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Bringing attention to gun control

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As a believer in the “right to bear arms,” I believe everyone worldwide should have the right to carry a gun on his or her person, or car, whether concealed or not. If concealed, it is not to alarm your co-worker or others. I think about the “old west” when 70 percent of men wore a gun on their hip.

I’ve not heard of a massive shooting taking place during this period. Have you? Somehow that arm was a symbol of respect. Respect among men, respect for women, respect for countryman and honor in how we treated one another. What has happened to this respect and honor that once characterized our society and our daily lives?

Needless to say, the rules to possess a gun have changed and warrant serious consideration because I, for one, do not want to give up my right to bear arms. What should the minimum age be? What affects will a thorough and complete background check and proper fingerprints have on one’s right to own and carry a gun? How does proper training by the police, sheriff, state police, national guard or others have on how to or when to use your arm have these days, given the unsavory use by reckless individuals? Given this, I should have the right to protect myself, my family and others and live in a safe and peaceful community.

Like our fine professionals in law enforcement, the use of a firearm in a “shooting” situation requires that innocent citizens not be placed in the line of fire. Needless to say, no one wants to kill or put others in jeopardy — even when it comes to self-defense or to save others whose lives are being threatened by the lawless.

Fetes from “Gun Smoke,” or Barney Fife of the “Andy Griffith Show” would know what to do in these situations and they would act accordingly. They would be backed by witnesses on the scene that would say, “He did the right thing.” I say, let me keep my handgun and let me do the right thing — if and when I ever have to.

I wrote this letter on Aug. 16, but after Oct. 2, I am following up on it to bring attention to the topic of gun control and hopefully remind us of the need to be able to protect ourselves. Who can I call or write to so the importance of this subject is not lost?

As Rick Kraft would say: “Just a thought.” Mr. Kraft may not agree with me — but, the bad guys can get guns — and we need protection!

Joe Velasquez
Roswell

Editorial cartoon 10-29-17

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(Cartoon drawn by Eddie Macias)

NMMI approves United Arab Emirates contract; Regents agree to pursue negotiations with private school system

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New Mexico Military Institute regents gave their nod of approval at a Friday meeting for NMMI leadership to continue negotiations on what could be a five-year lucrative deal with a private school system in the United Arab Emirates. From left are Maj. Gen. Jerry Grizzle, NMMI superintendent and president, and regents Stirling Spencer, Col. Tim Paul, Col. Barbara Trent and Brad Christmas. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

Members of the New Mexico Military Institute Board of Regents have given NMMI leadership the go-ahead to pursue a potentially lucrative contract with a private school system in the United Arab Emirates.

Emirates National Schools has asked NMMI for its expertise in developing and running a private school for boys in Abu Dhabi that would be modeled in many ways after NMMI, said Maj. Gen. Jerry Grizzle, NMMI superintendent and president.

He told those gathered for the Friday morning Board of Regents meeting on the Institute campus during Homecoming Weekend that the school system in the Middle East has been talking with NMMI for a couple of years about its plans to add a school with an emphasis on strict discipline.

 

“The rationale they gave (for wanting to start the school) was that the money they enjoyed in Abu Dhabi and Dubai was nice, but it had gone to take away some of the family values that they would like to instill,” Grizzle said.

In summer 2015, a representative from the schools visited 10 U.S. military academies and educational institutions, deciding after that tour that NMMI was the school it wanted as the model, Grizzle said.

Now the superintendent and other senior administrators, with the approval of the regents, have determined the flat fee they will seek to deliver a school development plan to Emirates National Schools, what Grizzle said he jokingly referred to as “The Military School for Dummies Book.”

That ask amount is $500,000.

According to Chief Financial Officer Col. Judy Scharmer, the dollar amount was determined not only by calculating the time and personnel costs in creating the document but also in adding in the value of 126 years of experience that went into creating the organizational structures, systems, protocols and administrative policies that make up the NMMI experience.

“Quite frankly, I did have an extreme upcharge, a mark-up value,” said Scharmer, “because I think, of 126 years of history and knowledge, that there is simply an added value than simply taking our time and multiplying it by an hourly rate.”

She also said that rates used to develop cost estimates are based on an “international” rate.

Grizzle said the Emirates schools system would adapt the manual to fit its needs.

“From there, they would take the manual and customize it for their culture and the things that they are trying to accomplish,” Grizzle said.

The partnership between the two school groups also could involve additional phases.

In phase two, NMMI would provide professional consulting services to the school system for up to a year after its opening, including hiring and one-on-one training of key personnel, with the Institute to receive a monthly fee that would total more than $1 million over a year.

The third phase, which could span another four years, would provide consulting services on an as-needed basis, with a proposed fee schedule developed for various professional services and consultations. Regents also approved that proposed fee schedule, according to Col. David West.

Grizzle and other senior leadership said that all of the proposed services still must be negotiated with the Emirates National Schools, and it is reasonable to expect that the Emirates school system would want to discuss and change some of the fee amounts or services provided.

Grizzle also said that the Emirates schools also have talked about the possibility of starting a girls’ school at some point and possibly a junior college program similar to what NMMI offers, which would be a new concept for the school system.

According to the Emirates National Schools website, the system was created in 2002 and is operated by the Ministry of Presidential Affairs. At this time, it consists of five campuses and its curricula is based on U.S. Common Core Standards for math, English and science.

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

Main Thing First helps families break unwanted patterns

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Main Thing First is a new nonprofit community service organization that strives to support families whose loved ones are incarcerated. The are working toward reducing recidivism and empowering the children of inmates to be able to make better choices for their future. (Submitted Photo)

Ron Biggers started Main Thing First four months ago, but he’s no novice when it comes to helping the incarcerated and their families.

“I have been prison chaplain at Grace Community Church for the last 14 years,” he said. “In that time, talking to a large number of men, some of their families – wives, girlfriends and kids, I developed a heart for that population but I really didn’t know what to do.”

He began his journey helping the community during a spiritual retreat.

“I went on the Walk to Emmaus,” Biggers said. “During that event there was a time when you visited with a pastoral advisor. During that event I became a broken and weak man. I prayed a similar prayer to what Isaiah prayed ‘God if there’s something for me to do, send me.’ When I returned to Roswell I resigned the children’s ministry. I still didn’t know what to do. The mission pastor at Grace invited me to go out to the prison. I reluctantly went, and I was hooked on that activity and I did that for 14 years.”

Biggers said God is leading him through this journey.

“The Lord led me to start this non-profit,” he said, “to minister to that population. We need prayer from everyone. We need to be totally saturated in prayer.”

Main Thing First needs much the same kind of support that more non-profit organizations need.

“All non-profits need a steady flow of good volunteers to help support them,” Biggers said. “I need them to do things that I have no idea how to do. Obviously we need financial support.”

