Tonight marks the quarterfinal round of the 8-Man football playoffs and the Gateway Christian Warriors(5-3) head to Mountainair(7-1).
The Warriors are the no. 7 seed in the tournament and last week they shutout Albuquerque Menaul 50-0 in Roswell.
The Mustangs are the no. 2 seed and had last week off.
Mountainair’s lone loss this year was on Oct. 6 as the defending 8-Man state champions Melrose bucked the Mustangs 56-6.
The Mustangs and Warriors have had some common opponents this year. Mountainair played Gateway’s district foes Tatum, Cloudcroft and Mescalero Apache during the non-district portion of their schedule.
The Mustangs swept the opposition, while the Warriors went 2-1 defeating Mescalero Apache and Cloudcroft. Gateway lost to Tatum 33-19 on Oct. 13.
The winner of that game will play either Mesilla Valley Christian or Logan next week in the semi’s.
The SonBlazers are the no. 3 seed and compete in Gateway’s district, while Logan is the no. 11 seed. They upset the no. 6 seed Foothill last week 40-38. The game is set to start at 1 p.m. Saturday in Las Cruces.
The other side of the bracket has no. 1 Melrose hosting Cloudcroft tonight at 7 p.m. The Bears are the no. 8 team in the playoffs and last week they edged another district foe of Gateway’s, Carrizozo 38-36.
Tatum, another district opponent of Gateway, takes on Dora/Elida tonight at 7 p.m. The Coyotes are the no. 5 team in the playoffs and Dora/Elida is the no. 4 seed.
Tatum was off last week and Dora/Elida took care of Pinehill 64-0.
Texico at Dexter
“I was surprised we made the playoffs at a ten seed.”
Those are the words of Texico head football coach Patrick Crowley as the Wolverines(2-8) take on Dexter(5-5) in the opening round of the 3A state football playoffs tonight at 7 p.m. in Dexter.
“We’re ecstatic,” said Dexter’s Kevin Graham. “These kids have played hard all year.”
The Demons are the no. 7 seed and the winner plays no. 2 Capitan next week.
“Our season has been one of attrition,” Crowley said. “Injuries have played a bigger role than we anticipated.”
The Demons ended the regular season last week with a 48-22 loss to Capitan and the Wolverines season ended with a win over Tucumcari.
The two teams squared off earlier in the season in Texico and the Demons shutout the Wolverines 26-0.
“They’re scrappy as heck,” Graham said.
Graham is expecting a different game tonight.
“(In the playoffs) you win or you go home,” he said. “We gotta clean some stuff up.”
Crowley has nothing but respect for the Demons.
“The scouting report on Dexter is coach Graham has them playing some good football right now,” he said.
Crowley added he has been at Texico for four years, “anytime we have played Dexter it seems you can count on a good game (and) a clean hard hitting contest where anyone can win.”
In other 3A opening round games, Newcomb who is the no. 9 seed travels to no. 8 Zuni tonight. The winner will face the top team in Eunice next week.
Cuba, the no. 12 seed heads to Raton Saturday afternoon. The Tigers are the no. 5 seed and the winner faces no. 4 Estancia next week.
Tonight, Tularosa, the no. 6 seed entertains no. 11 Tucumcari. The winner faces no. 3 Santa Rosa next week.
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Assistant DA calls judge’s ruling ‘a sad situation’
Charges against a Roswell man previously accused of homicide by a vehicle in 2015 have been dropped per a Chaves County judge’s order in late-October.
On June 28, 2017, a criminal complaint filed against 68-year-old Orlando Padilla alleged that he caused a five-vehicle crash that occurred on May 18, 2015, in downtown Roswell, which led to the death of 77-year-old Zora Lykins.
“The case is pretty clear about what happened and what we alleged with the driver,” explained assistant district attorney Michael Thomas, who prosecuted the case. “The first vehicle was going towards a red light, a light that was changing from green to red.
“They didn’t look like they were slowing down, and then they slowed down to stop for the light. The vehicle behind them didn’t slow down and ran into them. The lady who was injured wasn’t wearing her seatbelt, and was thrown forward in the vehicle and suffered serious injuries. I mean, I believe she broke her neck, and she was never able to recover after going to the hospital.”
