing with a single attacker. “We’re not calling it a serial bomber,” Manley told reporters on March 12.
A week later, they were.
By then, police had urged residents to report any strange packages. The warning flooded 911 operators with more than 1,000 calls. Six days after Mason’s death, authorities increased the pot of reward money to $115,000 and tried a new tactic to draw the bomber out: a news conference that included a direct appeal for him to get in touch. Hours later, another explosion seemed to be his answer.
The fourth blast, triggered by a tripwire attached to a “children at play” sign that Conditt purchased at Home Depot, was the first on the city’s more affluent west side. The new location dampened earlier theories about who the bomber was targeting.
After a fifth explosion Monday at a FedEx processing center outside San Antonio, authorities finally got their big break.
Conditt had been careful to avoid cameras before entering a FedEx store in southwest Austin disguised in a blond wig and gloves, said McCaul, who called it the bomber’s “fatal mistake.”
Surveillance at the store also captured a license plate linked to Conditt, which in turn gave authorities a cellphone number they could track.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said police were able to monitor Conditt and his movements for about 24 hours before his death. The cellphone number tied Conditt to bombing sites around Austin, but McCaul said Conditt had eluded authorities by powering off the phone for long stretches.
By Tuesday night, police began closing in on Conditt’s home in suburban Pflugerville. They finally found him early Wednesday at a hotel north of Austin, and officers prepared to move in for an arrest. When the suspect’s sport utility vehicle began to drive away, they followed.
Conditt drove into a ditch on the side of the road, and SWAT officers approached, banging on his window. That’s when he ended his life by setting off one of his own devices inside the vehicle.
Police found him because he turned his phone back on, McCaul said.
“He turned it on. It pinged, and then the chase ensued,” he said.
BRUSSELS (AP) — British Prime Minister Theresa May won the backing of 27 other European Union leaders Thursday in blaming Russia for the poisoning of a former spy on English soil — an attack the bloc called a threat to its collective security.
EU Council President Donald Tusk tweeted that the 28 leaders agree with Britain that it’s “highly likely Russia is responsible” for the attack on Sergei Skripal.
In a strongly worded statement later, the EU Council of all the bloc’s national leaders said that “there is no plausible alternative explanation.”
Calling the attack a “grave challenge to our shared security,” the EU states said they would “coordinate on the consequences to be drawn in the light of the answers provided by the Russian authorities.”
The unanimity was a victory for May. She had been striving at a summit in Brussels to persuade her EU colleagues to unite in condemning Moscow over the attack on Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence officer convicted of spying for Britain, and his daughter, Yulia.
Russia strongly denies responsibility and has slammed Britain’s investigation.
During a summit dinner, May laid out the reasons Britain is convinced Moscow was behind the attack, including the type of poison used — a Soviet-developed nerve agent known as Novichok — and intelligence that Russia has produced it within the last decade.
Britain argues the attack is part of a pattern of behavior by an increasingly assertive Russia whose muscle-flexing, cyber-meddling and law-breaking on foreign soil pose a threat to the international rule of law.
May said Thursday that “it is clear that the Russian threat doesn’t respect borders.” She said “the incident in Salisbury was part of a pattern of Russian aggression against Europe and its near neighbors, from the western Balkans to the Middle East.”
EU foreign ministers already had expressed their “unqualified solidarity” with Britain. But European politicians and leaders varied in how far they were willing to go in blaming Russia President Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin.
French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave May strong backing, and President Dalia Grybauskaite of former Soviet state Lithuania said she was considering expelling Russian diplomats in the wake of the March 4 attack.
But Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was more cautious. He said “we have to express our solidarity to the U.K., to the British people, but at the same time we need to investigate.”
Putin’s office said Thursday that Tsipras had called Putin to congratulate him on his re-election and discuss issues, including the Salisbury poisoning.
Sergei Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter remain unconscious in critical but stable condition after the attack in the English city of Salisbury, which has sparked an east-west diplomatic crisis reminiscent of the Cold War.
Britain and Russia have expelled 23 of each other’s diplomats in a feud that shows no sign of easing.
Russia’s ambassador to the U.K., Alexander Yakovenko, accused the U.K. Thursday of having a “bad record of violating international law and misleading the international community.”
“History shows that British statements must be verified,” he told reporters in London, demanding “full transparency of the investigation and full cooperation with Russia” and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Britain says it is complying with the international chemical-weapons watchdog. Experts from the OPCW have come to Britain to take samples of the nerve agent and examine blood from the unconscious Skripals.
On Wednesday, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said it was “emetic” — vomit-inducing — that Putin is rejoicing over hosting the World Cup soccer tournament this summer. Russia responded that Johnson was “poisoned with venom of malice and hate.”
