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Special shapes and colors take flight

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Mike Smith Photo. Scores of Artesia residents woke up at daybreak Saturday to witness the launch of multiple hot air balloons at Eagle Draw Saturday morning. Balloons and Tunes started Friday morning with Artesia elementary school kids getting an up close and personal demonstration.

ARTESIA — An assistant principal at Yeso Elementary School may have said it best about last weekend’s Balloons and Tunes.

“It’s a great community event and it brings everyone together.”

Lynn Worley said that as the entire student body headed to class after watching David Chavez unveil a special shape hot air balloon.

Chavez was one of many hot air balloonists who inflated their airships Friday morning for elementary school kids in Artesia.

The community’s hot air balloon event is took place at Eagle Draw.

Chavez with some help from his family, community folks and members of Faith Baptist Church in Artesia spent time unpacking his new ride around sunrise Friday morning.

“This will be its first inflation here in Artesia, we just barely got it (and) picked it up Tuesday,” he said.

Chavez, like many in New Mexico, grew up going to Albuquerque’s International Balloon Fiesta.

“I was fascinated with them and intrigued with how they worked and operated,” he said.

Chavez said he was offered the chance to be part of a chase crew, “and from then, I was able to get my first flight from a pilot from Lovington and after that I was hooked.”

A few months after that, he bought his own balloon, “and I’ve been going forward ever since.”

Chavez said ballooning is a family sport. He said potential pilots have to take a written test and a flight test.

“Then you have minimum hours of training that the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) requires and then you go through an FAA inspector,” he said.

He added that the feds also have to issue a final flight test before one flies solo.

The kids at Yeso Elementary got the chance to see Chavez and his crew inflate the balloon. They also had the chance to touch it and ask questions of Chavez and his passengers.

As an added treat, the kids and the entire community had a chance to see Chavez and his passengers fly off into the crisp Artesia autumn morning.

 

How did Robert Handel become ‘The Barking Guy?’

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Mike Smith Photo Robert Handel has been a fixture at Artesia High sporting events for more than a decade. People know him as The Barking Guy.

ARTESIA — With his hitch in the United States Air Force about to end, Robert Handel decided he was going to live in his recreational vehicle full time.

He traveled across a good chunk of North America when he decided to buy a lot at SKP RV Park south of Artesia. That’s when he turned his radio on to look for a station that was carrying the Rush Limbaugh program in southeast New Mexico.

“I bought my lot in 2002 and I was looking for Rush and found him on KSVP (AM-990 in Artesia) and found Jim Wilburn,” he said.

Wilburn was the longtime radio voice of the Artesia High School Bulldogs. Handel heard his signature call during a Bulldog football broadcast.

“And that, my friends — is just another Bulldog touchdown,” said Handel, doing his best Wilburn impersonation. “When the Bulldogs came on, I always had it on and I listened until about 2006. I didn’t go to any games.”

More than a decade ago, Handel attended his first Bulldog basketball game and he decided he was going to get involved with AHS athletics.

Handel became a fixture at Bulldog football games in 2007 and that’s when his alter-ego was born.

Handel morphed into “The Barking Guy” during a game in Carlsbad. He recalled the Bulldogs were down 10-7 at halftime.

“We had to kick off to Carlsbad to start the second half,” he said. “We did and they threw an interception and the crowd went wild and people were barking and I barked with them.”

Handel said the fans helped the Bulldogs take down their in-county rivals that night, “so when things happened, I started barking and I became “The Barking Guy” that day.”

Handel is a permanent fixture at all Bulldog sporting events. When the Bulldogs are heading out of town, Handel is there to send them off and it’s not just sporting events.

Handel has been known to show his support for the AHS band and kids participating in Future Farmers of America.

“Most of the send offs would be to Las Cruces or Albuquerque and if you know anything about the geography (and) about how long these trips are by bus, three to four hours to get to ‘Cruces or five hours to get to Albuquerque; it’s a long way,” Handel said.

“They’re going to hostile territory, they’re in the other teams house, so the send offs help them (to) know that somebody is behind them,” he added.

Handel said if he can’t make it to an out-of-town event, he can show his support during the send offs. “They know my best wishes are with them.”

“When the buses start rolling, I start barking and the kids just love it,” he said.

Handel grew up in Michigan and attended Western Michigan University. He went to college to be a computer programmer.

“Look at the 1970s, remember how bad the economy was?” he asked. “There were no jobs, I did the safe thing and got into the military.”

Handel tried to become an officer. “I washed out for some reason,” he said. “So I enlisted and I’m glad I did because I actually got to program the computers.”

He spent 20 years in the Air Force and retired as a master sergeant.

Handel is also involved with the Eddy County Republican Party as the first vice chair.

Handel was asked how long he plans on being “The Barking Guy.”

“Until I can’t anymore. I don’t have any intentions of leaving,” he said.

General assignment reporter Mike Smith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 307, or at sports2@rdrnews.com.

 

Stolen bows and arrows hurt disadvantaged kids

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ARTESIA — The president of the Eddy County Shooting Range Archery Division is asking area residents to be on the lookout for some archery equipment that was stolen in late October.

Kathy Kolt said around 50 bows were taken along with 100 or more arrows. She added the cost is in “the thousands of dollars.”

Kolt said the theft hurts  disadvantaged kids in the Artesia area. She said the kids, “don’t have any problems with me, they do fantastic.”

“They’re running their brains out there and kids are very adaptable and they learn that quick at any age. People in wheelchairs can even do archery,” Kolt said.

Kolt said most kids that participate in the archery shoots come from single-parent households.

Kolt said the archery program has been around for nearly a decade and the thefts took place last month at the range on Funk Road aren’t the first time that thieves have stolen property from the range.

She said a trailer was taken three years ago. “We don’t have a stealing problem, we have a drug problem,” Kolt said.

“The last time it was stolen, it was a drug problem. I had my washer and dryer stolen a month ago, that was a drug thing,” Kolt added.

“If we could kick meth, maybe we wouldn’t have half the problems that we have, and meth is taking a terrible toll,” she said.

Kolt said the archery program is there to keep kids occupied and off drugs. “Especially if they come from a broken family.”

Kolt said if anyone has any information on the stolen equipment, she can be reached at 425-221-7700. She added that people can also contact the Eddy County Sheriff’s Office.

 

Person on the street 11-07-17

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What did you think of the hot air balloons that went up Saturday during Balloons and Tunes?

Danielle Denson- “I think they’re absolutely beautiful and it’s amazing to stand here and watch them.”

David Husselman- “I think its a pretty and its a good time. Good reason to get up in the morning.”

Madison Parker- “I think it is very colorful and it’s just beautiful and so cool. Great morning to do it.”

Ana Lovato- “I love coming out here and watching the balloons go up and the way they paint the sky with their colors mixed in with the sunrise it’s awesome. It’s actually kind of intense to think about how the whole thing works with the heat making the balloons rise. I love it.”

Beverly Newsom –“They were beautiful this morning, the color of the balloons were just spectacular.” 

