AlamogordoTownNews.com Welcome Home Honor Flight & Reception Saturday Oct 1, 2022, 8 pm New York Avenue

Alamogordo – 8:00 PM – The Van will come up White Sands Boulevard and turn right on 10th street then left on New York Ave and pass Otero County Courthouse. – Reception at the Gardens of New York 1120 New York Avenue 8 pm Saturday, October 1st.

We will have a police escort through Alamogordo and will bring the Veterans back to The Gardens of New York 1120 New York Avenue past the county courthouse around 8 pm. Reception from about 8-10pm.

The two local veterans returning from the honor flight are David Hatcher, he retired as an E-7 (Master Sargent) and was a helicopter maintenance tech. His AFSC was 43150D, and he worked on air rescue helicopters during his time in Vietnam. He served in Vietnam from ’70-’71 and then retired in 1993 as a Master Sergeant with 23 years of service. He lives in Alamogordo with his wife June who will be traveling with us on Saturday to welcome him at the airport.

Roger Bredy and his wife Cathy, live in Alamogordo as well. Roger retired here in Alamogordo after 25 years of service as an E-9. He was an A/A missile weapons troop who moved here from Florida in 1984 and then retired here in 1989.

We would like to see the sidewalks lined with well-wishers holding signs and US flags. This one small gesture helps bring healing to these Veterans.

“You have no idea what wounds it healed having people cheer and clap and be proud of you. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me.” Vietnam Veteran

Honor Flight of Southern New Mexico and El Paso transports America’s World War II, Korean and Vietnam War Veterans to Washington DC to visit the memorials built to honor and remember those who served. This trip of a lifetime provides closure, healing and the welcome home these heroes deserve. Every Veteran is taken on the flight at no cost to themselves.

This Alamogordo Flight was funded by Alamogordo 100 Women that Care and celebration coordination and veteran sponsorship for the Honor Flight by the US Veterans Motorcycle Club New Mexico Chapter. 

 The US Veterans Motorcycle Club New Mexico Chapter received the grant from the 100 Women that Care Alamogordo Chapter and opted to use the funds to support local veterans on the Honor Flight. The US Veterans Motorcycle Club New Mexico Chapter consists of members who are all honorably discharged, and their mission statement is “Veterans Helping Veterans.” The club says that when they heard that the Honor Flight was looking for sponsorship of a couple of local veterans it was a “natural fit to support the local veterans given the clubs mission.”

So, show your appreciation for these older veterans as they return home from a trip to DC for their honor flight. Join us and the New York Avenue business community as we honor these returning veterans with a celebration and meet and greet. 

Location is at the New York Art and Music’s Gardens of New York at 1120 New York Avenue, Alamogordo, New Mexico, Time 8 pm October 1st – 1120 New York Avenue.

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AlamogordoTownNews.com: Couy Griffin Files an Appeal of his Ban from Public Office & Other Pending Cases Update

Couy Griffin, ousted Otero County Commissioner is by far the most prolific of local leaders to gain national attention.  He raised his profile to the national stage in creating “Cowboys of Trump” and a fire and brimstone style of ideological propaganda that the masses embraced for a period of time. Now they appear to be tiring of the rhetoric and the negative press. 

His base however continues to rally around his fight against “Santa Fe” and the “left” as witnessed by his most recent fundraising appeal which has raised $16,541 of a goal of $50,000.

From his pulpit of the Otero County Commission, he led a variety of conversations and debate, from participation in the alleged insurrection, to being an election results denier. 

Mr. Griffin gained national notoriety and took that notoriety onto the speaking circuits. His brand has been used by higher profile personalities around the nation who have profited off of his trials and tribulations to the toon of thousands of dollars.  Yet he is forced to defend himself in the judicial process.

Couy Griffin on Tuesday notified the high court of his intent to appeal. The ruling against Griffin this month from a Santa Fe-based District Court was the first to remove or bar an elected official from office in connection with the attack on the U.S. Capitol building that disrupted Congress as it was trying to certify President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory.

Griffin was previously convicted in federal court of a misdemeanor for entering the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, without going inside the building. He was sentenced to 14 days and given credit for time served.

Griffin has invoked free speech guarantees in his defense and says his banishment from public office disenfranchises his political constituents in Otero County.

He was barred from office under provisions of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which holds that anyone who has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution can be barred from office for engaging in insurrection or rebellion. The provisions were put in place shortly after the Civil War.

A flurry of similar lawsuits around the country are seeking to use the provision to punish politicians who took part in Jan. 6.

Griffin says he continues to act as his own legal counsel in the case.

“Honestly I have felt very abandoned by many,” Griffin said.

Conservative activists aligned with Griffin have urged supporters to file disciplinary complaints against the judge who barred Griffin from office.

Other cases of removal have been filed around the US for individuals that supported the events of January 6th, 2022. Mr. Griffin is the only one thus far that had a conviction related directly to activities of that day. 

The case may eventually carry forward to the US Supreme Court. Mr. Griffin’s name is nothing new to a case that may eventually come to the Supreme Court as he U.S. Supreme Court was asked to consider, via a writ of certiorari, whether a New Mexico Court of Appeals judge erred when he overturned a decision denying Couy Griffin qualified immunity in a first amendment case.

Griffin, as the Otero County Commissioner for District 2 at the time, in 2019 blocked Jeff Swanson, the Democratic Party of Otero County chairman, from his Facebook page after Swanson posted comments critical of Griffin’s performance as a commissioner.

Swanson sued Griffin and Otero County Records Custodian Sylvia Tillbrook alleging that since Griffin’s Facebook page was a public forum, that Griffin had violated the First Amendment by engaging in viewpoint discrimination. Viewpoint discrimination is when a government or a governmental entity restricts speech on a given subject matter.

The case was filed in the New Mexico 12th Judicial District Court. When the case was removed to federal court, Griffin’s motion to dismiss the case citing qualified immunity was denied.

He appealed the case to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals where the decision was reversed. The Court of Appeals’ opinion stated the lower court relied on “on out-of-circuit authority” in its decision.

“We reverse. The Supreme Court has repeatedly instructed lower courts not to define rights at a high level of generality when considering a qualified immunity defense,” the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decision states.

Swanson petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari which is “issued in order that the court issuing the writ may inspect the proceedings and determine whether there have been any irregularities,” according to Barron’s Law Dictionary.

The question Swanson and his attorney A. Blair Dunn are putting to the U.S. Supreme Court is “Did the 10th Circuit err in reversing the decision of the District Court that Commissioner Couy Griffin was not entitled to qualified immunity after the Circuit recognized that Commissioner Griffin had engaged in viewpoint discrimination to exclude Mr. Swanson from his open to the public Facebook page where he openly discussed the public’s business that he was elected to attend to?”

The details of that filing are found at 

https://www.supremecourt.gov/DocketPDF/21/21-1502/226363/20220526150143…

And in other lawsuits pending against Griffin:

Per coverage from the Alamogordo News in a story by Nicole Maxwell…

“The criminal case against former Otero County commissioner Couy Griffin, 47, of Tularosa, for allegedly failing to file Cowboys for Trump as a political action committee was scheduled to begin September 19 and was pushed back to December.

In a motion filed by Griffin’s attorney, Jonathan C. Miller, Miller noted a family emergency which would preclude him from being available for the preset date. According to court records, Miller’s mother is terminally ill.

Per 12th Judicial Judge Douglas Driggers, the case is to be reset no sooner than December 2022.

The criminal complaint filed by New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas on March 18 states that between Jan. 15, 2020 and March 18, 2022, Griffin “willfully and knowingly” violated provisions of the Campaign Reporting Act by disregarding orders to register as a political action committee with the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office, file finance reports and pay $7,800 in accumulated fines by the March 18, 2022 deadline.

Griffin pleaded not guilty to the charges during an April 1 arraignment. This case will more than likely be go to jury trial in December.”

Thus, the impact of Mr. Griffin’s term of office will continue to be under review in the judiciary at a variety of levels, for quite some time it would appear.

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AlamogordoTownNews.com Resolution Ballot Initiative Fails, Block & Melton Respond Without Humility

Congratulations are in order to Mr. Karl Melton and candidate John Block who prevailed in maintaining the “Sanctuary City of the Unborn” resolution that was submitted by them via a “special city commission meeting.”

Per a press release which was released from the city of Alamogordo at 3:50 pm today Alamogordo, NM Tuesday, September 13, 2022…

A petition to take Resolution 2022-38, passed by City Commission on August 2, 2022, at a Special Meeting, for referendum was filed with the City Clerk on September 1, 2022.

In accordance with NMSA 1978 § 3-1-5. Petitions, examinations of signatures; purging; judicial review, and in consultation with the Secretary of State and New Mexico Municipal League, the petition did not meet the statutory requirements.

As such, the city will take no additional action on this matter.”

This recap is being researched at 11:33 pm and a press release above from the city of Alamogordo was posted to the city website and Facebook 7 hours ago.

A small group of citizens led by a young lady fighting cancer, Ashlie Meyers, decided they would start a petition to gather signatures in hopes of forcing a special election to determine if the resolution should stand. The group gathered over 507 valid signatures of 589 needed to be turned in, to the county clerk, 10 days ago, to verify.

Tuesday, the group of petitioners learned the fate of their petition, first via a post by John Block that predated the city of Alamogordo’s official Facebook post and release by 1 hour. The city clerk’s office issued a letter, via Facebook, one hour after Blocks post, stating that the petition did not garner enough valid signatures to force the measure on a special election ballot.

Case closed? Maybe, maybe not.

What has occurred is domestic partners, Melton and Block have deeply divided the community into factions of distrust and bitterness verses uniting the community around issues that need community collaboration such as crime prevention and business development.

The group had faced huge pushback from conservative pundits, including John Block, a blogger and the GOP nominee for state rep in Otero County. Block also attended the Jan. 6 Capitol riot but never faced charges. Block’s domestic partner, Karl Melton, was recently appointed to a vacancy on the Alamogordo City Commission.

In an email sent out to supporters today, Block said “The pro-abort radicals are likely going to show up in full force and try and intimidate the commissioners, spewing vicious personal attacks and tired anti-life talking points.”

During the August 3 meeting Block made false claims that there are no medical reasons why a woman would ever need an abortion.

Access to abortion services is limited in Otero County and Alamogordo. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights advocacy organization, 91 percent of NM counties had “no clinics that provided abortions” in 2017, and 48 percent of New Mexico women lived in counties without clinics. Both of those percentages are higher than national averages despite Block’s claim that “NM taxpayers forked over a staggering amount for abortions in the past two years.”

Ashlie Meyers supporters spoke at the city commission meeting Tuesday night expressing dissatisfaction with their loss with them reviewing rather they have any options to appeal the decision of signatures that were rejected.

LBGTQ Republican candidate John Block posted a story via Pinon Post, 1 hour before the city posted their position on their website. The timing of that post vía the Piñón Press one hour prior to the city releasing the official press release raises many legal questions.

Block titled the article in a maner that implies the activism of Ashley Meyers “failed miserably. “

Any public participation in political discourse regardless of the outcome should be applauded as that is the activism our founding fathers hoped for.