Johnson also said Russia’s hosting of the tournament could be compared to the 1936 Olympics, which was used as a propaganda exercise by Nazi Germany. Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called that comparison an “utterly disgusting statement that is unworthy of a foreign minister of any country.”
A total of 48 people have been assessed by doctors over the Salisbury incident, including Detective Sgt. Nick Bailey, a police officer who became seriously ill after responding to the nerve agent attack.
Health officials said Thursday that Bailey had been released from a Salisbury hospital after about two weeks of treatment.
In a statement, he had been overwhelmed by the support for him during a “completely surreal” experience.
“I recognize that ‘normal’ life for me will probably never be the same,” Bailey said.
Appealing for privacy for his family, Bailey said “I want people to focus on the investigation — not the police officer who was unfortunate enough to be caught up in it.”
PARKLAND, Fla. (AP) — An attorney for the brother of Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz said in court papers Thursday that a $500,000 bond for trespassing at the school is excessive and that the brother should be released from jail.
Lawyer Joseph Kimok said in the documents that 18-year-old Zachary Cruz already paid the standard $25 bond for a misdemeanor and should not be kept in custody.
“Zachary Cruz did not kill 17 people on a high school campus. He should not be treated as if he did,” Kimok wrote. “There is no justice where the government seeks to hang a man for the crimes of his brother.”
Zachary Cruz was arrested Monday while skateboarding on the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where authorities say his brother killed 17 people and wounded 17 others in the Valentine’s Day massacre. Zachary Cruz had been warned not to visit the campus, but did so three times, authorities say.
Kimok also objected to several of the bond conditions imposed by a judge, including forcing Zachary Cruz to undergo a psychological evaluation, prohibiting him from visiting Broward County, putting him on house arrest with an ankle monitor if he is released, having the home he is living in searched for weapons and having no contact with Nikolas Cruz.
“To take away that familial connection is inhumane,” Kimok wrote.
Security at Stoneman Douglas High, already heightened, was bolstered Thursday with Gov. Rick Scott ordering eight highway patrol troopers to help secure the grounds. The move came after Zachary Cruz was arrested, two students were caught carrying knives and another made online threats.
Also, Stoneman Douglas students will be given transparent backpacks they’ll be required to use when they return from spring break on April 2. Broward County school district Superintendent Robert Runcie told parents in a two-page letter that metal detectors also may be installed soon, and he outlined other security upgrades including student ID badges and a district-wide effort to require all school visitors to enter through a single door.
The troopers will be stationed at the school indefinitely, along with Broward County deputies, leaving an armed guard at every campus entrance point, Scott said in a statement. Before the shooting, the school was patrolled by one armed deputy and unarmed guards. An unspecified number of deputies, some armed with rifles, were added after the school reopened.
“Parents, students and teachers have recently endured one of the worst tragedies in Florida history,” Scott said. “They must be assured that every necessary step is being taken to increase safety and ensure no unauthorized people are allowed on campus.”
Zachary and Nikolas, 19, both attended Stoneman Douglas. They shared the same biological mother but had different fathers. Both were adopted at very young ages by Roger and Lynda Cruz. Lynda Cruz died in November and their father died some years earlier.
Nikolas Cruz will plead guilty to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder if prosecutors will waive the death penalty, his attorney has said. They have refused to do so.
Meanwhile, a judge rejected an attempt to remove Broward County prosecutors and its public defender from the Nikolas Cruz criminal case.
Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer said in an order dated Wednesday that attorney Alex Arreaza lacks legal standing to make such a motion. Arreaza represents 15-year-old Anthony Borges, who was shot five times in the Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people.
Arreaza had claimed the two offices have a conflict because both signed a 2016 agreement along with county school and law enforcement officials aimed at handling school disciplinary issues without involving law enforcement.
Mollica separately imposed a $12,500 bail Wednesday on a Stoneman Douglas student who officials say pulled a small knife on a boy she accused of harassing her and a friend. The SunSentinel reports that her lawyer, Brian Reidy said everyone has “hit the fear button” and that he doesn’t “blame a kid for taking a weapon to school, quite frankly, these days.”
NEW YORK (AP) — Charles P. Lazarus, the World War II veteran who founded Toys R Us six decades ago and transformed it into an iconic piece of Americana, died Thursday at age 94, a week after the chain announced it was going out of business.
Toys R Us confirmed Lazarus’ death in a statement.
“There have been many sad moments for Toys R Us in recent weeks, and none more heartbreaking than today’s news about the passing of our beloved founder, Charles Lazarus,” the company said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Charles’ family and loved ones.”