 

Like being a doctor except on cars

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Eric Gomez, left, transportation education director at ENMU-R, oversees Levin Van as he replaces brake shoes on a 2002 Honda Civic. (Timothy P. Howsare Photo)

As auto technologies evolve, it takes more than just a shade-tree mechanic with a tool box to repair complex, computerized systems. ENMU-R offers a program to train students to work on modern cars, while local dealerships, Roswell Toyota in particular, offer internship programs where students can hone their skills

Jesus Garcia, left, shop
foreman and master technician at Roswell Toyota, and Omar Castaneda, ENMU-R
auto tech intern, perform computer diagnostics on a
2002 first-generation Prius. The specialized computer costs around $40,000 and Garcia has received about $100,000 in training during his 18 years with the dealership. (Timothy P. Howsare Photo)

Modern automobiles, with features such as collision avoidance systems, are more technologically advanced than the first NASA space shuttle, said Eric Gomez, transportation education director at ENMU-Roswell.

And the technologies are evolving more and more each day with several auto makers developing self-driven cars.

Auto technicians, those working at dealerships especially, are no longer “grease monkeys,” although you can still get plenty dirty working in a shop.

Those of us of a certain age can remember our dads teaching us how to change the oil and do tuneups on the family car.

Changing the oil on a modern car is still fairly easy — once you manage to find the drain plug and filter — but tuneups are almost as old-fashioned as cattle drives, and engine parts such as points, condensers, rotor caps and distributors no longer exist unless you own a classic.

Modern engines may cost more to repair and require a higher level of expertise to work on than the 350 block in your dad’s ‘73 Chevy truck, but the good news is new engines have proven themselves to be more durable and efficient, Collins said.

What once were high-performance technologies two or three decades ago, like duel-overhead cams, are now standard equipment on nearly every vehicle that comes off the assembly line.

“We’ve got cars coming in with a half-million miles without an engine rebuild,” said Jim Collins, service manager at Roswell Toyota. “They are building better engine components.”

Collins, who grew up in Detroit and is from a “car family,” said in the old days it was a rare event when a car turned over 100,000 miles.

Collins has worked in the auto industry for 26 years, with the past nine at Toyota.

Collins said he met Gomez seven years ago when Gomez was a customer.

Both men have loved working on cars since they were teenagers and formed a professional relationship in 2012 when Gomez started teaching auto technology at ENMU-R.

Collins was particularly impressed with the internship program Gomez set up, where students can get 144 hours of hands-on experience working at a dealership.

The internships are unpaid and students do them on their own time. The internships are required for an associate’s degree, which requires taking classwork in subjects like math and English as well as the specialized automotive coursework.

Those wishing a certificate of employment instead of a two-year degree only need to take the auto tech classes, and no internship is required.

Collins said along the advanced training in diagnostics, Gomez’s students are prepared in shop safety and how to look and act professional.

Collins said he was shocked when he once walked into a shop and saw a mechanic wearing open-toed shoes.

Gomez got his start in the auto world much like many of his students.

He took vocational training at his alma mater, Dexter High School, and then continued his education in auto technology in Lubbock, Texas.

He received a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in education, with an emphasis administration, at ENMU in Portales.

He taught for eight years at Dexter before he was hired by ENMU-R, where he now is director of all the transportation programs, which are automotive, commercial driver’s license and diesel.

Gomez said modern-day auto technicians are like doctors for cars, except that while doctors communicate with the patients by speaking to them, mechanics communicate with cars through binary code.

The diagnostics computers that people saw in shops a few years ago that plug into the car are steadily being replaced with new computers with WiFi and Bluetooth that can access the internet as they perform a diagnostic.

However, while a computer can diagnose a problem such as a spark plug misfiring, the technician must figure out what is causing the misfire, Gomez said.

Gomez said auto mechanics is a good field to get into, especially for those who like problem solving — like spark plugs that misfire.

He said the job market is glutted with people with master’s degrees who can’t find jobs. However, with a certificate in auto technology, a student can quickly find a job in all 50 states, he said.

Gomez said starting salaries range from $10 to $15 an hour and there are limitless opportunities for advancement.

Gomez said Halliburton, an oil services company with locations around the area, is interested in hiring some of his candidates to work on their fleets.

Once hired by Halliburton, a starting mechanic can move laterally into another division of the company or move up into management, he said.

Collins agrees that opportunities abound once a graduate gets his or her first job.

Collins said he has hired around a dozen techs from the ENMU-R program. He is hiring a new one this month, Omar Castaneda of Roswell, and is considering hiring another one.

Though Castaneda is only 19, Collins said he already understands the difference between just having a job and a career.

“I want to go as far as I can,” Castaneda said. “If there is an opportunity to move forward, I will.”

For more information about ENMU-R’s auto tech program, call Gomez at 575-624-7115.

Community News reporter Timothy P. Howsare can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or vistas@rdrnews.com.

Youthful riders arrive safely in Roswell

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Brothers Louis Abernathy and Temple Abernathy, ages 9 and 5 respectively, arrived in Roswell by horseback in August 1909. They traveled from Guthrie, Oklahoma, and were the sons of U.S. Marshal John R. Abernathy. They came to Roswell via Portales and Estaline, Texas. They were several days on the road and in the “pink of condition” after their long, hard journey. (Photo courtesy of the Historical Society for New Mexico)

Two sons of a Texas U.S. Marshal made long-distance horseback trips that drew attention of NM governor and President Theodore Roosevelt

A front-page article in the Aug. 25, 1909, Roswell Daily Record. (Image courtesy of the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico)

In 1909, two little boys, Louis “Louie” Abernathy and Temple Abernathy, “the Abernathy Boys,” ages 9 and 5 respectively, rode horseback from their home in Guthrie, Okla., by themselves, to Roswell, then to Santa Fe and back home again.

Louis, the oldest, was born in 1899 in Texas, and his younger brother, Temple, was born in 1904 in Tipton, Oklahoma. Their father was U.S. Marshal Jack Abernathy. He was also a cowboy and was personal friend’s with President Theodore Roosevelt. The boys’ mother passed away in 1907, leaving their father to raise six children alone, four girls and two boys.

This was a trip the boys had planned and dreamed about. They had studied maps by the light of the kerosene lamp, night after night. Going to bed each night they imagined the adventures that lay ahead and the stories their father had told them, about the country they wanted to travel to. They had planned and mapped their journey, day after day and night after night. Their dad had told them about the fruit orchards and the farms here in the Pecos Valley, and they wanted to see Gov. Curry’s house in Santa Fe.

When they had proven to their dad that they had memorized the route, he decided to let them try a short trip alone as a trial run. He told them if they could ride from their home in Guthrie to their ranch near Tipton in Southwestern Oklahoma, that would prove their ability for the longer journey. This ride took them about four days, and went off without a hitch!

After they had successfully navigated this short journey their dad gave them his blessing to do the trip from Guthrie, to Roswell, to Santa Fe, the Texas Panhandle, and back home again.

In preparation for their trip their dad opened a checking account for each of the boys and deposited $100 in each of their accounts. He told them this would be the money for food, and lodging, and any any emergencies they might run into along the way.

So, in July of 1909, they started their journey, into the great unknown, in the hottest time of the year.

Their dad had instructed them not to push their horses too hard, not more than 35 miles a day, so before they left home they had estimated how far to ride every day, and where to stop and spend the night, each night.

Before they left, their dad gave them a Bible and instructed them to say their prayers each night.

After leaving their home in Guthrie on their way to Roswell they encountered many dangers, as one might imagine.

They had to cross the Red River, where their dad had told them to be careful of pockets of quicksand. Approaching the river at dusk, the boys couldn’t see enough to know if it was quicksand so they decided to let Bud’s trusty horse (Sam Bass) take the lead, and carefully choosing the way, he led them safely across.

They spent the first night in Estelline, Texas, boarding their horses and staying in a hotel.

