AlamogordoTownNews.com Otero County, New Mexico Commission votes NOT to fund Couy Griffin Defense

The Otero County Commission met in special session for 31 minutes Friday morning July 1st to discuss a motion presented by Couy Griffin for the county to pay his legal expenses in a lawsuit filed against him for his removal from office.

The decision was made after 30 minutes of Mr. Griffin pleading his case and comments from the public. Some public comments were a bit aggressive as was Mr. Griffin in defense of his action.

After 13 minutes of dialog, the motion to vote was attempted to be called for by the commission chairwoman Vickie Marquardt at the special meeting July 1.  She then allowed Mr. Griffin to continue to defend himself in dialog and allowed a few public comments.

Mrs. Vickie Marquardt then made the formal motion for a vote after 30 minutes of dialog and seconded by Commissioner Matherly.  The meeting adjourned after 31 minutes.

The proposal to fund Mr. Griffin defense failed based on concerns of violating New Mexico’s and the County’s own anti-donation clause. The New Mexico Anti-Donation Clause states that “neither the state nor any county, school district or municipality… shall directly or indirectly lend or pledge its credit or make any donation to or in aid of any person, association or public or private corporation.”

quo warranto lawsuit was filed by Marco White, Mark Mitchell and Leslie Lakind naming Griffin’s participation in the Jan. 6 riot in Washington, D.C. as grounds for his removal from office.

A record of the motions of the lawsuit is found at

https://dockets.justia.com/docket/new-mexico/nmdce/1:2022cv00284/473159

The actual complaint document can be found at

On Jan. 17, 2021, Griffin was arrested on a federal trespassing charge for entering and remaining in a restricted building. He was found guilty and was sentenced June 17 to 14 days’ time served, $500 restitution, a $3,000 fine, community service and one year of supervised release.

In a statement to fellow Commissioners, he denied any connection to the riot.

“This lawsuit is to remove me from my capacity as county commissioner and prevent me from running for county commissioner, too on the basis that I was part of an insurrection in Washington, D.C. in which I haven’t been charged or convicted of anything of the sort,” Griffin said.

Commission Couy Griffin said he called the meeting after Otero County Attorney R.B. Nichols declined to give Griffin a public statement as to why Otero County could not provide Griffin with legal representation in the matter. 

Nichols said that “only the Otero County Commission can issue official County statements.”

“I can provide advice to the Commission on how they should do something, but an official County position comes from the county commission,” Nichols said.

Both the law firm of Mynatt Martínez Springer and the New Mexico Association on Counties advised against Otero County providing legal representation to Griffin, Nichols said.

Griffin’s legal issues are mounting as he is also in an ongoing legal battle over orders to register Cowboys for Trump, an organization he founded, as a political action committee. 

A jury trial in the criminal case against Griffin for his alleged failure to register Cowboys for Trump as a political action committee is scheduled to begin Sept. 19. In July 2020 an arbitrator chosen by Cowboys for Trump agreed with New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver that Cowboys for Trump fell under the jurisdiction of the Campaign Reporting Act and should be registered as such. Griffin and the organization were ordered to file delinquent expenditure and contribution reports beginning in 2019 and to pay $7,800 in accrued fines.

Couy Griffin as a part of his statements today mentioned, “he too was disappointed in President Trump that he was not getting support from the president but would rather have support from the county.” He claimed he had been, “fed to the wolves, referred to several members of the public as tyrannical Marxist and condemned mass media for failure of support.” He said, “he respects the decisions of the County Commission and the courts and believes God is on his side.”

The commission adjourned without funding his lawsuit.

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AlamogordoTownNews.com: Otero County Commission Schedules Special Meeting to Discuss County Taxpayers to Pay for Griffin Defense

A special meeting of the Otero County Commission has been called for July 1st to discuss the possibility of Otero County taxpayers paying to defend Couy Griffin in a lawsuit filed against him for removal from office. 

Discuss and consider approval of legal representation for Commissioner Griffin in quo warranto lawsuit filed against him. https://agendasuite.org/iip/otero/file/getfile/23338

The case is 

STATE OF NEW MEXICO
COUNTY OF SANTA FE
FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT
STATE OF NEW MEXICO, ex rel.,
MARCO WHITE, MARK MITCHELL,
and LESLIE LAKIND,
Plaintiffs,
vs. 

COUY GRIFFIN,
Defendant

The case was file for removal from office: “Plaintiffs Marco White, Mark Mitchell, and Leslie Lakind, by their undersigned counsel, bring this quo warranto complaint to remove Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin from office and disqualify him from holding any future public office pursuant to Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and NMSA 1978, Section 44-3- 4(B) (1919), based on his participation in the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the United States Capitol.”

The subject before the Otero County Commission is should Otero County and its taxpayers pay to defend this lawsuit against Couy Griffin. His defenders argue yes this is filed from those outside of Otero County while his detractors argue the county should pick up the expense to defend him.

The meeting may be viewed via life stream at:

https://co.otero.nm.us/277/Commission-Meeting-Live-Stream

The question for citizens and public comments may be emailed, called in or made the day of the commission meeting is, “Is spending TAXPAYER money to defend Couy Griffin by the county highest and best use of taxpayer funds or should be fund his case privately?”

The world will be watching, as the Otero County, New Mexico Commission seems to get the attention of the nation’s press. 

What is disappointing is that attention given to Otero County by the national press is NOT for business development, quality of life, success in redevelopment, military partnerships, the beauty and attributes of the natural environment around us, but the coverage routinely evolves around political novelty of Couy Griffin and the Otero County Commission. 

Let’s hope this is a quick meeting and the commissioners get back to the people’s business of uniting the community as we inch toward the 4th of July, positive growth, business recruitment, jobs, safety and prosperity, and the health and happiness of the citizens of Otero County, New Mexico.

This too shall pass…

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AlamogordoTownNews.com: New York Avenue Plans an Active 1st Week of July – Alamogordo’s Cultural Arts & History District

The merchants of New York Avenue in partnership with Alamogordo Main Street are planning a very active first week of July as Alamogordo kicks into the Summer Months ahead!

July 1st – Alamogordo’s New York Avenue Merchants celebrate the Downtown Nights First Friday New York Avenue – the First Friday of every month all merchants along the New York Avenue Arts, History and Commerce District stay open late till at least 8 pm and most are offering specials to include live music, spun DJ music, refreshments, special prices, meet the artisans or vendors and more. From food trucks to live performance artists you never know what you will find on Alamogordo’s New York Avenue for the first Friday events. 

Participating stores include Victoria Alamogordo, Roadrunner Emporium, Pins & Needles, Elite Memories Boutique, Globug, Mia’s Collectibles, Good News Thrift Store, The Local Bodega, Blush Beauty Bar, Desert Threads, Mission Billiards, New York Avenue Art and Music, Rocket City Gaming and more!

Join Roadrunner Emporium July 1st for a live musical event that will showcase Freddie Duran “El Troubador” from 5 pm to 8 pm. Come and join the fun of live music in Roadrunner Emporium 928 New York Avenue Alamogordo

Freddie Duran is an American born singer/songwriter/entertainer hailing from Alamogordo, New Mexico and now residing and performing throughout the Phoenix area. His vast repertoire consists of both original and cover songs sung in English and Spanish. Once awarded Arizona Songwriter of the Year, he is working on his next two music videos directed by longtime band member/guitarist Carole Pellatt. They’re looking at mid to late June premiers and releases for his singles, “Questions For God” and “New Mexico Midnights”.

Freddie’s two music videos “La Llorona” & “Where the Birds Sing in Spanish” can be seen here and were directed by John Koop.

Winner of the “TEMPE SONGWRITING CONTEST”, FREDDIE DURAN has been performing and recording in and around the desert southwest for most of his life (other than three years in the L.A. area.) Back when STAR SEARCH was having local tryouts in Phoenix, he got 2nd place to none other than David Spade.

Originally from Alamogordo, New Mexico – he draws upon the beauty and culture of the southwest for much of his inspiration. Thus the label “Adobe Rock” describing his musical style. He also likes to write about the “politics of love and life”, creatively blending his musical and verbal vocabulary skills to construct a number of intriguing situations and thought provoking themes. And Freddie’s dynamic voice is the ultimate messenger to deliver all of this information to your ears.

Freddie was invited to perform the National Anthem at the Arizona Cardinal’s – Kansas City Chiefs game as part of their Hispanic Heritage Celebration during their inaugural season.

Come in shop, browse and listen to live musical performances, meet the artisans and more on Alamogordo’s Main Street New York Avenue 5 pm to 8 pm July 1st.

July 4th come hang out on 10th street to New York Avenue for the Alamogordo Center of Commerce hosted July 4th Independence Day Parade. The corner of 10th and New York is the turn in point where the floats slow down for photos and complete the route from Oregon Street down 1oth ending on New York Avenue. Come celebrate with national and New Mexico pride July 4th at 10 am with the parade and then shopping at New York Avenue local businesses after the parade.

July 6th New York Avenue Merchants, Alamogordo Main Street and local farmers and vendors partner to bring back the New York Avenue Summer Seasonal Farmers Market. This farmers market event will be hosted on New York Avenue every Wednesday in July and August from 5 PM to 7 PM. So come to New York Avenue Wednesday night and visit the participating merchants that will be open late and of course support the local farmers and curators of local products available only on Wednesdays in Alamogordo’s Cultural Arts and History District – New York Avenue.

While visiting the local merchants check out the other upcoming classes, ghost and history tours and other events that will be happening this summer. 

In August, save the date for Saturday August 20th when Flickinger Center will be closing off the street and hosting the Otero County Heritage Festival and Street Dance from 4 pm to 10 pm.

Save the date of October 8th, 2022 when Alamogordo Main Street, New York Avenue merchants and other partner under the vision of the legendary. Claudia Powell to bring Rockabilly Alamogordo 2022. This event will include vendors, artists, crafters, food, live music, tattooing, contests, and talent not seen in Alamogordo for several years. This event is sure to entertain and inspire.

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AlamogordoTownNews.com Couy Griffin Given Light Slap on the Wrist as Sentence for Insurrection Participation

Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin was given a slight slap on the wrist for his participation in the January 6th events at the nation’s capital.

The founder of the “Cowboys for Trump” organization and commissioner of Otero County, New Mexico, Couy Griffin, was sentenced to 14 days in jail, a $3,000 fine, 60 hours of community service and a year of supervised release on Friday after being convicted of entering restricted U.S. Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, 2021.

Griffin, who has been in jail for 20 days, will receive credit for time served and will not have to serve additional time.

Griffin was found guilty in March of the misdemeanor, which carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison. A federal judge acquitted him of another misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct in a bench trial during which the judge, not a jury, renders the verdict.

Judge Trevor McFadden ruled that Griffin was guilty of the charge that arose from his illegal entry of U.S. Capitol grounds in the vicinity of then-Vice President Mike Pence, who was in the Capitol building for the counting of the Electoral College votes and remained in the Capitol complex during the riot.

Griffin’s sentencing in Washington, D.C., is happening on the same day as New Mexico’s deadline to certify its election results, and currently, Otero County is refusing to certify, citing unspecified concerns about the Dominion voting machines used in the June 7 primary.

The secretary of state and the state Supreme Court have ordered Otero County’s commission to certify its results, and there is an emergency meeting of the commission today at 4pm, although it is not clear whether Griffin, who told CNN he would vote against certifying, will be back in New Mexico for the meeting or will be joining remotely?

Griffin was not accused of any act of physical violence or of entering the Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021, but of being present on restricted Capitol grounds cordoned off by law enforcement and closed to the public ahead of the election certification. He asked the judge to sentence him to no more than two months’ probation, which his lawyer argued was the average term for such an offense.

To the extent his presence there contributed to the distress of outnumbered law enforcement officers, he offers them his sincere apology,” the defense wrote in a prehearing filing, later adding, “No evidence, in any case, indicated that Griffin’s purpose in being in the area was driven by [Pence’s] presence specifically” at the Capitol.

Griffin, his attorneys argued, did not personally endanger Pence by his presence on Capitol grounds and should not be treated as if he had.

“Though he is of limited means, Griffin would seize an opportunity to offer assistance to injured officers and to contribute to the repair of physical damage to the Capitol. Griffin vows to never again enter a restricted area, at the Capitol or anywhere else,” the filing added.

Prosecutors, however, said Griffin should get 90 days in prison with credit for the 20 days in prison he has already served. The defendant was part of the mob that “succeeded in halting the Congressional certification,” according to a recent court filing.

Griffin remained on the Capitol grounds for over two hours while rioters engaged in acts of violence and property damage on the Capitol grounds,” the memo read.

The government contended that despite statements to the contrary, Griffin has shown a lack of remorse for his actions. Referring to the split ruling of one conviction and one acquittal rendered by McFadden, prosecutors noted that Griffin tweeted in the weeks after his trial and criticized the judge.

The 1 I lost I will appeal. We SHOULD have won a grand slam on both counts,” Griffin tweeted. “McFaddens PRE written response was pathetic! I wonder who wrote it??”

Prosecutors also allege he has used his legal fight as a way to raise money, asking for contributions to an online funding page.

Jail time, the government argued, was the only way to deter Griffin from acting in such a way again, a claim his legal team, countering, “The shame Griffin has experienced is itself a guarantee of deterrence.”

He was arrested in the weeks following the attack and held in pretrial detention before his legal team successfully won his court-ordered release. Griffin claimed he was innocent and argued he was unaware that Pence was still anywhere in the Capitol area. He did not testify in his own defense.

Griffin received credit for time previously served and will not have to serve additional time. Terms of his supervised release and community service will be released in subsequent articles.

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AlamogordoTownNews.com Court Issued Writ of Mandamus, Commissioner Vickie Marquardt Responds, Prosecutor Adds to Couy Griffin Sentencing Dialog

The New Mexico Supreme Court issued a writ of mandamus Wednesday against the Otero County Commission for certification of 2022 primary election returns.

During a special commission meeting on June 13, the group illegally declined to certify the 2022 primary election results. The state Supreme Court has ordered the county commissioners to certify the vote following a request from New Mexico’s Democratic Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver.

Oliver explained in a statement that the three commissioners were “potentially disenfranchising every Otero County voter who legally and securely cast a ballot” and are “appeasing unfounded conspiracy theories.”

Oliver also singled out the commission for offering “no evidence to prove any problems with the vote tabulators or election returns.” One of the commissioners, Vickie Marquardt, said, “I have huge concerns with these voting machines” because “I just don’t think in my heart” that Dominion equipment can’t “be manipulated.”

The commission is meeting in special session on Friday; however, Couy Griffin is scheduled for a sentencing hearing in Federal Court in Washington DC for his role in the insurrection thus his attendance is in doubt.  Federal prosecutors are asking the court to consider the refusal to approve the vote canvass and the subsequent criminal referral to the NM attorney general as part of the sentencing considerations for Couy Griffin tomorrow.

During a special commission meeting on June 13, the group illegally declined to certify the 2022 primary election results per legal interpretation of the Secretary of State and the New Mexico Supreme Court. The state Supreme Court has ordered the county commissioners to certify the vote following a request from New Mexico’s Democratic Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver.

Oliver explained in a statement that the three commissioners were “potentially disenfranchising every Otero County voter who legally and securely cast a ballot” and are “appeasing unfounded conspiracy theories.”

Oliver also singled out the commission for offering “no evidence to prove any problems with the vote tabulators or election returns.” One of the commissioners, Vickie Marquardt, said, “I have huge concerns with these voting machines” because “I just don’t think in my heart” that Dominion equipment can’t “be manipulated.”

Mrs. Vickie Marquardt Chairwoman of the Otero County Commission has issued a press release this afternoon stating her concerns with the election between GB Oliver and Amy Barela which is an 11-vote variance and will be forced into a recount if the election is certified. Per her press release she is now giving specific examples of what she believes to be election irregularities. The irregularities outlined however are not Dominion Machine Driven as outlined in commissions concerns but they have to do with voters who reside on properties without a dwelling so potentially fraudulent voting. Which indeed would be an issue but not the issue initially listed and solved by doing away with the voting machines. Fraudulent voting is a distinctly different issue than trust in a machine.  The story gets even more interesting and tomorrows special meeting of the commission is sure to be heated and entertaining. 

Mrs. Vickie Marquardt Chairwoman of the Otero County Commission’s press release is below…

Stay Tuned tomorrows Otero commission meeting will be entertaining in the dialog from all sides and the sentencing of Couy Griffin will both make national headlines. All eyes are again on Otero County from around the nation but not about prosperity, jobs creation and growth. All eyes are in Otero County with mixed emotions of unease questioning is the is precursor to what to expect with the November elections and what is in store for our nation of laws and a fragile democracy. 

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New Mexico Influence Magazine Article Reprint: The Understated Influence of Alamogordo’s Black Churches

By Chris Edwards, CEO 2nd Life Media/Roadrunner Emporium, Alamogordo reprint from New Mexico Influence Magazine – April May Edition

“Do all the good you can,

By all the means you can,

In all the ways you can,

In all the places you can,

To all the people you can,

As long as ever you can.” – John Wesley’

John Wesley was an English cleric, theologian, and evangelist, who was a leader of a revival movement within the Church of England known as Methodism. The societies he founded became the dominant form of the independent Methodist movement that continues to this day.

While researching this article on the “influence” of the Black Church in Alamogordo, we reached to the leadership of several of Alamogordo’s Black churches. I was surprised that the Reverend Warren Robinson of Alamogordo’s Owen’s AME Church provided me the quote above from a Caucasian theologian born in 1703 as the starting point of my journey of exploration. But in reading into the quote and speaking with the various pastors and theologians the path Reverend Robinson was sending me down was to understand the meaning of “service,” and that service expands well beyond the confines of a “Black Church” or any church for that matter.

When one researches the American Black experience, the fights for social justice and American society, it becomes clear that no pillar of the African American community has been more central to history, identity, and social justice than the “Black Church. Reverend Robinson made it very clear to me that in Alamogordo, “there is no single voice speaking as the Black Church”, just as there is no Black religion.

Pastor Mark Anthony Phillips of Alamogordo’s Holy Temple Church of God in Christ emphasized that the church is about” traditions and faith”, and that laws and societal norms may change, “but the foundation of faith is still and will always remain consistent in scripture.” Pastor Phillips served in the US Airforce for 24 years and then was called to serve as a pastor. In 2000 he was ordained and in 2018 became head pastor of his congregation.

Pastor Johnnie L Walker leader of Alamogordo’s New Covenant Worship Center concurs that the “foundation of the church and the teachings of God and Jesus are the foundation but that the approach to spread the word is much different than times of the past.” Pastor Walker as the newest pastor of Alamogordo’s Black Church community is viewed by many in the Black faith community as representing the “next generation of pastoral leadership for Alamogordo.” Pastor Walker’s outreach is more technologically progressive than the church of the past. He says some sermons over half of his participants are online, yet a challenge is they are not as engaged as an in-person service. Pastor Phillips emphasis was, “that there is no true substitution, to an in-person worship service”, but admits for the church, Black or otherwise, “to stay relevant, we must all evolve in approachall the while sticking to the fundamentals of faith.”

The Black Church This is Our Story, This is Our Song; a book by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. tells the reader that “the traditions and faiths that fall under the umbrella of African American religion, particularly Christianity, constitute two stories; one of a people defining themselves in the presence of a higher power and the other of their journey for freedom and equality in a land where power itself-and even humanity-for so long was (and still is) denied them.”

“Collectively, these churches make up the oldest institution created and controlled by African Americans and as such they are more than simply places of worship. In the centuries since its birth in the time of slavery, the Black Church has stood as the foundation of Black religious, political, economic, and social life. For those who lived through slavery followed by Jim Crow racism, the church provided a refuge: a place of racial and individual self-affirmation, of teaching and learning, of psychological and spiritual sustenance, of faith and a symbolic space where black people, enslaved and free, could nurture the hope for a better today and a much better tomorrow.”

As a white male that grew up in the south, I witnessed the aftereffects of the implementation of the civil rights act. I was bussed, had one of the first black teachers in a white school in Memphis, and I saw firsthand, racism in action. I witnessed the influence on my classmates, my peers, and my generation in the aftermath of Jim Crow, my generation would refer to this period as a “cleanup phase”, cleaning up the mistakes of past generations. This was the generation that was supposed to bridge racism, that was to rebuild a community that did not see color, race nor creed and our generation was the transitional generation. However, in many ways it seems we have failed in that aspiration, thus the evolution of Black Lives Matters.

The influence of the Black Church has always been one of a “safe-house” for people of color. But its mission today has moved well beyond that, to one of “service to a broader community.” Interestingly, all these years later, when I attend a church service, I seek the “Black Church” as my refuge. I find the “Black Church” to be more welcoming, less judgmental, and more spiritually enlightening to my void in faith, and that is why this story is important to me.

Alamogordo’s Black Church community has a history that followed a parallel path to the rest of the country. The Black community upon the founding of Alamogordo was a segregated community. The schools were segregated with Corinth also referred to as the Delaware School, created for Black youth, and the Dudley School for Hispanic youth. Alamogordo well ahead of most school systems nationwide and began desegregation early, 1946 for Hispanic youth and 1950 for Black Youth.

The building that once housed the Black Children, as Corinth School is now part of the structure that makes up Corinth Baptist Church which is under the leadership of Reverend James E. Forney. The property on which the present church stands was purchased from the school system after desegregation. Today, 94 years since its founding in 1928, Corinth is a symbol of the “city that sits on a hill” with “the light of her various ministries shedding rays throughout this community, state, nation and even in foreign fields-a beacon beckoning to all who have a need of her love and protection” according to its pastor.

Owen Chapel AME Church was established in 1939 in Alamogordo. The church started in the homes of faithful member who were determined to establish an African Methodist Episcopal presence in this area. The history of that gathering was strong enough for the African Methodist Episcopal church to supply a pastor and a relationship with the greater church organization. The history and the activities of Owen Chapel AME church are rich and varied. Pastor Warren Robinson leads the church with a mission of service to the community and one of inclusion and diversity. Though Robinson leads a predominately black congregation with an emphasis on the historical importance of the history of the church to the black experience, his preaching style is one of inclusion of ALL people and a celebration of diversity within the Alamogordo community. His experience in building bridges of understanding between diverse groups is his trademark. Owen A.M.E is the most diverse congregation in Alamogordo. Robinson has received the President George Bush’s Call to Service Award/USA Freedom Corps. He was awarded the Alamogordo Rotary Paul Harris Fellow Award and was given the Office of African American Affairs Everyday Hero Award in 2019. He lives service in his daily actions.

My question to the pastors of Alamogordo’s Black Church community revolves around the “Influence of the Black Church” in modern society. Is the Black Church relevant as we move forward decade’s past slavery, Jim Crow, the marches on Selma and the implementation of the civil rights act and the new youth empowerment by groups such as Black Lives Matter?

The response from all of Alamogordo’s pastors was that yes indeed the “Black Church” is relevant and does indeed still have “influence.” “That influence is as a servant to the community, we as pastors must be more community involved, listen more, talk less we must go where God is and where God is needed,” explained Pastor Phillps. He continued, “it used to be that the women wore beautiful hats and men wore their Sunday best, now we dress down, dress comfortable, welcome and we listen.” Pastor Johnnie Walker explained, “we must get outside our church walls, hit the streets and remind folks there is still an answer there it is hope to solve needs.”

Alamogordo’s Black Pastoral leadership has taken service to heart and each leader is moving their mission forward in a variety of ways.

Pastor Walker has a newly acquired church building that will soon host a new school. The Phoenix Learning Academy team will provide an intensive academic program with a focal point and emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). This STEM model will call for Project/Problem Based Learning lessons, capstone projects, and enrichment learning programs with student activity periods. PLTW (Project Lead the Way) Launch curriculum will also be implemented at the elementary grades, providing strategies for students to adopt a design-thinking mindset through compelling activities, projects, and problems that bring learning to life. This is certainly meeting a community need with thinking outside the box and leadership in implementation by the “Black Church.”

The Joy Center Alamogordo recently hosted a groundbreaking for an expanded 12,000 square foot campus with childcare facilities and more to better serve the greater needs of Alamogordo.

Pastor Robinson has served on a variety of non-profit boards across the community, as the police and hospital chaplain and has now thrown his name into contention as a candidate for Magistrate Judge.

Each pastor is expanding their use of technology, reaching an audience through expanded offerings of service to the Alamogordo community and are reminded daily that the traditions and the stability of the church ultimately bring people home to the church. People still get married, people still die and need funerals for closure and solace, the traditions and rituals of familiarity are there when the people need them. For Maya Angelou, like the other members of her generation, the words of the King James Bible, the power of the Negro Spirituals, and the sermonic tradition of the Black church were the vernacular language and soundtrack of black life and a safe home. As the crosses carried by the civil rights generation are past to the shoulders of the Black Lives Matter generation, churches and their leaders must evolve with the faithful. The evolution of the Black Church is quietly on display in Alamogordo for those enlightened or informed enough to see it and its “understated influence through service.”

https://acrobat.adobe.com/link/review?uri=urn:aaid:scds:US:e604d3e0-ec11-4fc2-88c2-3b67cf357592

AlamogordoTownNews.com Settlement Agreement Executed between EchoMail and Otero County

As thousands of travelers trapse the byways to come enjoy the beauty of Otero County and Alamogordo this weekend, and the spectacle of the Thunderbirds and other awesome displays of military pride at Holloman Airforce Base’s Air Show, the murmurs of spectacle also are running amuck around Couy Griffin and a planned Monday May 9th “Special Meeting” of the Otero County Commission. 

In a news article released by The Paper, Tierna Unruh-Enos is the publisher at The Paper.

In an article Published May 5th, 2022, at 2:27 pm it suggests that “EchoMail has canceled the contract with the county and finds NO Election Fraud.”

“The “audit” of the 2020 general election in Otero County is facing a setback. According to the Otero County Attorney RB Nichols, the software company EchoMail has canceled the contract with the county. EchoMail was given the contract by Otero County at the urging of a volunteer group of citizens called the New Mexico Audit Force. The group is led by former NMSU professor David Clements and his wife Erin Clements.

In January, the Otero County Commission approved an election audit contract of $49,750 with EchoMail. The EchoMail software has been used in other election audits such as the ones in Maricopa County, AZ, led by the Cyber Ninjas. Election officials in Maricopa disputed nearly every claim found in the audit.

Contract for Services Not Rendered

EchoMail received its first payment of $24,875 from Otero County in February per the terms of the contract. On March 17, the House Congressional Oversight Committee launched an investigation into the Otero County audit and the EchoMail contract. That same day, EchoMail demanded that the balance of the contract be paid in full after turning in a 13-page document of charts and graphs with no actual analysis. The County disputed the claim, saying that they didn’t receive the services they paid for. On April 15, EchoMail returned $15,125 to the county and canceled the remainder of the contract.

Legal documents show that EchoMail contended that it had completed its contract and found no election fraud as a result of its services.

County Commissioner Couy Griffin has scheduled a special commission meeting on Monday, May 9 to discuss the audit — and to propose getting rid of voting machines in the county.”

Questionable Donations

Since the cancellation of the contract, New Mexico Audit Force has been left to its own devices to complete the audit and analysis on its own. They are not contracted by the county, nor are they a registered business in the state of New Mexico.

Couy Griffin has already gone on the defensive with a tweet to discredit the story and promising a spectacle at Monday’s Commission meeting.

In the meantime, the commission needs to tread lightly to prevent the county from having to expend taxpayer funds to defend its actions in hearings before the courts and or before Congress. 

As the Santa Fe New Mexican has reported, “Complaints of harassment and intimidation by volunteers going door to door in Otero County as part of a group that says it’s auditing the county’s 2020 presidential election results prompted Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver and Attorney General Hector Balderas to issue a voter risk advisory”

Otero County is under investigation after spending $50,000 on election audit by various legal entities and may have to defend its actions in court or via fines.

In the US Congress the House Oversight Committee has launched an investigation into a partisan ballot review in Otero County, New Mexico, where an “audit force” is going door to door and questioning voters.

The Committee is investigating whether the company’s audit and canvass in New Mexico illegally interferes with Americans’ right to vote by spreading disinformation about elections and intimidating voters,” House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, N.Y., and Jamie Raskin, Md., the chairman of the subcommittee on civil rights and civil liberties, wrote in a letter addressed to V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, the founder of EchoMail.

According to an article released today by Daily Beast; “The audit came under state and federal scrutiny after EchoMail’s CEO and allies were found to have promoted wild election conspiracy theories. But after a financial dispute with the county, EchoMail packed its bags up early.

“EchoMail fulfilled their obligations under the Contract and found No Election Fraud as a result of their services,” EchoMail’s attorney told The Daily Beast via email.”

All the rhetoric aside; the facts are that a Settlement Agreement has been executed between the County of Otero, New Mexico and EchoMail signed by the CEO of EchoMail and the County Chairperson of Otero County.

A Settlement Agreement has been executed by EchoMail and Otero County ending the relationship and with a demand for a refund for failing to deliver services agreed upon. 

A copy of the signed and executed settlement agreement is contained below…

https://agendasuite.org/iip/otero/file/getfile/23035

Let’s hope Monday’s Special Commission Meeting does not become the national news spectacle that it potentially could. 

Let’s hope rhetoric is kept at bay and the real spectacle reported is the results of a successful Air Show this weekend with 1000’s of happy shoppers spending many dollars in Otero County and contributing positively to growth and prosperity of this beautiful community. 

Let’s put our best foot forward daily, for a county that works together for mutual prosperity, and happiness, where positivity prevails, so too comes integrity in governance and in its people. 

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AlamogordoTownNews.com National Small Business Week on Alamogordo’s MainStreet New York Avenue

May 1st through 7th is the official week of Small Business designated by the Small Business Administration as Small Business Week.

Sherwin Williams Paint Store, GloBug, Elite Memories Boutique, Blush Hair Salon, Showcase Carpets and Tile, New,Mexico Influence Magazine, Renefit Southeast New Mexico Influence Magazine, Fitness, AlamogordoTownNews.com, 2nd Life Media, Emanuel Lydia Productions, Our Little Country Store at Roadrunner Emporium, the Local Bodega, Del Ora Goldsmith, Rocket City Game Lounge, Mission Billiards, MoniCakes, Barbies New York Avenue Salon, D & H Stamp and Sign Company, Capped, Flickinger Center, Country Corner Kitchen, Believe It Nutrition, StrangeLove Tattoo, Alamo Jump, Picacho Peak Brewing, Good News Thrift Store, and new shops coming – this is the New York Avenue business district and this is Alamogordo MainStreet and that is Small Business. 

Alamogordo’s Main Street Business District of New York Avenue represents the largest concentration of small businesses in Alamogordo.

From the cultural arts, classes,  live music and antiques of Roadrunner Emporium, to fine entertainment at the Flickinger Center, to a higher end Fine Art experience at New York Art and Music, to finest in fashions at Elite Memories Boutique, beauty and fashion at Blush Salon, Fine speciality gifts at Victoria Alamogordo, finest in quilting supplies and fabrics at Pins and Needles, excellence in locally procured selections at the Local Bodega, trivia and beer at Picacho Peak Brewing Company, late night gaming at Rocket City Game Shop, billiards play at Mission Billiards, tile and flooring, paint supplies, nutrition needs or a hot breakfast each can be found in the New York Avenue business district of Alamogordo’s MainStreet.

The Alamogordo MainStreet organization is concentrated on revitalization and partnerships to reinvent this important corridor and in community partnership with the Alamogordo Center of Commerce, the city of Alamogordo and New Mexico MainStreet; it celebrates Small Business Week with a reminder of this important corridor to the economic vitality of Alamogordo, Otero County and Southern New Mexico. 

Alamogordo MainStreet Executive Director Nolan Ojeda via a press statement concerning Small Business Week reminds Alamogordo citizens; “Alamogordo MainStreet is Small Business. The partnership businesses of Alamogordo MainStreet are the heartbeat of Alamogordo and is exactly what the SBA seeks to highlight with Small Business Week May 1st thru 7th. As the Executive Director of Alamogordo MainStreet, I’d like to personally invite you to our district, this week and (of course every week), as we celebrate Small Business Week and cap it off with our Downtown Nights Celebration this Friday with most stores open till 8 pm. This Friday night we will have a live radio remote from KALH radio at Roadrunner Emporium, a DJ spinning music in front of Victoria some special street vendors and special pricing and events at most of the stores till 8 pm.” 

Nolan continued, “We also welcome all of those coming in this weekend for the Holloman Air Show and invite them to see what makes Alamogordo’s MainStreet the New York Avenue district so unique.”

Rene Sepulveda partner in Roadrunner Emporium explained that the partnership between him and Chris Edwards, is so excited with the momentum of Alamogordo MainStreet and the New York Avenue business partnerships; “that we deepening our partnership with Emmanuel Renteria and Lydia Aspen and their New York Art and Music Studio and investing into the district idea of creating a cultural arts sub-district.  The first example of that investment partnership was our joint Evening Under the Stars Event this past weekend. That event was the tip of the iceberg in showing the potential of arts on New York Avenue. This event resulted in several thousands of dollars worth of art to be purchased by collectors and showcased musical talent with multiple performances throughout the evening.”

The small businesses of New York Avenue have two events scheduled for May Downtown Nights is Friday May 6th with merchants open till 8 pm and Atomicon is Saturday the 14th with a full array of costumed fun similar to a traditional ComiCon event with the street closed off from 8th Avenue to 12th and to include a Hobbit Village at Patrons Hall that evening.

Alice Weinman the owner of Victoria Alamogordo and the veteran business owner of the district says of Small Business Week, “we’ve been in Historic Downtown Alamogordo for 37 years, still here and still moving onward.” 
Alamogordo Small Business is moving forward which is evident every day with the renewed energy of Alamogordo MainStreet and New York Avenue. Come on down and join the multiple small businesses for Small Business Week! 

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AlamogordoTownNews.com The Magic of Wool, Wood, Clay and Oil

The Magic of Wool, Wood, Clay and Oil

Artists Susan and Scott Goewey with Georgia Stacy to show at Otero Artspace beginning this Friday 

On the First Friday of the month, May 6, from 5 – 7 pm, Otero Arts will host a reception for Susan Goewey, weaver and painter along with her husband Scott Goewey, potter. Also showing with the couple is Georgia Stacy sculptor and ceramist. The Artspace is located at the corner of 12th St. and Indiana Ave. in Alamogordo. The exhibit will be open from 1 to 4pm Thursday through Sunday until the show closes on May 31st.

Susan Goewey has been a spinner, weaver, dyer and painter for over 40 years. Her work reflects her closeness to nature.

Scott Goewey creates sculptural pottery that draws the viewer to want to touch and hold the pieces.

Georgia Stacy is a sculptural woodworker and ceramist. Her carvings tell of the human experience. Her ceramics lend themselves to stimulate our imagination.

We hope you will join Otero Artspace at the Womens Club 1118 Indiana Avenue, Alamogordo 

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AlamogordoTownNews.com Influence Magazine New Mexico Features 7 Local Women of Power & So Much More

2nd Life Media AlamogordoTownNews.com Influence Magazine New Mexico Features 7 Local Women of Power & So Much More

With its origins; the historic cultural arts and commerce zone of New York Avenue in Alamogordo, New Mexico, conceived by New York Avenue entrepreneur and editor Meike Schwarz; the new May/June 22 edition of Southeastern New Mexico Influence Magazine has many articles showcasing what is diverse and cool about the region. This newest edition of the print edition of the magazine launches with a launch party May 13th at Picacho Peak Brewing Co. on Friday, May 13th, at 6:00 pm at 3900 W. Picacho Avenue, Las Cruces, NM 88007 phone (575) 647-4797 RSVP’s for the party are required E-mail info@influencenm.com to reserve your seats. 

This author contributed three stories; one highlighting the Ghosts of New York Avenue and Alamogordo titled “Spirits from the Other Side” that is sure to enlighten and intrigue the reader, another spotlighting, “The Understated Influence of Alamogordo’s Black Churches” and a final article in collaboration with Meike Schwarz exploring the world of art from the abstracts of Bob Lombardi to other fine artist and to include the fine jewelry to journaling artisan creations of Joanne Blumenthal, resident artist of Roadrunner Emporium Fine Art, Antiques and More, Alamogordo. 

There is story of hope and wellness titled “Capped from Treatment to Wellness.” Of special interest is a very enlightening story highlighting the “Day and the Life of a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner” by Jazmine Valencia with the lead story of significant interest is titled “The Right Money, Rodeo Phenom Shad Mayfield” by Vince Alexander.

The feature story showcased above photos and below explains the influence of “7 Women of Power” by Meike Schwarz and Andrew Jacquin to include: Machienvee Villanueva Lammey, Michelle Perry, Wahanama Robinson, Danii Sedillo, Tva Parks, Major Brittany “Blitz” Trimble and Alamogordo Mayor Susan Payne. Congratulations to these inspirational women for being showcased. How awesome it is to see so many talented and inspiring individuals showcased in this beautiful magazine showcasing diversity and influence and what is positive and right about Alamogordo and our region of Southern New Mexico.

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AlamogordoTownNews.com New York Avenue’s Pins and Needles New Owner Susan Bollinger

Pins and Needles New Logo 913 New York Avenue, Alamogordo, New Mexico AlamogordoTownNews.com

On April 1st Alamogordo’s Main Street New York Avenue welcomed a familiar face, but in a new role, as a new business owner in this historic Alamogordo Main Street District. Pins and Needles at 915 New York Avenue, transitioned its ownership from Victoria Alamogordo’s proprietor Mrs. Alice Weinman, to that of her former “fabrics manager” Susan Bolinger and her business partner Penny Maurer.

Mrs. Alice Weinman is the veteran of Alamogordo’s New York Avenue having begun her adventure on New York Avenue almost 40 years ago. Mrs. Alice Weinman’s adventure in Alamogordo and on New York Avenue began as a result of the oil and gas bust of the mid 1980’s. She first set foot on New York Avenue in Alamogordo, New Mexico in October 1985. She said because she has been running three large ladies ready to wear stores in Texas she was bored to death after arriving in Alamogordo.Alice Weinman Owner Victoria Alamogordo 

Alice Weinman owner Victoria Alamogordo 915 Néw York Avenue AlamogordoTownNews.com

According to Mrs. Weinman also known affectionately on the street as “Mrs. Alice” when she came to Alamogordo, the Victoria store was already in operation but not doing well. She said she went into the store and said, “Hi, I am Alice Weinman, and I am here to help you.” The owner at the time responded, “Hi, I am Jatonne and I can’t pay you.” Ms. Alice says when she left the store that day, she had “the keys in her hand.”

Several years later she purchased Victoria at 913 New York Avenue. Over the next 37 years the business evolved and prospered and became a family business that included her husband, son and daughter Barbara; each assisting and working the business to grow. The business did indeed evolve and grow.

Alice and her family are the longest continuously operating business owners on New York Avenue, with businesses that have grown, survived and prospered, over almost 4 decades.

Ms. Alice has modified and tweaked the business over the years to ensure sustainability with the evolving taste of her customer base. That evolution has continued over the decades and in October of 2019 she had the idea of getting into the fabrics and the quilting business. She converted the vault area of her store into a sales area focused on quilting and fabrics. She hired a “fabrics manager” Susan Bollinger to lead the new part of her business. 

Susan Bollinger is an Alamogordo native that worked in a frame shop for many years. She had an eye for art and colors, is a hobbyist artist and always admired Ms. Alice and wanted to go to work with her. That opportunity came about in October of 2019 when Ms. Alice hired her to manage to lead the “fabrics section” in the vault. The business was a success and grew and they made the decision to make Pins and Needles at Victoria into a separate business and acquired the building at 915 New York Avenue and renamed it simply, Pin and Needles.  
Susan Bollinger the new owner of Pins and Needles Alamogordo, New Mexico. 

Susan Bollinger new owner of Pins and Needles Alamogordo #AlamogordoMainStreet AlamogordoTownNews.com

Susan Bolinger continued to run the business and expand it under the watchful eye and mentorship of Ms. Alice. 

The new store opened in January of 2021 offering an expanded line of the highest quality fabrics and more, and to include quilt making classes from quality experienced quilting and sewing educators. 

Both businesses evolved and prospered, and both survived the turbulence of Covid-19 with tweaks to the business offering along the way. 

Pins and Needles 913 New York Avenue, Alamogordo New Mexico #AlamogordoMainStreet AlamogordoTownNews.com

Ms. Alice’s daughter Barbara jokes, but is correct in her assessment, that the Roadrunner Emporium and the Local Bodega, both newer businesses on the street, that market themselves as small business incubators, are indeed incubators; but that her mother, “Ms. Alice was incubating and mentoring before it was a trendy buzzword on New York Avenue.”  Brenda Barber continued that, “she is excited and proud to see Susan fly the coup, so to speak, having been incubated by Ms. Alice and the family operators of Victoria.”

Susan Bolinger is very complimentary of her relationship with Ms. Alice and the family operation of Victoria Alamogordo. She says that she always admired Ms. Alice’s grit, stamina and the care she shows for her staff and her customers. “Ms. Alice is one very special person and a treasure to New York Avenue and to Alamogordo,” according to Susan.

Susan Bollinger came to New York Avenue to assist Ms. Alice and grew under her leadership and mentoring. Susan has partnered with Penny Maurer in the acquisition of Pin and Needles. “Penny brings her accounting background to assist in our growth which helps me a lot,” according to Susan Bollinger.Shoppers at Alamogordo Main Streets Pins and Needles

Susan says that her “years of framing experience, the mentoring by Ms. Alice and her eye for color is what provides her the strength to want to own and build upon the brand of her own business.”

It appears that Susan is also making the business a “family affair” in the transition to her ownership that took effect April 1st. She is hitting the ground running with a store that is busy and as of today has new signage and a new logo. Susan’s daughter Meg Bolinger designed a brand-new logo and sign that was installed in the front window today. The new logo for Pins and Needles is sleek, trendy and current but with a nod to “the love and compassion of the art of sewing.” The needle threading a heart in the new signage is symbolic of Susan’s love of quilting and needle arts.New Pins and Needles Sign created by Meg Bollinger

Both Susan and her business partner have the bug for quilting and needle arts. Her business partner Penny Mauer started sewing and quilting during the Covid-19 lockdown and caught the “quilting bug” about two years ago.

When asked what makes Pins and Needles such a success, Susan said, “it is absolutely about providing the highest quality fabrics that are not found in big box retailers at the mall or online, and it’s about getting to know the customer by name and understanding their needs and their projects.”

Pins and Needles, Alamogordo, at 915 New York Avenue, offers classes and workshops, it is focused on a quality offering that cannot be found online nor at big box stores. Individual attention, knowing the customer’s name, understanding their project and how to help facilitate that project is what makes Pins and Needles successful and sustainable for the long run.

Congratulations to Susan Bolinger and her partner Penny Mauer on acquiring Pins and Needles, Alamogordo. Congratulations to Alice Weinman for her mentorship of this business venture. Congratulations to New York Avenue, for having another business success, that is transitioning to the next generation of business ownership that has the wisdom of history, traditions and an appreciation for the artisan skills of quilting and the art of the needle. 

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AlamogordoTownNews.com US Veterans Motorcycle Club & Slate Riders Live. Ride. Repeat Fundraiser to Combat Suicide May 14th, 2022

According to the RAND Center for Military Health Policy Research 20 percent of the vets who served in either Iraq or Afghanistan suffers from either major depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. 19.5 percent of vets in these two categories have experienced a traumatic brain injury. These three service-related disorders alone have an enormous impact on the demand for veteran mental health treatment.

Veteran mental health services are essential to help our returning vets recover from their combat experiences and mental health issues related to their military service. There are a number of troubling statistics which show that enough is not being done and that many of our veterans are not receiving the care that they deserve in this area.

A study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration revealed that only 50 percent of returning vets who need veteran mental health treatment will receive these services.

Both active-duty service members and veterans face barriers to treatment for mental health issues. Some of the barrier’s veterans face, identified by the USGAO and other sources, include:

  • Personal embarrassment about service-related mental disabilities
  • Long wait times to receive mental health treatment
  • Shame over needing to seek mental health treatment
  • Fear of being seen as weak
  • Stigma associated with mental health issues
  • A lack of understanding or lack of awareness about mental health problems and treatment options
  • Logistical problems, such as long travel distances to receive this type of care
  • Concerns over the veteran mental health treatment offered by the VA
  • Demographic barriers and false perceptions based on these demographics such as age or gender

According to the American Psychological Association, 22 percent of veterans sought veteran mental health treatment in the private sector rather than getting help from the VA. That number has increased along with wait times at many of the VA mental health facilities around the country.

The general statistic for suicide is that 22 veterans a day will commit suicide. This staggering stat shows a significant hole in the system of recovery for our vets and a gap in services and prevention servicing those at-risk returning veterans.

As such communities and community groups across the nation are working to bring awareness to the suicide rates. In Alamogordo two Motorcycle Clubs have paired up for the past several years to bring awareness and raise funds for Veterans issues.

The US Veterans Motorcycle Club and Slate Riders together are hosting their annual LIVE. RIDE. REPEAT Fundraiser and Awareness Campaign to Combat Suicide. This jointly sponsored and hosted event will be held May 14th, 2022, with registration at Liberty Cycles, 649 Hwy 70 W, Alamogordo, New Mexico from 10 am to 12 noon.

The ride will travel around the area with 75 or more bikers and other reminding the public of Suicide Awareness and raising funds. The ride will end at the VFW Post #7686, 700 Hwy 70 West, Alamogordo, New Mexico. The fee to participate is $20.00 a single rider, $15.00 for each additional passenger, and yes cars are also welcome to this fundraising and awareness building event.