Lazarus, who stepped down as CEO of Toys R Us in 1994, transformed the toy industry with a business model that became one of the first retail category killers — big stores that are so devoted to one thing, and have such an impressive selection, that they drive smaller competitors out of business.
More recently, Toys R Us found itself unable to survive the trends of the digital age, namely competition from the likes of Amazon, discounters like Walmart and mobile games. No longer able to bear the weight of its heavy debt load, the company announced last week that it would close or sell its 735 stores across the country, including its Babies R Us stores.
But for decades, it was Toys R Us that drove trends in child’s play, becoming a launchpad for what became some of the industry’s hottest toys.
Lazarus, the son of a bicycle store owner, modeled his business after the self-service supermarkets that were becoming popular in the 1950s, stacking merchandise high to give shoppers the feeling it had an infinite number of toys. The stores created a magical feeling for children roaming aisles filled with Barbies, bikes and other toys laid out in front of them.
The chain has its roots in Children’s Bargain Town, the baby furniture store that Lazarus opened 1948 in his hometown of Washington, D.C. He began selling toys after a couple of years when customers began asking for them, and he quickly concluded that, in the baby-boom years, toys were a more lucrative business than furniture.
He opened his first store dedicated to selling only toys in 1957, calling it Toys R Us with the “R” spelled backward to give the impression that a child wrote it. Shopping carts stood ready for customers to grab and fill up themselves, supermarket-style.
In 1965, Geoffrey the giraffe became the company’s mascot, appearing in his first TV commercial in 1973. By the 1980s and early 90s, Toys R Us dominated the toy-store business and its jingle, “I’m a Toys R Us kid” became an anthem for children across the country.
In 1992, Lazarus traveled with President George H.W. Bush for the opening of the first Toys R Us in Japan.
He himself loomed large over his industry at the heyday of his company, personally traveling to the annual Toy Fair in Manhattan. Thousands of buyers from around the world attend but back then, it was Lazarus whom manufacturers were most anxious to impress, said Marc Rosenberg, a veteran toy marketer and founder of SkyBluePink Concepts.
The opportunity to give “Mr. Lazarus” a tour of your showroom was right of passage for marketers, said Rosenberg, who first met Lazarus on such an occasion in 1987 as marketer for Tiger Electronics. Lazarus walked through the showrooms giving feedback on the playthings arrayed before him, trailed by a group of employees feverishly taking notes on his every word, Rosenberg said.
“As a young marketing guy, if Charles Lazarus liked something you were doing, it was like the greatest thing in the world,” Rosenberg said. “He had a dry sense of humor. If he liked something, he would show it. He would laugh but it wasn’t easy to get him to laugh.”
Rosenberg said Lazarus understood that the success of Toy R Us stemmed from creating a “circus-like atmosphere to keep kids wanting to come back every week.”
Geoffrey the giraffe soon started a family, with wife Gigi and a son and daughter. The giraffe family would make regular visits to the stores, parades and other events. Rosenberg said the company cut down on such events after Lazarus left and struggled to find a model that could help it compete with the likes of Walmart, which offered a similar selection at lower prices, and later, Amazon.
Lazarus, who was born on Oct. 4, 1923, was inducted into the Toy Industry Association’s Hall of Fame in 1990.
NEW YORK (AP) — Fed up with Facebook? You’re not alone. A growing number of people are deleting it, or at least wrestling with whether they should, in light of its latest privacy debacle — allegations that aTrump-linked data-mining firm stole informationon tens of millions of users to influence elections.
Even before that, users have considered dumping Facebook after growing tired of political disagreements with friends and relatives. And studies have shown that the mindless scrolling that Facebook is so good for can leave us feeling depressed.
While Facebook has tried to address some of these problems, it’s not enough for some users. If you are one of them, there are options. Hard as it might seem to quit, especially for those entwined with it for years, it can be done.
Before deleting your account, rescue your posts and photos. Facebook lets youdownload the datayou’ve shared with Facebook since you joined. This includes your posts and photos, as well as the “activity log” — the history of everything you’ve done on Facebook, such as likes and comments on posts, use of apps and searches. The download also contains your profile, messages, list of friends, ads you’ve clicked on and IP addresses you’ve used to connect to Facebook.
This process should give you a good — perhaps scary — idea of what Facebook has on you.
What you won’t get are photos other people shared with you, even if you’ve been tagged. You need to save those individually. And some stuff will remain, including what others have posted about you, your chats with others and your posts in Facebook groups (though your name will be grayed out). To delete all this, you’ll need to sift through your “activity log,” accessible through your profile page, and delete each item individually.