The next morning was hot and Temple was thirsty, so he drank lots of gyp (gypsum) water, which gave him diarrhea later in the day. They spent the next night in Turkey, Texas, where he had a very uncomfortable night. His brother gave him a big dose of castor oil in hopes of helping him feel better.

The next morning it was only worse, but they started on. He was having to get down off his horse every few minutes. They came upon a mercantile store where he had a strawberry pop and some crackers, and he started feeling better. He felt well enough to even talk his brother into buying candy for later in the day.

They spent two more nights on the very hot and dusty trail, and on the last night they camped between Portales and Roswell. During the night they were awakened by a pack of wolves. Louie fired the shotgun, until Temple could gather enough wood to put on the campfire to keep the wolves at bay.

When they arrived in Roswell, everybody seemed to know all about them. They stayed here several days, viewing the apple and peach orchards their dad had told them about and marveling at the irrigation systems. People were friendly, and the newspaper editor even invited them to stay at his house, which they gladly accepted.

Riding on from Roswell to Santa Fe they encountered a hail storm and Indians, they lost their Trail for a while, but they made it into Santa Fe safely, and from there, back to Oklahoma, but with many more exploits along the way.

After this trip they achieved so much notoriety they planned a cross country horseback ride to New York City to meet their dad’s old friend Theodore Roosevelt. They made that trip in 1910, and were greeted with a ticker tape parade behind a car carrying Roosevelt.

While in New York City they purchased a car, which they drove, again by themselves, back to Oklahoma. They shipped their horses home by train.

In 1911, they accepted another challenge to ride horseback from New York City to San Francisco in 60 days or less. They accepted the challenge and again made the trip, but it took them 62 days.

You can read more about their journeys online, or in the book, “Bud and Me,” written by Alta Abernathy. There also is a movie, “The Grand Ride of the Abernathy Boys.”

Both boys grew to be successful adults with Louis later graduating from the University of Oklahoma Law School and becoming a lawyer in Wichita Falls, Texas. He died in Austin, Texas, in 1979.

Temple worked in the oil and gas businessman and died in Teague, Texas, in 1986.

Credits to “Bud & Me: The true adventures of the Abernathy Boys,” written by Alta Abernathy.

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 jdunna@hotmail.com.

CASA Winter Wonderland trees now on display

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Shane Hall, market president of First American Bank and member of the CASA board of direcotors, with CASA Executive Director Carrie-Leigh Cloutier and Zia, one of the CASA courthouse dogs. (Timothy P. Howsare Photo)

Roswell hasn’t gotten any snow yet, but as far as CASA and First American Bank are concerned, the Christmas season has already arrived.

Winter Wonderland, an auction featuring one-of-a-kind Christmas trees and décor created and donated by members of the community, is now going on at both branches of First American Bank in Roswell. The locations are the main branch at 111 E. Fifth St. on the north side of the Chaves County Courthouse, and on North Main Street at Berrendo Road.

The public is welcome to walk around the lobbies of each of the branches and view the 75 trees and 125 other Christmas décor items.

Proceeds from both a silent and live auction will benefit the Chaves County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Program’s work with abused children.

CASA Executive Director Carrie-Leigh Cloutier said she is deeply grateful to the major sponsors of this year’s Winter Wonderland, First American Bank, Xcel Energy and Lovelace Regional Hospital.

Other sponsors include the Chase Foundation and Chase Energy from Artesia.

She said there are more than 250 auction items sale.

The live auction will be held on Nov. 17 during a gala event under a tent in the parking lot of First American’s main branch from 5 to 7 p.m.

Over the years, the gala has become an annual tradition in Roswell, with tons of free food and beverages.

Last year, Mayor Dennis Kintigh said he was pleased to see individuals from all economic levels in Roswell attending the event.

This year, the piano students of Mike Lively will perform a recital before the auction.

Auctioneers are Shane Hall, market president of the Roswell bank branches, along with his son Cade. Hall also serves on the CASA board of directors.

Cloutier said the gala offers the public a chance to meet the CASA volunteers.

“Come to the auction and enjoy the festivities,” she said.

Both of the Walgreens stores in Roswell have sponsored trees, and Cloutier said there is a friendly competition on which store’s tree will get the most votes.

“Whoever wins will get a free pizza party,” Cloutier said.

Community News reporter Timothy P. Howsare can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or vistas@rdrnews.com.

ENMU-Roswell AMT students celebrate graduation

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A group of ENMU-Roswell students graduated recently from the Aviation Maintenance Technology (AMT) program. The graduates completed the requirements for a Certificate of Completion in Airframe and Powerplant. The 14.5 month program is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. From left, William E. Abbott, Alex Alvarez, Jacob Vick, Hamza H. Feroze, Matthew Millican, Anthony M. Sanchez, Gareth Lawson, Joel M. Torres, George A. Corrales and Carlos J. Cruz. For more information about the program, contact Lyle Lane, aviation director, at 575-624-7022 or email aviation@roswell.enmu.edu. (Submitted Photo)

Police investigate late-night accident

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An RPD officer utilizes his flashlight to survey damages.

Calling party reported vehicle rolled over 3 times

The Roswell Police Department is investigating an apparent rollover accident involving a sole occupant driver late Saturday night.

Before 11:40 p.m. Saturday, the RPD, Emergency Medical Services and the Roswell Fire Department were dispatched toward the corner of North Cedar Avenue and Country Club Road in reference to a vehicle accident with injury.

According to dispatch communications, the only person involved in the accident was a male driver.

Dispatchers also advised that the calling party had told them that the crashed vehicle had rolled over three times.

Authorities reported to dispatchers that the man was bleeding from his head.

The RPD was not able to confirm whether or not the man was taken to a local hospital.

By the time the Daily Record arrived, police were surveying the area, taking note of debris scattered on and on the side of the road, as well as damages to the vehicle.

Tiny bits of shattered glass was scattered along County Club Road, reflecting emergency lights from the ground.

Much of the damage sustained by the vehicle was toward the front, including a shattered windshield, bent out of frame windows and a grill almost completely ripped off the vehicle.

Traffic officer Scott Oldani of the RPD later arrived to the scene.

Playoff announcements

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All four district 4-5A teams got into the playoffs, Artesia, Lovington, Roswell and Goddard. Roswell is the number 3 seed and receives a bye. Goddard is the No, 11 seed, they play Aztec Friday at Aztec, time TBA. On November 17th or 18th, Roswell will play the winner of Goddard and Aztec in the Quarterfinals at the Wool Bowl. Dexter is the No. 7 seed in 4-3A and will play at home Friday, time TBA.

Pecan weevil threatens state’s $180M industry; NMDA records: Insect has been confirmed in Eddy, Lea, Chaves and Curry counties

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"If we do this now and eradicate it, we can save the industry millions of dollars," says John Wilson, owner of the Nut House Pecan Co. on West Second Street in Roswell. In spite of the additional costs and regulations on the industry, he supports the temporary quarantine proposed by the New Mexico Department of Agriculture. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

Dean Calvani’s livelihood is threatened by a tiny invader.

The pecan weevil lives most of its life underground, but once a year it burrows to the surface to lay its eggs directly in the nut that defined Calvani’s business for 25 years.

The weevil’s reproduction destroys the nut meat, making it unfit for human consumption, but it could also derail New Mexico’s $180 million pecan industry.

In late 2016 and January 2017, the weevil was found in residential pecan orchards in multiple counties in southeast New Mexico.

