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Artesia police to focus on DWIs this month

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The Artesia Police Department is asking citizens to be aware of impaired driving issues. During the month of November, the APD will be focusing on crimes such as DWI, open container, seatbelt and child restraint use and texting while driving.

“They will do this by using sobriety checkpoints, directed enforcement efforts and other special operations,” said APD commander, Lindell Smith. “Please remember if you drink, do not drive.”

In addition, the department requests that if a citizen sees any DWI-related types of crimes occurring, or has reason to believe they are occurring, to notify authorities.

“Please keep yourselves and other people safe by making good choices,” Smith said. “And (by) reporting possible drunk drivers.”

Person on the street: How do you feel about the expansion being added onto the Civic Center at 912 N. Main St.?

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Emmanuel Arias: “It would benefit everybody in town, the added room will be good. It might take a little bit, but it’s the end product that matters.”

Red Ribbon Week teaches kids character

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(Submitted Photo)

Nancy Lopez Elementary School held its Red Ribbon/Character Counts kickoff celebration on Oct. 23. The Roswell Chamber of Commerce Red Coats met our elementary students at the door as they arrived at school to celebrate the week ahead.

(Submitted Photo)

RPD Commander Gonzales and RPD Officer Romero challenged the students and teachers to join in and take the drug-free pledge for a brighter future. Diane Taylor with the DWI committee came to speak to our students about the history of Red Ribbon Week and the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

The week was filled with lots of learning and exciting events. Monday, a food drive was held to collect food for the battered women’s shelter. Tuesday the theme was, “My Future is bright, I will be drug free.” The students had the opportunity to come to school “dressed for success — ”They were also involved in a writing contest, focused around the pillar of character, respect.

Wednesday the theme was “Future is key to be drug free.” Be responsible and stay drug free. The students created a mural out of their keys and pledged to stay drug free.

Thursday the pillar was caring and the theme was “Crazy Socks Day. Drug free, we make footsteps worth following.”

On Friday, the pillar for citizenship was modeled by hosting a breakfast with community helpers and students collected and delivered over 400 cans of food.

Character Counts! visits the zoo

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Pioneer Bank team member Melinda Shaffer signs off on Character Counts! In Chaves County zoo tour participant worksheet. This event was held in October at the Spring River Park and Zoo in Roswell. Team Pioneer helped by manning the Character Counts! stations as well as cooking and serving lunch. “At Pioneer Bank, we are as passionate about our community as we are about our customers,” stated Juliana Halvorson, vice president of marketing. “The sense of purpose our employees experience as they invest and take ownership of the projects they complete is incredible.” (Submitted Photo)

Thanks to all for Reformation event

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Sunday, Oct. 29, was a big day for Christians throughout the world as we commemorated 500 years since Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. St. Mark’s Lutheran Church spent the entire day in celebration and remembrance, and were helped by many gifted people.

I would like to thank everyone who attended the day’s events, and especially thank those who shared their gifts.

Rev. Larry Sydow did so many things: reading the Epistle lesson in German, portraying Martin Luther in two skits he had written, playing organ in the concert, being a great resource for planning the day.

A number of local theologians and pastors joined us for a panel discussion on the Reformation in various traditions: Rev. John Guthrie, First Presbyterian Church, Rev. Fr. Dale Plummer, St. Andrews Episcopal Church, Mr. John Umberger DCA, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church, Rev. Robert Williams, Presbyterian pastor, retired, Rev. Tina Cross, First United Methodist Church, and Rev. Dr. Larry Lacher, First Nazarene Church.

Thanks also to the guest musicians who made the concert memorable: John Fuss directed both the Kabel Bell Choir from First UMC and the combined vocal choir from First and Trinity UMC churches, organ soloists Tim Howsare and Larry Sydow, organ and piano duets by Coleta Tipps and Larry Sydow. It was such a joy to hear music from Luther’s day to our own!

Coleta Tipps, St. Mark’s organist, deserves special mention for all her efforts and talents in helping plan the day and executing it brilliantly. We at St. Mark’s are blessed by her!