Biggers said that his experienced through Grace Community Church inspired this part of his path.

“One thing that helped in the formation of this ministry,” he said, “here at Grace we have helped a number of families that have loved ones who have been incarcerated. We were able to help one person find a part-time job, child care while she works and we were able to put her in a late-model vehicle so she can take her kids to go see their father. She put a minimum amount in it to show good faith. We covered the rest.

“If one church can do something like this for one family, if the community pulls together, there’s no telling how many people we can help.”

Biggers said this is bigger than any church, it is for the entire community.

“We are faith based,” he said, “but we also believe in what Jesus said “The greatest commandment is to love your Lord God with all your soul, all your heart and your might and love your brother as yourself.” Everyone in this community is our brother.

“I have purposely separated Main Thing First from Grace and other churches because I don’t want this to be seen as just a church ministry. It’s going to take all the churches, all the civic clubs and public services to help build our community.”

Biggers said he is looking for people who are called to help this program serve as well as donations.

“I’m looking for people to help lead and take up the major portion,” he said. “Somewhere I read where God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called. You have no idea how much I am counting on that. We’re hoping to get a large van to use to take families to see incarcerated loved ones.”

The chairman of the board of directors has been of immense help to Biggers.

“Pastor Joe Diaz is the chairman of the board,” Biggers said. “He has a home for men, most of them are there to finish out their probation. He houses the men and they go through training for 12 to 18 months or longer. Pastor Diaz will tell you he knows these men, not only from ministering to them, but he used to live that lifestyle himself. Joe has figured out that if a man can get his life morally straight everything else will soon fall into place. People are willing to offer that individual more opportunities.”

There have been a few local businesses open up to help mentor those being served, so that they can be more effective once they regain independence.

“Pioneer Bank is teaching the men in his home about handling money properly,” Biggers said. “Michael McKee teaches them how to get the insurance they need without getting more than they need. We are hoping and praying that other mentors will come on board.”

The key, biggers said, is relationship.

“If we build relationships with these families,” he said, “when that individual is released, there’s a better opportunity that he can reunite with his family. He can be the husband and the daddy that God meant him to be. We can start a re-entry process where he can find employment and that will make a stronger, safer community. Hopefully he will not return to jail or prison.”

The risk of doing nothing is unacceptably high.

“With his kids there’s a 65 percent chance of children who have an incarcerated parent going to jail,” Biggers said. “Sending an individual to jail is justifiable, but the cost to the community is $65,000 a year or more to keep an individual in jail. We probably are spending that much on social services to support his family.”

Biggers has plans to be a part of a community-wide change for the better.

“If we can stop the recidivism and keep the kids from following in daddy’s footsteps,” he said, “not only will it make for a safer stronger community, but also for those who are concerned with their tax dollars we can lower the tax burden. Then maybe that money could go into schools and education.”

Main Thing First can be reached by phone at: 575-317-3766, and by email at: Ronbiggers@mainthingfirst.com their website is still under construction but Biggers recommends checking it out, mainthingfirst.com. They are also on Facebook.

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

Public lands fall under zoning rules following ETZ Authority vote

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The first application of the newly amended county ordinance affecting public lands is expected in December, says Chaves County Director of Planning and Zoning Marlin Johnson, shown in this photo at the Oct. 17 Extraterritorial Zoning Commission meeting. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

Chaves County officials have succeeded in their push to have public lands subject to the same zoning rules as privately owned land, and the first application of the amended ordinances are expected by the end of the year, according to a county director.

The Extraterritorial Zoning Authority voted unanimously Thursday afternoon to approve an amendment to ETZ ordinances so that lands owned by counties, cities, state or federal entities will be governed by zoning rules should the land be used for such things as solar or wind farms, cell towers, gravel pits or other projects. Building codes already apply to any structures constructed on public lands.

The changes to the two ordinances — one for the Extraterritorial areas, generally those outside the city limits but within about two miles of them, and the other for Chaves County —will take effect immediately, said Marlin Johnson, Chaves County director of Planning and Zoning.

“It could be appealed, but at this point it would have to be appealed to District Court, and I don’t see anybody doing that,” he said.

The ETZ Authority is composed of Chaves County Commissioners Robert Corn, James Duffey and Will Cavin and Roswell City Councilors Tabitha Denny and Juan Oropesa. The group of elected officials meets as needed, with its last meeting in September 2016. Corn was elected chair of the group Thursday, while Denny was voted vice-chair.

The Chaves County Board of Commissioners, following the recommendation of the Chaves County Planning and Zoning Commission, approved the amendment Oct. 19.

Approval of the Extraterritorial Zoning Commission, a citizen group that makes recommendations to the ETZ Authority and the Board of Commissioners, was given at its Oct. 17 meeting.

All citizen and governing boards voted unanimously for the changes, and no one spoke against the proposed change on Thursday, Johnson said.

But opposition was expressed in the form of a Sept. 25 letter from Aubrey Dunn, commissioner of Public Lands. He wrote to county commissioners that they should reject any ordinance that would “purport to assert zoning jurisdiction over state trust lands.” The letter cited two court cases that, according to Dunn, were decided in favor of the State Land Office when counties had sought authority over oil and gas activities or the erection of a cell tower on state trust lands.

Johnson told the various boards and commissions that county officials had said during their comprehensive planning efforts about a year ago that they thought that zoning rules should apply equally to public and private lands. He added that the county’s aim was not to stop development or bar projects but to ensure that the public and nearby property owners were informed and that measures were taken to ensure the safety and health of people.

Johnson said the first application of the zoning ordinance likely will come in December and will involve a proposed development on property owned by the Chaves County Flood Commission.

The Chaves County Flood Commission is planning to build a new structure, Johnson said. The agency was created in 1971 by the county after the consolidation of the River Felix Flood District and the Rio Hondo-Roswell Flood District, which was originated by the city of Roswell.

The Flood Commission has been asked to leave its current offices on West Second Street, property owned by the city, and wants to establish new offices on land the commission owns on North Brown Road.

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

A good tune on a cool night; Berrendo Middle School band shows talent that goes beyond the student’s age

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The audience at Berrendo Middle School enjoyed on Thursday evening a concert that rivaled those of professional bands. These students of Berrendo Middle School have mastered one of the most difficult instruments, the French Horn. Most children in middle school lack fully developed ears at that age to fully hear the subtle nuances of this instrument. Also, it is rare to see a full set of tubas in schools anywhere. (Christina Stock Photo)

Thursday evening, friends, families and the public were invited for the first united band performance of the seventh- and eighth-graders of the Berrendo Middle School, under guidance of their music teacher, Whitney Bain.

When you think about a performance of middle school students, you might think of beginner classes in music and concerts that are a little rough around the edges, which only a mother can really appreciate.