Lynn Kimball is the founder of the Slate Riders. The Slate organization was created in the memory of Lynn’s son, Slate, who succumbed to suicide. Lynn as a caregiver had several foster children over the years and Slate became a Kimball as a true son to Lynn and her family. Slate struggled over the years with depression, and as an adult at age of 24, he took his life via a gunshot to the head. Slate left his favorite bike a Suzuki 750 behind for his mother.

Lynn told this reporter the story about one of her fondest memories with Slate was that he encouraged his mom one day to ride with him. Together they rode into the sunset and surpassed a speed together of 100 MPH. Lynn said she “fell in love with riding thanks to Slate.” She said that Slate “taught me to really live. He taught me to love and live through the motorcycle.” 

So, upon his death his mom, Lynn, took his moto up as a mission. During his funeral several bikes appeared in his honor. His friends and his mom Lynn, then decided to create a memory ride and an awareness ride in his honor. The first ride had 15 to 20 riders and subsequently the ride partnered with the U.S. Veterans Bike Club and expanded. Prior events had around 70 to 80 riders. This year’s event is expecting at least 75 participants.

The US Veterans Motorcycle Club is a 501C3 nonprofit organization and partnered with Lynn due to her compelling story in partnership on the cause. Lynn Kimball speaks typically during registration, passes out pamphlets and educates on suicide awareness.

The US Veterans Motorcycle Club started in 2007 in New York and expanded across the US. The Alamogordo chapter was chartered in 2018 with a mission of veterans helping veterans. If a veteran needs assistance the club tries to point them in the direction of a solution either directly or via its network and affiliations. Money raised in the past has helped with calls for assistance from building a roof for an at-risk veteran to raising awareness. The US Veterans Motorcycle Club was chosen in the past by the Alamogordo 100 Women that Care and the funding was allocated to sponsor 3 Vets for an Honor Flight.

The organization tries to keep the money and support primarily in the local Otero County community but has helped other veterans in need when it could.

The organization has supported the Patriot Guard Riders and USVMC has helped them with their mission, to protect the families during funerals of fallen veterans. They have also joined them in parades and other local events.

The organization is a member of the Southern New Mexico Council of Motorcycle Clubs and Independents. It keeps its eye on legislation that can impact the biking community in general.

This 2022 collaborative event is even more energized as the 4th annual event because last years was not held in person due to Covid issues. This years’ event is titled “Live. Ride. Repeat…” to learn more about this event visit https://www.facebook.com/usvmcnm
or Instant message on that page. Or you may call Ryan Nowaczck the President of the USVMC Alamogordo at 254-833-4901 and leave a message. Be patient if calling as he may be in the air flying in service to our country.

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AlamogordoTownNews.com Alamogordo MainStreet Appoints New Executive Director & Upcoming Main Street Events

Alamogordo MainStreet, in a press released today, announced that Nolan Ojeda has been hired as the new Director for the nonprofit focused on economic development in Alamogordo’s downtown historic district. 

Mr. Ojeda has hit the ground running during his first week in the position by working with the board in its monthly board meeting, conducting several one-on-one meetings with merchants and today meeting with the senior leadership of the City of Alamogordo. 

According to the press release from Alamogordo MainStreet…

Mr. Ojeda is originally from Las Cruces; Ojeda’s passion lies in community building. As a downtown merchant on New York Ave., Ojeda and his wife run The Local Bodega, a shop and small business incubator that features local makers and artisans. Ojeda’s experience also includes Mechanical Engineering and Project Management with the US Navy. This background makes Ojeda uniquely positioned to understand the needs of the downtown businesses and implement Alamogordo MainStreet’s Economic Transformation Strategies through the New Mexico MainStreet Four Point Approach -Economic Vitality, Promotion, Organization and Design.

Cindy Boylan, President of Alamogordo MainStreet, is excited to welcome Ojeda, “The Alamogordo MainStreet Board of Directors was unanimous in our decision for a new Executive Director. We are looking forward to Nolan’s leadership in facilitating an aggressive agenda and multiple events, starting with our Atomicon Cosplay Event on May 14th.”

Ojeda’s hiring comes as the nonprofit is poised to bring back the first full calendar of in person events since the start of the pandemic, as well as implementation of the Great Blocks Grant Program and creation of an Arts and Cultural District, both of which have the potential to bring major monetary investments into the local economy.

Ojeda is also very excited for his new role, “I’m thrilled to be a part of the efforts to revitalize downtown. I look forward to working with our passionate and talented board, as well as New Mexico MainStreet and the City of Alamogordo, to get closer to creating a space downtown for people to enjoy and small businesses to thrive. I’m up for the challenge to move the organization forward on its ambitious goals and a transition that will make the community proud.”

Alamogordo MainStreet and the Downtown Merchants of New York Avenue have several events planned the end of April and into May to entice and entertain the community…

April 30, New York Avenue from 1oth Street to 12th Street will be closed off for an “Evening Under the Stars” Gala Event with is an arts and culture event sponsored by Roadrunner Emporium, New York Art and Music Studio and Patron Hall which is a free to the public street party showcasing live music, art, culinary arts, a street beer garden, food trucks, live radio remote, live performance art and more.

There is a VIP ticket for a special Patrons Hall wine and appetizers events showcasing Lacy Reynolds on the Harp, belly dancing demonstrations and more. 

May 6th, New York Avenue Presents Downtown Nights Alive After 5, Most of the New York Avenue Businesses will be open from 5 pm to 8 pm with special pricing and events. This event under the leadership of Alice Weinman of Victoria Alamogordo is a merchant driven event to drive awareness of the New York Avenue businesses after 5. This month there will be a live radio remote, live music at some storefronts, food trucks and more.

May 14th, Atomicon Alamogordo sponsored by Alamogordo MainStreet.  ATOMICON is Alamogordo’s version of “Comic-Con”

Comic-con is an international comic book convention and nonprofit multi-genre entertainment event that is normally held annually in San Diego, California.

A comic book convention or comic con event has a primary focus on comic books and comic book culture, in which comic book fans gather to meet creators, experts, and each other. Main Street is in hopes to try and gather as many fun-filled themed vendors, performers, and guests dressed in costume as possible to fill the streets!

Guests, vendors, and MainStreet merchants dress up and decorate and join in the fun of the event. There will be a costume contest, entertainment, vendors, food trucks, live music and much more!

There will be live music by Rosewater Blues & Doso Dirtbags & beer gardens located throughout the streets

Live entertainment by:

OddLab (neon light parade) http://www.odd-lab.com/

Ghostbusters impersonators

RAD Studios (Dance performers)

Belly Dancing performances

Burlesque show (After hours 18+)

Children’s Music Theater (CMT) will be presenting the live performance of “The Hobbit” that same night as Atomicon at The Flickinger Center for Performing Arts @ 7pm – (event link posted) https://www.facebook.com/events/506869514251934/506869524251933/?active_tab=about

Patron’s Hall will be turned into “Hobbiton” to showcase the hard work put into the performance and to coincide with the comic theme, there will be photo ops and fun activities for the whole family!

Alamogordo’s New York Avenue, the New York Avenue Merchants, Arts Community and AlamogordoMain Street are all collaborating in a renewed effort to showcase the best of history, culture, arts and commerce at heart of Alamogordo – New York Avenue.

Come shop the local businesses in the MainStreet district and stop by the Alamogordo MainStreet office to congratulate Nolan – that is, if you don’t find him walking downtown and chatting with the MainStreet business owners or walking the streets during the upcoming 3 street festival and shopping events.

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Couy Griffin Guilty 1 Count, Acquitted on 1 Count

The elected New Mexico, Otero county commissioner and pro-Trump grass-roots group leader was convicted at bench trial by a Trump-appointed judge. He was acquitted of a second count of disorderly conduct

An elected Republican county commissioner representing  Otero County, New Mexico  posted a video on Facebook of himself on the inauguration stage within the barricaded perimeter of the Capitol grounds during the Jan. 6 riot that forced the evacuation of lawmakers meeting to certify Joe Biden’s election victory. Griffin, 48, turned down an offer to plead to a lesser charge and probation, waived a trial by jury and bet his freedom on a bench trial that started Monday before U.S. District Judge Trevor N. McFadden of Washington.

The conviction gave the Justice Department its second victory at trial in the Capitol riot probe, affirming its decision to level misdemeanor charges punishable by up to one year in jail against hundreds of defendants. A jury earlier this month found a Texas militia movement recruiter, Guy Reffitt, guilty of five felonies, including obstruction of an official proceeding, witness tampering and interfering with police in a riot.

Donald Trump who injured scores of police, ransacked Capitol offices and caused Congress to evacuate as it met to confirm the 2020 election results, Griffin was not accused of violence or entering the building — one of the few such defendants among more than 750 people federally charged in the Capitol siege investigation.

Defense attorneys David B. Smith and Nicholas D. Smith have said U.S. authorities targeted Griffin for prosecution based on his protected speech. McFadden rejected that contention, finding that Griffin’s alleged leadership role, more blatant conduct and position as an elected official might rationally merit different handling by prosecutors.

McFadden, a 2017 Trump appointee, said video showed Griffin climbing over a stone wall marking the Capitol’s security perimeter, walking over other plastic mesh fencing and metal bicycle rack barriers that had been pushed down, and spending more than an hour on the front railing of the inaugural stage with a bullhorn.

The law requires that offenders act knowingly to disrupt a government proceeding. Griffin was recorded saying that he thought Vice President Mike Pence had already acted and that the certification was over at the time, McFadden said. Prosecutors said that Congress was only in recess and still in session to certify the election, and their evidence showed that members of the crowd around Griffin were chanting “Decertify!” even as their presence delayed Congress’s return to vote until that evening. However, McFadden found that although Griffin “could have thought business was still taking place, . . . the burden was on the government” to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.

The judge set sentencing for June 17, after his attorney, Nicholas Smith, declined the judge’s offer to immediately sentence Griffin on Tuesday.

Upon Griffin’s return he faces two new lawsuits filed against him in New Mexico, one calling for his removal from office and one for campaign finance violations.

We requested a statement from Mr. Griffin and have not received one as yet. If he provides us commentary we will update the article upon receipt. 

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AlamogordoTownNews.com: DC Court Case Begins, Additional Lawsuits File Against Couy Griffin in New Mexico

As the case commences in Washington DC, Monday 3/21/22 on Federal charges and Griffin decides not to ride up to the courthouse by horseback as discussed previously, two other lawsuits back home in New Mexico have been filed against Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin…

New Mexico Court Case 1:

Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin is now facing criminal charges in New Mexico. The “Cowboys for Trump” founder has been embroiled in a legal battle with the secretary of state since 2019 when she defined his group as a political committee.

That meant Cowboys for Trump had to register with the state and identify its major donors. Griffin sued, arguing that was a violation of his first amendment rights. A federal appeals court threw out his lawsuit.

Now, the New Mexico attorney general has filed a misdemeanor charge against Griffin for failing to register a political committee. 

The criminal complaint that was filed by the attorney general can be found here…

https://acrobat.adobe.com/link/review?uri=urn:aaid:scds:US:4dd6abbc-469…

The AlamogordoTownNews.com staff contacted Couy Griffin for a comment on this pending case upon his return from Washington DC and his statement is as follows…

I’d like to say that if Hector Balderas was not a political hitman using his office to destroy political opponents he would be advocating for the extradition of Prince Andrew!! Prince Andrew traveled from England to New Mexico with the single objective to sexually abuse underage girls.”  Mr. Griffin continued, “Yet the Santa Fe Sheriff and New Mexico AG remain SILENT!!! Such a disgrace.”  Mr. Griffin concluded his comments with, “Absolutely print this. That POS Prince Andrew flew into our great state and sexually abused young girls who were under the age of consent. All orchestrated by Jeffrey Epstein at Zorro Ranch! The ranch formally owned by NM Governor Bruce King!!! But yet he abuses girls in our state and the Sheriff and AG let him walk?? And then the arrogant blue blooded a——  pays the girls so it shows the world if you have enough money and power you can get away with being a PEDOPHILE? America starves for justice. An no better place to state with the pervert uncle Andrew.”

New Mexico Court Case 2:  Lawsuit Filed to Remove Couy Griffin from Office

“Otero County, New Mexico Commissioner Couy Griffin must be removed from office and disqualified from holding future public office under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution based on his participation in the January 6, 2021 insurrection”, according to a lawsuit filed today by a group of New Mexico residents. 

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the New Mexico-based law firms of Freedman, Boyd, Hollander and Goldberg, P.A, Dodd Law Office, LLC and the Law Office of Amber Fayerberg, LLC serve as co-counsel on the case, which also seeks a court order declaring the January 6th attack on the Capitol and the events surrounding it an insurrection under the 14th Amendment.

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, also known as the Disqualification Clause, bars any person from holding federal or state office who took an “oath…to support the Constitution of the United States” as an “officer of any State” and then “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” or gave “aid or comfort” to insurrectionists.

Griffin has served as an Otero County Commissioner since January 2019. Upon taking office, he swore an oath to “support and uphold the Constitution and laws of the State of New Mexico, and the Constitution of the United States.,”  per the lawsuit filed. 

Link to complaint filed in the courts:

https://www.citizensforethics.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Griffin-Qu…

Exhibits filed against Couy Griffin in the second case per above:

https://www.citizensforethics.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Griffin-Qu…

WASHINGTON DC Update as of 6 pm Eastern Time

Meanwhile Couy Griffin’s federal trial began in Washington DC today. For the first time, a U.S. Secret Service agent testified publicly Monday about the underground loading dock where Vice President Mike Pence and his family were evacuated on Jan. 6.

The testimony came late in the day during the trial for Couy Griffin, a commissioner in Otero County, New Mexico, and the founder of “Cowboys for Trump” who was indicted on two misdemeanor counts in connection with the riot. Griffin chose to forgo a jury in favor of a bench trial in front of U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, which began Monday morning.

Though Griffin was charged with some of the least serious offenses among Capitol riot cases, the trial was an important test for how much the government may have to disclose to other defendants about former Vice President Mike Pence’s whereabouts on Jan. 6. Jurors in the first Jan. 6 trial of Guy Reffitt saw a brief video of Pence and his family being evacuated from a ceremonial office in the Senate Wing. But Griffin’s attorney, David Smith, pushed for far more information to be made public – arguing the vice president’s exact location at the time he entered Capitol grounds was critical to determining his guilt.

In a contentious back-and-forth, Smith asked Hawa about who decided on the security perimeter around the Capitol on Jan. 6 and whether the restricted area extended underground or would move with the vice president. After repeated objections from the DOJ, Smith angrily claimed prosecutors were attempting to stop him from asking legitimate questions — prompting assistant U.S. attorney Janani Iyengar to suggest they “bring the temperature down.”

McFadden upheld the DOJ’s objections and advised Smith to move on, telling him he’d failed to show Pence had left the restricted area — likely dooming that prong of his defense strategy.

Smith spent significant time developing a second prong, however, with the prosecution’s primary witness, Matthew Struck. Struck, a freelance videographer, traveled to D.C. with Griffin on Jan. 6. Under an immunity agreement, Struck provided the DOJ with dozens of videos of Griffin on Jan. 6, including many showing him on Capitol grounds. In one video, Griffin appeared to say Capitol Police had told members of the crowd not to enter the area being prepared for President Joe Biden’s inauguration. In another, Griffin could be heard saying things would become “less and less” peaceful if, as he believed, election laws continued not to be followed. He also lamented on multiple occasions that, “Mike Pence sold us out.”

But Struck’s testimony was far from the nail in the coffin prosecutors might have hoped. He downplayed Griffin’s involvement at the riot – saying he’d just been there to look for a place to pray – and repeatedly said he either couldn’t remember or couldn’t hear potentially inflammatory statements on video. Under cross-examination from Griffin’s attorney, Struck said Griffin told him Pence had already certified the election before they got to the Capitol – which, though not true, proved Griffin thought Pence had already left the building, Smith said.

Smith also focused in particular on questioning U.S. Capitol Police Inspector John Erickson, who the prosecution called to outline the restricted area on Jan. 6. Smith pressed Erickson on the exact contours of that area, how USCP handles Secret Service protectees and whether the Capitol Visitor’s Center was part of the building. Much of Smith’s questioning fell to objections from the DOJ, however, including a statement from another USCP officer he attempted to enter describing the U.S. Capitol Visitor’s Center – which is in the lower level of the Capitol – as being separate from the building. That would have been particularly helpful for Griffin, since, as Hawa testified, the vice president and his family were in the visitor’s center loading dock while Griffin was on the Capitol grounds.

Federal Court in DC ended for the day shortly before 6 p.m. with no resolution. McFadden called Hawa back for closing arguments Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m.

Article is a collaborative sourced article with AlamogordoTownNews.com. WUSA9, Citizens for Responsible Ethics, US Department of Justice and Couy Griffin provided commentary.

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St Patrick’s Evening 5 pm onward- Chris Ward Exhibition, Vibe@5, FREE Live Music & More at Roadrunner Emporium, New York Avenue, Alamogordo, New Mexico

Make Thursday night, a complete night of arts and culture, live music, free foods and fun in Alamogordo. 

Start the night at 5 pm at the Granada Shopping Center, East 1st Street Alamogordo. On March 17th from 5 pm to 7 pm in the main Gallery Room Adjacent to Clay Time Pottery & Ceramics there will be an exhibition of the original works of Chris Ward. Food, refreshments and meet the artist will be happening. Chris Ward has been involved with art since he was a child winning a second-place school competition at 11 years old. Watercolors and pastels were his medium.

Next jump in your car and drop by Green Health CBD, for a St. Patrick’s Day themed Vibe@5 event hosted by the Center of Commerce. Live music by James Ethington, education, door prizes, food, beer & wine, and networking.

Finally end up at Roadrunner Emporium on the historic New York Avenue. The party at Roadrunner runs till 9 or possibly 10 pm. Featuring 4 musical talents performing for FREE.

Roadrunner Emporium is hosting its St Patrick’s Day New Issue Release Party for Influence Magazine that is FREE and OPEN to the public 6 pm until? Come see Alamogordo’s largest St Patrick’s Day tree of leprechauns and Irishness.  Wear your best Irish Green and join in the fun. The evening will showcase 4 live performers singing and playing live instrumental music from 6 pm to 9 pm. Picacho Brewing Company will be serving wonderful free appetizers, free beverages and more. 

A live remote from KALH radio hosts will be out front of the shop at 928 New York Avenue 6 pm to 8 pm, interviewing our local celebrities, artists, Influence Magazine article contributors, and more. 

Meet the editor; Meike Schwarz and the publisher; Cedric Fisher. Meet some of the artist of Roadrunner Emporium and New York Avenue to include spinning artist Linda Swenson spinning yarns on location, meet Delia Lopez Holloway a local acrylics painter whose works have been on display throughout New Mexico, Linda Howard whose collectibles from Capitan have been showcased for generations.

Coach Robert Sepulveda the most award-winning track and field coach in Alamogordo’s history will be on site as featured in Influence Magazine. Also on site will be the legendary owners of New York Avenue Art and Music Studio; Lydia Aspen and Emmanul Renteria to bring wonderous smiles to anyone in their presence. 

Come join the FREE fun, the live music, be entertained, enjoy some free snacks and beverages, and shop on New York Avenues crossroads of art, culture, music, history and commerce 928 New York Avenue’s Roadrunner Emporium 6 pm to 9 pm. 

Live singers include Lenore Whitney, Influence Magazine showcased performers and more. Come on down 6 pm to 9 pm Thursday. 

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AlamogordoTownNews.com Ronda Merrick’s Crusade to Bring Low-Cost Veterinary Care to Alamogordo

The Alamogordo City Commission meeting is scheduled for 3/8/2022 and County Commission Meeting on 3/22/22 at 9 am, Ronda Merrick and others are seeking public support for her comments to be presented to seek a solution for affordable care for Alamogordo’s dog and cat population. The community has an extreme issue of over population of dogs and cats leading to strays and at-risk animals. Further there is no local emergency vet service in the area nor affordable alternatives for individuals that may be elderly or on fixed incomes to provide affordable health care to their animals.

Per Mrs. Merrick, “The local shelters remain full most of the time. Even with the rescue agencies doing the huge job of removing animals from our local shelters and getting them to no kill shelters we continue to find our animal control facilities full.”

Alamogordo has no emergency vet available around the clock and in an emergency, citizens are advised to go to El Paso or possibly Ruidoso which is often too far to transport a sick or injured animal and in cases of those with limited incomes or some elderly too far to transport nor affordable. 

The facts are the average spay and neutering is $400 at most local vets but for low/fixed income vets charge $100 but typically limit the number at this rate per month.

As Alamogordo’s population continues to age and the number of retires moving to the town increases then the need for this service becomes even more important.

It is a fact that animals help with the mental health of the elderly, shut ins and at-risk youth.  It is shameful for a community not to offer affordable health care for animals to the elderly, shut ins and at-risk communities. Studies have shown that the bond between people and their pets can increase fitness, lower stress, and bring happiness to their owners. Some of the health benefits of having a pet include decreased blood pressure, decreased cholesterol and triglyceride levels, decreased feelings of loneliness and increased opportunities for socialization.

Per the American Medical Association, “having a pet helps elderly get out of the house, exercise, meet new people, reduce stress, etc. For elderly pet owners, who often live alone or in group facilities, pets can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, increase social interaction and physical activity and help them learn.”

Dogs and Cats can help ease anxiety by motivating one to get better. Studies have shown that animal-assisted therapy can decrease anxiety and pain, lower blood pressure and help alleviate depression while offering welcome companionship and a positive distraction from treatment schedules and worries. Caring for a 4-legged friend can help distract you the day-to-day realities that may lead to depression you deal with while being sick.

A study conducted with head and neck cancer patients at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City found that although their physical well-being deteriorated during chemotherapy, patients who spent time with a therapy dog or cat before each treatment reported an increase in their emotional and social well-being.

An example of loss…

Shortly after Bobby’s father died of kidney cancer, his mother’s golden Labrador retriever mix – was diagnosed with a rapidly growing tumor of the blood vessels. The pup had been healthy and suddenly health problems, Bobby and his mother was distraught. They proceeded to find a local vet to see the animal, but none was available for over a month. They talked to one on the phone and he said once an appointment is made tests would run upward of $5,000 and no guarantee of success in saving the pup. 

That’s not an uncommon scenario in veterinary medicine especially in rural communities,” said Dr. David Owens, veterinarian and professor of clinical pathology in the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis.

If you ask most veterinarians the hardest thing they do, it’s telling the senior man or woman that comes in, having just lost a significant other or spouse or partner, that now their animal, dog or cat and an important part of the family is sick as well and that it is probably above their means to pay for a fix to the animals health,” he said. “Those conversations … they just tear the heart out of you.”

What choices do the elderly, lower income individuals and those needing the companionship of animals have in Alamogordo or Otero County for affordable health care for their animals?

Alamogordo has limited options at best, but Ronda Merrick is presenting an alternative to the City and County to work in collaboration with a non-profit or private individuals and create a real solution with city and county government leadership. Per Ronda’s proposal, “the city and county should work together and hire a City/County Vet that would be affordable for the elderly and those individuals on fixed incomes to provide spay and neutering services and emergency services for animals. An option would be for local vets to participate as well and rotate in as on call emergency vets at the agreed to affordable rate for services. There is a property located at 19 Acoma Rd off of Zuni once used by Animal Rescue Mission. Per the Secretary of State’s Office filings, the non-profit owning the building is NOT in good standing with the state and possibly the city and county should investigate a joint purchase of the shelter facility as an alternative to provide relief to the local overrun shelters with an affordable and well thought out facility as an alternative.”

The fact is Alamogordo has a problem with affordable emergency care for the fur babies of those with limited financial means. Our 4-legged friends provide emotional health support for at risk and the elderly as well as a larger population in Alamogordo. Alamogordo needs affordable options and Ms. Merrick is presenting a solution for consideration. Public feedback on this concerning issue is requested. Please attend the city and county commission meetings and or send emails and comments into your local city commission representatives and county commission leaders.

Alamogordo City Commission Contact Information:

Paul, NickDistrict OneEmail Nick Paul805-728-5715
Melton, KarlDistrict Three RepresentativeEmail Karl Melton575-214-9347
McDonald, SharonDistrict Five RepresentativeEmail Sharon McDonald575-446-9910
Payne, Susan L.MayorEmail Susan L. Payne575-214-0024
Rardin, JoshDistrict Four RepresentativeEmail Josh Rardin575-434-0720
Burnett, StephenDistrict TwoEmail Stephen Burnett
Wright, DustyMayor Pro-Tem, District Six RepresentativeEmail Dusty Wright575-430-3395

Alamogordo County Contact Information:

Let’s support solutions to affordable health care for our fur babies. 

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AlamogordoTownNews.com: Book launches, Authors Showcased and a New Magazine Launch all from Alamogordo’s New York Avenue…

New York Avenue’s Cultural Arts and History District via New York Avenue Art and Music Studio and Roadrunner Emporium, Otero Artspace. and other unique business interests, are helping to foster the growth of artisans, artists’, and entrepreneurs. Another important mission of this district’s success in building a bridge of culture to commerce, is the support to local authors via book launches, author showcases, author workshops and assistance in marketing and showcasing of local authors.

Over the last several months a plethora of authors have been featured and/or conducted “meet the author events” and have scheduled book signings. Others have conducted readings at the venues of New York Avenue and at Otero Arts on Indiana Avenue, and yet another new publication of grand quality to rival New Mexico Magazine has launched, off of Alamogordo’s New York Avenue, Southeastern New Mexico’s Influence Magazine.”

Alamogordo has a variety of stories to tell from a variety of sources and viewpoints. Recently showcased authors offered a spectrum of pros from factual history to children’s books, faith based, fictional snippets and short stores and self-help to a magazine that celebrates culture and diversity.

Local authors of recent include…

Josette Herrell

Local Historian and Tularosa Basin Museum Board Member Josette Herrell is a newly published author of children’s stories. Her first work to appear on New York Avenue is titled “Timmy’s Big Adventure.” The illustrations to this wonderfully fun children’s book were completed by local artist Diana Sill who is known locally for her “Create the Great Masterpiece” Classes she conducts monthly at Roadrunner Emporium and other locations within the region. Ms. Josette Herrell has lived in Southern New Mexico since 1948. When a relative sent her an old box of family photos, she started putting pictures and stories together. Knowing those stories could be lost to future generations, she decided to write a book about family. Her first “family” book was published in 2019. Although Timmy’s Big Adventure is a children’s bool based on a family event. At the age of 81, Ms. Herrell continues to enjoy writing family books and supporting the history of Alamogordo. Ms. Herrell’s passion for history is on display daily when visiting New York Avenue as much of the preservation of its history and stories is thanks to her commitment to the Alamogordo community.

BJ Oquist

Barbara J Oquist grew up on 120 acres of farmland in Missouri. This acreage she explains was truly a “family farm” meaning it was complete with a garden, pets, farm animals and more. As an adult she worked for the state of Minnesota for 26 years. After her and her husband’s retirement they relocated to New Mexico to enjoy the sunshine and natural wonders of the southwest. Between her and her husband they have 5 children and eleven grandchildren. She was inspired to write a children’s book after attending a writing group at Christ Community Church. Her locally marketed book is titled, “Farmer Jon’s Very Special Team.” Her first array into the world of children’s books is a charming fictional children’s book in which two horses fall in love and is based upon a team of horses that Oquist’s father owned when she was a child. She told the Alamogordo New in an interview, “he got them when they were young, and it talks a little bit about their training process and some of the things he learned along the way while he was training them.” Mrs. Oquist’s book was also illustrated by Alamogordo artist Diana Sill.

Dennis Swift

Locals in Alamogordo may remember Dennis Swift for when he was a student at Alamogordo High. During Dennis’s tenure at Alamogordo High, he won multiple Cross Country and Track and Field medals over the years and received multiple academic awards including recognition in the National Honor Society. Today, Dennis Swift is the pastor of the Church of All Nations in Portland Oregon He regularly guides group tours of South American archaeological sites. Dennis received multiple degrees including his B.A. and M. Div. from Point Loma Nazarene University and his Th.D. from the University of South Africa. He pursued Indian studies at the University of New Mexico and Western New Mexico University. Dennis has pursued archaeological work in Peru, Bolivia, Mexico, Cambodia, Turkmenistan, Israel, and the American Southwest. He has traveled to Peru over a dozen times. Dennis gained national notoriety for his book, “Secrets of the Ica Stones and Nazca Lines” available online and locally on New York Avenue at the Roadrunner Emporium.

The thesis of the book is Proof that Dinosaurs and Man Lived Together. It is a fascinating collection of information obtained from ancient Peruvian cultural artifacts which offers a theory that men and dinosaurs lived together in South American within the last 2,000 years. The author, Dennis Swift, first came upon the Ica Stones more than thirty years ago; he was tempted to dismiss the stones because he had been taught that men and dinosaurs had missed each other by about 65 million years. However, their presence in Peruvian museums intrigued him. The stones in the museums show carvings of men and various animals, including extinct fish and llamas, and dinosaurs. Although the carvings are supposed to be hundreds or thousands of years old, the detailed positions and features of the dinosaurs were not known to modern science until recently. Dennis with his theory has been featured in many media outlets including Coast to Coast AM and with William Shatner on the Discovery Channel & National Geographic’s, Weird or What!

Robert M. Pollack

Locally some know Robert M. Pollack for his musical CD’s of gospel songs, others for his evangelism and others for his writings. Roadrunner Emporium on New York Avenue and a host of other area businesses offer the works of Mr. Pollack. Mr. Pollack was born on November 1st, 1944, in Oakland California to Manuel and Julietta Pollack, and he was raised in Albuquerque New Mexico. Robert was number 13 of a family of 15. He graduated from Albuquerque High school in 1963 and joined the Air Force that same year. He spent time in Viet Nam, all over Southeast Asia, Europe, and Egypt, as well as numerous places in the United States. Robert retired from the Air Force in 1983. He received Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior in 1980 and was baptized with The Holy Spirit while on tour in Egypt. He speaks and also writes in tongues. He’s turned his spiritual writings into an art form. He loves the written word. Robert writes and sings his own songs where ever the Lord leads him. He has written around 750 songs. Robert has eight children, six Grand Children and 17 Great Grand Children, and still counting. He is married to Concepcion Pollack.

Mr. Pollack’s book available at Roadrunner Emporium is titled, The Sixth- and Seventh-Day Man, A Trilogy.”

This trilogy of 3 books in one begins Book One: The Time of Adam and Eve…

In chapter 1 of the book of Genesis, God the Father creates a male and a female and blesses them and tells them to go out and replenish the world. He gives them everything His hands have created. These people of the Father God almost destroy themselves and create a weapon that, when discharged, covers the earth with a thick cloud and pigments their skin white. God the Father rests on the seventh day. In chapter 2 of the book of Genesis, the Lord God forms a man on the seventh day, places him in a garden, and forbids him from eating of the tree of life. When Adam and Eve are cast out of the garden, they come face-to-face with the Sixth Day Man. The Seventh-Day Man Adam and his wife Eve, their children, and their decedents are dark skinned and clash with the white race of the Sixth Day people. Adam and Eve, who were formed on the Seventh Day by the Lord God, live on the Land of Adam where gopher wood grows. The Sixth-Day Man lives in the city of Eden, which is ruled by Emperor Rama Dan Doo. They worship the god Ramah. Adam and Eve worship the Lord God.

Book Two: The Time of Enoch

This book continues the battles that the descendants of Adam and Eve must endure because of the color of their skin and their love for the Lord God. They are enslaved and treated horribly by the white-skinned people of the world. The city of Eden and the great city of Enoch are built on the backs of the children of Adam and Eve.

Book Three: The Time of Noah

The days of Noah mirrors our time in brutality and crime. The book is set into the future with anti-gravitational vehicles called click-clacks and carts. Noah and his wife, who is his sister, along with his father and grandfather, return to the Land of Adam, and God tells him to build an ark. When Noah tells the world what God has planned, he and his family are laughed at, but Noah continues to build with help. He has encounters with Satan, who tries to discourage him. This book may be a bit intense for the younger readers. The scriptural verses in The Sixth- and Seventh-Day Man are taken from the King James Version of the Holy Bible.

Rochelle Willams

Rochelle Williams is an accomplished published writer of short stories and snippets that have been printed on a variety of forums. In partnership with Otero Arts and the New York Avenue business of Roadrunner Emporium Ms. Willams’ first complete book a collection of snippets is about to come to life. The book entitled, “Acts of Love and Ruin” will be publicly released on April 30th. “Rochelle Williams is a writer with remarkable talent. She weaves the emotional lives of her characters with a palette of words that results in a true literary art form. Her stories range over life in the way a painter would range over a canvas–brilliant and colorful with striking designs. Here is an author everyone should read. A fine collection of stories.” Mark Conking -Author of Prairie Dog Blues and Killer Whale Blues

Rochelle Williams lives in southern New Mexico. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in, Chokecherries, Desert Exposure, Earthships: A New Mecca Poetry Collection, Menacing Hedge, The MacGuffin, Packingtown Review, and other journals. Her fiction has won two Southwest Writers Workshop competitions, Recursos de Santa Fe’s Discovery Reading Series, and Women on Writing’s Spring 2020 Flash Fiction contest. She holds an MFA in fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts and is working on a novel about the French early modernist painter, Pierre Bonnard. In addition to writing Ms. Williams is a photographer. Rochelle Williams’ photograph titled “Winter, Half-Moon Bay” was featured along with multiple other artists works, recently at the Otero ArtSpace Winter Showcase of regional artists.

Chris Edwards & Rene Sepulveda

Authors, Chris Edwards and Rene Sepulveda have created a partnership of written works around the athletic programs of Alamogordo High School. The central character to their book series is Coach Bob Sepulveda and his success as the winningest coach in Alamogordo History. However, the book series digs into the years prior to Sepulveda’s arrival to include the formation of interscholastic sports in Alamogordo in 1912 to present day. In addition to the history of Alamogordo sports this team of authors has crafted books around the world of positivity as a self-help series titled, “90 Days to a Glass Half Full Lifestyle”, the team also have crafted several books around self-publishing, a public policy book on government overreach in licensing and is finalizing a book on social media marketing.

Meike Schwarz and Cedric Fisher, editor, and publisher of Southeastern New Mexico’s Influence Magazine

Meike Schwarz, editor, has been a real estate professional for over 23 years, 10 years as owner/broker of Welcome Home Realty on New York Avenue, Alamogordo. In 2021, Meike embarked on a new venture combining her love for people and storytelling: becoming editor of Southeastern New Mexico’s INFLUENCE Magazine. Meike hopes to highlight the best and brightest community leaders, business icons, and diversity figures both inside and beyond Alamogordo.

Cedric D. Fisher, publisher, is a 40-year career publishing executive, a leading publishing authority, author, and instructor having lead publishing operations in New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and San Antonio. Cedric’s a professional speaker, and he and his team also conduct online writing and publishing workshops. He is the CEO and founder of Cedric D Fisher & Company Publishers.

Launched from New York Avenue, Alamogordo, Southeastern New Mexico’s Influence Magazine mission is to elevate the influential forces in Southeastern New Mexico arenas to promote diverse agendas with multimedia features on family, business development, culture, economic development and environmental awareness, fashion, music, religion, inspiration, and educational, artistic, and technological achievements, supplier/workforce diversity and business development. The inaugural issue was launched in January. The April/May issue is soon to be released with a planned community release party scheduled for St Patrick’s Day, March 17th at Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue. This release party will showcase the wonders of the newest edition, live music and green libations will be served and more.

Each of the books and magazine showcased above are available at Roadrunner Emporium on New York Avenue.

New York Avenue is fast becoming the rededicated crossroads to cultural arts, history and commerce. Come on down and support the hundreds of local small business entrepreneurs, artisans and AUTHORS represented in the variety of shops on Alamogordo’s Main Street New York Avenue. Alamogordo’s New York Avenue is Alamogordo Main Street.  

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AlamogordoTownNews.com An Intimate Look at Lydia Aspen & Emmanual Renteria & New York Avenue Art & Music Studio

Have you ever been in the situation where you’ve met someone new or brought someone into your circle and have this immediate and deep connection – sometimes to the point of being able to anticipate what they are feeling, as if they’ve been in your life before?

Often this can mean “they have been” in a spiritual sense, as this kind of ‘instant karma’ we feel with certain people is exactly that. Spirituality and fate can be an interesting experience and when one encounters it, it can feel karmic like that there was a past life connection.

As a sceptic of such events and of most of the “supernatural world,” it can be unsettling, at first, when confronted with such an experience.

When smacked with it, at first, we encounter a level of comfort and feeling that we already ‘know’ someone, when getting to know them better it them becomes an affirmation that we are merely catching up with our shared history, and our paths again cross, as faith would have it, and that is what has carried our energy across the millennium.

Recently, we have encountered such feelings, unsettling at first, yet joyous when the feeling is affirmed through conversations, and we can feel what the other person is feeling with just a look or a smile.

That unsettling, yet joyous connection, is what we made with the artisans of Lydia Aspen and Emmanual Renteria. We’ve shared glasses of wine and other novelties of indulgence in the past, and with each encounter our laughter, appreciation and admiration of our shared paths grow.

This past weekend the couple was gracious to allow AlamogordoTownNews.com into their gallery space at 1120 New York Avenue and to dive into their history or evolution as artisans, the Alamogordo community and New Mexico. The community of Alamogordo is just beginning to recognize the value they bring to Southern New Mexico and well beyond, and the best is yet to come with their partnership of love.

We began with a glass of champagne and red wine, then took a deep dive into their past and skirted the future. We discussed their vision of Alamogordo’s New York Avenue, and the role of the artisan community in Alamogordo’s future but more importantly to this article today their shared bits of their history that led to the evolution of who they are today.

We asked if they would allow us, to pry, and get to know their history prior to opening the art gallery at 1120 New York Avenue, Alamogordo and what motivated their passions for the cultural arts.

Lydia Aspen

Lydia Aspen born in Minnesota. Independent and on her own by the age of 12. A life lived that would represent five, possibly ten, lives of others. Her’s is a story, that for many young girls turns out to be far different than her own and far darker. Her’s however, is a story of survival, resilience, deep emotions and compassion, and how artistic expression can be curing not only for a victim but also for those fortunate enough to cross paths with such a power of energy. Lydia Aspen is just that, a force of energy that dreams it, lives it, embraces it, and always from the heart.

From the age of 12 to 20 years of age; Lydia learned the art of survival. In and out of a variety of homes and the streets, passed off from her mom and others, Lydia’s energy shined and carried her forward. Others in similar circumstances would have broken, not Lydia, instead she channeled her strength from within, found her passion in a variety of artistic forms, grasped complex psychological concepts, and ran forward with a path of heartfelt expression and love of others channeled through artistic expression.

At Age of 21, she was living in Kansas City and at that age founded her own art gallery. Not only was it an art gallery but it was more of an artisan colony where she taught dance, created abstracts, and held all forms of performance art with collaborative artisans.

During her lifelong journey of artist and gallery owner, Lydia has grown. She grew in how to express herself, and work through her inner and real-world demons that have chased her peace and happiness. As an observer, it appears she has now found her inner and outer peace and a partner that provides her true happiness.

Her life is a life that is a checkerboard of many lives and adventures lived, with learning along the way. Much success and acclaim has come her way, accolades from afar, for the good she created, and the positive impact she made on those around her.

Her journey carried her into the world of academia via her performance art and her natural understanding of psychology and human instinct. Beginning around 1980, and onward she has conducted classes and workshops with an understanding of human relationships and behaviors as the core.

For Truman Medical Center as a very young woman, she conducted classes to include Hemispheric Lateralization, Doctor Patient Relationship Skills, Conflict Resolutions etc. using art, music, mime, movement, and role playing as the canvas to instruction. By 1997, in addition to performance art and art on canvas, she was conducting classes at Baker University School of Professional and Graduate Studies such as “Psychological and Physiological Interactions in Human Development.”

As an instructor she incorporated performance to combine education with aesthetics. Via her “Journey through Madness” performance piece she carried attendees through performance of the conflicts that each person may face. She used two characters Annie Lytical and Clara Voyant – to examine how people deal with opposition, conflict resolution and how this affects personal development.

Her two “characters” carried her forward in life and opened many interesting doors in journey of artistic and educational development.

We asked Ms. Aspen if these two characters were manifestations of her own personality? She said these two personalities eventually molded into one and helped her evolve into the accomplished person she is today. She said there was a time in her life that she felt that; “I didn’t deserve to be in a room with humans.” Ms. Aspen expressed that her artistic expression and working through the world via her characters has allowed her to evolve but, “that feeling never completely goes away.”

Well, rooms full of humans over the years have embraced the worth of Lydia Aspen, and that of her artistic expression and creations. Over the years her works have evolved and hundreds of her works are in the hands of collectors, the world over. She is an accomplished artist and when we asked her what work she was proudest of, she responded was that her work she titled “Lady Liberty.”

This piece in full color shows the statue of Liberty with flames engulfing her in the lower half of the painting, yet lady liberty, is pregnant and has her sullen face of determination. The piece was created prior to 9-11 and was considered controversial, yet after 9-11 the work took on a whole new meaning to those that viewed the art piece as an “expression of rebirth and renewal arising from the flames of terror.” The painting was on display at Artisan Alley in Cloudcroft for a period and then traveled with a group that was dealing with PTSD for a period, and was a piece used as a part of a suicide prevention campaign. The work has traveled across the country, been showcased in a museum in El Paso. The piece has brought acclaim in a variety of showings across the country and is now believed to be in a private collection.

When Lydia Aspen was asked what of her lifetime collection of works meant the most to her; she immediately told us the story of how she was teaching at a professional conference at an event hosting the Scientist of Unexplained Phenonium in Cuernavaca Mexico. The divide of wealth was disturbing to her but an event during this conference would have an impact on her that lasted a lifetime forward. She was asked to attend a day trip to an area church. On the property, she encountered a large bronze sculpture, of a young girl holding a rabbit and she felt the piece of artwork in “the core of her being.”

Lydia had once owned a rabbit that meant much to her. It got out and was the center of attention between a German Shepard that grabbed it, a Coon Hound that also found interest and her wolf. Eventually the wolf won it. She received it back from the wolf, wounded and paralyzed but not completely out of sorts. She nursed the rabbit to some semblance of health, carried it around in a pouch for quite some time on her being. She always felt a connection to the rabbit, thus the rabbit and the girl sculpture we see glimpses of her inner self. 

When the artistic creations of Lydia Aspen from the “Rabbit Girl” series are viewed one is left to wonder if the rabbit, or the rabbit and the girl, was symbolic to events in her own life, and rather the symbolism impacted her art forms and creativity. The answer would be presumptive of this writer to say yes, but as the years moved forward to the present rabbit girl has evolved and so too has the artist, Lydia Aspen.

From those spiritual connections, Lydia creates a series of paintings, sculptures, and other works around the “Rabbit Girl”. Each of her works has a young girl with big eyes as a prominent feature. When one concentrates on the artistic creation; one can feel the girls’ emotions through her eyes communicated through the work. With each creation, the girl is holding or in the accompaniment of a rabbit. Since the series began, Lydia has created over 100 pieces of art around the theme of the Girl and the Rabbit.

Lydia Aspen is a very accomplished artist, a free spirit, passionate and full of energy. When asked what is the proudest thing to happen to her and what has made her happiest? A big smile crosses her face, and she points to the man that was to her right, Emmanuel Renteria. She said the best thing to happen to her was “this man.”

Who is this man, Emmanuel Renteria?

Some in Alamogordo know him as a contractor, others as an owner of significant real estate, others as the guy that plays the drums, the guys that loves art, a graduate of Alamogordo High School that did well, but who is he, and how is he connected to New York Avenue and to Lydia Aspen?

Emmanual Renteria claims his life is “a lot less interesting than Lydia’s” and is a bit shy and quiet when it comes to telling his story. He shines her into the spotlight when in a conversation with the two of them, though when one wonders around and views their shared gallery and home, one can see both are very colorful and complementary beings that love and respect one another immensely.

We asked Emmanual about his upbringing and what brought him to become a leader in the cultural arts community of Alamogordo’s New York Avenue. He shrugs and is shy and then proceeds to explain his formative years. He was raised in Europe, born in Austria till around the age of 16 when his family settled in Alamogordo as a final home. From an early age he always has loved music and is very partial to the drums. As a youngster Emmanuels mother encouraged him to learn music, however it was not the drums, that he is passionate about, she had him learn on the accordion.

Emmanuel said, “my brother would be outside playing baseball and mom had me practicing the accordion.”

That passion would evolve over the years as he learned to master a variety of instruments from ear with a great passion for the drums. He has a collection of multiple grand piano’s, string instruments and drums to even include a set of drums that traveled on the road with the entertainer, “Prince.”

He once channeled into a potential past life and said, “I envisioned myself on the African Dysphoria playing the drums to communicate with my brother via the beat in a neighboring tribe.”

Rather his talents evolved from a past life or are just a natural gift one thing is clear, he is a many of artistic talents both is music and on canvas. Be that canvas a natural canvas as witnessed by an early painting he shared with us, or the canvas of a scene created with a variety of elements, mediums, colors, and lighting. He sets a stage or scene, and it gets attention and is a form of artistic expression.

As the years progressed Emmanuel graduated from Alamogordo High School, married, served in Germany when drafted into the military. He was successful in each of his varied careers but always had a flair for artistic expression in the work he did.

While in college he continued to learn about music and participated in bands from his college days to the present. He does not read music but is a composer and an accomplished musician with talent that exceeds many classically trained musicians.

While in the military he played in bands which on many occasions kept him from trouble with the officers that respected his musical talents. When his squad would march, he would play the drums and play special rim shots that made his squad almost dance on their marches. The squad and commanders loved his artistic flair.

After leaving the military he moved back to Alamogordo and was a contractor. He built houses and spent 5 ½ years at White Sands building 20-foot to 100-foot towers that the military would use for “target practice and blow them up.”