The congregation and guests were privileged by sharing in the gifts of all those listed, and all the others who worked behind the scenes to make the long day a time of worship and joy. Thank you to all who participated, and all who attended! Blessings.

Rev. LaVonne Johnson-Holt
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church

City leader suggests NM animals for zoo

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I would like to propose consideration of a zoo that exhibits animals native to New Mexico. This would be comprehensive collection that provides a resource of animals including rodents, and small aquariums of the type of fish in New Mexico waters with information on the nature of these animals and where they can be found.

A collection of animals only indigenous to New Mexico should be relatively cheap. New Mexico Game and Fish would likely be a resource, as well as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, for help to acquire wildlife and provide details.

A New Mexico collection like this would eliminate exotic African and foreign animals that require expensive habitats. New Mexico wildlife would be cheaper and easier to provide a natural environment.

If fully developed, the zoo would be a resource for students studying wildlife management and a resource for anyone wanting information about wildlife in their neighborhood or around the state. And wildlife education for students.

Once developed, this could provide an attraction for visitors to our state. A closer relationship with the BItter Lake National Wildlife Refuge would provide further resources and may complete a comprehensive exhibit of wildlife of New Mexico.

Ralph Fresquez
Roswell

 

Have a healthy attitude on money

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There are people today who wish to push this country toward socialism and even communism.

Why do people line up at U.S. embassies rather than Cuban embassies? Why do we read of people making risky journeys to escape countries like the former Soviet Bloc and Vietnam? Why weren’t people risking their lives to go from West Germany to East Germany? Do people risk their lives to go from Taiwan to mainland China?

The book “Mig Pilot” by John Baron (Avon Books 1980) tells of a Soviet pilot who flew his jet fighter from Siberia to Japan and asked for asylum in the U.S.A. He told about having worked in a tank factory. In pages 54-55, he tells how workers would do the bare minimum, never exceeding their quota. Exceeding their quota would only get them a bigger quota. This is what happens when productivity is not rewarded.

Another book, “Fulcrum” by Alexander Zuyev (Warner Books, 1992) tells of corruption and a thriving black market in the former Soviet Union with government officials at all levels being involved. During the 1988 earthquake in Armenia (then part of the USSR), aid from around the world was diverted to the black market while Armenians died (pp 243-245).

These are problems we have when normal ambition has no legal outlet. Look at what happened to the Chinese economy when their government started allowing private enterprise.

I saw socialism at work in Jamaica when I was there 1977-79. The country was going in a direction that many feared would make them another Cuba. People of means were leaving the island. We had a thriving black market for American dollars. Today, with that experiment in socialism over, the black market has disappeared.

Rather than cursing Bill Gates and other billionaires, we should be thankful for skilled entrepreneurs who can generate jobs.

A common attitude is that people can become rich only by taking from others. In fact, a businessman cannot make profits unless money turns over. He must produce a product people need. He must hire people to manufacture the item. He and his employees buy other people’s goods and services with the profits.

If you want to be rich, save your money and invest wisely. Learn the skills of running a business. Remember: Investment is always a risk. That is a much healthier attitude than envying and being discontented with what you have.

Russell A. Scott
Roswell

Spielberg offered to aid in UN UFO effort

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Steven Spielberg is really into UFOs. This is not too hard to imagine given movies like “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “ET: The Extraterrestrial” and his mini-series “Taken,” among others. In a recent interview with journalist Lee Speigel, I discovered that he also lent a helping hand in a 1970s effort to get the United Nations to investigate UFOs.

I am currently in Hulett, Wyoming, where I can see Devils Tower National Monument, which was popularized by the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” Tomorrow, I will be doing a talk about Spielberg and his history of interest in the UFO phenomena at the Devils Tower UFO Rendezvous, which commemorates the 40th anniversary of the movie.

In my talk, I will be playing a clip of Speigel describing a meeting with Spielberg who was interested in his effort to display the best UFO evidence at a general session of the United Nations.