Not so with this performance of the Berrendo Middle School Band. The children’s performance Thursday evening could compete with professional bands.

The concert included different sets of music that embraced the season. “There is a little bit of zombies, some monsters, and we have a very exciting opener called, “Above And Beyond,” Bain said. “It is about the anticipation of the first note in a concert. The composer is James Swearingen.”

Bain said to the parents on the packed bleachers that she considers their commitment and the commitment of the young students to the quality of music and proficiency of the band.

Before the concert started, Bain said in an interview, “We have 62 students performing tonight. We started preparing about one month and a half ago.” The students have been playing up to two years with Bain as teacher.

Bain had joined Berrendo Middle School six years ago when she moved to Roswell from Hale Center, Texas.

Twenty-eight of her students had the chance to participate in the Jazz Fest. “They played at Reischman Park at 9 in the morning,” Bain said. “Bless their hearts for going out there. They played a 30-minute set. It was very cool. We had a great audience out there.”

Asked if the band would continue to perform for the public, Bain said, “It would be awesome. I haven’t even thought about it.

“Our jazz band will be doing our tour coming up to the elementary schools and then we have a band concert for my 40 beginners on Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. It will be in our small gym because we have a basketball game that night,” Bain said.

The next concert, which will be open for the public and free of charge, will be on Dec. 19 at 7 p.m.

“For the upcoming HeART of Winter” art show, I’ll have solos as background music,” Bain said.

Details about the Berrendo Middle School art show will be featured in the Nov. 16 edition of the Vision Magazine.

Christina Stock may be contacted at 622-7710, ext. 309, or at vision@rdrnews.com.

‘Egg’citing science experiment for gifted elementary kids

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Issac Carter, a fifth-grader from Washington Avenue Elementary, prepares some last-minute modifications to his group’s design. (Trevier Gonzalez Photo)
RISD students watch in anticipation Friday morning as Xcel Energy serviceman Scott Falkner drops one of the group’s eggs 15 feet from the ground at the Roswell Adult Center. (Trevier Gonzalez Photo)

Joyce A. Hughes

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Services are pending at Ballard Funeral Home and Crematory for Joyce A. Hughes, 89, who passed away Thursday, October 26, 2017 in Roswell, NM. A further announcement will be made once arrangements have been finalized.

Coyotes thump Lovington, 48-12

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Roswell’s Fiddy Gomez scores a touchdown against Lovington in a 48-12 victory at the Wool Bowl Friday night. (Shawn Naranjo Photo)

Big defensive stops at crunch time, minimal penalties and long touchdown rushes from an array of weapons lifted the Coyotes to a 48-12 must-win over the Lovington Wildcats Friday night at the Wool Bowl.

The win improves the Coyotes’ district record to 1-1, 6-3 overall, as Roswell heads into next week’s crosstown, regular-season finale against Goddard. Friday’s win follows Roswell’s 42-7 home loss to Artesia last week.

“I thought the kids had a great weak of preparation,” said Coyote head coach Jeff Lynn. “I thought we rebounded from last week’s loss to Artesia. We just had a good week of preparation. I think the kids were locked in and just went out and executed what we asked them to execute tonight.”

Roswell played Friday night without senior standout Gabe Najar, who did not dress for the game, but supported his teammates from the sidelines.

“He’s just a little banged up. We felt like we needed to sit him,” Lynn said, adding he expects Najar to return to the lineup next week against Goddard. “He should be back in the near future. Nothing serious, he’ll be back.”

Playing for the first time this season was senior Alfonso Sanchez, who filled in at fullback for Najar, and scored the last two of Roswell’s seven rushing touchdowns Friday night.

“He’s a kid that’s been in our program. He’s had kind of a rough year here,” Lynn said of Sanchez. “That’s what football is all about, you get a kid who kind of had a rough year, got his life back together, and went out tonight and had some success. That was great to see Alfonso have some success.”

The Coyotes got on top early on their first possession after starting quarterback, senior Daniel Sosa, kept the rock on a QB keeper and cut through the heart of the Wildcat defense and ran upfield with his head held high before he was tripped up at the Lovington 10-yard line after a 55-yard gain, the first on several big runs on the night for Roswell.

On the next play, Fiddy Gomez took the snap, fought off some tackles, and struck pay dirt for Roswell’s first rushing TD of the game. The extra point made it 7-0.

Lovington drove the ball on its first possession, but the Wildcats came up short on a fourth and goal at the Coyote 10-yard line, when the Coyote defense swarmed Wildcat receiver Jorge Carrasaco for a turnover on downs.

Utilizing a shotgun formation most of the night with a heavy emphasis on the passing game, Lovington drove deep into Roswell territory on the Wildcats’ second possession. But again, the Roswell defense stood firm and stopped Lovington on a fourth and 11 at the Coyote 14-yard line, forcing another turnover on downs.

“They big-played us a little bit, they got down in the red zone and we were able to hold them,” Lynn said. “I thought our defensive line, I thought the whole defense, played well tonight. The fourth-down plays in the first half were huge, no doubt.”

The momentum began to sway toward the Coyotes, who took advantage of the fourth-down stop and drove into Lovington territory, thanks to a great catch by senior Elijah Baca, who elevated to bring down a 25-yard pass reception from Roswell’s other quarterback, senior Michael Ponce.

Lynn said he plans to continue mixing things up at quarterback.

“They both have strengths and they both have weaknesses, so we’ll play to their strengths and try to do away with their weaknesses,” Lynn said.

The drive continued into the second quarter, when on the first play of the second frame, Coyote junior Justin Carrasco took the ball up the middle, broke several tackles, and scored from 25 yards out with 11:53 left in the second quarter. The extra point made it 14-0 Roswell.

After forcing Lovington to punt, a punt that rolled to the Roswell 1-yard line, the Coyotes put together a 99-yard touchdown drive. Sanchez — built in the image of the legendary “Fridge,” William Perry, the NFL nose tackle turned part-time fullback — had his first carries of the season.

On fourth and 7, Coyote junior Dylan Tucker took the ball on a reverse and ran up the right side for a 17-yard touchdown that made it 20-0 with 3:47 left in the second quarter. The extra point was barely good, but good enough to make it 21-0.

Lovington got on the board early in the third quarter.

Starting a drive at the Roswell 40-yard line, Lovington junior running back Kyle Carter found a big hole on the right side for a 41-yard touchdown rush to make it 21-6 with 11:06 left in the third quarter. The extra point kick bounced off the right upright and was no good.

The Wildcats soon recovered a Roswell fumble at the Coyote 31-yard line, as the momentum seemed to shift in favor of the Wildcats early in the second half. But the Coyote defense again came up big, ending the Lovington drive after a big sack of Wildcat sophomore quarterback Casey Perez by Coyote defensive tackle Christian Chavez.