Roswell Police officer Benjamin Lankasky later received consent from Padilla at a hospital to receive a blood sample.
Months later, authorities received blood results from Padilla, confirming that he had Ambien, a sleep aid, within his bloodstream at the time of the crash.
Thomas said the sleep aid in Padilla’s blood was at “therapeutic levels.”
“Which is at the level that, if you took at it the way the doctor prescribed you to take it, he had an amount in his body (where) the Ambien (was) doing what it’s supposed to,” Thomas said.
Thomas added that Rong-Jen Hawang, Ph.D., explained the Ambien found in Padilla’s blood to the court, along with how sleep aids affect people.
After the charges were filed against Padilla on June 28, an investigating RPD officer attempted to make contact with him the same day. While the officer was initially unsuccessful, they were able to make contact with his adult son, who was informed of the warrant and asked to tell his father to turn himself in.
Padilla turned himself in to authorities five days later, where he was booked into the Chaves County Detention Center and released on a $5,000 bond.
While district Judge James M. Hudson signed off on the criminal complaint to issue the arrest warrant and the charges, the case was assigned to Judge E. J. Fouratt in magistrate court.
Padilla was charged with a homicide by vehicle DWI charge, a third-degree felony, and a second offense of driving while under the influence of drugs, a misdemeanor.
While the complaint states sufficient probable cause exists against Padilla, Fouratt determined otherwise.
Assistant DA Thomas said after the judge heard all of the evidence against Padilla, Fouratt disagreed with the finding of probable cause.
“We were kind of set back by the judge’s finding, but — and I know he’s not going to comment either,” Thomas said. “The judge doesn’t really announce the reasons for his findings — he just tells us what his finding is.”
On Oct. 24, a preliminary hearing was held for Padilla, which included more evidence against Padilla than what was mentioned within his criminal complaint.
“The complaint really just outlines the basic charges and allegations,” Thomas said. “But the state has to present all of its evidence — enough to show probable cause at the preliminary hearing.”
Following the hearing, Chaves County Magistrate Judge E. J. Fouratt discharged Padilla of the homicide by vehicle count.
In addition, the DWI count was dismissed.
“It was pointed out by the defense attorney that it was beyond the statute of limitations for the misdemeanor to be charged,” Thomas explained. “They have two years they have to be charged within — and this case happened a little over two years ago.”
Thomas said in this case, there’s nothing more the DA’s office can do.
“We can only charge again if we had new evidence, but to my knowledge, there’s nothing out there that we could learn or get that would allow us to refile the charges,” Thomas said. “We don’t get to take another crack at it.”
Thomas said Tim Lykins was the main family member of Zora Lykins he had been working with.
Thomas said he knew Tim was disappointed with the conclusion the court had reached.
In a letter to the editor, the Lykins family said “someone dropped the ball.”
“The Lykins family would like to voice their discontentment in the lack of abilities of the privileged parties that were responsible in safeguarding the evidence,” the family said. “As for the defendant whom was set free, we can only pray that he takes advantage of the ‘lottery ticket’ he has been awarded in hopes he does not take for granted the time that has been restored to him and his family.”
Multimedia-Crime reporter Trevier Gonzalez can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The city wants to take a different tack on the question of how to help the homeless in Roswell, just a few days before those living near the Berrendo River must move or face eviction.
Previously, the city suggested possible locations for a homeless site, but at a public meeting Monday before city elected officials the focus will be a presentation by the Roswell Homeless Coalition on how it would operate and support a homeless camp or facility.
“People are asking, how would a facility be run, what would it look like, how would it operate,” said City Engineer and Planning Director Louis Najar. “They are saying, we know we need to do something, but let’s get down to the nuts-and-bolts of what this would be.”
Homeless Coalition President Joel Wood, pastor of Waymaker Church, said the nonprofit group will give an overview of how the coalition might run a facility and provide information about what options are under consideration.
The coalition consists of 10 members of a board of directors and about 30 to 40 affiliated groups and individuals who have indicated their willingness to help, Wood said.