Speigel was a young New Yorker at the time who had just put together a record album documentary on UFOs. He realized there were a lot of credible people talking about UFOs and pitched the project to CBS Inc., who liked the idea and sent him around the country to interview these people. Among those he interviewed were scientists, politicians, law enforcement and an astronaut, Gordon Cooper, who relayed his personal UFO experience.

A couple years after producing his record, Speigel heard about an effort to get the United Nations to officially look into the UFO issue. The effort was initiated by Grenada’s prime minister, Sir Eric Gairy. He decided that what the effort needed was a presentation with the likes of the credible people he had in his record. So, with the confidence of a young New Yorker, he contacted the ambassadors to Granada and offered his services. The government of Granada liked his idea and the event planning began.

Two of the people Speigel enlisted for his presentation were Dr. J.Allen Hynek and Dr. Jacques Vallee. Hynek was a well-known astronomer who acted as a consultant to the U.S. Air Force’s official public UFO investigations from their inception in 1947 to their end in 1969. He then went on to form his own civilian UFO investigation organization, and is arguably the father of modern civilian UFO research. Then later, Vallee was a student of his at Northwestern University, and went on to become an author and UFO researcher as well.

Hyenk and Vallee also played important roles in the conception of the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” Hynek actually developed the Close Encounters UFO sighting categorization system, and was a consultant for Spielberg on the movie. Vallee, being French, was the inspiration for one of the lead characters in the movie, Claude Lacombe, played by French director Francois Truffaut.

“It was amazing,” says Speigel. “One day I got a call from Spielberg’s publicist to see if I wanted to go out to Hollywood to meet with Steven, Dr. Hynek and Dr. Vallee.”

Speigel’s first response was, “Why do you want me there?”

He didn’t think anyone knew who he was. He was told that Spielberg had heard of his upcoming U.N. presentation and he wanted to talk to the group and offer his assistance.

Speigel says the three men did meet with Spielberg to talk UFOs. Understandably, he says it was an amazing experience. At the end of the meeting, Spielberg said his office would help with anything they needed, and Speigel says they did provide some graphics and information that was incorporated in the U.N. presentation.

So what happened with the U.N. and UFOs? Well, on Nov. 27, 1978, Speigel, Hynek, Vallee, Gairy, Cooper and other credible witnesses and researchers did put on a presentation that included photos and video.

As a result, the U.N. passed a decision on UFOs, which holds less weight than a resolution, but is official nonetheless.

Their decision included this verbiage: “The General Assembly invites interested member states to take appropriate steps to coordinate on a national level scientific research and investigation into extraterrestrial life, including unidentified flying objects, and to inform the secretary-general of the observations, research and evaluation of such activities.”

The U.N. was to follow up on Granada’s UFO request the following year, but by then Granada had undergone a coup that unseated Gairy and the subject was dropped.

———

Alejandro Rojas is a radio host for Open Minds Radio, editor and contributing writer for Open Minds magazine as well as OpenMinds.tv. For several years Alejandro was the official spokesperson for the Mutual UFO Network as the Director of Public Education.

Betty Sue Worley

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Betty Sue Worley, 88, passed away at her home in Roswell, NM, on Monday, October 30, 2017. Her joyful spirit, her infectious smile, and her love for her family are the reasons she will be missed by so many.
Betty Sue Morgan married Truett Worley on December 21, 1948, and began a lifetime journey of loving and nurturing her husband, five children, sixteen grandchildren and thirty-six great grandchildren. Betty and Truett celebrated 59 years of marriage before his death in 2008. Jeanne (Bob) Spradling, Mike (Pam) Worley, Cathy (Bobby) Reynolds, John Worley, and Cyndi (Mark) Nine survive their mom as do all her grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Betty and Truett moved to Roswell early in their marriage and raised their family there, attending First Baptist Church. Betty was Director of the Girls Club in Roswell and worked for a time in real estate, but in whatever position she held, her strong faith and “can do” attitude drew people to her.  As the matriarch of a large family, she continued until her final day to send out a daily email which often contained a nugget of wisdom or a Scripture, as well as pictures.  As late as two weeks ago she attended Baylor Homecoming and celebrated with fifty of her family.  While there, she took individual pictures with each great grandchild who was there, planning for her Christmas gifts. Betty found great joy in making handmade gifts and cooking for the enjoyment of those around her.  Many will miss her gracious hospitality especially when it included her world famous cinnamon rolls. Betty Worley loved Jesus and she loved her family and friends, many of whom she will be joining in Heaven. All who knew and loved her celebrate a life well lived.
If you would like to make a contribution in memory of Betty Sue Worley please make it to her beloved church at First Baptist Church Roswell, 500 N. Pennsylvania, Roswell, NM 88201.
A memorial service will be held at 2:00 pm, Thursday, November 2, 2017 at First Baptist Church.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Ballard Funeral Home and Crematory. An online registry can be accessed at ballardfuneralhome.com.