A diversity of dialog and debate leads to good governance.

Candidate Block then went on to attack the mayor, a news source operated by an Otero County Republican and gloated with glee verses covering a story with humility and grace as winners with grace and humility under God on their side.

“THE HUMBLE CHRISTIAN RECEIVES MORE GRACE.”-1 Peter 5:5

The 2 GOP, LBGTQ leaders, Melton and Block claim to be “fundamentalist Christian.” But as such does fundamentalism allow for a LBGTQ lifestyle? Does it allow one to pick and choose which biblical principles one will follow?

Their support of the “Sanctuary City for the Unborn” they claim, is led by their “Christian beliefs.” It would seem they are picking and choosing which of those “Christian” beliefs they choose to follow.

Living as an example of grace, in grace, and in humility apparently is not part of the example they choose to live by based upon the Piñon Post article posted today.

God does not want believers to live by law, but by the Holy Spirit. Whether someone is living by law (God’s Law or man-made laws) or by grace is determined by two key issues:

1. The issue of motivation: Why you do what you do?

  • Under law, a person works in order to earn the acceptance of God.
  • Under grace, a person trusts in Jesus Christ as his/her acceptance and works out of love and gratitude.

2. The issue of use of power or authority: How you do what you do?

  • Under law, a person lives from his own power and resources.
  • Under grace, a person lives by Christ’s life and power imparted by the Holy Spirit.

Humility and submission go hand in hand. God’s Word tells us that, as Christians, we are to submit to one another in lowliness of mind. “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’” 1 Peter 5:5-6.

By being submissive and “clothing ourselves with humility” we can create peace and unity with the others.

We are not to be so proud and high up that we can’t accept correction or exhortation. Neither should we be of the mindset that our own opinions and thoughts always are better than the others.

Such thinking won’t lead us to any progress or unity in Christ.

Mr. Block in his Piñon Press post falsely claimed that the Mayor and Commissioner McDonald were “pro-abortion.” This is completely counter to statements either individual has made in the past. Both have expressed;” this issue is not an issue for the city to take on as it is out of the city legal schema of authority.” Few people are “pro-abortion or pro death. Even those pushing for the repeal of the resolution, most just felt the issue was out of scope of local political leadership based upon state law.

“Out of scope” is far different then “pro-abortion,” but at times personal bias in the cloud of holy war can fog the path to humility and grace. 

Republican, LBGTQ Candidate Block posted “The pro-life measure passed in August with support from all but two apparently pro-abortion members, Mayor Susan Payne and Commissioner Sharon McDonald, on the seven-member commission.”

Knowing these individuals are public figures, he posted this FALSE statement which if they did not hold public office would be considered liable, slanderous and could negatively impact their private business and community relationships.

While the actions by Mr. Block and Mr. Melton might not be illegal given the mayor and commissioner are public figures, their false assertions are unethical and certainly not biblical in grace or humility.

We are not to be so proud and high up that we can’t accept correction or exhortation. Neither should we be of the mindset that our own opinions and thoughts always are better than the others.”

While this LBGTQ political duo duped a large portion of the public into believing they were acting in good faith under the grace of God to protect the unborn; what they actually exposed was a lack of personal grace and humility under the teachings of God.

They showed how to further divide a community, rather then seek opportunities to unite it around meaningful legislation that has the power of law.

The resolution they supported has NO force of law and has NO legal authority to stop an abortion within Alamogordo. State law does not allow a local government from stopping an abortion.

Finally they demonstrated that they allowed their personal bias to get in the way of truth. Their attack on the mayor was unwarranted and unethical. They attack on an alternative news source and personal attack against the founder, further demonstrates their lack of tolerance of voices other then their own.

AlamogordoTownNews.com congratulates Mr Block and Mr Melton on “their victory.” We won’t disparage those of opinions different than ours with lies. We won’t dig into their past to discrete them.

Jesus taught in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25: 36) that people who help those in prison will go to Heaven. This is because Jesus identifies himself with the outcasts, including prisoners. Those who treat the outcasts well will have eternal life, which means they will go to Heaven.

Rehabilitation and forgiveness of past transgressions are the teachings of Christ. 

We will however expose when a political leader acts in a manner that is unethical or represents statements such as those by the mayor falsely. 

Lord Acton writes to Bishop Creighton in a series of letters concerning the moral problem of writing history about the Inquisition. Acton believes that the same moral standards should be applied to all men, political and religious leaders included, especially since, in his famous phrase, “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely”

Mr. Melton and Mr Block, please act with humility and grace in your daily acts of leadership!  Please embrace those that differ from you in opinions with seeking bridges of collaboration please act with maturity under grace and humility thus humanity. Please don’t fall in love with the corruption of power but act under the grace and humility of a loving God.

Congratulations, you may run a victory lap!!! But was it worth it? Does it feel victorious  and is it an act of grace to go after a girl dying of cancer, Ashlie Meyer, who was following her conscious? Does it bring you joy to disparage the mayor and individuals investing in the growth of Alamogordo?

Are you happy you created the division felt within Alamogordo, a community faced with rising crime, businesses desperately seeking staff and crumbling infrastructure?

Was this highest and best use of the leadership pulpit and will this resolution success bring jobs, reduce crime and solve issues of business growth within Alamogordo?

—————————————————-
Piñon Post story posted one hour prior to City sponsored statement posted to the public. 

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AlamogordoTownNews.com Couy Griffin Removal What is Next, Couy Upset with Sheriff Black

Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin and Otero County made history today with a ruling in the lawsuit that was filed to remove Commissioner Griffin from office.  

According to today’s ruling, Griffin qualifies for removal as per Section 3 of the 14th amendment and participation in a rebellion or insurrection against the government of the United States and the peaceful transition of power of the presidency.

Text of the amendment:

“No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”

Interpretation is that no person can be a Senator, Representative, Elector or officer of the United States — or United States military officer, or member of a State Legislature, or a Governor, or a judge of any State — if they took an oath to support the Constitution and then took part in a rebellion against the United States or gave aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States. But Congress can change this with two ­thirds vote.

A History Lesson of how Republicans enacted the 14th Amendment Section 3:

This is a section of the constitution that dealt directly with the aftermath of the Civil War, section 3 of the 14th Amendment prohibits those who had “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same [United States] or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof” from serving in the government. It was designed to keep the governments free of those who had broken the country apart. However, its effect wound up being relatively minor, that is until this trial.

Due to the obscure cases around the use of this amendment this may make an interesting case that could go all the way to the US Supreme Court as a precedent setting case. Even more interesting is the precedent this case could indeed set for future generation. The application of this portion or amendment to the constitution has not been reference or used in a case in more than 150 years. 

If this ruling stands up on appeal, it sets a significant precedent for the next election cycle,” said Gerard Magliocca, a constitutional scholar at Indiana University who has studied Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. “After all, if Couy Griffin is disqualified from holding office for his role in Jan. 6, then shouldn’t Donald Trump be disqualified for his even greater role in Jan. 6th?” Of course the difference is Couy had a conviction tied for his acts while on the “Capitol Grounds” while his conviction was a misdemeanor it was a conviction no less around the issues of rebellion or insurrection.

Magliocca said the issue could arise in a number of ways moving forward and is ripe for the Supreme Court to litigate before Trump might run for and potentially win the presidency in 2024.

Section 3 of the 14th amendment has been called “the most forgotten provision of the forgotten Fourteenth Amendment.” Congress last used Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1919 to refuse to seat a socialist Congressman accused of having given aid and comfort to Germany during the First World War, irrespective of the Amnesty Act.

Interesting fact is the amendment was drafted by Republican members of the Thirty-Ninth Congress.

Republicans when setting out the conditions for restoring former confederate states to the Union demanded, in rough order of priority, a constitutional change in the basis of apportionment (Section 2), constitutional provisions respecting the state and federal debt (Section 4), constitutional or statutory provisions limiting confederate participation in politics (Section 3), constitutional or statutory provisions protecting the rights of former slaves and white Unionists (Section 1), and a constitutional ban on secession that did not become part of the final Fourteenth Amendment.

Couy Griffin was indeed removed from office today. He claimed in a radio interview with Anthony Lucero on KALH this afternoon that he received a call from the Otero Couty Manager telling him he was “officially removed from office, that his office security code had been changed, his computer access stopped and that his no longer was a serving commissioner.”

Mr. Griffin apparently was pretty upset with Sherrif Black according to statements he made to KALH saying, “Probably the thing that gives me the most heartburn is that Sherrif David Black said yes totally enforce everything and that he stands behind this order…”

Griffin continued, “it’s a shame, it’s totally just a shame they can do this through the civil courts and a liberal judge in Santa Fe can take away the will of the people of Otero County and now the Governor is going to hand select whoever is going to replace me, for the next 3 and a half months, and Pamela told me on the phone, when I said what about this next commission meeting? She said we will do it with 2 commissioners… “

Couy still believes that the judge is outside of his jurisdiction.

Joshua Beasley the chairman of the Republican Party of Otero County, never contacted AlamogordoTownNews.com back with a statement but gave one to Anthony Lucero in which he said, “ I was hoping for otherwise, you know, January 6th was far from insurrection, there was bad behavior for sure on both sides but it was far from an insurrection but when the courts are overrun with people who are working against the will of the people it is not surprising.”

Amy Barela, the frontrunner in the campaign to replace Couy Griffin in the election planned for November of this year responded, “I don’t know what to say, my heart is broken for Couy.”

KALH also reached out to the Democratic Candidate to replace Couy Stephanie Dubois, her response was, “It is always a sad thing regardless of if we agreed with him or disagreed with him, it’s a sad thing to see an elected official to have to leave not under his own steam.”

The Oter County Democratic Chairman, Jeff Swansons response was, “those who intimidate voters, engage in in insurrections and conspiracy behaviors will be held accountable.”

What’s Next:

There are 3.5 months left in the term of Couy Griffin and at present District 2 is now unrepresented and without a commissioner. State law says that the Governor could pick a person to fill the position. If that were to occur that would be the first time that has occurred since the days of a territorial governor based on the research, we have found to date. 

Given its a Democratic Governor one would think the odds-on favorite would be Ms. Dubois to complete Mr. Griffins term. 

However, the Governor has taken a hands-off approach to Otero County when it comes to other vacancies. There is a vacancy for magistrate in Otero County that could have been temporarily filled by the governor.

A recommendation letter was sent to the Governor to fill that role with Reverend Warren L Robinson, until the November election by appointment, however the Governor has eft the position vacant to date. Will she continue that path with a hands-off approach to Otero County or will she act?

Couy Griffin is likely to appeal this court ruling. He entered this case with no representation and attempted to defend himself. Given the ruling and the precedent it could set on the national stage, odds are, representation will step up, as this case could end up eventually going before the US Supreme Court do it its very unique nature. 

How odd that a case in New Mexico of a former Rodeo Cowboy Actor, Couy Griffin, would gain such notoriety and possibly be precedent setting.  Politics locally gives new meaning to the slogans “Exclusively Alamogordo” or “Exclusively Otero County.”