“If people are looking for a first-person perspective from us, to learn about our mission and to see what it is we are trying to accomplish, they definitely should come,” said Wood.
He said he knows that the city is expecting information about operating budgets and financial resources. But, prior to a site being identified, he said, a great deal of specifics might not be available.
Najar said that city Planning Manager Bill Morris also plans to introduce a draft of an ordinance that would govern a homeless site specifically.
Wood said he welcomed that development, saying it would help guard against what has occurred previously with sites rejected by a city commission.
In September, the Roswell City Council approved two possible city-owned sites to be used by the Homeless Coalition. But, when two of those sites were taken before the city Planning and Zoning Commission, some citizens and nearby property owners voiced opposition, and commission members rejected granting the variances to allow homeless sites. One of the commissioners said that the variances being sought were not intended to be used for that purpose. Then the City Council voted to table discussions about a third possible site.
“This way, we won’t have to go before the Planning and Zoning Commission and keep getting voted down,” Wood said. “Then we can know from the start what an appropriate site would be.”
A point-in-time survey that the Homeless Coalition conducted in early 2017 found that there were 182 people in Roswell who defined themselves as homeless, with about 70 of those saying they were without any shelter. Fifty-nine described themselves as chronically homeless.
A sizable group live in what is called “The Wash” in the riverbed of the Berrendo River behind the Roswell Mall and other retail stores in the north part of the city. The city officially notified people staying there about 30 days ago that they had to move by Nov. 17 or else they would be forcibly removed from the area.
Wood said that part of the upcoming meeting will include information that the coalition has gathered from interviews with the homeless about their willingness to live at a homeless site if one is provided.
The city also has indicated in its meeting notice that it would welcome hearing from property owners who might be willing to donate land or facilities.
The meeting of the Roswell City Council Infrastructure Committee will occur at 3 p.m. Monday at the Roswell Convention and Civic Center, 912 N. Main St.
Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7110, ext. 310.
ARTESIA — It appears the City of Artesia is getting close to solving problems that have been plaguing its water system for the past few months.
Earlier this year, residents were under two boil water advisories after E. coli was found in the city’s water system. Water tests have been sent out to various labs in the state as samples are tested on a regular basis.
Tuesday night the Artesia City Council was updated on the water situation.
Raul Rodriguez, who represents District 1, said the council has approved a budget adjustment of $72,000 to purchase some emergency equipment.
“We’re going to have to buy the equipment that we’re going to have to station at three wells, these are portable stations that we will be able to put (chlorine) tablets in there to put a small dose of chlorination to disinfect municipal water,” he said.
A city council committee has been meeting for the past few months on what would be the best way to treat the system without having to repeat the boil water alerts.
Rodriguez and other councilors have been hearing from residents who don’t want the water treated with chlorine on a permanent basis.
“We’re trying to be proactive,” he said. “We’re trying to be in a position where we’re not reacting to an emergency situation and the boil alerts and people are up in arms about it.”
Rodriguez added, “we would hope that we could have some support from the community, this was a hard decision, it was not an easy decision by no means. But we do need to be proactive in the situation to try and prepare our citizens.”
Rodriguez said the last thing he wants is another E. coli positive test during the holidays, “and city employees are out there working overtime and trying to get the situation handled and putting businesses at risk by not being open during the holidays. It’s not going to be easy, but I think during the past two incidents we have learned to cooperate with the situation itself.”
Rodriguez said Artesia residents will be able to attend a town hall meeting in January that will address the situation.
“We want to invite everyone to be in attendance,” he said. “That decision will determine the permanent decision that we will need to make for our city, understand disinfection is just a temporary fix.”
He said a permanent solution is expected to cost the city more than the $72,000 budget adjustment approved by the council.
Rodriguez added if Artesia residents have any further questions about the water situation they may contact their respective councilor.
General assignment reporter Mike Smith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 307, or at email@example.com.
A woman was charged with abuse of a child after allegedly getting into a physical altercation with her 16-year-old daughter shortly after drinking and taking shots together.
On Monday, at about 9:07 p.m., the Roswell Police Department was dispatched to the 2100 block of Prairie Avenue in reference to a domestic disturbance.