After taking over at their own 33-yard line, Coyote senior running back Brandon Perez ran to the left side for a 70-yard touchdown carry that made it 27-6 with 6:26 left in the third quarter. Roswell went for the two-point conversion, but failed.

The Coyotes continued to level big sticks on defense, but the Wildcats were able to put together a 66-yard touchdown drive, capped by a 7-yard pass from Casey Perez to Jorge Carrasaco that made it 27-12 with 1:59 left in the third quarter. The Coyotes blocked the extra point kick.

Roswell put the game away in the fourth quarter, with three more touchdowns.

Early in the fourth quarter, Coyote sophomore Jasia Reese took the ball over the left guard and ran into traffic. Reese broke out of the pack and ran to the right side, out-running everybody as he turned on the afterburners in the open field for a 52-yard touchdown run that made it 33-12 with 11:07 left in the game. The extra point made it 34-12.

After forcing another turnover on downs, the Coyotes took over near midfield and put together a bruising drive, utilizing several rushers.

On first and goal at the Wildcat 3-yard line, Sanchez scored his first touchdown of the season, bowling into the end zone over the right guard, to make it 40-12 with 5:10 to go. The extra point made it 41-12.

After the solid Coyote defense forced another turnover on downs, Roswell took over near midfield with 3:02 left to play.

On third and 3, Sanchez ran up the middle, broke a tackle and showed some surprising speed on a 40-yard touchdown run that made it 47-12. The successful extra point kick arrived at the final score of 48-12.

Lynn said Lovington played well.

“Give Lovington a lot of credit,” he said. “They’ve got a lot of athletes over there and they’ve got good team speed.”

The Wildcats fall to 5-4 overall, 1-1 in district play, and face Artesia next week in their regular-season finale.

Lynn said the Coyotes are excited about the annual grudge match next week against Goddard, who lost to Artesia 56-12 Friday night in Artesia.

Roswell beat Goddard 22-14 last season. Roswell leads the all-time series against Goddard 33-21, with three ties.

“Our focus was Lovington this week,” Lynn said. “I haven’t watched a whole lot of film on (Goddard). We’ll get in there (Saturday) morning and get after it. It’s a rubber game, so it will be tough.”

Artesia dominates Goddard at the Bulldog Bowl

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Goddard High School senior running back Diego Miranda is converged on by Artesia’s defense on a play Friday at the Bull- dog Bowl. (Steve Notz Photo)

ARTESIA — Ask the throngs of Artesia High Bulldog fans to give their team a grade after shooting down the Goddard Rockets, 56-12, Friday at the Bulldog Bowl and it would probably be a D.

The D grade wouldn’t mean below average, it would mean Dominant.

The Bulldogs (7-2, 2-0, District 4-5A) received the kick off from the Rockets (4-5, 0-2, District 4-5A) and wasted no time scoring on their opening offensive drive.

Senior quarterback Taylor Null threw the first of four touchdown passes to fellow senior Chaney Hardt. Hardt caught a strike from the 8-yard line. The PAT was good as the Bulldogs led, 7-0,  with 8:37 left in the first quarter.

The Rockets couldn’t find any footing on their opening drive of the game, an interception by Goddard’s quarterback led to another Null strike. Null found senior Tyler Greenwood for a 30-yard TD pass with 4:50 left in the opening period. Artesia added the PAT to extend their lead to 14-0.

Goddard sputtered on their second offensive drive of the game, leading to another Artesia quick strike. Instead of passing the ball for a TD the Bulldogs handed the ball off to Jagger Donaghe, as he scampered in to score  on a 9-yard run with 2:16 left in the first quarter. The Bulldogs booted the extra point through to make the score, 21-0.

Artesia’s domination continued in the second quarter as senior Robert Fernandez scored on a 4-yard run. The Bulldogs converted the extra point kick  to give them a 28-0 with 10:08 left before halftime.

The Rockets were able to leave the launch pad a few minutes later as a long pass play set up a 1-yard run by senior Tyler Hoover. The extra point was no good as the score was, 28-6 with 6:56 left on the second period clock.

The Bulldogs continued to have their foot on the gas in the final five minutes before the end of the first half.

Null threw his third touchdown strike of the night to Fernandez from the 10-yard line. Artesia again booted the extra point to make the score,  35-6 with 4:39 left in the second period.

Artesia’s Null would throw his final strike of the night, a 37-yard pass to junior A.J. Estrada. The extra point kick was converted as the Bulldogs extended the lead, 42-6. With the Rockets being more than 35 points ahead, the officials turned the game into a running clock for the rest for the rest of the night with 2:44 in the second-half.

This season, Null has thrown 34 touchdowns.

Then in the closing seconds of the first half, Donaghe scored on an 8-yard run, the extra point kick was good as the Bulldogs led 49-6 when the first half ended.

With the game in hand, the Bulldogs brought in some relief in the second half.

Taylor came in at quarterback for the Bulldogs as the Rockets fumbled in their own territory on the opening drive of the third period.

This Taylor is the understudy of Taylor Null and things were looking good for junior Trent Taylor however he was picked off on Artesia’s opening drive of the third period. Both offenses were shut out.

The Rockets would get their second touchdown of the night in the final quarter as sophomore Robert Aragon scored on a 2-yard run. The Bulldogs were able to nix the 2-point conversion and the score was 49-12 Artesia with 7:12 left in the game.

A few minutes later Artesia threw the knockout punch as Trent Taylor hit junior Brandon Saiz on a 28-yard pass. The Bulldogs converted the extra point kick and it was 56-12 Artesia with 3:54 left before the final whistle.

The Bulldogs end the regular season Friday at 7 p.m. at Bulldog Bowl against Lovington. Goddard wraps up the regular season Friday at 7 p.m. at the Wool Bowl against the Roswell High.

Coyotes to face Los Alamos in Quarterfinals

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Roswell High School junior Cristian Moreno takes a shot on goal against Artesia Friday at the Cielo Grande Soccer Complex. (David Rocha Photo)

The No. 1 goal for any team left playing soccer in the state tournament is to survive and advance. Roswell’s coach James Vernon team did so thanks to a strong second-half performance from Robert Madrid, Samuel Calvillo and senior Patrick Brown.

Those three players scored goals in leading Roswell to another quarterfinal appearance, with a victory over the Deming Wildcats, 3-1, at the Cielo Grande Soccer Complex Friday. In a season in which Vernon has had to develop his team on the fly after replacing 13 seniors from last season’s squad, Vernon has his team advancing to the quarterfinals for 13th time in 14years.

“We knew Deming could play,” Vernon said. “Their district is pretty tough with all the quality teams they play. It took us a bit to get going. We weren’t used to their physicality in the midfield we had played against. In this game, it was a little tougher for us to take the midfield, because they came and fought for it.”