To hear the complete interview on KALH by Anthony Lucero click on the news link…
https://kalh.org/news/

AlamogordoTownNews.com Judge Orders Couy Griffin Removed From Office Couy Griffin Comments

District Court Judge Francis Mathew issued a ruling Tuesday that permanently prohibits Griffin from holding or seeking local or federal office.

In his ruling on the case, Mathews contended that Griffin was not eligible to hold office because of his participation in the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riots.

(Griffin) became constitutionally disqualified from federal and state positions specified (under the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment, Section 3) and forfeited his current office as Otero County Commissioner effective Jan. 6, 2021,” Mathew’s ruling states. “Griffin shall be removed from his position as an Otero County Commissioner effective immediately.”

We reached to Couy Griffin for comment and his response was: “It’s a great example of the type of tyranny in America today. The people in my district have already spoken thru a failed recall waged against me after Jan 6. But since that didn’t work, now I guess they have succeeded thru the civil courts and a liberal judge in a liberal county.”  Mr. Griffin in sound bites sounds deflated, understandably, via the intensity of the last year. 

The ruling is the first time that an elected official has been removed from office as a result of their participation or support for the January 6, 2021, riot. This is also the first time a judge has formally ruled that the events of January 6 were an “insurrection.”

The Courts decision is located:

https://www.citizensforethics.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/D101CV2022…

Judge Francis Mathew gave a multiple page explanation of his ruling basically saying Mr. Griffins defense was inconsistent and that his involvement with Cowboys for Trump in partnership with Stop the Steal played a pivotal role in the ruling because of its “mobilization efforts” leading up to the events of January 6th. The judge claimed that Mr. Griffins “attempts to sanitize the events” of January 6th and his other actions were “without merit and contrary to the evidence produced.”

We have reached to the Republican Chairman of Otero County and the Democratic Chairman for comment and have not received one at this time.

This is a developing story and further updates will be added as more details of the county response come to bare and that of other impacted government bodies.

Mr. Griffins position is up for election in November with favored Republican Amy Barela facing off against Democrat Stephanie DuBois.

This is a developing story and further updates will be added as more details of the county response come to bare and that of other impacted government bodies and a link to live interviews from Anthony Lucero with impacted parties in a special story to be released later today from KALH.

Stay tuned…
12:04 pm update 

Republican Chairman Joshua Beasley said he will review the ruling and submit comments later today. 

Statement from Democratic Party Chairman of Otero County:

Yes…”We will support and defend the Constitutions of New Mexico and the United States of America ensuring free, fair, and accurate elections for our citizens. Those who disrupt elections, intimidate voters, engage in insurrections and seditious conspiracy behaviors, will be held accountable by Democrats. Americans can count on us!

We look forward to serving with those Republicans, Libertarians, Independents, Declined to State, and other voters who are also true patriots. 


We await and encourage any virtuous Republicans to forthrightly take control of their party here, and put forth a far better quality of candidates, who can really work with ALL citizens to better our citizens, lands, and infrastructure.

Otero County is on the cusp of tremendous opportunities for growth and economic thriving. Far too many Republicans here, like Couy Griffin, get elected and prove to be distractions. We need a strong and vibrant Republican party here. We need an overhauled one!

High time for those true patriots and economically savvy Republicans to take charge of their party. Stop the squander!”

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AlamogordoTownNews.com Groups Collaborate to Repeal Resolution By Ballot Vote

Petition for a Referendum to vote for or against a resolution declaring Alamogordo, NM a sanctuary for the unborn.

On August 2, 2022 the Alamogordo City Commissioners voted to pass resolution 2022-38 that declared Alamogordo a sanctuary city for the unborn. The majority of the people at the special meeting called by the Alamogordo City Commissioners objected to the passage of this resolution. Regardless of the majority objection the City Commissioners passed it.

Karl Melton the City Commissioner that proposed the resolution is quoted to saying:

“Last night, most of my fellow commissioners joined me in supporting Resolution 2022-38,” Melton said. “The five of us affirmed life from conception to natural death and made Alamogordo a sanctuary city for the unborn. Alamogordo now stands in unity with Otero County, which passed a similar resolution of its own.

“While there is more work to be done, I am proud of our efforts that made it clear Alamogordo does not want or need any abortion facilities here.”

Several groups in Alamogordo, NM are now collaborating to get a refendum on the ballot for the Citizens of Alamogordo to vote for or against this resolution and let the voices of the people dictate policies and resolutions and not allow elected officials to dictate to the citizenry their personal goals.

On August 26, 2022 the push to gather signatures began. As of this writing they have 270 of the required 500 signatures required. They will be gathering signatures starting at 8:30 AM until 5:00 PM from August 28, 2022 thru September 1, 2022.

Richard Welch is the source of this story and may be contacted at 720-278-1525 or by email srethng@gmail.com

AlamogordoTownNews.com Community Spotlight: Debra & Joe Lewandowski “Getting it Done”, in Historic Preservation

When one looks at a small-town community like Alamogordo, Otero County, New Mexico or any town for that matter; there are those that stand back and point to what needs to be done, there are those that criticize but never add value to the community, there are those that work discretely behind the scenes to fund and work the cogs of the bureaucracy to get things done, and then there are those that are “doers” that work daily, each and every day with passion, conviction and purpose in “getting it done.” 

When one looks at every major historical preservation project in Alamogordo over the last decade plus, Debra & Joe Lewandowski are “Getting it Done” in Historic Preservation. Taking a drive around the community, one sees the fingerprints of a passionate conviction and the “get it done” commitment of Debra & Joe Lewandowski.

George Bernard Shaw once said, “People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.” Mr. Shaw would be impressed by the conviction to historic preservation of Debra and Joe Lewandowski. 

When one looks at the Tularosa Basin Historical Society; it is backed by a volunteer board of directors, that are passionate about preserving the stories, and the structures, that make up the history of Alamogordo, and of Otero County. This platform has allowed Debra & Joe Lewandowski to find their passions and to shine.

These two individuals daily do the legwork or grunt work to bring about results in historic preservation. Long hours of mental and physical hard work, from research to actually building walls, nailing, painting, garbage removal, leading volunteers, interfacing with government officials, bureaucrats and the business community, building bridges and partnerships and doing it daily – is all in a day’s work for Debra and Joe Lewandowski.

A bit about Deb and Joe:

Joe and Deb Lewandowski were Alamogordo Mid-High School sweethearts. After graduating in 1974 and 1975, Joe joined the U.S. Army starting their adventure of moving around the world. This opportunity allowed for them to visit historical locations in the areas they served. After 6 1/2 years, they returned to Alamogordo, starting their first business in the solid waste collection business in 1981. 

Over the years, they started other businesses and continuing their involvement in solid waste consulting and management. Both have always had a love and curiosity of the true history story not the way it may have been portrayed. As Joe says, “Hollywood History”. 

In 2012, they started their involvement with the Tularosa Basin Historical Society. Working with great volunteers, they have been honored to be involved with the renovation of the “Plaza” and the La Luz Pottery Factory, two significant projects that put the Tula Basin Historic Society on the map, preserving two iconic buildings that otherwise could be derelict. 

The two are aggressively working on two more very visible projects in partnership with the Tularosa Basin Historic Society, the city of Alamogordo and the business community of the New York Avenue Business District. 

The first project is evolving, as previously reported by AlamogordoTownNews.com, on the corner of 10th Street and White Sands Blvd, as the Alamogordo Railroad History Park. The evolving park that will have artifacts and photographs from the early days of Alamogordo as a railroad town dating to the early 1900’s. The planning for the city and its roots date to 1898. 

Background on the importance of the railroad to Alamogordo, thus the park.

In 1912, incorporated Alamogordo, was founded as a company town, to support the building of the El Paso and Northeastern Railroad, a part of the transcontinental railway that was being constructed in the late 19th century.

Initially its main industry was timbering for railroad ties. The railroad founders were also eager to find a major town that would persist after the railroad was completed; they formed the Alamogordo Improvement Company to develop the area, making Alamogordo an early example of a planned community. The Alamogordo Improvement Company owned all the land, platted the streets, built the first houses and commercial buildings, donated land for a college. The early days of Alamogordo was driven by commerce around the railroad.

A modern park evolves under a partnered approach.

This walking park will showcase the influence of the railroad, across from the Tularosa Basin Museum and Walgreens. The park upgrades and preservation work are a joint historical preservation project between Alamogordo MainStreet (which secured a $20,000 grant from Union Pacific), the city of Alamogordo, and the design, implementation and oversite of the building project is being done by Joe and Debra under the umbrella of the Tularosa Basin Historic Society, and Operational Consultants.

Debra is tasked with creating the photo essay on the walking path that will tell the story of Alamogordo as the railroad town it once was. Joe is tasked with managing the buildout. Together the new park is evolving, and they are “getting it done via community partnerships.”

Dudley School Preservation Project:

The next project, the duo of Debra and Joe, recently kicked off, was a well-attended public meeting seeking volunteers is the Dudley School Preservation Project. Since kickoff there have been two volunteer days where a large amount of cleanout has begun. The work is ongoing and will need volunteers again in the upcoming weeks.

Alamogordo’s Hispanic History, A Story Getting Representation Through Preservation:

Dudley School was the historically Hispanic School. Dudley School was built in 1914 and had four classrooms. Dudley School was set up as part of a segregation plan at the time and specialized in children that did not speak English being educated in a separate school facility. Hispanics could not go north of 10th Street or into the “plaza” at the time. The city of Alamogordo, New Mexico with its proximity to Texas was a racially divided city until the 1950’s. The Dudley School project is important in that it is a historic structure from the early 1900’s, and it was one of the two schools that served students of color during the years of segregation. The project will bring the building back to its origins of 4 rooms and will be a community center as well as a museum telling firsthand family stories of students that attended the Dudley School. The revitalized school will also have playground equipment and will be available to the public for rentals. This is another community partnership effort led by the duo in working the process of partnerships between the city, the Tularosa Basin Historic Society and the public in volunteering to assist in the grunt work of preservation.

According to Joe and Debra, “helping with the setup and planning of these projects, supporting the history, gathering and educating public on the stories of the Basin has been and continues to be very rewarding.”

Both have served at different times on the TBHS Board of Directors.  Debra serves as the TBHS Manager which oversees the daily operations of the museum on White Sands and 10th Street, schedules with Joe the tours and preservation of the Pottery Factory and of course these other multiple projects. 

Passion, Commitment, Heart:

As one drives around the city of Alamogordo and Otero County from the La Luz Pottery Factory to the Plaza, the Dudley School and beyond; the commitment, passion and hard work ethic of Debra & Joe Lewandowski can be felt. Steve Jobs the founder of Apple said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

It is apparent, in each interaction with Debra & Joe Lewandowski, they are creating a legacy of historic preservation. Each puts the elbow grease and hard work into the projects, and they have found the work “they love.” 

We as a community in Alamogordo, and Otero County are fortunate to have them as leaders in our community. From our hearts on New York Avenue and beyond, Thank you!

