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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How self-aware are you?

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

How coachable are you?

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

How dedicated are you?

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

How empathetic are you?

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

How practical are you?

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

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

Image via Pixabay

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

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

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

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

928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo, New Mexico 88310

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

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

About the Book Series:

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

Book one titled Coach Robert (Bob) Louis Sepulveda: The Early Years released last year to critical acclaim.

Co-written by authors; Chris Edwards & Rene Sepulveda, book one of the series begins with the Alamogordo, New Mexico athletic program of 1916 progressing through today. The focus is on the track & field and its paths that crossed into interscholastic football and cross country. The series is a comprehensive history that tells the stories of the many personalities from 1916 to 1996 that influenced New Mexico and national interscholastic, collegiate, and pro sports including the NFL; in Track and Field, Cross Country, High School Football and beyond.

The book series takes on issues of the launch of national interscholastic sports standards, school sports integration, Girl’s Title IX implementation, the politics of high school football athletics and more.

The series contains the records of 100s of young athletes, rich in dialog and interviews with athletes, coaches, and more. The series factoids highlight successes and failures of some great athletes & coaches, plus history lessons related to athletics. The central characters in the book are Coaches, Bob and Marilyn Sepulveda, paired with a variety of characters that played a role in the program success of the Alamogordo, New Mexico Track and Field, Cross Country & Football programs over 9 decades.

Coach Bob Sepulveda, New Mexico Coach of the Year for boy’s track; 1982, 1991 and 1996. Received the NHSACA Region 8 Coach of the Year in 1982, 1991 and 1996, Section 6 Coach of the Year in 1991 and 1996. Along with his wife Marilyn, both, received the New Mexico High School Coaches Association Level IV Coaching Milestone ring in 1989. He and his wife Marilyn were inducted into the Alamogordo Tiger Hall of Fame in 1988.

            “Coach Bob Sepulveda is just a good, hard-working coach and a good responsible person who cared about the kids in his charge. That for anyone who’s paying attention, is all the message that’s necessary”, per a Commentary in the Albuquerque Journal by Rick Wright  titled Message There for Those who Watch, Listen,Friday May 13, 1994

About the Artists & Roadrunner Emporium

Roadrunner Emporium showcases the works of southern New Mexico artists Delia Lopez Holloway, Marty Torres, the sculptured tree trunk artwork creations of Artist Rene Sepulveda and over 45 partners displaying their artistic creations from painting and sculptures to embroidery, needlepoint, hand woven designs, Native American arts and more. This event is open to the public showcasing local Southern New Mexico artistic talent.

This open house from 6 to 8 will feature live music, light appetizers and is a meet the local artists event Roadrunner Emporium Fine Art, Antiques & More, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo New Mexico. Open daily 10 am to 7 pm. Closed Sundays.

Get past Masks, Universal Basic Income is the New Debate

While a small group of vocal locals are myopically (without thinking about anything outside your own situation) or short sightedly focused on not wearing masks or fighting against vaccines a real undercurrent of change is happening, and this vocal group needs to step back and look at the bigger world of issues that are about to it taxpayers on the horizon. This is not some esoteric idea from California but being tested not too far from here in New Mexico.

At least two New Mexico cities – Las Cruces and Santa Fe – are already considering, or moving forward with, targeted guaranteed basic income pilot projects

The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted state and federal governments to send direct payments to citizens and is now fast tracking the dialog around a Basic Universal Income that in the past was considered a fringe idea. The newest debate on the horizon could center on guaranteed basic income, a policy that provides low-income residents with regular financial payments.

The argument:

In our country today, 40% of earners make $20K or less a year. What’s even more shocking is that 40% of earners actually make less than the 1968 minimum wage.

In Portland Maine, for example, the poverty wage for 1 adult with 2 children is $9 per hour. The state’s minimum wage is $10 and the living wage is estimated to be at approximately $29 per hour. The Personal Care and Service industries in Maine, which represents a large part of unskilled employment, is at or below the poverty level at an average of $23,288 annual income for an adult with 2 children. The required annual income for this demographic is estimated to be $59,101 before taxes.

Maine is not alone. Almost every area of the United States shows that workers are earning well below what is considered a livable wage.

MIT Defines a living wage via its living wage index for New Mexico as 28.65 an hour for a single adult with a child. Their living wage calculator methodology is the hourly rate that an individual in a household must earn to support his or herself and their family. The assumption is the sole provider is working full-time (2080 hours per year). The tool provides information for individuals, and households with one or two working adults and zero to three children. In the case of households with two working adults, all values are per working adult, single or in a family unless otherwise noted.

The state minimum wage is the same for all individuals, regardless of how many dependents they may have. Data are updated annually, in the first quarter of the new year. State minimum wages are determined based on the posted value of the minimum wage as of January one of the coming year (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2019). The poverty rate reflects a person’s gross annual income. We have converted it to an hourly wage for the sake of comparison.

https://livingwage.mit.edu/states/35

An Explanation of a VESTED Economy and how everyone earns a livable wage…

In a vested economy, everyone earns a livable wage. No one is left behind. No one is underpaid. The technical explanation is that a vested economy is one in which the market surplus is distributed to the individual laborers who produce the surplus through an equitable process. Individuals become vested by successfully completing one or more requirements. For example, someone can be vested by completing an educational requirement or serving in the military. The non-technical explanation is that vested economics provides a metaphorical sponge for absorbing an economy’s excess supply of goods and services and a distribution mechanism called National Vesting for apportioning that excess back to its producers in an equitable manner. In other words, no one has to earn a poverty wage ever again.

The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted some countries to send direct payments to citizens and is now fast tracking the dialog around a Basic Universal Income that in the past was considered a fringe idea.

In an attempt to put low-income workers on more solid financial footing, New Mexico lawmakers in recent years have approved a minimum wage increase and a paid sick leave requirement, among other policies.

Several legislators said they’re planning to watch the local-level efforts play out before possibly moving forward with a statewide proposal.

Santa Fe’s guaranteed basic income pilot program that will be funded by a national advocacy group as a “stability stipend.” It will provide 100 people under age 30 who have children and are attending Santa Fe Community College with monthly payments of at least $400.

Several other cities nationwide are also moving forward with similar programs that follow on the heels of Stockton, California, which provided 125 low-income people with $500 a month for two years.