In the first-half, both teams jockeyed for field position trading shots on goal. Deming keyed on Coyotes sophomore Samuel Calvillo for much of the first-half, Calvillo managed to get three contested shots off, all of them missing the back of the net. To counter the constant pressure on Calvillo, Roswell created movement in the center midfield to get off the ball setting up the first goal.

The first goal came on a Coyote player passed the ball up the middle to Calvillo. Calvillo passed the ball to Robert Madrid on the run in the middle of the field; Madrid kicked the ball past the Wildcats goalie to give the Coyotes a 1-0 lead with 20:22 to play in the game.

“Sammy (Calvillo) got a good play,” Madrid said, “he (Calvillo) saw me running through and played the ball to me. Deming’s a quality team; they’re decent, and they know how to play good defense. They are talented. Los Alamos beat us earlier in the year. We were a young team still learning at the time. We’ve gotten better since then, we’ve improved, our passing has improved as a team.”

On a free kick, Roswell’s Jonathan Ortega passed the ball to Calvillo at the 30-yard mark. Calvillo dribbled the ball to the 18- yard mark, taking a shot that sailed into the back of the net to put the Coyotes up, 2-0 with 17:32 to play in the game.

“We practice our free kick plays quite a bit,” Vernon said. “Anyone in our district knows our plays. Yes, we use them a lot, but we are successful with them. The whole idea is to split the defense, and the guys on the backside spread out on that far side, that leaves a gap right down the middle. Once we have that touch in the middle we have a free shot on goal.”

Once the Coyotes scored in the second-half, points came fast with the third goal coming with 12:08 left to play in the game. During a scrum, the ball came off a Wildcat defensive player, which bounced to Madrid who dropped the ball to Patrick Brown from 20-yards out yelling at him to “rip the shot.” Rip, Brown did, hitting an Upper 90 over the outstretched arms of the goalie who jumped in vain as the ball sailed the top of the right corner scoring to give Roswell a 3-0 lead.

“They’re (Deming) a quality team,” Brown said. “We came in mentally ready for this game. No one was messing around pregame everyone came in ready to play. At that point, we had the skill and mental advantage, and it’s tough to beat us at that point.”

In facing Los Alamos, Brown feels like the Coyotes have to markup midfield and not let Los Alamos pass around them like the Wildcats did in today’s game. Roswell gave up two goals against Los Alamos in the first half when they played on September 9, in the Albuquerque Academy Tournament.

“We are going to go and try to play them,” Vernon said. “I think we can do it. We just have to show up.”

Roswell (15-5), will face Los Alamos (14-6), at 1 p.m. on Thursday at the Bernalillo Soccer Complex.

Lady Coyotes play lights out; Down Artesia 3-0 to advance in state tourney

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Roswell High School senior Steffania Martinez kicks the ball into the back of the net for a goal against Artesia Friday at the Cielo Grande Soccer Complex. (David Rocha Photo)

The Roswell High Lady Coyote soccer team turned in, arguably, one of their most complete performances of the season as they shut out district rival Artesia 3-0 at chilly, dark Cielo Grande in the opening round of the Fuddruckers Girls State 5A Soccer Championships. The match, played without lights due to an electronic malfunction, saw the Coyotes take control early in the second half and coast to the win.

The Lady Bulldogs (15-6) had beaten the Coyotes twice earlier in the season, but could not get anything past a stout Roswell High defense as they fell for the second year in a row to the Coyotes in the opening round of the state tourney.

“I mean…what can you say after something like that,” stated a happy coach Samantha Ward. “The girls came together and played hard. We are proud of them.”

Both teams came out strong with tough play on both sides – especially on the defensive front. No shots on goal were recorded by either team until the 11th minute when 8th-grader Zailor Lopez got one of which was easily saved by Maddie Battle, who recorded a shutout for the hosts.

Three minutes earlier, Elisa Cardenas, the leading scorer for the Bulldogs, went down and did not return. The visiting team was missing a step offensively from then on with a lot of the offense going through freshman Sadi Butler.

The Coyotes started to get going offensively as Heaven Vasquez missed high and Lina Cherinko missed wide right in the 14th minute. Five minutes later, Kaleigh Holloway had a nice run from midfield, but her shot came up just short as well. After receiving the goalie kick, senior Steffania Martinez came up from her mid-field position and simply booted a high shot to the goal which took a nice bounce right over the Bulldog goalie and into the net for a 1-0 lead.

“When lucks on your side, it’s good to go,” said Ward of the fortunate bounce on the initial goal. “They have a good goalie (Jacqueline Govea) and she just made a simple mistake and one goal makes a huge difference. I think that set the tone for us tonight.”

The lead would hold up as the smothering back line of Macey Martinez, Yajarya Castillo and Zarriah Herrera would not let much past. The Coyotes would suffer a late scare when a Bulldog shot clanked off the post with three minutes to play, but that would be the closest the visitors would get.

The second half saw the Bulldogs playing with a sense of urgency and the hosts staying aggressive. That aggressiveness payed off in the 51st minute for the Coyotes as Danielle Banda would head pass a perfect ball to Holloway who would dribble once and blast one in for a 2-0 lead.

“Danielle has a great eye for the field and she knows that Kai is going to be behind her,” said Ward. “They just work really well together. They work together and they put passes together and they are hard to beat together.”

The lead would grow three minutes later as Holloway would run down a through ball, beat three defenders and put one past a charging goalie. The great effort gave the Coyotes a 3-0 lead.

“Speed up top helps, skill also, and like I’ve said earlier, Kai doesn’t like to lose,” said Ward of Holloways nice goal.

With 26 minutes still to play it became obvious that the lights were not coming on, but the two sides continued to battle in the chilly dim evening to the bitter end.

The Coyotes (13-8 overall) now prepare to face top-seeded and defending state champion Albuquerque Academy in the quarterfinals. The game will be played in Bernalillo on Thursday at 9:30 a.m.

Roswell Chaos wins invitational

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Roswell Chaos U12 girls won the Hobbs Fall Invitational which took place Oct. 14-15. They scored 35 points and held all opponents to four goals. Pictured are coach Trey Flores, Lexi Pinon, Bryanna Castro, Leilani Rodriguez, Itzel Coronel, Isabella Flores, Liberty Ratliff (Goalie), Breanna Fowler, Emma Esquivel, Annalise Galindo, Mari Villa, Tatum Kincaid, Coach Danica Silva. (Lacy Rose Bently Photo)

Artesia woman reported missing

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A Silver Alert has been issued for an Artesia woman who has been missing since Tuesday.

The Artesia Police Department is asking for the public’s help in locating Loretta Williams, a 71-year-old Caucasian female, described as 5 feet, 5 inches tall, weighing 155 pounds, with gray hair and blue eyes.