Byline Chris Edwards, AlamogordoTownNews.com, Influence Magazine

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AlamogordoTownNews.com Day Two Recap of Trial to Remove Cowboys for Trump Founder/Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin

Day two of the trail to remove Cowboys for Trump Founder and Otero County New Mexico Commissioner Couy Griffin from office proceeded today into a second day of expert testimony on why he qualifies for removal as per Section 3 of the 14th amendment and participation in a rebellion or insurrection against the government of the United States and the peaceful transition of power of the presidency.

Text of the amendment:

“No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”

Interpretation is that no person can be a Senator, Representative, Elector or officer of the United States — or United States military officer, or member of a State Legislature, or a Governor, or a judge of any State — if they took an oath to support the Constitution and then took part in a rebellion against the United States or gave aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States. But Congress can change this with two ­thirds vote.

A History Lesson of how Republicans enacted the 14th Amendment Section 3:

This is a section of the constitution that dealt directly with the aftermath of the Civil War, section 3 of the 14th Amendment prohibits those who had “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same [United States] or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof” from serving in the government. It was designed to keep the governments free of those who had broken the country apart. However, its effect wound up being relatively minor, that is until this trial. 

Due to the obscure cases around the use of this amendment this may make an interesting case that could go all the way to the US Supreme Court as a precedent setting case. 

Section 3 of the 14th amendment has been called “the most forgotten provision of the forgotten Fourteenth Amendment.” Congress last used Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1919 to refuse to seat a socialist Congressman accused of having given aid and comfort to Germany during the First World War, irrespective of the Amnesty Act.

Interesting fact is the amendment was drafted by Republican members of the Thirty-Ninth Congress.

Republicans when setting out the conditions for restoring former confederate states to the Union demanded, in rough order of priority, a constitutional change in the basis of apportionment (Section 2), constitutional provisions respecting the state and federal debt (Section 4), constitutional or statutory provisions limiting confederate participation in politics (Section 3), constitutional or statutory provisions protecting the rights of former slaves and white Unionists (Section 1), and a constitutional ban on secession that did not become part of the final Fourteenth Amendment.

The first version of Section 3 was born in chaos. On Wednesday, April 25, 1866, the Joint Committee on Reconstruction reached agreement on an omnibus Fourteenth Amendment. The centerpiece of that text was the provision mandating black suffrage by 1876. The Republicans on that committee immediately learned from their peers that this provision would not fly. Desperate to produce an amendment by Monday, April 30 the Joint Committee hastily cobbled together a new omnibus draft on Saturday, April 28. The centerpiece of that text was Section 2, which the Republican members of the committee thought would induce former confederate states to accept black suffrage by reducing state representation in the House of Representatives and Electoral College in proportion to disenfranchised males over 21. Section 2 of the new omnibus text could not be implemented until after the next census. To ensure loyal control of state governments until that time, the Joint Committee added Section 3, which disenfranchised until July 4, 1870, all persons who gave “aid and comfort” to the rebellion.

The second version of Section 3 was reared in secret. The Joint Committee’s Section 3 engendered substantial debate among Republicans in Congress. Republicans disputed how that provision would be implemented and whether that provision would be effective. In mid-May Republican Senators held a three-day caucus to resolve disputes over Section 3 (and Section 2). We know the subjects of that caucus (largely Section 3), but not the details of what was said. No one leaked then or later in memoirs. 

When that caucus ended, Senator Jacob Howard of Michigan proposed, with a few tweaks, the Section 3 we have today.

That Section 3 replaced temporary disenfranchisement with a permanent officeholding ban (both federal and state) while limiting the subjects of the ban to persons who, holding certain offices, had previously taken an oath to support the Constitution. Republicans fell in line immediately. Party members responded to Democratic criticisms but did not discuss the meaning of the Republican Senate Caucus’s Section 3 or how to best implement that provision.

Republicans assumed the constitutional problems the Fourteenth Amendment was meant to solve would largely vanish once either white Unionists or a biracial coalition of white Unionists and former slaves controlled southern governments and sent loyal representatives to Congress. Section 3 would, of course, apply to any future insurrection. Nevertheless, Republicans were focused almost exclusively on preventing confederates from regaining power. They did not concern themselves with what might constitute a future insurrection once the slave power had been permanently interred.

Yet here we are today…

Yet here we are today, in a court case that’s roots are spun from the American Civil War, in a battle to define what is an act of rebellion or insurrection and to answer the question of should a local county commissioner from a small poor county in New Mexico be removed from office for participation in what most have defined as an act of rebellion against the transition of power from former President Trump to President Biden. 

Should Couy Griffin, an Otero County Commissioner be removed from office and barred from ever holding office again per article 14 Section 3?

The plaintiffs today, called law professor and expert on the 14th amendment, Dr. Mark Graber, to the stand to outline the definition of treason and an insurrection under the amendment, and how Griffin’s actions play into that.

Griffin: In your own opinion, is that a violation of my oath?

Dr. Graber: “Yes. Again, let’s go through the elements. You were acting in concert with other people, you marched with them, that’s what the tapes clearly show. You had a purpose, to prevent the certification of Joe Biden to be president.”

Dr. Graber investigated the insurrection and Griffin’s role in it. Under oath, he shared his three big findings: January 6, 2021 was an insurrection, people responsible for writing Section Three of the 14th amendment back in the 1800s would say it applies to county commissioners, and that they would view Griffin’s actions on July 6th as participating in insurrection.

Griffin, who is representing himself, argued he went to Washington D.C. that day as a private citizen and not in an official capacity. 

Like Monday, Judge Francis Mathew had to step in to keep proceedings on track.

Griffin: Your honor…the witness doesn’t need to be trying to put what I was thinking and what I was doing, this is my time with the witness and what I was doing there.

Judge Mathew: He’s answering your question.

Griffin: He’s making accusations all the same.

Next on the stand was Dr. Rachel Kleinfeld, an expert on political violence who also helped the select House committee investigate the insurrection. She testified that Griffin was an insurrectionist.

In cross-examination, Griffin said that was her opinion.

Toward the end of the day the dialog would make Griffin appear defeated. He mentioned maybe he should have had witnesses for his side. In the end the judge will decide. Today marked the end of testimony. Hundreds of pages of expert witness findings and cross examination that were humorous at time considering the seriousness of the charges and the potential precedent of this trial.

The closing arguments are not verbal but are to be submitted to the judge by August 29th. The judge is said he will rule within 10 days of receipt of those closing arguments.

Prologue:

The most bizarre twist of this whole affair is that an alleged staunch Republican, Commissioner Couy Griffin, has the potential of being removed from office, by an obscure piece of the constitution, that dates back to the civil war, sponsored by Republicans, to protect the United States Government from Confederate leaning elected officials from serving in office. 

The joke on us, in poor, played, Otero County, New Mexico is that the average Joe American is footing much expense with this whole judicial affair; it is game of brinksmanship on constitutional theory, that could impact the lowest to highest levels of power in this nation.  

Mr. Griffin and those that filed the lawsuit are all pawns in a game of constitutional theory being played out in what could evolve into a big-league US Supreme Court, precedent setting case that could impact the political landscape of this nation for decades at every level – city, county, state and national. 

This case getting national attention and being defended by a lone commissioner without an attorney is the big leagues, playing the little guy, into shaping the Republican Party to Retake Republicanism or to allow it to continue its present course, thus allowing an evolution, of power to fill the vacuum of discontent in a way we nor our founding fathers ever would have imagined.

Some say pray for America, others say Retake Republicanism, I suggest being diligent, vote, participate and educate oneself with constitutional facts verses the false narratives, get back to civics education, actually read and understand the constitution, then diligently look at those elected and ask yourself, “does he or she actually represent the values and intent of the founding fathers and that of the constitution for which we are all sworn?” 

Let’s put ego aside and reengage in the art of compromise and citizenship and respect for one another. 

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AlamogordoTownNews.com Railroad History Park Evolving on White Sands and 10th Street

The Tularosa Basin Museum in partnership with the merchants and partnership of Alamogordo MainStreet and the City of Alamogordo have come together to create a new park at the corner of 10th Street and White Sands. Just across from the Tularosa Basin Museum and Walgreen’s within eyeshot of the New York Avenue Cultural Arts and History District is the corner lot owned by the City of Alamogordo. 

Thanks to the leadership of Joe Lewandoski of the Tularosa Basin Historic Society in the leadership role of this project, working in collaboration with Brian Cesar, the City Manager for the City of Alamogordo, a dream of a City of Alamogordo Railroad Park is coming to life. A $20,000 grant facilitated by Alamogordo MainStreet granted by the Union Pacific Foundation was a kickstart for the new city park.

The park design at the Southeast corner of Alameda Park is in the near location of the water tower, view of the tracks but a safe distance and has the advantage of parking within the zoo parking so no need to cross street or railroad tracks. This portion of the park is historical, going all the way back to the founding of Alamogordo by the Eddy brothers.  This property is adjacent to the zoo which is the oldest continuing operating zoo in the southwest.

As people enter the park on the newly created concrete walkways, they will first view a semaphore (track switch/signal.) The signal to be on display was located at Alamogordo’s second railway depot. The unit was donated to the Tularosa Basin Museum from a donor from Belen who had acquired it. The unit is complete with all parts for installation. 

A park visitor to their right will eventually observe an excursion car similar to what was used on the rails going to Cloudcroft. The plan is to acquire one from the salvage yard of Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad. It is an 80% replica of what once ran on this line but not an exact. The plan is to modify it replicate the photo below…

Continuing on the newly created pathways of the park will be historical pillars with photographs and story boards telling the history of the railroad and photographs of the buildings and support history of the railroad areas of Alamogordo as seen in the early 1900s. Each pillar along the pathway will take the park goer back in time with a photo and history lesson of the past specific to the railroad.

During the years of the early railroad another historic structure that no longer exists is a water fountain that was an attraction for passengers in the early 1900’s that had a layover. The fountain of the early 1900’s represented an oasis in the desert and passengers in the early 1900’s saw Alamogordo as a modern and bustling oasis in the middle of the city. A replica of that fountain will be part of the new park.

Another feature of the park is a beautiful piece of metal work created by Larry Berry, a local business owner (Basin Pipe and Metal.) In the work are components and events from the Tularosa Basin, the railroad, the Mexican Trestle, the Avis Building etc. It is 16 feet long and 9 feet high and will serve as a beautiful display of public art on the site.

Landscaping and benches will enhance the park. The park is under construction under the leadership and project management of Joe Lewandowski with great assistance from Debra Lewandowski and a host of community partners.

Alamogordo is fortunate to have the talents of these individuals that can bring together a variety of community interest in the name of community to tell the history of Alamogordo and to further enhance the quest of developing the New York Avenue 10th Street corridor into the New York Avenue Cultural Arts and History District. 

Stay turned for a story later in the week on the Tularosa Basin Museum, an update on the Dudley restoration project also under the leadership of the Lewandowski’s and to learn more about these two passionate individuals that are driving the preservation of Alamogordo’s history forward with concrete action. 

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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.