It was confirmed in Eddy, Lea, Chaves and Curry counties, read New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) records.

A series of quarantines were enacted to prevent its spread in the following months.

And the NMDA is looking to make the quarantine permanent.

One of Eddy County’s largest pecan producers, the Calvani Pecan Company, has operated in the Carlsbad community for about 25 years.

And Calvani worried the quarantine — which restricts pecan shipments to areas without an infestation — could prevent him from trading to the west where the industry is most lucrative.

“They won’t even let us ship to El Paso anymore,” he said of the NMDA.

To go west, out of the quarantine zone, Calvani worried he’ll have to incur added costs under the new requirements.

This means purchasing forklifts, vans and redesigning his cleaning and shipment plants, as vehicles used to transport out of quarantine must be covered and shipments must be held to higher scrutiny.

He’s unsure of the cost associated with meeting requirements to ship his product west, and uninterested in paying it.

Calvani said he’s never found a weevil in the 500 acres comprising his orchards.

Even so, the new regulations could force him to ship his product east and into West Texas where the weevil has a decades-long foothold.

Calvani cannot import from West Texas either under the new guidelines, and must either rely on local growers or decide on another region to purchase from.

With a month until harvest, he worried his business could suffer.

“I hope they can eradicate it,” Calvani said. “I think it’s good they’re becoming aware of it. The frustration is (NMDA) presented the quarantine a month before harvest. It didn’t allow us to prepare.”

About 80 miles north in Chaves County, growers also worried about the added costs.

Hoby Bonham, owner of the 600-acre Bonham Farms northwest of Roswell, said he supports the quarantine, but is concerned the added cost could put smaller operations at risk.

His family also co-owns Mountain States Pecan Co., a 900-acre operation in Roswell.

“It is an expense. I can’t speak for everybody. I don’t know where (all growers in the area) ship to or where they sell to,” he said. “There are more markets than just Las Cruces or El Paso County.”

Bonham said he worked with about 10 other Chaves County growers to bring ideas to New Mexico Department of Agriculture officials about the proposed quarantine.

But he said that he understands that Chaves County growers’ requests might not be part of the quarantine, given that NMDA has expressed its intent to move quickly to enact the permanent quarantine.

“I am happy that they are actually doing it. Nobody likes for more regulations and nobody likes for more government involvement,” Bonham said. “But we stand a great chance of getting the pest eradicated and not let it continue to spread.

“We aren’t just trying to protect ourselves. We are trying to protect the industry itself in New Mexico.”

Quarantine could become permanent

In the state known as the second-highest producer of pecans, the tiny bug — thought to be invading from West Texas, a state where the majority of counties were under quarantine for decades — could also damage one of New Mexico’s biggest cash crops.

A temporary quarantine for Artesia, Hobbs, Roswell and Clovis was first enacted in January until March, in response to findings of the pest in residential orchards.

It was then extended by 90 days until June, and then again until November.

Another 180-day quarantine is expected to go into effect on Nov. 20, as the department drafts a permanent ban.

Under the most recent quarantine, any pecans shipped out of Eddy, Lea, Curry and Chaves counties into areas unaffected by the weevil must face intense scrutiny and higher regulations.

These counties, where thousands of acres produce pecans each year, would remain quarantined until the weevil is proven to be completely eradicated.

Dona Aña County and the El Paso area to the west are particularly important to pecan growers and sellers, as the industry is mostly centered in that region.

But to sell in the west, where most of the industry exists, southeastern producers must follow the new requirements, such as providing proof of treatment, and transporting the nuts in a covered vehicle.

The aim is to stop the spread of the pest into the western regions of the state, which would further damage the multi-million-dollar industry.

Sandy Barraza, director of New Mexico State University’s Chaves County Extension Office, said education could also be a weapon against the weevil.

She said commercial growers and entomologists are working to distribute literature and information in an effort to educate the public and obtain their help in keeping the pecan weevil from spreading.

“The pecan weevil does not affect the health of the tree,” she said. “It only affects the pecans. Actually (growers) won’t know they have the weevil until the larvae chew its way out of the mature pecan, and it leaves a little BB-size hole, or if you crack open the pecan and see it has been destroyed.”

There were 2,000 pecan farms across the state in 2015, read a 2017 report from NMSU’s College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

New Mexican growers produced $180 million in nuts, the report read, ranking the state first that year for pecan production with about 1/3 of the country’s yield.

“If pecan weevil becomes established in the state’s commercial orchards, it would cause increased insecticide applications, increased production costs, reduced on-farm revenue, and a perceived reduction in the state’s reputation for high-quality pecans,” read the report.

So the department called on all growers to check crops, even those nuts harvested from backyard trees, in hopes of finding and destroying the pest.

“Unless you carefully inspect your pecan nuts every year, both marketable and trash or cull nuts, you may not realize you are harboring this destructive pest,” the report read. “If you have even one pecan tree, even if it is in your yard and not an orchard, you are part of this industry.”

After this year’s infestation was discovered, the NMDA decided New Mexico would be the last stand against the pecan weevil.

“This is where everyone fights it in New Mexico,” said Brad Lewis, NMDA assistant division director of Entomology and Nursery. “We’ve watched it march across Texas, and across the pecan belt.”

Along the weevil’s path of destruction, growers of all sizes could be impacted by an infestation, said John Wilson, a Chaves County-based pecan buyer and sheller for 20 years.

Sale of pecans could take a hit under the quarantine, he said, as people he buys from will have to provide photo identification and records about the origins of shipments.

“It is going to affect you if you are in the market, whether you have one tree or you are a big grower,” Wilson said. “It will mean more cost for processing and for trucking and less value for producers.

“If we do this now and eradicate it, we will save the industry millions of dollars. But we need to catch it now.”

Shay Wagner, manager of Normex Farms southeast of Roswell, said stopping it might burden smaller growers, but won’t be that much of a hardship on larger growers such Normex, which already has a cleaning facility.

The operation, where Wagner has worked for 10 years, has about 280 acres of pecan-producing trees.

The quarantine would be worth it to avoid infestation in commercial orchards, he said, given the time and challenge associated with safeguarding the industry.

“You are talking tens of thousands in additional costs and that would be just to control the pest. That’s not counting lost revenues,” he said.

“I knew it (the quarantine) was coming,” he added. “We had a temporary quarantine last year, and the eradication of this pest is probably going to take five to 10 years, maybe even longer, given the lifecycle of the insect.”

What is it?

The pecan weevil, a type of beetle, was known to infest southeast New Mexico for the past 10 years, Lewis said.

It is considered a “snout beetle” because of its long nose, and usually grows to about 3/8 to ½ inches in length.

The weevil is native to the Midwest and eastern parts of the United States, but researchers are unsure how it came to New Mexico.

Naturally camouflaged to blend into its environment, the weevil is considered the most destructive pest for pecans and hickory nuts.

The larvae are plump, legless and cream colored, with multiple body segments. They develop into grubs within the nut, and then burrow out and into the soil to finish maturing.

The adult weevil lives primarily underground, but burrows to the surface to mate and lay its eggs, up to six at a time, in the pecans of infested trees.

Residential orchards are most susceptible, because the land is often undisturbed by cultivation which is more commonly practiced in commercial groves.

As the larvae grows, it feeds on the nutmeat and leaves its indicative BB-sized hole in the shell when emerging from the nut.

In the summer, adult weevils also feed on the nuts, causing them to fall from the trees prematurely.