New Mexico has long struggled with high poverty rates and more than 926,000 state residents – or about 44% of the state’s total population – were enrolled in Medicaid as of May.

 While state revenue levels have been on the upswing since plummeting at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing just 10% of those residents with $100 monthly financial payments would cost roughly $111 million annually.
But there could be different types of funding mechanisms available if New Mexico were to pursue such a policy, as Alaska has long offered its full-time residents an annual dividend based on the investment earnings on mineral royalties. The dividend amount for 2020 was $992 per person.

The Albuquerque Journal reported:

Las Cruces City Councilor Johana Bencomo, who is leading the push for a basic income program in the southern New Mexico city, described the traditional approach to addressing poverty as “patronizing and patriarchal,” and said cash payments allow recipients to use the money as they deem fit.

“I do believe that poverty is a policy choice,” said Bencomo, who is also executive director of a nonprofit group that advocates for immigrant and worker rights.

She also cited the impact of cash assistance programs funded by federal relief dollars during the pandemic, which included one-time payments of $750 for those who didn’t qualify for a federal stimulus check.”

During the presidential run Andrew Yang the Silicon Valley Billionaire brought the topic forward as a credible discussion siting the transition of business to a technology driven economy that he believes will displace up to 24% of the population from present employment types. Times and jobs are changing and while we are myopic in our arguments on masks, vaccines and the school system approach the rest of the world is moving forward in ways that could leave Otero County in the dustbowl of poverty unless elected leaders begin recruiting tourism, cultural arts and technology industries to the area to compete. 

With a solid business base of livable wage employment, a Universal Basic Income policy is a non-starter. However in areas of poverty without employment opportunities for livable wages or where there is huge income inequity with a shrinking middle class the theory takes hold and government is forced into seeking alternatives or action.

The action voters need to demand now is that the city commissioners and county commissioners partner with the state and federal governments and do real business recruitment and put ideological social issues aside and drive business opportunity. November 2nd several commissioner seats and the mayors office will be on the ballot. 

Consider this when voting. Register and get out and participate. Let your voice be heard at the ballot box.

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AlamogordoTownNews.com The Couy Griffin Interview – France, The Recall and Dark Days…

AlamogordoTownNews.com The Couy Griffin Interview…

AlamogordoTownNews.com as a community citizen-based publication is actively engaged in digging deeper into stories, business interests and the movers and shakers of the Alamogordo community via in depth researched coverage and dialog rather than the lightweight coverage of the local corporate owned news entities.

AlamogordoTownNews.com attempts to hear and publish different sides of issues and to ensure a diverse population of voices are heard. As such we will report a variety of viewpoints, some we agree with, some we find distasteful. We will always attempt to present facts and we will limit perceived propaganda and if facts are in question, we will question them. Individuals in the public domain of politics and entertainment that live a very public life have a higher standard of what is perceived as slanderous against them and many times at the local political level that is a lesson not at first understood nor recognized.

 Fact based; science-based reality checked dialog is the foundation of our reporting on hard stories. Political stories can at times get shaded with opinion of those being interviewed. In this interview we have attempted to be unbiased and fair in allowing Mr. Griffin an open platform and quoting him verbatim without edit excepting for a few grammatical edits in punctuation.

 We have published many articles related to the recall effort of Couy Griffin that have been presented by the Committee to Recall Couy Griffin and others via its variety of spokespersons, directly affiliated and not affiliated with the effort.

As such the editorial board of the AlamogordoTownNews.com site felt it appropriate to reach out to Mr. Griffin and get his thoughts concerning the recall, but equally important we have presented the question to many local political leaders of, what they have done while in office to improve the lives of the people they represent?

As we enter the municipal elections period, we will press those elected and those seeking elected office on what, if anything, they have accomplished to better the lives of their constituents. We want hard concrete facts not talking points to present to the electorate. We will not always get them as that is the nature of political dialog.

What have they achieved that benefits the citizens, the business community, the level of education and poverty in the area? Those are the hard questions each voter should ask prior to casting a vote. Few elected leaders like these questions when pressed. Accountability of local political leaders seems to be lacking by a complacent citizenry within Alamogordo and Otero County when looking at low voter turnout in relation to local elections.

One gets the government one deserves by participation, and one does indeed get the government one deserves by a lack of participation. Those at the table do indeed decide, as Chez Sanchez reminds Otero County Citizens in his blog posts, and that principle we do indeed, agree.

Otero County seems to have one party that is driving the dialog and much of that dialog seems to be driven from extreme positions within that party, from the mask mandate in public schools to overall public health and immigration; the alternative parties and independent point of view is missing in much public dialog and debate within Otero County. Are there other voices and other active parties? If so lets hear from them on the many issues before the city and county.

The silent majority of Alamogordo and Otero County voters are just that, mostly silent, and as such the evolution and election of individuals such as Congresswoman Yvette Herrell and the election of the commissioner Couy Griffin is the result of that silence and complacency by those in the silent middle or those more moderate in thinking within all parties.

The perception by the public of extremist positions, controversial rants, and allegations of mishandling the public trust is what appears to have led to the recall effort of Couy Griffin.

Mr. Griffin has been controversial at best, some would say damaging to the reputation of the county at worst.

That is not for us to decide within the context of this article. The context of this article is to hear from Couy Griffin himself and then as the recall effort proceeds, you, the educated and informed voter within his district will decide his outcome and the outcome of the future of the Otero County politics of the future.

This recall effort is historic for the county and eyes all over New Mexico and the nation are watching this effort. Mr. Griffin is certainly feeling pressure based upon our dialog with him. What proceeds is a series of questions and his response to each.

 We offer no opinion but just present the dialog and you the reader can consider the responses…

The Couy Griffin Interview of August 7, 2021…

We began the dialog with Mr. Griffin in wanting to know a bit about his past and his time in France. How did he end up there and did he enjoy his life there, and then we proceeded into his role as an elected official, Cowboys for Trump, and the recall?

AlamogordTownNews.com – How long did you live in France and how did you end up there?

Couy Griffin Response – “I attended Cochise College in Douglas Arizona. I won the region in bull riding competition as a freshman and competed at the college national finals at Bozeman, Montana. I moved to Paris in 98’ and returned to the states in 2003.

AlamogordoTownNews.com – It sounds exotic for a cowboy from New Mexico to end up in France. Tell us about your history and how you ended up in France working at Disney?