#AlamogordoMainStreet #NewYorkAvenueAliveAfter5 #RoadrunnerEmporium #AlamogordoCenterofCommerce #ShopLocal #ExclusivelyAlamogordo #2ndLifeMedia #ArtistReneSepulveda #AuthorChrisEdwards

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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AlamogordoTownNews.com; Block/Melton & The Duplicity & Demagoguery around “Alamogordo’s Sanctuary Resolution”

Ex-Commissioner Couy Griffin Snug with Candidate John Block Coupled in Demagoguery

Ex-Commissioner Couy Griffin Snug with Candidate John Block Coupled in Demagoguery

demagogue, a popular leader, a leader of a mob,  people, populace, the commons or rabble-rouser is a political leader in a democracy who gains popularity by arousing the common people against elites or those that differ in thought, especially through oratory and written dialog that whips up the passions of crowds, appealing to emotion by scapegoating groups and individuals, exaggerating dangers to stoke fears, lying for emotional effect, or other rhetoric that tends to drown out reasoned deliberation and encourage fanatical popularity. Demagogues overturn established norms of political conduct or promise or threaten to do so by attacking those that question their thinking. 

The central feature of demagoguery is persuasion by means of passion, shutting down reasoned deliberation and consideration of alternatives. While many politicians in a democracy make occasional small sacrifices of truth, subtlety, or long-term concerns to maintain popular support, demagogues do these things relentlessly and without self-restraint. Demagogues “pander to passion, prejudice, bigotry, and ignorance, rather than reason. 

Sound familiar?

Otero County and Alamogordo is a city divided along ideological political lines in a perceived battle with the liberals of Northern New Mexico and the federal government in ongoing battles over ranching  and grazing rights, timber rights and directives from the BLM. 

There is an independent streak and a great deal of conservatism running in the veins of a majority of Alamogordo and Otero Counties citizens. There is an underlying distrust of “outsiders” and a definitive distrust of state and federal directives. 

The irony, Otero is the 3rd largest county in terms of land area in the state, with 6,613.21 square miles.  The population of Otero County in 2018 was 66,781, 3.19 percent of the state total, and ranked 9th in the state in terms of population. Only 10% of the land area is privately owned; the Federal government via the military and BLM, the Mescalero Apache Tribe, and the State Land Office own the remaining 90% of the land.

Alamogordo, with a population of 31,230 in 2018, represented 46.76 percent of the total population of the county.

Per capita income for Otero County during the last administration was $34,636. Per capita income for Otero County was 83.24 percent of the state average ($41,609) and 63.62 percent of the national average ($54,446) 

The percent growth of per capita income in Otero County between 2014 and 2018 of 8.61 percent was less than the state (11.91 percent) and the nation (15.70 percent).

Given that a majority of the land mass is outside of reach of the local government officials and given that incomes in the county significantly lag the state and national averages; then it is easy to understand the political culture of the area, and how extremist with demagogue tendencies rise to fill the void in leadership.

The most prolific of local leaders to gain national attention is Couy Griffin, Otero County Commissioner who raised his profile to the national stage in creating “Cowboys of Trump” and a fire and brimstone style of ideological propaganda that the masses embraced at the local level, at least at first. 

From his pulpit on the Otero County Commission, he led a variety of conversations and debate from participation in the alleged insurrection to being an election denier. Mr. Griffin gained national notoriety and took that notoriety onto the speaking circuits. His supporters used the pulpit and he fundraised against his trials and tribulations to the toon of thousands of dollars. Not bad for a County Commissioner whose stipend for service is less than $20,000 a year. There is a fundraiser now online of which his goal is $50,000 and the plea is his removal from office $15556 has been raised the last 30 days. Not bad for a month’s work.

Mr. Griffin, possibly seeing the writing on the wall to his legal issues, or possibly just tired of the scrutiny he was under, opted not to run for re-election. Amy Barrela is the favored candidate to win his commission seat this November verses candidate, Stephanie Dubois.

That leads up to the duo of Karl Melton, appointed City Commissioner for Alamogordo, and his domestic partner, John Block, candidate for NM State Representative District 51. 

With Griffin exiting stage left, and his influence waning, that created another opening for a new opportunistic demagogue.

The irony: this time, it’s not a rugged cowboy actor garnering for attention, fame and fortune on the backs of Otero County citizens, this time it is a young, educated, alleged conservative, LBGTQ duo, registered Republican, who profess Marjorie Taylor Green as a role model while professing fundamentalist Christian beliefs. 

The irony of Melton/Block an out LBGTQ+ couple professing fundamentalist Christianity and Marjorie Taylor Green as a role model can’t be over-emphasized. 

Per Multi-million-dollar Republican donor and American Capitalist Steve Forbes who supports the traditional Republican Party policies such as downsizing government agencies to balance the budget, tough crime laws, gun rights, rehabilitative justice, and support for the death penalty. He is editor and chief of Forbes Magazine and not a member of the perceived left-wing media influences. Thus, when Forbes Magazine of which he is editor and chief warns and highlights the demagogue rhetoric and antics of Marjorie Taylor Green, people should pay attention.

Per Forbes Magazine, “Greene baselessly claimedearlier this week that she believes straight people face extinction within 150 years during a segment on her streaming broadcast that airs on her social media accounts.” “Probably in about four or five generations, no one will be straight anymore,”Greene said. “Everyone will be either gay or trans or nonconforming or whatever the list of 50 or 60 different options there are.”

In other reporting by ultra-conservative Forbes Magazine, it highlighted the demagoguery of Marjorie Taylor Green and her conspiracy theories to include “that a devastating wildfire that ravaged California was started by “a laser” beamed from space and controlled by a prominent Jewish banking family. House minority whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) in June said some of Greene’s past comments were “disgusting” and racist, endorsing her Republican primary opponent along with House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).”

Yet, Marjorie Taylor Green is who the Melton/Block duo represent as a role model. Interesting since their role model spouts antisemitic propaganda and certainly propaganda counter to the lifestyle of the Melton/Block duo. 

The duo seems to be taking their lessons of demagoguery from the Marjorie Taylor Green playbook and preying upon Otero’s citizens via demagoguery, attacking those who differ with them in opinion or thought, inciting their followers to attack small business owners, and even the mayor, when they express a differing opinion to their own.

Conservative Republicans, to include the House Minority Leader, the Minority Whip and the Forbes family which are huge Republican donors, all speak against Marjorie Taylor Green’s style of conspiracy leadership within the Republican Party. The Melton/Block duo reference her as a role model. That role model should give us all as citizens whom this duo represents pause and alert us to the road ahead.

This admission explains exactly what we can expect from this duo – demagoguery.

Thus, with Couy Griffins exit and wanning media attention, this opportunistic duo launched their first act in the saga of Melton/Block duplicity. Then they went on the offensive via an old-fashioned style of demagoguery, attacking the mayor, those that challenge their first act, a young lady battling cancer, and of course alternative media and business owners that don’t fall in line with their theology. 

The propaganda and misinformation of a right-wing radicalized blogger, running as a candidate for a State Assembly District 51 from Otero County, New Mexico, John Block, and his domestic partner Karl Melton, has had Alamogordo, and Otero County up in arms and in a teether over a “resolution” that is a mere, opinion piece, and carries NO WEIGHT of LAW. 

Mr. Block’s radical falsehoods and accusations against those whose opinions differ from his, continues with untruths and attacks.  The aggression in their demagoguery MAY have even pushed them and a few of their followers to the edge, and in possible violations of election law “the Block/Melton – Big Lie.”

The lawful petition activity in an attempt to counter the “the Block/Melton – Big Lie” brought out enemies, including a partisan official who publicly encouraged a deceptive tactic, an error in judgement on his part. 

Typical in fashion of demagoguery, those that follow the demagogue often get hurt. 

Go sign their petition using the name of your favorite founding father. Creative belligerence is an amazing tactic to defeat your opponent,” wrote Joshua Beasley, chairman of the Republican Party of Otero County, where Alamogordo is the seat of government. 

Mr. Beasley later apologized. Beasley, in a county party email dated Sept. 2, said his inexperience as a party leader led him to the mistake when lobbying against the petition.

“I would like to take a moment of your time and apologize for my recent statement concerning the collection of petition signatures,” Beasley said on the email. “My sarcasm was a juvenile mistake. As I obtain more experience in this newly acquired position, I cannot promise a perfect performance, but I can promise I have the best of intentions for our county when representing and defending its constituents. I appreciate the feedback I have received from many of you and look forward to continuing to build a strong Otero County.”

Alamogordo resident, Jeff Swanson, filed a complaint against Beasley with the Secretary of State’s Office. Swanson cited a state statute outlawing forgery on election petitions or knowingly causing false information to be listed. Violating the law is a fourth-degree felony.

John Block, a blogger and the Republican nominee for state representative in Otero County’s District 51 furthered the demagoguery in his statements…

“A radical group of scammers calling themselves New Voices Otero is trying to trick pro-lifers into signing their bogus petition by claiming it will give the voters a choice to vote on the resolution, but they are not telling them that Alamogordo is already a sanctuary city for the unborn,” Block wrote.

It is NOT- legally the opinion piece or resolution passed has NO WEIGHT of LAW, thus Alamogordo IS NOT a “sanctuary city for the unborn” – more demagoguery and further evidence of “the Block/Melton – Big Lie.”

Myers, Swanson and others exercised their right to petition the government. In response, Block accused them of engaging in a fraudulent scheme, even as his Republican chairman urged people to sign the petitions with phony names.

Mr. Block then petitioned the city of Alamogordo under a request for public records for ANY communications to the City Clerk’s Office from Ashlie Myers or Jeff Swanson on September 1st.

Block labels himself as an “America First Republican,” though his version of a free country doesn’t seem to tolerate dissent. 

Karl Melton, who is Block’s partner, is an appointed city commissioner. Melton sponsored the resolution to label Alamogordo as a sanctuary for the unborn. He cried poverty in hopes of shutting down constituents who hope to overturn his resolution.

“There is no money budgeted this year for municipal elections, so if this petition receives enough signatures, the city would be forced to take away funding from important city-funded services,” Melton wrote on his Facebook page as a co-conspirator of more demagoguery and further evidence of “the Block/Melton – Big Lie”

Melton’s anti-abortion resolution had nothing to do with any city service, but he made it a public issue anyway. His next move was to use self-incrimination in hopes of silencing those who disagree with him. Melton told residents the city government he helps oversee “is so poorly run it doesn’t have a contingency fund.”

John Block, and his domestic partner, Karl Melton, appointed, crafted a fight within the city of Alamogordo, misleading local followers to believe by implying this is the first step in a fight to ensure abortions cannot happen, Planned Parenthood and other providers cannot come, and that Alamogordo is a “Sanctuary City for the Unborn.” 

In stirring that pot, this, gay duo, with their own slant to fundamentalist Christian valuesduped their followers and rallied the public to believe facts that are not true or are pure propaganda

What does the radicalized demagogue duo gain from this propaganda and attack on those that historically supported them?