According to a criminal complaint, after consuming alcohol with her daughter, 34-year-old Janet Brown, of Roswell, grabbed her daughter by the hair, initiating a fight.
According to Brown, a physical argument broke out as a result of rude remarks on the 16-year-old’s behalf.
Brown also said that her daughter struck her first — that’s why she grabbed her hair.
After the 16-year-old attempted to leave, Brown became upset, and allegedly began to choke her daughter and throw her to the ground.
According to the victim, Brown had bitten her multiple times throughout the fight.
The alleged fight then moved outside. Police said the daughter was able to get away from Brown and later contact her grandmother.
Police contacted Brown again, asking her about what had happened in the front yard.
“Ms. Brown stated that there had not been a fight in the yard, even though there was grass in her hair,” the complaint read. “When asked about the choking, Ms. Brown stated that she never attempted to choke her daughter.”
Photographs were taken of both mother and daughter.
Brown was later placed under arrest and transported to Eastern New Mexico Medical Center for a medical clearance.
On Christmas Eve, 2015, a criminal complaint was filed against Brown in Chaves County District Court, charging her with one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, which was later dismissed in September 2017 by Judge Freddie J. Romero.
In reference to the child abuse charge, the conditions of release for Brown were set by Magistrate Judge K.C. Rogers on Tuesday.
Multimedia-Crime reporter Trevier Gonzalez can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell is performing well during difficult times in higher education, information from a state report indicates.
“We absolutely love it when third parties evaluate us,” said Dr. John Madden, president of ENMU-R, which is part of the Eastern New Mexico University system. “We are doing a great job, and it shows.”
At a time when many universities in New Mexico have increased spending but are struggling with student outcomes, ENMU-R has cut overall spending by 16 percent from fiscal year 2007 to fiscal year 2016. Meanwhile, it ranks in the 80 percentile among peer institutions nationwide for its graduation rates, according to the “Higher Education Cost Drivers and Cost Savings” report of the Legislative Finance Council.
The New Mexico Military Institute was not included in the LFC program evaluation report released Oct. 24, which analyzed information from 24 publicly funded universities and colleges. NMMI is considered one of seven public specialty higher education institutions in the state. Those institutions receive their state funding using different formulas.
ENMU-R had an overall graduation rate of 32 percent for full-time students enrolling in 2013 who completed degrees and certificates within 150 percent of the time expected, according to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. That places ENMU-R high among its peer institutions.
“We are in the 80 percentile,” Madden said. “For lack of a better term, give us a ‘B’ on that one.”
Compared to the other universities and colleges, ENMU-R is also doing well financially, with plenty of reserves and a strong composite financial index of 6.1.
“It would matter to students that we are one of the most fiscally stable institutions in the state,” said Madden. “So when there is all this talking going on about closing and mergers and consolidations, we should not be involved in those discussions. We are one of the most solid institutions of higher education in the state.”
The Legislative Finance Commission report did indicate some weaker points.
The report showed that overall enrollment at the university decreased by 26 percent from fall 2006 to fall 2016. But Madden said that 2006 enrollment was an anomaly due to a specialty program offered for a third party.
“There is a little bit of a sting there, but there is a reason for that. In 2006, we had a large third-party contract (with a U.S. military branch), and there were a lot of people in that. There were over a thousand people in that program, but it ended,” he said. “That (trend line) will change not next year, but in two years, when that year washes out of the system.”
The school also ranked high — at 61 percent — among peer institutions nationally for instructional support expenditures, but Madden said that is because of the numbers of grants received. The expenditures include money spent on grant program directors, even if the funds paying for directors come from federal sources.
The university also is shown as having increased facility space quite a bit. The square footage of facilities compared to full-time equivalent enrollment grew 56 percent over six years, from 220 in 2009 to 341 in 2015.
“We have programs that require a lot of square footage, such as aviation, which has its own building,” Madden said. “We are not asking taxpayers to add any square footage to our campus. We are simply in the process of repurposing what we already have.”