Emmanual was a savvy investor and purchased land and real estate around Otero County and for many years lived in High Rolls where he and his wife acquired the Spruce Cabins and rented them.

His passion has always been creativity and exploring music, colors, and textures. When he built houses, he put in the finest of fixtures and textures and build homes that other builders had difficulty emulating or competing with, due to their high design elements.

Over the last decade, Emmanuel Renteria has honed into his artistic side and acquired the former Coke Plant on New York Avenue. From that location he purchased from an area doctor, he has built it into a wonderland of gardens, performance space and a home unmatched in Alamogordo for artistic design, color, and flair.

His wife died about 15 years ago and as such he has channeled much energy into creativity since her passing. He served briefly as the artistic director for the Flickinger Center and has become a huge advocate for the arts and a renewal of the New York Avenue corridor.

Lydia Aspen claims the best thing to happen to her was meeting the “shinning inspiration of Emmanuel.”

We asked how that meeting happened and she said it was simple. She had her gallery on New York Avenue, and he was entering his house one day, and she hollered over to him and asked if he owned that building. Emmanual responded he did, and they started talking. From that simple conversation was “a spark of energy between the two of them that has evolved into a beautiful partnership.” That partnership is one of mutual respect and admiration and of building a life together that evolves with love each day.

The two now live together in a partnership of love in the big “Coke Plant” on New York Avenue near the Flickinger Center and have made it into a beautiful home together. They have created a Lydia Emmanual Productions which owns the wonderfully eclectic gallery at 1120 New York Avenue called New York Avenue Art and Music. Together they are actively pursuing a variety of projects showcasing artists, expanding an appreciation for artistic design via advocacy and leadership and investing in the revitalization of New York Avenue with their own art studio, energy, and flair.

The New York Avenue business community and the community at large is thrilled to collaborate and engage with Emmanuel and Lydia. Look forward to a prosperous turnaround of New York Avenue with their artistic flair and leadership as a key component to reinvention of this historic district into a destination location.

Upcoming Events by Lydia Emmanual Productions:

Lydia and Emmanual’s, New York Avenue Art & Music Studio has partnered with Roadrunner Emporium for an April 30th night of artistic expression to be showcased at the Patrons Hall. The April Evening Under the Stars Gala event will showcase artisans from both galleries, culinary arts, live performance art, special celebrity guests and more. This will be a gala event like Alamogordo has not seen in years, showcasing a huge variety of artistic forms of expression in a fun and uniquely unforgettable evening.

Mark your calendar for this first of many collaborations between these two artistic enterprises to be showcased at Patrons Hall on April 30th.

Thank you; Lydia and Emmanuel, for opening your hearts and your home to our interview and to sharing your story with us and the Alamogordo community. It’s been said that “Fate controls who walks into our life.” The Alamogordo community is fortunate to have these two talented individuals engaged and “walk into our lives”.

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AlamogordoTownNews.com Debra Scott Alamogordo’s First Black Girls Coach & First Girls State Title Winner

AlamogordoTownNews.com Celebrates Black History Months with its series, “The Spirts of Delaware Street, Alamogordo, New Mexico”. This article is the story of Alamogordo High Schools first black female coach and its very first state title in Girls Interscholastic Sports…

Many residents of Alamogordo, who have been in the community since the late 60’s, recognize the Scott name, for their visible community leadership within the Black community of the 60s, 70s and 80s. All the family was involved in various aspects of community and the educational community at large.

Ms. Scott’s father, a former military officer, was a pioneer at Alamogordo high school as a strict but compassionate guidance counselor. Her sister was respected and recognized for her many achievements including exceptionalism with the National Forensic League Speech and Debate Oratory events.

Debra Scott came up in the educational system during a period when women’s athletics were not funded by the schools and the only outlet for competition for girls was via the GAA (Girls Athletics Association.) In those days most girls’ athletics was not funded as part of the traditional school funding, The girls and their coaches had to do fundraising to fund the sports activities they participated in. Events held were limited in the sports offerings for girls.

As an example, Coach Bob Sepulveda re-created the White Sands Relays which in the 1950’s Coach Rolla Buck founded.

The first revamped White Sands Relay Race was in 1970 and was only for men. The second White Sands Relay was hosted in 1972. The second annual meet was opened to girls in 3 events, thanks to the encouragement of Coach Marilyn Sepulveda, to open it up to the girls. The second meet was opened to girls for 3 events and expanded drastically in subsequent years post GAA under Title 9.

GAA or meets under the Girls Athletic Association did not have the same prestige of interscholastic of the modern times of today but the competitors that did compete were fierce and created record times that would stand against any today.

Debbie Scott as a student athlete at Alamogordo High was one of those record holders and girls with significant promise in her athletic, and academic abilities under the mentorship of Coach Marilyn Sepulveda and others.

Coach Scott told the Alamogordo News in a May 15th, 1974, article that; “she began running in the 4th Grade and has not stopped since. She claimed when Grayland Walsh tried to kiss her on the playground she learned to run and one year later was beating the boys in the 100-yard dash.”

Note: she was such a great runner that Coach’s Bob Sepulveda who coached the boys track team and Coach Marilyn Sepulveda who coached the girls’ teams agreed to allow her to train with the boys when running.

When researching the book; Coach Bob Sepulveda, The Early Days published by 2nd Life Media the author tells of many of the “boys of that time praised Debbie Scott.” Several boys said, “she used to embarrass them by how fast she was compared to them.” They said they’d get back to the locker room and they would get a ribbing about Debbie “whooping them, not only in speed but also in form.”

She often came in 1st in Elementary School relays and for the many years to follow in high school and college. She was a natural winner and had the discipline and passion for excellence.

She earned her 1st of 4 Presidential Physical fitness patches in the 6th grade and continued a tradition of winning thereafter.

Her parents enrolled her in dance lessons for 13 years and in piano lessons for 9 years. She continued learning dance for years after and teaching dancercise classes in the high school later in her career. Those students in reflecting, remembered this many years later, the Jane Fonda style dancercise classes conducted by Ms. Scott were unique, innovative and “great fun under Coach Debbie’s leadership.” Coach Bob Sepulveda said that “Debbie’s dancercise classes and his weight classes were the most popular offerings ever offered by the PE department” at least that is during his 30 plus year tenure at Alamogordo High School.

It takes a lot of time to be good at something and you have to be willing to sacrifice your social life for something you feel you’ll get just as much satisfaction out of”, she was quoted as saying to the Alamogordo News. Coach Scott believed the good outweighs the bad in athletics.

It allowed her to travel the country, meet many great people and gain accolades and confidence that she was able to pass to her students years later based upon her performance of excellence.

In 1973 in college, she went to the AAU nationals and was selected to the women’s All American Track Team. She held the state record for college level women in the 220-yard dash at 24.5 for several years and was rated 4th best in the nation in long jump in 1974.

An All-America team is a hypothetical American sports team composed of outstanding student players. These players are broadly considered by media and other relevant commentators as the best positional players in a particular sport, for a specific season.

Debbie Scott was the first female athlete to graduate from Alamogordo High School to gain that status as an “All American Track and Field Athlete.”

The designation of “All American” is administered by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association. The selection rules are that the top eight finishers in each individual event, as well as American competitors who finish outside the top eight in their event but are among the top eight of the American finishers in an event, earn All-America designation. She qualified for her excellence in two events: the long jump and the 220-yard dash.

Her advice to other female athletes was, “If you have got talent or are just interested in sports, you should take advantage of the opportunities for women everywhere you can.”

While a student at Alamogordo High she competed in the last year GAA existed. She won multiple awards and medals placing often in the 100-yard dash, long jump, and other events. She ran often as an independent woman with the Duke City Dashers Running Club and set records in the Mile Relay and the 220.

Debbie Scott ran on a relay team with Alamogordo alumni Carolyn Patterson and Julia Fultz ranking 2nd at a Northern Colorado Invitational while attending New Mexico State University. New Mexico State University had 4 alumni of Alamogordo Girls Track & Field Team that competed: Debbie Scott, Carolyn Patterson, Julie Fultz, and Vicki Murray.

Upon graduation from college Debbie Scott was hired by the Alamogordo school system to teach and to coach. She would ultimately lead Alamogordo girls’ teams in Volleyball and in assisting Coach Marilyn Sepulveda in Track & Field to great success.

The early 70s was a transitional year for Alamogordo Girls Sports and for Debbie Scott who as an Alumni and then re-joined Alamogordo High School, but now as a teacher and a coach.

The passage of Title IX, the 1972 Education Amendments to the Civil Rights Act, expanded high school athletic opportunities to include girls, revolutionizing mass sports participation in the United States. Organized sports have long been an integral part of the American high school experience for boys. However, the same has not been historically true for girls. Indeed, girls only began playing sports in large numbers after the passage of legislation mandating gender equity in schools.

The first regulation stipulating the procedures for the implementation of Title IX were not released until June 1975. Some schools began interpreting and implementing Title IX prior to June of 1975.

Alamogordo High was one such school system that progressively moved forward with implementation prior to the full Federal rules rollout. From the 1950’s through the late 1970’s Alamogordo High School was considered “a progressive front runner in leading social change and a model for school systems across the country.”

Teacher and Coach Debbie Scott was named Head Volleyball Coach the 2nd year after girls’ interscholastic volleyball was introduced at Alamogordo High School.

She was the first African American Woman to lead a sports program in Alamogordo High School since organized sports began in 1912.

But that would not be her only first.

Under Coach Debbie Scott the Alamogordo Girls Volleyball team that she coached was the first of any girls’ sports team to achieve the status of winning a state title. Under her leadership the first state title in girls’ athletics for Alamogordo High School was achieved….

Marylin Sepulveda as track and field coach was the first to bring state trophies home placing 2nd place several times prior but it was Debbie Scott that broke the glass ceiling and brought home the 1st Red Trophy or 1st Place State Title in Girls Sports to Alamogordo…

Alamogordo Girls Volleyball team wins the State 1979/80 School Year

Alamogordo Girls Volleyball team wins the state competition in Santa Fe” read the local sports headlines.

Girls Volleyball Coach Debbie Scott was incredibly pleased that her girls who placed 2nd in the district meet then showed what they had, and came through, to win the state competition with a 1st Place showing a week later in the class AAAA girl’s tournament.

The tournament was deep, in steep competition, as their first round they drew state champion Santa Fe and were expected to lose. The Santa Fe Coach had said in a television interview the day prior that, “we will sail easily through the opening round against Alamogordo.”

With Debbie Scott coaching and rallying the girls forward,” the Alamogordo Tiger Girls roared and knocked Santa Fe right out of the action.

The final round they competed against Albuquerque Eldorado for the championship. The Tiger girls took the first game by a narrow margin of 15 to 11.

The 2nd game was even closer 16 to 14 but they won it and walked away with the state title.

Coach Debbie Scott was thrilled to receive the NM State Title Trophy at a hastily called assembly of the school and her girls that Monday morning. Many of the volleyball girls went on to play girls basketball the same year.

The girls that competed that very special weekend under the direction of Coach Debbie Scott had no way of knowing then that they were shattering glass ceilings, breaking the barriers of race and gender that once existed with the simple act of a volley across a net in Santa Fe.

A record of firsts places Debbie Scott into the books of Alamogordo History.

Coach and Educator Debbie Scott would continue at Alamogordo for several more years in leading the Volleyball team to victories and assisting with Marilyn Sepulveda as the assistant track and field coach for the Tiger girls and eventually also lead them with Mrs. Sepulveda to State title history.

Debbie Scott was and remains a pioneer of black history but more importantly a leader, an example and a pioneer in gender equality and the overall history of Alamogordo.

Ms. Scott now an educator, in another state, remains a recognized leader, an accomplished athlete and a name embedded into the annual’s fabric of Alamogordo history for eternity.

Black history is our history and the history that includes all of us!

This is one of the many tales of Alamogordo Sports History and Alamogordo Black History from our AlamogordoTownNews.com Series – “The Spirts of Delaware Street, Alamogordo, New Mexico”.

Author Chris Edwards – SourcesCoach Bob Sepulveda: The Early Days, Publisher 2nd Life Media, New Mexico Athletic Association, Diaries of Marilyn Sepulveda, Alamogordo Town News, New Mexico Coaches Association Archives

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AlamogordoTownNews.com – The Cultural Revolution of Alamogordo’s New York Avenue

When one thinks of an artistic and literary enclave in New Mexico, the mind wonders to Santa Fe, Taos and possibly areas around Los Alamos and Albuquerque; most think exclusively Northern New Mexico and dismiss areas to the south. 

Authors Josette Herrell & BJ Oquist & Spinning Artist Linda Swenson leading the cultural renewal of New York Avenue

Regional and national art critics and magazines that cover culture and the arts, would have those to the north and outside New Mexico, believe the sun rises and sets to the north and that Southern New Mexico is a wasteland in the artisan or literary sense. But those times are changing and changing fast. Hello world!!!! The winds of the White Sands are awake with the spirits of creativity, and those sands of creativity are blowing daily on Alamogordo’s Main Street- New York Avenue. 

While the business shutdowns and drama of the pandemic was a nightmare to many in the arts and literary communities of Northern New Mexico; several members of the artistic and literary community of Alamogordo, New Mexico, used the period of shutdown or slowdown; to create, to fine tune and to craft plans to bring Alamogordo out of the funk of a pandemic, and to rise like a phoenix, into the budding cultural arts capital of Southern, New Mexico.

The shutdown of business and life as we knew it, forced many individuals to revisit those things that were important to them; to reinvigorate their passions and to write, sculpt, or create, and craft plans to bring the arts and culture back to life in Southern New Mexico, most specifically in Alamogordo and Alamogordo city center – New York Avenue.

The cultural evolution of Alamogordo began in 1988; when Alamogordo resident Margaret Flickinger bought the Sierra Theater, a 1950s-style movie theater donated it to the county as a performance space called the Flickinger Center for the Performing Arts. The inaugural performance at the theater was in December 1988 by the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra. The inaugural season started in October 1992 and the center has undergone several renovations since. Fast forward to 2022, and the Flickinger Center for the Performing Arts, is energized as the anchor for live professional and community live performance art and a leader in the cultural renaissance that is happening on Alamogordo’s, New York Avenue.

During the pandemic several artist and artistic ventures struggled statewide, but several innovative entrepreneurs tweaked, reinvented, and recommitted that as the state reopened; so too would the artistic community with a renewed passion for visibility and sustainability on Alamogordo’s, historic New York Avenue.

Otero Arts Inc was one such organization that recommitted and renewed its commitment to drive forward with a true focus on cultivating and showcasing the artisans and authors of Alamogordo and Otero County. Otero Arts Inc. is a community-based non-profit organization formed in 2019 “to enrich the lives of the people of the community through the arts and to foster a spirit of mutual support and cooperation among artists,” according to its mission statement. 

In the post pandemic, second half of 2021 and into 2022, under the direction of then, Board President, Chris Jones the organization officially started hosting diverse events at the 1936 built Women’s Club Building. Events to pique the interest of the locals and tourist alike included art shows, belly dancing classes, weaving circles, and even participating in a ghost, arts and history tour sponsored by artisan partner and donor, Roadrunner Emporium.

Otero Arts has shown a path forward for many in the artistic community. The organization has expanded its membership, invested heavily in the infrastructure to host a multitude of events in the new year. 2022 looks to be a venturesome year for the organization, with an aggressive calendar of events planned that will encompass and showcase a broad cross-section of artisan creations and gallery events to please its membership and the public in Otero County and beyond.

During the summer of 2021, a rekindled spirit of artistic expression took hold of the historic New York Avenue, the main street of Alamogordo. The Alamogordo Main Street organization once again began hosting events, and behind the scenes had been working with local politicians to ease restrictive interpretations on ordinances to allow more street fairs and activities on the main street corridor. They began with the New York Avenue Christmas Street Fair 2021 and are planning many events in 2022 to include Atomicon on May 14th, 2022, and other festivals sure to inspire the senses.

With that renewed passion on New York Avenue, new investment into artisan focused businesses took shape. The lead investment was made by partners Chris Edwards and Rene Sepulveda into the Roadrunner Emporium which has grown into an entrepreneurial artisan showcase with a very specific nod to the history of the building it is housed in and the historic importance of the New York Avenue district. This “entrepreneurial artisan and collectibles focused collaborative” is located at 928 New York Avenue in a building built in 1900, as Alamogordo’s original First National Bank, chartered in 1900. 

With its outreach to both artisans, antique’s collectors, authors and partnership with the Flickinger Center, Otero Arts, and the Tularosa Basin Museum; it is viewed by many locals as “the center of renewed cultural activities for the New York Avenue business district.” The Roadrunner Emporium Gallery, on 3 floors, in a historic building, is a showcase history, and of over 80 artists: from weaving and spinning, to acrylics, sculptured art and even live performance art, in addition to antiques, jewelry and collectibles entrepreneurs, all under one roof.

Twice a month the space hosts free to the public live music concerts such as Lacy Reynolds on the Harp upcoming February 11th, 2022, or Lenore Whitney singing jazz vocals February 25th, 2022. And it will be cohosting a “celebration of history event” with the Tularosa Basin Museum in March showcasing the historic safes and cashiers’ cages that once inhabited the building from 1900 to 1928 and are now restored and on display to the public.

In partnership with Lydia Aspen and Emanuel Renteria; Roadrunner Emporium and Main Street Music and Arts will be hosting a showcase of Alamogordo artisans, this spring at the Patrons Hall at the Flickinger Center. This event will showcase artist, live performance art, culinary delights and much more.

The 928 New York Avenue location hosts author book signings, artist led classes and workshops for kids and adults, and even offers “how to classes” for aspiring authors, small businesses around social media and entrepreneurs.

The success of this New York Avenue anchor business has spurred the investment of other artisan focused businesses on New York Avenue and new businesses planned for launch this year partnering with those recently opened.

Next door to the Flickinger Center for the Performing Arts, on the historic New York Avenue is a new gallery space that opened in October 2021. The gallery is a classic gallery in the sense of initial feel and represents the finest and most eclectic collection of art to be found in Southern New Mexico. The gallery is under the leadership of Lydia Aspen and collaborator Emmanual Renteria located at 1120 New York Avenue. This unique gallery is a sight to be seen and a true showcase of color, texture and is certainly not a stoic gallery that takes itself too seriously.  Lydia Aspin and partner, Emanual Renteria, bring art to life with color and personality in a whimsical, yet creative approach to local art. Art, jewelry, sculptured arts, and music – a drum set that was formerly on tour with “Prince” and the very finest in local arts are all on display and for sale, by the kindest most approachable artistic proprietors in New Mexico.

In December, the Local Bodega, 906 New York Avenue opened its doors. The shop is a local showcase of “Made in New Mexico” farm fresh products and more; from fresh fruits and veggies to soaps and candles representing farm to home style products and accessories is the goal of the Local Bodega. With a “passion for local” this small business inspires the senses of fresh, when one enters the doors. This is a small independent shop not to be missed on a visit to Alamogordo’s New York Avenue.

The cultural arts scene is not, just new businesses, on New York Avenue, in Alamogordo, New Mexico. The veterans of the street have kept it alive and are constantly expanding their successes.

Of special note, are the established businesses of New York Avenue that have inspired the community for decades; to include Victoria 913 and Pins and Needles which offers quilting classes and showcases the artesian needlecrafts of a bygone era still alive and growing exclusively in Alamogordo. The creations of fine quilts and other handsewn artisan creations from Alamogordo’s New York Avenue and Victoria 913; are considered highly collectible and of quality seldom found in our modern times. Under the direction of Alice Weineman for over 35 years, she is the respected elder stateswoman of the street. Local quilters have made Victoria on Pins and Needles the go-to source for fabric and other sewing needs. Quilting classes are taught by Lisa Blevins and are offered at the shop on a regular basis. Ms. Blevins is a certified quilting teacher and she, along with Pam Holland teach and inspire quilters throughout Southern New Mexico. Now, that New York Avenue is reopened for business; classes are back and stronger than ever and inspiring a whole new generation of quilters to carry the craft forward.

High Fashion from tuxedos to the finest in women’s formal ware are found also on 918 New York Avenue at Elite Memories Boutique. Elite Memories Boutique is recognized across New Mexico for its spin on high fashion, as it where Ms. New Mexico comes to be fitted every year for the annual Ms. New Mexico contest that is hosted annually in Alamogordo.

Miss New Mexico, Misa Tran strolled across the national stage in a flowing red gown during the 2019 Miss USA pageant and was just one of many young pageant hopefuls outfitted by Alamogordo’s Elite Memories Boutique. Elite Memories Boutique is the gown sponsor for Miss New Mexico and for Miss America, recognized across the nation for its selection of high-quality fashions. Elite Memories Boutique owner, Claudia Loya is a survivor and has operated on Alamogordo’s New York Avenue since 2014. She is board Vice President of Alamogordo Main Street and is committed to the rebirth of this historic district.

Mia’ Collectibles located at 823 New York Avenue offers the finest in antiques and collectibles and has a following of individuals that travel from San Francisco and Houston for the highest quality offerings at affordable Southern New Mexico prices. As a member of AntiqueTrails.com Mia’s is a must stop destination for the antique shopper seeking the best in fine antique but at Southern New Mexico prices.

Lastly, we cannot forget the wonders of Moni Cake’s Bakery at 924 New York Avenue that strives to bring the latest in edible art to life. The delights of artisan pastries, cakes, and the wonders of the fresh backed culinary arts of Moni Cakes Bakery has created a following of thousands of Facebook fans eager to see the photos of the newest culinary delights. Note, get your orders in early, as they sell out daily of the freshest and prettiest of artisan baked goods that can compete with any bakery from the finest of cities in America.

The historic New York Avenue in Alamogordo, New Mexico is in a true state of renewal, reinvigoration, and certainly is on mission with a purpose. It is a work in progress, and the best is yet to come. But daily one sees elements of this renewal in action. 

The photo that began the article showed local authors Josette Herrell with author BJ Oquist who did a book signing and release of 2 children’s books from New York Avenue. Also pictured was spinning artist Linda Swenson, whose high style fashions have become a favorite of women from Houston, Dallas, San Francisco and beyond. She has developed a following of fans that travel to Alamogordo for her creative designs. It is becoming more and more common to participate in; “meet the artist or author events”, hear live music, see crafting classes in action and more, all a part of this energized group of artisans committed to urban renewal of this historic zone. 

History comes alive with culture, the arts and business now on New York Avenue, Alamogordo.

Alamogordo’s New York Avenue historic district is well on its way of repositioning itself as the new center of culture for Southern New Mexico. With the focus on live performance venues, galleries, antiques and collectibles shops, the culinary arts, the evolution of local authors, tapping into local talent; this historic district, showcasing their works, in a partnered approach, represents a promising future for Alamogordo.

Watch out Santa Fe, Taos and Albuquerque, as the wind blows across the White Sands to the south, a phoenix is rising, spurred on by creativity and entrepreneurship, partnered with the vision of Alamogordo’s New York Avenue. When the artistic community and the creative class unites with business, and the natural beauty of a region is recognized; a force is created that spurs the imagination, and that is the renewal of Alamogordo’s, New York Avenue. 

We can’t wait to see you, come join the fun and witness the evolution in progress, come on down south, and stay a while.  Our locals and visitors make positive memories, daily onthat last a lifetime on Alamogordo’s Main Street- New York Avenue.

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AlamogordoTownNews.com: 100 Years AGO, in Alamogordo Sports History – Coach L R “Peanuts” Robins picks principle and ethics over a State Title.

The Founding of the New Mexico Activities Association (NMAA)

In 1921 The New Mexico Activities Association (NMAA) was formed as a nonprofit organization that regulates interscholastic programs for junior and senior high schools in New Mexico. It became the official host and record keeper for the statewide sports championship games each year thereafter and collaborated with the University of New Mexico to continue to host events. keeping and leading interscholastic events within New Mexico today.

NMAA was organized in 1921 by John Milne, James Bickley, F. H. Lynn, and J.D. Shinkle as the New Mexico High School Athletic Association.

Alamogordo High School joined the association in 1921 and proceeded to send athletes to its events.

The 1920’s has been called the Golden Age of American Sports. It also has been called the Age of the Spectator.

The United States had a strong economy for most of that decade with extensive growth on the west coast with the formation of New Mexico and new cities and school systems. Organized sports were at a pinnacle many workers had more leisure time. New and bigger stadiums and gymnasiums were built, interest and pride in local High School and College Teams became America’s pastime.

The introduction of radio made it easier for fans to keep up with their favorite teams. Radio and local newspapers increased their coverage of sports building local community support of their hometown teams. High School interscholastic sports gained significant traction and community pride via local media.

Alamogordo High School had a very limited sports program in 1922 but the Boys Basketball team was a bright spot for the citizens of Alamogordo that provided much community pride.

The citizens of Alamogordo had significant pride in their Boys Basketball Team that season of 1922 under Coach & Professor L. R. “Peanuts” Robins. Coach Robin’s was a disciplined athlete that took education seriously. The coach expected his boys to perform well academically and athletically. Citizenship and good stewardship of their reputation and that of the Alamogordo High School was a paramount lesson he intended to instill upon his student athletes.

The 1922/23 season was a strong one for the the Alamogordo Tiger Boys which were picked to win the district tournament and carry that victory forward to the state championships hosted by the NMAA in Albuquerque.

According to the Alamogordo News at the time, “Close performance of the teams that were to participate in the high school tournament for the basketball teams of the southern district of New Mexico, agreed that Alamogordo would give a good account of its team at the tournament. And winning the tournament it was conceded that the Alamogordo high schools’ boys would mix it up pretty strong at the state contest in Albuquerque. The Alamogordo boys had already won from the Albuquerque team, winner of the central tournament. But Alamogordo did not win the Las Cruces district tournament.”

Alamogordo did not win the Las Cruces district tournament.

The why of the matter was very nicely told in the El Paso Times by Gene Fromme.

“Why Alamogordo Withdrew…

Alamogordo High School’s failure to enter the district basketball tournament for the state title for the 1922/23 school year had everyone wondering.

Every fan in the southwest knew Alamogordo High packed probably the classiest crew of cage performers in the entire state. Their slashing victory over the strong Albuquerque High School boosted them to a lofty standing and a championship for the team seemed almost assured.

Coach “Peanuts” Robins had molded a masterful quintet from the rawest kind of material. All of his backers had expressed their willingness to bet their boots Alamogordo would march off with the state title.

Then came the time for them to show their basket of wares and they failed to make an appearance.

Here is the mystery unreeled by one the shrewdest and fairest athletic followers, who is more than merely interested in the welfare of the Alamogordo High school basketball team:

It takes downright courage for a successful young athletic coach who has toiled night and day with his team to refuse to enter a tournament he would most probably have won, for sheer sake of principle. And that is exactly what Coach “Peanuts” Robbins of Alamogordo High did. This is the kind of coaching that places athletics on a plane worthwhile.

Without entering into a full discussion of the cause of the young coach’s commendable action, suffice it to say a small number only of the boys on the team who, after riding over the rough bumps of the Alamo trails, took of the cars and said they wished to take a ride around town. They feel victims to the smooth El Paso-Las Cruces Road, and before they knew it they were doing things not consistent with the best athletic conditions. 

While this kind of a lark is not a legal crime, it showed poor judgement on the part of the boys, and certainly could not be tolerated by the coach. 

Upon the boys’ return from their adventure the Alamogordo, Coach Robins promptly removed them from the team.

This naturally incapacitated the club for such as contest as was before them, and in which, considering all former “dope” they no doubt would have won. With crushed hearts the other boys who had remained true to their teachings and colors, along with their comrades, who would willingly have given anything to undo the wrong which they had done, moved our for the long night ride to their home. Thus, Alamogordo went unheralded for the season.”

Other accounts of the events around the district tournament report that Coach L R Robinson had every intention of entering the boys into the competition and believed strongly that they could carry the banner for a state title. According to the coach, “ the Alamogordo Boys took the trip entirely too lightly. The boys broke training and went joy riding.”

The public was confused. From the viewpoint of the chances of Alamogordo gaining basketball fame in the state tournament, the incident from some was considered deplorable. But from the angle of what sport in the schools stands for, cleanliness and training of the body and mind, the development of discipline and sportsmanship. Coach Robbins was eminently correct.

Coach “Peanuts” Robin’s goes down in New Mexico High School sports history and Alamogordo Sports History as the coach that placed principle and discipline over the accolades of winning a state championship.

The question of course is what kind of pressure did the coach face upon his return without a district or state title in hand?

Mr. Robins had the full support of the faculty and of the directors or school board of Alamogordo. He well deserved it. According to a statement from a school administrator at the time; “Coach R L “Peanuts” Robins proved himself a thorough sportsman and a man fit to be given the direction of young athletes.”

One wonders. if that same level of ethics and stamina exists within the coaching staff and administration to take on the public scrutiny of such a decision today. Would the same decision be made by the coach to pull the team in our modern times of today? Thoughts to ponder from lessons of the history of the Alamogordo Sports Program dating back over 120 years.

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AlamogordoTownNews.com: Spotlight on Author Rochelle Williams’ New Release of “Acts of Love & Ruin” Jan 21st at Otero Artspace

AlamogordoTownNews.com Author Spotlight Rochelle Williams

Rochelle Williams is a familiar face to those in the arts community of Alamogordo, as she sits on the board of Otero Arts and has been involved in arts and other activities in the area since arriving to Alamogordo almost 2 decades ago.

Some folks have seen her photography at various venues such as the recent online showing at Otero Arts Winter show. Other’s have read a few of her short stories and snippets that have been published in various periodicals dating back to 1995 such as the story, Intaglio which won second place in Southwest Writers Workshop literary short story contest in 1995. The judge was Elizabeth Gaffney of Paris Review. It was subsequently published in The Eldorado Sun fiction issue.

The following short stories by Rochelle Williams were published or accepted for publication in 2020 – 2022:

  • · Phoenix in Menacing Hedge
  • Trouble with the Painters in The MacGuffin
  • That Day in WOW Women on Writing
    and won first place for flash fiction
  • Shoeboxes is forthcoming in April 2022 in Mom Egg Review

But now, Rochelle Williams has taken the next step in her literary journey, with the release of her first published works in a book format that being Acts of Love & Ruin, a collection of short stories and snippets by the author as her first paperback and hardback book release.

The book launch is scheduled for the initial book signing at Otero Artspace – “The Historic Women’s Building” – on Indiana Avenue, January 21st at 6 pm.

She will follow that launch event with a Champagne and Book Signing event January 29th 4 pm to 6 pm at Roadrunner Emporium 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo. 

Her book will then also be available the next several months at Roadrunner Emporium and online via Amazon thereafter.

AlamogordoTownNews.com met up with Rochelle Williams to discuss her upcoming book launch and to better get to know this local author and what motivated her to go to print…

AlamogordoTownNews.com Question: What inspired your interest into writing short stories and snippets?

Author Rochelle Williams Response“I’ve been writing since I was about eighteen. I started with fragments, which still appeal to me as a form, and eventually moved to short stories. In the 1990s, I began a novel, “Bodies of Water.” As happens with a lot of writers, life got in the way, and I did not finish it. I’ve reshaped some of the material of the novel into short stories, and now some flash fiction pieces. But much of it remains in the form of fragments and scenes. I call those fragmentary pieces snippets.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com Question: Your short stories and snippets feel very personal when reading the pain, views, or feelings of your characters, are your characters inspired by personal events or individuals you’ve encountered in your past?

Author Rochelle Williams Response“Yes, many of my characters and the situations they find themselves in are drawn from my life and what I observe around me. That is not quite the same as being autobiographical. For example, the protagonist in my second novel-in-progress, “The Eye of Desire: Letters to a Dead Painter,” studies painters and painting and is especially taken with Pierre Bonnard, a painter I love madly. But the character, Patience, is a painter herself, and I’ve never picked up a paintbrush. My characters are drawn in a general way from my experiences, but the role of imagination in creating a character or a story always adds its own mystery to the process.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com Question: Do you feel a connection to your characters and what is your path to character development?

Author Rochelle Williams Response: “Yes, I feel strongly connected to my characters. I sometimes laugh out loud, or cry while I’m writing. They really get under my skin! I don’t work from outlines or have a plan when I start writing. A story or scene usually begins with a line I hear going through my head, or something I see. Characters often do unexpected things. I just kind of follow them around and take notes.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com Question: Rumor is you are also a prolific photographer, what subject matter do you like to photograph most and why?

Author Rochelle Williams Response: “I love to photograph the most ordinary things—the streets of Tularosa where I walk in the mornings, the beautiful sky, clouds, the changing light on trees, buildings. I used to use an old Nikon and shoot black and white film that I developed and printed myself. I miss having a darkroom and that process of watching an image come up in the developing tray. But now I shoot everything with the camera in my iphone. I find photography so relaxing and pleasurable, whereas writing is mostly hard work!”

AlamogordoTownNews.com Question: Tell us about your connection to Otero Arts Inc, what inspired you to join, and what is your role and the organizations path forward in 2022?

Author Rochelle Williams Response: “Otero Arts, Inc., is the realization of a long-held dream. A group of artists got together way back around 2003 and launched the Otero Arts Council. It didn’t really get off the ground, but we never stopped thinking about the potential for an arts organization to serve Otero County. Being able to lease the Woman’s Club building to house Otero Arts is also a dream come true—because of this we are a facility-based organization and that creates a wonderful foundation for developing the organization. I joined the board when I retired last year, and I’ve been working on getting our literary arts reading series organized. We’ve already had two wonderful readers, and have booked JJ Amaworo Wilson, writer in residence at Western NM University in Silver City and organizer of the biannual Southwest Word Fiesta, to read in April. We want to tap into the rich literary resources in Southern New Mexico and bring many kinds of writers here to share their work with us.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com Question: What is the one thing that you would like people to know about you?

Author Rochelle Williams Response“I’m very interested in people. My son calls me nosy, but I am just kind of insatiably curious about other people’s experiences, thoughts, and feelings. I guess it’s the writer in me. I want to know everyone’s story.”

A component to Ms. Williams’ story that is even more interesting and inspirational to us, is that Rochelle Williams is a survivor of a brain injury. So, it is with great admiration we see her so active in Otero Arts, doing photography, writing, and bringing her first book to life as a published work of art.

For many individuals it is often difficult to express what one may have experienced, witnessed, heard, or sensed in a verbal dialog. To many writers the true expression of oneself is through their writing and through her writing we witness character development by New Mexico’s Rochelle Williams that makes us take notice.

At AlamogordoTownNews.com we believe that to be the case of Mrs. Williams she is very expressive via her writing yet shy in person. Through Rochelle Williams writing, we experience the characters joy and pain felt from the authors expansive imagery in words. We can clearly visualize the characters through the prose she presents to us, the reader.

Mark Conking, Author of Prairie Dog Blues and Killer Whale Blues says of Rochelle Williams; and of her newly released book, Acts of Love & Ruin, “Rochelle Williams is a writer with remarkable talent. She weaves the emotional lives of her characters with a palette of words that results in a true literary art form. Her stories range over life in the way a painter would range over a canvas–brilliant and colorful with striking designs. Here is an author everyone should read. A fine collection of stories.”

We indeed agree with Mr. Conking’s assessment of Rochelle Williams prose and as such encourage the public to meet the author at two local book signing events. The first will be her official book launch reading and signing at the Otero Artspace at the historic 1936 Women’s Building on Indiana Avenue, January 21st at 6 pm. The 2nd event is a book signing and champagne at the Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo on January 29th at 4 pm. The public is urged to come out and support this talented local author at these two artistic venues.

Ms. Williams’ followed up our interview, by providing us a short story that she wrote from 2013 that she has titled Accidental Gifts.

While we can’t speak to the question, of if this is her story or a fictionalized version of the events that did transpire around her accident; what we do know, is we felt this character’s experience, as we did in every short story and snippet in her newly released book.

Below AlamogordoTownNews.com is proud to present the short story titled:

                                                        Accidental Gift – Author, Rochelle Williams

“The moment my life split irrevocably into “before” and “after” came on a calm, almost unbearably beautiful winter morning. The sun was out bright and strong, turning the previous night’s blizzard into a wonderland of iced houses and trees, knee-deep snow, shimmering ultramarine sea. I had pulled on my boots and set off for a walk in the brisk air, feeling so alive, drinking in the brilliant light, the gorgeous contrast of sea and snow.

I had arrived the night before, just ahead of the big storm, at my sister-in-law’s house perched on a tiny spit of land on the coast of Maine. It was two days after Christmas. I was stopping in for a visit on my way from New Mexico, where I live, to Vermont, where I was enrolled in a low-residency graduate program. Embarking on my third semester, I couldn’t have been more excited. It seemed to me those great vistas of possibility were opening up before me, and this walk in the sun and snow was a celebration of impending change. The change that was actually in store for me, I never could have imagined, nor voluntarily welcomed into my life.

The road hadn’t been cleared, but some intrepid souls had already been out on it; there were wheel tracks in the snow and that was where I walked, heading downhill toward the tall pines on the next curve of land jutting out into the sea. I remember looking up, marveling at the lovely robin’s-egg blue of the sky, and then, without understanding how, I was flat on the icy pavement. My feet had gone out from under me and the back of my head had slammed the pavement so hard I couldn’t comprehend at first what had happened. Time turned sticky; everything slowed down. I lay there, unable to move. I had no thoughts. There was only a sort of slow-motion sensing of being flat on my back on the ground, seeing the tree branches overhead, smelling the snow. Then very slowly, as if my mind was moving through something thick, it began to roam around my body: Am I bleeding? Is anything broken? Can I move my legs? These were not thoughts, but a kind of primitive awareness scanning my body. Finally, there was a thought, accompanied by a deep sense of foreboding, and it went something like this: You have really hurt yourself. And indeed, I had.

In the instant after that thought formed, a black curtain started to descend over my eyes. I knew I had to get up, that I needed help, and fast. Looking back, it seems as if some force outside of me lifted me up and propelled me back up the hill, the hundred yards or so to my sister-in-law Susan’s door. As soon as I was upright, a battle began against intense, burning nausea and an equally intense desire to simply lie down right where I was and go to sleep. I had spent much of my working life as a nurse; the symptoms of closed head injury were familiar to me. It’s hard to describe the feeling I had of being split in two—one part of my brain trying to control the symptoms that another part of my brain was cataloguing with increasing panic. I stepped through Susan’s door and said something like: I fell and hit my head. I need help. She queried me, saw that I was in trouble and dialed 911. Bile burned hot in my throat and I was taking short, fast sips of air to keep it down. The paramedics arrived quickly and began to “talk me down”—something I also knew from my experience as a nurse—head injury patients can be combative and wildly irrational. I was trying to cooperate but was seized by intense panic at the thought of lying down flat on the backboard they had pushed into the cramped living room. I knew with unshakeable certainty that I would die if they put me on that backboard. One of them moved in beside me, spoke in a soothing voice, assured me repeatedly that they would let me sit up if I needed to. I knew he was lying, and that he had to; his job was to get me safely onto the backboard. I knew that once I surrendered and let them enclose me in what turned out to be full-body immobilization, there was no getting out. Fear blazed on top of the burning panic. I remember asking what they would do if I started vomiting; he said they would turn me on my side, suction my airway and make sure I was breathing; they would take good care of me—he must have said it a dozen times while they gently pried my fingers from the arms of the chair where I sat rigid and unable to move, placed the brace around my neck and maneuvered me onto the backboard, strapping me in place. His voice was kind, but nothing could soothe the panic that made me resist everything they were trying to do for me. In the ambulance, a woman put an oxygen cannula in my nose and started an IV. I remember squeezing her hand so hard, the thought that I might be injuring her flashed through my mind, but I could not loosen my grip. She leaned close and talked to me all the way to the hospital, telling me we were going to go around a curve now, it would be this many more minutes, I was doing fine, remember to breathe. I thought, I have fallen among angels. And still the panic roared in me every second, leaped and gnawed and burned like flame at the base of my skull, in my throat and chest, and I felt trapped in a cage that might never open.

In the emergency room I was given a powerful anti-nausea drug, wheeled from X-ray to CT. The lights above me blared like interrogation instruments. There was no escaping them, or the noise—the crash and clang of equipment, the scrape of chairs on the floor, the voices around me—all seemed amplified beyond endurance. The backboard dug into my flesh. Tears ran down the sides of my face, into my ears. I remember bellowing, “My head hurts!” A nurse spoke to me in that gentle, reasonable way they all had, told me they needed to make sure there was no bleeding in my brain before they could give me anything for pain. Susan sat by me, her face tense with worry.

After many hours, many tests, all the information was assembled. No bones were broken. No blood was seeping. There was no visible swelling in my brain. Prescriptions were written for pain and nausea medications; instructions were given about returning for worsening symptoms. And with that I was released from the imprisonment of the backboard and brace, into a life that was simply unimaginable to me hours before.

Traumatic brain injury is a malady that confounds medicine. The day before the accident, I was running my own company, managing a million-dollar annual budget and sixteen employees; the day after the accident, I could not walk or talk normally, I stuttered badly, slurred words, my right foot dragged. I could not take care of basic tasks of daily life independently, could not stay awake for more than a few hours. How could something you couldn’t see on an X-ray or CT scan cause so much damage? On a deep, almost inexpressible level, I felt unsouled, as if my soul had left my body and what was left was an empty shell, an automaton. I felt emptied of anything I recognized as self. Who are we when we are not “ourselves”? What creates that sense of “I”, of recognition? These are questions I had ample opportunity to ponder in the weeks and months that followed.

Medicine, I discovered, has little to offer for the physical symptoms of brain injury: hypersensitivity to light and sound, debilitating fatigue and weakness, persistent headache, problems with attention, memory and language processing, and, often, severe posttraumatic stress symptoms. There are painkillers and antidepressants, but they all have risks and side-effects, and they only marginally reduce the suffering these symptoms bring. And Western medicine has virtually nothing in its toolbox to address the profound shifts in self-concept that can accompany such an injury—the loss of a sense of self, the damage to the delicate mechanism that knits together memory, experience and imagination to create meaning and identity. I found myself turning more and more to alternative medicine, and ultimately to depth psychology and to a deepening spiritual practice in my search for healing.

For many months, I was unable to drive, shop for groceries, read, or work. I spent most of my time in a dark room, with a towel wrapped tightly around my head. Pressure seemed to quiet the constant ringing and buzzing in my brain and lessen the pain. The flood of adrenalin that had allowed me to stay conscious and get help, turned out to be my worst enemy in recovery. Like a stuck throttle, it wouldn’t shut off. Panic erupted randomly, and also as a fatigue marker—a signal I had done too much, stayed up too long; but it never failed to accompany the act of lying down, especially on my back; my heart would race and pound like it was going to leap out of my chest.

The previous spring, I had learned a simple meditation technique to help me deal with the stresses of my business and graduate program: sit quietly and follow the breath. It was useful, but I didn’t settle into a regular practice. After the accident, I found myself clinging to it the way a drowning person clings to a life-preserver. It was the only way I could calm the heart-racing, the pounding pressure in my head, the panic and pain that had, in an instant, become my world.

This simple technique not only calmed me; over time it began to work a subtle change in me. I found myself slowly letting go of the idea that my worth was based on what I accomplished in the world. I suddenly couldn’t do anything. Did that mean I was worthless? Or worth less than I had been in my former condition? I began working with a Jungian therapist who helped me explore these questions and to dismantle what was revealed in our work to be a harshly self-critical belief system and build a more loving and compassionate one.

Almost two years have passed since the great divide. I’m not entirely well yet. I still stutter and slur when I’m tired. My right foot still drags. I long to hike, ride a bicycle, do many things I used to take for granted. For a long time, I kept wondering when I would “get back to normal.” I don’t remember exactly when I realized that would never happen. The person I was before the accident is gone, unrecoverable. In her place is someone I don’t know very well yet.

I no longer manage my company. It took some time, but that’s okay with me now. The part of my brain that generates ideas is alive and well, and I’ve found new ways to contribute to the business. I look forward to one day returning to school. Understanding speech, formulating and articulating a response—ordinary conversation, in other words—is taxing, but written language has become fluent, even joyful. A loss, and a gift in its place. There are other gifts, poking up like flowers among the ruins as I inhabit this unexpected life. Calm acceptance of the past. Freedom from fear of the future. But the sweetest one is the gift of the timeless present moment, which I used to hurry right past, and now choose to live in as much as I can.“

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Roadrunner Emporium Fine Arts Gallery January 2022 Events, Classes, Live Music, Lectures & More

January 15th10:30 pm to 2:30 pm – New York Avenue History & Ghost Tour:  Learn the history of 1900 New York Avenue’s first bank and the ghost that walk the street from Roadrunner Emporium, Victoria 913, behind the scenes at the Flickinger Center, Copper Heron Gallery, Otero Arts built in 1936, Tularosa History Museum and more.

January 20th 5pm to 7:30 pm Alamogordo Center of Commerce & Roadrunner Emporium Vibe @ 5 Event -Live Music Lacy Reynolds on Harp, Singing by Lenore, meet the artists and authors and more.

January 22nd – 5 pm to 730 pm Roadrunner Emporium Meet the Author Series: Rochelle Williams Book Signing & Sparkling Beverages

January 25th – 6 pm to 7:30 Author Workshop “So You Want to Be Published – How to Self Publish 6 pm to 7:30 pmJanuary 27th – Introduction to Social Media Marketing for Artist, Authors & Small Business Professionals – Building your professional brand via social media – A how to workshop

Roadrunner Emporium Fine Arts, Antiques and More

Where: 928 New York Ave Alamogordo, NM, 88310

When: January 15, 20, 22, 25,  & 27

Time: Various

Roadrunner Emporium is partnering with our crafty local community of artisans to provide classes, workshops, book signings, special sales and more

Vendors contact Chris for information or visit the Emporium in person or calling 707.880.6238

or visit

https://2ndlifemedia.com/roadrunner-gallery-events

Alamogordo Center of Commerce Trail of Lights Competition Winners New York Avenue, Alamogordo & High Rolls Score!