Melton claimed, as reported in his domestic partners propaganda piece, that “I have brought forward Resolution 2022-38 because my constituents are worried Alamogordo has no resolution or ordinance on the books
protecting unborn life. 
This measure not only affirms life from conception to natural death, but it declares Alamogordo a Sanctuary City for the Unborn,”

said Melton.

Fact: Alamogordo is NOT “a sanctuary city for the unborn.” It may desire to be one, but legallyit is NOT. 

Mr. Melton is splitting hairs and misleading constituents, when he says there is no resolution or ordinance on the books protecting unborn life. 

Legally, New Mexico state law governs health related issues, local law cannot, therefore no local city ordinance nor resolution with the “power of law” can legally be on the books to protect the unborn life from abortion, as Mr. Melton insinuates. 

When Melton claims the resolution “declares Alamogordo a Sanctuary City for the Unborn,” he fails to educate the average citizen that the declaration has NO Power of Law and is meaningless.

The resolution carries the same weight of law as this writer declaring, Alamogordo is a sanctuary city for invading aliens from the planet of Mars.” The implication is that Martians are welcome and safe in Alamogordo. When I declare, “Alamogordo is a Sanctuary City to those from Mars,” it would be laughed at as just hyperbole, however when a government body passes a resolution and a seated commissioner goes on a propaganda tour, people want to believe that Alamogordo is truly a sanctuary city that protects the unborn via the power of local law – it is NOT!

Melton’s partner, John Block, said, “By boldly declaring our city a sanctuary for the unborn, you are not just making an important and necessary statement; you are declaring that those who wish to shed innocent blood are not welcome in our city and do not stand with the values our fervently pro-life community believes in.” 

While again, this is nice rhetoric and speaks well for Mr. Blocks fundraising efforts, (especially out of the area) as a talking point, it is absolutely not a statement of fact. The resolution is nothing but an opinion.

Mr. Block and Mr. Melton it appears collaborated in an effort to place the Sanctuary City for the Unborn resolution on the ballot. Mr. Melton expressed at a commission meeting that a large number of his constituents demanded action. 

(AlamogordoTownNews.com has a public records act request into the city to verify. We have a request with date and time stamps of the actual number of requests for action on this issue that was submitted to the city prior to it being placed on the agenda. Stay tuned.)

What is a fact is that Mr. Melton’s domestic partner, Mr. Block has worked for a non-profitWashington DC based advocacy group called Americans United for Life. It is a corporation, that received $3.2 million in income per its form 990 that states the company “advances the human right to life in culture, law and policy.” Per the filing it spent $810,610 “on litigation and legal affairs, through the courts to defend life and to protect first amendment conscience. AUL has a combined litigation and legislation strategy, drafting, advising and providing model pro-life legislation to legislators, working to help get it passed, then assisting attorneys in defending prolife laws.”

https://aul.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/AUL-FY21-Public-Disclosure-C…

Is Mr. Melton and Mr. Blocks intent to have Americans United for Life assist with attorney’s in defending this resolution or using it as a springboard for furthering their agenda?

 Mr. Block has used his propaganda blog heavily, to endorse the resolution his partner set forth. He then went on the offense to attack and defame those against it, including a young lady receiving treatment for cancer, the mayor a business leader and this new source and its leadership.

 Mr. Block and Mr. Melton are partners, thus this past financial family connection to this pro-life advocacy group and the timing of his election campaign, raises the question of did Mr. Melton indeed receive, “so many requests from constituents to sponsor this resolution?” 

(AlamogordoTownNews.com has requested copies via an open records request with date and time stamps of all constituent communications requesting this be placed on the agenda. We are awaiting full details from the city of Alamogordo. Since Mr. Melton is opposed to the Alamogordo City Code of Conduct, and all such communications may not be in the city database, this request may lead to further questions concerning ethics and integrity of the complete record of official city correspondence with the commissioner and his partner related to this issue and the integrity of said correspondence.)          

A question the citizens of Alamogordo should be asking is rather this effort to facilitate this resolution is part of a bigger plot at a potential legislation and used as a test balloon using the tools, learnings and support of the Washington DC Based Americans for Life, Mr. Blocks former employer? 

Given Mr. Block, Mr. Melton’s domestic partner was employed with Americans United for Life, was there coordination, assistance, financial support or guidance in this effort from Mr. Blocks past employer? Why didn’t Mr. Melton disclose the past family connection to Americans United for Life and the capacity in which his partner served at the time of sponsorship of this resolution? 

Should Mr. Melton have recused himself from sponsorship of this resolution and from debate and voting given his family tie and family financial gain, in the past, by affiliation with this pro-life advocacy group?  Have Mr. Melton or Mr. Block had any contact with this corporation or any of its employees leading up to the sponsorship of the resolution?

At a minimum, in the spirit of transparency, Mr. Melton should have gone on the record and disclosed that his family had financially gained in the past by a relationship and of his partners past employment with Americans United for Life. There should have been a full disclosure of the relationship that existed and rather the advocacy group had been in any consultation or referenced in any manner with the proposed resolution.  Mr. Melton with the disclosure should have recused himself from participating in the resolution vote. 

Mr. Block when making public comment and attacking his opponents should have disclosed his past affiliation. He should have disclosed his past role and financial dealings and rather there was any contact with his former pro-life employer for support, reference, guidance, marketing assistance, legal assistance, verbiage or financial assistance or other contact concerning the resolution his domestic partner brought forth. Mr. Block should have disclosed he had a past financial incentive to move the pro-life agenda forward.

Did Mr. Block or Mr. Melton violate the law? Probably not. Did they leave out information that was relevant to the issue and the debate? Yes, they did. Was their failure to disclose a breach of ethics? Probably, this situation would make an interesting topic for a university level civics class or law class as a dialog on ethics and standards or codes of conduct and disclosure for the public trust. But now we better understand Mr. Melton’s concern with a Code of Conduct for City Commissioners.

Attempts to influence the City Clerk to quash signatures and ultimately a vote?

Mr. Block and Mr. Melton went even further in effort to discredit the democratic process that attempted to bring the resolution to a vote via a petition. On September 8th a Request for Public Records was submitted on behalf of John Block for a copy of the entire petition with signatures, names addresses and phone numbers. Interestingly the signature at the bottom of the request is that or his domestic partner and city commissioner Karl Paul Melton. KPM. 

Thus, a collaboration and/or a co-conspiracy by the two to discredit the signatures of the petition begun. See below

With Mr Melton’s signature above Mr. Block  received the data did “his analysis” and then submitted “his” analysis to the City Clerk of Alamogordo in an attempt to influence the outcome. He stated: “I am passing this along to help you in your validation process.”

See letter from John Block to the city clerk. 

His analysis did not necessarily match the Clerks own analysis.

Mr. Block attempted to suppress this authors vote with false information that “this author is not registered to vote” and included a link to the indictment of the settled court case as alleged evidence of why my vote should not be counted.

New Mexico State laws states: ”If you have been convicted of a felony, you can register to vote once you have completed the court-ordered sentence of imprisonment, including any term of parole or probation for the conviction. This provision includes federal, state and out-of-state convictions.”

Mr. Block has gone on the record that he does not believe in “rehabilitative Justice” thus his attempt to suppress votes but only of those that differ from him. 

But the city clerk was a professional and reminded Mr. Block that he cannot be involved in the research to certify rather signatures were acceptable or not…

The city clerk clarified that she cannot even look at his analysis until she completed hers. 

The question citizens should ask is did Mr Block really believe his analysis would be considered?

He is allegedly experienced enough in government to know the ins and outs of process and should know of the clerk had considered his research then she would have set the city up for significant litigation exposure. 

He was either naive?

Or was he and partner Karl Melton who signed for the information requested, attempting to influence the results of the clerks audit of which places him, the city and his partner Karl Melton in the crosshairs of potential litigation on charges of “voter interference,” “voter suppression” and with other actions, not covered in this story at this time, “voter intimidation.” 

In the end, Mr. Block via his propaganda blog released a story that the city was not qualifying the petition and he was rabble-rousing and spinning a story that the petition failed due to not enough qualified signatures…”they failed to get a mere 589 signatures” he claimed thus why it failed.

He released his story prior to the city officially releasing a press release detailing the reason. He ran with the “failed to gain signatures narrative” and still runs with narrative as does his partner the seated Commissioner.

The truth is the petition was disqualified because the “initial steps in the process was not followed correctly to prequalify the petition” from the City Clerk prior to gathering signatures…

Since the resolution was non-binding, it never should have been considered for petition, as the resolution has no meaning, other than an opinion, it has NO bearing of law. A resolution is not law.

The question the community must demand an answer for is what was the real motive behind Mr Melton and Mr. Block to sponsor this resolution that had no power of law?

Who were they in bed with to bring this into the public realm?

What was the real reason for the intensity of the fight by the Block/Melton Duo? 

Why the tactics of defamation against the mayor, voter suppression tactics and the fever pitch of demagoguery against those that disagreed with the resolution? 

Why was it so important for Mr. Block to ensure his analysis of voters that signed the petition to vote on a meaningless resolution “was on the record”?

The central feature of demagoguery is persuasion by means of passion, shutting down reasoned deliberation and consideration of alternatives. Demagogues “pander to passion, prejudice, bigotry, and ignorance, rather than reason.

Mr. Block and Mr. Melton went all out together for a resolution with no meaning? Mr. Melton sees no sense in a code of conduct for the city commissioners? Was this a trail balloon for something else? What’s next as act 2 in the saga of Melton/Block political duplicity?

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AlamogordoTownNews.com From Couy Griffin to The Hague Language Matters, Let’s Understand Gratitude

From Couy Griffin to a comunique from The Hague, the understanding of words matter, and there is no better place to start understanding the interpretation of words then via “Gratitude.”

Gratitude, you know it when you see it or feel it but what does it mean? Does it mean the same thing to you as to an Italian, a Russian or a citizen of China?

Spanish speakers say “gracias” to express their gratitude. Italians show appreciation with a “grazie.” Both of these words come from the Latin root “gratia,” which denotes grace, graciousness, and gratefulness. For those who speak Spanish and Italian, their way of saying “thank you” has purely positive connotations.

The French “merci,” on the other hand, derives from the Old French “mercit” and the Latin “mercedem.” Both of these words denote forgiveness and pity, which are tinged with guilt along with gratitude.

Pan east across the globe and you’ll find other translations of gratitude that aren’t only positive in association. In Japan and Korea, gratitude is often expressed by saying “I’m sorry” and the terms for gratitude and indebtedness are used almost interchangeably.

These linguistic differences only scratch the surface of both the problem and the potential of studying gratitude, which is this: gratitude manifests in distinct ways across different societies. It follows that research should should capture the diversity of these expressions. But while the past two decades have seen an explosion in gratitude research, studies remain extremely narrow in scope.

Up to this point, the majority of research on gratitude has been conducted on people from Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic nations.

What we know about gratitude comes mostly from findings in Western and Northern Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand. Even though research on the subject is booming, the sample size represents only a sliver of humanity and the 7 Billion occupants.