Couy Griffin Response – “I attended college on a rodeo scholarship where I competed as a bull rider.  I went to school with a friend who grew up on the Navajo Reservation and saw an ad where they were looking for Native American Indians to perform in the show.  He responded, was hired, and plugged me to the casting director to play the role of a cowboy in the show.

 It was an amazing experience and truly a world class show.  It was a scripted show that starred Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, Sitting Bull and Cowboys and Indians from across the states.  My roles were trick riding, trick roping, driving the stagecoach and a little bit of acting.  

The show was very well received by the European guests.  There were two shows a night that seated around 1.200 people a show where the guests enjoyed a full BBQ Menu and all the beer they cared to drink.  It was a world class show on every front.

AlamogordoTownNews.com – Did you enjoy the life overseas?

Couy Griffin Response – “I truly enjoyed living in Paris.  I bought a condo just near the golf course and had a wonderful group of the most diverse friends a person could have.  Friends from all over the world.  I was able to travel to most of the Western European countries and was truly blessed to see more of the world.  During the end of my stay, it got a little harder to live in France with the political tension between France, the US, and the mess in Iraq.  All the French media could do is talk about “the cowboy” George W. Bush.  And with me being an actual cowboy living in Paris you could imagine the negative attention and environment I sometimes landed in. “ 

AlamogordoTownNews.com – Would you do it again?  

Couy Griffin Response – “I would absolutely love to be involved in another type of Wild West show again one day.  I created and produced a few shows after moving back to the states.  One of which was here in Alamogordo at the Otero County Fair.  I have tremendous confidence in my ability to produce a show, but I lack in the financial backing and organizational ability to actually put one on.  There is so much that goes into production but Lord willing and by God’s grace I hope that one day it will happen.  To answer your question “if I’d go back” I’d say no.  I’d rather take my talent and the learned experience and move forward but I’d definitely love to be involved again one day.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com How are you personally impacted by the recall effort? 

Couy Griffin Response – “This recall effort has been by far one of the most difficult seasons in my life.  The reason being is because I have fallen victim to the lies and slander propagated by those involved as well as the local media who give them their platform.  When I drive thru town with my 6-year-old son and see the signs and booths set up promoting this recall it just makes me feel horrible.  With my social media being shut down I now have no platform to defend myself against these lies.  In today’s world you can be tried, convicted, and sentenced thru social media and local media without being given any kind of right to respond. 

 When my hearing was scheduled to address the allegations in this recall the state of NM scheduled this hearing on the same day of my monthly commission meeting.  I was faced with either attending the commission meeting and upholding my oath to office or going to defend myself against the recall.  I filed a motion of continuance stating that my right to due process was being infringed upon and the District Judge Manuel Arrieta (a Bill Richardson appointed judge) denied that motion.  Therefore, they had this hearing to decide my fate without me being present. The allegations for recall and my defense are such:

  1.  Fails to properly attend meetings.    This accusation stems from me attending 4 county commission meetings telephonically.  This is a common practice in Otero County and has been accepted for years.  Out of the 4 meetings I telephonically attended 2 of them were because of the quarantine restrictions which disallowed me to attend.  So technically I only attended 2 meetings which I could have been physically present for but due to being out of town I called in and attended.  The previous District 2 Commissioner Susan Flores telephonically called into 8 commission meetings during her last 4-year tenure in office.  That is over twice as many even with the meetings I couldn’t attend because of quarantine restrictions.
  2. Banishment from the Mescalero Apache Reservation.     This happened because I traveled onto the Mescalero Apache Reservation and met with a tribal member named Chris Valdez who couldn’t get the tribe to help him with medical treatment from a work-related accident.  While meeting with Chris we spoke about the recent Covid money the tribe had received and where that money had been spent.  Upon publicly requesting an audit to make sure that money was getting to the people of Mescalero it wasn’t long after that tribal president Gabe Aquilar banished me from the reservation.  All the while he is driving a brand-new Ford Expedition while many of the people he is elected to represent are living in very destitute conditions.
  3. Use of County Resources for Cowboys for Trump.  This stems from using my office to record videos.  All I did was record videos with my phone while in my office.  Since being elected to this office I have spent less of the county money in reimbursements than any of my fellow commissioners.  To date I have spent $397 in travel expenses.  My fellow commissioner Gerald Matherley has spent over twice as much as I have, and we took office at the same time.  Previous District 2 Commissioner Susan Flores spent over $8,600 dollars in travel expenses during her last term as county commissioner in this same office.  I have been extremely careful and frugal while being in office.  Yet I have been to Washington DC countless times fighting against the federal overreach on the citizens of Otero County.  All the way to the Oval Office with a personal, one on one meeting with the President.  And President Trump has never recognized Cowboys for Trump or me being a part of Cowboys for Trump.  Every time I have spoken to the President, Vice President, or heads of the United Sates Agricultural Dept they have always and only recognized me as Commissioner Griffin.
  4. Filing improper travel voucher, failing to exercise proper fiduciary responsibility.    I filled this travel voucher out under the direct advisement of the county secretary Sylvia Tilbrook as well as County Manager Pamela Heltner.  I had never filled a travel voucher out before and they are the ones that got me the paperwork and stepped me thru how to fill it out.  This voucher was then approved by the finance director Julliane Hall as well as County Manager Pamela Heltner.  I had absolutely no idea there was any problem with this voucher nor did my fellow commissioners when former commissioner Lori Bies as well as Gerald Matherley both voted to approve this voucher in a regularly scheduled meeting.  The amount of the voucher turned out to be more than my budget would allow so both commissioners voted to raise my budget allowance to cover this “improper voucher” which now I’m the one taking the heat on.
  5. Violation of the Gift Act by soliciting and accepting $3,500 from a restricted donor.     I’m not sure if it was $3,500 or $3,400 but I know that G.B. Oliver from the Chamber of Commerce “passed the hat” to local business owners to help me raise this money.  The money was only raised to help pay the county back for the illegal travel voucher that they issued.  This money that was raised was raised for Otero County.  As soon as the full amount was raised, I took this cash money in an envelope, got a money order from Well Fargo, and paid the county back the full amount for the travel voucher.  Only trying to do the right thing.  That is to make a wrong a right.  I also first checked with our County Attorney Michael Eshelman who advised me there was no problem in raising this money to pay the county back. 