Madden said he intends to share the report at upcoming meetings with faculty and staff to tell them they are doing a good job, but he added, “I remind people what the ‘F’ (in Legislative Finance Committee) stands for. This is about money.”
The report also notes that the main campus at ENMU has increased the amount of money it charges the Roswell campus for various administrative services by 35 percent during the past 10 years, without the local campus having in place financial agreements or memoranda of understanding to account for the increases.
The report recommends several steps to control the costs of all branch universities in the state, including establishing firm financial agreements with the parent universities.
The report was issued to examine costs and some student outcomes at public higher education institutions and to recommend ways for New Mexico universities to address two major concerns.
One concern is that the two primary sources of income for institutions, state funds and tuition and fees, likely will show little growth or will decrease in coming years. The other is that student outcomes, for some schools, are poor. As a result, New Mexico has the nation’s highest rate of college loan defaults. All but one university, New Mexico Tech, had default rates higher than the national average of 11.3 percent, and five institutions had default rates higher than their graduation rates. ENMU was not among those five.
The report lists many possible changes to increase efficiencies and outcomes at public universities and colleges. Recommendations included possible consolidation of governing boards for better oversight of operations; sharing of facilities, services and programs among universities as well as outside groups; and funding schools based on different measures of performance.
Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at email@example.com.
This season wasn’t supposed to be as hard as it was.
Dexter volleyball fans figured they’d be right back in the state title game against say, a Texico that appears to have their number. Texico defeated them for the state championship last year: 25-23, 19-25, 25-19, 25-19. This season, Dexter has lost to the Wolverines twice. For the Lady Demons to face off against Texico again this season, both teams will have to meet in the championship game.
“I don’t think they (Texico) have our number,” said Dexter coach Andy Luikens. “They have had it. No. I think we have as good of a chance against them as we ever had against them.”
Dexter lost just one player off their team last season, and what a player she was. Yanelly Ronquillo was the captain of the team last year. They missed her leadership, and the intangibles that hold a team together. Ronquillo exhibited consistent play.
“We only lost one girl from our team last year,” Luikens said. “We not only needed to replace her, but we replaced her with two girls who weren’t playing with us last year. We tried a bunch of different lineups. At one point, we were 6-6 starting district play.”
The Lady Demons (15-5, 9-0 in District 4-3A) righted the ship just at the right time. They caught fire at the beginning of district play, only dropping one set all season long and that was to Loving.
Dexter will go to the tournament as the No. 3 seed, with Texico the No.1 seed, and Santa Rosa as the No. 2 seed. The tournament begins today when Dexter plays at Cleveland High School against Rehoboth at 1 p.m., and they will face Desert Academy immediately after that to determine the reseeding for the night tournament.
The Lady Demons has played both Texico and Santa Rosa this season, losing to them both. Coach Luikens thinks that if they face off this time, they will see an improved team from earlier in the year. Desert Academy was an opponent Dexter played last year, defeating them in the semifinals, 3-1.
“We’re just trying to take it one step at a time,” Luikens said, “and win our pool. We’d like to win our pool so that we get a bye and don’t have to play Thursday night.”
Dexter starts five seniors with the last senior being a serving specialist. This team won’t be afraid of the bright lights. Nearly everyone has played for the volleyball championship last season. Dexter boasts three athletes who have won state championships in softball this past spring: Bryana Munoz, Marlou Blankvoort and Darcie Regalado, with Aryana Munoz and Danique Blankvoort coming up as eighth-graders.
“I would say this is as good of a shot to win state as any we have had,” Luikens said.
The reason the Lady Demons have been successful is they practice passing the ball. By practicing passing, Luikens believes that if they can control the ball, they can eventually catch teams off guard.
“You can practice hitting all you want,” Luikens said. “If you can’t get the ball to the setter, all your practicing hitting isn’t going to help you at all. We really stress ball control, passing, digging and aggressive serving.”
Luikens and his coaching staff have talked to his team about being diligent with their time, effort and their attitude toward all things, in volleyball, school and with their family.
“Our seniors are a great group of girls,” Luikens said. “I taught them as elementary physical education kids, so I knew they would be special. As eighth-graders, they were undefeated until their very last game, losing to Artesia’s freshman team.”