Police said she may be wearing a brown wig. 

Williams was last seen around 6:30 a.m. Tuesday at 20098 W. Briscoe Ave., in Artesia, wearing jeans and a sweater. Police said Williams may be driving a Blue Hyundai Accent with New Mexico license plates.

Police said she’s believed to be in danger, if not located.

Anyone with any information about the whereabouts of Williams was asked to call the Artesia Police Department at 575-616-7155 or 911.

Riverbed’s homeless campers face removal

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Homeless man Jack Wright walks out toward the city, away from The Wash and his makeshift-tent home. (Trevier Gonzalez Photo)

As city leaders and homeless advocates grapple with the location of a proposed homeless camp, the Daily Record reached out Thursday to those living in the Berrendo Riverbed for their thoughts.

Winding down beside the Roswell Mall, Elwood Harpazo lives in “The Wash” — the name the homeless community gives to the riverbed.

“I’ve been here a couple of years now,” Harpazo said. “My mother grew up here so I ain’t got nowhere to be, and the rest of my life to get there.”

A pink warning notice from the city of Roswell was stapled to boards of wood where Harpazo has been living.

“This notice is to inform all persons camping in the Berrendo Riverbed to cease and desist this activity,” the notice stated. “Erecting tents or structures on city property is unlawful and trespassing per city code 8-1 and 10-1. You hereby have 30 days to vacate the premises or face additional actions, which could include jail time, fines, physical removal or the use of any other legal enforcement mechanism.”

The notice drafted for those living illegally in the riverbed informed them that the deadline to clear the area is by 5 p.m. on Nov. 17, with “no exceptions.”

Roswell city manager Joe Neeb said the Homeless Coalition has been trying to help relocate the homeless people residing within the areas.

“I think some of them have just kind of dispersed, so that’s all moving OK,” Neeb said. “The immediate impact to the city is kind of less, and that’ll give everybody a bit of a breather where they can come up with that plan to resolve this issue in a better manner.”

Harpazo said, to him, it looks like the city is trying to outlaw the homeless.

While he’s planning to move out into the county before the November deadline, Harpazo’s response to the eviction was clear.

“Leave us alone, man,” he said. “We’ve got enough problems. Go pick on somebody else.”

Neeb said while the language of the notice isn’t exactly friendly, it’s necessary.

“I mean, it is to the letter of the law as to what you have to do,” Neeb said. “We can’t leave them with question as to what the enforcement of those laws and rules are, and so — they do come across kind of rough at times, but they’re all written in a way that if we have to take the harder action, then we have that process in place.”

Another local, Jack Wright, said he has lived in The Wash on and off for a few years. He tries to help the incoming homeless where he can.

“Homelessness is growing,” Wright said. “I used to help people get their tents and stuff, but now there’s other people doing that.”

He told the newspaper that he had learned of the intended eviction directly.

“The city just told me,” Wright said. “They didn’t give me a sign.”

In response to the eviction, Wright said he is looking to find nearby shelter.

“I guess I’ll have to go out to the truck stop,” he said. “In my opinion, it would be more efficient for everybody if they just helped us clean it up and we stayed here. Some people have been here for so long — this is all they got.”

Rodney A. Lara, of Artesia, also lives in the area. He said he hasn’t appreciated how he and the homeless community had been perceived.

“We’re not animals,” Lara said. “We all have our own ways. We don’t like to be told what to do. That’s one of the main problems, (but) some of these people have psychological problems.”

Lara, who said the amount of people living there was incorrect, was able to list the names of others living within the community.

“I’ve seen people come and go — and it’s not true that there’s 20 people here,” Lara said. “The one’s that I know are Elwood, Marlin — John used to be over there — I don’t know where he went.”

Harpazo added that incorrect information has been spread about the area. He and other occupants feel singled out.

“They only targeted The Wash,” Harpazo said. “They keep saying there are 20 people down here. I’ve never seen more than nine. Right now, there’s three. We’ve been looking for the others, we think they’re hungry.”

Lara, noting his divorce and the loss of his mother, sister and home, said he went through a lot of loss all at once.

“When I was going through all these problems, I kind of lost it,” Lara said. “I got arrested for shoplifting when my mom had died. I was going into Wal-Mart, taking bottles of whiskey — I just flipped, it was too much to handle. But it was OK down here.”

After being on his own, Lara said a homeless man had offered him help.

“I met Paul when I was out here behind the McDonald’s,” Lara said. “He invited me to come down into The Wash. I got to know these people. Me and Paul have spent two or three winters out here and it is hard.”

Lara was also notified of the city’s eviction plans.

“It’s discrimination straight-out,” he said. “I know there are drug addicts and killers that have homes. If a homeless person bothers someone else — there’s a jail for that, just like anybody else.”

Lara said he’s been thinking on how to respond to the notice.

“I’m debating what I’m going to do when they kick us out of here,” he said. “I’m trying to make my life right but I have my problems.”

Lara said it feels like his years of work, military service and raising a family have come to nothing.

“They say we’re drinking and doing drugs,” Lara said. “People all over Roswell and Artesia drink, so why are they picking on us? Having us removed from here is not right. We’re not bothering anybody. It’s not right. I have a CDL, I was in the United States Army from ‘83 to ‘93 — I’m not stupid.”

City leaders have been unable to decide on the location of homeless camp after three proposed sites encountered opposition from nearby property owners, or ran into zoning issues since living in tents is not legal under city zoning law.

Harpazo said he isn’t interested in the idea of living at a tent city run by the city, or any organization.

“It’s an internment camp,” Harpazo said. “That fence isn’t there for me. I just see it as I’m a second-class citizen and their best interest is somebody else.”

Neeb said he understands the diversity within the homeless population.

“We’re going to be able to help some of them,” Neeb said. “(But,) we’re not going to be able to help all of them — they don’t want our help.

“Whatever solution we come up with has to fit their needs as well, too. I mean, and so, that’s where it’s difficult.”

At an Oct. 12 meeting, the Roswell City Council voted 6-3 to table the latest proposal to allow the Roswell Homeless Coalition to operate an outdoor homeless camp for up to 30 months on city property at South Grand Avenue and East Alameda Street. The proposed site at 300 E. Alameda St. followed the city’s Planning & Zoning Commission’s unanimous rejection of two other sites — one at a city Parks and Recreation Department office and equipment yard near North Virginia Avenue and East 12th Street, and a secondary site near Grand Avenue and East College Boulevard, directly south of the Wool Bowl.

Neeb said the Homeless Coalition is performing the background work in trying to figure out how the organization can build something.

“The city is ready to partner with them as well,” Neeb said. “And so, we’re just trying to find that mix. I think the site seems to have been the biggest challenge we’ve had, because we can’t find that right area where they’re close enough to the services, but it (also) doesn’t interrupt all the other businesses, or the residential side.