Roswell looks to end stranglehold

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The Roswell High School boys soccer team is seen in action earlier this season at the Cielo Grande Soccer Complex. (David Rocha Photo)

When you’re just so close to beating a team, sometimes they always seem to do something at just the right time to give them that little extra to win. That must be how the Roswell boys’ soccer team feels when they play Albuquerque Academy. They played them earlier in the year in the Academy Tournament and the lost, 2-0.

“We are a better team than when we played them earlier in the year,” said Coyote coach James Vernon said. “We learned how they play and what they’re trying to do on the outsides is jab our defenders and commit to our midfields. Once our defenders do that, they are going to come and eat us up on the outside. If we can prevent that and get our midfielders back to defend, and our forward to put some pressure on their defenders, we can close those gaps down with them playing the ball through us.”

Today’s game against Los Alamos is for the right to move on and play the winner between the No. 1 team, Albuquerque Academy, or the No. 9 team, Valencia.

“Playing against Los Alamos is always a great sight,” Vernon said. “With Los Alamos, Roswell and Alamogordo, we are the true public schools that should be vying for the state championship. You have Albuquerque Academy and St. Pius X, which are private schools. It is hard to compete against schools who are private, because they can recruit kids, although they say they don’t.”

The Coyotes had a tougher time than expected, beating Deming 3-1 Friday at the Cielo Grande Soccer Complex. In that game, they received goals from Samuel Calvillo, Robert Madrid and Patrick Brown. Senior goalie Adrian Villa Parra made his presence felt by stopping numerous shots on goal, while giving up one. Vernon believes that his goalie, Parra, will continue to compete and play well in today’s game.

Vernon has been in this position, and is not feeling the pressure of his team having to win on the road and beat a team they have not beaten this year. All along, Vernon has expected his team to be here at the door pushing to get to the semifinals. After replacing 13 seniors from the last year’s team, he is starting to reload instead of rebuilding.

“We have to shut down their midfield,” Vernon said. “That’s No.1, if we can shut down their midfielder (Tristan Semelesberger) he is an awesome player. He does an awesome job of distributing the ball, as well as Arthur Steinkamp and Levon Wiggins. I think we can shut them down and build up momentum to have a good attack.”

Steinkamp leads his team with 23 goals scored on the season with help from teammate Semelsberger, who has scored 15 goals.

The big gun for the Coyotes this season has been Robert Madrid and teammate Calvillo, who has scored eight.

The Coyotes feel like for them to win they must play tight defense and to finish their shots on goals; and mark up their guys (play man-to-man) in the midfield. Los Alamos moves off the ball well.

“If we can shut them down in the midfield, we will have a shot to score some goals,” Vernon said. “We have to finish our opportunities, and that’s what it is going to take for us to win today. We’ll go over our game plan (Wednesday night) and go over it (today), get them up and give them a good talk and be positive. We have seen this team and yes, they beat us, but we can beat them. I’m excited to play these guys.”

Vernon feels like his team is a new team from the team that played the Hilltoppers earlier in the season.

Roswell (15-5, 6-0) plays Los Alamos (14-6, 4-2) at 1 p.m. today at the Bernalillo Soccer Complex on Field 9.