The Alamogordo Center of Commerce announced the 2021 Trail of Lights Holiday Contest Winners!  New York Avenue in Alamogordo shined in the business category with the 1st place and 3rd place winners. Cloudcroft’s The Summit Inn was the 2nd place winner showcasing the lights on the mountain.

Business Competition

1st – Roadrunner Emporium, Alamogordo

2nd – The Summit Inn, Cloudcroft

3rd – Elite Memories Boutique, Alamogordo

Residential Competition

In the residential competition High Rolls rocked a 1st place victory with the residence of 20 Old Firehouse Road placing 1st. Alamogordo scored the 2nd and 3rd place victors.

1st – 20 Old Firehouse Road, High Rolls

2nd – 234 Eagle Loop, Alamogordo

3rd – 333 Wildwood Drive, Alamogordo

The Alamogordo Center of Commerce offered a huge thank you to everyone who participated and to the First Place Sponsors First Baptist Church, Cloudcroft and Cloudcroft Properties and the Second Place Sponsors Bank 34 and Future Real Estate – Alamogordo!!

This Alamogordo shop brings antique bank vaults, celebrations of local culture and more to the city

Nicole Maxwell Alamogordo Daily News

Outside Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue in Alamogordo, are street signs, rotating window decorations that included a to Alamogordo High School sports and has since changed to a Día de los Muertos theme. 

Inside the store is a trove of arts and crafts made by local artisans, relics of a history of the not too distant past and classrooms to teach and inspire the next round of the community’s artists.

Currently, the decor is for Día de los Muertos. Skeletons alongside paintings, soaps, books and antique bank safes among other things such as clothing, lamps and more.

Roadrunner Emporium is under the management of authors Rene Sepulveda and Chris Edwards.

“We believe in the history of the building, we’re refurbishing the building trying to showcase the history that’s here,” Edwards said. “We’re trying to not only become an art gallery but a center for culture for Alamogordo.”

Sepulveda and Edwards wrote two books about Alamogordo High School sports including “Coach Bob Sepulveda: The Early Years” and “Coaches Bob and Marilyn Sepulveda with Coach Gary Hveem.”

Both books are available at Roadrunner Emporium.

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Roadrunner Emporium is located in the original location of the First National Bank of Alamogordo which was chartered in 1900 and closed during The Great Depression of the 1930s.

The safes the bank used were custom-built in Cleveland. Ohio with the locking mechanism from Hartford, Connecticut.

Chris Edwards, local auther and co-owner of roadrunner Emporium shows one of the existing bank vaults in the Roadrunner Emporium building. The building was hte original First National Bank of Alamogordo from 1900 unti the 1930s.

Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue in Alamogordo, features an eclectic mix of local history and artistry.

“It still operates today, if you can believe it, that was created in 1898,” Edwards said. “The vault was assembled in 1900, brought here by rail at a cost of $36,000. Which would be about $1.2 million in today’s dollars. Then the bank was created.”

It was not affiliated with the current First National Bank of Alamogordo which was chartered in 1954, Edwards said. 

Aside from the historical essence of the building, Roadrunner Emporium also holds classes and events.

This week there is a book signing and discussion with a couple of local authors and their illustrator and a Halloween Spooktacular from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m. on Oct. 30 where Roadrunner Emporium has teamed up with the newly established MainStreet Entertainment, 928 New York Avenue.

MainStreet Entertainment is hosting Nightmare on Main Street which runs from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. on Oct. 30.

Josette Herrell wrote “Timmy’s Big Adventure” and Barbara “BJ” Oquist wrote “Farmer Jon’s Very Special Team” and their illustrator Diana Sill will be at Roadrunner Emporium Oct. 30.

Nicole Maxwell can be contacted by email at nmaxwell@alamogordonews.com, by phone at 575-415-6605 or on Twitter at @nicmaxreporter.

https://www.alamogordonews.com/story/community/2021/10/25/alamogordo-shoppping-roadrunner-emporium-bank-vaults-celebrations-local-culture/8438383002/

AlamogordoTownNews.com Couy Griffin Roadshow From Montana to QANON Rally & HBO Movie Couy Griffin Makes The Rounds…

As Otero County voters are aware  Cowboys for Trump founder Couy Griffin has prevailed against efforts to recall him from office as a county commissioner in southern New Mexico.

Recall committee spokesman Scott Fredrick confirmed the end of September that a petition drive collected 1,229 signatures from registered voters and that it wasn’t enough to trigger a recall election by state law.

Amid the recall effort having survived, Griffin has been burnishing his image as a God-fearing “peaceful patriot” who stands in solidarity with about 70 jailed defendants and 100’s of indicted defendants linked to the Capitol siege. 

Under the direction and guidance of former president Trumps former lawyer Sidney Powell, and funded by a fundraising campaign that shows a fundraising total to date of $41,567 created by the controversial alleged Proud Boys affiliate Ben Bergquam; Couy Griffin has been traveling around the country. 

On his tour he is lecturing on his vision of America and continuing the message of a stolen election. Recently on tour in Dillon Montana, Couy Griffin mined his preaching background when he proclaimed to the pro-Trump crowd that he believes the former president is anointed by God.

Griffin founded Cowboys for Trump and faces misdemeanor charges for his alleged presence in a restricted area of the U.S. Capitol building during the riot of Jan. 6 in Washington D.C.

A former pastor, Griffin acknowledged that Trump is a flawed man. But he reminded the crowd that King David of the Old Testament was a sinner. Those sins included adultery and soliciting murder, according to the Bible.

About 90 people in the Frontier Event Center heard the onetime preacher emphasize that God is sovereign.

If God wanted Donald J. Trump to be in that office right now you can bet your boots he would be,” he said. However in a confusing contradiction to the belief that if God had wanted Trump in office he would be there then Griffin went on to say that, “I believe with all my heart that the election was stolen.” (If God wanted Trump in office how could it be stolen? This writer has yet to comprehend how one can trump God’s will so to say, but we digress.)

“[Trump] was fighting the good fight for those of us who have been left behind by the government,” Griffin said, noting that he has met Trump and had conversations with him. “I know his heart. His heart is for the people.”

Specific to the insurrection Griffin has said he believes the federal government has been reluctant to move forward with trials of defendants charged with alleged crimes tied to the Jan. 6 riot. He said authorities are pushing instead for guilty pleas or plea bargains. Griffin himself was offered a sealed plea bargain agreement but as of yet there is no word of an agreement between Griffin and the Feds on agreement to the plea bargain that was proposed.

Griffin has said he believes trials would compel the government to disclose to defense lawyers video evidence that would be both exculpatory and revelatory.

While in Montana he was accompanied by two other Montana residents facing conviction from the capital related activities. One, Henry “Hank” Muntzer told the Montana Standard that, “Trump will be back before the end of the year after the fraud is exposed.”  

That myth continues to be perpetuated on obscure websites sites and via QANON with constant date changes, when this alleged reset of the US government with Trump reasserting his rightful role in the White House will take place.

Couy Griffin continued his conservative tour this weekend with a trip to Las Vegas to a QANON conference however his speech concerning President Trump was not as rosy and upbeat in support of the former president as his speech in Montana a few weeks prior.

At the conference this weekend, C owboys for Trump founder Couy Griffin, who continues facing charges in connection with the U.S. Capitol riot, turned his rhetoric on the former president in a conference speech for abandoning January 6 rioters and failing to deliver on a campaign promise.

We supported President Trump because of his fight for justice as well. And for four years we cried, ‘Lock her up. Lock her up. Lock her up.’ We know she’s a criminal. What did the president tell us? ‘If I was in charge of the law, you’d be in jail,'” Griffin said Sunday at a QAnon conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“Mr. President, you’ve been in charge of the law for four years,” he added. “At the end of your four year time, the only ones locked up were men like me, and others like me, that have stood by the president the strongest.”

The AlamogordoTownNews.com reached out to Couy Griffin via text to his private number for a comment for this article or context of the statements but as of publication time of this article has had no comment or response. If we get a response or comment we will amend the article with comments from Mr. Griffin or context to his statement.

In the ongoing saga of the capitol riots to date 670 individuals have now been charged by the Department of Justice with crimes against the United States of America. 

A detailed movie produced by the BBC is being released for television called; Four Hours at the Capitol: a meticulous, chronological account of how 6 January unfolded, executive produced by Dan Reed and directed by Jamie Roberts. If the violence that day seemed sudden and explosive even to those of us following it from afar, the film shows the agonizing push-and-pull between protesters and police on the threshold, the tension building and finally boiling over.

The abundance of material of nearly every minute allowed them to stitch together the sequence of events, while witnesses tell the story. There’s the Capitol police caught on the back foot, the Washington DC police brought in to do battle, the politicians and staff readying themselves for fight or flight and the reporters struggling to keep pace.

The most striking testimony is from the protestors themselves: a broad church ranging from rubberneckers to those clearly intent on doing harm. Many belong to the Proud Boys, the far-right group (now synonymous with alt-right extremism) which led the attack on the Capitol. Some subscribe to conspiracies associated with QAnon.

It can be unsettling to hear some of the participants describe that day in their own words, and to see the pleasure some evidently derive from them.

In the film, often the footage speaks for itself, such as when our Otero County Commissioner and Cowboys for Trump founder; Couy Griffin describes “thousands of peaceful patriots standing around” while the viewer is shown a bloody, baying mob – and Griffin is actually seen on video stirring them up further. “It was very violent: this was an out-and-out physical attack on the Capitol and the people defending it,” says movie producer Reed. “We don’t hold back on that, and that’s got to tell you a lot … The fact that members of the Proud Boys are allowed to speak is entirely as it should be, because that’s how we’re going to understand.

America teetered on the brink of martial law, Reed says. When an officer is dragged into the mob, “you can see that there are different impulses within the crowd: one is to smash his face in and kill him – and the other is to save him.

Had the House of Commons been in comparable jeopardy, he says, “ there would have been massive bloodshed – with that level of threat, I think police would have definitely opened fire. It’s just astonishing that the Capitol police didn’t.”

Instead, as an officer says in the film– and as the footage shows to be miraculous – huge loss of life was averted on both sides. The squall passes when, after four hours, Trump finally tells his adoring, warring supporters to go home.

There’s a certain amount of despair in America that you can see in the high suicide rate among the post-industrial white working class, in the rates of opiate addiction and family breakdowns. There’s a large constituency of people who feel that they are not at the center of the American story any more.

Membership to right-wing militia groups was recently found to have surged since 6 January. That unprecedented violence,  was spearheaded by just few dozen determined individuals – and then that opened the way to events that changed the world in ways we have yet to understand and may not even know or realize for decades.

Four Hours at the Capitol can be seen on HBO. A trailer of the movie can be seen via the link below..

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AlamogordoTownnews.com – Mayoral Candidates A Question on Pay and Accomplished Legislation

Alamogordo is in the middle of early voting for multiple positions within the municipal government. AlamogordoTownNews.com issued 26 questions to the two mayoral candidates and received their responses. A few questions of the 26 were questions around campaign finances and personal finances related to the salary of commissioners and the office of the mayor.

The Founding Fathers never intended a permanent political class controlled by the wealthy and never intended for there to be career politicians. Our government was set up for citizen statesmen, not for career politicians at every level be it city or county commission, mayor, or congress person.

The idea was “citizen statesmen.” Our founding fathers wanted honorable people of common origins to do their duty and serve their city, county, state, or country for a limited time, then step aside and go back to their farms or businesses and let others serve in their place. The design was not for careers in politics. No matter how good the man or woman, as terms pass and decades tally, they become beholden to the powers that perpetuate them.

So, in that vein of thinking in our 26 questions we asked the two mayoral candidates question number 23.” Given the job is a part time job and one of public service, would you be willing to accept the position if elected for NO pay and dedicate the public check each month to a local community organization rotating the donation monthly?”

The responses were almost comical, if one really reads into them, and one should really read and digest the candidate responses.

A question for the public is this? Non-profit organizations have oversight by an appointed board and operate on a volunteer basis (without pay) to ensure the non-profit is managed in the best interest of the agencies mission. Board members are not employees of the agency, they have the same oversite responsibilities of that agency as the city commission and mayors’ office has of the budget and enforcement actions of city government.

 Why do we not, hold the positions of part time politicians, to the same principle?

Do we get better leadership at the city commission level and the office of mayor by paying for it?

Is the leadership of Alamogordo better than the leadership that works for free of the best local non-profit organization? Think about that for a moment?

The city budget is about a $50 to $60 Million dollars and the pay to the commission is little in comparison to the overall budget. However, pay, any pay does lead to career politicians. The sitting commissioners get $500.00 a month. The mayor gets $800.00 a month in salary.

The requirement is to attend 2 commission meetings per month.

Wonder what the hourly wage of our potential mayor would be? Now let us make some presumptions for thoughts to ponder…

Let’s divide two meetings, an average of 3 hours a meeting and let’s say each candidate puts in 3 hours of preparation and reading before each meeting, soooo… about, 12 hours a month in direct services.

Now of course the commissioners and the mayor answer email on occasion and take constituent phone calls.

We will make another presumption based on our experience in government service in a city many times the size of Alamogordo. We doubt that constituent dialog is a daily occurrence given the size of Alamogordo, so let’s suppose they devote 8 hours a week to constituent services that 24 hours a month.

Total constituents work we will estimate at about 36 hours a month. (Of course, each candidate will more than likely defend their work suggesting they work countless hours for constituents and the city of Alamogordo.} The constituents know the truth!

For the mayor that would be an average of about $22.00 an hour or double the minimum wage or average wage for a Wal-Mart employee, restaurant worker or hotel worker in Alamogordo. Per the US Census and Wikipedia, males in Alamogordo have a median income of $28,163 versus $18,860 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,662. So, the pay inequity of women becomes more obvious as women per capita in Alamogordo make about $9.00 and hour. So, the mayoral candidate, elected will be making 2 times the average per capita income of their constituents under this presumptive scenario.

There again, what happened to service for one’s community? Most candidates running for an election are using other people’s money or “campaign donations”, then the candidate gets paid for the job. What a deal! What other job in American does one use other people’s money to campaign for and profit from? Only a career politician.

We are not advocating for no pay for political leadership; however, we do wonder if pay were taken out of the equation of politics, what kind of leadership would we then have? If the political system was held to similar oversight as non-profits would the results be what one sees today or better? A thought to ponder….

The responses to the question that we …

AlamogordoTownNews.com – “Given the job is a part time job and one of public service, would you be willing to accept the position if elected for NO pay and dedicate the public check each month to a local community organization rotating the donation monthly?”

Susan Payne Response: “This question is full of presumptions. I assure you I don’t really get a paycheck for this position, but I am grateful for the medical and dental insurance that my paycheck goes toward even if it’s not enough to cover all of it.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com Fact Check – The candidate gets a paycheck per the city budget, so the answer is rather misleading. Rather the candidate spends her money on medical or dental insurance is irrelevant to the question. It is income and she, per her answer “is spending it on insurance.” According to the US Census 6.9% or about 2200 residents of Alamogordo don’t have insurance, thus the “medical and dental insurance that candidate Payne’s paycheck goes to” affords her coverage that about 2200 of her constituents can’t afford to maintain. Thus, yes candidate Payne does receive a payment from the city of Alamogordo and based on her answer she

Nadia Sikes Response: My job as a commissioner has been FULL-TIME. I spend all my time working for the betterment of our community and if anything, would support an ordinance to pay our Mayor and Commissioners more fairly.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com- Fact Check – We cannot substantiate candidate Sikes response that her job as commissioner has been “full time.” AlamogordoTownNews.com believes both candidates spend much of their time for the betterment of their community. Givin their resume of community service we believe that to be a fact, that they each work toward their vision of betterment to the community.

The question however is, are they doing in while in service in their official roles as government leaders, or a private citizen or as a leader of a non-profit? Only they know what is in their heart, and only you the voter can interpret their actions.

Ms. Sikes response that she would support and ordinance to pay the mayor and the commissioners “more fairly” is concerning. What is “more fair” is a question? And since the topic of “fairer” pay was raised, how do the candidates stand on the minimum wage for city staff? Are the entry level minimum wages paid “fairly’ based on their contribution to the city? Who is of more value the lifeguard making minimum wage protecting the drowning child at the city owned pool or the mayor? You decide?

AlamogordoTownNews.com rates both candidates answer to the question of pay for the mayors’ office a failure, the responses don’t represent the Christian values of “selfless service to one’s community” one would expect for a small town of 31,384 constituents.

Along the vein of pay, the question then becomes; are we as citizens getting the government, we pay these candidates to provide us? Both are sitting commissioners, and both have the power to initiate dialog, craft proposed ordinances and lead the city via legislation.

So, are we getting the legislative progress we deserve in the city of Alamogordo to elevate one of these two individuals to the level of mayor and spokesperson for the city of Alamogordo? Along that line we asked the following question

AlamogordoTownNews.com – If you have held office please provide 3 pieces of legislation, ordinances, or initiatives that you personally sponsored that were focused on jobs or education. Please provide the outcomes to the legislation since passed…

Nadia Sikes Response: “Proudest of my work with Code Enforcement, with improvements to our green spaces and the Bark Park, Alamogordo Mainstreet and ZIA, our public transportation, our library. Before I initiated the ordinance to require campaign reporting on the City level, there was NO reporting.

AlamogordoTownNews.com Fact Check – the question was what three pieces of legislation, ordinances or initiatives did you personally sponsor that were focused on jobs or education. Based on the response it would appear the direct answer is zero however Ms. Sikes did initiate a very important piece of legislation that would follow under the sunshine laws to require public reporting of campaign contribution. We too, agree that is an important piece of legislation to have initiated and are happy that was successfully passed by the full commission.

We ask both candidates to please provide the AlamogordoTownNews.com a direct copy of your last campaign filing? We could request one via the open records act and will do so if the candidates don’t provide us such information, but it would be timelier and more considerate if each candidate would email the AlamogordoTownNews.com a copy of their most recent filing prior to election day for publication.

Susan Payne Response: “The city does not specifically have any ordinances that would fall into either of these categories. HOWEVER I was heavily involved in reworking our LEDA ordinance which focuses on job creation. In addition, I sit on the Otero County Economic Development Board and focus allot of time on Job and business creation.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com Fact Check – the question was answered by Ms. Payne and the answer is indeed interesting that the city “does not have any ordinances that fall into the category of job creation or education.”  Ordinances that may be true, but initiatives or legislative actions? It does appear the commission has acted in relation to jobs and education.

The city during the tenure of both commissioners has acted or initiatives on job creation at some point. Incentives or accommodations by the city were given to the Medlin Ramps leadership with a commitment of so many jobs to be created. The commission under Ms. Payne passed a “resolution” recently related to schools as a statement on school polices by the state. Thus, the board and Ms. Payne has acted related to jobs and education, yet both candidates seem to have skimmed over their actions in their responses.

What other actions have the candidates taken and skimmed over?  

An informed citizen is important as the role of the mayor and the commission is to work on behalf of Alamogordo’s citizens. Our role as citizens is to be informed, educated, and ensure our local governmental leadership is responsive to our local community needs. Learn, ask questions act, and get involved.

Both candidates have a very solid resume of service to the community and on the level of service and passion for the community both certainly have passion and a commitment to service.

The question we need to ask ourselves is which candidate has the temperament of collaboration and is the candidate to best represent the city of Alamogordo with the state and national leadership to help secure matching state and federal funds for public works projects, major street, and highway repairs, for business development and revitalization.

Which candidate has the stage presence, to collaborate with the powers of other regional cities, the county, state, and federal leadership and represent the bests interests in Alamogordo?

Vote, the future of Alamogordo is decided by your vote.

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AlamogordoTownNews.com Mayoral Candidate Susan Payne Responds to 26 Questions

Susan Payne candidate for Mayor of Alamogordo has politely responded to our request to answer 26 questions as compiled from polling of our readers.

The race is down to two candidates as the 3rd withdrew thus the silence in response. Early voting begins tomorrow, in a race that has had no public forums other than a few meet and greets, no published position papers and no candidate websites to see a detailed plan of what a Sikes or Payne administration would mean to the city of Alamogordo and it’s citizens.

What Alamogordo is in for, is a cat fight between Nadia Sikes and Susan Payne, in what one hopes will remain a non-partisan and polite race. Will the newcomers purchasing homes and investing into Alamogordo make a difference in this race or will the machine that some say runs Alamogordo select the candidate due to voter complacency?

The next 30 days will tell the tale.

Below are the 26 questions submitted to the candidates from AlamogordoTownNews.com and Susan Payne’s responses…

AlamogordoTownNews.com

1. Provide a brief biography of your governing and business experience.


Susan Payne Response:
 “Six years as a city commissioner, 2 years on the community development advisory board. Over 30 years of corporate and small business experience including an accountant for Mazda Motor of America Corporate Headquarters, Bramalea Corporation, United Way of Otero County and more recently for the past 12 years I have built a successful non-profit whose mission is to assist those less fortunate and take people from dependence to independence. 

I hold a BS in Criminal Justice and a Master’s in Public Administration with a concentration in Public Management. I have been recognized with several awards including the Community Hero Award given by the NM Coalition to End Domestic Violence, The “Pursuing Excellence” award given by Love INC National and the Community Service Award given by ITA International. 

Although often asked, I do not sit on allot of boards as I take it very seriously and I just don’t believe I can be effective and still balance my personal time. I also think that
because I operate a non profit it would inappropriate to focus too much energy on raising money for other non-profits although there are a couple that my husband and I personally support.”

2. AlamogordoTownNews.com – If you have held office please provide 3 pieces of legislation, ordinances, or initiatives that you personally sponsored that were focused on jobs or education. Please provide the outcomes to the legislation since passed...

Susan Payne Response: “The city does not specifically have any ordinances that would fall into either of these categories. HOWEVER I was heavily involved in reworking our LEDA ordinance which focuses on job creation. In addition, I sit on the Otero County Economic Development Board and focus allot of time on Job and business creation.”

3. AlamogordoTownNews.com What piece of legislation or ordinance have you passed that you are proudest off?

Susan Payne Response: When I was first elected to office, the police union had been working without a contract for 18 months. I’m honored to have really pushed for reasonable negotiations as part of my first few months in office and extremely proud that we were able to find resolution after all those months. Allot of what I’ve pushed for over my years on the commission is really “cleaning up” and clarifying many outdated ordinances.”

4. AlamogordoTownNews.com – Why are you running for office?

Susan Payne Response: “Before I ran for office I would spend each commission meeting literally watch commissioners argue with each other. Often the meetings would go on until midnight. I never believed that it was the way things should be done as it showed absolutely no decorum. Since my time on the commission things have changed drastically and, while we don’t always agree, we also don’t allow that to get in the way of doing what is best for our community. I believe I have allot to offer and running for Mayor will simply give me greater opportunity to do what I’ve been doing in terms of improving our city. I am passionate about economic growth and believe Alamogordo has allot of potential. I have allot of support and I can only attribute that to my work so far on the commission.”

5. AlamogordoTownNews.com – What is your vision for the office you seek?

Susan Payne Response:  “My vision is to see our city grow while still maintaining that home town feel that most citizens enjoy. The Mayor is only one vote and part of the commission as a whole. Our current Mayor was a large and visible presence before the pandemic and really helped to change the tone of city hall. I would like to continue that as I work with administration and the citizens to be a leader that our community can count on to represent our city in a positive way. Alamogordo really is the total package and as Mayor I want to ensure that the rest of the state recognizes that.”

6. AlamogordoTownNews.com -When we sit down 4 years from now what will you tell us you have accomplished while in the office you seek?

Susan Payne Response: I will demonstrate the economic growth that we will have undertaken. I will be able to show a growing work force and I will also show off the arts and cultural district that I think we all have an interest in seeing enhanced.”

7. AlamogordoTownNews.com – When is the last time you visited New York Avenue and shopped or spoke in person with the shop owners of that business district? Specifically what shops and when?

Susan Payne Response: “I am not a big shopper however I believe it was about a month or so ago. I purchased a gift certificate from Victoria’s (one of my favorite downtown stores) and spent about 45 minutes speaking with Alice and her employees. I enjoy our downtown businesses and try to shop there first as the need arises.”

8. AlamogordoTownNews.com – What do you view as the biggest opportunity and how you can assist with that opportunity for business growth in the New York Avenue business corridor?

Susan Payne Response: “I try to stay involved in Alamogordo Main Street and actually attended a meeting last week with state and local leadership of that organization. Before the pandemic, Mainstreet and the downtown merchants association were really beginning to thrive. There was the evening art walk once a month and I, along with MANY citizens was a regular attender. I see these types of events as truly the backbone of our community. It is a great way to not just help our merchants but to bring our community together.”

9. AlamogordoTownNews.com – When is the last time you attended a High School Sports program?

Susan Payne Response: “I attend them all the time. My son-in-law is a football coach (Go Tigers!) and our family loves going to support our team. In addition, my grand daughter runs track and is a varsity basketball player and we are proud and devoted grandparents. Finally, Love INC (the non profit I run) is a financial sponsor of girls basketball.”

10. AlamogordoTownNews.com – When is the last time you attended a High School Academic or Arts Program? Which event?

Susan Payne Response: “I have been a judge for several spelling bees, again, our grand daughter is a National Honor Society and Golden Scholar inductee, I attend high school graduations and have also been involved with Junior Leadership Otero. This year my grandson is involved with the Chaparral Choir so I’m sure I will be attending concerts and finally I’m a huge supporter of STEM.”

11. AlamogordoTownNews.com – What is the last event you participated in at the Flickinger Center?


Susan Payne Response: “By participating I’m going to guess you mean attended? I attend most all of the Alamogordo Music theatre productions as I really enjoy musicals of any kind. I really wanted to go to the last summer series but unfortunately due to illness I missed that one. I’m looking forward to the November production of “A funny thing happened on the way to the forum.”

12. AlamogordoTownNews.com –What have you done to support local entrepreneurship and jobs growth the last 4 years?

Susan Payne Response: “I’ve devoted my entire time in office to both. Alamogordo does not lack jobs but we do lack a workforce. One of my grandkids is actually a local entrepreneur and we are incredibly proud of how hard she has worked and how successful her business has been in such a short time. My high school grandchild is actually a baker and bakes beautiful cakes. My husband and I are looking at what we can do to assist her with a facility that perhaps she can rent space in when she is baking as she gets numerous requests for her cakes. Finally, after 27 years of working for a local business in town, my husband just retired and now is a small business owner himself.”

13. AlamogordoTownNews.com – What have you done to improve upon the blight of abandoned homes and derelict businesses in Alamogordo or Otero County in the last 4 years?

Susan Payne Response: “I would say half of the calls I receive from constituents are for code enforcement issues. This is something I take seriously as I recognize that our citizens do not want to look at unsightly properties. Having said that, I also recognize the rights of our property owners so always feel it is better to try to work with them to come to some kind of resolution. Perhaps the most notable property that the commission was finally able to demolish was the Sahara Apartments. Tinsley trailer park is finally getting cleaned up. There is a property in my district which ahs literally been a health hazard, that is finally being demolished after many years and much effort. There was a business on White Sands that I was able to get cleaned up. Many of the properties in my district we have seen drastic improvements on. I have participated in many “Keep Alamogordo Beautiful events” including painting and cleaning up balloon park.”

14. AlamogordoTownNews.com -Where do you stand on the Recall of Couy Griffin and why?


Susan Payne Response: “It would highly inappropriate and incredibly unprofessional of me to comment on this issue as Couy is a fellow county commissioner and we will continue to have many occasions where we possibly have to work together. Also, it has nothing to do with my ability to be Mayor.”

15. AlamogordoTownNews.com – Where do you stand on the exposed broken sewer line issues and amending the law so the city would be responsible from the sidewalk to the street?

Susan Payne Response: “This is an ordinance that has been enacted since the 90s. After much research I see no way to change this without doubling water and sewer rates which would cause an undue burden on our low income residence including those living in public housing. I’m open to viable suggestions.”

16. AlamogordoTownNews.com –What have you done to welcome new businesses into Alamogordo?

Susan Payne Response: “I am a member of the board of Otero County Economic Development, the chamber of commerce and I am the vice chair of Maingate United and as such I work diligently to create ways to attract new business to Alamogordo.”

17. AlamogordoTownNews.com – Name the top 5 locally owned businesses that you believe best represent the image you would like to see of Alamogordo going forward.

Susan Payne Response: “I support all of our businesses and would never pick just 5″

18. AlamogordoTownNews.com – Do you support an arts and cultural zone and diversity?

Susan Payne Response: “Absolutely. This is something Alamogordo Main Street is currently working on. I attended their latest meeting and listened to their ideas and I’m very excited to see their vision come to fruition.”

19. AlamogordoTownNews.com – What outreach have you done to build bridges of understanding and collaboration between people of color, the LBGTQ community and local government and the business community?

Susan Payne Response: “Hmmm??? I haven’t specifically done outreach in this arena however, working in the field that I do, I have many occasions to work with many diverse groups of individuals. As Mayor I will continue to work with everyone for the betterment of our community.”

20. AlamogordoTownNews.com – How are you funding your campaign?


Susan Payne Response: “My campaign is being funded by friends and supporters.”

21. AlamogordoTownNews.com – Would you support a local city and or county ordinance that requires annual reporting and transparency of finances on anyone in elected office with annual reports on campaign fundraising?


Susan Payne Response: “We already have one, so yes, I suppose, I would, since I have nothing to hide.”


22. AlamogordoTownNews.com – Would you participate in a public drop in, questions and answers and/or a public forum hosted at Roadrunner Emporium 928 New York Avenue in mid-October?

Susan Payne Response: “Possibly, if my schedule permits.”

23. AlamogordoTownNews.com – Given the job is a part time job and one of public service, would you be willing to accept the position if elected for NO pay and dedicate the public check each month to a local community organization rotating the donation monthly?

Susan Payne Response: “This question is full of presumptions. I assure you I don’t really get a paycheck for this position but I am grateful for the medical and dental insurance that my paycheck goes toward even if its not enough to cover all of it.”

24. AlamogordoTownNews.com  – Would you support moving the farmers market to New York Avenue and amending city ordinances to allow weekly events and street fairs?

Susan Payne Response: Of course. At one time it was downtown however a couple of business owners were not happy about this and because of the way the ordinance was written, the event was moved to Alameda Park. One of those business owners has since closed shop but one is still there. I am personally not opposed to bringing this back before commission and actually talked about that at the Mainstreet meeting last week.”

25. AlamogordoTownNews.com –  Would you support the growth of more bars, restaurants, galleries, and entertainment venues in Alamogordo’s New York Avenue area? What will you do personally to support growth and revitalization of the corridor?

Susan Payne Response: “I will continue to support Alamogordo Mainstreet and their efforts including the funding that they currently receive for these types of projects. Simply put, the city already has begun this process and I support efforts made to that end.”

26. AlamogordoTownNews.com –What is the one thing about Alamogordo that excites you the most?

Susan Payne Response:  “There are lots of things about our community that excite me. The multitude of events and activities. Driving around and seeing our young people playing in our parks and green spaces. Friday night football games at tiger stadium. Early morning listening to the Tiger band practice. Enjoying a meal at a local restaurant and inevitably running into several other people I know. Working with other agencies and non-profits to assist those in need. Seeing and hearing the excitement when new businesses come to town. Maintaining our small town feel while seeing economic growth. Showing our unwavering support and pride for all things military, first responder and law enforcement related. Seeing our town come together for various parades and special events.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com thanks candidate and sitting Commissioner Susan Payne for taking the time to process the questions, with well thought out and honest answers. 

Running for political office is never easy and one’s life is put under a microscope of which some wonder, is it worth it? It takes a lot of ego and self confidence to be able to withstand the scrutiny of the voting public, social media and the press. 

Any candidate for office is to be commended, for opening themselves up to this scrutiny while running for office, and years after, as the public spotlight always follows those who were once public.  

With any set of questions, responses bring more questions for specifics in details, examples of progress and a need for more information. We hope the voters engage in dialog and follow-up with both candidates and actually get out become active and vote.

We hope this race, and whoever the winner of the race is, stays committed to the principles of non-partisan behaviors, shows compassion and empathy, is timely and accepts the role as their primary focus to truly represent the broad diversity of Alamogordo with tact and diplomacy and always puts their constituents above their personal interest or agenda.

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AlamogordoTownNews.com Politics: Questions for the Mayoral Candidates – Nadia Sikes Mayor Pro tempore Responds

AlamogordoTownNews.com polled our readers and came up with a list of questions for each of the Mayoral candidates of Alamogordo. 

We submitted questions to all three candidates. Alamogordo resident Melissa Gayle Laperuta registered with the Secretary of States office to run for the office of mayor yet she has not responded to a single media request for information mailed to the email registered with the secretary of state to date.  

Others within political circles have commented, she pulled out, as her run would place Susan Payne’s chances at risk by splitting the conservative vote. Rather that is fact or speculation, at this time we cannot prove nor disapprove. The fact is she, has registered with the secretary of state, and there has been radio silence every since.

We also sent requests to the other two candidates for biographies and for a response to the multiple questions we sent. 

The first to respond was Susan Payne telling us she would get information to us soon. Then on September 10th she followed up with us to say…

From: Susan L Payne 
Date: September 10, 2021 at 2:31:52 PM MDT
To: Chris Edwards 
Subject: Re: Candidates for Mayor in their own words

“I wanted to touch base and let you know I haven’t forgot about you. I went on a C planned vacation and while there the organization I operate shared to be the hub for donations for the refugees. Needless to say since I’ve been back I’ve been swamped. I’m planning on shooting you out an email this weekend. I hope this will work and again, I apologize.
Susan

We then went into silence, but got an email on September 29th as a response, after we prompted again for an update…

On Sep 29, 2021, at 7:43 AM, Susan L Payne wrote:

Good Morning,
I have been in quarantine for three past 12 days as I was really sick. Yesterday was my first day back to work in as many days and I’m moving very slow. I’m not sure what event I’m attending out of district but I’m sure it’s just not clicking with me. Along with your extremely long list of questions I also received a series of questions from the Daily news. If I attempt to do them all I will not make either deadline. Since Nicole only had 10 and they came first, I’m working on those now and then will attempt to answer yours. In terms of the invite let me speak with my team and see if that would work for my schedule. Have you received any feedback from other candidates or did you only send this to me? Sorry, you will just have to be patient with me I’ve missed allot of work and allot of valuable time and I now need to get caught up.
Susan

We appreciate the candidate dialog and will continue to wait for a response from candidate Payne, and when we do receive, we will release her response as we are doing so for candidate Sikes.

The same questions were sent to all 3 candidates and Mrs. Sikes responses are below…

Candidate Questionnaire Otero/Alamogordo Municipal Elections Nadia Sikes

1. AlamogordoTownNews.com – Provide a brief biography of your governing and business experience. 

Nadia Sikes Response“Bio previously provided.”

2. AlamogordoTownNews.com – If you have held office please provide 3 pieces of legislation, ordinances, or initiatives that you personally sponsored that were focused on jobs or education. Please provide the outcomes to the legislation since passed…

Nadia Sikes Response: “Legislation/Ordinances/Initiatives personally sponsored: When I first became a Commissioner, I realized the importance of the Commission as a TEAM. It truly does not matter who drives an idea and if the ordinance passes, we are all responsible. I have initiated shortening the time in which fireworks can be set off, allowing back-yard bee keeping, providing funding for public transportation. The Commission’s work with OCEDC and providing LEDA funding has focused on jobs.”

3. AlamogordoTownNews.com – What piece of legislation or ordinance have you passed that you are proudest off?

Nadia Sikes Response: “Proudest of my work with Code Enforcement, with improvements to our green spaces and the Bark Park, Alamogordo Mainstreet and ZIA, our public transportation, our library. Before I initiated the ordinance to require campaign reporting on the City level, there was NO reporting.

4. AlamogordoTownNews.com – Why are you running for office?

Nadia Sikes Response: I have been a City Commissioner for ten years – enjoying every meeting, every event, and every constituent conversation. I have learned a lot about city government and believe that the last ten years has prepared me to take on more responsibility, a larger role in the City.”

5. AlamogordoTownNews.com –  What is your vision for the office you seek?

Nadia Sikes Response: “The Mayor of Alamogordo has the same and equal power as each of the City Commissioners. The Mayor has, in addition, the role of spokesperson, the face of the Commission. My vision: to increase constituent interaction and communication.”

6. AlamogordoTownNews.com – When we sit down 4 years from now what will you tell us you have accomplished while in the office you seek?

Nadia Sikes Response:  More open conversation, more constituent input and a friendlier, easier place to do business. I truly believe we do well but there is some room for improvement.”

7. AlamogordoTownNews.com – When is the last time you visited New York Avenue and shopped or spoke in person with the shop owners of that business district? Specifically what shops and when?

Nadia Sikes Response:  “I am an active participant of everything Alamogordo Mainstreet.”

8. AlamogordoTownNews.com – What do you view as the biggest opportunity and how you can assist with that opportunity for business growth in the New York Avenue business corridor?

Nadia Sikes Response: “By actively supporting Alamogordo Mainstreet, their Great Blocks initiative and making sure the City continues their financial support.”

9. When is the last time you attended a High School Sports program?

Nadia Sikes Response: I have no children and have never attended a High School Sporting event.”

10AlamogordoTownNews.com – When is the last time you attended a High School Academic or Arts Program? Which event?

Nadia Sikes Response: “I have attended the band events, the graduation ceremonies and presented many scholarships over the years. I have been a judge in the elementary school spelling contests.”

11. AlamogordoTownNews.com – What is the last event you participated in at the Flickinger Center?

Nadia Sikes Response: Prior to the Covid pandemic, I attended most Flickinger events. The most recent event was the premier of the Atomic Bomb Documentary.”

12. AlamogordoTownNews.com –  What have you done to support local entrepreneurship and jobs growth the last 4 years?

Nadia Sikes Response: “I attend ribbon cuttings, shop at our retail stores, and eat at our restaurants. I make it a point to maintain a POSITIVE attitude about our businesses. I am responsible for the listing of new businesses that appear each month in the City’s Profile – the publication accompanying 13,200 water bills. Each month the new businesses and renewing businesses are listed with their phone numbers. I also enjoy promoting the businesses, new or not so new, on my radio shows.”

13. AlamogordoTownNews.com –  What have you done to improve upon the blight of abandoned homes and derelict businesses in Alamogordo or Otero County in the last 4 years?

Nadia Sikes Response: My efforts resulted in the demolishing of the Sahara Apartments and the cleaning up of the Tinsley Trailer Park. Sahara Apartments took years, Tinsley is still in process.”

14. AlamogordoTownNews.com – Where do you stand on the Recall of Couy Griffin and why?

Nadia Sikes Response: “I find Couy Griffin’s antics/behavior to be an embarrassment to our county. My limited, personal experience with him has shown him to be a liar, a grand-stander, a chauvinist and a misguided fool.”

15. AlamogordoTownNews.com – Where do you stand on the exposed broken sewer line issues and amending the law so the city would be responsible from the sidewalk to the street?

Nadia Sikes Response: According to our City Manager, our Facilities Maintenance personnel and everything I have read, our ordinances with regard to sewer lines are similar to and mirror the ordinances of most municipalities of our size. I would be open to discussion regarding this issue.”

16. AlamogordoTownNews.com – What have you done to welcome new businesses into Alamogordo?

Nadia Sikes Response: “See item 12 – I attend ribbon cuttings, shop at our retail stores, and eat at our restaurants. I make it a point to maintain a POSITIVE attitude about our businesses. I am responsible for the listing of new businesses that appear each month in the City’s Profile – the publication accompanying 13,200 water bills. Each month the new businesses and renewing businesses are listed with their phone numbers. I also enjoy promoting the businesses, new or not so new, on my radio shows.”

17. AlamogordoTownNews.com – Name the top 5 locally owned businesses that you believe best represent the image you would like to see of Alamogordo going forward.

Nadia Sikes Response: “NO Comment”

18. AlamogordoTownNews.com –  Do you support an arts and cultural zone and diversity?

Nadia Sikes Response: Yes. I am a member of Otero Artspace, I promote arts events on my radio shows, and I attend every art event I know about. I have recently been endorsed by Equality New Mexico, highlighting my dedication and commitment to diversity.”

19. What outreach have you done to build bridges of understanding and collaboration between people of color, the LBGTQ community and local government and the business community?

Nadia Sikes Response: “See my bio. Working with the NAACP, LULAC, Equality NM, etc., I have attended meetings, initiated presentations and workshops to build bridges and understanding.”

20. AlamogordoTownNews.com – How are you funding your campaign?

Nadia Sikes Response: “My campaign is funded by me and with donations from my supporters.”

21. AlamogordoTownNews.com – Would you support a local city and or county ordinance that requires annual reporting and transparency of finances on anyone in elected office with annual reports on campaign fundraising?

Nadia Sikes Response: “Not only do I support financial reporting, I initiated an ordinance on the City level to require campaign finance reporting. There was NONE prior to my ordinance.”

22. Would you participate in a public drop in, questions and answers and/or a public forum hosted at Roadrunner Emporium 928 New York Avenue in mid-October?

 Nadia Sikes Response: It would have to be non-partisan and Covid compliant.

23. AlamogordoTownNews.com – Given the job is a part time job and one of public service, would you be willing to accept the position if elected for NO pay and dedicate the public check each month to a local community organization rotating the donation monthly?

Nadia Sikes Response: My job as a Commissioner has been FULL-TIME. I spend all my time working for the betterment of our community and if anything, would support an ordinance to pay our Mayor and Commissioners more fairly.”

24. AlamogordoTownNews.com –  Would you support moving the farmers market to New York Avenue and amending city ordinances to allow weekly events and street fairs?

Nadia Sikes Response: “A few years ago I worked with the Farmers Market folks and actually had the Farmers Market move downtown – moving it from Alameda Park to New York Avenue. I thought it a brilliant way to promote New York Avenue and the downtown businesses. I love the downtown street fairs. The City was enthusiastic about it as well. Some of the downtown businesses did not like it and the market moved back to Alameda Park.” 

(AlamogordoTownNews.com comment, Who? Are those businesses even open at night and early morning? This should be revisited. As an anchor business the way the ordinance is written is what allowed this travesty to the investment happening by new business owners and those actual successful businesses on the street and needs to be revisited.)

25.  AlamogordoTownNews.com – Would you support the growth of more bars, restaurants, galleries, and entertainment venues in Alamogordo’s New York Avenue area? What will you do personally to support growth and revitalization of the corridor?

Nadia Sikes Response: “All growth is good and I would support it!”

26.  AlamogordoTownNews.com – What is the one thing about Alamogordo that excites you the most?

 Nadia Sikes Response: “The opportunity to make us LOOK BETTER! The opportunity to make our green spaces look better, our downtown area look better, our outlooks BE better. We are truly on the threshold of more positivity and, as cheesy as it sounds, we are on the threshold of enlightenment. I want to be a part of our transition!”


AlamogordoTownNews.com – 
we appreciate the feedback and the participation of candidate Sikes in the process of informing the voters of her views. An educated voter is better for all of the community. 

We anxiously await the response from the other candidate and will post her responses upon receipt of it and her updated biography, once provided.

With any set of questions responses bring more questions for specifics in details, examples of progress and a need for more information. Generalized answers or incomplete responses, always lead to suspicion and a feeling of political double speak, but that seems to be the art of politics these days.

We hope this race and whoever the winner of the race is, stays committed to the principles of non-partisan behaviors, shows compassion and empathy, is timely and accepts the role as their primary focus to truly represent the broad diversity of Alamogordo with tact and diplomacy.

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AlamogordoTownNews.com Politics: Mayoral Candidate from District Two/ Mayor-Pro tempore Nadia Sikes Resume

Mayoral Candidate, District 2 Commissioner and presently the Mayor Pro tempore, Nadia Sikes was the first of the mayoral candidates to provide a resume and answer the candidate questionnaire sent to the mayoral candidates for the upcoming Alamogordo Municipal election.

Alamogordo Mayor Pro Tempore and District 2 Commissioner Nadia Sikes runs for Mayor of Alamogordo 2021

The Latin term “pro tempore” means “for the time being,” so the title of mayor pro tempore which is the secondary title of District 2 Commissioner Nadia Sikes wears on occasion. Basically, if the Mayor is out of town, sick, or simply unavailable or unable to preside and run the city commission meetings or appear on behalf of the city Nadia Sikes serves as the Mayor Pro tempore or as the “place-holder” in Mayor Boss’s absence.

Ballots for this upcoming municipal election will be mailed out soon and early voting begins on October 5th, 2021 for the November election. 

Getting to know the candidates is the responsibility of every able bodies citizen. Patriotism includes informed decision making and active participation in the election process. 

AlamogordoTownNews.com has sent questions to the candidates and invited the candidates to host a meet and greet during the month of October. Nadia Sikes has been the first of the candidates for mayor to complete our request. 

This article is an outline of her resume as presented by her as her qualifications for the position of Mayor of Alamogordo. 

Nadia Sikes moved to Alamogordo 17 years ago when her husband, Aaron, was stationed at Holloman Air Force Base. Her career included marketing and sales with IBM, marketing for skilled nursing facilities and working for the National Public Radio stations in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Wichita Falls, Texas.

Community involvement is important to her and she says her involvement enables her to ‘keep my finger on the pulse of the community’ and better understand the needs of Alamogordo.