That is in a nutshell my response to these allegations.  A response that the state of NM and District Judge Manuel Arrietta did not allow me the opportunity.  If I would have been able to attend this hearing, I don’t believe the recall would have been allowed to move forward and I wouldn’t be going thru what I’m going thru right now.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com – What 3 accomplishments have you done as a commissioner that you are proudest of?  

Couy Griffin Response – This is a tough question because the so many issues I have fought for have been such huge battles. 

    1. I was able to address the serious conditions of our local forests directly with the President.  On my first conversation with the President, I asked him if he knew where Cloudcroft New Mexico is.  He replied no and I told him that he would know exactly where it was if the forest surrounding it were to catch on fire.  The President then networked me with Undersecretary of Agriculture Jim Hubbard who oversees all the national forests across America.  I had a commitment from Undersecretary Hubbard to bring his whole staff to Otero County and while we were organizing the trip Covid hit.  This completely shut his office down and hampered his efforts.

     2.  I stood alongside our local sheriff David Black as well as the N.M. Sheriffs Association in defending against the red flag gun laws.  I travelled the state and spoke strongly inside our county to push back against these unconstitutional laws.

     3.  I was the only elected official to question the Governor in Santa Teresa NM when she said there was no crisis on our southern border.  I advocated strongly for our local border patrol and fought hard to get our secondary checkpoints back open when the crisis on the border forced them to close.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com –What have you done as a commissioner to bring jobs to the district? 

Couy Griffin Response – “Bringing jobs to Otero County was one of my main focusses while entering into this office and is still a focus today.  The jobs that I fought for are the jobs that have always sustained our local economy.  That is logging and sawmilling, oil and gas, and the ranching industry.  That is why I spent so much time in Washington and focused so heavily on creating a strong relationship with President Trump.  These jobs which include natural resources on federal land could only be fought for on the federal level.  I fought and attained a verbal commitment from President Trump that in his words he was going to “fix my problem”.  I truly felt that our problems were going to be fixed during his second tenure in office but with the outcome of the speculative election it has been a great defeat.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com – What have you done to lower the poverty rates and improve the graduation and literacy rates in your district since elected?

Couy Griffin Response – “I believe I have fought for those problems non-stop over the last 3 years while being in office.  The reason being is because with a stronger private sector and less dependance on the government those problems will fix themselves.  When you have a society that is solely dependent on federal money you have destitution on every front.  If we could have gotten our logging and sawmilling industries on their feet, it would have provided jobs in the private sector and given people a hope for growth and prosperity moving forward into the future.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com – What have you personally done to attack the blight of abandoned properties and properties that are eyesores of junk in your district? 

Couy Griffin Response – “I just received a call and drove by one of these properties yesterday.  It is so hard to get these types of properties cleaned up with current state laws that are on the books.  I have encouraged our state representative Rachel Black to investigate getting whatever legislation we need thru the state house to address this horrible problem.  I have also visited with the property manager of Eileen Acres as well as brainstormed with property owners from this development about what options may be available.  I have expressed a commitment to do anything in my power as a commissioner to clean up abandon buildings and trailer houses throughout the county, but we really need cooperation from the state and that is still to be determined.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com – Have you officially announced a run for sheriff in the other county?  

Couy Griffin Response – “No I have not.  But I have entertained the thought and have spoken about it publicly.  With the current political state in our country, I feel the office of Sheriff is the most important and powerful political position in the county.  If we must make a strong stand one day in our country, it will need to be done thru the office of Sheriff and I feel I have the intestinal fortitude and would be willing to lead that charge.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com – If you are running for sheriff why are you holding on to the commission position as it would appear your heart is more into the role of a sheriff?  

Couy Griffin Response – “I’m not running for sheriff, at this time anyway.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com – Can a sheriff hold office if you were elected while having a federal indictment pending?  

Couy Griffin Response – “I am currently facing a misdemeanor trespass charge and one that I don’t believe is fair or just.  So, we will just see where that ball lands.  I did nothing violent or anything that I have any conviction over that was wrong on Jan 6th.  I simply stood alongside fellow Americans to protest what I believe were fraudulent elections.  And did so under the guise that we were still a free country and still had a Constitutional Right to do so.

AlamogordoTownNews.com – Do you believe former president Trump turned on you when he distanced himself from Cowboys for Trump?  

Couy Griffin Response – “Former President Trump never distanced himself from Cowboys for Trump.  That was a “Fake News” headline.  If you believe he distanced himself from Cowboys for Trump, where did you come to that conclusion from?  President Trump has never even publicly recognized Cowboys for Trump.  The different times President Trump recognized me, Couy Griffin, was only as an Otero County Commissioner.  That is the representation that I brought Otero County.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com – What benefit did the association of Cowboys for Trump bring to Otero County?

Couy Griffin Response – “It helped me to build a relationship with the former President.  By me starting and operating Cowboys for Trump it allowed me the opportunity to speak to him about issues directly affecting the great people of Otero County.  You could view Cowboys for Trump as a type of “non-paid” lobbying group for Otero County that worked itself all the way into the Oval Office and gained direct attention from the President of the United States.  That was an accomplishment.  And all my reward has been an unjust and uncalled for recall election with my name smeared daily on social media and mainstream media.  But the reward that I work for is not of this world but a world to come.  And the only one that matters at the end of the day is God and praise be to Jesus God knows my heart and knows why I do what I do.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com – Do you feel the political establishment in Otero County, the state or the Republican Party has turned or distanced themselves from you? 

Couy Griffin Response – “I have been very let down not necessarily by the state party but by the chairman Steve Pearce.  Only days after the event of January 6th Steve issued an official public statement off the state party platform that said “Couy Griffin travelled to Washington DC to lead the protests and riots”.  This was a flat out lie and a very slanderous attack.  Steve to this day has not retracted that statement nor apologized for it.  So, in saying that I have absolutely no respect for Steve Pearce.  And to this day wonder how you can lose the Governor’s race and when you do you are rewarded with the position of chair of the Republican Party??  Steve is a multi-millionaire that knows his way all too well around Washington DC.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com – Why do you think a bipartisan recall committee was formed and any feelings towards those individuals or party officials?  