“A lot of different places are out there. I know there’s a way we can do it, and I know that we got the people in the community that will help us find that solution. I don’t think it’s the city’s responsibility by itself to find that out. We have to partner with whoever it is that can help do this, and I think that’s where the council’s committed to try and find that way.”

Neeb said he wants to find a way for the city to co-exist with the homeless community.

“I think that’s probably the thing that I would tell them,” he said. “We don’t want to disrupt their way of life necessarily if that’s how they want to live. I think they need to understand the impact they have on the community as well.

“I think most of them probably understand that.”

Neeb said the city has been struggling with the issue in trying to find the correct model to help with the issue, but has come to find out that there are many within the city that continue to show their care on the issue.

“Finding that model is challenging, but we’ll get there,” Neeb said. “We’re Roswell. We’ll figure it out.”

Editor Jeff Tucker and Features reporter Curtis Michaels contributed to this report.

Chaves County, BLM renew debate over resource plan

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“What we will offer up to the county is that when we do have a draft come out, we will share it with you at any time, sit down and go over it with you,” representatives from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management told Chaves County officials during a Thursday afternoon meeting about the Carlsbad Resource Management Plan, which involves portions of Chaves County. Chuck Schmidt, field manager of the Roswell office of the BLM, is in foreground. In the background at far left is BLM planner Hector Gonzalez of the Carlsbad office. At far right is Jim Stovall, Pecos District Manager. Ty Allen is assistant field manager for resources with the Carlsbad office. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

Robert Corn is a bit frustrated, as he is willing to let people know.

As chair of the Chaves County Board of Commissioners, he said he feels little progress has been made on efforts to work with members of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management on the update of the Carlsbad Resource Management Plan.

The county is designated by federal law as a coordinating agency, and the plan is important to some because it could limit grazing or other uses of federal land in Chaves County in the future.

While Corn and others said that they can appreciate the efforts of regional BLM staff, an effort both sides termed as “evolving,” Corn also said he feels that not much has been accomplished to resolve potential conflicts over land designations or have questions answered.

“We have moved maybe a quarter-inch during three meetings,” he said after the meeting.

Four people from the Roswell and Carlsbad offices of the Bureau of Land Management met with commissioners Thursday afternoon for the third public meeting to discuss their efforts to update the resource management plan, a seven-year process at this point.

Major concerns are how and why BLM designates federal land as Areas of Critical Environmental Concern or Lands with Wilderness Characteristics. If designated and managed as such, grazing of livestock or other human activities might be prohibited. Ranchers who currently use federal lands in the county have spoken about their concerns in previous meetings.

BLM representatives told commissioners that a draft of the plan is now being reviewed by the acting director of the bureau and another top manager in Washington, D.C.  When local staff receive the “green light” to move forward, BLM will share that draft in some way with commissioners to fulfill the federal requirement that BLM “coordinate” with local government officials to resolve any potential conflicts over land designations and uses.

The county passed three ordinances Oct. 19 to codify its intention to coordinate with BLM on its planning, land inventory and management decisions. Feeling they have not been involved in planning processes in the past, the county joined several other governmental entities in a lawsuit earlier this year against the federal agency.

“Our goal and our plan is basically to get ahead of this game and try to be first and try to get our issues covered prior to being so late in the game that we can’t get them covered or that it messes your timetable up,” said County Manager Stanton Riggs about the new county ordinances. “I know that I have said this before, local government is the entity that is set forth in the federal law that you are to deal with. We care about the public, but the public elected these individuals to represent them. And we have felt in the past, that counties across the country, really, have been at the end of the process, and we want to be at the start of the process.”

But the meeting made clear that the county and BLM still have challenges to reach common ground on what coordination will mean.

In fact, no agreement was reached at the meeting about how commissioners will review the draft once D.C. officials give the okay for local staff to prepare it a final draft for public review, an approval they hope will come by January.

County officials have requested on four occasions to have a hard copy of the plan so that they can review it page by page and make recommendations for revisions to BLM prior to its public release.

But Jim Stovall, Pecos District Manager for the BLM, which includes Roswell and Carlsbad offices, indicated two problems with that.

First, he said, local officials have been advised by a legal consultant not to give a paper copy to commissioners because the document then could be subject to laws requiring its public release. And the BLM doesn’t want the public to have access until the final draft is prepared.

Stovall said he has asked for legal advice on how to share the information.

“One way is to have you all come in the office, and the other way is that (electronic) format we gave you,” said Stovall, “because that Inspection of Public Records Act that was passed by the state, we don’t want to put you or us in a sensitive situation with draft materials hitting the street before it is ready for the public.”

Riggs and Margaret Byfield, executive director of American Stewards of Liberty, a consulting group representing the county and other governmental entities on legal issues involving BLM, argued that there did not appear to be a good reason to keep the documents from the public. Saying it wasn’t “rocket science or top secret information,” they argued that earlier release might help in the federal agency’s efforts to have public review of the document.

The discussion about that issue ended when Stovall said he would arrange for county officials to talk to a BLM legal advisor.

The second problem, Stovall said, is that he and others have received indications that D.C. officials will want the preparation of the final draft and the public release to occur quickly, which might not leave a great deal of time for commissioners to review the document and seek revisions prior to the public comment period.

BLM representatives also heard from commissioners about concerns over designating land as Areas of Critical Environmental Concern or Lands with Wilderness Characteristics.

BLM staff assured county officials that no new parcels labeled as such have been added to the plan since the county last reviewed the electronic document and that county official’s concerns about the designated parcels have been communicated with D.C. BLM managers.

One specific dispute involves Chaves County land used for grazing by ranchers that has been inventoried as potential Land with Wilderness Characteristics (LWC) parcels. To be a LWC parcel, the land must be of certain acreage as well as “pristine,” not touched in recent times by human activity.

As ranchers and commissioners, including T. Calder Ezzell Jr., have pointed out at least two meetings, some potential LWC parcels in Chaves County are sites where military training is occurring, involving heavy trucks, low-flying aircraft and explosions.

Ezzell expressed surprise to find that BLM staff still have not talked with the military or the military contractor to verify whether the activity is occurring over lands that have been inventoried as Lands with Wilderness Characteristics or Areas of Critical Environmental Concern.

“How could you not have?” Ezell asked, when told that BLM had not yet spoken with the military contractor.

Stovall and others indicated they would talk to the contractor and the Air Force and reiterated staff willingness to review the draft to discuss specific concerns and visit disputed parcels together once D.C. gives approval to move forward.

“We have been working on this plan for six or seven years,” said Stovall, “We are in between administration changes. The county came out with a land use plan, an amended plan, so we are trying to figure out the best way to work with the county when we have these moving targets. We are trying to be very thoughtful and respectful because things are moving and changing for us.”