Her Community involvement per her and outlined in her public profile includes…

  • Alamogordo City Commission, District 2, since 2012
  • Member, Chamber of Commerce Transportation Committee
  • Member, GCRMC Community Advisory Committee
  • Member, LULAC Council 8095
  • Member, NAACP
  • Member, Otero County Community Health Council
  • Member, Prescription Drug Overdose Committee
  • Member, Southern NM Public Lands Alliance
  • Member, ZIA Board
  • Member, Secretary, COPE (Center of Protective Environment) Board
  • Patron Board Member, KRWG Public Radio/TV
  • President, Friends of the Library
  • Voting Member, Otero County Juvenile Justice Board
  • Voting Member, Southeast Regional Transportation Planning Organization (SERTPO)
  • Voting Member, Southeastern NM Economic Development District
  • Transportation Lead with 100% Otero
  • Food Insecurity Co-Lead with 100% Otero
  • Volunteer each Wednesday with the Otero Hunger Coalition for the curbside meal

She suggests that “Our community is full of dynamic, talented, busy people – people involved in community projects, non-profit organizations, companies, agencies, and institutions – people who make our community such an interesting and great place to live. Every Monday I host a two-hour radio show “Community Corner” on KRSY AM 1230, in which I get to highlight the personalities and events in and around our community. On Wednesday, I host “The Wednesday Show” on KRSY AM 1230 as well. I enjoy our beautiful mountain scenery, working in my yard, keeping up with politics and news and spending time with my husband and our two dogs, Max, and Jaxson.”

 Mayor Pro tempore Sikes responses to the multiple candidate questions will be released in a separate article.

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ALAMOGORDO nEW mEXICO mAIN sTREET: nEW yORK aVENUE 1900 TO 2021

Shopping #AlamogordoMainStreet the historic New York Avenue from 1900 to present day, anchored by Roadrunner Emporium Fine Arts Gallery , Antiques & More 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo New Mexico. Now is the time to shop local, shop historic, rediscover Alamogordo’s artesian community that makes southern New Mexico so unique. Santa Fe quality Southern New Mexico pricing. Welcome back to the historic New York Avenue.

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Governor Gavin Newsom (D), Commissioner Couy Griffin (R), 2 Peas of the Same Pod – Lessons on Recalls

The Lessons on Recalls; Gavin Newsom and Couy Griffin – Similarities and Differences

Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin Facing Recall with California Governor Gavin Newsom Surviving Recall (AlamogordoTownNews.com)

“Recall” is the mantra yelled by those not happy with the actions of politicians. Daily we hear recall the governor, recall the commissioner, recall, recall, recall. The threat of a recall can has consequences on an incumbent politician and can hamper their reputation and ability to govern or lead.

In New Mexico, the recall effort of Otero County Commissioner, Couy Griffin, the founder of Cowboys for Trump has garnered local, state, and national media attention. In California the recall effort to unseat Governor Gavin Newsom, once the most popular politician in California just ended as a $300 Million dollar debacle for the Republican party of California. The taxpayers are forced to pick up the $300 Million dollar tab for the “special election” that just concluded with Newsom overwhelmingly remaining in office.

What are lessons learned from the recall of Newsom, and are there any parallels with the soon to conclude effort to recall Commissioner Couy Griffin.

The Governor of California, Gavin Newson; represented the largest economy in America, the 5th largest in the world, the most prosperous state in wealth generation and the engine that drives the American economy via Silicon Valley; so yes, much is at risk when a governor of California failed the competency test. A former governor of California was successfully recalled, Gray Davis, leading to the rise of Arnold Schwarzenegger to the office of governor but that is because of the electric crises, and he could not keep the lights on for business thus the California economy was at risk

Couy Griffin, as County Commissioner of Otero County represents a district within Southern New Mexico that was once the home and the center of America’s space race, nuclear program and contained a school system ranked in the top 10 in the nation. His district in the 60s thru 80’s, while rural, was like California in the concentration of scientist, researchers, innovation and was a center of military industrial collaboration and commerce. Now, however, the district has transitioned to one with increasingly dilapidated buildings, a drain of a qualified and educated work force compared to its past. The district contains one of the lowest vaccination rates and some of highest high school dropout rates in Southern, New Mexico and a lot of blame against the governor and northern New Mexico for the problems plaguing the district.

Mr. Griffin has been a lightening rod of controversy from his affiliation as leader of Cowboys for Trump to missteps in rhetoric that often gets him in trouble, and his handling of campaign finances and those around Cowboys for Trump. These have been lightening rod issues which provide poor optics politically.

What does Gavin Newsom and Couy Griffin have in common that led both to battle a recall effort? Both had a significant issue with optics and understanding voter perceptions.

Mr. Newsom before a statewide lockdown was seen eating at one of the most prestigious restaurants in the US, the French Laundry, celebrating the birthday of a close friends and ally. He implemented policies that were viewed by many as harsh, over reactive, and harmful to business.

In retrospect, yes indeed he was insensitive and created very poor optics thus deserved to be called on his actions. But at a cost of $300 Million to the taxpayers? That’s not quite an example of fiscal responsibility and taxpayer sensitivity by the Republican machine.

Economics are showing that when it came down to his policies, over the longer term, the state of California has bounced back stronger than ever, with the largest budget surplus ever and an economy that is churning stronger than at any time since it was founded. Wealth creation is at an all time high and business interests embrace Mr. Newsom because he himself was a connected and prosperous business owner and operator of high-end resorts, wineries, and restaurants. He came from a history of wealth generation and job creation thus the policies he implemented impacted his business interest directly, and he also felt the pain of those decisions. His net worth when entering the governor’s mansion was estimated as at least $20 Million.

The business community never turned-on Newsom, thus the overwhelming rejection of his recall and a failure by the Republican Party of California to unseat him.

Was Katilyn Jenner and Larry Elder the best the Republican party could do to unseat Newsom? If that is the best and the brightest of California’s Republican party, then the Republican party of California certainly has some soul searching to do. Sadly, the taxpayers of California must pick up the $300 Million dollar tab of this debacle.

Back to Commissioner Griffin, he is embroiled in the final weeks of the effort to get a recall question on the ballot. So far with less than 2 weeks left in the effort it appears Griffin may very well survive the recall effort without a vote ever getting on the ballot. Signature collection is sluggish at best. There will be entertaining commentary once the signature drive is over as the real stories of behind the scenes come to light.

Like Newsom, Commissioner Griffin has a horrible problem with optics and the public perception of his behaviors. Yet, he does not seem to care.  

With the deadline of the recall fast approached he appears emboldened and as such is speaking his mind more, traveling in spectacle with his horse red and the American flag near Holloman Airforce Base this past week, and a trip to Montana in the works.  He made statements at the most recent County Commission meeting that his opponents felt were “unbecoming of a commissioner.”

Will Couy Griffin survive the recall? As of September 7th, the Committee to Recall Couy Griffin had 991 of the 1574 required. The deadline for signatures is September 28th and then assuming 1574 are valid then there would be a special election as the deadline for the November election was missed.

Will Couy prevail as Newsom did in California? Odds at this point are yes unless there is a sudden influx of valid signatures over the next 12 days.

History has proven recall elections are won and lost based on how the business community sides.

In the case of Gavin Newsom, the business community was tightly aligned with him. In Silicon Valley he received over 80% of the vote against recalling him. Even in Republican rich, Orange County, the election swayed to his favor. Business executives contributed heavy to his campaign and saw no need in a change to the status quo.

In Otero County where is the business community in relation to Commissioner Couy Griffin?

He has not proven to be an effective business leader or wealth generator. He claims to make less then $23K per year in salaries.  He has not delivered skilled employment opportunities or high paying jobs to his district through any direct demonstrated successes. He attempted to get the Forestry Service to revisit lumber laws and forest management but that fell through during Covid. His ties with the Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce, now the Center of Commerce, are one of the contributing factors that led to the recall effort. One of the 5 accusations for the recall, is that his travels to DC were not county business, and the county should not pay. To bail him out the Chamber “passed the hat,” Couy’s term. That hat passing, created a flurry of investigations with the County and Secretary of State and was a contributing factor to Couy’s issue of recall.

Alamogordo and Otero County business interest seem to be silent on the recall of Couy. No major corporate contributions have been disclosed to this point, no statements in support of the recall by the area’s largest employers, no endorsement of the recall by the Center of Commerce but equally silent is no loud voice of support. Basically the business community is absent in this fight though the County Commission controls a good deal of government leverage in interfacing with state and feds on redevelopment funding and infrastructure improvement.

 So, what does Commissioner, Couy Griffin and California Governor Gavin Newsom have in common?

Though political ideological opposites that are united in common purpose, to survive a recall.

  • Both failed to understand the public outcry that can result from poor optics or poor management of their image as political leaders.
    • What one says and does matters to the public.
  • Both were temporarily weakened by the recall efforts, but both are now feeling a new sense of embodiment toward their ideology and beliefs as the result of victory or potential victory over the recall efforts.
  • Both enriched their campaign or personal coffers because of the recall efforts and the publicity around them.
    • Newsom brought in over $70 Million into his campaign coffers and has a large chunk remaining unused.
    • Griffin going into the recall claimed he was broke, lost his wife, almost lost his C4T Pickup Truck and his horse- Red, thanks to fundraising efforts led by the controversial Ben Bergquam Frontline America with alleged ties to the Proud Boys. Via Bergquam’s fundraising efforts for Griffin, Griffin has $41,142 in a funds of the $50K fundraising goal that Bergquam created for him.
  • Both love the media spotlight.
    •  Newsom is the “pretty face” of the progressive movement and is a media darling
    • Griffin is the lightening rod cowboy for Trumpian ideology, on a horse, attending rallies around the country.
  • Both got a pass from the business community
    • Couy got a disinterested business community that for the most part is waiting out the recall effort and is staying mute in dialog and direct fundraising.
    •  Gavin Newsom got a bounce and significant funding to maintain his role from the business community.

What the recall movement has done is it has brough two politicians, opposite on almost every topic, but united in a battle to win over the prevailing winds of a recall effort.

Newsom won his effort to stay and prevailed. September 28th is D Day for the Committee to Recall Couy Griffin. Will he prevail and join the club of recall survivors with Gavin Newsom? Stay tuned…

AlamogordoTownNews.com Business Exclusive: Sam Marcum Teaches Us: What’s Getting in the Way of Your Leadership Potential?

Sam Marcum Teaches Us: What’s Getting in the Way of Your Leadership Potential?

It’s important for business owners and community leaders to access their full potential, if they are going to achieve their goals and have a positive influence on those around them. Sometimes what’s keeping you back may be external circumstances. Other times, however, the biggest obstacle to success may be your own patterns of thinking or behavior that are counterproductive. Ready to find out more? Author, coach and political consultant Chris Edwards invites you to read on.

How self-aware are you?

Before you can evaluate whether you are holding yourself back from leadership success, ask yourself this: How much self-awareness do you really have? Are you willing to look objectively at your own attitudes and actions, and evaluate them, even if it means accepting that you may need to grow and change? Good leaders are able to do this. Poor leaders, on the other hand, prefer to hold on to whatever fantasy visions they have of themselves than do the work of self-improvement. So self-awareness is the first step toward better leadership. Without an accurate picture of yourself, you won’t be able to assess whether you’ve been self-sabotaging your leadership in any of these common ways detailed below.

How coachable are you?

Good leaders not only give direction; they are capable of receiving it, as well — and not only from those in positions of authority. Being able to listen and even accept criticism from those you outrank and oversee is also crucial. Business owners who are unable to take advice from others, or will only take advice from a select few, are less likely to learn, grow, and improve over time. They may even find themselves repeating the same errors over and over again because they were unwilling to listen to those bringing constructive criticism to the table.

How dedicated are you?

It’s easy to get excited about the idea of running a business or overseeing a major project, but then reality sets in — and reality means work. It means attention to detail, even when the details are boring. A business owner who is hoping to leap straight into a life of leisure with a constant stream of passive income is setting themselves up for failure. That time may come, but only after you’ve worked to achieve it. A good leader needs to be dedicated to their business and their team, not only in terms of enthusiasm but in actual day-to-day action. To truly understand what it takes to manage a business inside and out, going back to school for a business degree or even an MBA can truly put you in the driver’s seat. And these days, you can attend online programs that don’t get in the way of your business responsibilities.

How empathetic are you?

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that good leadership is all about being aggressive and authoritarian. Yes, a few successful business owners operate this way, but for the most part, pushy and demanding bosses tend not to get respect. Their employees and collaborators will neither enjoy working with them nor be willing to invest in their dreams. By contrast, leaders who demonstrate empathy and who respect the feelings of those they interact with earn loyalty. Empathetic leaders are better equipped to see where their team members are coming from, to help them problem-solve and figure out how to keep them motivated.

How practical are you?

It’s great to be a big-picture person. But visionaries need to be practical, as well, if their big picture is ever going to be more than an appealing dream. Good leaders don’t neglect their bureaucratic and legal responsibilities. If you are a business owner, that means attending to such details as getting the right licenses and permits and purchasing the right insurance. If keeping up with all the legal details is getting overwhelming, don’t feel you have to multitask — hire a personal assistant to help you or a freelance professional specially trained in this area of expertise.

You don’t want to sell yourself short by neglecting to develop the leadership skills that will really allow you to soar. Take advantage of training and mentorship programs, when possible.

Image via Pixabay

Guest Article Written by: Sam Marcum created bizbenefitguide.com which aims to help organizations thoroughly-articulate their benefits with brief, engaging multimedia material and genuine thorough reviews of health insurance companies.

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Coach Bob Sepulveda & Coach Gary Hveem the Golden Years Book 2 Release Party & Art Showing September 4th, 2021 6 pm to 8 pm

5 Time State & 19 Time District Champion, Coach Bob Sepulveda & Coach Gary Hveem the Golden Years Book 2 Release Party & Art Show

September 4, 6 pm to 8 pm Roadrunner Emporium Fine Art Gallery

928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo, New Mexico 88310

Alamogordo New Mexico: 2nd Life Media Company Inc. today announces the pre-release on Amazon.com with a book signing and art show at Roadrunner Emporium, Alamogordo, Saturday September 4th 6 pm to 8 pm.  

The reception and book launch at Roadrunner Emporium Fine Art, Antiques and More will also showcase the works of southern New Mexico artists Delia Lopez Holloway, Marty Torres, the sculptured tree trunk artwork creations of Artist Rene Sepulveda and over 45 partners displaying their artistic creations to the public. This open house from 6 to 8 will feature live music, light appetizers and is a meet the local artists events.

About the Book Series:

Book 2 is of the 4 part series of books on Coaches Robert & Marilyn Sepulveda and the influence of Coach Gary Hveem on the Alamogordo High School Athletics program.

Book one titled Coach Robert (Bob) Louis Sepulveda: The Early Years released last year to critical acclaim.

Co-written by authors; Chris Edwards & Rene Sepulveda, book one of the series begins with the Alamogordo, New Mexico athletic program of 1916 progressing through today. The focus is on the track & field and its paths that crossed into interscholastic football and cross country. The series is a comprehensive history that tells the stories of the many personalities from 1916 to 1996 that influenced New Mexico and national interscholastic, collegiate, and pro sports including the NFL; in Track and Field, Cross Country, High School Football and beyond.

The book series takes on issues of the launch of national interscholastic sports standards, school sports integration, Girl’s Title IX implementation, the politics of high school football athletics and more.

The series contains the records of 100s of young athletes, rich in dialog and interviews with athletes, coaches, and more. The series factoids highlight successes and failures of some great athletes & coaches, plus history lessons related to athletics. The central characters in the book are Coaches, Bob and Marilyn Sepulveda, paired with a variety of characters that played a role in the program success of the Alamogordo, New Mexico Track and Field, Cross Country & Football programs over 9 decades.

Coach Bob Sepulveda, New Mexico Coach of the Year for boy’s track; 1982, 1991 and 1996. Received the NHSACA Region 8 Coach of the Year in 1982, 1991 and 1996, Section 6 Coach of the Year in 1991 and 1996. Along with his wife Marilyn, both, received the New Mexico High School Coaches Association Level IV Coaching Milestone ring in 1989. He and his wife Marilyn were inducted into the Alamogordo Tiger Hall of Fame in 1988.

            “Coach Bob Sepulveda is just a good, hard-working coach and a good responsible person who cared about the kids in his charge. That for anyone who’s paying attention, is all the message that’s necessary”, per a Commentary in the Albuquerque Journal by Rick Wright  titled Message There for Those who Watch, Listen,Friday May 13, 1994

About the Artists & Roadrunner Emporium

Roadrunner Emporium showcases the works of southern New Mexico artists Delia Lopez Holloway, Marty Torres, the sculptured tree trunk artwork creations of Artist Rene Sepulveda and over 45 partners displaying their artistic creations from painting and sculptures to embroidery, needlepoint, hand woven designs, Native American arts and more. This event is open to the public showcasing local Southern New Mexico artistic talent.

This open house from 6 to 8 will feature live music, light appetizers and is a meet the local artists event Roadrunner Emporium Fine Art, Antiques & More, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo New Mexico. Open daily 10 am to 7 pm. Closed Sundays.

Get past Masks, Universal Basic Income is the New Debate

While a small group of vocal locals are myopically (without thinking about anything outside your own situation) or short sightedly focused on not wearing masks or fighting against vaccines a real undercurrent of change is happening, and this vocal group needs to step back and look at the bigger world of issues that are about to it taxpayers on the horizon. This is not some esoteric idea from California but being tested not too far from here in New Mexico.

At least two New Mexico cities – Las Cruces and Santa Fe – are already considering, or moving forward with, targeted guaranteed basic income pilot projects

The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted state and federal governments to send direct payments to citizens and is now fast tracking the dialog around a Basic Universal Income that in the past was considered a fringe idea. The newest debate on the horizon could center on guaranteed basic income, a policy that provides low-income residents with regular financial payments.

The argument:

In our country today, 40% of earners make $20K or less a year. What’s even more shocking is that 40% of earners actually make less than the 1968 minimum wage.

In Portland Maine, for example, the poverty wage for 1 adult with 2 children is $9 per hour. The state’s minimum wage is $10 and the living wage is estimated to be at approximately $29 per hour. The Personal Care and Service industries in Maine, which represents a large part of unskilled employment, is at or below the poverty level at an average of $23,288 annual income for an adult with 2 children. The required annual income for this demographic is estimated to be $59,101 before taxes.

Maine is not alone. Almost every area of the United States shows that workers are earning well below what is considered a livable wage.

MIT Defines a living wage via its living wage index for New Mexico as 28.65 an hour for a single adult with a child. Their living wage calculator methodology is the hourly rate that an individual in a household must earn to support his or herself and their family. The assumption is the sole provider is working full-time (2080 hours per year). The tool provides information for individuals, and households with one or two working adults and zero to three children. In the case of households with two working adults, all values are per working adult, single or in a family unless otherwise noted.

The state minimum wage is the same for all individuals, regardless of how many dependents they may have. Data are updated annually, in the first quarter of the new year. State minimum wages are determined based on the posted value of the minimum wage as of January one of the coming year (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2019). The poverty rate reflects a person’s gross annual income. We have converted it to an hourly wage for the sake of comparison.

https://livingwage.mit.edu/states/35

An Explanation of a VESTED Economy and how everyone earns a livable wage…

In a vested economy, everyone earns a livable wage. No one is left behind. No one is underpaid. The technical explanation is that a vested economy is one in which the market surplus is distributed to the individual laborers who produce the surplus through an equitable process. Individuals become vested by successfully completing one or more requirements. For example, someone can be vested by completing an educational requirement or serving in the military. The non-technical explanation is that vested economics provides a metaphorical sponge for absorbing an economy’s excess supply of goods and services and a distribution mechanism called National Vesting for apportioning that excess back to its producers in an equitable manner. In other words, no one has to earn a poverty wage ever again.

The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted some countries to send direct payments to citizens and is now fast tracking the dialog around a Basic Universal Income that in the past was considered a fringe idea.

In an attempt to put low-income workers on more solid financial footing, New Mexico lawmakers in recent years have approved a minimum wage increase and a paid sick leave requirement, among other policies.

Several legislators said they’re planning to watch the local-level efforts play out before possibly moving forward with a statewide proposal.

Santa Fe’s guaranteed basic income pilot program that will be funded by a national advocacy group as a “stability stipend.” It will provide 100 people under age 30 who have children and are attending Santa Fe Community College with monthly payments of at least $400.

Several other cities nationwide are also moving forward with similar programs that follow on the heels of Stockton, California, which provided 125 low-income people with $500 a month for two years.

New Mexico has long struggled with high poverty rates and more than 926,000 state residents – or about 44% of the state’s total population – were enrolled in Medicaid as of May.

 While state revenue levels have been on the upswing since plummeting at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing just 10% of those residents with $100 monthly financial payments would cost roughly $111 million annually.
But there could be different types of funding mechanisms available if New Mexico were to pursue such a policy, as Alaska has long offered its full-time residents an annual dividend based on the investment earnings on mineral royalties. The dividend amount for 2020 was $992 per person.

The Albuquerque Journal reported:

Las Cruces City Councilor Johana Bencomo, who is leading the push for a basic income program in the southern New Mexico city, described the traditional approach to addressing poverty as “patronizing and patriarchal,” and said cash payments allow recipients to use the money as they deem fit.

“I do believe that poverty is a policy choice,” said Bencomo, who is also executive director of a nonprofit group that advocates for immigrant and worker rights.

She also cited the impact of cash assistance programs funded by federal relief dollars during the pandemic, which included one-time payments of $750 for those who didn’t qualify for a federal stimulus check.”

During the presidential run Andrew Yang the Silicon Valley Billionaire brought the topic forward as a credible discussion siting the transition of business to a technology driven economy that he believes will displace up to 24% of the population from present employment types. Times and jobs are changing and while we are myopic in our arguments on masks, vaccines and the school system approach the rest of the world is moving forward in ways that could leave Otero County in the dustbowl of poverty unless elected leaders begin recruiting tourism, cultural arts and technology industries to the area to compete. 

With a solid business base of livable wage employment, a Universal Basic Income policy is a non-starter. However in areas of poverty without employment opportunities for livable wages or where there is huge income inequity with a shrinking middle class the theory takes hold and government is forced into seeking alternatives or action.

The action voters need to demand now is that the city commissioners and county commissioners partner with the state and federal governments and do real business recruitment and put ideological social issues aside and drive business opportunity. November 2nd several commissioner seats and the mayors office will be on the ballot. 

Consider this when voting. Register and get out and participate. Let your voice be heard at the ballot box.

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AlamogordoTownNews.com The Couy Griffin Interview – France, The Recall and Dark Days…

AlamogordoTownNews.com The Couy Griffin Interview…

AlamogordoTownNews.com as a community citizen-based publication is actively engaged in digging deeper into stories, business interests and the movers and shakers of the Alamogordo community via in depth researched coverage and dialog rather than the lightweight coverage of the local corporate owned news entities.

AlamogordoTownNews.com attempts to hear and publish different sides of issues and to ensure a diverse population of voices are heard. As such we will report a variety of viewpoints, some we agree with, some we find distasteful. We will always attempt to present facts and we will limit perceived propaganda and if facts are in question, we will question them. Individuals in the public domain of politics and entertainment that live a very public life have a higher standard of what is perceived as slanderous against them and many times at the local political level that is a lesson not at first understood nor recognized.

 Fact based; science-based reality checked dialog is the foundation of our reporting on hard stories. Political stories can at times get shaded with opinion of those being interviewed. In this interview we have attempted to be unbiased and fair in allowing Mr. Griffin an open platform and quoting him verbatim without edit excepting for a few grammatical edits in punctuation.

 We have published many articles related to the recall effort of Couy Griffin that have been presented by the Committee to Recall Couy Griffin and others via its variety of spokespersons, directly affiliated and not affiliated with the effort.

As such the editorial board of the AlamogordoTownNews.com site felt it appropriate to reach out to Mr. Griffin and get his thoughts concerning the recall, but equally important we have presented the question to many local political leaders of, what they have done while in office to improve the lives of the people they represent?

As we enter the municipal elections period, we will press those elected and those seeking elected office on what, if anything, they have accomplished to better the lives of their constituents. We want hard concrete facts not talking points to present to the electorate. We will not always get them as that is the nature of political dialog.

What have they achieved that benefits the citizens, the business community, the level of education and poverty in the area? Those are the hard questions each voter should ask prior to casting a vote. Few elected leaders like these questions when pressed. Accountability of local political leaders seems to be lacking by a complacent citizenry within Alamogordo and Otero County when looking at low voter turnout in relation to local elections.

One gets the government one deserves by participation, and one does indeed get the government one deserves by a lack of participation. Those at the table do indeed decide, as Chez Sanchez reminds Otero County Citizens in his blog posts, and that principle we do indeed, agree.

Otero County seems to have one party that is driving the dialog and much of that dialog seems to be driven from extreme positions within that party, from the mask mandate in public schools to overall public health and immigration; the alternative parties and independent point of view is missing in much public dialog and debate within Otero County. Are there other voices and other active parties? If so lets hear from them on the many issues before the city and county.

The silent majority of Alamogordo and Otero County voters are just that, mostly silent, and as such the evolution and election of individuals such as Congresswoman Yvette Herrell and the election of the commissioner Couy Griffin is the result of that silence and complacency by those in the silent middle or those more moderate in thinking within all parties.

The perception by the public of extremist positions, controversial rants, and allegations of mishandling the public trust is what appears to have led to the recall effort of Couy Griffin.

Mr. Griffin has been controversial at best, some would say damaging to the reputation of the county at worst.

That is not for us to decide within the context of this article. The context of this article is to hear from Couy Griffin himself and then as the recall effort proceeds, you, the educated and informed voter within his district will decide his outcome and the outcome of the future of the Otero County politics of the future.

This recall effort is historic for the county and eyes all over New Mexico and the nation are watching this effort. Mr. Griffin is certainly feeling pressure based upon our dialog with him. What proceeds is a series of questions and his response to each.

 We offer no opinion but just present the dialog and you the reader can consider the responses…

The Couy Griffin Interview of August 7, 2021…

We began the dialog with Mr. Griffin in wanting to know a bit about his past and his time in France. How did he end up there and did he enjoy his life there, and then we proceeded into his role as an elected official, Cowboys for Trump, and the recall?

AlamogordTownNews.com – How long did you live in France and how did you end up there?

Couy Griffin Response – “I attended Cochise College in Douglas Arizona. I won the region in bull riding competition as a freshman and competed at the college national finals at Bozeman, Montana. I moved to Paris in 98’ and returned to the states in 2003.

AlamogordoTownNews.com – It sounds exotic for a cowboy from New Mexico to end up in France. Tell us about your history and how you ended up in France working at Disney?

Couy Griffin Response – “I attended college on a rodeo scholarship where I competed as a bull rider.  I went to school with a friend who grew up on the Navajo Reservation and saw an ad where they were looking for Native American Indians to perform in the show.  He responded, was hired, and plugged me to the casting director to play the role of a cowboy in the show.

 It was an amazing experience and truly a world class show.  It was a scripted show that starred Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, Sitting Bull and Cowboys and Indians from across the states.  My roles were trick riding, trick roping, driving the stagecoach and a little bit of acting.  

The show was very well received by the European guests.  There were two shows a night that seated around 1.200 people a show where the guests enjoyed a full BBQ Menu and all the beer they cared to drink.  It was a world class show on every front.

AlamogordoTownNews.com – Did you enjoy the life overseas?

Couy Griffin Response – “I truly enjoyed living in Paris.  I bought a condo just near the golf course and had a wonderful group of the most diverse friends a person could have.  Friends from all over the world.  I was able to travel to most of the Western European countries and was truly blessed to see more of the world.  During the end of my stay, it got a little harder to live in France with the political tension between France, the US, and the mess in Iraq.  All the French media could do is talk about “the cowboy” George W. Bush.  And with me being an actual cowboy living in Paris you could imagine the negative attention and environment I sometimes landed in. “ 

AlamogordoTownNews.com – Would you do it again?  

Couy Griffin Response – “I would absolutely love to be involved in another type of Wild West show again one day.  I created and produced a few shows after moving back to the states.  One of which was here in Alamogordo at the Otero County Fair.  I have tremendous confidence in my ability to produce a show, but I lack in the financial backing and organizational ability to actually put one on.  There is so much that goes into production but Lord willing and by God’s grace I hope that one day it will happen.  To answer your question “if I’d go back” I’d say no.  I’d rather take my talent and the learned experience and move forward but I’d definitely love to be involved again one day.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com How are you personally impacted by the recall effort? 

Couy Griffin Response – “This recall effort has been by far one of the most difficult seasons in my life.  The reason being is because I have fallen victim to the lies and slander propagated by those involved as well as the local media who give them their platform.  When I drive thru town with my 6-year-old son and see the signs and booths set up promoting this recall it just makes me feel horrible.  With my social media being shut down I now have no platform to defend myself against these lies.  In today’s world you can be tried, convicted, and sentenced thru social media and local media without being given any kind of right to respond. 

 When my hearing was scheduled to address the allegations in this recall the state of NM scheduled this hearing on the same day of my monthly commission meeting.  I was faced with either attending the commission meeting and upholding my oath to office or going to defend myself against the recall.  I filed a motion of continuance stating that my right to due process was being infringed upon and the District Judge Manuel Arrieta (a Bill Richardson appointed judge) denied that motion.  Therefore, they had this hearing to decide my fate without me being present. The allegations for recall and my defense are such:

  1.  Fails to properly attend meetings.    This accusation stems from me attending 4 county commission meetings telephonically.  This is a common practice in Otero County and has been accepted for years.  Out of the 4 meetings I telephonically attended 2 of them were because of the quarantine restrictions which disallowed me to attend.  So technically I only attended 2 meetings which I could have been physically present for but due to being out of town I called in and attended.  The previous District 2 Commissioner Susan Flores telephonically called into 8 commission meetings during her last 4-year tenure in office.  That is over twice as many even with the meetings I couldn’t attend because of quarantine restrictions.
  2. Banishment from the Mescalero Apache Reservation.     This happened because I traveled onto the Mescalero Apache Reservation and met with a tribal member named Chris Valdez who couldn’t get the tribe to help him with medical treatment from a work-related accident.  While meeting with Chris we spoke about the recent Covid money the tribe had received and where that money had been spent.  Upon publicly requesting an audit to make sure that money was getting to the people of Mescalero it wasn’t long after that tribal president Gabe Aquilar banished me from the reservation.  All the while he is driving a brand-new Ford Expedition while many of the people he is elected to represent are living in very destitute conditions.
  3. Use of County Resources for Cowboys for Trump.  This stems from using my office to record videos.  All I did was record videos with my phone while in my office.  Since being elected to this office I have spent less of the county money in reimbursements than any of my fellow commissioners.  To date I have spent $397 in travel expenses.  My fellow commissioner Gerald Matherley has spent over twice as much as I have, and we took office at the same time.  Previous District 2 Commissioner Susan Flores spent over $8,600 dollars in travel expenses during her last term as county commissioner in this same office.  I have been extremely careful and frugal while being in office.  Yet I have been to Washington DC countless times fighting against the federal overreach on the citizens of Otero County.  All the way to the Oval Office with a personal, one on one meeting with the President.  And President Trump has never recognized Cowboys for Trump or me being a part of Cowboys for Trump.  Every time I have spoken to the President, Vice President, or heads of the United Sates Agricultural Dept they have always and only recognized me as Commissioner Griffin.
  4. Filing improper travel voucher, failing to exercise proper fiduciary responsibility.    I filled this travel voucher out under the direct advisement of the county secretary Sylvia Tilbrook as well as County Manager Pamela Heltner.  I had never filled a travel voucher out before and they are the ones that got me the paperwork and stepped me thru how to fill it out.  This voucher was then approved by the finance director Julliane Hall as well as County Manager Pamela Heltner.  I had absolutely no idea there was any problem with this voucher nor did my fellow commissioners when former commissioner Lori Bies as well as Gerald Matherley both voted to approve this voucher in a regularly scheduled meeting.  The amount of the voucher turned out to be more than my budget would allow so both commissioners voted to raise my budget allowance to cover this “improper voucher” which now I’m the one taking the heat on.
  5. Violation of the Gift Act by soliciting and accepting $3,500 from a restricted donor.     I’m not sure if it was $3,500 or $3,400 but I know that G.B. Oliver from the Chamber of Commerce “passed the hat” to local business owners to help me raise this money.  The money was only raised to help pay the county back for the illegal travel voucher that they issued.  This money that was raised was raised for Otero County.  As soon as the full amount was raised, I took this cash money in an envelope, got a money order from Well Fargo, and paid the county back the full amount for the travel voucher.  Only trying to do the right thing.  That is to make a wrong a right.  I also first checked with our County Attorney Michael Eshelman who advised me there was no problem in raising this money to pay the county back. 

That is in a nutshell my response to these allegations.  A response that the state of NM and District Judge Manuel Arrietta did not allow me the opportunity.  If I would have been able to attend this hearing, I don’t believe the recall would have been allowed to move forward and I wouldn’t be going thru what I’m going thru right now.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com – What 3 accomplishments have you done as a commissioner that you are proudest of?  

Couy Griffin Response – This is a tough question because the so many issues I have fought for have been such huge battles. 

    1. I was able to address the serious conditions of our local forests directly with the President.  On my first conversation with the President, I asked him if he knew where Cloudcroft New Mexico is.  He replied no and I told him that he would know exactly where it was if the forest surrounding it were to catch on fire.  The President then networked me with Undersecretary of Agriculture Jim Hubbard who oversees all the national forests across America.  I had a commitment from Undersecretary Hubbard to bring his whole staff to Otero County and while we were organizing the trip Covid hit.  This completely shut his office down and hampered his efforts.

     2.  I stood alongside our local sheriff David Black as well as the N.M. Sheriffs Association in defending against the red flag gun laws.  I travelled the state and spoke strongly inside our county to push back against these unconstitutional laws.

     3.  I was the only elected official to question the Governor in Santa Teresa NM when she said there was no crisis on our southern border.  I advocated strongly for our local border patrol and fought hard to get our secondary checkpoints back open when the crisis on the border forced them to close.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com –What have you done as a commissioner to bring jobs to the district? 

Couy Griffin Response – “Bringing jobs to Otero County was one of my main focusses while entering into this office and is still a focus today.  The jobs that I fought for are the jobs that have always sustained our local economy.  That is logging and sawmilling, oil and gas, and the ranching industry.  That is why I spent so much time in Washington and focused so heavily on creating a strong relationship with President Trump.  These jobs which include natural resources on federal land could only be fought for on the federal level.  I fought and attained a verbal commitment from President Trump that in his words he was going to “fix my problem”.  I truly felt that our problems were going to be fixed during his second tenure in office but with the outcome of the speculative election it has been a great defeat.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com – What have you done to lower the poverty rates and improve the graduation and literacy rates in your district since elected?

Couy Griffin Response – “I believe I have fought for those problems non-stop over the last 3 years while being in office.  The reason being is because with a stronger private sector and less dependance on the government those problems will fix themselves.  When you have a society that is solely dependent on federal money you have destitution on every front.  If we could have gotten our logging and sawmilling industries on their feet, it would have provided jobs in the private sector and given people a hope for growth and prosperity moving forward into the future.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com – What have you personally done to attack the blight of abandoned properties and properties that are eyesores of junk in your district? 

Couy Griffin Response – “I just received a call and drove by one of these properties yesterday.  It is so hard to get these types of properties cleaned up with current state laws that are on the books.  I have encouraged our state representative Rachel Black to investigate getting whatever legislation we need thru the state house to address this horrible problem.  I have also visited with the property manager of Eileen Acres as well as brainstormed with property owners from this development about what options may be available.  I have expressed a commitment to do anything in my power as a commissioner to clean up abandon buildings and trailer houses throughout the county, but we really need cooperation from the state and that is still to be determined.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com – Have you officially announced a run for sheriff in the other county?  

Couy Griffin Response – “No I have not.  But I have entertained the thought and have spoken about it publicly.  With the current political state in our country, I feel the office of Sheriff is the most important and powerful political position in the county.  If we must make a strong stand one day in our country, it will need to be done thru the office of Sheriff and I feel I have the intestinal fortitude and would be willing to lead that charge.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com – If you are running for sheriff why are you holding on to the commission position as it would appear your heart is more into the role of a sheriff?  

Couy Griffin Response – “I’m not running for sheriff, at this time anyway.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com – Can a sheriff hold office if you were elected while having a federal indictment pending?  

Couy Griffin Response – “I am currently facing a misdemeanor trespass charge and one that I don’t believe is fair or just.  So, we will just see where that ball lands.  I did nothing violent or anything that I have any conviction over that was wrong on Jan 6th.  I simply stood alongside fellow Americans to protest what I believe were fraudulent elections.  And did so under the guise that we were still a free country and still had a Constitutional Right to do so.

AlamogordoTownNews.com – Do you believe former president Trump turned on you when he distanced himself from Cowboys for Trump?  

Couy Griffin Response – “Former President Trump never distanced himself from Cowboys for Trump.  That was a “Fake News” headline.  If you believe he distanced himself from Cowboys for Trump, where did you come to that conclusion from?  President Trump has never even publicly recognized Cowboys for Trump.  The different times President Trump recognized me, Couy Griffin, was only as an Otero County Commissioner.  That is the representation that I brought Otero County.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com – What benefit did the association of Cowboys for Trump bring to Otero County?

Couy Griffin Response – “It helped me to build a relationship with the former President.  By me starting and operating Cowboys for Trump it allowed me the opportunity to speak to him about issues directly affecting the great people of Otero County.  You could view Cowboys for Trump as a type of “non-paid” lobbying group for Otero County that worked itself all the way into the Oval Office and gained direct attention from the President of the United States.  That was an accomplishment.  And all my reward has been an unjust and uncalled for recall election with my name smeared daily on social media and mainstream media.  But the reward that I work for is not of this world but a world to come.  And the only one that matters at the end of the day is God and praise be to Jesus God knows my heart and knows why I do what I do.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com – Do you feel the political establishment in Otero County, the state or the Republican Party has turned or distanced themselves from you? 

Couy Griffin Response – “I have been very let down not necessarily by the state party but by the chairman Steve Pearce.  Only days after the event of January 6th Steve issued an official public statement off the state party platform that said “Couy Griffin travelled to Washington DC to lead the protests and riots”.  This was a flat out lie and a very slanderous attack.  Steve to this day has not retracted that statement nor apologized for it.  So, in saying that I have absolutely no respect for Steve Pearce.  And to this day wonder how you can lose the Governor’s race and when you do you are rewarded with the position of chair of the Republican Party??  Steve is a multi-millionaire that knows his way all too well around Washington DC.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com – Why do you think a bipartisan recall committee was formed and any feelings towards those individuals or party officials?  

Couy Griffin Response – “In my opinion “bi-partisan” has really lost its edge and its meaning.  I say that because many Republicans are just as bad as the Democrats and vice versa.  Most are just bar certified attorneys who pick an R or D to fight for but at the end of the day they sleep in the same bed of corruption.  All the legislation coming out of our state and federal houses only give more grounds for attorneys to sue.  Alas creating more work for most of these agenda driven scum bags.  Take Brian Egolf for example. He is the ringleader and one of the biggest reasons New Mexico is so oppressed.  You put attorneys like Egolf and Jacob Candelaria in office and you are going to have a dysfunctional and self-serving government like we currently have in NM.  Civil Rights, Equal Rights, Transgender Rights………all this legislation does is provide more ground/standing for attorneys to sue but does nothing to help NM become more prosperous or successful.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com went back and forth with multiple emails for clarification and in dialog with Mr. Griffin. We concluded letting him know we were considering running two stories one as a more of a human interest and one of the more political Couy Griffin. He responded to that feedback requesting that we do one “story and that the man he was before he entered office is the man he is today.

Again AlamogordoTownNews.com is not issuing an opinion on the recall or of Mr. Griffins feedback from this interview process. We will leave that for the readers to determine. We do have some unanswered questions and will follow-up with Steve Pierce and others referenced via his comments in future stories of follow-up.

We will conclude this article with Mr. Griffin’s final statement to the AlamogordoTownNews.com site…

I’d rather not have the story laid out in a way on how such a nice guy could now be such a horrible domestic terrorist.  Of course, not accusing you of that’s the way it would be presented but I can promise you one thing.  I’m the same guy today as I was before if not more loving and more sacrificial today.  

Since entering office, I have done everything for the greater good and made huge sacrifices.  After my first trip to Washington when Cowboys for Trump was founded and branded and all the guys, I rode with came back to families awaiting their arrivals at the airport I came back to divorce papers on my kitchen table.  

I had to get completely out of the restaurant business because after the Alamogordo Daily News began their slanderous attacks my business was in the tank.  I have given all my personal time, finances, and energy to this cause.

 I’ve made some emotionally driven statements a couple times, only good Democrat…and black NFL football players who want to disrespect our flag and play something as RACIST as a “black national anthem” to go to Africa and play their football.  Both statements taken entirely out of context.  

The first statement I was only speaking figuratively and the second as a red blooded American.  If you don’t love it leave it. But the media will only cherry pick those two sound bites out of hundreds of speeches I’ve made.

 I’ve ONLY ever wanted to put America and the American People first.  I’ve wanted to protect our second amendment and protect the unborn.  And it’s too bad Democrats don’t care as much about dead babies as they do dead Democrats!!

I’ve written you candidly and honestly as I would a friend.  In trusting that you are decent though I’ve never met you.  That is the way I treat everyone.  With love and respect.  As I have learned to do as I work out my faith in The Lord Jesus Christ.

You can use anything I’ve told you to date.  Even this message right here.  All I ask is that you don’t twist my words or try to present me as someone I’m not.  I’m tired of the media. I’m tired of the liars and slanderers like Paul Sanchez, Scott Fredericks, and the rest of the recall committee.  

I have a little over a year left on my oath to the people who elected me and after that I will have done my service.

Politics is the most dirty, corrupt, and hateful world I have ever looked into.  And the only reason I fight the way I do is to try and do my part to protect our country and freedoms from those who want to destroy both.  I am financially broke and hang in the balance of an uncertain future.  But by God’s grace I will not be threatened, intimidated, and I damn sure won’t back down.

Sincerely,

Couy”

AlamogordoTownNew.com is publishing the interview notes directly as written by Mr. Griffin. We offer no commentary at this time but will allow comments, guest commentaries or feedback from any of our readers if they remain professional, stick to facts and do not engage in propaganda and distortions of facts nor personal attacks.

The comments from Mr. Griffin are his and his alone and he owns the commentary of which is published as a response to questions posed.

Now the readers and the voters of his district will decide his fate and that of the political agenda of Otero County as the recall effort moves forward. Mr. Griffin has approximately 1 year left in his term if the recall effort fails before he would face re-election if he so chose to run.

Alamogordo Town News Artist Showcase: Meet the “Milk and Honey” Creations of Kathryn Cecava

Roadrunner Emporium Fine Arts Gallery, Antiques and More, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo, New Mexico is proud to showcase craft persons and artists that are #ExclusivelyAlamogordo –

Meet the “Milk and Honey” Creations of Kathryn Cecava. She is one of our exclusively showcased crafters who experienced the adventure of living in Alamogordo since 1957, except for the four years spent in Nebraska pursuing a Masters degree.

Kathryn’s showcased business is named “Milk & Honey,” because her creations are designed for use in the kitchen where the milk and honey flow.

She loves to create new things from old things. She repurposes the vintage beauty of hand embroidered items by combining them with the usefulness of a kitchen towel.

The artistic outcome becomes a warm and beautiful focal point in the kitchen – a true work of practical and functional ART.

Roadrunner Emporium is open 10 am and NOW at NIGHT till 7 pm Monday thru Thursday and 10 am until 8 pm Friday and Saturday.

Kathryn’s Milk & Honey creations are exclusively at the Roadrunner Emporium Fine Arts Gallery, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo and are showcased with many choices of colors and patterns.

Come and select one from a variety of choices showcased that are crafted as #ExclusivelyAlamogordo.

See the video of Kathryn’s creations:

#Alamogordoarts #AlamogordoMainStreet #LocalCrafts #AlamogordoArtist #AlamogordoRise #NewYorkAvenueAfter5 #2ndLifeMedia #RoadrunnerEmporium

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July is Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Mental Health Awareness Month. Help is Out There! Reach for It!

This month was originally designated by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008 to honor the legacy of prolific author, teacher, and advocate Bebe Moore Campbell. 

Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Mental Health Awareness Month serves as an opportunity for us all to raise awareness of the unique mental health needs of people of color.

What happens at the intersection of mental health and one’s experience as a member of the BIPOC community? While the experience of being BIPOC in America varies tremendously, there are shared cultural factors that play a role in helping define mental health and supporting well-being, resiliency and healing.

Part of this shared cultural experience — family connections, values, expression through spirituality or music, reliance on community and religious networks — are enriching and can be great sources of strength and support.

However, another part of this shared experience is facing racism, discrimination and inequity that can significantly affect a person’s mental health. Being treated or perceived as “less than” because of the color of your skin can be stressful and even traumatizing. Additionally, members of the BIPOC community face structural challenges accessing the care and treatment they need.

According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, BIPOC adults in the U.S. are more likely than white adults to report persistent symptoms of emotional distress, such as sadness, hopelessness and feeling like everything is an effort. BIPOC adults living below the poverty line are more than twice as likely to report serious psychological distress than those with more financial security.

Despite the needs, only one in three BIPOC adults who need mental health care receive it. According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Mental Health Facts for African Americans guide, they are also:

  • Less likely to receive guideline-consistent care
  • Less frequently included in research
  • More likely to use emergency rooms or primary care (rather than mental health specialists)

Barriers To Mental Health Care 

Socioeconomic Disparities
Socioeconomic factors can make treatment options less available. In 2018, 11.5% of BIPOC adults in the U.S. had no form of health insurance.

The BIPOC community, like other communities of color, are more likely to experience socioeconomic disparities such as exclusion from health, educational, social and economic resources. These disparities may contribute to worse mental health outcomes.