Couy Griffin Response – “In my opinion “bi-partisan” has really lost its edge and its meaning.  I say that because many Republicans are just as bad as the Democrats and vice versa.  Most are just bar certified attorneys who pick an R or D to fight for but at the end of the day they sleep in the same bed of corruption.  All the legislation coming out of our state and federal houses only give more grounds for attorneys to sue.  Alas creating more work for most of these agenda driven scum bags.  Take Brian Egolf for example. He is the ringleader and one of the biggest reasons New Mexico is so oppressed.  You put attorneys like Egolf and Jacob Candelaria in office and you are going to have a dysfunctional and self-serving government like we currently have in NM.  Civil Rights, Equal Rights, Transgender Rights………all this legislation does is provide more ground/standing for attorneys to sue but does nothing to help NM become more prosperous or successful.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com went back and forth with multiple emails for clarification and in dialog with Mr. Griffin. We concluded letting him know we were considering running two stories one as a more of a human interest and one of the more political Couy Griffin. He responded to that feedback requesting that we do one “story and that the man he was before he entered office is the man he is today.

Again AlamogordoTownNews.com is not issuing an opinion on the recall or of Mr. Griffins feedback from this interview process. We will leave that for the readers to determine. We do have some unanswered questions and will follow-up with Steve Pierce and others referenced via his comments in future stories of follow-up.

We will conclude this article with Mr. Griffin’s final statement to the AlamogordoTownNews.com site…

I’d rather not have the story laid out in a way on how such a nice guy could now be such a horrible domestic terrorist.  Of course, not accusing you of that’s the way it would be presented but I can promise you one thing.  I’m the same guy today as I was before if not more loving and more sacrificial today.  

Since entering office, I have done everything for the greater good and made huge sacrifices.  After my first trip to Washington when Cowboys for Trump was founded and branded and all the guys, I rode with came back to families awaiting their arrivals at the airport I came back to divorce papers on my kitchen table.  

I had to get completely out of the restaurant business because after the Alamogordo Daily News began their slanderous attacks my business was in the tank.  I have given all my personal time, finances, and energy to this cause.

 I’ve made some emotionally driven statements a couple times, only good Democrat…and black NFL football players who want to disrespect our flag and play something as RACIST as a “black national anthem” to go to Africa and play their football.  Both statements taken entirely out of context.  

The first statement I was only speaking figuratively and the second as a red blooded American.  If you don’t love it leave it. But the media will only cherry pick those two sound bites out of hundreds of speeches I’ve made.

 I’ve ONLY ever wanted to put America and the American People first.  I’ve wanted to protect our second amendment and protect the unborn.  And it’s too bad Democrats don’t care as much about dead babies as they do dead Democrats!!

I’ve written you candidly and honestly as I would a friend.  In trusting that you are decent though I’ve never met you.  That is the way I treat everyone.  With love and respect.  As I have learned to do as I work out my faith in The Lord Jesus Christ.

You can use anything I’ve told you to date.  Even this message right here.  All I ask is that you don’t twist my words or try to present me as someone I’m not.  I’m tired of the media. I’m tired of the liars and slanderers like Paul Sanchez, Scott Fredericks, and the rest of the recall committee.  

I have a little over a year left on my oath to the people who elected me and after that I will have done my service.

Politics is the most dirty, corrupt, and hateful world I have ever looked into.  And the only reason I fight the way I do is to try and do my part to protect our country and freedoms from those who want to destroy both.  I am financially broke and hang in the balance of an uncertain future.  But by God’s grace I will not be threatened, intimidated, and I damn sure won’t back down.

Sincerely,

Couy”

AlamogordoTownNew.com is publishing the interview notes directly as written by Mr. Griffin. We offer no commentary at this time but will allow comments, guest commentaries or feedback from any of our readers if they remain professional, stick to facts and do not engage in propaganda and distortions of facts nor personal attacks.

The comments from Mr. Griffin are his and his alone and he owns the commentary of which is published as a response to questions posed.

Now the readers and the voters of his district will decide his fate and that of the political agenda of Otero County as the recall effort moves forward. Mr. Griffin has approximately 1 year left in his term if the recall effort fails before he would face re-election if he so chose to run.

Alamogordo Town News Artist Showcase: Meet the “Milk and Honey” Creations of Kathryn Cecava

Roadrunner Emporium Fine Arts Gallery, Antiques and More, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo, New Mexico is proud to showcase craft persons and artists that are #ExclusivelyAlamogordo –

Meet the “Milk and Honey” Creations of Kathryn Cecava. She is one of our exclusively showcased crafters who experienced the adventure of living in Alamogordo since 1957, except for the four years spent in Nebraska pursuing a Masters degree.

Kathryn’s showcased business is named “Milk & Honey,” because her creations are designed for use in the kitchen where the milk and honey flow.

She loves to create new things from old things. She repurposes the vintage beauty of hand embroidered items by combining them with the usefulness of a kitchen towel.

The artistic outcome becomes a warm and beautiful focal point in the kitchen – a true work of practical and functional ART.

Roadrunner Emporium is open 10 am and NOW at NIGHT till 7 pm Monday thru Thursday and 10 am until 8 pm Friday and Saturday.

Kathryn’s Milk & Honey creations are exclusively at the Roadrunner Emporium Fine Arts Gallery, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo and are showcased with many choices of colors and patterns.

Come and select one from a variety of choices showcased that are crafted as #ExclusivelyAlamogordo.

See the video of Kathryn’s creations:

#Alamogordoarts #AlamogordoMainStreet #LocalCrafts #AlamogordoArtist #AlamogordoRise #NewYorkAvenueAfter5 #2ndLifeMedia #RoadrunnerEmporium

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July is Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Mental Health Awareness Month. Help is Out There! Reach for It!

This month was originally designated by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008 to honor the legacy of prolific author, teacher, and advocate Bebe Moore Campbell. 

Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Mental Health Awareness Month serves as an opportunity for us all to raise awareness of the unique mental health needs of people of color.

What happens at the intersection of mental health and one’s experience as a member of the BIPOC community? While the experience of being BIPOC in America varies tremendously, there are shared cultural factors that play a role in helping define mental health and supporting well-being, resiliency and healing.

Part of this shared cultural experience — family connections, values, expression through spirituality or music, reliance on community and religious networks — are enriching and can be great sources of strength and support.