Researchers have conducted studies across Latin America, from Mexico to Guatemala to Chile, though they’ve focused largely on university students and have skipped Caribbean countries altogether. Several Eastern European countries are represented in studies, including Russia and Romania, as well as in certain Middle Eastern countries like Jordan and Turkey. Some research has focused on China, Japan, and India, as well as most countries in Southeast Asia, but Central Asia is missing from the literature. African societies are sparsely investigated, with only a few gratitude-related studies completed in Ghana and Cape Verde, and research on Pacific Island societies is virtually nonexistent.

It’s not just large swaths of the globe that go unexamined. Studies comparing multiple societies help uncover the cultural specifics and universals of gratitude—yet only a handful of research papers are explicitly cross-cultural. And even these cross-cultural studies are limited in scope.

Why is this important and why is understanding gratitude across multiple cultures important? As we become an even more interconnected world words matter and how those words are interpreted in some circles can make the difference in a business deal closing or not or in a political crises being solved or not or worse a war being waged or not. Understanding linguistics is a key element to enlightenment and moving a society forward. Gratitude studies is a good first step in understanding human reactions to words.

Words matter, locally we see how words have mattered in politics.

The use of words to instill fear and ignite a base of people has been the hallmark of Couy Griffin, those words interpreted and followed by his actions put his character and intention completely under scrutiny.

Had he chosen his words differently, he might have been interpreted differently, for what is really in his heart, verses what is perceived. Hearing of words and seeing his words, one wonders what is really in his heart?

Actions matter but so do words and understanding the meaning and context of those words are key to a civil society.

Thus university studies on gratitude are a great starting point locally and on the international stage.  When it comes to cross-cultural studies on gratitude, most researchers have focused their investigations on how people express thanks. The goal has been to distinguish the feeling of gratitude from its linguistic practice. In the United States, saying “thank you” to someone may indicate that one feels gratitude toward that person, or at least for their actions. But this isn’t necessarily the case in non-English speaking societies, where verbal expression and emotion can be less intertwined.

The approach of asking participants about the extent to which they currently feel “grateful,” “thankful,” and “appreciative” carries obvious limitations. Many languages don’t have identical translations to map the nuanced distinctions between these words. Beyond linguistic variations in people’s conceptions and expressions of gratitude, major social and even religious differences exist across cultures.

Thus a study is being conducted and led by Michael McCullough at the University of California, San Diego, and in collaboration with the Psychological Science Accelerator, the team plans to study how to measure gratitude and its effects in at least fifty countries around the world. “We believe that crossing the next scientific frontier of gratitude research will require researchers to cross their own cultural and geographic frontiers to explore the shared and unique terrains of gratitude,” writes McCullough. The team hopes to increase standardization of gratitude measures across cultures and facilitate future research by bringing together current multi-cultural data on gratitude into a single, open-access database. Ultimately, the project will transform gratitude research by setting a new roadmap for future scholars wanting to investigate questions around the universality of gratitude.

From the linguistic phrases of Couy Griffin locally to the use of “thank you” in over 50 countries this study like most on linguistics is important to human development and enlightenment in Otero County as well as in The Hague. 

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AlamogordoTownNews.com Doomsday Nuclear Clock Inches Closer. Is Alamogordo Prepared? History of Preparedness

Kirtland Air Force Base, which abuts and shares some runways with the Albuquerque airport, has become an important nuclear weapons complex. It hosts the Air Force’s Nuclear Weapons Center, Sandia National Laboratories, and what is probably the nation’s (and perhaps the world’s) largest repository of nuclear weapons, estimated at up to 2,500 warheads.
Kirtland AFB is the third largest installation in Air Force Global Strike Command. (Others include Barksdale Air Force Base, Malmstrom Air Force Base, Minot Air Force Base, F. E. Warren Air Force Base.)

Alamogordo as a testing ground for military aircraft, drones and other top-secret programs and as the convergence point of Holloman Air Force Base, Fort Bliss, and White Sands Testing Grounds as such Alamogordo is also a strong potential target in the event of a superpower nuclear exchange.

Alamogordo, New Mexico located in the nearby Jornada del Muerto desert, the U.S. Army’s White Sands Missile Range was the site of the world’s first nuclear explosion. The so-called “Trinity” Test was carried out as part of the Manhattan Proj­ect, a nuclear weapon research operation begun in 1939. The project took place simultaneously in sev­eral locations: the weapons were developed in Los Alamos, New Mexico; uranium-235 was enriched at Oak Ridge, Tennessee; and plutonium-239 was pro­duced at Hanford, Washington. 

The desert near Alamogordo, New Mexico was chosen as the test site.

On July 14, 1945, the world’s first nuclear bomb, a plutonium implosion device code-named “The Gadget” was installed on top of a 30 m tower. The construction was equivalent to the one used for the “Fat Man” bomb, which was dropped on Nagasaki only a few weeks later. Scientists and military officers ob­served the test from a distance of 10–32 km.

On July 16, 1945, at 5:29:45 am the “Gadget” was detonated, with an explosive power equivalent to 20 kilotons of TNT, causing a bright flash of light, a mush­room cloud that grew to a height of about 12 km, and a shock wave that was felt 250 km away from Ground Zero. “Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds” were the famous words of J.R. Oppenheimer upon seeing the explosion. 

Trinity was the first of more than 2,000 nuclear tests, which contaminated the world’s atmosphere with radioactive particles known as nuclear fallout.

Doomsday Clock- 2 Minutes till Doom…

The Cold War ended nearly three decades ago and then the Doomsday Clock was set to 17 minutes to midnight. The Clock, designed in 1947 by artist Martyl Langsdorf and set by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, signifies how close the world is to a “nuclear apocalypse.” 

For the first time since 1953, the world is two minutes away from nuclear destruction.

While the world has faced the Clock’s proximity to midnight before and lived to see the minute hand move backward, the world – and thus the Clock – is currently influenced by a number of different factors that did not exist in 1953. 

Perhaps the newest and most relevant is the higher probability of a nuclear weapon falling in the hands of a terrorist group or rogue state, but even more current and possibly pushing the superpowers to the edge is the war in the Ukraine. Under the Putin regime with his ill health, a war he is losing and the recent call to increase his troops he has said, he would “not rule out the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine nor against those assisting the Ukraine against Russia.”  Additionally, tensions in the Pacific Theater have increased the last 4 years with China flexing its muscles. 

These threats show that Alamogordo, and targets in New Mexico and the US should revisit their civil defense plans.

If one plugs into the Nukemap, the region around Alamogordo and the threat of one of Russia’s nuclear weapons that could be pointed to the regions of New Mexico one sees that the death tolls in the area around Alamogordo would be around 40,630 with 19,470 injured. 

With a rising threat of a nuclear exchange, one wonders what plans Otero County and the city of Alamogordo have in place in the event of a nuclear exchange.

Let’s review the history of nuclear exchanges and civil defense to see how we got to where we are today in Otero County New Mexico.

US History of Nuclear Disaster Preparedness:

Today, fallout shelter signs represent remnants of the nuclear disaster preparedness plans that the United States government intermittently encouraged or funded during the Cold War, from the 1950s through the 1980s.

In 1950, United States Congress created the Federal Civil Defense Administration (FCDA), to guide states’ actions in regards to civil defense policy. As such, FCDA was largely responsible for the first nuclear shelters.

In 1952, the FCDA – with the help of the Ad Council – created nine different short films about preparedness. These films included the famous Duck and Cover drill with Bert the Turtle, which portrayed students saving themselves from a nuclear attack by hiding underneath their school desks. Today, these films are seen as ill-informed, and even were used to make a 1982 satirical film, Atomic Cafe, about the misinformation the United States government gave to American soldiers and citizens in the early years of the Cold War.

During the early 1950s, the FCDA also encouraged Americans to begin building at-home nuclear fallout shelters. Each shelter was supposed to have at least two weeks of supplies, the recommended amount of time for staying in the shelter after an attack. At the time, however, Congress and the Executive Branch did not directly support this initiative due to the prohibitive cost of creating a system of nuclear fallout shelters across the country.

Following the Soviet Union’s test of the hydrogen bomb in 1953 and the release by the United States of the effects of its first thermonuclear bomb (“hydrogen bomb”) test, Mike, detonated in the Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands in 1952, the Eisenhower administration determined that shelter programs were no longer effective and instituted evacuation plans instead. Both hydrogen bomb tests’ effects seemed to convince the public that it was not possible to survive a nuclear detonation, unless people were warned in advance of the attack. Evacuation planning over shelter planning was, though, only proposed by the FCDA until March 1954, right after the United States tested its most powerful hydrogen bomb, Castle Bravo. Bravo was tested on Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands and had a yield 1,000 times higher than the Hiroshima bomb. The testing resulted in severe radioactive contamination of numerous islands, which continues to impact the Marshallese society today. This occurrence led Congress and the FCDA to determine again that shelters were necessary for citizens’ protection.

The FCDA proposed a National Shelter Policy, which according to Homeland Security would have cost around $32 billion. The necessity of this policy was supported by the Gaither Report, commissioned by President Eisenhower in 1957, and, the Rockefeller Report in 1958, lead by Henry Kissinger. Evidence presented in these two reports, though, was not enough for President Eisenhower, who refused to take action towards enacting the policy. Instead, he replaced the FCDA with the newly created the Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization (OCDM), which eventually became the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and the Office of Emergency Planning (OEM).

With the election of a new president, John F. Kennedy, shelters resurfaced as an important element of civil defense against a nuclear attack as the United States government directly advocated for and funded nuclear fallout shelters. In September of 1961, The Community Fallout Shelter Program began, following an extensive survey to determine shelter locations. Each shelter had to be able to serve at least fifty people, who were given a storage space of 1 cubic foot. The program set out to supply local shelter sites with materials to defend against the effects of radiation. The OCD allocated water drums, food rations, sanitation kits, medical kits, radiation detectors, and package ventilation kits to each of the shelters, which were directly run and maintained by local government’s civil defense offices. In October, Kennedy asked Congress to allot $100 million to create public fallout shelters across the country. By the end of 1961, the Department of Defense had created a 46-page booklet about the shelters, including instructions of what to do if a nuclear attack occurred. These booklets were distributed to post offices across the country. According to the Department of Homeland Security, by the end of 1963, nine million public shelters had been identified and supplied.

On October 6th, 1961, President Kennedy also encouraged American families to begin building private nuclear bomb shelters in their homes. This effort arguably proved less successful than the public shelters effort, since only about 1.4% of American families implemented President Kennedy’s message.

Preparedness for a nuclear disaster became a top priority for a final time under President Ronald Reagan’s administration (1981 to 1989). Following the creation of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) under President Jimmy Carter, President Reagan made nuclear disaster preparedness plans and evacuation routes a top priority, by asking Congress to allocate $4.2 billion for civil defense spending. While congress only allocated $147.9 million to the cause, this push for civil defense nuclear planning became the last of its kind to this day, following the end of the Cold War shortly after the end of the Reagan administration.