Stigma
Negative attitudes and beliefs towards people who live with mental health conditions is pervasive within the U.S. and can be particularly strong within the BIPOC community. One study showed that 63% of BIPOC people believe that a mental health condition is a sign of personal weakness. As a result, people may experience shame about having a mental illness and worry that they may be discriminated against due to their condition.

For many in the BIPOC community, it can be incredibly challenging to discuss the topic of mental health due to this concern about how they may be perceived by others. This fear could prevent people from seeking mental health care when they really need it.

Additionally, many people choose to seek support from their faith community rather than seeking a medical diagnosis. In many BIPOC communities in the U.S., the church, mosque or other faith institution can play a central role as a meeting place and source of strength.

Faith and spirituality can help in the recovery process and be an important part of a treatment plan. For example, spiritual leaders and faith communities can provide support and reduce isolation. However, they should not be the only option for people whose daily functioning is impaired by mental health symptoms.

Provider Bias and Inequality of Care
BIPOC people have historically been negatively affected by prejudice and discrimination in the health care system in the US. And, unfortunately, many BIPOC people still have these negative experiences when they attempt to seek treatment. Provider bias, both conscious and unconscious, and a lack of cultural competency can result in misdiagnosis and inadequate treatment. This ultimately can lead to mistrust of mental health professionals and create a barrier for many to engage in treatment.

BIPOC people may also be more likely to identify and describe physical symptoms related to mental health problems. For example, they may describe bodily aches and pains when talking about depression. A health care provider who is not culturally competent might not recognize these as symptoms of a mental health condition. Additionally, BIPOC men are more likely to receive a misdiagnosis of schizophrenia when expressing symptoms related to mood disorders or PTSD.

How To Seek Culturally Competent Care

When a person is experiencing challenges with their mental health, it is essential for them to receive quality care as soon as the symptoms are recognized. It is equally important that the care they receive is provided by culturally competent health care professionals.

While we recommend seeking help from a mental health professional, a primary care professional is also a great place to start. A primary care professional might be able to provide an initial mental health assessment and referral to a mental health professional if needed. Community and faith organizations may also have a list of available mental health providers in your area.

When meeting with a provider, it can be helpful to ask questions to get a sense of their level of cultural awareness. Providers expect and welcome questions from their patients or clients, since this helps them better understand what is important in their treatment. Here are some sample questions:

  • Have you treated other BIPOC people or received training in cultural competence for BIPOC mental health? If not, how do you plan to provide me with culturally sensitive, patient-centered care?
  • How do you see our cultural backgrounds influencing our communication and my treatment?
  • Do you use a different approach in your treatment when working with patients from different cultural backgrounds?
  • What is your current understanding of differences in health outcomes for BIPOC patients?

Whether you seek help from a primary care professional or a mental health professional, you should finish your sessions with the health care professional feeling heard and respected. You may want to ask yourself:

  • Did my provider communicate effectively with me?
  • Is my provider willing to integrate my beliefs, practices, identity and cultural background into my treatment plan?
  • Did I feel like I was treated with respect and dignity?
  • Do I feel like my provider understands and relates well with me?

The relationship and communication between a person and their mental health provider is a key aspect of treatment. It’s very important for a person to feel that their identity is understood by their provider in order to receive the best possible support and care.

More Information

  • If finances are preventing you from finding help, contact a local health or mental health clinic or your local government to see what services you qualify for. You can find contact information online at findtreatment.samhsa.gov or by calling the National Treatment Referral Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357).

In collaboration and permission of the Trevor Project we share some thoughts…

This BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month, the Trevor Project collaborated with several individuals who are LGBTQ people of color to offer advice to youth on how to navigate the intersections of their identities and protect their mental health. HRC Foundation and the University of Connecticut released the largest-of-its-kind survey ever of more than 12,000 LGBTQ teenagers across the nation, revealing in distressing detail the persistent challenges so many of them face going about their daily lives at home, at school and in their communities.

LGBTQ youth of color and transgender teenagers experience unique challenges and elevated stress — only 11 percent of youth of color surveyed believe their racial or ethnic group is regarded positively in the U.S.,

and over 50 percent of trans and gender expansive youth said they can never use school restrooms that align with their gender identity;

More than 70 percent report feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness in the past week;

Only 26 percent say they always feel safe in their school classrooms — and just five percent say all of their teachers and school staff are supportive of LGBTQ people;

Sixty-seven percent report that they’ve heard family members make negative comments about LGBTQ people
But there is help in the thoughts of others:

“Healing begins with you, and it is quite a journey as well, but it is worth it. You are worthy of so much. Always remember that.”
“I have learned that I do not need to find an exact mirror of myself in order to be valid or to find kinship and community. I can find resonance within myself, and I can find pieces of myself within others.”
“There is space for who you are and who you identify as. And that space that you probably know and want to explore is exactly where you will begin to flourish.
“Being honest with who you are and how you feel is a big step into being confident in who you are and how you feel.”
“I wish someone told me that it’s okay to not be perfect all the time. I wish someone would’ve said to me, ‘go live your life unapologetically. You MATTER.”
“I believe that while life saving organizations like The Trevor Project fill gaps in mental health infrastructure, we can all do our part to destigmatize mental health conversations in our own context.”
In Alamogordo there are options for help:
Crisis And Access Line Call for support and resources1-855-NMCRISIS (662-7474) Toll Free 24/7/365 

NEW MEXICO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH DOH
Address: 1207 8th Street Alamogordo, NM 88310Phone: 575-437-9340Fax: 575-434-6629


Alamogordo Mental Health Associates · Mental health service 2474 Indian Wells Rd A · (575) 682-5270

PMS- Alamogordo Family Health Center – Behavioral Health  Mental health clinic 1900 E 10th St · (575) 437-7404

The Counseling Center Inc· Mental health service501 24th St · (575) 488-2500

There is no shame in mental health assistance. If you are depressed or at risk seek help!

Sourced: The Trevor Project,  Department of Public Health New Mexico, Otero County Department of Public Health, National Institute of Mental Health, Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health

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New Mexico’s Couy Griffin Slaps at the Legitimacy of Native Americans Voting and their Struggles and History

“I think the Recall for Couy Committee should look at the legal side of it because those signatures they get on the Mescalero Reservation, I don’t see how they could be used in a recall if I’m already been banished,” Griffin told a local radio station during an interview on July 13 that he questions the legality of the signatures gathered on the Mescalero Reservation since he was banned last fall.

Griffin apparently has forgotten or is unaware of the plight to vote for Native Americans or that there is even precedent for elected officials to be banished from stepping foot onto a reservation, but the Native American Voters still have the right to vote for or against that individual, even if the individual is banished from tribal lands represented.

Native Americans see themselves as patriots. They’re the demographic with the nation’s highest participation in military service. Yet profound differences separate some of their values from those of mainstream America. Many Indigenous people do not support the dominant society’s fiercely maintained system of racial and financial privilege of which Griffins comments allude to. Platforms with health- and community-focused planks are what interest most Native American voters per polling and Mr. Griffins absences from the district, focus on Cowboys for Trump and infatuation with the Trumpian theology don’t bold well for most Native American voters within the district.

The banishment of Couy Griffin from the Mezcalero Apache Reservation was an act, by the tribe, to get his attention. The banishment was to let him know of their displeasure in his actions as a representative in local government. Though driven by his rhetoric, the tribe’s stance of banishment is statement of his ineffectiveness as a leader of the community. The tribe clearly understands the recall is based upon his actions and potential ethics violations and not his rhetoric and as such allowed the signature drive for recall to proceed on their tribal lands.

Leaders build bridges between diverse groups and advocate for their needs. An act of banishment is a statement that he has been ineffective in representing their voice within county government if even at all.

The banishment of a political leader by a Native American tribe is not to be taken lightly and there is precedent for such actions. Couy is NOT the first politician to face a banishment and not the first to question voting rights of Native American citizens.

A most recent example of a tribal banishment is by the Oglala Sioux tribe in South Dakota, Via banishment they told the state’s governor that she was no longer welcome to access the Pine Ridge Reservation, one of the largest in the country, because she signed bills that allegedly target Keystone XL pipeline protesters. The tribe’s president, Julian Bear Runner, informed Gov. Kristi Noem of the council’s unanimous decision in an open letter.

Tribal banishment is a permanent ban from the reservation, and violations are punishable by law with fines or even jail time on their lands. Tribes have sovereign rights over their lands per Federal treaties however they also participate in county and state elections. Federal law allows for what one might deem as dual citizenship the right to participate in tribal elections as per the tribes constitution and the right to participate in local, state and federal elections via rights granted to all citizens within the US constitution.

Voting Rights of New Mexico’s Native American Population:

Miguel Trujillo Sr. had been a Marine sergeant in World War II and was in the middle of getting his master’s degree from the University of New Mexico. But there was one thing he still could not do. Trujillo could not vote. In 1948, the state’s constitution barred American Indians living on reservations from participating in elections. So, that summer, the Isleta Pueblo educator waged a legal battle that culminated in a court ruling 74 years ago that won Native Americans the right to vote in New Mexico.

Even though the federal government had granted citizenship to Native Americans back in 1924, the New Mexico Constitution still barred them from voting. The state’s constitution expressly prohibited from voting “idiots, insane persons, persons convicted of felonious or infamous crime unless restored to political rights, and Indians not taxed.”

That last part referred to Indians living on reservations because they did not pay property taxes on their land. It is unclear whether Native Americans could have registered to vote if they lived outside reservations.

But the provision disenfranchised many and prompted condemnation from the President’s Committee on Civil Rights in its 1947 report. The provision did not make any sense, the committee said. That line in the constitution was written before American Indians were granted citizenship, but they were paying taxes to the state and federal government like other citizens.

Protests against this ban, the report noted, had only gained force as American Indian veterans returned to civilian life after World War II.

It was amid all of this that Trujillo went to the Valencia County Clerk’s Office in June 1948. Family have said Trujillo had grown up with the county clerk, Eloy Garley, but knew he would not be allowed to vote in any event. Sure enough, he was turned away. In turn, Trujillo went to court with the help of Felix Cohen, a former federal official who had become a prominent civil rights lawyer and was working with tribes in New Mexico.

They filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court focusing on that one strange qualifier in the state constitution. For one thing, Trujillo’s lawsuit argued, he paid plenty of taxes. No, he did not pay taxes on his land. But he paid income taxes and sales taxes. There are other voters who don’t pay property taxes, too, such as renters. But no other group has been barred from voting on the basis that they do not pay property taxes.

On Aug. 3, 1948, a panel of three judges in Santa Fe sided with Trujillo granting Native American voting in New Mexico.

“We are unable to escape the conclusion that under the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments; this constitutes discrimination on the ground of race,” the court said in its ruling. The cruel irony that Trujillo had just served in the military but was denied the right to vote was not lost on the court, either. Native Americans, the court said, “have responded to the need of the country in time of war in a patriotic wholehearted way, both in furnishing manpower in the military forces and in the purchase of war bonds and patriotic contributions of that character.” “Why should they be deprived their rights to not now because they are favored by the federal government in exempting lands from taxation?” the court asked.

With that, American Indians had the right to vote and petition in New Mexico in any election for any candidate like other citizens.

And vote they do. In the most recent election voters elected a record-breaking six Native American congressional candidates to serve in the US House of Representatives. Native candidates also won dozens of races in state and local elections across the country.

In New Mexico at the state level 9 candidates ran…

  1. WON: Anthony Allison, Navajo Nation, State House 4, Democrat
  2. UNOPPOSED: Doreen Wonda Johnson, Navajo Nation, State House 5, Democrat
  3. WON: Derrick Lente, Sandia & Isleta Pueblo, State House 65, Democrat
  4. UNOPPOSED: Georgene Louis, Acoma Pueblo, State House 26, Democrat
  5. WON: Patricia Roybal Caballero, Piro Manso Tiwa, State House 13, Democrat
  6. WON: Shannon Pinto, Navajo Nation, State Senate 3, Democrat
  7. WON: Benny Shendo Jr., Jemez Pueblo, State Senate 22, Democrat
  8. WON: Brenda McKenna, Nambe Pueblo, State Senate 9, Democrat
  9. LOST: Gertrude Lee, Navajo Nation, New Mexico Court of Appeals, Position 2, Republican

There are almost 3600 members of the Mescalero Apache tribe of which a large percentage live on the reservation and are located within Couy Griffins District. By law each have the right to sign the petition if a registered voter in the county the tribe’s people like ANYONE registered to vote in Otero County District 2 can sign the recall petition, including those registered voters on the Mescalero Reservation.

If Griffin is removed from office, the New Mexico Constitution states that Lujan Grisham may appoint a person from any political party to the seat. The appointee must be from Otero County District 2, Governor’s Office Spokeswoman Nora Sackett said.

The New Mexico Constitution is not as specific as the statement from the Governor’s spokesperson however there is precedent in appointments, and it would be politically prudent for the Governor to appoint within the district thus the statement from her spokesperson.

The Committee to Recall Couy Griffin is setting precedent in New Mexico history as there is not a record of a recall effort that has garnered this much attention nor seen the successes to date of this effort. To learn more about the recall effort visit:

https://www.facebook.com/RecallCouy/

Signatures at the Reservation are being gathered…

Friday, July 16:

Mescalero, Apache Reservation at the Chiricahua Plaza parking lot from 10 am – 4 pm

Saturday, July 17

Mescalero: Chiricahua Plaza parking lot from 10 am – 4 pm

Note: Story Revised on 7/16/21 at 6:09 pm per request the author has remove the call letters and named interviewer referenced in the story per a call request. While the record of the call is in the public airwaves we respect the request and have done so accordingly. 

To hear audio of the interview with Couy Griffin of New Mexico follow the link https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FSgtChez%2Fposts%2F10219254270935110&show_text=true&width=500

Christmas Trees in July? Origins of Christmas in July Celebration in Retail & Roadrunner Emporium

Christmas in July or Christmas in Summer is a second Christmas celebration held around the summer season, mainly during July. It is centered around Christmas-themed activities and entertainment, including small gatherings, seasonal music and specials, and shopping, with the goal of getting the public in the “Christmas spirit” during the summer season and engaging with retail stores during the slump of summer sales in July.

Werther, an 1892 French opera with libretto by Édouard BlauPaul Milliet, and Georges Hartmann, had an English translation published in 1894 by Elizabeth Beall Ginty. In the story, a group of children rehearses a Christmas song in July, to which a character responds: “When you sing Christmas in July, you rush the season.” It is a translation of the French: “vous chantez Noël en juillet… c’est s’y prendre à l’avance.”[1] This opera is based on Goethe‘s The Sorrows of Young Werther. Christmas features in the book, but July does not.

In 1935, the National Recreation Association’s journal Recreation described what a Christmas in July was like at a girl’s camp, writing that “all mystery and wonder surround this annual event.

The term, if not the exact concept, was given national attention with the release of the Hollywood movie comedy Christmas in July in 1940, written and directed by Preston Sturges. In the story, a man is fooled into believing he has won $25,000 in an advertising slogan contest. He buys presents for family, friends, and neighbors, and proposes marriage to his girlfriend.

In 1942, the Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. celebrated Christmas in July with carols and the sermon “Christmas Presents in July”.  They repeated it in 1943, with a Christmas tree covered with donations. The pastor explained that the special service was patterned after a program held each summer at his former church in Philadelphia, when the congregation would present Christmas gifts early to give ample time for their distribution to missions worldwide.  It became an annual event, and in 1945, the service began to be broadcast over local radio.

The U.S. Post Office and U.S. Army and Navy officials, in conjunction with the American advertising and greeting card industries, threw a Christmas in July luncheon in New York in 1944 to promote an early Christmas mailing campaign for service men overseas during World War II. The luncheon was repeated in 1945.

American advertisers began using Christmas in July themes in print for summertime sales as early as 1950.  In the United States, it is more often used as a marketing tool than an actual holiday. Television stations may choose to re-run Christmas specials, and many stores have Christmas in July sales. Some individuals choose to celebrate Christmas in July themselves, typically as an intentionally transparent excuse to have a party. This is in part because most bargainers tend to sell Christmas goods around July to make room for next year’s inventory.

In the Northern Hemisphere, a Christmas in July celebration is deliberately ironic; the July climate is typically hot and either sunny or rainy with thunderstorms, as opposed to the cold and snowy conditions traditionally associated with Christmas celebrations in the higher latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. Some people throw parties during July that mimic Christmas celebrations, bringing the atmosphere of Christmas but with warmer temperatures. Parties may include Santa Clausice cream and other cold foods, and gifts. Nightclubs often host parties open to the public. Christmas in July is usually recognized as July 25 but also sometimes celebrated on July 12.

The Hallmark Channel and its companion outlets (Hallmark Drama and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries) run blocks of their original Christmas television films in July to coincide with the release of the Keepsake Ornaments in stores, thus literally making the event a Hallmark holiday (an accusation that Hallmark Cards officially denies).

Every July, the television home shopping channel QVC has Christmas in July sales, mostly decor and early gift ideas for children. What was once a 24-hour block of holiday shopping every July 25 (or the closest weekend day to it) has become a month-long event: generally, the sales begin on July 1 and are showcased throughout the day, with various blocks of holiday sale programming sales throughout the month. Generally during the last week of July, QVC will dedicate entire days to holiday sales.

Christmas in July in Alamogordo…

This past weekend was the Christmas in July Craft Fair at 705 Delaware Avenue featuring tons of crafts from local craftspersons and artist.

Check out the biggest Christmas in July window display in Otero County at the Roadrunner Emporium 928 New York Avenue Alamogordo. Several of its 42 partners are offering Christmas in July discounts from 10% to 30% off discounts of their expanded art work, Native American Art, Antiques, jewelry, collectibles and more.

The Burro Street Exchange – Cloudcroft, NM sections of jewelry, unique gifts and more.

McGinn’s Pistachio Land-World’s Largest Pistachio select gifts, unique decor and more, 70, 7320 US-54, Alamogordo, NM 88310

Most major online retails from Amazon, QVC, Macy’s and more are offering Christmas in July sales.

So escape the summer heat and if in Alamogordo come check out Christmas in July at select fine small businesses such as Roadrunner Emporium, check out Victoria and other fine local shops on New York Avenue Alamogordo, Cloudcroft’s downtown and other local business locations around the area. 

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The Trinity Site Open House Oct 2nd, 2021, History of the site, the gadget and a history of the open house of the site…

The Trinity Site near Alamogordo, New Mexico at White Sands Missile Proving Ground New White Sands Missile Range is a spot of historical significance that changed the world, the outcome of World War 2 and impacts sociopolitical dialog around the globe to this day. Tours are limited to 1 day a year. This year October 2nd, 2021 from 8 am to 3:30 pm.

What is the history of the Trinity Site?

On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped a nuclear weapon on Hiroshima, Japan – the first time such weapon of mass destruction that was ever used in conflict. Three days later the U.S. released another on Nagasaki, devastating the city and ushering in the nuclear age.

By 1945, the scientists of the Manhattan Project centered in Los Alamos, New Mexico with Oak Ridge Laboratories in Tennessee and the University of Chicago labs working to develop and build a nuclear weapon had made significant progress. 

Employees of the top-secret project via it’s 3 locations developed two types of atom bombs. One used uranium and a fairly simple design, leaving scientists confident it did not need testing. The other was a more complex implosion design using plutonium. Project leaders decided this second bomb needed to be tested before it was deemed ready for use. 

On July 16, 1945, the first atomic bomb successfully detonated at the Trinity test site.

Seeking an isolated test site for both safety and secrecy, planners chose a flat desert region at a U.S. Air Force base near Alamogordo, New Mexico called White Sands Proving Ground. This was a top secret military base where missile, aircraft and bomb testing took place and still does to this very day

While the test site was relatively barren, the nearest town of Carrizozo was just over twenty miles away. 

As the test date approached, concerns grew over the possible effects of radioactive fallout on nearby towns. 

After receiving warnings over potential legal liabilities, Manhattan Project Director General Leslie Groves tasked the Army with setting up an offsite monitoring system and preparing evacuation plans for those in a forty-mile radius.

The morning of July 16, the test weapon – referred to as “the gadget” – sat atop a 100-foot tower. Key observers were stationed in the control shelter constructed about 6 miles from the point of explosion. Others observed from shelters similarly situated around the test site, from base camp ten miles away, from “Hill Station” twenty miles away or from the air in B-29 bombers. Thunderstorms in the area delayed the test until early morning. At 5:30 am, the plutonium bomb detonated.

Video of Explosion and First Atomic Bomb Test in History

The term “Gadget” was a laboratory euphemism for a bomb, from which the laboratory’s weapon physics division, “G Division”, took its name in August 1944. At that time it did not refer specifically to the Trinity Test device as it had yet to be developed, but once it was, it became the laboratory code name. The Trinity Gadget was officially a Y-1561 device, as was the Fat Man used a few weeks later in the bombing of Nagasaki. The two were very similar, with only minor differences, the most obvious being the absence of fuzing and the external ballistic casing. The bombs were still under development, and small changes continued to be made to the Fat Man design.

To keep the design as simple as possible, a near solid spherical core was chosen rather than a hollow one, although calculations showed that a hollow core would be more efficient in its use of plutonium. The core was compressed to prompt super-criticality by the implosion generated by the high explosive lens. This design became known as a “Christy Core” or “Christy pit” after physicist Robert F. Christy, who made the solid pit design a reality after it was initially proposed by Edward Teller. Along with the pit, the whole physics package was also informally nicknamed “Christy[‘s] Gadget”.

Of the several allotropes of plutonium, the metallurgists preferred the malleable δ (deltaphase. This was stabilized at room temperature by alloying it with gallium. Two equal hemispheres of plutonium-gallium alloy were plated with silver, and designated by serial numbers HS-1 and HS-2.  The 6.19-kilogram (13.6 lb) radioactive core generated 15 W of heat, which warmed it up to about 100 to 110 °F (38 to 43 °C), and the silver plating developed blisters that had to be filed down and covered with gold foil; later cores were plated with nickel instead.  The Trinity core consisted of just these two hemispheres. Later cores also included a ring with a triangular cross-section to prevent jets forming in the gap between them.

Basic nuclear components of the Gadget. The uranium slug containing the plutonium sphere was inserted late in the assembly process.


A trial assembly of the Gadget without the active components or explosive lenses was carried out by the bomb assembly team headed by Norris Bradbury at Los Alamos on July 3. It was driven to Trinity and back. A set of explosive lenses arrived on July 7, followed by a second set on July 10. Each was examined by Bradbury and Kistiakowsky, and the best ones were selected for use. The remainder were handed over to Edward Creutz, who conducted a test detonation at Pajarito Canyon near Los Alamos without nuclear material.  This test brought bad news: magnetic measurements of the simultaneity of the implosion seemed to indicate that the Trinity test would fail. Bethe worked through the night to assess the results and reported that they were consistent with a perfect explosion.

Assembly of the nuclear capsule began on July 13 at the McDonald Ranch House, where the master bedroom had been turned into a clean room. The polonium-beryllium “Urchin” initiator was assembled, and Louis Slotin placed it inside the two hemispheres of the plutonium core. Cyril Smith then placed the core in the uranium tamper plug, or “slug”. Air gaps were filled with 0.5-mil (0.013 mm) gold foil, and the two halves of the plug were held together with uranium washers and screws which fit smoothly into the domed ends of the plug. The completed capsule was then driven to the base of the tower.

Louis Slotin and Herbert Lehr with the Gadget prior to insertion of the tamper plug (visible in front of Lehr’s left knee)

At the tower, a temporary eyebolt was screwed into the 105-pound (48 kg) capsule and a chain hoist was used to lower the capsule into the gadget. As the capsule entered the hole in the uranium tamper, it stuck. Robert Bacher realized that the heat from the plutonium core had caused the capsule to expand, while the explosives assembly with the tamper had cooled during the night in the desert. By leaving the capsule in contact with the tamper, the temperatures equalized and, in a few minutes, the capsule had slipped completely into the tamper.  The eyebolt was then removed from the capsule and replaced with a threaded uranium plug, a boron disk was placed on top of the capsule, an aluminum plug was screwed into the hole in the pusher, and the two remaining high explosive lenses were installed. Finally, the upper Dural polar cap was bolted into place. Assembly was completed at about 16:45 on July 13.

The Gadget was hoisted to the top of a 100-foot (30 m) steel tower. The height would give a better indication of how the weapon would behave when dropped from a bomber, as detonation in the air would maximize the amount of energy applied directly to the target (as the explosion expanded in a spherical shape) and would generate less nuclear fallout. The tower stood on four legs that went 20 feet (6.1 m) into the ground, with concrete footings. Atop it was an oak platform, and a shack made of corrugated iron that was open on the western side. The Gadget was hauled up with an electric winch. A truckload of mattresses was placed underneath in case the cable broke and the Gadget fell. The seven-man arming party, consisting of Bainbridge, Kistiakowsky, Joseph McKibben and four soldiers including Lieutenant Bush, drove out to the tower to perform the final arming shortly after 22:00 on July 15.

The scientists wanted good visibility, low humidity, light winds at low altitude, and westerly winds at high altitude for the test. The best weather was predicted between July 18 and 21, but the Potsdam Conference was due to start on July 16 and President Harry S. Truman wanted the test to be conducted before the conference began. It was therefore scheduled for July 16, the earliest date at which the bomb components would be available.

The Trinity explosion, 16 ms after detonation. The viewed hemisphere’s highest point in this image is about 200 metres (660 ft) high.

The detonation was initially planned for 04:00 MWT but was postponed because of rain and lightning from early that morning. It was feared that the danger from radiation and fallout would be increased by rain, and lightning had the scientists concerned about a premature detonation.[89] A crucial favorable weather report came in at 04:45,[60] and the final twenty-minute countdown began at 05:10, read by Samuel Allison.[90] By 05:30 the rain had gone.[60] There were some communication problems. The shortwave radio frequency for communicating with the B-29s was shared with the Voice of America, and the FM radios shared a frequency with a railroad freight yard in San Antonio, Texas.[86]

Two circling B-29s observed the test, with Shields again flying the lead plane. They carried members of Project Alberta, who would carry out airborne measurements during the atomic missions. These included Captain Deak Parsons, the Associate Director of the Los Alamos Laboratory and the head of Project Alberta; Luis AlvarezHarold AgnewBernard WaldmanWolfgang Panofsky, and William Penney. The overcast sky obscured their view of the test site.[91]

Trinitite

At 05:29:21 MWT (± 15 seconds), the device exploded with an energy equivalent to around 22 kilotons of TNT (92 TJ). The desert sand, largely made of silica, melted and became a mildly radioactive light green glass, which was named trinitite.  The explosion created a crater approximately 4.7 feet (1.4 m) deep and 88 yards (80 m) wide. The radius of the trinitite layer was approximately 330 yards (300 m). At the time of detonation, the surrounding mountains were illuminated “brighter than daytime” for one to two seconds, and the heat was reported as “being as hot as an oven” at the base camp. The observed colors of the illumination changed from purple to green and eventually to white. The roar of the shock wave took 40 seconds to reach the observers. It was felt over 100 miles (160 km) away, and the mushroom cloud reached 7.5 miles (12.1 km) in height.

Ralph Carlisle Smith, watching from Compania Hill, wrote:

I was staring straight ahead with my open left eye covered by a welder’s glass and my right eye remaining open and uncovered. Suddenly, my right eye was blinded by a light which appeared instantaneously all about without any build up of intensity. My left eye could see the ball of fire start up like a tremendous bubble or nob-like mushroom. I dropped the glass from my left eye almost immediately and watched the light climb upward. The light intensity fell rapidly, hence did not blind my left eye but it was still amazingly bright. It turned yellow, then red, and then beautiful purple. At first it had a translucent character, but shortly turned to a tinted or colored white smoke appearance. The ball of fire seemed to rise in something of toadstool effect. Later the column proceeded as a cylinder of white smoke; it seemed to move ponderously. A hole was punched through the clouds, but two fog rings appeared well above the white smoke column. There was a spontaneous cheer from the observers. Dr. von Neumann said, “that was at least 5,000 tons and probably a lot more.”

In his official report on the test, Farrell (who initially exclaimed, “The long-hairs have let it get away from them!”) wrote:

“The lighting effects beggared description. The whole country was lighted by a searing light with the intensity many times that of the midday sun. It was golden, purple, violet, gray, and blue. It lighted every peak, crevasse and ridge of the nearby mountain range with a clarity and beauty that cannot be described but must be seen to be imagined …”

William L. Laurence of The New York Times had been transferred temporarily to the Manhattan Project at Groves’s request in early 1945.  Groves had arranged for Laurence to view significant events, including Trinity and the atomic bombing of Japan. Laurence wrote press releases with the help of the Manhattan Project’s public relations staff.  He later recalled that

“A loud cry filled the air. The little groups that hitherto had stood rooted to the earth like desert plants broke into dance, the rhythm of primitive man dancing at one of his fire festivals at the coming of Spring.”

Original color-exposed photograph by Jack Aeby, July 16, 1945.

After the initial euphoria of witnessing the explosion had passed, Bainbridge told Oppenheimer, “Now we are all sons of bitches.”

Rabi noticed Oppenheimer’s reaction: “I’ll never forget his walk”; Rabi recalled, “I’ll never forget the way he stepped out of the car … his walk was like High Noon … this kind of strut. He had done it.”

Joan Hinton, a graduate student working on the Manhattan Project, described the explosion:

“It was like being at the bottom of an ocean of light. We were bathed in it from all directions. The light withdrew into the bomb as if the bomb sucked it up. Then it turned purple and blue and went up and up and up. We were still talking in whispers when the cloud reached the level where it was struck by the rising sunlight so it cleared out the natural clouds. We saw a cloud that was dark and red at the bottom and daylight at the top. Then suddenly the sound reached us. It was very sharp and rumbled and all the mountains were rumbling with it.”

The explosive force was equal to roughly 20,000 tons of TNT, far larger than the expected 7,500 tons. The flash of light was visible over 280 miles from the test site; the blast broke windows 120 miles away. Military police in nearby towns told those who saw the flash that an ammunition dump had exploded.

Radioactive green glass created from some of the dirt and debris caught in the fireball littered the test ground. Reports of public radiation exposure in the days following the test and evidence indicating high rates of infant mortality in counties downwind from the test site were largely ignored though officials did decide to forego further testing at the site in favor of a larger, more barren space. Residents of southern New Mexico are still pushing for the government to acknowledge and take responsibility for the lasting effects of the Trinity test, as detailed in a new report on the decades of health issues and deaths in the region.

Following the successful test, word was sent to U.S. Secretary of War Henry Stimson who relayed the news to President Truman. It was clear to everyone the most destructive weapon ever built by humankind was ready for war.

The exact origin of the code name “Trinity” for the test is unknown, but it is often attributed to Oppenheimer as a reference to the poetry of John Donne, which in turn references the Christian notion of the Trinity (i.e., the three persons constituting the nature of God). In 1962, Groves wrote to Oppenheimer about the origin of the name, asking if he had chosen it because it was a name common to rivers and peaks in the West and would not attract attention, and elicited this reply:

I did suggest it, but not on that ground … Why I chose the name is not clear, but I know what thoughts were in my mind. There is a poem of John Donne, written just before his death, which I know and love. From it a quotation:

As West and East
In all flatt Maps—and I am one—are one,
So death doth touch the Resurrection.

That still does not make a Trinity, but in another, better known devotional poem Donne opens,

Batter my heart, three person’d God.

Visits to the Trinity Site:

In September 1953, about 650 people attended the first Trinity Site open house. Visitors to a Trinity Site open house are allowed to see the ground zero and McDonald Ranch House areas.

More than seventy years after the test, residual radiation at the site was about ten times higher than normal background radiation in the area. The amount of radioactive exposure received during a one-hour visit to the site is about half of the total radiation exposure which a U.S. adult receives on an average day from natural and medical sources.

On December 21, 1965, the 51,500-acre (20,800 ha) Trinity Site was declared a National Historic Landmark district, and on October 15, 1966, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The landmark includes the base camp, where the scientists and support group lived; ground zero, where the bomb was placed for the explosion; and the McDonald ranch house, where the plutonium core to the bomb was assembled. One of the old instrumentation bunkers is visible beside the road just west of ground zero. An inner oblong fence was added in 1967, and the corridor barbed wire fence that connects the outer fence to the inner one was completed in 1972. Jumbo was moved to the parking lot in 1979; it is missing its ends from an attempt to destroy it in 1946 using eight 500-pound (230 kg) bombs. The Trinity monument, a rough-sided, lava-rock obelisk about 12 feet (3.7 m) high, marks the explosion’s hypocenter. It was erected in 1965 by Army personnel from the White Sands Missile Range using local rocks taken from the western boundary of the range.

A simple metal plaque reads:

Trinity Site
Where
the World’s First
Nuclear Device
Was Exploded on
July 16, 1945
Erected 1965
White Sands Missile Range
J. Frederick Thorlin
Major General U.S. Army
Commanding

A second memorial plaque on the obelisk was prepared by the Army and the National Park Service, and was unveiled on the 30th anniversary of the test in 1975.  It reads:

Trinity Site
Has Been Designated a
National
Historic Landmark
This Site possesses National Significance
in Commemorating the History of the
United States of America
1975
National Park Service
United States Department of the Interior

Visitors to the Trinity site in 1995 for 50th anniversary


A special tour of the site was conducted on July 16, 1995, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Trinity test. About 5,000 visitors arrived to commemorate the occasion, the largest crowd for any open house.

Since then, the open houses have usually averaged two to three thousand visitors. The site is still a popular destination for those interested in atomic tourism, though it is only open to the public twice a year during the Trinity Site Open House on the first Saturdays of April and October. Due to Covid-19 restriction the site has been closed the last year to visits.

 In 2014, the White Sands Missile Range announced that due to budgetary constraints, the site would only be open once a year, on the first Saturday in April. In 2015, this decision was reversed, and two events were scheduled, in April and October. The base commander, Brigadier General Timothy R. Coffin, explained that:

Trinity Site is a national historic testing landmark where the theories and engineering of some of the nation’s brightest minds were tested with the detonation of the first nuclear bomb, technologies which then helped end World War II. It is important for us to share Trinity with the public even though the site is located inside a very active military test range. We have travelers from as far away as Australia who travel to visit this historic landmark. Facilitating access twice per year allows more people the chance to visit this historic site

To visit the Trinity Location Opened October 2nd, 2021 from 8 am to 3:30 pm

Stallion Gate Entrance

Exit I-25 on mile marker 139 (San Antonio, N.M.) and head 12 miles east or exit U.S. Highway 54 onto U.S. Highway 380 and head west 53 miles of Carrizozo, N.M. Turn south on New Mexico State Highway 525 and head south five miles to the Stallion gate.

Alamogordo Caravan

Alamogordo Alternative – The Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce sponsors a caravan for visitors to Trinity Site. The Alamogordo caravan meeting site is at the Tularosa High School Athletic Field Parking lot. Turn west off Hwy. 54/70 in Tularosa at Higuero St. Proceed west to La Luz Ave. Turn right on La Luz Ave. (north) to athletic field.

Vehicle line up will begin at 7 a.m. Caravan departs at 8 a.m. NO STRAGGLERS WILL BE ALLOWED INTO THE CARAVAN ONCE THE LAST PERSON IN THE CARAVAN HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED.

Visitors entering this way will travel as an escorted group to and from Trinity Site. The drive is 145 miles roundtrip and there are no service station facilities on the missile range. Please make sure you have a full tank of gas.

The caravan is scheduled to leave Trinity Site at 12:30 for the return to Tularosa.

Cameras are allowed at Trinity Site but their use is strictly prohibited anywhere else on White Sands Missile Range.

Official Press Release:

Trinity Site Open House is set for Oct. 2

WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M. (July 9, 2021)  White Sands Missile Range will open Trinity Site to the public after a brief pause in activities due to COVID-19 on Oct. 2. Trinity Site is where the world’s first atomic bomb was tested at 5:29:45 a.m. Mountain War Time July 16, 1945.

The open house is free and no reservations are required. At the site visitors can take a quarter-mile walk to ground zero where a small obelisk marks the exact spot where the bomb was detonated. Historical photos are mounted on the fence surrounding the area.

While at the site, visitors can also ride a missile range shuttle bus two miles from ground zero to the Schmidt/McDonald Ranch House. The ranch house is where the scientists assembled the plutonium core of the bomb. Visitors will also be able to experience what life was like for a ranch family in the early 1940s.

The simplest way to get to Trinity Site is to enter White Sands Missile Range through its Stallion Range Center gate. Stallion gate is five miles south of U.S. Highway 380. The turnoff is 12 miles east of San Antonio, New Mexico, and 53 miles west of Carrizozo, New Mexico. The nearest city to make hotel reservations is Socorro, New Mexico. The Stallion Gate is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visitors arriving at the gate between those hours will be allowed to drive unescorted the 17 miles to Trinity Site. The road is paved and marked. The site closes promptly at 3:30 p.m.

Media who would like to visit the open house must register by calling the Public Affairs Office at 575-678-1134.

For more information on the open house please visit the Trinity Site website at: Trinity Site Information

White Sands Missile Range, DoD’s largest, fully-instrumented, open air range, provides America’s Armed Forces, allies, partners, and defense technology innovators with the world’s premiere research, development, test, evaluation, experimentation, and training facilities to ensure our nation’s defense readiness.

Author Chris Edwards Source research of article found in original published article at the AlamogordoTownNews.com

From the roots of Alamogordo High School athletics, excellence is handed from one generation to the next – the record of Greg Stephens class of 1985 and the success of his young daughter Madeline Stephens…

Alamogordo High School Sports Fun Fact:

Alamogordo has had 2 undefeated football seasons since its inception and first football game played in 1912. Those seasons were 1936 and 1985. In 1936 the Tigers tied Deming and were undefeated 7 games. The season of 1985, however set a record in that it was the first and only untied and undefeated season since 1912.

Photo Greg Stephen’s Alamogordo Football Quarterback in 1985 and Madeline Stephen’s his daughter, 2021 USATF Regional Hammer Throw Champion, Nationals qualifier and medalists in Javelin and Discus.

An Alamogordo Tiger Football recap -1985

Coach Hveem did a presentation kicking off the new season with a Century Club kickoff covered by the Alamogordo News on August 4, 1985. The spirit of Tiger football was burning bright according to Coach Gary Hveem who proceeded to discuss the team and recognize some key athletes.

                Wilson Holland was introduced as a returning letterman and Coach Hveem, said, “Holland exemplified the attitude shown by a serious player during the summer.” “Guys like this young man made a commitment and made it personally and taken and engulfed others with enthusiasm needed to play. The team wants to win, Alamogordo wants a winning team. These young men do not want to be part of a second losing record. They have prepared well,” he spoke passionately.

                He noted that Ted Cisneros and Jeff Fulton would be moving into coaching ranks.  He said they had 65 participants in the conditioning drills over the summer so the team would have depth.

The New Mexico Activities Association changed its’ policy beginning with the 1985/86 season that allowed for an 11th game for high school teams. Hveem’s thoughts were that this could prove to be a disadvantage, as Alamogordo was not able to pick up am extra game due to scheduling conflicts however, competitors such as Clovis, Roswell and Hobbs were able.

The team opened regular season September 13, 1985. The Tigers were to play 10 games in a row.

                By October 18th1985, things were looking particularly good for the Tiger football team for the 85 Season. They were gaining momentum and confidence with a 5-0 record and the community was rallying behind them with an unprecedented level of support.

                The team was hosting pre-game pep rallies that included the public. The business community was decorating their stores and showing the Tiger colors with pride.  But the season was about to get significantly more difficult, as they were soon to take on Carlsbad, Hobbs, Clovis and Roswell. The Clovis team was viewed as the biggest threat, but Coach Hveem spoke with confidence to the press about going for the gold this season.

                The AP also viewed this team from Alamogordo favorably in their ratings, thus the team was feeling the pressure to perform.

                The dream indeed came through the 85season with the game on Friday November 15th, 1985, bringing the Alamogordo team to a 10-0 season. The team entered the history books with a 32-16 victory over Roswell.

Besides winning the district championship outright, the perfect regular season performance represented the first time in the schools 73-year football history to have a team go through regular season with no losses and no ties.

Greg Stephen’s as quarterback was a young 16-year-old junior. He was only the 2nd Junior to ever start for Head Football Coach Gary Hveem and the only to lead a team to an undefeated season, a record still not broken under the leadership of a junior class quarterback.

Going into the season Coach Hveem was “not convinced” on Stephen’s abilities but JV Football Coach and Head Track and Field Coach, Robert Sepulveda convinced Hveem to give Stephens a chance, and take a second look at the “slow of foot” player for quarterback.

Coach Hveem had a quote before he started Stephens was, “Stephens, you look like a fish out of water moving, but you do great things once you get there.”

That indeed proved to be true.  A new school season record was broken prior to the last game of the season by Quarterback Greg Stephens.  He set a new school record with a total of 1660 yards made in the air, with an average of 16.6 per toss as of the Roswell game. Stephens got the lions share or 1604 yards with 102 completions in 181 attempts, for the season. Terry Davis made the remaining yardage. The previous record for the team, 1488 yards in 1978 in the air attacks.

The Tigers entered this regular season ending game coming from a tough game the prior week with Clovis. They had not beaten that district rival since 1980.

                As the season ended, Alamogordo had battled back from the prior seasons 4 to 6 showing. It was said that this season the Tigers ruled what some in New Mexico called the southern “Murderer’s row” at 10-0 and 4-0.

                The Tigers went into the state playoffs with the homefield advantage over Del Norte.

                For Senior Anthony Branch, the night was particularly sweet. Two years prior as a sophomore, he dropped what would have been the winning pass in the final game of the regular season against Roswell, a loss which kept the Tigers that year from the playoffs. He lived with that but carried forward with a passion and perseverance.

                This go around Branch showed the Coyotes how to play the game- he scored on a 3-yard run with 3:59 remaining in the 3rd Quarter- and then put the game away at the 6:06 mark in the fourth quarter on a second downplay for an 83-yard run.

                Anthony Branch’s run, in which he broke several tackles, came after the Tiger defense had stopped a Roswell drive at the Tigers 15-yard line.

On the night Branch rushed for 110 yards on 9 attempts and covered 47 yards in 3 receptions.

                The run made the night. Coach Hveem said of Branch and that night in the Alamogordo News, “Nothing was said, but we both know Anthony did not have to agonize anymore about what happened 2 years ago. He more than redeemed himself and has proven to be a formidable athlete.”

                Roswell fought hard. They pulled out all the stops frustrating the Tiger defense during the opening periods.

Roswell Quarterback Sean Reeves did some fancy running and throwing and was difficult to stop till the second period.

                Alamogordo’s Tony Gonzalez started the scoring with 8:52 remaining in the opening period. He ran in from the two after the Tigers had control of the ball over a 70-yard drive following the opening kickoff. The Tigers had a 7-0 first quarter lead after a Brad Adams kick.

                Roswell scored in the second after John Singleton ambled 3 yards and Peter Sanders made the two-point conversion at the 9:49 mark in the second period. This gave the Coyotes their only lead.

                Adams gave the Tigers back the lead with a 20-yard field goal with 1:29 remaining before the half.

                                Coach Hveem said, “he talked a long time with his team during the halftime and came out once and I felt we were flat, so we went back in and talked a little bit more as a team.”

                Alamogordo’s defense started to move. First came Branch’s score, followed by a two-point run by Terry Davis.

                In the fourth, Branch showed his stuff, followed by another Adams kick to etch the score 25-8.

                A costly 15-yard pass interference penalty against Alamogordo set up the final Coyote score- a 30-yard run by Peter Sanders in the 4th quarter.

                Alamogordo continued to work its ground game, eating up the clock. With 4 seconds remaining, the record setting performance was announced- and the crowd started to head onto the track ready to run onto the field in celebration.

                However, it was not over yet. Terry Davis, in as Quarterback, ran from 9 yards out and Adam’s kick was good, and time ran out.

                The field went crazy in celebration, this marked Coach Hveem’s 10th year at Alamogordo, the longest of any Varsity Football coach since the school was founded in 1912, and his first undefeated team in 22 years of coaching up to that point.

                That game night, Alamogordo made 206 yards on the ground and 222 in the air- thanks to the 15 of 20 successes from Quarterback Greg Stephens. Roswell was held to 141 on the ground and 42 in the air.

                Fullback Scotty Pierce has another successful night on the ground, making 56 yards in 13 carries. Jesse Harris had 41 in six tries.

                Gonzales led receivers with 85 yards in 4 catches. David Bailey had 24 yards in three receptions and Wilson Holland 66 in five.

                Alamogordo controlled the downs with 18 to Roswell’s 12. The Tigers were flagged for 5 penalties totaling 50 yards to Roswell’s 3 for 29 yards.

Tigers win again! The Tigers shut out Del Norte in the quarter finals 28-0.          Due to this victory the Tigers would only need two more wins to win the state title. Alamogordo won a state title under Rolla Buck but in the B small school division of the time. The nearest to a state title in the upper division has been Coach Gary Hveem. This makes another chance at the elusive title. Under his leadership there have been multiple state playoffs, but this team trended the best overall.

                During the quarter finals with Del Norte, they played better as the night progressed. Halfback Anthony Branch scored 2 touchdowns and rushed for 122 yards on 9 tries to lead the Alamogordo offense which finished the night with 202 yards rushing.

                It was the Tiger defense that controlled the tempo., holding Del Norte to 94 yards on the ground.

                Del Norte which finished the year 7-4 got inside the Tiger 25-yard line 6 times but was held each time.

                At the 6:36 mark in the 2nd Quarter the Tiger’s offense took off.

                Greg Davis took a punt and zipped his way through the Del Norte defense 66 yards.