However, another part of this shared experience is facing racism, discrimination and inequity that can significantly affect a person’s mental health. Being treated or perceived as “less than” because of the color of your skin can be stressful and even traumatizing. Additionally, members of the BIPOC community face structural challenges accessing the care and treatment they need.

According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, BIPOC adults in the U.S. are more likely than white adults to report persistent symptoms of emotional distress, such as sadness, hopelessness and feeling like everything is an effort. BIPOC adults living below the poverty line are more than twice as likely to report serious psychological distress than those with more financial security.

Despite the needs, only one in three BIPOC adults who need mental health care receive it. According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Mental Health Facts for African Americans guide, they are also:

  • Less likely to receive guideline-consistent care
  • Less frequently included in research
  • More likely to use emergency rooms or primary care (rather than mental health specialists)

Barriers To Mental Health Care 

Socioeconomic Disparities
Socioeconomic factors can make treatment options less available. In 2018, 11.5% of BIPOC adults in the U.S. had no form of health insurance.

The BIPOC community, like other communities of color, are more likely to experience socioeconomic disparities such as exclusion from health, educational, social and economic resources. These disparities may contribute to worse mental health outcomes.

Stigma
Negative attitudes and beliefs towards people who live with mental health conditions is pervasive within the U.S. and can be particularly strong within the BIPOC community. One study showed that 63% of BIPOC people believe that a mental health condition is a sign of personal weakness. As a result, people may experience shame about having a mental illness and worry that they may be discriminated against due to their condition.

For many in the BIPOC community, it can be incredibly challenging to discuss the topic of mental health due to this concern about how they may be perceived by others. This fear could prevent people from seeking mental health care when they really need it.

Additionally, many people choose to seek support from their faith community rather than seeking a medical diagnosis. In many BIPOC communities in the U.S., the church, mosque or other faith institution can play a central role as a meeting place and source of strength.

Faith and spirituality can help in the recovery process and be an important part of a treatment plan. For example, spiritual leaders and faith communities can provide support and reduce isolation. However, they should not be the only option for people whose daily functioning is impaired by mental health symptoms.

Provider Bias and Inequality of Care
BIPOC people have historically been negatively affected by prejudice and discrimination in the health care system in the US. And, unfortunately, many BIPOC people still have these negative experiences when they attempt to seek treatment. Provider bias, both conscious and unconscious, and a lack of cultural competency can result in misdiagnosis and inadequate treatment. This ultimately can lead to mistrust of mental health professionals and create a barrier for many to engage in treatment.

BIPOC people may also be more likely to identify and describe physical symptoms related to mental health problems. For example, they may describe bodily aches and pains when talking about depression. A health care provider who is not culturally competent might not recognize these as symptoms of a mental health condition. Additionally, BIPOC men are more likely to receive a misdiagnosis of schizophrenia when expressing symptoms related to mood disorders or PTSD.

How To Seek Culturally Competent Care

When a person is experiencing challenges with their mental health, it is essential for them to receive quality care as soon as the symptoms are recognized. It is equally important that the care they receive is provided by culturally competent health care professionals.

While we recommend seeking help from a mental health professional, a primary care professional is also a great place to start. A primary care professional might be able to provide an initial mental health assessment and referral to a mental health professional if needed. Community and faith organizations may also have a list of available mental health providers in your area.

When meeting with a provider, it can be helpful to ask questions to get a sense of their level of cultural awareness. Providers expect and welcome questions from their patients or clients, since this helps them better understand what is important in their treatment. Here are some sample questions:

  • Have you treated other BIPOC people or received training in cultural competence for BIPOC mental health? If not, how do you plan to provide me with culturally sensitive, patient-centered care?
  • How do you see our cultural backgrounds influencing our communication and my treatment?
  • Do you use a different approach in your treatment when working with patients from different cultural backgrounds?
  • What is your current understanding of differences in health outcomes for BIPOC patients?

Whether you seek help from a primary care professional or a mental health professional, you should finish your sessions with the health care professional feeling heard and respected. You may want to ask yourself:

  • Did my provider communicate effectively with me?
  • Is my provider willing to integrate my beliefs, practices, identity and cultural background into my treatment plan?
  • Did I feel like I was treated with respect and dignity?
  • Do I feel like my provider understands and relates well with me?

The relationship and communication between a person and their mental health provider is a key aspect of treatment. It’s very important for a person to feel that their identity is understood by their provider in order to receive the best possible support and care.

More Information

  • If finances are preventing you from finding help, contact a local health or mental health clinic or your local government to see what services you qualify for. You can find contact information online at findtreatment.samhsa.gov or by calling the National Treatment Referral Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357).

In collaboration and permission of the Trevor Project we share some thoughts…

This BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month, the Trevor Project collaborated with several individuals who are LGBTQ people of color to offer advice to youth on how to navigate the intersections of their identities and protect their mental health. HRC Foundation and the University of Connecticut released the largest-of-its-kind survey ever of more than 12,000 LGBTQ teenagers across the nation, revealing in distressing detail the persistent challenges so many of them face going about their daily lives at home, at school and in their communities.

LGBTQ youth of color and transgender teenagers experience unique challenges and elevated stress — only 11 percent of youth of color surveyed believe their racial or ethnic group is regarded positively in the U.S.,

and over 50 percent of trans and gender expansive youth said they can never use school restrooms that align with their gender identity;

More than 70 percent report feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness in the past week;

Only 26 percent say they always feel safe in their school classrooms — and just five percent say all of their teachers and school staff are supportive of LGBTQ people;

Sixty-seven percent report that they’ve heard family members make negative comments about LGBTQ people
But there is help in the thoughts of others:

“Healing begins with you, and it is quite a journey as well, but it is worth it. You are worthy of so much. Always remember that.”
“I have learned that I do not need to find an exact mirror of myself in order to be valid or to find kinship and community. I can find resonance within myself, and I can find pieces of myself within others.”
“There is space for who you are and who you identify as. And that space that you probably know and want to explore is exactly where you will begin to flourish.
“Being honest with who you are and how you feel is a big step into being confident in who you are and how you feel.”
“I wish someone told me that it’s okay to not be perfect all the time. I wish someone would’ve said to me, ‘go live your life unapologetically. You MATTER.”
“I believe that while life saving organizations like The Trevor Project fill gaps in mental health infrastructure, we can all do our part to destigmatize mental health conversations in our own context.”
In Alamogordo there are options for help:
Crisis And Access Line Call for support and resources1-855-NMCRISIS (662-7474) Toll Free 24/7/365 

NEW MEXICO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH DOH
Address: 1207 8th Street Alamogordo, NM 88310Phone: 575-437-9340Fax: 575-434-6629


Alamogordo Mental Health Associates · Mental health service 2474 Indian Wells Rd A · (575) 682-5270

PMS- Alamogordo Family Health Center – Behavioral Health  Mental health clinic 1900 E 10th St · (575) 437-7404

The Counseling Center Inc· Mental health service501 24th St · (575) 488-2500

There is no shame in mental health assistance. If you are depressed or at risk seek help!