Once you’ve saved everything and gone through your activity log, sign in one last time. Go tohttp://bit.ly/198wIoIand click on the blue button. You can’t get that from the settings page, as Facebook, it may seem, doesn’t want you to leave. Facebook says the process could take a few days. Your delete request will be cancelled if you log back in during this time. Facebook says it may take up to 90 days for all the data associated with your account to be wiped, but you can’t change your mind after the first few days are up.
If you used your Facebook account for third-party apps and sites, you’ll need new usernames and passwords for each.
If you’re not quite ready for a divorce, deactivating your account is an option. To do this, go to your account settings.
Deactivating means other people won’t be able to see your profile, but if you log back in, the whole thing is canceled and you are “active” again. Ditto if you log into an outside app or site using your Facebook account.
FOMO (FEAR OF MISSING OUT)
Depending on whether you were a full-time Facebook addict or an occasional lurker, the psychological separation could prove harder or easier than the physical one. Facebook has become a one-stop shop for so many things. You can keep up with friends and family, find out about or create local events, buy and sell stuff, keep up with the news, raise money for a cause or join groups of like-minded people such as parents, porch gardeners and people with a rare disease.
There are other places to do many of these things, though likely not all at once. There’s Eventbrite for events, Letgo for buying and selling stuff, Peanut for moms to connect, Meetup to find and meet like-minded people, GoFundMe for raising money and Twitter, or, gasp, your local newspaper’s website for the news.
If you find your mind wandering back to Facebook as you go through your day, thinking how you might craft a post about a thought you’ve just had or an article you came across, it’s OK. Let it go. It’s all part of the breakup process.
And while you may not see updates about near-forgotten schoolmates or that random person you met six years ago, the people who matter most will stick around. For them, there’s email, the phone, and meeting in person for coffee.
ABOUT THOSE OTHER APPS
If your boycott of Facebook has more to do with your view of the company than with tiring of the Facebook service, you might consider deleting Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger as well — they are all owned by Facebook. Deleting your Facebook account won’t affect your Instagram or WhatsApp account. If you want to keep using Messenger, you can create an account using your phone number instead of your Facebook profile.
Two of four congressional candidates spoke at the Republican women’s luncheon on Wednesday.
Seeking incumbent Congressman Steve Pearce’s seat as Pearce prepares to run for governor, Republican Congressional District 2 candidates Dr. Gavin Clarkson and Monty Newman were present at the luncheon, while other candidates Clayburn Griffin and Yvette Herrell sent their regrets to Teresa Barncastle, president of Chaves County Federated Republican Women.
“We do have some races that will be decided in the primaries,” Barncastle said. “So we do need everyone to get out there and vote.”
The Primary Election is June 5 and the General Election is Nov. 6. Madeleine Hildebrandt and Xochitl Torres Small are the Democratic candidates for District 2.
Andrea Moore, phone committee chair, introduced the guest speakers after the lunch was served.
A leading scholar in tribal finance and economic development, Clarkson is a citizen of the Choctaw Nation, holds a Master’s of Business Administration from Rice University, a doctorate in technology and operations management from Harvard Business School, and graduated with honors from Harvard Law School. Clarkson is also a member of the Federalist Society and served in the Native American Law Students’ Association. Currently, Clarkson is a professor with a leave of absence from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.
Newman has lived in Clovis, Portales and is the second elected mayor of Hobbs where he worked in real estate. He has also served as city commissioner, participated on university and economic development boards along with serving as chairman for Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance as well as the New Mexico Republican Party.
“Now, I am running on a platform of three E’s for the land of enchantment,” Clarkson said. “First is expand the economy. We need to create more jobs and I have a plan to do that — a very specific plan to do that. I’m also running to empower ordinary Americans to protect our cultural values and finally, I am running on enforcement — enforcing our borders and enforcing government accountability.”
Clark said he learned these principles from his father, beginning as an orphan Choctaw child in Chickasha, Oklahoma, who rose out of poverty and joined the Navy. Clark said his father was the first American-Indian to fly a jet and senior nuclear strategist for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Native American poverty is not a life sentence, which Clark said is relevant to this district. Clark said he would follow Pearce’s strategy to keep the seat in Republican hands by making sure American-Indian nations would support the candidates, which he believes is an advantage to his campaign. Keeping the seat in Republican hands was something Clark stressed throughout his speech.
Newman said he was honored to be at the luncheon and quoted John Adams saying the Constitution was made for moral and religious people and was holy not comparable to other governments.
“What we are defending today, in my opinion, more than anything else, is our liberty,” Newman said. “And we are not defending it as conservatives or progressives. We are defending liberty from the standpoint that we do not want socialism in our country and I would tell you that is the fight today.
“The priority for me is not just the federal side of this government — it’s you,” Newman said. “It’s the growth, expansion and belief in this state that you and I live in.”