                The Tigers struck back again 4 minutes later in the 2nd quarter after only 2 plays. Quarterback Greg Stephens hit Tony Gonzalez with a 25-yard throw to key the drive. Then it was Anthony Branch who strolled through the Del Norte defense for a 44-yard touchdown.

                Branch struck gold again at the &15 in the 3rd Quarter capping a 5-play drive, this time going 39 years in the 3rd Quarter to give the Alamogordo Tigers a 21-0 lead.

                Alamogordo scored once more in the 4th Quarter at 7:15 when Fullback Scotty Pierce ran from 1 yard out.

                Brad Adams who had only missed 2 conversion kicks in 11 games, was 4 for 4 for the night.

                Stephens finished the night with 104 yards with 7 of 9 completions. Gonzalez was 2nd in the Tiger rushing department with 50 yards in 9 tries. Gonzales let the Tigers in receptions with 34 yards and 2 tries with Branch with 32 yards and 1 catch and finally Wilson Holland with 30 yards in 3 catches.

                Matt Fleming of the Tigers was injured with an

Ankle sprain that came from an illegal block that was not called.

                Team spirit and community support was at an all-time high going into the Tigers attempt at victory in the State Semi-finals AAAA competition in football. The Mayor of Alamogordo declared Tiger Pride Day in a mayoral proclamation for Friday November 29, 1985. The proclamation noted the historic record set by Alamogordo setting a record in the schools 71-year history. It went on to congratulate the team for showing outstanding teamwork and sportsmanship, plus being good representatives of Alamogordo for the state tournament.

                Alamogordo moved into the semi-finals to compete against Albuquerque Highland High School hosted at Alamogordo. The game garnered so much support the band was moved to the field instead of the stands and extra temporary bleachers were erected to expand crowd capacity.

                Due to the excitement and the seriousness of play extra security was dispatched and the opposing team received a police escort in and out of town along with assistance of the state police.  KOB had circulated some stories in newscast of overly rambunctious fans on the Alamogordo side potentially creating havoc or having potentially created havoc in the quarterfinals game. Investigations occurred and it was deemed a non-issue.

                Alamogordo secured a win in the semi-finals against Albuquerque Highlands with a score of 28-6 adding a 12 straight game record to the Alamogordo books. Alamogordo’s season was thus 12-0 verses Highland finishing a 7-5 season.

                The leader on the night was Alamogordo fullback Scotty Pierce. Pierce scored all 4 touchdowns. He ran in from 3 yards out and 3 times from 1 yard out. He finished with 69 yards and 16 carries. He also passed the ball of 22 yards on a key play early in the game.

                After controlling the ball through most of the 1st Quarter, Alamogordo took an early lead in the opening seconds of the 2nd Quarter, when Pierce competed an 18 play, 80-yard drive with a 3-yard plunge on 4th down.

Brad Adams added the extra point- the first of 4 on the night.

                Later in the quarter, two Highland errors directly led to Tiger scores.

                Alamogordo took advantage of a short punt deep in Highland’s territory to set up Pierce’s first 1-yard run, making it 14-0. Alamogordo struck at the 8:44 mark.

                The Tigers struck 2 minutes later when following Tiger David Bailey’s interception of a Garrett Young pass, Anthony Branch returned it to the Highland 1 yard line. Pierce scored on a 1-yard run and Adams’s kick made it 21-0 at the 6:15 point.

Pierce gave the Tigers their final score with another 1-yard run in the opening seconds of the 4th quarter. 

                Highland Coach Bill Gentry credited the Tiger win to the teams “rolling right.” “Alamo did the right things”, he concluded in a recap conversation about his team’s loss. Alamogordo quarterback, Greg Stephens completed 9 of 17 passes for 134 yards with Wilson Holland catching 3 for 34 yards and Anthony Branch catching 3 for 59 yards. Jesse Harris was second behind Pierce in the rushing department with 35 yards on 7 runs.

                On the negative side, Alamo lost 2 fumbles and was flagged for 8 penalties for over 80 yards. The overall game was a huge victory for Alamogordo and placed them 1 game away from a historic 1st State Title as a AAAA competition.     Going into the state finals with Clovis was Coach Gary Hveem’s 200th game coaching. His career average going into the finals was 142 wins, 54 losses and 3 ties. At Alamogordo he had 10 years of coaching with 77 wins, 32 losses and 2 ties.

So close but No Cigar

                The Clovis Wildcats behind their powerful offense keyed by senior running back Daren Kelley and a defense that was playing for pride and a measure of revenge, crushed the Alamogordo Tigers 36-12 for the State Football Title. The Tigers had to again settle for a state second place trophy.

                A bet between Clovis Mayor, Frank Murray, who bet a bushel of grain that Clovis would win verses Alamogordo

Mayor Don Carroll, with a bushel of apples that Alamogordo would win. Unfortunately, the apples carried the bet, and were handed to the Clovis Mayor by Alamogordo Mayor Don Carroll pictured.

                Even in the face of a loss the Tiger fans were full of enthusiasm and proud their boys got a 2nd Place State Trophy.                             

Coach Gary Hveem & Co-Captains Anthony Branch and Tony Gonzalez claimed the state runner up trophy marking the winningest season in the history of Tiger football.

(Photo’s courtesy Alamogordo News.)

                “It’s tough,” said the wife of Tiger Coach Gary Hveem, Ms. Fran Hveem. Her husband had been chasing the New Mexico class AAAA state football title for 10 years. For the 2nd time in that decade, the title escaped his grasp in a title game and historically was the 2nd time in the school’s history as a class AAAA school.

                Former New Mexico State Senator Aubrey Dunn commented to the Alamogordo News, “The team played

great all year. These were two of the greatest teams in the state without question.”

                Chuck Montjoy another fan and supporter of the Tiger team said, “the team played terrific, the boys had a super season they are still #1 in my book.”

                The community was hungry for a win with a record 10,000 plus crowd in the stands filling both side and additional bleachers brought in for the game.

                The community showed support before the game and after. Trinity Lutheran Church Reverend Charles Ullman expressed, “this was a great opportunity for people to set aside their problems and unify around the local community.” One fan Rex (Doc) Hutchinson told the Alamogordo News, he had a dream that the Tigers won 39-6. The dream did not quite turn out as he envisioned as the final score was 36-12.

                Sue DeWolf one of the Tiger fans at the game that night told the Alamogordo News editor Mike Lamb as reported in the December 8th edition, that she had been supporting the Tiger Football program for over 30 years and every time she came to the game, she carried an exceptionally large stuffed Tiger with her. She said, “Every game he is with me, any bigger and they’d probably make me purchase a ticket for him” She was a determined fan indeed.

                Toots Green, state representative for Alamogordo at the time was at the game. He thought it was great Clovis was playing as that was his hometown but game night for the state title in 1986, he said he was, “rooting for Alamogordo.”

                State Senator Bill Vandergriff was in attendance and stated, “I think this is the greatest game for Alamogordo in 50 years. I do not think they have to be ashamed of anything, win or lose. There has been particularly good sportsmanship. I saw no problems on the field at all and the team is the best Alamogordo has put forward over the past 50 years.”

                Alamogordo Athletic Director Glen Markham said of the game, “It was a tremendous first half, I would like to have seen the game end at the half and call it quits in victory, whatever the outcome the team made Alamogordo proud.” Alamogordo ended the 1st half ahead 12-9.

                The Alamogordo game garnered attention not only in New Mexico but also in distant lands. Dickie Johnson, who was living at the Beirut Hilton in Beirut Lebanon who grew up in Clovis called the Alamogordo Daily News Sports office multiple times during the game from Beirut asking for updates on the game. Dickie had a connection to Clovis and the district as he was the quarterback for the championship team of 1966 and was happy with the outcome of this state competition. Johnson also played for the University of Texas when they were national champions in 1969 so he had a deep interest in regional football. Johnson was working in the oil industry is why he was in the middle east in 1986 or he said he would have been at the game.

                The game was awesome in two strong teams competed and gave their all. The night however favored Clovis sparked by the running feet of Darren Kelley and the Wildcat team took advantage of every opportunity presented to it.

                Kelly rushed for 228 yards on 29 carries on the day to lead the Cats to a stunning 418 yards on the ground.  His performance passed 2000 yards for the season in rushing and crashing though the Alamogordo Tiger defense which had limited past opponents to an average of under 10 points a game.

                “You are champions. Be proud of what have done, not disappointed. This has been my best year in coaching over 22 years,” Coach Gary Hveem told his Tiger team moments after the game ended. He concluded, “Hold your heads high. We had a great record-breaking season. The best team may have won today, but not the best guys.”

                The Tigers were strong the 1st half carrying a 12-9 lead after scoring a beautiful 66-yard pass from Quarterback Greg Stephens to Anthony Branch at 9:36 mark in the first period, and then a 3-yard pass from Stephens to Wilson Holland at 3:35 in the second.

                Not to be outdone, Clovis scored at 6:15 in the opening segment on an 18-yard run by Quarterback Drooper Greenwalt, and then Charles Deckard kicked a 36-yard field goal at the 7:05 point in the second quarter.

                Things started to fall apart for the Alamogordo Tigers in the 3rd quarter as several little things

Combined to break the backs of the Tigers winning streak.

Clovis’s Kelley scored on an 8-yard run at 8:45 in the period to give Clovis a 15-12 lead. In the next Tiger drive, Stephens was sacked at 7:09 to halt momentum.

                When Alamogordo again got the ball, a pass from Stephens to Tony Gonzales was intercepted, and then a short time later Alamo was hit for a holding penalty to further slow the drive.

                Wildcat Sam Dickery grabbed another Stephens pass at the 1:54 point to give Clovis the spark needed. Greenwalt kept his cool and the ball and less than a minute later ran 54 yards deep into Alamogordo’s territory to set up the next score.

                Clovis’s Ron Cook then scampered in from the 2-yard line and Deckard added the extra point to set the kill.

                The Tiger boys struggled valiantly in the 4th quarter but the fire of the last 13 wins was gone.

                A pass from Alamogordo’s Stephens to Holland was broken up at the 10:15 mark with Stephens and Duece Sullivan shaken up on the play. Reserve Quarterback Terry Davis came in – but the Alamogordo team could not keep control and Anthony Hall strolled in from 80 yards at the 7:36 point. Deckard’s kick was good.

                Clovis clobbered a Stephens pass again and forward motion slowed.

 Kelley of Clovis ran in one more score at 1:54 which combined with Deckard’s kick closed the door permanently to a state victory by the Alamogordo Tigers.

                The Alamogordo Tigers went into the state finals with a 12-0 season after finishing the first season in the schools 71-year history of football in 1986. This was a first in its history undefeated and untied. Clovis got into the playoffs thanks to Alamogordo’s district championship over Roswell and had to travel to Santa Fe and Cibola to make it to the finals.

                For the game Alamogordo’s lead rusher was Scotty Pierce with 37 yards in 10 tries. Jesse Harris was right behind with 34 yards in 6 runs.

                On the night, Alamo’s Stephens passed for 137 yards, making 10 of 22 tries with 4 interceptions.

                Anthony Branch was Stephen’s favorite receiver with 64 yards in 3 catches, and Tony Gonzalez was second with one 44-yard grab. Wilson Holland had 22 yards on four tries.

                Strong play was shown by Terrance Roberts, Ruby Rivera, and Matt Fleming.

                “Fans on both sides for 3 hours had nothing to think about but football, I am personally just excited for the kids and a good clean game,” said Clovis Coach, Eric Roanhaus.

                The season was the best season in the career of Coach Gary Hveem while at Alamogordo. Gary Hveem maintains the record as the longest tenured varsity football coach for Alamogordo High. He also continues to hold the record, of the coach with the most state football trophies – 2 of the 3, Alamogordo owned 2nd Place State AAAA trophies, that Alamogordo holds, were secured during his tenure.

                The irony of the season, Alamogordo was undefeated, but the record also played against the team when it came to state playoffs.

                Gary Hveem told AP Sportswriter, Pete Herrera of the 1986 state finals, “I knew all along it would come to this – to a football civil war punctuated by touch of irony and a ton of pressure.”

                The seasons ironic twist is that had it not been for an assist from Alamogordo 3 weeks prior, Clovis would not have been in the finals and Clovis would not have been chasing their bid for a record 5th straight state championship.

                By beating Roswell on the final week of regular season, Alamogordo clinched the district 4AAAA title but in the process handed Clovis the runner up spot in the district and a berth in the playoffs.

                Coach Hveem to the AP, “I knew all along it would be Clovis in the state finals. I’m glad, that the actual best 2 teams, in the state in 86, got to settle the title.”

                Coach Hveem and the Alamogordo boys were trying to do what has never been done to Clovis Coach Eric Roanhaus’s team, which was “to beat them twice in the same year.” Alamogordo beat Clovis 12-7 in district play.

                Clovis Coach, Roanhaus throughout the season had downplayed the significance of being in the running for a potential 5th straight AAAA State Varsity Football Title. He was equally complimentary of Alamogordo and did not want to underestimate their abilities or those of Alamogordo’s Coach Gary Hveem. Roanhaus told the AP’s Pete Herrera, “They (Alamogordo) team members were playing better in the championships than when they at any time in memory. That was a team that was a credible threat and each of those boys should be proud of their efforts.”

Coach Hveem’s legacy was that of the longest tenured football coach in Alamogordo’s history. His legacy also continues to this day, as the winningest coach and the only football coach in its 109-year history to compete in the finals for 2 state titles in 4AAAA play. Though, during his tenure the team never brought home the 1st Place State Trophy, of the 4 State Football Trophies that Alamogordo received in its’ 109-year history, 2 2nd Place State Trophies belong to the decade of Coach Hveem’s leadership.  During the 2006 season Alamogordo Varsity Football won a 2nd Place trophy under Coach Bruce Dollar.

                The NMAA has awarded one 1st Place New Mexico State Football Title to Alamogordo. It was under Coach Rolla Buck in 1950 when Alamogordo won it as a class B school. In 1950 there were 3 divisions Class A, B and C.

While remembering the past of the glory days of the 1985 football season and Greg Stephen’s lest we not forget the title of the article,from the roots of Alamogordo High School athletics, excellence is handed from one generation to the next and the successes of his daughter Madeline Stephens

Greg Stephen’s of Alamogordo Football stardom has an incredibly talented young daughter Madeline Stephens. A student in Texas she has proven herself to be an extremely talented Hammer, Shot, Javelin and Discus Throw competitor. To the point she qualified to compete in the USATF Junior Olympics Regional finals in Texas in the Hammer Throw event.

As we edge through Olympic trials and head toward the Olympics in Japan it is worth noting that the USA Track and Field Junior Olympics are moving forward as well.  With roots tracing back to Ancient Greece, track & field is the centerpiece of the Olympic Games. From the 100-meter dash to the discus throw, hammer throw etc. athletes set new standards for excellence in sport. USATF’s Junior Olympic Track & Field program is a wellspring of this excellence.

America’s next generation of track & field stars compete throughout the summer–and over 6,000 of these athletes qualify for the USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships held during the last week of July. Entry for the national championship is based on athlete performances at preliminary, Association, and regional levels.

And so, for Greg Stephen’s the legacy of athleticism has shown it does carry down from one generation to the next, as his daughter Madeline Stephens Qualified and Won 1st Place at Regionals in the Hammer Throw.

                As an 8th grader this is an awesome achievement and one of which Mr. and Mrs. Stephen’s should be proud but equally proud of course is Coach Gary Hveem and Alamogordo High Schools Winningest Track and Field Coach in its history, Coach Bob Sepulveda as well as the Alamogordo community as well as her Texas community.

                Congratulation Madeline, your fathers star burned bright in Alamogordo and beyond, but we have great expectations that your star may shine even brighter, with your demonstrated excellence and talent at such an early age. We wish you the absolute best on your journey at the USA Track and Field junior Olympics finals. Know deep in your heart you have fans all over the country rooting for your success.

                Have fun, take in the moments before you and know, though not officially a Tiger, Tiger blood and Tiger Spirits is within you!

Source:

The History of the Alamogordo Class of 1985 is an excerpt from the book, Coach Bob Sepulveda & Gary Hveem, Alamogordo’s Golden Years, by Authors Chris Edwards & Rene Sepulveda, to be released August 30, 2021, at Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo, New Mexico, and at independent bookstores and Amazon.com in 46 countries worldwide.

Details of Madeline Stephen’s courtesy of USA Track & Field.

Author Chris Edwards, 2nd Life Media Inc.

Tackling Urban Blight Only Happens When Government Takes Responsibility at the Local Level – Alamogordo Town News Special Report

Today the city of Alamogordo Fire Department released a press release concerning the property fire at 3002 Del Sur Fire was ruled an arson and suspects have been identified for arrest. Excellent job on the part of the Alamogordo Police Department and the Alamogordo Fire Department in collaboration and solving a crime that could have resulted in damage or death to property owners of adjacent properties. Kudo’s to Alamogordo Fire Department for its quick response and for its arson investigation team and collaboration with the Alamogordo police. This cross department collaboration is an example of how government departments can and should work together for the common good of the citizens.

The press release from the City of Alamogordo Fire Department today reads…

Alamogordo, NM Thursday, July 8th, 2021, on May 3rd, 2021, the Alamogordo Fire
Department was dispatched to a structure fire at 3002 2 Del Sur Avenue. After the fire was quickly extinguished, the Alamogordo Fire Department Fire Investigations Unit conducted an Origin and Cause investigation. The fire was determined to be Incendiary in nature. A collaborative investigation with the Alamogordo Police Department Detectives Division developed two persons of interest. After a thorough investigation it was confirmed, the fire was caused by an act of Arson. Subsequently the collaborative investigation has led to charges being pursued. The investigation is closed.

Contact for this Release
William Skaggs
AFD Fire Investigations Unit Leader
Fire Investigator & Inspector
575-635-7589
WSkaggs@ci.alamogordo.nm.u

The bigger crime than the actual arson involved, is the city commissions lack of leadership in relation to issues of blight within the city of Alamogordo. An editorial was published in the Alamogordo Daily News, May 4, 2021 by Beth Crabbe, outlining her ongoing concerns with the neighboring property and the city’s failure in policy or enforcement. Ms. Crabbe owns an adjacent property to 3002 Del Sur, her engagement with the city of Alamogordo highlights as a prime example, of a bad issue going even worse, and the results of ongoing issues within the city of blight and the failure of city leadership to act upon those safety issues.

Per her editorial…

“At 6:46 p.m. on May 3, 2021, the house next door to me at 3002 Del Sur caught on fire.

This home has been vacant for at least 15 years. This story is one of neglect. It is one that occurs throughout our community. It is something that needs to be addressed through city ordinances and to create ordinances and repercussions for home owners who do not maintain their properties. I am sure the city has spent a large amount on the abatement of this yard for the past 10 to 15 years. Does the owner at some time not run out of their ability to continue to have the yard abated because of their irresponsibility?”

The question for the city commission, do the ordinances exist to help terminate this urban blight problem? If they do, why is code enforcement not more aggressive in pushing property owners toward resolution to resolve blight? Fifteen years? In what universe does it take 15 years to solve a blight issue. Fifteen years is excessive and shows negligence by multiple parties. If enforcement of ordinances related to blight does not exist, then where is the city leadership? If they do exist where is the oversight?

As recently as Tuesday, I personally witnessed the results of urban blight and crime associated with it. As a partner business owner on New York Avenue, great progress is being made by the Alamogordo Main Street organization in building community consensus, surveying the community and working to secure funding for revitalization. But Tuesday mid afternoon, broad daylight, while in our store, we heard glass shatter and discovered one of the abandoned buildings a few stores up the street had the glass door kicked in and was vandalized. The police came, took our statement and reviewed the damage. Was an arrest made of the gentlemen driving a moped on the sidewalk that committed the damage? Not as of yet. But the bigger issue is the blight of these buildings. 

Business owners in the old town and primarily along 10th Street, and homeowners throughout the city, are faced with multiple buildings, both commercial and residential, that are vacant and are not being maintained, or occupied and not maintained. For the adjoining property owners and business owners, this blight creates a greater opportunity for crime and risk for the business owners and homeowners adjacent to these properties. It causes increased expense of the adjacent property owners and business owners in needing high lever security systems and because the zone is a blight zone insurance premiums can cost more if even attainable.

Other cities around this country have tackled urban blight with local city and county tax incentives to encourage upkeep of these properties. For commercial properties several cities in the US have created ordinances which reward property owners that offer low cost rents for these properties, by creating sales tax rebates and property tax rebates to homeowners and commercial building owners that offer low cost rentals in an attempt to revitalize a property. Has that been considered by the city commission? Is there a task force between the city and the county to craft policy around urban blight? What I have witnessed is finger pointing not collaborative dialog and policy debate. 

The city commissioners should appoint a task force consisting of public representatives as home and business property owners,  business owners that rent, commissioners at both the city and county level and commit to solving the issue with a task force that has a defined role in crafting policy and ordinances with a timetable of deliverables for the greater good of the overall community.

In cities that are less willing to go the route of tax rebates and incentives to owners, then those cities have tackled the issue, with very aggressive code enforcement against abandoned or derelict property owners. In speaking with some elected officials and commissioners, it does appear the only way to get enforcement action is by citizen complaints. However that does not always work as well. 

Note the adjacent property owner, Beth Crabbe’s, editorial published in the Alamogordo Daily News, May 4, 2021 where she claimed to have spoken to city officials of concern about the 3002 Del Sur property, to no avail!

“I have called DPS (Department of Public Safety), code enforcement and talked to the Mayor about this house. I have talked to the city attorney about my situation next door. This fire put many lives in danger and it is because of the lack of action to remove dangerous, deserted, neglected and dilapidated properties from our community. I am told we cannot do that because of regulations. It is time to change them.”

Yes, Ms. Crabbe it is time the commission act and take responsibility. They work for the public interest and we must ensure they do take responsibility.

Per the city budget the city of Alamogordo received in 2018, $170,512 for a program funded by HUD

The CDBG grant program’s state and national objectives require that the funded activities address at least one of the
following:
1. Benefit principally low to moderate income families;
2. Aid in the prevention or elimination of slums or blight; or
3. To help meet an urgent need of recent origin that pose a serious and immediate threat to the health and welfare of the community where other financial resources are not available.

In 2019 under the leadership of commissioner Alfonso “Al” Hernandez he asked the City Planning Department  to draft an ordinance regulating the outward appearance of some types of buildings in the City’s commercial districts.

The proposed ordinance was discussed and tabled at the regular Alamogordo City Commission meeting Tuesday, Oct. 22. 2019, for the purpose of getting additional input from the building community.

Per Alamogordo City Planner Stella Rael at the time, “This is very important. Staff recommends approval of this amendment to maintain the beautification and integrity of our City.”

The streets listed as benefiting from the ordinance are Indian Wells Road, Scenic Avenue, First Street, White Sands Boulevard, 10th Street and Florida Avenue.

This is an interesting first step if indeed it was passed and shows leadership by Commissioner Hernandez in stepping up the city response to urban blight. But why such a limited area? Where is the response to blight and beautification for the whole city?

The draft ordinance would have updated the Alamogordo Code of Ordinance about specific requirements on certain streets in section 4 of the City Zoning Ordinance.

The proposed ordinance would require new buildings to have a brick or stone wainscot, at least 35 percent of sidewall height in the front of the building and on the sides of any building that is adjacent or abuts an arterial street or a full stucco façade on the front of the building or on a side that is adjacent or abuts an arterial street.

According to the Alamogordo Daily News. October 23, 2019 story by Nicole MaxwellAlamogordo City Commissioner Josh Rardin opposed the measure saying “We have trouble attracting businesses and people to Alamogordo anyway. Why would we want to put more restrictions on what they can and can’t build?”

No, Mr. Rardin as a new business partner in Alamogordo and our partnership having done business in communities on the west coast with very restrictive zoning rules, I can assure you zone enforcement and community guidelines encourage more upscale businesses to seek a presence in your community. However, the lack of guidelines or a free for all and the lack of code enforcement leading to urban blight, that sir, is what will drive investment to look at alternative communities to Alamogordo for investment and a presence. Upscale business interest prefer a community that takes pride in itself and has local community flavor verses a cookie cutter approach to every town looking the same. 

The recent fire on 3002 Del Sur was quickly put out and an investigation began by the Alamogordo Fire Investigations Unit. 

In an article published in the Alamogordo Daily News by Nicole Maxwell published May 14, 2021 The Fire Investigations Unit Leader of Alamogordo was quoted:

Every fire in Alamogordo is investigated,” Alamogordo Fire Department Fire Investigations Unit Leader William Skaggs said. “We’ve always investigated them, we’re just taking a more proactive rather than a reactive stance with it.”

In 2018, Alamogordo Fire Department started its own investigations team. Prior to 2018, the New Mexico State Fire Marshal’s Office would investigate fires, Skaggs said.

The fire department did their job! The police department did their job! Indictments have been crafted as a result of the actual fire.

Beth Crabbe’s, editorial published in the Alamogordo Daily News, May 4, 2021 said it well. The criminals of the actual fire will be found and prosecuted. But as Ms. Crabbe eloquently points out, the real indictment is the city of Alamogordo leadership and their failure to act on derelict buildings…

Quoting Ms. Crabbe:

This has gone beyond the visual appeal to our community, but has now embraced the lives of our fearless firefighters.

For 10 years I have called about this property. These fire dangers sit in our community with nothing being done. We risk the lives of our firefighters because of the lack of action by the city to remedy this situation.

I hear our hands are tied. Not if you create change. How long are we going to let these abandoned buildings sit, encourage vagrants to occupy them, create unsightliness to our community and most importantly, has potential for great harm to man – whether a vagrant or a firefighter?

The reality is the next act of vandalism, the next fire, the next loss as a result of inaction by the city commission is owned by them! 

Inaction is unnecessary, open the blinders as inaction by the commission is crime against the good citizens who care for their properties and care for this city. 

Those in power who fail to address this issue that not only impacts property values and business recruitment, their failure to act, at the core, makes them complicit in putting public safety at risk. 

Study other communities via a task force and see how they addressed the issue. A good example of a plan comes from Augusta Ga. See their response and ordinances put into action via  the link below..

https://www.augustaga.gov/DocumentCenter/View/14392/Blight-Pressentation

Now is the time for the city commission and those in power to act!

Set up a task force, now is the time to solve this issue for the greater good of the Alamogordo Community. 

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Artist Corner – Five Questions with Alamogordo New Mexico’s Artist Marty H Torres

We met the Alamogordo based artist Marty H. Torres recently after viewing her expanded works of art now showcased at Roadrunner Emporium Fine Arts Gallery, Antiques and more, 928 New York Avenue Alamogordo, New Mexico. Mrs. Torres showcases her collection of eclectic paintings and fine art pieces in an incredibly unique and well executed corner of Roadrunner Emporium. Her works stand out as many of her works begin with an acrylic base, but she adds other media to give a three-dimensional look. Some of her works are quite whimsical such as her Wizard of Oz inspired collection of paintings or the Charlie Chaplin inspired painting. Other are much more serious such as a few of her paintings highlighting Native Americans and her Sailor and Woman painting which is compelling yet sensual.

We began our interview asking about her upbringing and her history of how she got into the world of the creative arts…

Photo of the works of Marty H Torres On Exhibition at Roadrunner Emporium Fine Arts Gallery, Antique and More 928 New York Avenue Alamogordo New Mexico (Photo by Chris Edwards AlamogordoTownNews.com)

Marty H Torres was born and raised in El Paso Texas, and her appreciation for art began in the 6th grade. Her teachers saw her work and told her to continue her art studies in High School. She was strongly encouraged and supported by her in high school and college. Upon their recommendation she continued her studies with a focus on arts. Throughout her artistic career she has studied interior decorating, fashion design, art, visual merchandising, small business management, sales, and makeup artistry in El Paso.

She explains that she loved the arts but as a youngster she was also a tomboy, so her dad sent her off to charm or finishing school at an El Paso institution called Mannequin Manor. The school made famous as Model and Actress Susan Blakely of El Paso was a graduate in the 70s of the same school prior to her successful modeling and acting career.

Most of her post-secondary studies were of Art Institute of El Paso but upon moving to Alamogordo she studied at New Mexico State University NMSU where she studied art, ceramics, and theater and did backstage makeup artistry as well.

In addition to her passion for painting and works on canvas she also has a passion for dance. While in El Paso she performed dance for Viva El Paso, where she danced tap, ballet, modern dance, Spanish dancing, and dancing w/ castanets.

Most of her professional career was as a visual merchandiser of which she did for 33 years. In addition, she was a Makeup Artist for Estee Lauder and Clinique and Elizabeth Arden for 14 years.

She says her life has always been about art, “really in my life was a lot of Art. I love every minute of it. I love to talk to people and hear about their life and what they love in life. If you have a talent, your talent is God gift to you. What you do with it, is your gift back to GOD,” she explained.

We concluded our interview with 5 questions for the artist…

How would you describe the work you create?

Marty H Torres: “I would suggest my art comes from my heart. Sometimes I have dreams about my art and will stretch it out and paint it onto canvas. So many times, what is on the canvas reflects a dream I have had or another world I crossed into in my dreams.”

What message do you want to get across with your artistic work?

Marty H Torres: “I want to let everyone know that anyone can do art. Even if you can only draw a stick person it can be beautiful so someone. Art is beauty. I sometimes paint nude people; some people think that is bad but its not. The human form as an artistic form is beauty and God’s creation. Where one’s mind is, is what one sees when they interpret art. What one sees from their perspective may not be the message the artist is trying to convey. My art is about happiness and beauty from within. Some artist paint sadness. The point is an artist should express themselves and paint what they feel. My artistic expression is to paint what I feel and in doing so I thank God every day for giving me the ability and the talent to express myself via art.”

How did you come to mixing textures, media, and colorful designs into your paintings? What is your favorite media or canvas?

Marty H Torres: “I love acrylics, charcoal, pastels and oils. My favorite is charcoal and oil. When you paint with oils, you can always go back the next day and change the painting or add to it, because oils take an awfully long time to dry. Charcoal is also incredibly fun to use and allows you to easily blend colors. I love bright colors as well as exclusively black and white paintings. I love to wear black all the time as Black is Beautiful.”

Do specific colors, forms or subjects have specific meaning to your works?

Marty H Torres: “Depending upon what I am going to paint, and my mood is, at the time, is what defines my works. Sometimes it could be a person, other times a flower or animals. Sometimes I want an abstract or Picaso tyle looks it all depends on what I am feeling at the moment. Each work has special meaning to me, and I pour my heart onto the canvas in an expression of love.”

Did the goals of your artistic work change during Covid-19 and do you have advised for any aspiring artists?

Marty H Torres: “No, I really think the lock down period helped me paint more and do more at home and to think more positively about life and the future. I worked more at home doing more paintings, decorating, working on my yard and a mural for my house. Life is too short not to make the best of every moment and do what you enjoy doing regardless of what is happening around you.

I know for many Covid-19 was scary and is scary and dangerous to many. But do not let it take over your life and prevent you from doing what you want to do to express yourself or expand your inner self. Learn to enjoy life regardless of circumstances, be happy and live life.

I am a candle lighter. I pray often for those around me that I know and those I do not know. Be good, be nice, be happy. If you are not an artist, just try something artistic, you might actually like it and find out how much fun any form of artistic expression can actually be.”

With that that concluded our interview with Marty H Torres. It was a pleasure and a joy to see how passionate she was and the beauty she sees in everything around her. A portion of her collection of works are on exhibition and for sale daily downstairs of Roadrunner Emporium Fine Arts Gallery, Antiques and More, 928 New York Avenue Alamogordo, New Mexico. Drop on by and see her fine works of art and that of several other artist, sculptured artists, photographers, antiques dealers, jewelers and more.

Repression to Freedom an Interpretative Art Installation Window Display by Coach & Artist Rene Sepulveda

Repression to Freedom

an Interpretative Art Installation by Coach & Artist Rene Sepulveda

In celebration of America’s freedom Artist Rene Sepulveda presents “Repression to Freedom” an interpretative window display showcasing the natural beauty of the white sand’s region and a natural view of freedom.

The art installation is composed of all-natural elements of fallen tree stumps, recycled metals, and other earthly elements to create a natural desert scene of color and beauty.

The scene begins with a fallen barbed wire fence. The tree stump it is attached to is an actual original barbed wire fallen fence representing the struggle of confinement and the repression of the barbed wire. Within the installation the barbed wire manifests itself into a scorpion representing change in the forms of death and rebirth. The Scorpion indicates there are lessons of our past lives that die off. Note the scorpion is reaching to leave the scene whereas the bluebirds look down from their corner perch onto the desert scene as a symbol of hope, love, and renewal as a part of many Native American legends. They are complimented by the nest of wise desert owls within the turquoise cholla cactus representing the wisdom of the desert. Along the fallen woods nestling into the tree trunks is the colorful gecko representing self-protection and re-growth that humanity and nature goes through. The customary gecko circle symbolizes the natural cycle of life.

The dominance of the turquoise coloring, center to the exhibit represents strength, skill, or even invincibility of the natural elements of the desert.

Center to the exhibit is the manifestation of the Native American designed turquoise accented pot with the turquoise tree root. containing the hanging gourds of sand pouring endlessly into the white sands symbolic of our never-ending unity with nature and the natural elements of the desert.

Throughout the exhibit are Roadrunners. The Roadrunner is a sign of Epiphany, Illumination and that something in our life has been healed on the spiritual and physical levels. The Roadrunner is a sign to the completion of a phase, a transformation of goal in life. The several Roadrunners in the scene symbolizes how we move forward to new and greater horizons. That within the desert we move on with renewed hope.

The scene ends with large moss-covered tree trunk of copper coloring and hanging above it is a Zia with an eagle soaring through the outline of the Zia. The Zia sun symbol represents the four cardinal directions, the four seasons of the year, the four period of each day (morning, noon, evening, and night), and the four seasons of life (childhood, youth, middle age, and old age) paired with the soaring eagle. The eagle caps or completes the artist installation with its acute eyesight, the eagle has come to embody an all-seeing EYE. The eagle is the solar symbol linked to the Zia thus representing the sky gods. It signifies inspiration, release from bondage, victory, longevity, speed, pride; and is the emblem for release from the constraints of the bondage of the barbed wire at the beginning of the installation.

As our eyes pull away from the artistic beauty of the display we are left with a feeling of renewal and hope from the sands of the desert to the vast sky above us.

New Mexico led the way to today’s NCAA announcement that it will allow athletes to earn money.

$1.5 billion annually, that’s how much college football’s 25 most valuable teams earn in combined profit in an average year, according to Forbes‘ most recent “College Football’s Most Valuable Teams” list.

College sports generates a tremendous amount of money for universities, but college athletes have long been given little more than a scholarship in return.

Polling has consistently shown a majority of Americans believe college athletes should be paid more though, and NCAA officials have started showing support for allowing players to profit off the use of name, image and likeness, until today.

New Mexico Led The Nation

New Mexico SB 94. Titled STUDENT ATHLETE ENDORSEMENT ACT, Sponsored by Mark Moores, Bill B. O’Neill, and Antonio “Moe” Maestas passed the New Mexico Senate with 39 yes votes and 0 no votes on 2/19/21. The bill then passed the New Mexico House of Representatives with 43, yes votes and 21, no votes.  The governor signed the bill into law on 4/7/21 to take effect July 1st, 2021.

The text of the actually bill signed by the governor is available to read via the text:

The law goes into effect on July 1st, the same day that a similar law will go into effect in the state of Florida, becoming the first two states that will have the laws in effect. 

“The NCAA model is not working for the athletes who drive the product,” Lujan Grisham’s press secretary told the Albuquerque Journal following the pass of the bill on Wednesday.

New Mexico’s law includes that athletes can receive food, shelter, having medical expenses paid for by a third party, or making money based off the use of their name, image, and likeness. Meaning that athletes featured on billboards, in commercials, or in video games can now begin to make money without fear of being declared ineligible. Athletes can also hire agents to set up endorsement deals but cannot hire them to represent them in contact with professional teams.

A total of 10 state have similar laws taking effect in July based on the New Mexico model. The NCAA wants to have federal laws or its own permanent rules regarding the issue known as NIL, but was forced to seek a temporary solution rather than have athletes in some states eligible for compensation while others were not.

Without NCAA action, athletes in some states could be making money without putting their college eligibility in jeopardy while their counterparts in other states could be in danger of breaking NCAA rules.

The NCAA’s stopgap measure comes less than two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the association in a case involving education-related benefits. That 9-0 ruling is expected to impact issues related to compensation for athletes.

The NCAA cleared the way for athletes to profit off their name Thursday, the eve of legislation becoming the law in New Mexico and Florida that would allow for such compensation.

The expected approval from the NCAA Board of Directors came a few days after a recommendation from the Division I Council to allow athletes in every state to pursue compensation for their name, image and likeness without jeopardizing their college eligibility.

The NCAA’s stunning reversal came after California passed a Fair Pay to Play Act, which would go into effect in 2023. Other states are looking at possible legislation. The California law would allow athletes to sign endorsement deals and licensing contracts, something NCAA rule makers will address.

NCAA officials said they were aiming to have a nationwide rollout of the recommendations made among their 1,100 members.

Figuring out all the details of it, it’s going to be a challenge. It’s a much more complex issue than most people see it as. I think schools are going to be able to work through this process and come up with rules that makes great sense for the student athletes and allow universities to continue their collegiate model of athletics, NCAA Officials have said.

NCAA officials said the working group will continue to get feedback on how to deal with state legislation and that will help guide future recommendations.

A very interesting argument in favor of athlete pay was made by the New Mexico Law Review and can be found in the link below…

 New Mexico Law Review -Let’s Get Serious – The Clear Case for Compensating the Student
Athlete – By the Numbers
Neal Newman
Texas A&M University – School of Law

This move follows compliance to a New Mexico state law that takes effect July 1st. 

The New Mexico legislature found itself on the cutting edge beating out typical states such as New York, California or Washington State on a progressive approach to student athlete compensation. What is even more impressive is the bi-partisan support this bill got in the New Mexico legislature with unanimous approval by all New Mexico Senate Republicans and Democrats and example of true bi-partisanship.

The fallout to this new regulation will become a true headache for college coaches and compliance officers creating a whole new set of pressure on those professional staffs. It is conceivable with a superstar collegiate athlete whose likeness is used often could be high paid than the millions of dollars paid to college football coaches. That in itself will ultimately create an interesting dynamic that social scientist and college administrators will be studying for decades into the future. 

When it comes to sports we indeed do live in interesting times in the 21st Century. 

History and Furs in Fashion Alamogordo, New Mexico Roadrunner Emporium Upcycled Vintage Furs

History and Furs in Fashion Alamogordo, New Mexico & Roadrunner Emporium Upcycled Vintage Furs

Regardless of one’s feelings of the use of fur in fashion and the modern-day fur trade since the beginning of humanity the wearing fur to stay warm has been a part of the human experience. As such a respect for the history of furs in functionality and fashion is essential. At Roadrunner Emporium we do have a few partner vendors that sell vintage furs with a respect to the history of the fur trade and their place in fashion.

Recycled Furs Sustainable and High Fashion

Most respected stylists and personal shopper see outerwear trends going sustainable—vintage or passed down—or turning to high-end faux styles, “but not seeing many clients buying new furs due to sustainability and the sad state of past fur production houses from Europe and beyond.”

However, as a nod to history many stylish women and some men, invest in vintage furs out of respect for the beauty of the fashion piece or craftsmanship and as a nod to history. Many high society women and men at formal balls from Texas to Albuquerque wear vintage furs and wear them as a sign of high fashion. The belief of the modern fur wearer is vintage is the style, the older and better condition they are in the more prestige. Vintage fur is highly fashionable and is sustainable as it is upcycling verses landing the furs in the landfill.

History:

A remarkably interesting explanation of the history of the fur trade and furs in fashion was created by the Chemung County Historical Society in Elmira, New York. It is dedicated to the collection, preservation, and presentation of the history of the Chemung River Valley region. The society was founded in 1923 and first chartered by New York State in 1947.

Our connection at Roadrunner Emporium, Alamogordo New Mexico to the museum and the story of fur, is we happen to have a few furs like what they have showcased at their museum, and vintage furs crafted from that very community of Elmira New York by one of their showcased furriers – Jesse Green Furriers.

The museum has a fairly large collection of items made with fur, from coats and stoles to muffs and fur-lined boots. Some pieces were made for functionality, like the coat and mittens Ross Marvin wore on his first Arctic expedition, while others were obviously made only for fashion like the half mink one of our partner vendors at the Roadrunner Emporium is offering for sale based on its historical value.

During the Victorian era, fur was used on all sorts of clothing and accessories. Both winter and summer dresses were decorated with fur trim. Coats and capes with fur cuffs and collars were popular with both men and women. Wide fur stoles and plush muffs provided warmth and style and were considered a sign of prestige.

The “modern fur coat,” with fur worn on the outside rather than as a lining, first appeared in the mid-19th century but did not gain popularity until the early 20th century. In the 1920s, people wore large, full fur coats to stay warm while traveling in open motorcars. Similarly, college men wore raccoon coats while attending football games. By the middle of the century, new techniques of processing and dying furs made it possible for more people than ever before to own fur coats.

One of the vintage furs we are offering at Roadrunner Emporium is crafted from Jesse Green Furrier of Elmira, New York.

The museum showcases a full-length version verses our half length offering. The story of Jesse Green Furriers is they were a custom producer of exquisitely crafted furs.

Many customers of Jesse Green would bring in pelts that were trapped-locally to have them made into a coat.  One story is of a woman traveling several times to Elmira for fittings while it was being made. Then she came home with the truly one-of-a-kind, hand-made fur coat.

The support of upcycling and recycling verses new fur…

At Roadrunner Emporium 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo they are offering one of those very Jesse Green custom furs available in excellent condition and awaiting the collector who recognizes it for its beauty as well as its historic value. Additionally, they have a few vintage fox fur coats and fake fur coats available for a limited time. So come support the over 42 local small business owners that collectively represent Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo New Mexico

#AlamogordoMainStreet #RoadrunnerEmporium #SmallBusiness #AlamogordoBusinessCenter #AlamogordoArts # AlamogordoFashion #AlamogordoHistory #2ndLifeMedia #AlamogordoTownNews

New Mexico Supreme Court Clears Way to Recall Couy Griffin

Today the New Mexico Supreme Court Ruled that the Committee to Recall Couy Griffin may proceed with the recall per the attached…

An effort to recall the founder of Cowboys for Trump from his public office as a county commissioner can move forward under an order of the New Mexico state Supreme Court.

In a written order Monday, the Supreme Court rebuffed an appeal from Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin and upheld a lower court ruling that said voters can circulate a recall petition. A successful petition would trigger an election vote on whether Griffin can finish his four-year term in office.

Retired military veteran Paul Sanchez and other members of the Committee to Recall Couy Griffin are accusing Griffin of using his elected county position for personal gain and a variety of other charges.

They say Griffin used his office space to solicit contributions to Cowboys for Trump that covered his personal expenses. They also are criticizing Griffin’s pursuit of travel reimbursements from taxpayers for a cross-country trip that culminated in a visit with Trump at the White House.

Griffin has called those allegations frivolous, baseless and politically motivated per his many public rebuttals. Griffin says that the Cowboys for Trump is a for-profit endeavor and as such that is not subject to financial disclosure requirements for political organizations. The state of New Mexico ruled against this assertion affirming that Secretary of State may go after him and the organization for failure to comply with New Mexico political reporting laws.

The losses continue for Griffin… 

Separately, Griffin is defending himself against criminal charges in connection with the siege on the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6.  Couy Griffin spent nearly three weeks in a Washington jail, after a judge released him and said she will trust Griffin to show up for trial in connection with the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol.

The U.S. District Court Chief Judge Beryl Howell reversed a magistrate judge’s prior detention order that described Griffin as a flight risk. Griffin denies federal charges that he knowingly entering barricaded areas of the Capitol grounds with the intent to disrupt government as Congress considered Electoral College results even though there are photos from his own official photographer that the prosecution is basing their case on that shows otherwise.

Griffins luck continues to be bad in related to cases pending against him as witnessed by the KOB Channel 4 story showing him climbing a barricade to gain access to a restricted area of the nations capital.

The status of the initial lawsuit  regarding the recall succeeded with District Judge Arrieta in proving probable cause for all 5 allegations the committee asserted. The judge he gave the committee permission to begin collecting signatures toward having a recall election. 

However, as Commissioner Griffin exercised his right to a single appeal under the New Mexico Recall Act and appealed the case to the NM Supreme Court (NMSC), until today they were waiting for the Supreme Court to rule on Griffins appeal. 

The committee could NOT collect any signatures until the NMSC rules. 

Commissioner Griffin filed that appeal within his appropriate time limit on 18 Apr, ’21.  The Recall Act required the district court that the case was filed in to hear the case within 14 days of when the committee initially filed. 

It was actually 28 days from filing to the hearing. Then from when the judge issued the ruling in favor of the Recall Committee, Commissioner Griffin had 5 days to file an appeal. 

Commissioner Griffin actually got 11 days to file his appeal. He filed on the last day with the New Mexico Supreme Court. 

The Recall Act says that the NMSC must hear the case and rule on it “forthwith”. 

Because of the way that Judge Arrieta correctly wrote his ruling, because Commissioner Griffin did file an appeal, the committee was prohibited from even collecting signatures until today’s ruling which upheld the recall initiative. 

Paul Sanchez is the Chairman & Spokesperson for the Committee to Recall Couy Griffin

The committee information can be found on their Facebook Page at:

https://www.facebook.com/RecallCouy

They are fundraising per the committee webpage at

https://donorbox.org/committee-to-recall-couy-griffin

As it stands now it is not the courts but the voters that will decide if Griffin represents their best interests? The question for his district is the district better off now under his leadership on the commission that it was without him? What has his record been on lowering district poverty, bringing in livable wage jobs, improving education and securing state and federal money to enhance opportunities via grants and support to his district? The voters will decide!