Sourced: The Trevor Project,  Department of Public Health New Mexico, Otero County Department of Public Health, National Institute of Mental Health, Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health

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New Mexico’s Couy Griffin Slaps at the Legitimacy of Native Americans Voting and their Struggles and History

“I think the Recall for Couy Committee should look at the legal side of it because those signatures they get on the Mescalero Reservation, I don’t see how they could be used in a recall if I’m already been banished,” Griffin told a local radio station during an interview on July 13 that he questions the legality of the signatures gathered on the Mescalero Reservation since he was banned last fall.

Griffin apparently has forgotten or is unaware of the plight to vote for Native Americans or that there is even precedent for elected officials to be banished from stepping foot onto a reservation, but the Native American Voters still have the right to vote for or against that individual, even if the individual is banished from tribal lands represented.

Native Americans see themselves as patriots. They’re the demographic with the nation’s highest participation in military service. Yet profound differences separate some of their values from those of mainstream America. Many Indigenous people do not support the dominant society’s fiercely maintained system of racial and financial privilege of which Griffins comments allude to. Platforms with health- and community-focused planks are what interest most Native American voters per polling and Mr. Griffins absences from the district, focus on Cowboys for Trump and infatuation with the Trumpian theology don’t bold well for most Native American voters within the district.

The banishment of Couy Griffin from the Mezcalero Apache Reservation was an act, by the tribe, to get his attention. The banishment was to let him know of their displeasure in his actions as a representative in local government. Though driven by his rhetoric, the tribe’s stance of banishment is statement of his ineffectiveness as a leader of the community. The tribe clearly understands the recall is based upon his actions and potential ethics violations and not his rhetoric and as such allowed the signature drive for recall to proceed on their tribal lands.

Leaders build bridges between diverse groups and advocate for their needs. An act of banishment is a statement that he has been ineffective in representing their voice within county government if even at all.

The banishment of a political leader by a Native American tribe is not to be taken lightly and there is precedent for such actions. Couy is NOT the first politician to face a banishment and not the first to question voting rights of Native American citizens.

A most recent example of a tribal banishment is by the Oglala Sioux tribe in South Dakota, Via banishment they told the state’s governor that she was no longer welcome to access the Pine Ridge Reservation, one of the largest in the country, because she signed bills that allegedly target Keystone XL pipeline protesters. The tribe’s president, Julian Bear Runner, informed Gov. Kristi Noem of the council’s unanimous decision in an open letter.

Tribal banishment is a permanent ban from the reservation, and violations are punishable by law with fines or even jail time on their lands. Tribes have sovereign rights over their lands per Federal treaties however they also participate in county and state elections. Federal law allows for what one might deem as dual citizenship the right to participate in tribal elections as per the tribes constitution and the right to participate in local, state and federal elections via rights granted to all citizens within the US constitution.

Voting Rights of New Mexico’s Native American Population:

Miguel Trujillo Sr. had been a Marine sergeant in World War II and was in the middle of getting his master’s degree from the University of New Mexico. But there was one thing he still could not do. Trujillo could not vote. In 1948, the state’s constitution barred American Indians living on reservations from participating in elections. So, that summer, the Isleta Pueblo educator waged a legal battle that culminated in a court ruling 74 years ago that won Native Americans the right to vote in New Mexico.

Even though the federal government had granted citizenship to Native Americans back in 1924, the New Mexico Constitution still barred them from voting. The state’s constitution expressly prohibited from voting “idiots, insane persons, persons convicted of felonious or infamous crime unless restored to political rights, and Indians not taxed.”

That last part referred to Indians living on reservations because they did not pay property taxes on their land. It is unclear whether Native Americans could have registered to vote if they lived outside reservations.

But the provision disenfranchised many and prompted condemnation from the President’s Committee on Civil Rights in its 1947 report. The provision did not make any sense, the committee said. That line in the constitution was written before American Indians were granted citizenship, but they were paying taxes to the state and federal government like other citizens.

Protests against this ban, the report noted, had only gained force as American Indian veterans returned to civilian life after World War II.

It was amid all of this that Trujillo went to the Valencia County Clerk’s Office in June 1948. Family have said Trujillo had grown up with the county clerk, Eloy Garley, but knew he would not be allowed to vote in any event. Sure enough, he was turned away. In turn, Trujillo went to court with the help of Felix Cohen, a former federal official who had become a prominent civil rights lawyer and was working with tribes in New Mexico.

They filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court focusing on that one strange qualifier in the state constitution. For one thing, Trujillo’s lawsuit argued, he paid plenty of taxes. No, he did not pay taxes on his land. But he paid income taxes and sales taxes. There are other voters who don’t pay property taxes, too, such as renters. But no other group has been barred from voting on the basis that they do not pay property taxes.

On Aug. 3, 1948, a panel of three judges in Santa Fe sided with Trujillo granting Native American voting in New Mexico.

“We are unable to escape the conclusion that under the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments; this constitutes discrimination on the ground of race,” the court said in its ruling. The cruel irony that Trujillo had just served in the military but was denied the right to vote was not lost on the court, either. Native Americans, the court said, “have responded to the need of the country in time of war in a patriotic wholehearted way, both in furnishing manpower in the military forces and in the purchase of war bonds and patriotic contributions of that character.” “Why should they be deprived their rights to not now because they are favored by the federal government in exempting lands from taxation?” the court asked.

With that, American Indians had the right to vote and petition in New Mexico in any election for any candidate like other citizens.

And vote they do. In the most recent election voters elected a record-breaking six Native American congressional candidates to serve in the US House of Representatives. Native candidates also won dozens of races in state and local elections across the country.