Lady Coyotes look to upset top seed

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The Roswell High School girls soccer team is seen in action earlier this season at the Cielo Grande Soccer Complex. (David Rocha Photo)

Roswell Coyote coach Samantha Ward is starting to build a resume of giant slayer. Her team has defeated conference rivals and four-time district champ Goddard and district leading Artesia this season.

All this while being two games behind in the loss column to Artesia. With the district crown seemingly over for the Lady Coyotes, they ripped off a six-game winning streak to get to this point in the season.

To continue their Cinderella march to Ward’s first state title as a coach, she must transform her team today from Cinderella into giant killers in a matter of hours to defeat the No.1 team in District 4-5A Albuquerque Academy.

“We are playing the No. 1 team in District 4-5A,” Ward said, “but that doesn’t faze us. We are focused and ready to play. We have nothing to lose; they have everything to lose.”

These teams are no strangers to competing against each other. Last year, the Lady Coyotes faced off against the Chargers in the Academy tournament. Roswell was winning, 1-0, before the Chargers scored a goal before half to tie the game, 1-1. The Lady Coyotes would surrender three goals to lose, 4-1.

“Our team played them last year,” Ward said. “Last year, we were ranked No. 6 and over half of our team that played last year is back. They have seen this level. They know teams are bigger and faster, but that doesn’t take away our passion and pride that we play with.”

Whether the Coyotes win or lose, there is much going on in the program that is not seen. Ward and her coaches, Urbano Sosa and Ryan Davenport, are interested in developing every young woman to her fullest potential, and trying to instill life skills and lessons in them that go beyond soccer; things like fighting through injury, how to accept winning and losing, and fighting through the difficult moments life presents on the pitch and in the classroom.

The Chargers (16-4, 6-0,) have several threats, but the main player Roswell has to throttle is Eliza Mariner. Mariner has scored 28 goals during the season. Rhiannon Hill is second on the team with seven. Luli Martinez has scored six goals. Tessa Anderson and Erin Pickett each have five.

In the box, the Chargers will play two goalies; senior Mikaela Montoya and freshman Lorelei Logan. Logan has a team-leading 36 saves on the season.

The Lady Coyotes will count on the one-two scoring punch of Danielle Banda, who has scored a team-high 18 goals for the season, and Kaileigh Holloway with 11, to match points with the Chargers. Roswell will count on senior Maddie Battle to have the game of her career to stop Albuquerque. Battle has 55 saves on the year.

For the second year in a row, the stage is set. Roswell defeated Artesia in a home playoff game to move on to the second round of the playoffs.

“If our girls play like they know how, then they will win,” Ward said. “We lose if we don’t pass and do the little things correct. Our seniors mean a lot to us. They have fought and worked hard for this.”

Roswell (13-8, 5-1) faces Albuquerque Academy at 9:30 a.m. at the Bernalillo Soccer Complex on field 4.

Volleyball showdown

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Goddard High School and Roswell High School are seen in a photo from a volleyball match on Oct. 20. They meet tonight at Roswell High’s Coyote Den at 6 p.m. for a playoff matchup. (Steve Notz Photo)

Hagerman defeats Gateway

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Hagerman’s Paige Hoppes goes for a kill shot against Gateway on Tuesday night as they defeated Gateway in three games: 25-19, 25-21, 25-11. Hagerman travels to Tatum for a 6 p.m. match Thursday for the District Tournament Championship. (Monica Morales Photo)

Editorial cartoon 11-2-17

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(Cartoon drawn by Eddie Macias)

Man with machete fails to make cut; Deputy makes arrest after suspect helped himself to food, beer

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“I guess the cops aren’t coming.”

Flores

That’s what 20-year-old Jonah Alexander Flores said after taking food and chugging a beer while at a convenience store, according to police.

On Monday, Deputy Colter Childress of the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Allsup’s at 6000 South Main Street in reference to a man that did a beer skip, and later returned with a weapon.

According to a criminal complaint, once the deputy arrived, he observed a man wearing a hoodie, with a bandana around his face, walking toward the store’s front doors.