Newman said he liked Trump’s judicial appointments and rolling back of the regulatory environment to ensure the country would have the ability to become energy dependent. Newman said securing and protecting borders and free enterprise was important to his campaign.
Call to arms
Both candidates showed their support to bear arms for Americans.
“First thing that I want more than anything else is the First Amendment,” Newman said. “The right to speech, the right of religion, and the right of the free press. I have no interest — whether I agree or disagree with the press — I have no interest in the government owning the press. I have no interest in the government owning the religion that you have to be a part of. I have no interest in the government keeping me from being able to speak my mind or my thoughts as relates to public matters and those matters of government.”
Newman said he was pro-gun and referenced the Second Amendment almost ensures the First Amendment in today’s society. He said he would never support anything that would erode these rights.
Clark said he was the only educator calling for concealed carry in the classroom and referred to the recent Maryland shooting that was stopped by a school resource officer.
“I’m an endangered species,” Clark said. “I’m a Christian conservative Republican pro-life pro-gun college professor and I know my message is working because four days after I announced my candidacy — the university gave me a leave until 2020 to go work for the president.”
Referring to when he ran a Christian crisis pregnancy center in Boston, Clark said he was also the only pro-life candidate in the race. He also said he was the only Trump official running for Congress nationwide, economic development professional and candidate with a federal energy portfolio.
“Imagine, we send our kids off to trade school,” Clark said to paint what he called the desired picture of New Mexico. “We send them off to college and then they come back home — and they get a job here. They can raise their families here. How many of y’all have grandbabies? How many of your grandbabies are out of state? Or out of town? Because again, if our kids can’t have jobs here — we don’t get to watch out grandbabies play soccer on the weekends, or Little League or T-ball, or things like that, or if they do rodeo mutton busting.
“Yes, I was President Trump’s deputy assistant secretary for policy and economic development. It was an absolute honor and pleasure to serve the president — but I was concerned when I looked back home in New Mexico that we were going to have a repeat of 2008 all over again.”
Newman said that the state is the most paid by the federal government in the union, which he would like to change that through free enterprise.
“I believe in progress, but for political reasons, I’m not a progressive,” Newman said. “I love the term progress because I want to see Roswell grow. I want to see Chaves County grow. I want to see the state of New Mexico grow. I’m for progress.
“As Americans, we need to be big, bold and proud. As citizens of the state of New Mexico, we need big, bold and proud. I’m proud to be an American.”
Clarkson and Newman both can be found on social media and on their websites.
The next meeting is April 18 with Chaves County Sheriff candidates Britt Snyder and Mike Herrington presenting speeches.
City reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at email@example.com.
While the installation of new modern-technology water meters will eventually create a much more efficient water system for Roswell customers, the meter-installation project has resulted in some unanticipated temporary issues negatively impacting the city’s water-billing capabilities. The city has identified the problems and enacted the necessary solutions. It is hoped the billing system will be fully recovered from these issues by mid-April.
In recent months, water customers have seen delays in receiving their bills, with some containing higher-than-expected charges and some having lower-than-expected charges when they received them. The delays and calculation confusion resulted from various factors, including scheduling conflicts between reading of meters and installation of the new meters. Adding to the billing troubles were changes within the company that provides the city with its utility (water) billing computer program. That led to some delays in completing and mailing monthly bills.
The city has initiated changes to the meter-installation firm’s schedule to eliminate any further confusion regarding the installation. The billing program issues have also been resolved, and the system has been tested and is now functioning as it should.
The Utility Billing department is now in the process of recovering from the delays that were experienced as these issues developed as the installation of the new water meters began some months ago. The city of Roswell takes full responsibility for these issues and has acted to correct them. It has taken some time to fully identify all the specifics of what was causing the troubles, but the city now has a complete picture of what needed to be corrected and has taken appropriate measures to get things back on track.
The city apologizes to citizens for the hassle and inconvenience this situation created. There were some very serious “bumps” along the way in this ongoing major project of converting an antiquated system into one that is state of the art. While some billing delays still exist, the system overall is expected to be back on schedule by mid-April. The city thanks its residents for their patience. The utility billing department will assist anyone who is still experiencing any issues with this project.
Anyone experiencing any problems related to a new meter once it has been installed by RTS Water Solutions should call the RTS Hotline at 940-235-6991. If there is a leak around the new water meter, please do not call a plumber, but instead, call the RTS Hotline at 940-235-6991.
Anyone with questions or concerns about a water bill is encouraged to contact either Utility Billing Manager Sylvia Casarez at 575-637-6265 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Martha Morales, utility billing supervisor, at 575-637-6210 or email@example.com.