One of the reasons for the slow start this season is that Luikens overlooked some things, and assumed they would be just as good as they were last year. He just thought the girls would pick back up from where they left off last year, forgetting that some of the girls hadn’t picked up a volleyball in eight months. Luikens went back to the basics and adjusted his practices.
“What I love about these kids,” Luikens said, “they’re just gamers. You can tell they just want to be out there. They are that way in every sport they play.”
In regards to the five-vehicle accident that occurred in May 18, 2015 on Fifth and Main streets at 9 a.m. in front of the Roswell courthouse building that resulted in the death of Zora Lykins, as well as three other Roswell residents that were victims of a driver whom was traveling at an excessive rate of speed, rear-ending Zora Lykins, causing her vehicle to be propelled forward 176 feet, sideswiping two vehicles before coming to a stop by a third vehicle that was struck head on, on July 17, the man responsible for this accident was finally charged with DWI and vehicular homicide.
On Oct. 24, a preliminary hearing was held where evidence would have been presented in order to proceed showing whether or not the defendant had committed the crime for which he had been charged.
Sadly, the Lykins family was informed by assistant district attorney Michael Thomas that the ruling of the case had been discharged and that the conception of justices to be served and the means to carry it out had gone awry, the evidence had been routinely destroyed.
The Lykins family would like to voice their discontentment in the lack of abilities of the privileged parties that were responsible in safeguarding the evidence. We can only say, “Someone dropped the ball.”
As for the defendant who was set free, we can only pray that he takes advantage of the lottery ticket he has been awarded in hopes he does not take for granted the time that has been restored to him and his family.
The Lykins family would like to thank the community of Roswell for their support, the first responders that assisted in caring for our mother, Zora Lykins, as well as the Roswell Daily Record.
ARTESIA — An Artesia resident has announced his candidacy for state office.
Jason Hessler is running for New Mexico State Treasurer on the GOP side. He has 19 years of experience in the financial services industry and is also an attorney and veteran.
In a press statement, Hessler said he has the knowledge, experience and discipline to manage the state’s finances.
“Our state treasurer needs to be a responsible steward of the state’s funds. There are many common-sense reforms that can move our state forward and will set us on a path toward fiscal prosperity,” said Hessler. “New Mexico needs a savvy fiduciary on its side. As state treasurer, I will protect and grow our assets to ensure the future of education and critical projects for our state.”
Hessler served in the Indiana Air National Guard and received the Indiana Commendation Medal.
Hessler is also active in the Artesia community. Her served as chairman of the governing board of Artesia General Hospital. He’s also coached his son’s baseball team and is a member of the American Legion.
Hessler graduated from Purdue University before attending Indiana University School of Law where he received a Juris Doctor degree.
He lives in Artesia with his wife and three sons and is currently the senior vice president and trust division manager with an Artesia bank.
Veterans Day events on Saturday will require the closure of Main Street for much of the morning.
MainStreet Roswell’s Veterans Parade will begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. The Brave 5K run/walk, hosted by the Military Science Department of New Mexico Military Institute, will have its start at 7:30 a.m. that same day.
The parade will begin at Main and Fourth streets and head north to finish at the Wool Bowl on Grand Avenue after turning east off of Main Street at College Boulevard. The race/walk is scheduled to start and finish at Main and Fourth streets before the parade gets rolling.
Main Street will be closed between Third Street and College Boulevard from 6 a.m. to about 11 a.m. Saturday. As the run/walk, and later the parade, makes its way onto College Boulevard, traffic closures will also occur at the intersections of College Boulevard/Virginia Avenue and College Boulevard/Grand Avenue.
During the Saturday morning events on Main Street, Pecos Trails Transit southbound buses will detour to the west onto Pennsylvania Avenue between College Boulevard and Second Street. There is one established bus stop in front of Pioneer Bank at Fourth Street and Pennsylvania.
Northbound buses will be able to continue routes (with a detour onto Virginia Avenue between Second and Fifth streets) until the parade begins.
Bus drivers will attempt to stay on schedule, but could be slightly behind because of added traffic and detours related to the parade.