Childress entered the store, with his weapon drawn.

After the deputy ordered Flores to get on the ground, he ran the other way and exited through the backdoor.

Childress wrote that he observed the suspect reach into his front hoodie pocket.

After being pursued and commanded to show his hands, Flores threw a bottle of soda and a corndog as the deputy took him to the ground.

According to the complaint, as Flores was taken down, a machete fell out of his front hoodie pocket.

Flores was later cuffed and searched for more weapons by the deputy. No other weapons were located.

After being read his Miranda warning, Flores admitted to having a machete and entering with a bandana on his face to rob the store.

Flores is charged with a petty misdemeanor larceny charge, resisting, evading or obstructing an officer, a misdemeanor, and armed robbery, a second-degree felony.

On Tuesday, conditions of release for Flores were set in Chaves County Magistrate Court by Judge K. C. Rogers.

Multimedia-Crime reporter Trevier Gonzalez can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

Sources say new construction for Roswell dental office is underway

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This site, said to be a future Aspen Dental office, at the corner of North Main Street and Blue Mountain Road is on property owned by Roswell Aspen LLC, with offices in California, according to online real estate records. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

An office affiliated with a large dental network is being built in north Roswell, according to city sources.

Construction on what will be New Mexico’s first Aspen Dental office has begun at the intersection of North Main Street and Blue Mountain Road just about a block south of Wal-Mart.

According to Aspen Dental’s website, the nearest branded offices at this time are in Arizona or Texas.

Aspen Dental, based in Williston, Vermont, has 650 affiliated offices nationwide in 36 states and serves 1.5 million patients, according to its website. Local offices are operated by dentists licensed in that state, but the Aspen Dental corporation provides administrative and managerial functions. A news release issued by the company when an office opened in another state indicates that an Aspen Dental operationg contributes about $3 million a year to a local community.

The property at 3900 N. Main St., which is next to a McDonald’s restaurant, is owned by Roswell Aspen LLC of Santa Ana, California, in care of Red Mountain Retail Group, according to Chaves County online property records. The square footage of the parcel is a bit over 43,560.

The organizer of Roswell Aspen LLC is Michael H. Mugel, New Mexico Secretary of State records indicate, and he is also the founder and chief executive officer of Red Mountain Retail Group, also known as Red Mountain Group, which is a real estate management and development firm.

A sign on the property indicates that Knoebel Construction Inc., which has its primary office in St. Louis, Missouri, is performing work on the current project. That company’s website indicates that it previously has built six office locations for Aspen Dental.

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

Halloween brings out the superhero in some; the kid in all

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A young Sub-Zero from the "Mortal Kombat" video game series surveys the candy-filled area at Lovelace Regional Hospital. (Trevier Gonzalez Photo)

Aspiring novelist? If so, meet at the Artesia Public Library this month

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ARTESIA — What do “The Night Circus” and “Water for Elephants” have in common?

They were both conceived during National Novel Writing Month, according to a pair of librarians with the Artesia Public Library.

Today marks the start of National Novel Writing Month and the Artesia Public Library is partnering with the non-profit group to give teenagers and adults a place to gather and write what could be possibly be the next best-seller.

Jo Nickerson-Harper adult services librarian said this is the first time APL has been involved with the project.

“The goal for adults is to write a 50,000 word novel in a month,” she said.

Nickerson-Harper said she was approached by a friend to see if APL could be a participant that would allow writers to come in and work on their novels. She also asked her friend if she would be interested in getting Artesia teenagers involved in the program.

Nickerson-Harper and Jessica Paschal, teen librarian, will both be participating in NaNoWriMo.

Paschal said she plans to present it to Artesia teenagers as something that will be fun and as a help for those who may be struggling with English classes.

“The first thing that is going to help is practice writing,” Paschal said.

She said once the first draft is done then there will be an editing process. “The teens can set the word count so they don’t have to write 50,000 words.”

Paschal added there will be a chart set by grade level. She said there will be a calendar where children can write so many words a day.