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

SENM may face another pecan weevil quarantine

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ARTESIA — The New Mexico Department of Agriculture has drafted a quarantine plan for the pecan weevil in Eddy, Lea, Curry and Chaves counties.

Brad Lewis, interim division director of the NMDA was in Roswell, Artesia and Carlsbad Thursday presenting the proposal to those in the pecan industry.

According to information supplied by New Mexico State University, the pecan weevil was confirmed in several residential locations in southeastern and eastern New Mexico late last year and earlier this year.

NMSU’s information said the pecan weevil is native to the eastern U.S. and parts of the midwest but not New Mexico.

A quarantine was put in place by state agricultural officials earlier this year and the proposed quarantine would take hold on Nov. 20 and last for 180 days.

According to the draft plan, there would be restrictions on regulated articles that would prevent the spread of the pecan weevil in the state.

Anything associated with pecans that would be transported from quarantined counties to areas that aren’t under the quarantine would have to be accompanied by a certificate of treatment issued by a representative of NMDA for each shipment of regulated articles, certifying treatment under official supervision or agreement prior to transporting out of the quarantined area.

Lewis said pecans traveling from this area to other parts of the state would be placed in sealed trucks and then they would be put in a cold storage facility until the pest is vanquished.

“This whole thing is to help pecan growers stay in business,” said Eddy County extension agent Woods Houghton.

Hoby Bonham is involved with the pecan industry in Chaves County and he presented a plan to those attending the meeting in Artesia.

He said the plan was “written for growers.”

The plan is a multi-step one and it calls for establishing regulations on buying stations in Chaves County to establishing an eradication team within Chaves County.

“I have no skin in the game in Eddy County or Lea County,” Bonham said. “This (proposal) protects the growers as a whole.”

“Eddy (County) has more weevils than Chaves (County) has right now,” Bonham said.

Bonham said he’s not concerned about commercial growers or custom harvesters right now. His main concerns are those pecans that are found in people’s yards. He also said pecan theft is another problem for pecan producers.

In 2015, over 2,000 farms in the state were involved in commercial pecan production, according to NMSU.

Those same figures show that produced pecan nuts were worth more than $180 million, ranking first in the state for cash receipts from agricultural crops.

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

Civic center’s ceremony from the ground up

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Three-year-old Jacob Grant, the son of city council member Caleb Grant, sports a pair of safety glasses and a safety vest Thursday afternoon as he tends to the grass during the groundbreaking ceremony for the Roswell Convention and Civic Center’s expansion project. (Trevier Gonzalez Photo)

The further development on the center is being performed by HB Construction. Melissa Callas, vice president of community engagement for HB Construction, said the company has enjoyed the hospitality from the city of Roswell.

“They’ve welcomed us,” Callas said. “And, the bidding process was smooth, it was fair, and we are happy to be a part of this project.”

Callas, who noted their superintendent and an up-and-coming project engineer, said HB Construction will have a very strong team for the job.

The estimated time of completion for the project is set for late-July or early-August.

Ordinance for off-highway vehicles on city roads headed to public hearing

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An ordinance allowing large off-highway vehicles on some city roads is scheduled for a Nov. 9 public hearing before the Roswell City Council. Randy Robertson has been working for about a year to make operating the vehicles on city and county roads legal. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

A proposed ordinance to allow Roswell residents to use large off-highway vehicles on city streets will soon be considered at a public hearing, another step in a local man’s year-long effort to get the laws changed locally.

After many meetings and discussions involving Randy Robertson and law enforcement officers, the city attorney and city councilors, the City Council voted to allow a public hearing on a proposed ordinance. The meeting is scheduled Nov. 9 at 6 p.m. in the Roswell Museum and Art Center.

“Politics, you never know until they vote,” said Randy Robertson about the possibility of getting City Councilors to vote for the change to the Roswell City Code. “I am not going to say that I am 100 percent. I have a very good feeling about it, but I am not going to say 100 percent by no means.”

Robertson has been an off-road enthusiast for many years, and he said that he thinks life would be more convenient for some people if they could use their off-road vehicles for shorter trips around town.

“Our intention isn’t for people just to go cruising up and down Main Street,” he said, noting that the vehicles for the time being will not be allowed on highways or established truck routes, so would be prohibited on Main and Second streets and portions of East College Boulevard, North and South Atkinson Avenue and McGaffey Street.

“This is more or less for people who might want to pick up their kids from school or if your car (is temporarily out of commission).” he said. “The other reason why is the farmers. They fall under the agricultural act, but, on the flip side, they are going to be safe this way. They will have insurance, and they will be completely legal.”

Since New Mexico enacted legislation in 2016 allowing local governments to adopt ordinances permitting the use of off-highway vehicles on paved roads, six counties and 13 municipalities have either adopted or are considering such ordinances, according to the New Mexico Game and Fish Department website, which informs people about OHV use. Arizona also has allowed off-highway vehicles on select roads for years, Robertson said. He added that no one he has talked with is aware of any serious mishaps in New Mexico involving off-highway vehicles since the 2016 law passed.

Plenty of local residents agree with the ordinance, he said. He runs a Facebook page, Street Legal UTV, to keep about 138 supporters informed on the legalization effort.

As part his work to get the ordinance passed, he has agreed to create a video posted to YouTube to instruct people about “do’s and don’ts” should the ordinance pass.

The ordinance Robertson is proposing would allow only the larger, four-wheel Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle (ROVs), also sometimes called Utility Truck Vehicles (UTVs), on paved roads. These resemble large golf carts. Although state law allows for the smaller, straddle-seat vehicles, the proposed ordinance would specifically bar those. Robertson said he thinks they would be too dangerous on roads alongside autos and trucks. But he says the bigger vehicles are larger than Mini Coupes or some other passenger cars.

The proposed ordinance also requires that the vehicles meet a host of requirements such as: working headlights and tail lights, side mirrors, a speed odometer, insurance, a Motor Vehicle permit, a 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number, the capacity to go at least 35 miles per hour, a steering wheel, a weight below 1,750 pounds and a width of less than 80 inches.

If the city passes the ordinance, Robertson then will work for an ordinance to be adopted by the county. He said taking them one at a time is meant to ensure that the same ordinance is used in both the city and county. He already has made a couple of informal appearances at meetings of the Chaves County Board of Commissioners to discuss the idea.

“When you get the approved version from the city, bring a copy over here so we will take a look at it,” said Commission Chair Robert Corn on Oct 19. “I appreciate your staying put to the fire, as they say.”

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

Honoring NMMI alumni that have passed on

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Cadets and alumni stand in unity during Silver Taps at the Hagerman Barracks at the New Mexico Military Institute Thursday night. The traditional event at NMMI honors past alumni members who have passed away during the last year. (Trevier Gonzalez Photo)

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