Public Information Officer Todd Wildermuth said the installation of the meters began last summer meters around the city and Roswell’s approximately 19,000 existing meters around 4,500 meters have been replaced with the new smart meters.
Wildermuth said the installation crews of RTS Water Solutions started with commercial customers mainly, although there were also residential customers involved, and are now transitioning to more residential customers.
In regards to how many customer complaints were received, Wildermuth said it is not possible to track how many calls turn out to be truly related to topics involving the new meters on the city’s side. Wildermuth said RTS takes calls directly related to the meters and their installation.
Even though the legislative session providing 2018-2019 funding just ended Feb. 15, Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell leaders are not letting any grass grow under their feet as they plan for the future.
Board members and senior administrators meeting Wednesday afternoon on the ENMU-R campus made some preliminary discussions about requesting 2020 general obligation bond monies to replace the five Quonset huts built more than 50 years ago that now house the physical plant and facilities maintenance staff and operations. That action, if approved by ENMU boards, will still require several layers of state and voter approval.
When discussing the project as part of its five-year capital plan in June, university administrators estimated that a new building would cost $5.2 million and that the university would pay half. It was not clear if the project costs or specifications remain the same at this time. The discussion was brief, as the board cannot vote on the matter until its next meeting on April 18 at the earliest.
But the talk of a new capital project and obtaining the money for it comes closely on the heels of a good legislative year for the university system, the first year in several that the state has had new money to allocate, instead of severe budget deficits to contend with, as New Mexico’s oil and gas industry recovered.
“I think all of Eastern New Mexico University did very well,” said Dr. Jeff Elwell, president of the ENMU system, which includes the main campus in Portales and the branch campuses in Roswell and Portales.
“With the 4 percent redistribution and the 2 percent new money, I just looked, and Roswell, instead of having a hundred and some thousand taken, ended up actually in appropriations with $51,000 — and change — more,” Elwell said.
After legislative action and Gov. Susana Martinez’s review, Roswell ended up getting $11,279,695 from state appropriations and severance bonds and an additional $3 million allotment in a general obligation bond item to fund renovations to the campus automotive and welding building. The GO bond item will be decided by voters in November.
Portales got about $705,000 more in appropriations than the previous year, while Ruidoso got at least $10,000 more than the previous year, Elwell said.
The New Mexico Legislature also approved an increase in employee compensation of up to 2 percent, which will decrease a bit to accommodate associated benefits. But at least a 1 percent compensation increase should be realized, Elwell said. That will be on top of the 3 percent pay increase for Roswell employees approved by the Branch Community College Board and the ENMU Board of Regents in November.
The board also was scheduled to discuss in a closed executive session whether to name an interim president at ENMU-R following the March 7 decision by former president Dr. John Madden to retire and take immediate leave through the end of June. Dr. Ken Maguire, vice president of academic affairs, was tapped as acting president pending a board decision. The search for a new president also was to be discussed.
Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While the Better Business Bureau (BBB) issued a news release regarding fraudulent emails from the technology company DocuSign in November 2017, phishing attempts have been made toward Pioneer Bank and Roswell Independent School District users.
DocuSign, a San Francisco-based company which provides electronic signature capabilities, has continued to be the site for cybercriminals to obtain data for unsuspecting users.
Google Docs and Microsoft Outlook have also been impersonated for phishing scams, which is, according to guide released by DocuSign, a technique used by hackers to trick individuals into divulging personal information, login credentials, or launching malware to steal broader sets of personal data.
The BBB states the best practice for DocuSign users is to access documents directly from their website www.docusign.com. However, those going through messages should be skeptical to vague emails, the nonprofit explains.
“It does not state who specifically the email is from or what documents need to be signed but only leads the consumer to a button that reads, ‘View New File Now,’” the BBB said. “Clicking the link will either download malicious code on your computer — or take you to a website that will try to steal your personally identifiable information from you.”
According to a report from Barracuda in late-January, the security company has experienced a high volume of activity around phishing.
“Which is to be expected, since traditional email security solutions will not catch these emails and many will ultimately reach end users without being detected,” said Asaf Cidon, vice president of email security at Barracuda. “Millions of these impersonation emails are being sent out in multiple campaigns and users need to be educated on what to look for when receiving emails.”
On a March 5 episode of “Salted Hash” on security news outlet CSO, a member from Verodin, another cybersecurity company, voiced his concern.
“Email continues to be one of the most commonly exploited conduits to compromise,” said Brian Contos, chief information security officer of Verodin. “The good and the bad about email security is that we’ve gotten much better as an industry improving email security. The bad news is, in some cases, we’ve become too comfortable and simply assume that our email security solutions are filtering out all the bad stuff. But like any filter, email security isn’t 100 percent. And as with everything in security — technology alone isn’t the answer.”