Emerging from the soil in late July, the adult weevil flies or crawls to potential host trees nearby.

Females use their longer snouts to feed on a liquid inside the nut called endosperm, damaging the nut and leaving a hole in the shell.

After mating, the female weevil insert eggs into up to 30 nuts, planting about 75 eggs during the one-month adult lifespan.

The eggs hatch inside the pecan after about a week, and the resulting larvae feeds heavily on the nutmeat.

Adult weevil can burrow up to three feet underground, and no soil treatments are known that could kill them once they leave the surface.

So, NMDA must spray.

The bug is only above ground for a short period each year, and is very difficult to find for chemical treatment, usually in the form of a spray that will only kill the adults, read an NMDA report.

The larvae is not affected by the spray.

Once the eggs are laid in the nut, it’s too late.

Thirty-two new findings of weevil infestations were made this year, during the last harvest season, said NMDA inspector Emily Fricke.

She estimated it could take about five to seven years to eradicate the pest, due to its lifespans and propensity for living underground.

The orchards must be sprayed during the short month-long periods when the adult weevil is above ground.

“They spend so much time underground,” Fricke said. “That’s what makes eradication so difficult. There’s a limited amount of time in their lifecycle that we can hit them with chemicals.”

Can it be stopped?

It was eradicated before, Lewis said, and the pecan weevil can be eradicated again — this time for good.

“We’re the only ones who fought it, we’re the only ones who eradicated,” he said. “There is a verbal agreement that New Mexico will be the stopping grounds for the pecan weevil.”

In Dona Aña County, the weevil was exterminated in 2000, after being found in a 25-acre block, Lewis said.

It can spread quickly, hopping off open-air trucks or contaminated crops when mixed.

The main purpose of the quarantine in the east is to prevent another outbreak in the west.

“Nothing moves into Dona Aña County unless it is approved here first,” Lewis said. “That’s what growers in Dona Aña County wanted to best protect them. The difference this time is that it’s so broad and so widespread, so we had to do what we’re doing. It’s at industry request.”

Aside from spraying for the bug at its source, the weevil is also killed using cold storage, when the nuts are kept in sub-zero temperatures for an extended amount of time.

This method kills the bug, but also adds costs.

Regardless of the method used, Calvani said controlling the pest is essential to the industry’s stability across the southern portion of New Mexico.

“(The quarantine) is a good effort,” he said. “I’m glad they’re trying to control it. We’ll just have to wait.”

But in the meantime, NMDA has inspectors going home to home, orchard to orchard, searching for an infestation.

Priority is given to residential properties outside of known infested areas within a quarantined city, aiming to identify areas of non-infestation to understand how widespread the problem might be.

“We’ll start beating it back in Artesia,” Lewis said. “We’re trying to keep it contained in this area. We’ll look at Lea County, and that’s a decision the industry will have to make. Do we keep beating it back to the Texas line?”

To move pecans out of these areas, shippers were required to pass an inspection and acquire a certificate from NMDA for each crop.

How else can they spread?

Any buyers receiving nuts not certified, and unproven to be safe from the weevil, were told to send them back.

Especially if they’re coming from Texas.

That entire state is under a quarantine, Lewis said, and no importation to New Mexico is allowed under current guidelines.

“When you go to a buyer or accumulator, you need to ask to see ID and prove that they aren’t coming from a contaminated area,” said Woods Houghton, Eddy County agriculture agent with NMSU’s Eddy County Extension Office.

But what about sellers and buyers without any credentials?

At an October town hall meeting in Carlsbad between officials from the NMDA, NMSU and local pecan growers and buyers, many feared the weevil could be spread human disregard for the law.

Roy and Dana Chapler, who’ve owned Carlsbad-based C&R Pecan for 38 years, said they’ve witnessed unlicensed buyers and sellers pull over to the side of a road — and set up shop.

The Chaplers said they’ve found the weevil in their own crop, and worry the pest’s impact could get worse due to questionable business practices.

“You never know where these guys stop,” said Roy Chapler. “There’s no one out there to stop them.”

Unlicensed sales within the city are subject to penalties under the City of Carlsbad’s business licensing ordinance, which stipulates all business activity in the city limits be approved.

And even sellers that are licensed, and seem compliant, could be hiding the origin of the nuts.

“We don’t know they’re from Texas until we see a license plate or something,” said Dana Chapler. “Then we have to say ‘We can’t buy these.’ They get real offended when they can’t sell them here.”

Even worse, the spread of the weevil could expand through theft, transporting the nuts without any regulation or official record.

Calvani estimated he loses about 2,000 pounds of pecans each year to theft.

Some thieves drive directly into his orchards, lay out blankets and rake nuts onto them.

Others frequent the edges of an orchard, where long branches can cross fence lines.

Calvani said agricultural theft is not only disturbing but a real problem in the industry.

“It’s a different story, different situation every year,” he said. “Normally, I don’t get out of the truck. I don’t want to hear it. I just call the sheriff and let them deal with it.”

But regardless of the quarantine or any effort to curb the weevil’s spread, Calvani said he believes the western part of the state will soon have its own orchard invasion to contend with.

“In the next five years, they’ll see it in the west,” he said of the pecan weevil. “It’s going to get there.”

Adrian Hedden can be reached at 575-628-5516, achedden@currentargus.com or @AdrianHedden on Twitter.

Lisa Dunlap is a senior reporter at the Roswell Daily Record. She can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

Hughes honored for WWII service

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Honor Flight of Southern New Mexico took Lowell Hughes and 29 other veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam to Washington DC to honor them for their service. Hughes shows off the quilt of honor that he was given upon his return. (Curtis Michaels Photo)

Lowell Hughes was enlisted in World War II.

“I was in the Army Combat Engineers,” Hughes said, “the 45th. I was enlisted. I was in the motor pool and I drove everything we had. We had 11 dumptrucks. We had an air compressor truck. We had two Cats, a D8 diesel and a gasoline, and we had the trucks with trailers that they were on. We had trouble finding bivouac areas.

“Our duty was to get the infantry through. We took mines out and made bypasses with bridges, and we did whatever we had to do just to get the infantry through.”

One of the last missions of the war left him with a memory that has haunted him ever since.

“I was at Dachau prison camp,” Hughes said. “It was one of the larger prison camps. Our infantry company saw it first, I got there about a half an hour later. There were about 20 coal cars filled with people who were being brought in to be processed. But they knew that we were close and they left them there to die. That was the first thing I saw. I’ve never forgotten that. I’ve often wondered what would happen if we had lost that war.”

He feels it’s important that future generations appreciate what they’ve got because of that war, and to take care of it.

“I go to Sidney Gutierrez Charter School,” Hughes said. “Leslie Lawner has me tell her seventh graders about the war. My main thing I tell them about is the freedom that they have.”

Hughes and some other war veterans from World War II, Korea and Vietnam were recently honored by Honor Flights of Southern New Mexico.

“I went out of Las Cruces,” he said. “There were 30 veterans altogether, 13 World War II vets, 13 from Korea and four or five from Vietnam. They took us to Washington, D.C. on Southwest Airlines, free of charge. I thought that was nice of them.”

Honor Flights have been celebrating our war veterans for 10 years now.

“This was the 10th trip they’ve made,” he said. “This was the first time they laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I was picked to be one of the people to do that. I thought that was quite an honor.

“They treated us like kings. Every time we turned around they were feeding us something. Every time we’d hit an airport there might be a thousand people waiting for planes and they’d all clap until we went form one end of the airport to the other. Small children would come over to shake our hands and thank us for our service. When I could, I thanked their parents for teaching them about us.”