She said there will also be some teen novel workshops, “where we’ll just sit down and work together and they can talk to me and the other teens and write about writers block or what other problems they’re having and we’ll just spend about two hours working on their novel.”

Both said there will be a couple of Come Write In events. The first one is set for Nov. 11 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the second is set for Nov. 27 from 2-6 p.m.

Nickerson-Harper said writers will be able to come to both events and write and “discuss with other writers and bounce off (ideas) off of each other for what they want to do with their novel. There’s going to be coffee, drinks and snacks available,” she said.

Nickerson-Harper added that there will be publishing and writing information available.

“If you’re around a bunch of people who are doing the same you are doing, it keeps you on task,” Nickerson-Harper said.

Both said potential writers need to register online if they would like to participate and the address is nanowrimo.org.

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

Woman gets five years in prison for drug trafficking, firearms conviction

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A Roswell woman was sentenced to 63 months in prison in federal court Tuesday after being convicted of methamphetamine trafficking and firearms charges.

Rodriguez

According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, after 33-year-old Renee Rodriguez completes her sentencing, she will also be on supervised release for three years.

According to a criminal complaint filed in September 2015, Rodriguez and 25-year-old Joseph Vallejos, also of Roswell, were charged with conspiracy, distribution of methamphetamine, and firearms offenses in Chaves County.

According to the complaint, Rodriguez and Vallejos sold an aggregate of 157.7 grams of methamphetamine to undercover law enforcement officers during nine separate transactions between July 2015 and Sept. 2015.

In addition, Rodriguez was also charged with brandishing a handgun during a methamphetamine transaction on July 8, 2015.

Rodriguez and Vallejos were later charged in a nine-count indictment filed on Dec. 17, 2015.

The indictment charged Rodriguez and Vallejos with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine from July 1, 2015 through July 30, 2015.

The indictment also charged Rodriguez with distributing methamphetamine on three occasions in July 2015, and Vallejos and Rodriguez with distributing methamphetamine on four occasions in July 2015.

Rodriguez also was charged with brandishing a firearm during a drug trafficking crime on July 8, 2015. According to the indictment, Vallejos and Rodriguez committed the nine crimes in Chaves County.

On Aug. 12, 2016, Rodriguez pled guilty to two of the distribution of methamphetamine charges and to brandishing a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.

In entering the guilty plea, Rodriguez admitted that on July 8, 2015, she distributed approximately 15 grams of methamphetamine to an undercover law enforcement officer, and during that transaction she used and carried a firearm.  Rodriguez further admitted that she distributed approximately 11.9 grams of methamphetamine to an undercover law enforcement officer on July 30, 2015.

The case was investigated by the Roswell office of the FBI and the New Mexico State Police.

Open houses for health insurance scheduled

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BeWellnm, the official state marketplace for New Mexicans to shop, buy and compare health insurance plans, will host three open houses in Roswell on Monday.

The first open house will be held from 2 to 6 p.m. at Swickard Agency at 400 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Suite 600.

The other open houses will be from 4 to 8 p.m. at Mann Insurance at 327 N. Main St., and from 4 to 8 p.m. at Stacey Young-Martin, New York Life Insurance at 114 E. 4th St., Suite 103.

The free events will provide an opportunity for residents to learn more about changes in federal law affecting health insurance and health care, the various plans offered on the exchange, and subsidies or tax credits for which they may be eligible. Information will be given in both English and Spanish.

There will also be assistance provided to help with individual enrollment. The deadline to enroll in an exchange-based health plan is Dec. 15. New Mexicans are required to have health insurance or face a potentially large fine.

BeWellnm, New Mexico’s health insurance exchange, was created to help individuals and small businesses access affordable health insurance plans. BeWellnm helps consumers compare plans and choose the one that works best for their health needs and budget. It also helps individuals determine whether they are eligible for premium assistance and if so, at what level.

Through beWellnm for Small Business, companies are able to purchase competitively priced plans and offer their employees a large selection to choose from. Enrollment counselors and insurance agents are available throughout the state to help with enrollment.

For more information, go to beWellnm.com or call 1-833-TO-BEWELL.

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