Multimedia-Crime reporter Trevier Gonzalez can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at email@example.com.
On Monday, City Engineer Louis Najar said the closure of Montana and Union would be extended due to utility issues and a gas leak.
A news release provided by the City said Union Avenue between Country Club and 19th has been closed since mid-November. The original opening date was supposed to be March 26 though the estimated completion for the whole project is listed as Spring 2018 in the Infrastructure Committee’s agenda.
At the Infrastructure Committee meeting Monday evening, Najar said three weeks were spent working on utilities and the closure would remain until the end of April.
On Friday, the New Mexico Activities Association is scheduled to announce its All-State basketball team. Just like in football, the Roswell Daily Record is announcing its inaugural Roswell Daily Record All-Chaves County basketball team. There are six members on the team, four from Roswell and two from Goddard.
Today, the RDR will be announcing the boy’s team from District 4-5A. Throughout the upcoming weeks, we will be announcing 5A girls and the lower-class districts. The RDR sports staff relied on eyewitness accounts of games, coaches’ recommendations, wins and losses, tournament appearances and what each player meant to their team.
The RDR went with a starting five and a sub.
For the Coyotes, we start with a freshman guard: Taymon Burrola. Burrola started the season on the bench for the Coyotes and by the end of the season, he averaged 10.8 points per game. Burrola’s best game was in a loss to eventual state champion, Belen (60-53). Burrola led all scorers with a game-high 24 points.
“Taymon Burrola proved himself as one of the best freshmen to play at Roswell,” coach Moses “Dude” Burrola said, “and in the state. He stepped up for us in big games and proved that he belongs. The sky is the limit for him. With hard work, he can be a great ballplayer in the future.”
Many coaches have noted how difficult Burrola is to guard. He can shoot the three-point shot; he can drive, and he can pass.
Joining him in the backcourt is ultra-quick guard Jasia Reese. Reese was fourth in the team in scoring, averaging 9.3 points per game. His contributions to the team cannot be measured in points alone, on the defensive end of the floor he was the catalyst for getting big stops. He would come up with a steal, rebound, blocked shot or go coast-to-coast and soar to the basket for two points. Reese led Roswell in assists per game and steals per game. He was second on the team in defensive rebounds with 2.6 per game, second in offensive rebounds with 1.4 and rebounds per game with 4.0.
“Jasia is so quick and athletic,” Coyotes coach Burrola said. “He makes our press work and causes chaos for other teams. He comes out of nowhere to make plays for us. He still has two years as a Coyote, he’s going to be an exciting player.”
At shooting guard is Tarren Burrola, who was district 5A leading scorer with 504 points and averaged 18 points per game according to Max Preps at the time of this article. Tarren Burrola led the district in three-point shooting, making 67 while shooting 36 percent from beyond the arc. He tied with his brother Taymon in free throw percentage at 87 percent.
Tarren had the quickest release from the three-point line. Often when other teams were closing in on the Coyotes, it was Tarren that would spot up and hit a three-pointer from the corner to give his team breathing room.
“Tarren (Burrola) was our best offensive player all year,” Coyote coach Burrola said. “Often, he would draw the other team’s best defender every night, and he was still able to score 18 points a game. He is one of the best shooters in the state and has a ton of confidence in his shooting. It will be interesting and exciting to see him play in his senior year next season.”
Filling out our team at the center is Logan Eaker, who was a force down low and held his own against Artesia’s Joe Willingham, and another All-Chaves County team member Dalin Stanford. Eaker led the team in block shots with 2.8 per game. Often unstoppable when he caught the ball down low, Eaker would turn and square up immediately and go either way and finish with his up-and-under move.
“Logan (Eaker) was our big man in the middle,” Coyote coach Burrola said. “Eaker blocked shots, worked hard and made it difficult for teams to score. He is a really good kid, and he had a great career at RHS winning a championship last season. He will play at the next level and will do an outstanding job for wherever he chooses to go. He’s arguably one of the best big men in the state.”
The other big man to make the team was Goddard’s Dalin Stanford. One of the biggest games for Stanford this season was when he scored 24 points against Santa Fe in the Al Armendariz Tournament.
The Rockets relied on Stanford for points and leadership. When he was out with an injury like he was against Roswell, Goddard was a different team. In the Roswell game, Stanford was hit in the eye and ended up having to sit out all four quarters, which turned a close game into a rout for Roswell. Stanford was second in the district in scoring with a 16.1 scoring average according to Max Preps at press time.
“Stanford is a hard worker,” Goddard coach Anthony Mestas said. “Stanford loves his team and school. He is in the top 10 in the state of New Mexico for overall rebounds. He was always coachable throughout his four years at Goddard. He was always respectful to his teammates and to his coaches.”