It was a quick and eventful trip.

“We landed in Baltimore Airport,” Hughes said, “instead of any of the Washington airports. Our bus was given a motorcycle police escort. They said without that escort the 35-mile journey would have taken five hours due to the traffic. The next day, everywhere we went we had the same escort.

We arrived on Thursday and we went to the FDR memorial before nightfall. All the sayings that FDR used to say during his fireside chats were there to read. That was interesting.”

The next day was non-stop.

“Friday morning we got up at six o’clock,” Hughes said, “ate breakfast and took off to the World War II Memorial. We were met there by Congressman Pearce and Senator Udall. Senator Heinrich didn’t meet with us. That left a kind of a bad taste in my mouth. We were there for most of an hour.

“We visited the Korean memorial which is very real, I think. Of all the memorials, whoever did the monuments of those guys did a wonderful job. The Vietnam Memorial, until you’ve seen all those names on that wall you can’t imagine how powerful it really is. People leave things at the bottom of the wall in honor of the fallen. We did all this Friday and came back Saturday. Everything went like clockwork.”

The flight back held some surprises for the veterans.

“When we were probably over Abilene,” Hughes said, “Kathy Olson (Coordinator for Honor Flight of Southern New Mexico) hollered ‘Mail Call,’ and I wondered what that was about. She had contacted some of the family of each veteran and had them write letters to us. I got about two pounds of letters. I got so choked up I couldn’t read anymore.

“When we got to El Paso, Kathy had told us there was going to be a big party. I asked what it was and she said it was a secret. First thing, the band from Fort Bliss was there playing the old songs we all knew in the Army. We went into this room with a big pile of stuff stacked up. I had no idea what it was. Turns out it was quilts that were made by ladies all over the country for us by a group called Quilts of Honor. I looked them up on the computer and found a phone number. I called to thank them.”

The salutes didn’t stop there.

“We got on a bus and headed toward Las Cruces and had an escort by the Freedom Riders. On the road from El Paso to Las Cruces there were at least three different fire trucks by the side of the road saluting us.”

Hughes said he is deeply grateful to Kathy Olson and Honor Flight of Southern New Mexico.

“I’d like to thank the Honor Flight,” he said. “They do a great job. If there are any veterans here who haven’t been on it, I would suggest they go. It’s a great thing and it won’t cost them a dime.”

Honor Flight of Southern New Mexico can be reached by phone at 1-844-697-1590, by email at info@honorflightnm.org and by mail at PO Box 14017, Las Cruces, NM 88013.

Features reporter Curtis M. Michaels can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.

Art education conference ignites ideas and alliance

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Think "ICE" when it comes to art lessons, build Instinct, Confidence and Enthusiasm, celebrity art educator Mark Kistler told teachers at the New Mexico Art Education Conference. Here he looks over the drawings of one of his "students," a teacher attending a Saturday morning workshop. Kistler, who has won an Emmy for an instructional TV series and travels worldwide to teach children at school workshops and at camps, made several presentations during the weekend conference, including a Saturday evening keynote presentation. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

About 30 adults met up early Saturday morning to draw a dinosaur emerging from an egg, a seahorse, a “creative license,” and three-dimensional boxes.

“We feed the artist’s soul and the educator’s mind,” says Jennifer Furman about the 38 presenters at the New Mexico Art Education Association annual conference, held this weekend in Roswell. Furman is president of the association and a visual arts teacher with the Arts Connect program of the Roswell Independent School District. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

And most seemed to be having a great time as they learned from and bantered with celebrity art instructor Mark Kistler.

“Look at your neighbor and say, ‘Nice dinosaur,’ he said. “Nice dinosaur,” said the student-educators. Say ‘nice grass,’ he called out. “Nice grass,” they echoed.

During the past 30 years, Kistler has headed up an Emmy-winning art instruction public TV show, published 15 drawing books for youth and adults, traveled worldwide to teach at schools and camps, and taught youth who have gone on to win Oscars for their work on major animated movies.

He brought his high-octane style of teaching to Roswell this weekend as a headline presenter at the New Mexico Art Education Association annual conference, held at the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art and the Roswell Museum and Art Center. His presentations not only demonstrated how he teaches youth but also gave educators ideas on how to present concepts.

Held for the first time in Roswell, the conference, with a theme this year of “Art of This World: We Are Not Alone,” is designed to provide professional development to art educators and is funded by a grant, membership fees and conference fees.

Thirty-eight presenters were scheduled to hold classes and workshops to about 150 educators from across the state during the three days of the conference that started Friday, said Jennifer Furman, the current president of the association and a visual arts teacher with the Arts Connect program of the Roswell Independent School District.

“It’s a good mix,” said Furman about the types of presentations. “We feed the artist’s soul and the educator’s mind.”

The schedule included a master class with local artist Miranda Howe on silk screening onto clay; workshops on such things as Chinese folk art, puppets, photography, and modular paper structures; astronomy shows at the Robert H. Goddard Planetarium; discussions about best practices in art education at various grade levels; and association meetings.

Furman said that last year, as she worked on the 2016 annual conference, she encouraged the association’s members to consider Roswell for a future event. “I think once they saw the museums, they said, ‘Yeah, we should have it in Roswell.’ ”

Furman said the association hopes that school administrators will recognize the conference as professional development. “Sadly, a lot of teachers are doing this on their own dime because their districts don’t support it (financially).”

An Albuquerque educator expressed her appreciation for the workshops.

“It is my first time at the conference because I’m new to the department,” said Felicia Chavez, an elementary art teacher from Albuquerque. “But I think it is outstanding for the lesson shares, the ideas and the inspiration.”

Elementary teacher Brenda Priddy of Santa Fe agreed that the workshops were providing inspiration and added that they gave teachers an opportunity to collaborate with one another.

“Being an art teacher can be lonely,” said Furman. “You are often alone in your room and sometimes the only art teacher in the building. It helps us to be able to spend time together.”

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

District BLM office seeks four council members

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The U.S. Bureau of Land Management Pecos District, which includes Chaves County, has four openings available on its Resource Advisory Council, the agency announced.

The 10-member council advises the BLM about its decisions regarding 3.5 million acres of public lands within the Pecos District. As advertised in the Federal Register, the BLM will consider nominations until Dec. 1. People who have already submitted nominations do not need to resubmit.

Individuals may nominate themselves or others. Nominees must be residents of New Mexico and will be judged based on their training, education and knowledge of the Pecos District’s geographical area. Nominees also should demonstrate a commitment to consensus building and collaborative decision-making. All nominations must be accompanied by letters of reference from any represented interests or organizations, a completed RAC application and any other information that speaks to the nominee’s qualifications.

On the Pecos District Resource Advisory Council, there are four vacancies, one vacancy with a three-year term in category one, one with a three-year term in category two, and two with three-year terms in category three. The categories represent the following interests:

Category One – Public land ranchers and representatives of organizations associated with energy and mineral development, the timber industry, transportation or rights-of-way, off-highway vehicle use and commercial recreation.

Category Two – Representatives of nationally or regionally recognized environmental organizations, archaeological and historical organizations, dispersed recreation activities and wild horse and burro organizations.

Category Three – Representatives of state, county or local elected office; representatives and employees of a state agency responsible for the management of natural resources; representatives of Native American tribes within or adjacent to the area for which the Resource Advisory Council is organized; representatives and employees of academic institutions who are involved in natural sciences; and the public-at-large.