US Nuclear Preparedness Today

In the post- Cold War era (1991- today) the United States, along with other nations, faces a new kind of nuclear threat. During the Cold War, the United States’ main nuclear opponent was the Soviet Union. Today, the United States faces a threat of a nuclear disaster not only from other countries, such as North Korea, Iran, or other rogue nations, but also from terrorist groups, who could easily access the materials and information necessary to construct a nuclear weapon. In addition, one cannot dismiss the possibility of a disaster stemming from accidental use of weapons currently in the United States’ own arsenal or other countries’ arsenals.

One threat facing the world today is missing weapons-grade materials from the old Soviet nuclear stockpile. In order to build a nuclear weapon, one would need plutonium (Pu 239) or highly-enriched uranium (HEU), uranium with a concentration of U235 higher than 20%. During unstable economic times, former Soviet nuclear personnel used to sell HEU on the side. The Soviet Union never created an inventory list of its nuclear materials, so most of the material that was and is stolen during and after the Cold War isn’t known to be missing. Between 1991 and 2002, there were fourteen confirmed cases of theft of weapons-useable nuclear material from Russia’s nuclear stockpile. Russia currently has 680 metric tons of HEU, over half of the total amount that exists in the world. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a significant quantity of HEU, meaning “the approximate amount of nuclear material for which the possibility of manufacturing a nuclear explosive device cannot be excluded,” is 25 kg or 55.1 lbs. Since Russia does not disclose its plutonium stockpile to the IAEA, it is unknown how much the nation currently possesses. According to the IAEA, a significant quantity of plutonium is 8 kg or 17.6 lbs.

The uncertainty surrounding unguarded weapons-useable nuclear material is not limited to Russia. In 2007, six nuclear warheads were accidentally flown from an Air Force Base in North Dakota to Louisiana. The warheads were missing for 24 hours before officials in Louisiana discovered the error.

According to the Federation of American Scientists, there are over 14,000 declared nuclear warheads in the world today, and given the yet to be successful intentions for a world free of nuclear weapons, the threat of a nuclear disaster still looms large. As Dr. Redlener states: “There is no putting the toothpaste back in the tube here. …. I cannot imagine circumstances where we can get verifiable information of elimination of all nuclear weapons on the planet. I think we do have to come to grips with that … and make sure that we have done everything possible to control any situation that might result in a nuclear detonation.”

The United States and its citizens are not currently prepared for the aftereffects of a nuclear disaster of any type, whether an air missile from another nation, an attack on the ground from a terrorist or terrorist group, or some kind of accidental detonation. 

We live in a state with the nation’s (and perhaps the world’s) largest repository of nuclear weapons, estimated at up to 2,500 warheads.

What is the local plan in the event of a nuclear exchange. Has the Otero County Commission or the City of Alamogordo’s leadership reviewed an emergency preparedness plan in recent decades? Is the plan visible and easy to find online by the common citizen?

When one does a basic google search for a nuclear preparedness plan for Otero County or Alamogordo one finds a comprehensive plan for Albuquerque understandably, one is found for Cloudcroft with 9 mentions of the nuclear threat in their civil defense plan and easily found on Google. A plan for Otero County and Alamogordo may exist however if it does it was difficult for the public to find, review or comment on.

Per the Albuquerque plan, “Albuquerque is identified in the latest Nuclear Attack Planning Base (NAPB) as a high-risk area, subject to blast over­pressures > 2.0 pound per square inch in the
unlikely event of nuclear attack. Approximately 465,912 evacuees from the city and
nearby areas will be assigned to locations within Bernalillo County and other New
Mexico counties for shelter”

https://www.cabq.gov/office-of-emergency-management/documents/Annex9Tra…

Cloudcrofts plan mentions the nuclear threat 9 times to include succession planning…

“In a Civil Defense emergency due to threat or occurrence of a nuclear incident, succession to elected and appointed Village or County officials will be as provided in the New Mexico Disaster Succession Act(Chapter 12, Article 11) designated Successors may serve only as
permitted by the Act.”

https://www.villageofcloudcroftnm.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Emerge…

A plan may exist for Otero County and for the city of Alamogordo, state law requires the various government bodies to have emergency preparedness plans, but the nuclear preparedness for Otero County and Alamogordo is not easily found. If one exists, please forward the links so we may alert the public to the plan. 

If one does not exist or has not been updates in the last decade, it may indeed be time to review given America’s nuclear scientist access we are 2 minutes from doom. 

What are some tips in the event of attack?

While it may seem unlikely that a person could survive a nuclear attack, there are seven simple actions that one can take to save his or her life – assuming that one is far enough (more than .5 miles away) from the core of the explosion. They are:

(1) Do not stare at the light from the flash because it will blind a person instantly and keep your mouth open to handle the pressure released from the initial blast. 

(2) Decide to move ten to twenty minutes walking distance away from the blast site or seek shelter either below ground or above the 9th floor of a building, to avoid the effects of fallout from the mushroom cloud. 

(3) Move crosswind from damaged buildings if you choose to leave, but only for 10-20 minutes. (4) Keep your mouth, skin, and nose covered as much as possible.

(5) Remove your clothes, rinse off with a hose, while holding your breath. Seek medical care if possible. 

(6) Stay in the shelter for 12-24 hours after an attack to avoid the initial massive amount of exposure to radiation after a nuclear attack, or as long as instructed by the government. Only leave shelter once you know the direction to move.

The people of Otero County have survived a nuclear blast from the past.

However significant cancer rates etc. exist with those impacted and the Downwinders Group is fighting that fight.  An in-depth story on the plight of the Downwinders will be in the upcoming issue of Southeastern New Mexico Influence Magazine due for release mid-September 2022. Stay tuned to our publications and that of Southeastern New Mexico Influence Magazine to learn more.

An interesting resource to hear on stories of the Trinity Site via oral histories is

https://www.manhattanprojectvoices.org/search/node/trinity

Story Sources: The map used for research in this story is “The NUKEMAP” which is intended as an educational resource. It should not be used for emergency planning or emergency response purposes where lives and health might be on the line. It is not a perfect simulation. The NUKEMAP was created for educational “NUKEMAP by Alex Wellerstein (https://nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap/),”and the map imagery was created by “Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors, CC-BY-SA, Imagery © Mapbox.” Other resources for this article are the K1 Project of Columbia University and NukeWatch.org, the University of New Mexico and FEMA, the Village of Cloudcroft, NM Offices of Resource Management and Preparedness. 

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AlamogordoTownNews.com Otero County Area Gets State & Federal Infrastructure & Military Grants

A large number of projects are getting a good deal of funding for the cities in Otero County as a result of the Federal Infrastructure Bill and via New Mexico Capital Outlay grants.

The state of New Mexico identified 200 wells in need of plugging for the initial grant application through the U.S. Department of Interior, located throughout the southeast Permian Basin and northwest San Juan Basin regions. Twenty Five Million was allocated to New Mexico for cleanup under $25 million in federal funds granted per the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

About $398 million has been dedicated to construction projects, known as capital outlay, throughout the state.

Grants for infrastructure require local money and are also funded by the state via The Capital Outlay process and by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funding and requests on budget bills by our elected Representatives of Congress and the Senate.

Local projects getting New Mexico Capital Outlay money include:

Improvements to the County’s public address system: $112,000

Otero County Sheriff’s Office vehicles:$400,000

Alamogordo

Construction at Alameda Park Zoo: $300,000

Irrigation system replacement at Alamogordo city golf course: $1.1 million

Field improvements at Alamogordo High School: $1.3 million

Construction at Buena Vista Elementary School: $340,000

Vehicles for Alamogordo Police Department:$314,000

Blind and Visually Impaired (NMBV): $177,000

NMBV playground construction: $950,000

Replacement of the theater roof at NMSU Alamogordo: $1 million

Cloudcroft

City vehicles and equipment: $305,000

Waterline replacement on Corona Avenue:$55,000

La Luz

Replacing three water wells: $130,000

Mescalero Apache Tribe

Sanitation Facility: $378,500

Water tank improvements: $78,530

Ski Apache improvements: $648,209

Tularosa

Vehicle purchase: $227,000

Village hall and police state repairs: $150,000

Water system improvements: $100,000

Additional Federal Grants pouring into Otero County include:

Holloman Air Force Basin received $40 million to support its training facilities for MQ-9 aircraft, an unmanned aircraft used in military defense operations.

All of U.S. MQ-9 personnel are trained at Holloman and the funding would go to building a facility specifically for these training activities.

The project was funded in Fiscal Year 2020, but was deferred to free up funds of a wall at the U.S.’ southern border with Mexico.

The base will also receive about $2 million for planning and design of an indoor target flip facility at the base.

This facility will help Holloman measure the radar characteristics of aircraft and devise an aircraft’s vulnerability to enemy radar detection.

The 34,000 facility would upgrade existing technology in use for such research and include a mechanical flip fixture and 40-ton overhead crane needed for the measurements

White Sands Missile Range will also get $1.3 million in the omnibus bill for an assembly facility for long-range missiles. These projectiles are used to attack enemies from far away to reduce the risk of U.S. personnel from enemy fire.

The facility is already planned and will also be used to test and evaluate the missiles constructed. The funding would push forward its planning and design phase.

The voting of these projects at the State Level Senator Griggs supported.

The Federal level funding received approvals of the two New Mexico Senators and the approvals of all members of the House of Representatives except oddly, local Representative, Evette Herrell voted against the Federal Infrastructure Bill.

We all agree the State and Federal budgets are bloated however the founding fathers crafted the “peoples house” to manage the nations purse strings with the theory each representative would fight to “bring home the bacon” to their home districts. 

Specific to the budget and economics this term, Ms Herrell has sponsored 1 bill and co-sponsored 2 specific to budgeting and the economy:

Herrell Sponsored Economic Legislation

H.R.6711 – Stop Funding Our Adversaries Act of 2022– This legislation would bar any federal spending from funding research by or connected to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) or the Chinese Communist America’s position in the world, legitimize the CCP, and fails to hold the CCP accountable for imposing health and economic harms to the United States and other countries around the world.

Co-Sponsored Legislation

H.R.5586 – Prohibiting IRS Financial Surveillance Act

H.R.5451 – Protecting Financial Privacy Act 

The budget for the city of Alamogordo is on solid grounds and receiving a large numbers of state and Federal grants to move projects within the city forward and to further enhance the life of local citizens while continuing to build reserves. 

Meanwhile, the county funded a $100,000 frivolous lawsuit that most legal scholars suggest it will loose, it’s audit was NOT pristine, and it’s budget is at risk of funding the services needed. Under the county watch the new jail is not staffed properly that taxpayers paid millions for, and we are paying a premium to send our prisoners to other counties due to staffing problems, all the while crime is spiking further and adding to costs to the county budget. Nonpartisan leadership is needed at the county level to stabilize finances and get the jail billables in order.

Collaboration is what is needed at all levels County, State and Federal verses partisanship, to ensure state and federal grants continue to pour into projects this community needs to carry it forward. Responsible leadership looks at other municipalities across the nation and implements best practices to sustainability.

Economic sustainability and the public welfare means a combination of public private partnerships, local taxpayer funding, state and federal grants and collaborations across ideological differences for the public good: 

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