Rounding out the RDR All-Chaves County basketball team is arguably the best true point guard in 5A basketball: Jonah Chavez. Chavez was tied for second on the team in scoring with 8.5 points per game and also ninth in the district for scoring. One example summed up Chavez’s value for the team was when he led Goddard to a come-from-behind victory against district champion Artesia. With the clock winding down, Chavez hit a full-court shot behind the half-court line to give the Rockets momentum going into halftime. Goddard came from double digits down to their first district victory at home, 38-37.
“Chavez has something in him that you can’t coach,” Rockets’ coach Mestas said. “He has that determination, hustle and want to. He has that Pecos Valley mentality of hard work and a never quit attitude. The kid plays defense like a fly all over you. He doesn’t stop harassing the ball. He dives on the floor, jumps in the bleachers and puts his body on the line for the love of the game. As a coach and a spectator of basketball, that’s how I love to watch defense played. That’s how the old Arkansas Razorbacks used to play under Nolan Richardson. I am blessed to have this kid play for me.”
The family of Garland Troy Berg, 50, of Roswell, New Mexico, would like to ask all family and friends to join them in a Celebration of Life to be held at Anderson Bethany Funeral Home Chapel on Saturday, March 24, 2018, 4:00 PM. Celebrate Troy’s life by visiting www.andersonbethany.com to offer a memory or expression of sympathy for his family.
Gone before to be reunited with Troy were his father, Garland Roy Berg whom he loved, respected, admired and missed dearly; grandparents: Albert and Gladys Berg, TFJ Billy Pyratt; and grandsons: Tray Brandan, Tannan Asher Berg, Kaidan Brandon Harris.
Surviving to treasure Troy’s memory are his mother, Gwendolyn Elaine Berg; sister, Teresa and husband, Edward Abrejera; mother of his children, Annette Berg; sons: Brandan Troy, Ryan Corey; daughters: Reba Allyse, Kristan Ashley and husband, Brandon Harris; precious granddaughters: Mercedez Amanda, Taylor Kylie Case, Jerikka Berkley Berg, Talan Lynn, Haidan Kristine Harris; expected grandson, Prestan Brandon Harris. Troy was cherished by a number of aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews and nieces.
Troy had a special awareness and drawing unto the broken hearted and deemed them special to himself. While Troy had many friends both casual and professional, he was no respecter of persons, he respected and cared for everyone, and never met a stranger. Though we know some may not be able to attend, we cherish your presence in spirit and heart. Troy will always be remembered as an especially kind, loving, helpful and generous person.
He had been a wonderful and supportive husband, and attentive father. Troy was involved with all the things his children did, which include bull riding, fifteen years coaching baseball, go-cart racing, motor cross, Boy Scouts Leader and a tearful & proud Dance Recital Spectator to his daughter many times throughout the years.
Troy spent several years Pastoring children’s church at World Harvest Church, having the largest children’s bus ministry to date. He then was Sr. Ordained Pastor of River of Life Church, until merging with Pastor Danny Sons at Midway Assembly. Troy always stressed not to look to man, but to have a personal relationship with the Lord, regardless of where you were in life, or whom you are, and should always know the grace of God’s love for you and through you.
The family will be gathering at 3008 S. Louisiana, Roswell, New Mexico, after Troy’s Celebration of Life.
Troy’s family lovingly wrote this tribute in his honor.
William Clyde Gilcrease, 74, passed away on Friday, March 16, 2018, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A Graveside Service will be held at General Douglas L. McBride Cemetery on Friday, March 23, 2018, 2:00 PM. Celebrate William’s life by visiting www.andersonbethany.com to offer a memory or expression of sympathy for his family.
On October 13, 1943, William was born to William Odell Gilcrease and Helen Avent Gilcrease in Roswell, New Mexico. He married the love of his life, Shelby Perkins on February 23, 1968, in Roswell, New Mexico. William was a devoted husband and loving father and grandfather. He was an Army Veteran who proudly served his country. William loved to work with wood, hunt and fish. He enjoyed the outdoors and growing his own vegetables and fruits. William loved and enjoyed his grandchildren and life in general. His family will carry fond memories of him and he will be greatly missed by all.
Those left to eternally treasure and cherish William’s memory are his loving wife, Shelby; children: Rhonda Martinez and husband, Joaquin, and daughter, Jacki; Ann Garlinger and husband, Eric, and daughter, Brooklyn; and brothers: Calvin Gilcrease, wife and family, and Jerry Gilcrease, wife and family.
Preceding William in death were his parents: William Odell Gilcrease and Helen Gilcrease; and sister, Benny Gilcrease.