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Oil and Gas Industry Funding of New Mexico Politics, Follow the Money…

What is reason big oil contributes so much to New Mexico and to the southern Congressional District? 

14 Congressional Districts produced roughly 80% of onshore U.S. oil and this district inclusive of Otero county is one of those mighty 14 districts.

New Mexico following a 19th Century Budget process of 21st Century needs…

New Mexico for the long term must look at revenue options to wean itself off oil and gas tax revenues but that is an uphill battle. Republican and Democratic leadership of the state has allowed oil and gas to fund such a large portion of government operations that they are fearful to tackle the industry too much as to disrupt the tax revenues the state has become overly reliant on. Over the years, the state’s budget has become increasingly reliant on oil and gas funds. In the 2020 fiscal year, that share was about $2.6 billion — just over a third of the state’s general fund. Since 2006, the state has used oil and gas revenue for at least 28 percent of its budget and sometimes as much as 37 percent.

New Mexico is following a 19th century tax and business model for 21st Century business and public needs. In the end this is a recipe for failure for failing to adapt the model of income generation for the state. New Mexico’s dependence on natural resources has been a feature of the tax structure since statehood in 1912. As decades passed, the resources being pulled from New Mexican earth changed what was once coal, then became uranium, then natural gas and shale oil but the economic model never changed with them times. Basically, the state is running with the same tax model as it did from 1912 but is facing 21st Century needs.

But how did the state become so reliant upon oil and gas money to fund its budgets? First the history as seen above then big money influence. All one must do is to just follow the money paid to political campaigns. Where political contributions go, so goes public policy, it would seem.

Oil and Gas industry money was the largest source of state campaign contributions in 2020, according to an analysis from New Mexico Ethics Watch.

Per New Mexico’s Ethics Watch Report Titled The Continuing Influence of the Oil and Gas Industry in New Mexico in 2020: New Mexico’s Long-Standing Resource Curse…

“In spite of Covid-19 and a state wide shutdown…money from oil and gas interests to New Mexico politicians and political organizations continued to flow, with almost $3.3 million from the industry going to political causes during this past election cycle.”

Between 2017 and 2020 the old and gas industry contributed $11.5 Million to politics in the state of New Mexico.

New Mexico Ethics Watch has documented and researched 98 corporations, 262 individuals, 23 associations, 11 PACs, and almost 100 lobbyists active in New Mexico political campaign fundraising from 2017-2020.

Oil and Gas Political Spending 2017 to 2020

$4.3 MILLION – DIRECT CONTRIBUTIONS
$3.75 MILLION – LOBBYIST CONTRIBUTIONS
$3.4 MILLION – PAC SPENDING
APPROXIMATELY $11.5 MILLION TOTAL

Oil and Gas CONTRIBUTORS to new Mexico Political Circles

98 CORPORATIONS
262 INDIVIDUALS
23 ASSOCIATIONS
11 PACs
~100 ACTIVE LOBBYISTS

A detailed report on campaign money from the oil industry can be found at https://www.nmethicswatch.org/uploads/1/3/6/2/136215453/oil-and-gas-report_05012020.pdf

As was the case in the previous election cycle, the California-based Chevron corporation overwhelming was the top source of political money for New Mexico politicians in 2020, spending almost $1.8 million last year. Chevron lobbyists alone gave $700,000 during the primary to a PAC called “New Mexico Strong,” which, despite its name, is based in Texas.

Have you ever wondered why our member of congress spends so much time in Texas? Follow the money. Over 70 percent of the oil and gas contributions to politicians last year came from out-of-state companies, individuals and committees.

Top 20 Oil & Gas Contributors, 2020 Amount

1 Chevron $1,786,198.90

2 Jalapeno Corporation $142,462.00

3 Exxon Mobil Corporation $117,550.00

4 Strata Production Company $106,500.00

5 Devon Energy $102,500.00

6 Marathon Oil Company $83,500.00

7 Occidental Petroleum Corporation $76,162.50

8 PNM $61,918.18

9 Concho Resources, Inc. $59,350.00

10 Bowlin Travel Centers $57,975.00

11 John Yates $53,500.00

12 John A. Yates Sr Trust $50,000.00

13 Peyton Yates $47,500.00

14 NGL Water Solutions Permian LLC $47,000.00

15 New Mexico Gas Company $45,750.00

16 Process Equipment and Service Co $45,181.50

17 Conoco Phillips $44,500.00

18 Marathon Petroleum Corp. $40,750.00

19 Charlotte Yates $40,000.00

20 Petro-Yates, Inc. $37,000.00

With a few notable exceptions, the top contributors list is composed of corporations. There’s a reason for that. New Mexico law, unlike federal law, allows for direct contributions to candidates by corporations, associations, PACs and individuals

Grouping the oil and gas industry political contribution numbers by election cycles, we see the following amounts:

• 2015/2016: $1,697,488

• 2017/2018: $3,101,581

• 2019/2020: $3,082,830

The California-based Chevron USA is one of the best-known oil companies in the world. It’s also one of the top oil producers in New Mexico, currently holding more than 1,600 active drill permits, some that have been in use since the 1930s, according to data from the state Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department. The company also led the oil and gas sector in terms of political spending in the 2020 election cycle, just as it did two years earlier. In 2020, Chevron reported contributing $1,761,198.90 to candidates and political committees in New Mexico. Last year’s Chevron contributions came during a time in which the corporation was losing money – more than $11 billion in new income loss during the 12-month period ending in September 2020.

The top recipient of Chevron’s contributions in New Mexico last year was the political action committee New Mexico Strong, which received a total of $700,000 during the primary from the oil giant. The PAC used the money to produce ads, mailers, and other services for six conservative incumbent Democratic senators facing challenges from more liberal primary opponents. Four of those incumbents lost their primaries.

Chevron also contributed to several leadership PACs in New Mexico in the 2020 election. The company gave Republican PACs $94,300, with PAC 22, (the Senate GOP PAC) getting $50,000 and the New Mexico House Republican Campaign Committee receiving $44,300. But Chevron did not completely leave out Democrats during last year’s election. Chevron contributed $44,300 to the Brian Egolf Speaker PAC, $25,000 to the New Mexico Senate Democrats, $5,000 to the Senate Majority Leader PAC and $10,000 to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s MLG PAC. (The governor was not up for re-election last year.) The company also contributed to dozens of individual candidates in 2020. Chevron contributed $245,300 to Republican candidates and $108,800 to Democrats.

What is all of this money buying?

The industry’s reach stretches beyond campaign donations. Its power led to the demise of a bill that would’ve outlawed spills of produced water, a toxic byproduct of oil and gas drilling. In committee where the measure died, Cervantes blocked public comment on the measure but did give fossil fuel lobbyists a chance to explain why they opposed it, according to the New Mexico Political Report.

Oil and gas industry leaders have also been intimately involved in shaping the policies meant to regulate it – and even boasts about the number of edits it secures to new rules.

In a February presentation, the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association told its board it had secured significant changes to a proposed rule for limiting methane pollution. The state accepted more than 70 of the trade group’s redline edits, NMOGA said, according to records obtained by the Energy and Policy Institute.

The “process has been fruitful,” the group announced.

Among the fruits of NMOGA’s nearly $1 million influence campaign was greater leniency on “emergency” exceptions for venting and flaring – referring to the releasing or burning off of excess methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

The Future?

With the oil and gas industry providing such a big portion of state government revenues – not to mention providing employment for so many in southeastern and northwestern New Mexico – nobody is predicting the end of fossil fuel production in this state any time in the near future nor should we.

However, what is advocated is that we as citizens need to be wary of where the big money is going. We need to hold our candidates accountable for our wishes not just the wishes of big money contributors. We need to hold candidates accountable to be in their districts in New Mexico and ensure they are representing small business and local interests not just those of big business which is donating millions of dollars to their campaigns. As citizens we need to stay active and vocal and ensure our voice does not get lost in the fray to big money and big corporate political interests.

Attend city commission and county commission meetings, attend congressional and senatorial open houses. The Governor does not make most policy it is made locally and via the legislature. Know what each level of government is up to and hold representatives accountable to represent us, “we the people.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com Otero County Commission Approves A Resolution Declaring Otero County as a Sanctuary for Life

To a packed County Commission Chamber the Otero County Commission tackled the issue of abortion with a non-binding resolution with much public dialog and a packed commission meeting. Couy Griffin sponsored the resolution and dialog after a constituent brought it to him for discussion. The County Attorney on multiple occasions reinstated that the resolution has “no enforcement mechanism” and that it is just a “statement of opinion.”

Couy Griffin specifically said that “abortions should not happen in any place except a hospital but not in clinics.” Debate shifted often with public comment. Couy welcomed other counties to declare themselves a “Sanctuary County for Life.”

The commission unanimously passed the resolution declaring the community a Sanctuary County for Life. Throughout the debate Commissioner Mattingley commented that he ensured that there were medical provisions made into the resolution to balance the resolution out of respect for health professionals and if a woman’s life was at risk.

The commission meeting can be viewed at:

Abortion clinics are primarily located in the northern counties of the state. A large abortion provider from out of state, has announced their planned relocation to Las Cruces. There has been dialog of an additional relocation of another abortion provider from out of state to Southern, New Mexico to serve those from Texas and surrounding states with more conservative state abortion laws.

This is an evolving story within the state of New Mexico and how local governments will respond to the recent supreme court ruling pushing the decisions back to the state governments. 

This idea of a Sanctuary County was not an original though of Commissioner Griffin nor the Otero County Commission the movement dates back to 2019…

On August 19, 2019, the Yadkin County Board of Commissioners in Yadkinville, North Carolina, passed a resolution to become the nation’s first sanctuary county to protect pre-born children from abortion. The resolution was the first step in a larger, three-pronged strategy put forth by the Personhood Alliance that is calling the pro-life movement back its roots and replicating the approach of early Christians in shifting the culture.

“The passage of this pro-life resolution is a historic event,” says Pastor Keith Pavlansky, president of Personhood North Carolina, who leads the Sanctuary for Life effort in the state. He and several other pastors and community leaders came together to build the momentum that led to the passage of Yadkin County’s resolution. “We have returned to constitutional law,” says Pavlansky. “We have rejected the ideologies of politicians and judges who permit the killing of pre-born and newly born children, and we look forward to drawing together as a community and helping expectant mothers and fathers as we work to create and defend a culture of life.”

To learn more about the origin of this initiative and the groundwork in working with counties such as Otero County in laying groundwork for further dialog visit:

The county commission has NO authority over the legislation of abortion within the state of New Mexico laws. However, it opted to debate a resolution today that reads…

Resolution No. 07-14-22/111-09

A Resolution Declaring Otero County as a Sanctuary for Life

WHEREAS, the BOCC of Otero County stands in agreement with the Supreme 

Court of the United States’ recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and appreciate the 

Court’s decision to provide respect to state and local governments by allowing them to

decide if the lives of our unborn will be protected. The functioning of the American 

Republic is truly respected and restored by the Court’s decision; and

WHEREAS, the Declaration of Independence affirms that all men are created 

equal and have been endowed by the Creator with unalienable rights, chief among them 

the right to life, and that the protection of these rights is an affirmative duty of federal, 

state, and local governments; and 

WHEREAS, the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States 

Constitution provide for the protection of all human life and liberty; and 

WHEREAS, the Supreme Court of the United States in Poelker v. Doe, 432 U.S. 

519 (1977), concluded that the Constitution does not forbid a state or county or city, 

pursuant to democratic processes, from expressing a preference for normal childbirth 

instead of abortion; and

WHEREAS, state police power derives from the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which gives states the power not delegated to the United States; and 

WHEREAS, the power to establish and enforce laws protecting the welfare, safety, and health of the public is a core function of the state’s Tenth Amendment police power, which includes the local government; and 

WHEREAS, the Board of County Commissioners of Otero County, New Mexico, consider life to begin at conception. This is proven by the multiplication of cells which is proven evidence that life is forming and a living human being is beginning to develop; and

WHEREAS, the Board of County Commissioners of Otero County, New Mexico, desires to express its deep concern that all human life, beginning from life inside the womb, through every stage of development, up and until a natural death, in Otero County should be afforded protection by their government, including local government, from acts of cruelty, and should be treated humanely and with dignity; and 

WHEREAS, there are instances where medical intervention is necessary and difficult decisions are required. The Board of County Commissioners of Otero County, New Mexico, believe the following: 1) emergency medical interventions performed to protect the life of the mother and/or unborn are decisions only to be made and decided on by the doctor and mother without government intervention. Otero County takes a neutral position out of respect for those involved, and 2) instances of rape/incest are criminal matters and those decisions are to be decided on by doctor/victim without government intervention. In such cases a full criminal investigation shall be conducted by the Otero County Sheriffs Dept. Otero County takes a neutral position out of respect for those involved; and 

WHEREAS, the Board of County Commissioners of Otero County, New Mexico, stands firmly against the presence in the County of Planned Parenthood clinics or any other clinics where abortion is practiced at will and on demand. Any procedures that need to be performed in regards to protecting the health of a mother will take place in a local hospital under the care of a physician; and 

WHEREAS, the Board of County Commissioners of Otero County, New Mexico, stands firmly against any medications which cause a miscarriage. We do so, not only to protect the developing child but also to protect the mother of any adverse reactions that these drugs may cause; and 

WHEREAS, the Board of County Commissioners of Otero County, New Mexico, condemns voluntary abortion practices used for any reason and believe that the intentional killing of an innocent human life is never acceptable. 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF OTERO COUNTY, NEW MEXICO AS FOLLOWS: 

1. That the Board of County Commissioners of Otero County, New Mexico, hereby recognizes and declares the full humanity of the preborn child through all states of life up and until a natural death and declares Otero County, New Mexico, to be a sanctuary for life where the dignity of every human being will be defended and promoted from life inside the womb through all stages of development in life up and until a natural death. 

2. That the Board of County Commissioners of Otero County, New Mexico, hereby resolves to enforce this resolution by all means within its power and authority, in accordance with its responsibility as the people’s elected local representatives

3. That the Board of County Commissioners of Otero County, New Mexico, hereby stand on this resolution to not only protect life, but also to honor God, who gives life. We believe that life is God ordained and God is the author and finisher of every life. No matter if at the beginning or at the end. We stand in full agreement that, as a body of commissioners, we will protect and sustain life at every stage. As we ask God to bless America, we first have to honor and respect God.

By protecting life and passing this resolution we feel that we do both. PASSED, APPROVED AND ADOPTED this 14th day of July, 2022. 

THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF OTERO COUNTY, NEW MEXICO 

Vickie Marquardt, Chairman

Chairman Gerald R. Matherly, Vice-chairman 

Couy D. Griffin, Commissioner 

The resolution has no authority tied to it except as a statement of opinion, but many legal scholars debate if these resolutions of opinion are the foundation for groundwork to further erode abortion protections at the local levels of government. Time and certainly more lawsuits in the future will define that opinion. New Mexico state law protects a woman’s right to an abortion. 

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AlamogordoTownNews.com Otero County Commissioners Pass Sanctuary of Life County Resolution July 2022

Otero Commission chairwoman, Vickie Marquardt, expressed that “if they don’t vote to approve the certification they may be arrested”

The commission met in “special session” and in a vote of 2 to 1 with Couy Griffin calling in, the Otero County Commissioners certified the election.

A large audience was present with significant police presence as threats had come in against the commissioners. In the afternoon meeting, Republican County Commissioners Vickie Marquardt and Gerald Matherly voted to certify the results from the state’s June 7 primary over the objections of the third commissioner, Couy Griffin.

Griffin, the founder of Cowboys for Trump, spoke by phone from Washington, where he had been sentenced earlier Friday to 14 days in jail on one count of entering a restricted area during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The commission chairwoman, Vickie Marquardt, expressed that if they don’t vote to approve the certification they may be arrested and the “Governor could appoint their replacements with would be s further dis-service to the community as they were elected with over 60% of the vote.” 

In his remarks, Griffin refused to back down from assertions that the machines were not secure or apologize for leading a charge against a normally straightforward procedural vote that caused a week-long uproar.

“My vote to remain a no isn’t based on any evidence, it’s not based on any facts, it’s only based on my gut feeling and my own intuition, and that’s all I need,” Griffin said.

The crowd rallied behind Couys phone call and speech but in the end the legal process as interpreted by the State Supreme Court prevailed.

The state’s attorney general, Hector Balderas, had said Friday that the commissioners “must comply with the rule of law” or face legal action and potentially be removed from office.

“I don’t want to let anybody down, I know there’s a lot of people who want us to stand our ground,” Marquardt said Friday. But, she said, “I don’t think it’s worth us getting removed from our seats to do that.”

Commissioners in a second county, Torrance, who had delayed certification earlier this week, voted to approve the vote totals in a contentious public hearing Friday morning.

Next steps is the state will now certify, the candidates will be on the November ballot that were clear winners and a recount of the GB Oliver, Amy Barella race will move forward to determine the clear winner. 

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AlamogordoTownNews.com Political Candidates GB Oliver & Amy Barela Q & A Responses & Financials

The Republican primary race between GB Oliver and Amy Barela for the 2nd District County Commission primary is the most watched race in the county and appears to have the most buzz from near and far. 

If fundraising were the measure, Mr. Oliver seems to be leading with a campaign war chest to date of $13,963,76 verses $9476.79 for Amy Barela to date.

Links to their most recent filings are below, followed by responses to the Q & A survey of questions from AlamogordoTownNews.com

GB Oliver 2nd District County Commission Seat Candidate

Largest Cash Contribution: Robert Joe Pattillo $2000, Richard A Boss $1000, Kerry Eaton $1000, Aubrey Dunn $500, James J Klump $500 (All local donors)

Loans to Campaign: GB Oliver $6063

In Kind: Justus Photography 

Total funds raised as of reporting period: $13963.76

Ending Balance as of reporting period: $ 8,977.79

Amy Barela 2nd District County Commission Seat Candidate

Largest Cash Contribution Self 2,562.38, Committee to Elect James Townsend Barela, Amy A. (Amy For Otero) $1000, Dustin Collins & Michael Collins $1000 each (local donors)

In Kind Justus Photography $100 

Total funds raised as of reporting period: $9,476.79

Ending Balance as of reporting period: $ $2,172.17

In April before the race got heated and in full swing, we submitted questions to all the candidates in the various races. Mr. Oliver and Ms. Barela were thorough in their execution the questions and each are very serious in the campaign for office. Both are very visible to the public and both have very active campaigns with a field of volunteers working on their behalf and with a very active social media presence. Both candidates have a unique offering and a wealth of public service experience. The question for the voters seems to come down to what is the go forward vision for Otero County that best fits the future and which candidate best represents a path forward to securing that future. What follows is the responses to our questions. We appreciate their time and dedication to allowing the public to get to know them better.

AlamogordoTownNews.com: Provide a brief biography of your governing and business experience.

Amy Barela Response:” My name is Amy Barela, and I am running to be your county commissioner in this 2022 primary election. I am a conservative that has served this county in many voluntary capacities for over 12 years. Some things I have been able to do:

  •  Bring the National Day of Prayer back to Alamogordo and for the last 5 years we have done just that.
  •  I have helped to increase our voter turnout and voter registrations in Otero County by 10%.
  •  I stood with businesses to help keep their doors open when unfair mandates jeopardized their livelihoods as well as their employees.
  • Along with a team of dedicated individuals we worked to get the county commission to designate Otero County as a second amendment county. There were 625 people in attendance when the county commission passed this resolution……… unanimously.
  •  I fought the school boards and alerted parents to the indoctrination of their children with curriculum that is fully engulfed with (CRT) critical race theory, sex education and other radical teachings parents were not aware of.
  •  These are just some of the things I have been privileged to work on with many wonderful, energetic people. I would enjoy visiting with you to listen to your concerns about the issues.

While this seems about activism, I do this to educate the community and hope to give the community a voice in all matters and issues. I try to keep the community informed because it is important for everyone to have the facts to make educated decisions. There are many resources available to us. The number one resource being you. I listen and have listened to Otero County citizens for years. The people guide me in their needs now and as your commissioner I will continue to listen to your needs.

  •  Holloman AFB is vital to our community. However, we must not put all our eggs in one basket. We must look at other ways to bring solid businesses to employ citizens in our county.
  • I understand the forestry issues adding the dumping and trash problems.
  •  I will work to protect our mountains and forest through responsible use of the land. I know how to help citizens clean up their neighborhoods caused by illegal dumping.

I am excited to address the opportunity of the American Dream, home ownership, with new laws that have been changed to allow access from counties for funding. I also have a plan to incentivize volunteers at our fire departments to allow our law enforcement to get back to being law enforcement and not first responders. I have a plan. I want the best for our county. I need your prayers in this new venture and am excited to move Otero County forward. I need your support. I humbly ask for your vote June 7th.”

GB Oliver Response: “’I’ve held virtually every position that exists in banking, including sitting as a director on the Board of Western Bank.

I was one of 3 founding members of the Paragon Foundation, an organization that provided funding and attorneys in cases defending Property and Constitutional Issues. I was named the Executive Director of the Foundation and remain in that position. The Paragon Foundation grew to have thousands of members spread across the United States. I published a Nationally syndicated Magazine on behalf of the Foundation, The Cowboy Way, that was provided to membership, as well as sold in Walmart, Barns and Nobel, Hastings, Tractor Supply, and numerous other outlets. The Foundation also carried or was the major funder of three cases heard by the United States Supreme Court, Robbins vs. Willkie, Heller vs. D.C., and McDonald vs. Chicago. Heller and McDonald are considered today to be second amendment landmark cases.

Currently, I am the Executive Director of the Alamogordo Center of Commerce where I have played a key role in solvency of a permanent status of the 3rd and 4th F-16 Squadrons, expansion of hyper-sonic weapon testing at HAFB and bringing in a regional Jet Service. I have also been actively involved in bringing a host of new business, Hotels, and a 252-unit Apartment Complex that we will be announcing shortly.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com: If you have held office please provide 3 pieces of legislation, ordinances, or initiatives that you personally sponsored that were focused on jobs or education. Please provide the outcomes to the legislation since passed. If your office is judicial, please explain your judicial policies or view from the bench.

Amy Barela Response: “N/A”

GB Oliver Response: “I have never held an elected office; however, I have been working hand and hand with Holloman leadership, acting as the liaison between Air Force and our elected officials in Washington to fund the expansion of the HAFB test track, expanding air space to assure the solvency of the F-16 mission as well has funding for state-of-the-art facilities for the MQ-9 mission. These endeavors have not only expanded the mission at Holloman but created many civilian jobs for this community.

I have also taken an active role in highlighting the NMDOD Stop Light Report regarding schools and have advocated for expansion of STEM, Career Tech, more school to work opportunities as well as higher standards.

Last year we secured 32 million dollars to be used for the design of the test track, this year we are seeking 138 million to begin construction on that facility. Those dollars will ensure that all hypersonic testing for the United States will be done at Holloman. We will be flying to Washington is the coming month to secure 58 million for the MQ-9 program and an additional 26 million through MILCON for taxi strip expansion.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com: What piece of legislation or ordinance have you passed that you are proudest off? If Judicial what ruling had the greatest impact on you when making it and why?

Amy Barela Response: “N/A”

GB Oliver Response: “As mentioned previously, the Paragon Foundation had major investments in three cases that were heard by the United States Supreme Court. Those cases were Robin vs. Wilke in 2007, District of Columbia vs Heller in 2008, and McDonald vs Chicago in 2010. I had the privilege of sitting before the Supreme Court during the oral briefs in all three cases. These cases have directly protected Americans 2nd Amendment Rights. 

I also co-authored several pieces of legislations, not only in New Mexico, but Wyoming, Arizona, and South Dakota. The most notable was the Concealed Carry Bill for the State of New Mexico, which required three legislative sessions before passing both houses and being signed by Governor Johnson.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com: Why are you running for office?

Amy Barela ResponseSee answer #1”

GB Oliver Response: “God has placed me in arenas my whole life that have developed my skill set to ultimately lead our community to a brighter future. My time in DC fighting for the rights of Americans has given me understanding of the intricate landscape of bureaucracy. DC is a terrible place, however learning how to navigate the architecture of the system has given me the edge to propel Otero County to a fighting chance to find prosperity.

Perhaps my greatest skill is being able to bring groups of people together, for a single purpose and vision. Our goal four years ago was to bring the City of Alamogordo, Otero County, the Alamogordo Public Schools and the leadership of Holloman Air Force Base together, meeting in the same room, at the same time, with a single focus. That had never happened in the history of this community and now it happens, here in the Center of Commerce, on a monthly basis.

This is my home and my family’s home for 125 years. It is where we raised our children, owned businesses, and have been allowed to live and associate with the finest people on this earth. It would be my greatest honor, and it is time for me to give back a small part of what this community has given my family.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com: What is your vision for the office you seek?

Amy Barela ResponseSee answer #1”

GB Oliver Response“We must be vigilant and proficient with spending taxpayer funds. A solid budget with growth factors is a must! We must expand and diversify our economic potential to GROW our way to a more fiscally responsible chapter.

Supporting our Sheriff’s Office is of utmost importance as we continue to see an uptick in crime and instability in our Judicial System. A strong emergency plan is a must. The more inflation creeps the more we need to rely on each other as a community to get through the upcoming economic crises. 

Protecting our Forest Land and water sheds with true intent. The Federal Government must be put on notice for the mismanagement of our Public Lands. This incompetence has impacted our water systems, cattle growers’ ability to maintain herds and a serious consequence for wildlife habitats and outdoor enthusiasts. 

Protect our historical and cultural backgrounds and capitalize on our strengths that we demonstrate in our community. We are unique and the rest of the Country can learn from us.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com: When we sit down 4 years from now what will you tell us you have accomplished while in the office you seek?

Amy Barela Response: “County Cleanup plan, road repair / development schedule, judicial complex issues to be complete or several stages through the implementation of, low-income housing 

development”

GB Oliver Response: “We have brought vision followed by action and accountability. We have brought high paying jobs, growth, educational prowess via alternative learning opportunities, a regional Jet service and now our community has seen the impact of solid leadership.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com: When is the last time you visited New York Avenue and shopped or spoke in person with the shop owners of that business district? 

Amy Barela Response: “Last week”

GB Oliver Response: “I met with two business owners on New York Avenue, in their place of businesses on 5/11/2022.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com: What do you view as the biggest opportunity and how you can assist with that opportunity for business growth in the New York Avenue business corridor?

Amy Barela ResponseALamogordoTownNews.com note: NO RESPONSE ON THE QUESTIONARE to this question from Mrs. Barela

GB Oliver Response: “The attitudes of business owners on New York have improved dramatically over the last three years. That, in itself, opened the doors to the transition we are witnessing in our downtown. Now this community is taking that area seriously, traffic is increasing and that alone will not only bring other businesses and increased property values in that area. My family owned five business at one time on New York in the 1920’s and 30’s. It was the heart and soul of this community then…and has the potential to be that again.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com: When is the last time you attended a High School Sports program? Amy 

Amy Barela Response: “Before covid”

GB Oliver Response“2018” 

AlamogordoTownNews.com: When is the last time you attended a High School Academic or Arts Program? Which event?

Barela Response: “School Board Meetings. Often”

GB Oliver Response“In 2016 I was asked to address the returning teachers and staff for the Alamogordo Public Schools. This community learned a tough lesson regarding the quality of Public Education and its impact on the business community. The quality of our education system was one of the reasons given by the Under Secretary of the Air Force for not permanently bedding down the three F-16 Squadrons at Holloman. His quote was “we will not subject the children of the men and women at Holloman Air Force Base to a substandard education.” That is what brought the changes in our Public Schools and eventually led to a perinate bed down of the three F-16 squadrons.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com: What is the last event you participated in at the Flickinger Center? 

Amy Barela Response“Often”

GB Oliver Response: “It was several months ago when I joined the Holloman Commander’s wives in a tour of the Flickinger.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com: What have you done to support local entrepreneurship and jobs growth the last 4 years?

Amy Barela Response: “Stood beside them during covid shutdowns to keep them open over big box stores. I am a job creator.”

GB Oliver Response“Everyday via the Center of Commerce…It’s what I do.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com: What have you done to improve upon the blight of abandoned homes and derelict businesses in Alamogordo or Otero County in the last 4 years?

Amy Barela Response: “Remove the junk cars”

GB Oliver Response: “The Center of Commerce, for the last year and a half, has made cleaning up this community one of our priorities and to engage with the City and County in that effort. Rodney Eaton led the initiative with several “Trash Pickups,” where 160 individuals gathered on a Saturday at various locations and the results were several tons of trash removed from our highways and streets. That has expanded into Otero County’s involvement, where their personal and equipment has joined these pickups. Our Sherriff participates by patrolling the highways to slow traffic during these pickups. The City of Alamogordo has now joined this movement by condemning and removing several structures in this community each month. In fact, the city has now budgeted money this year to completely rebuild Alameda Park, turning that facility into a beautiful park that we can all enjoy and be proud of. The lesson I take away from what has transpired in the last year and a half is that one man, Rodney Eaton, had a passion to change the optics of this community and because of the close relations we have fostered over the last four years with the City and County, we live in a cleaner environment.

We have several more of these clean ups scheduled and we invite you to participate!”

AlamogordoTownNews.com: What have you done to welcome new businesses into Alamogordo?

Amy Barela Response: “Attend ribbon cuttings”

GB Oliver Response“Center of Commerce is the first interaction an incoming business has when coming into this community. At the present, I am working with two hotels, two Aerospace companies out of California, both associated with the development of the hypersonic program slated to come to the Test Track. We are entertaining three investment groups looking at apartment complex sites, that also includes the 252-unit complex mentioned previously, three restaurants, a major truck stop, an entertainment venue, and a major box store.

Housing is our highest priority and what is refreshing about the Apartment complex is that for the first time, this project has been made possible by the City of Alamogordo and Otero County working on different facets of this project to make is happen. That is a first!”

AlamogordoTownNews.com: Name the top 5 locally owned businesses that you believe best represent the image you would like to see of Alamogordo going forward.

Amy Barela ResponseAlamogordoTownNews.com this was left blank by Mrs. Barela

GB Oliver Response: “Not going there.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com: Do you support an arts and cultural zone and diversity?

Amy Barela Response: “Yes”

GB Oliver Response: “They would certainly enhance the quality of life for those living here, however there are certainly higher priorities that need to be achieved to ensure their success.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com: What outreach have you done to build bridges of understanding and collaboration between people of color, the LBGTQ community and local government and the business community? 

Amy Barela Response: “That is everything I do often”

GB Oliver Response: “Most of my life has been dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for those living in our community. Color, culture, or sexual orientation plays no role in my world. We are all God’s creation, with certain needs, rights, and each deserves an equal opportunity. The rest is left to the courage and determination of the individual. To believe anyone, because of their color, culture, or sexual preference needs special status with government agencies is an insult to that individual’s integrity and God given gifts. I have never seen an individual, when given special status from government, that led a happier, more fulfilled life.” 

AlamogordoTownNews.com: How are you funding your campaign?

Amy Barela Response: “Self and donations”

GB Oliver Response: “The majority is my money with a few local doners”

AlamogordoTownNews.com: Would you support a local city and or county ordinance that requires more detailed annual reporting and transparency of finances on anyone in elected office with annual reports on campaign fundraising?

Amy Barela Response: “I think the county needs to have a reporting form for each newly elected official to report any income that is received from county (ie business transactions). Campaign finance reports are filed with the SOS for anyone to review. I plan on closing my account after the election and do not see the need to fundraise during my term. I will reopen if running for re-election when time.”

GB Oliver Response: “Transparency is the only true method of moving our community forward”

AlamogordoTownNews.com: Would you participate in a public drop in, questions and answers and/or a public forum hosted at Roadrunner Emporium 928 New York Avenue?

Amy Barela Response: “Yes”

GB Oliver Response: “Absolutely, Government works best in sunlight.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com: Would you support the growth of more bars, restaurants, galleries, and entertainment venues in Alamogordo’s New York Avenue area? What will you do personally to support growth and revitalization of the corridor?

Amy Barela Response: “Support any and all new business.”

GB Oliver Response:” Absolutely! In a healthy community, the original business district is always the heart and soul of activity. It should be the goal of every local governmental body to maintain and foster business there because it identifies not only who we were, but who we are. I have traveled all over the United States and when I see a community downtown business district, it tells me all I need to know about the trajectory of that community.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com: What is the one thing about Alamogordo that excites you the most?

Amy Barela Response: “Building it to be a better place for my family.”

GB Oliver Response: “The economic opportunities that are coming to this community. Make no mistake, there is rough water ahead, but there is no community that I’m aware of, better positioned to recover and excel once we see the other side, than are we.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com: Can you work in a bi-partisan manner with the majority party to drive more state and federal funding into redevelopment and jobs creation into the district?

Amy Barela Response:” I didn’t realize redevelopment and job creation was partisan?”

GB Oliver Response: “I have demonstrated many times the importance of finding middle ground and promoting our goals in Otero County.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com: Rather a judicial candidate or other candidate what can you do in your role to help solve the issue of homelessness and mental health patients on the streets of Alamogordo?

Amy Barela Response: “Affordable home ownership, veteran home ownership, jail rehabilitation and work programs, address drug abundance and availability with enforcement.”

GB Oliver Response: “Working collectively with our local agencies to support and find solutions will be our best method of stability for those in need.”

At AlamogordoTownNews.com, we appreciate the candidates that took the time for thoughtful responses to inform and possibly serve the public. 

Early voting has begun, get to know your candidate and come on down to the county building and vote early and let your voice be heard.

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CAlamogordoTownNews.com Political Candidates David Greenwald & Stephanie DuBois Q & A Responses & Financial

The Democratic primary race between David Herny Greenwald and Stephanie Louise DuBois for the 2nd District County Commission primary is neck to neck in the fundraising race with Mr. Greenwald slightly ahead of Mrs. DuBois. Links to their most recent filings are below, followed by responses to the Q & A survey of questions from AlamogordoTownNews.com

David Henry Greenwald 2nd District County Commission Seat Candidate

  • Largest Cash Contribution: Karen Lecomte $300, Christopher Jones $250, James Neely $200 (Local)
  • Gary Stallings, $250 (Out of County)
  • Loans to Campaign: 0
  • In Kind: 0
  • Total funds raised as of reporting period: $1722.54
  • Ending Balance as of reporting period: 1418.17

Stephanie Louise DuBois 2nd District County Commission Seat Candidate

  • Largest Cash Contribution: Debra Holland $250, Denise Lang Brown $200, Self $100 (local donors),
  • Robert Lara $100, Elizabeth Stefanics $100, Linda Siegle $100 (Out of County Donors)
  • Loans to Campaign: 0
  • In Kind: 0 
  • Total funds raised as of reporting period: $1495
  • Ending Balance as of reporting period: $747

Candidate Questionnaire Otero/Alamogordo Primary Elections between candidates David Henry Greenwald and Stephanie Louise DuBois

Note in an email dated 4/4/2022 Ms. DuBois emailed that she would “rather not participate” in the questionnaire.  What follows is the responses from candidate Greenwald…

AlamogordoTownNews.com: Provide a brief biography of your governing and business experience.

David Henry Greenwald 2nd District County Commission Seat Candidate response: 

Education: B.A., University of Northern Colorado, Anthropology and Archaeology; Northern Arizona University, Graduate Studies in Archaeology and Cultural Resource Management.

Background: I was raised on a ranch in Wyoming and developed a deep and abiding respect for the land. That early experience as well as a lifetime dedicated to cultural and natural resource management has allowed me to understand the concerns of those who rely on the land and its water resources. I admire and respect those who make their livelihood from the land: farmers, ranchers, foresters, outfitters and others who respect and retain an understanding of sound management practices. For more than 48 years as an archaeologist, I have consulted with conservationists, tribal governments, environmentalists, ecologists, and land managers, seeking methods to achieving mutually acceptable solutions. 

My wife, Dawn, and I were business owners for 17 years in Otero County before retiring here. For the past 9 years, I have served in a volunteer role as President of Jornada Research Institute, centered in District 2 of Otero County. I am heavily involved in eco-tourism in Otero and Lincoln counties, which is focused on engaging all ages of the public through involvement, study, and protection of cultural and natural resources. I consider myself a practical conservationist owing much to my conservative upbringing in Wyoming. I understand the need for sensible management applications to maintain environmental sustainability. I currently serve as President of Jornada Research Institute, a 501 – C – 3 not-for-profit educational and research organization. I am also a board member of the Tularosa Arts and History Council and a trustee of the Archaeological Society of New Mexico.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

AlamogordoTownNews.com: If you have held office please provide 3 pieces of legislation, ordinances, or initiatives that you personally sponsored that were focused on jobs or education. Please provide the outcomes to the legislation since passed. If your office is judicial, please explain your judicial policies or view from the bench.

David Henry Greenwald Response: I have not held office previously.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

AlamogordoTownNews.com: What piece of legislation or ordinance have you passed that you are proudest off? If Judicial what ruling had the greatest impact on you when making it and why?

David Henry Greenwald Response: I have not held office previously, thus not applicable.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

AlamogordoTownNews.com:  Why are you running for office?

David Henry Greenwald Response: “To try to make a difference. I’m born of conservative roots and believe in holding the line on spending while attempting to improve the job market and promote opportunities for residents of Otero County. We need to bring more jobs to this area to keep younger residents here and stop the “brain drain.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

AlamogordoTownNews.com:  What is your vision for the office you seek

David Henry Greenwald Response: “To bring back some normalcy to Otero County, reduce or eliminate wasteful spending on audits and unnecessary consultant fees. I hope to provide some level of rationale thought and behavior, and work to improve services, roads, and facilities for all Otero residents.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

AlamogordoTownNews.com:  When we sit down 4 years from now what will you tell us you have accomplished while in the office you seek?

David Henry Greenwald Response: That I have helped to improve county management and services, better relations among Otero County residents, and helped bring new businesses to the area.

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

AlamogordoTownNews.com:  When is the last time you visited New York Avenue and shopped or spoke in person with the shop owners of that business district?

David Henry Greenwald Response: May 10, 2022

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

AlamogordoTownNews.com: What do you view as the biggest opportunity and how you can assist with that opportunity for business growth in the New York Avenue business corridor?

David Henry Greenwald Response: “Applying the Main Street revitalization program offers a community to draw businesses and people together. Efforts in the Alamogordo downtown district can benefit from applications and strategies offered by programs such as Main Street America, where grants can be obtained to help business owners or help businesses locate in downtown area. Alamogordo is unique in its Mid-America and Pueblo Revival architecture. Although I don’t have experience with programs like Main Street America, I have a keen interest in historic preservation. When the Plaza Pub was being threatened by the proposed construction of a CVS store, I went before the Alamogordo City Council and gave a presentation on why the Plaza Pub building should be preserved and repurposed. In that presentation I provided a similar type of project in Phoenix, Arizona, that I was involved that had a church of significance to the surrounding community that was slated to be destroyed as part of an urban redevelopment project. The parties involved found a way to develop around the church and make it part of that redevelopment area, satisfying the objections of the local residents. It is buildings such as the Plaza Pub (now the Tularosa Basin Historical Museum) that so many affiliate with Alamogordo. 

Another example has been the recent National Register of Historic Places nomination that I was a major contributor to for the Tularosa Acequia System. Although the Village of Tularosa has been listed as a District with various contributing buildings, the acequia system was not specifically identified. In 2019, I was part of a team who completed the complex nomination of the acequia system, which is now being recommended by the State Historic Preservation Office as the standard guide for future acequia nominations.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

AlamogordoTownNews.com: When is the last time you attended a High School Sports program?

David Henry Greenwald Response: “Probably one of the championship football games at Tularosa High School.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

AlamogordoTownNews.com:  When is the last time you attended a High School Academic or Arts Program? Which event?

David Henry Greenwald Response: “Not applicable”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

AlamogordoTownNews.com: What is the last event you participated in at the Flickinger Center?

David Henry Greenwald Response: “I did a presentation and shared a film on the history of Fort Craig and the looting of military and civilian graves that took place from the 1960s well into the 1990s. The name of the film was Helluva Way To Treat A Soldier, produced by the Bureau of Reclamation. Looters were searching for military items to sell on the black market. We were tasked by the Bureau of Reclamation to fully excavation the cemetery to recover the remains of those who were buried there but were being desecrated by profiteers and antiquity collectors, and attempt to identify them. The remains of all 65 individuals are now buried at the Santa Fe National Cemetery.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

AlamogordoTownNews.com: What have you done to support local entrepreneurship and jobs growth the last 4 years?

David Henry Greenwald Response: “Largely, my focus has been on eco-tourism, creating opportunities that involve public programs as educational venues that teach all age categories about our natural and cultural resources. These programs teach participants about the value the resources provide and what we can learn from studying them, about how the past was and how we may be able to use that knowledge to better the present, and the need to respect our natural and cultural resources so future generations can learn from and enjoy them . 

Recently, we had Alamogordo middle school students participate in an excavation program to teach them about archaeology methods and techniques. Except during Covid, this has been a reoccurring program, one that the students get to experience the outdoors and actual excavating of prehistoric remains.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

AlamogordoTownNews.com: What have you done to improve upon the blight of abandoned homes and derelict businesses in Alamogordo or Otero County in the last 4 years?

David Henry Greenwald Response: “Although I have not been involved in any efforts up to this time to correct this situation, I have been attempting to find a solution that may help reduce the number of such abandoned homes and derelict businesses. Perhaps an incentive program could be developed that provided funds to such owners to clean up their property or remove unsightly accumulations of debris. The incentive program would provide funds to the owners rather than pay a clean-up crew to do the work. This approach could save the county considerable revenues, while the owner’s costs would be covered. This program needs some development, but it would likely place the burden on the owners through incentives.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

AlamogordoTownNews.com: What have you done to welcome new businesses into Alamogordo?

David Henry Greenwald Response: “No activity. I think there should be an organized committee at the county level that welcomes new businesses to the area, shares information about the new business to the area with the public and promote its services and products. This was a disappointment to me when we created the non-profit that I operate, with very little interest shown toward what we were attempting to do. A few in the community have been very supportive, but we’ve felt little support since the inception in 2013. This needs to change with an interest in all businesses to see that they are successful and remain a viable part of the greater community.

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

AlamogordoTownNews.com: Name the top 5 locally owned businesses that you believe best represent the image you would like to see of Alamogordo going forward.

David Henry Greenwald Response: “All businesses are important to the community, whether they are owned and operated by an individual or a large corporation. I would like to see greater use of historic buildings and buildings repurposed rather than new construction that lends itself to urban sprawl. The community should focus on heightened use of the downtown zone where more activities associated with the arts, music and culture could be shared with residents and visitors to the area.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

AlamogordoTownNews.com:  Do you support an arts and cultural zone and diversity?

David Henry Greenwald Response: “Absolutely. Music, art and cultural diversity are a reflection of ourselves. The more robust and greater the variety, the more representative it is of our diverse heritage. When we experience the arts and culture of other nationalities, we gain a better understanding of people who may look different than ourselves but share the same life hardships and accomplishments. Art and music transcend ethnic and cultural boundaries. I was instrumental in bringing the Los Rondas de Cifuentes to Tularosa from Guadalajara, Spain to perform traditional music and songs from Spain with hand-made instruments at St. Francis de Paula church just prior to Christmas in 2019.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

AlamogordoTownNews.com: What outreach have you done to build bridges of understanding and collaboration between people of color, the LBGTQ community and local government and the business community?

David Henry Greenwald Response: “No activity.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

AlamogordoTownNews.com: How are you funding your campaign?

David Henry Greenwald Response: “Privately with donations.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

AlamogordoTownNews.com: Would you support a local city and or county ordinance that requires more detailed annual reporting and transparency of finances on anyone in elected office with annual reports on campaign fundraising?

David Henry Greenwald Response: “Absolutely.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

AlamogordoTownNews.com: Would you participate in a public drop in, questions and answers and/or a public forum hosted at Roadrunner Emporium 928 New York Avenue?

David Henry Greenwald Response: “Yes, assuming it doesn’t conflict with a previous event.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

AlamogordoTownNews.com:  Would you support the growth of more bars, restaurants, galleries, and entertainment venues in Alamogordo’s New York Avenue area? What will you do personally to support growth and revitalization of the corridor?

David Henry Greenwald Response: “Yes, I would like to see more cultural activities offered in our area.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

AlamogordoTownNews.com: What is the one thing about Alamogordo that excites you the most?

David Henry Greenwald Response: “Alamogordo’s setting. It is located in what was a very active cultural area during prehistoric times. However, very little formal research and documentation has been completed on its prehistoric occupants, how they lived, the various resources they used to feed themselves, or how extensively they used the land and resources available to them. Alamogordo offers prime opportunities for eco-tourism if developed in tandem with BLM and the USFS.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

AlamogordoTownNews.com: Can you work in a bi-partisan manner with the majority party to drive more state and federal funding into redevelopment and jobs creation into the district?

David Henry Greenwald Response: “I feel that I can. Much can be gained from negotiation and compromise as I learned during my professional career that required finding reasonable solutions to complicated needs with a fixed amount of funds available.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

AlamogordoTownNews.com: Rather a judicial candidate or other candidate what can you do in your role to help solve the issue of homelessness and mental health patients on the streets of Alamogordo?

David Henry Greenwald Response: “Lacking prior experience in such social matters, I would likely attempt to provide a reliable shelter where individuals in need could turn for help. Perhaps this could be a community-wide service supported by public, private, civic organizations and churches with an emphasis to shelter and house those in need.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

At AlamogordoTownNews.com, we appreciate the candidates that took the time for thoughtful responses to inform and possibly serve the public. Early voting has begun, get to know your candidate and come on down to the county building and vote early and let your voice be heard.

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