The application can be downloaded from the BLM website at blm.gov or obtained by contacting Glen Garnand, (575) 627-0209, ggarnand@blm.gov. Completed applications can be emailed to Garnand or mailed to the Bureau of Land Management, Pecos District Office, Attention: RAC Coordinator Glen Garnand, 2909 W. Second St., Roswell, NM 88201.

Week Ahead

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Today

Daylight Saving Time ends.

Tuesday

Roswell City Council Workshop, 5 p.m., Seventh floor conference room, Sunwest Centre Building, 500 N. Main St.

Chaves County Planning and Zoning Commission, 5:30 p.m., Chaves County Administrative Center, #1 St. Mary’s Place

Artesia City Council, 6 p.m., Artesia City Hall, 511 W. Texas Ave.

Wednesday

New Mexico Legislative Capital Outlay Hearing, 9 a.m., Ruidoso Village Hall, 313 Cree Meadows Drive

Thursday

New Mexico Legislative Capital Outlay Hearing, 9 a.m., Chaves County Administrative Center, #1 St. Mary’s Place

DWI Planning Council, 11:30 a.m., Chaves County Sheriff’s Training Room, Chaves County Administrative Center, #1 St. Mary’s Place

Roswell City Council, 6 p.m., Bassett Auditorium, Roswell Museum and Art Center, 100 W. 11th St.

Friday

Veterans Day observed. Many government offices closed.

Magazine ranks the state 22nd for business climate

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A magazine for executive decision-makers has ranked New Mexico in the top half of the nation for its business climate.

New Mexico came in at 22nd in the national business climate and 17th in the executive survey rank, according to Site Selection Magazine’s Top State Business Climate Rankings, Gov. Susana Martinez announced Friday.

A primary component of the ranking is based on a survey of corporate site-selection professionals.

Martinez stated in a press release that business leaders are recognizing state efforts to cut taxes, reduce regulations and increase business incentives.

The state rankings follow a recent U.S. Department of Commerce announcement that New Mexico had the third-fastest growing economy in the nation for the first quarter of 2017.

Major corporations in New Mexico include Facebook, FedEx, Safelite Autoglass, Raytheon, RSI and Keter Plastic. Homegrown New Mexico companies that are growing include Skorpios, Descartes Labs, Risksense and many others.

Artesia wins district volleyball crown

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An Artesia High School player goes for the score against Goddard High School Saturday in Artesia. (Steve Notz Photo)

ARTESIA — ”We didn’t come out at all.”

That’s how Kristi Hager head coach of the Goddard Lady Rockets summed up the play of her team after losing to Artesia in the District 4-5A volleyball tournament Saturday night at the Bulldog Pit.

Artesia (19-2) defeated the Lady Rockets (10-13) 3-1.

Artesia won 25-15, 25-8, 21-25 and 25-19 taking home the championship trophy.

In the opening game, Artesia was able to gain an early lead as the Lady Rockets tried to get within striking distance, the Lady Dogs were able to hold their ground with the visitors.

Game two was close early until Artesia senior Alexa Riggs got hot at the serving line. The Lady Dogs had a 12-3 lead until the Lady Rockets were able to turn Riggs’ final serve into a cold plate.

The momentum went back to Artesia as the Lady Dogs coasted to the victory.

Game three was a different story for the Lady Rockets as they grabbed an early 4-0 lead.

Both teams went back-and-forth, Goddard was able to maintain the lead for the victory.

“(Goddard) finally decided to come out and play set three,” Hager said. “But, it’s little bit too late, you just can’t come out at the end of the match, after you’ve literally just given away two sets.”

The fourth and deciding game was tight early as Artesia and Goddard again went back-and-forth.

Leading 8-6, the Lady Dogs were again able to get hot at the right time scoring a number of points, before the Lady Rockets broke the momentum.

Toward the end of the match, the Lady Rockets tried to get in striking distance, Artesia was able to outmaneuver Goddard.

“I thought we played outstanding, especially in those first two games,” said Artesia head coach Alan Williams.

“That was about as good as I have seen us play,” he added. “I’m proud of the girls there.”

In the third game Williams said, “we kind of let down a little of our momentum (and) played hard in the fourth game. It was tight (and) we did what we needed to do (and maintain) a three to four point lead and then kind of trade points with them.”

Williams said Artesia could be a high seed at the 5A state volleyball tournament next week in Rio Rancho.

“Max Preps has us ranked second right now(in 5A) and I think with our record (and) district championship, I don’t see us going anywhere but second,” he said.

Demons take District 4-3A tourney championship

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The Dexter Lady Demon volleyball team followed up their perfect undefeated run through regular district play with an emphatic: 30-28, 25-19, 25-16 sweep over runner-up Loving inside raucous Lewis Gym to claim the District 4 title. (Jeannie Harris Photo)

DEXTER – The Dexter Lady Demon volleyball team followed up their perfect undefeated run through regular district play with an emphatic 30-28, 25-19, 25-16 sweep over district runner-up Loving inside raucous Lewis Gym to claim the district 4 tourney title. The win gives the 3rd-ranked Demons their second straight tourney championship and their 10th straight victory heading into next week’s state tourney

The Demons used a lot of attacks by the senior duo of Bryana Munoz and Madison Bogle while limiting the Lady Falcons’ big hitters in defeating the visitors for the third time this year.

“I felt like it is always to beat a team three times and Loving is very improved,” stated a happy coach Andy Luikens. “They passed well and so we really had to fight. I thought the girls were really up for the challenge and I thought they did a really good job.”

Game one was very close throughout as both teams were hitting away. The hosts got off to a quick 4-1 lead as Munoz got four kills from the same spot all from spot-on sets from Darcie Regalado. That combo would continue work early in the initial set as the lead would grow to 6-3.

The Demons would maintain the lead at 11-7 following a punch from Bogle, but the Falcons would not go away as the Demon errors would mount as Loving would eventually tie it with a 4-0 run. A big blast from Allyson Madden would stop the run, but both teams would battle on even terms tied at 17-all.

The Demons would start to pull away a little late as a service winner from Marlou Blankvoort would make it 20-18 and, following a Falcon timeout, Munoz would get the clean kill down the middle for a 21-18 advantage.

The Demons would go up 23-20 following yet another Bogle kill and 24-20 following yet another Munoz kill, but Andrica Gomez’ kill would avoid set point and three errors later it was tied at 24-all.

In the ensuing chaos, the Demons would go up 25-24 following a Munoz kill only to see them lose the lead at 27-26. The Demons would get a Bogle kill around the block to avoid the set loss and then break from a 28-all tie to win 30-28 after two final Bogle kills.

Coach Luikens was relieved to get the big set one win. “You don’t want to go down 1-0. It has happened multiple times in district that I feel we almost steal a game that we may have shouldn’t have won. And, if you don’t win that game, momentum changes and things could happen. I really trust in our girls and feel confident in them – in years past I may have been a little more concerned losing game one – but this group I feel really good about that we would be able to bounce back.”

Set two was similar to the initial one as Munoz got three early kills to make it 4-1, but Loving would battle back and take their first lead at 6-5. The Falcons’ hitters started to hit their spots as they used three dinks early in the set to gain a 7-7 tie.

Unfortunately for the Falcons, the tie would be the last for them as the Demons started to set Bogle and it paid off as she got three kills – two down the line and one cross-court to make it 11-8 and give the home team a decided momentum advantage.

Regalado started to direct the offense around to all of her teammates as Munoz, Bogle, and Madden twice would all get kills and then Regalado would score on a dink to make it 15-11. Loving would make one last run as they would get the lead down to 17-16, but that would be it.

Blankvoort would serve three straight that caused Falcon passing errors that would give the Demons a cushy 20-16 edge. Two dinks down the stretch by Munoz and a final hitting error would give the win to Dexter 25-19.

Set three would prove to be the last as the hosts jumped out to a big 7-1 lead and maintain that edge throughout.

The Falcons (15-7 and ranked 6th) would get as close as five at 13-8, but Bogle’s kill would sap any possible momentum from Loving in their attempt to come back. The visitors would cut the lead to four a bit later, but a kill and ace from Munoz stopped that possible run as the Demons would coast to the 25-16 win.

“We really ride them a lot,” said Luikens of the play of Munoz and Bogle. “They’re good. I was pleased with Alyssa Madden as she took a little pressure off of them and she got a couple of good swings in there. But, Bri and Maddie are our go-to’s and they might try to stop one and the other one comes around. I was real proud of both of them.”

The Demons (15-6) now advance to the state tourney on Thursday with pool play slated to begin at 8 am at Cleveland and Rio Rancho High School. Coach Luikens and his squad are looking to make a positive run in Rio Rancho. “They (Texcio) have gotten us twice this year but we have played them tough and we have a few games before that, but, that’s our plan. We plan on playing them in the state title match. There are a quite a few good teams up there that we will have to get through, but they have it in them and we are going to have to play some really good matches.”

Local star starts over

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Donald Truex (ENMU Athletic Communications Photo)

Once an athlete conquers a challenge, there is always another one to obtain. High school graduation gave former Roswell football star Donald Truex his next challenge. Going from playing against high school competition he used to dominate, to having to start over again against men has been rough.

Everything has been an adjustment for the former Coyote. Last year, Truex was starting on the Roswell football team here and helping to lead them to the playoffs. He was so dominating an athlete he made All-State in football and track.

Truex has seen the difference in moving up from high school to the collegiate Division II level of competition.

Truex has found a way to make his presence felt on the football field at Eastern New Mexico University, just not in the way he envisioned, yet. Truex has been redshirted this season, which allows him to practice with the team during the week, but not dress for games. With the pressure off of having to contribute right away, redshirting allows Truex to learn ENMU’s system on the field and get acclimated  to college life in the classroom.

“Truex has done a good job adjusting from high school to college level football, ENMU offensive line coach Andrew McCraw said. “There is always an adjustment period, but he has handled it well.”

On the practice field, he often imitates the opposing team’s offensive lineman. Recruited as a defensive tackle, the Greyhounds moved him to offensive center to take advantage of his strength and quickness off the ball. During his freshman year, Truex has added 10 pounds of muscle to his frame, going from 240 pounds to 250 pounds.

“He has all the physical tools to be successful in our system,” McCraw said. “He has shown flashes of developing into our kind of offensive lineman. He reminds us (ENMU coaches) of our current center Lane Cummings when he was a freshman, we look forward to his continued development as a Greyhound football player.”

The Roswell Daily Record caught up with Truex at the Goddard-Roswell football game Friday.

RDR: What has been the biggest change you have had to make from High School to DII?

DT: The biggest change I have had to make is switching positions from D-line to O-line.

RDR: Do you feel you have to get stronger in the weight room to play?

DT: Yes. The players are bigger and stronger at this level, and I know I have to work hard in the weight room to battle them on the field.

RDR: Has there been an adjustment to college football?

DT: The speed of the game has been a big adjustment.

RDR: What advice would you give to other athletes from this area going to play football in college next year?

DT: You have to love the game and really want to play at the college level. It’s a big-time commitment and if you’re not completely invested in doing it, you won’t be successful at it.

RDR: What have you learned this season?

DT: I’ve learned that you have to be competitive in everything you do. Whether it’s a lifting session, or on the practice field, you have to go out and compete and work hard. Nothing is easy at this level.

RDR: Do you think you can compete on this level?

DT: Yes. I think I have the tools to play. It’s just getting in the playbook making sure I know all the plays, so I can get on the field.

RDR: Do you feel like the competition in high school prepared you for college football?

DT: Yes, and no. I played against some good teams and good players. At this level, every team is good and everyone on the team was their best player on their high school team.

RDR: What advice did your high school coach (Jeff Lynn) give you about college football?

DT: Work hard, don’t quit, and have fun. Not everyone gets this chance, and I should make the most of this opportunity.

RDR: What is your major? And what do you want to do for a career?

DT: I am undecided on a major. I really enjoy football, and I think I would like to coach in the future.

ENMU football is ranked No. 21 in the nation and have an 8-1 record, they host fourth-ranked Midwestern State University at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Nancy Viola Burnes-Hardcastle

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Nancy left this world for her eternal home on Sunday, October 29, 2017 at the age of 63. She was born on August 21, 1954 in Roswell, New Mexico to Lester and Opal Burnes. Both of her parents have preceded her in death.
Nancy was a unique blend of endurance, tenacity, and charisma. During her working years she found her place at Glovers Packing Plant in Roswell and also at IBP in Amarillo, Texas. Nancy had a spirit of compassion which paired with a heart to serve those who needed assistance. She spent time as a private duty sitter for the elderly by taking seniors to doctor appointments and learned the trade of transcriptionist while working for St. Mary’s and La Casa. The strength of her body may have waivered but her mind and will never did. She lived and loved life to the fullest and even when medical problems attempted to slow her pace she endured.
She had a heart of gold and an iron tenacity that came naturally. She would help anybody even if it meant taking them into her home. When others were written off as hopeless Nancy stepped up to help and the good that might be hidden beneath a person’s broken veneer was always crystal clear to her. She fostered a place of ease and calm in the torrential storm of life and her generosity has left behind many changed lives for those she encountered during their darkest hour.
Nancy embodied a warm and inviting charisma that attracted the attention of Ray Hardcastle. The two were married on May 05, 1989 and remained together until his passing.  Looking back on her life Nancy has experienced many things and visited many places but those moments are fleeting and fade through the passage of time. Her legacy is deeper and enduring. Her legacy is the joys of family and friends, the love and sorrow shared through them, and the compassion and concern she gave. As her family grows and branches the self-sacrifice she made will be seen in their character and the unconditional love and patience she planted into each one. The traits of her endurance, tenacity and charisma will be evident in the generations to come.
Nancy is survived by her son Jackie Ray Hardcastle and Marie; children Merry Alvarez, Raynell Smith-Ward, Mary Stuart, Kitty Smith; brother Leo Burnes and Kathy; sisters Helen Barton and Elveita Buckner and husband Leon; sister-in-law Mary Herrington and husband George; grandchildren Erin Hardcastle, Pablin Jimenez, Cassandra, Richard, Adryana, Christian, Cameron, Courtney, Cody, CJ, Donna, Billy, Ashley, Amanda, Trampus, Becky, Tahnee and Charlene; numerous great grandchildren, nieces and nephews; her Jenkins family who she loved dearly and anyone who may have accidentally been left out it was unintentional.
Preceding her in death were her parents; husband Ray Hardcastle; brother Monroe Burnes; daughter Lori and special friend Dennis Jenkins who was her fiancé.
Graveside will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, November 11, 2017 at Tinnie Cemetery. Per Nancy’s request she will be cremated.

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