In New Mexico at the state level 9 candidates ran…

  1. WON: Anthony Allison, Navajo Nation, State House 4, Democrat
  2. UNOPPOSED: Doreen Wonda Johnson, Navajo Nation, State House 5, Democrat
  3. WON: Derrick Lente, Sandia & Isleta Pueblo, State House 65, Democrat
  4. UNOPPOSED: Georgene Louis, Acoma Pueblo, State House 26, Democrat
  5. WON: Patricia Roybal Caballero, Piro Manso Tiwa, State House 13, Democrat
  6. WON: Shannon Pinto, Navajo Nation, State Senate 3, Democrat
  7. WON: Benny Shendo Jr., Jemez Pueblo, State Senate 22, Democrat
  8. WON: Brenda McKenna, Nambe Pueblo, State Senate 9, Democrat
  9. LOST: Gertrude Lee, Navajo Nation, New Mexico Court of Appeals, Position 2, Republican

There are almost 3600 members of the Mescalero Apache tribe of which a large percentage live on the reservation and are located within Couy Griffins District. By law each have the right to sign the petition if a registered voter in the county the tribe’s people like ANYONE registered to vote in Otero County District 2 can sign the recall petition, including those registered voters on the Mescalero Reservation.

If Griffin is removed from office, the New Mexico Constitution states that Lujan Grisham may appoint a person from any political party to the seat. The appointee must be from Otero County District 2, Governor’s Office Spokeswoman Nora Sackett said.

The New Mexico Constitution is not as specific as the statement from the Governor’s spokesperson however there is precedent in appointments, and it would be politically prudent for the Governor to appoint within the district thus the statement from her spokesperson.

The Committee to Recall Couy Griffin is setting precedent in New Mexico history as there is not a record of a recall effort that has garnered this much attention nor seen the successes to date of this effort. To learn more about the recall effort visit:

https://www.facebook.com/RecallCouy/

Signatures at the Reservation are being gathered…

Friday, July 16:

Mescalero, Apache Reservation at the Chiricahua Plaza parking lot from 10 am – 4 pm

Saturday, July 17

Mescalero: Chiricahua Plaza parking lot from 10 am – 4 pm

Note: Story Revised on 7/16/21 at 6:09 pm per request the author has remove the call letters and named interviewer referenced in the story per a call request. While the record of the call is in the public airwaves we respect the request and have done so accordingly. 

To hear audio of the interview with Couy Griffin of New Mexico follow the link https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FSgtChez%2Fposts%2F10219254270935110&show_text=true&width=500

Christmas Trees in July? Origins of Christmas in July Celebration in Retail & Roadrunner Emporium

Christmas in July or Christmas in Summer is a second Christmas celebration held around the summer season, mainly during July. It is centered around Christmas-themed activities and entertainment, including small gatherings, seasonal music and specials, and shopping, with the goal of getting the public in the “Christmas spirit” during the summer season and engaging with retail stores during the slump of summer sales in July.

Werther, an 1892 French opera with libretto by Édouard BlauPaul Milliet, and Georges Hartmann, had an English translation published in 1894 by Elizabeth Beall Ginty. In the story, a group of children rehearses a Christmas song in July, to which a character responds: “When you sing Christmas in July, you rush the season.” It is a translation of the French: “vous chantez Noël en juillet… c’est s’y prendre à l’avance.”[1] This opera is based on Goethe‘s The Sorrows of Young Werther. Christmas features in the book, but July does not.

In 1935, the National Recreation Association’s journal Recreation described what a Christmas in July was like at a girl’s camp, writing that “all mystery and wonder surround this annual event.

The term, if not the exact concept, was given national attention with the release of the Hollywood movie comedy Christmas in July in 1940, written and directed by Preston Sturges. In the story, a man is fooled into believing he has won $25,000 in an advertising slogan contest. He buys presents for family, friends, and neighbors, and proposes marriage to his girlfriend.

In 1942, the Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. celebrated Christmas in July with carols and the sermon “Christmas Presents in July”.  They repeated it in 1943, with a Christmas tree covered with donations. The pastor explained that the special service was patterned after a program held each summer at his former church in Philadelphia, when the congregation would present Christmas gifts early to give ample time for their distribution to missions worldwide.  It became an annual event, and in 1945, the service began to be broadcast over local radio.

The U.S. Post Office and U.S. Army and Navy officials, in conjunction with the American advertising and greeting card industries, threw a Christmas in July luncheon in New York in 1944 to promote an early Christmas mailing campaign for service men overseas during World War II. The luncheon was repeated in 1945.

American advertisers began using Christmas in July themes in print for summertime sales as early as 1950.  In the United States, it is more often used as a marketing tool than an actual holiday. Television stations may choose to re-run Christmas specials, and many stores have Christmas in July sales. Some individuals choose to celebrate Christmas in July themselves, typically as an intentionally transparent excuse to have a party. This is in part because most bargainers tend to sell Christmas goods around July to make room for next year’s inventory.

In the Northern Hemisphere, a Christmas in July celebration is deliberately ironic; the July climate is typically hot and either sunny or rainy with thunderstorms, as opposed to the cold and snowy conditions traditionally associated with Christmas celebrations in the higher latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. Some people throw parties during July that mimic Christmas celebrations, bringing the atmosphere of Christmas but with warmer temperatures. Parties may include Santa Clausice cream and other cold foods, and gifts. Nightclubs often host parties open to the public. Christmas in July is usually recognized as July 25 but also sometimes celebrated on July 12.

The Hallmark Channel and its companion outlets (Hallmark Drama and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries) run blocks of their original Christmas television films in July to coincide with the release of the Keepsake Ornaments in stores, thus literally making the event a Hallmark holiday (an accusation that Hallmark Cards officially denies).

Every July, the television home shopping channel QVC has Christmas in July sales, mostly decor and early gift ideas for children. What was once a 24-hour block of holiday shopping every July 25 (or the closest weekend day to it) has become a month-long event: generally, the sales begin on July 1 and are showcased throughout the day, with various blocks of holiday sale programming sales throughout the month. Generally during the last week of July, QVC will dedicate entire days to holiday sales.

Christmas in July in Alamogordo…

This past weekend was the Christmas in July Craft Fair at 705 Delaware Avenue featuring tons of crafts from local craftspersons and artist.

Check out the biggest Christmas in July window display in Otero County at the Roadrunner Emporium 928 New York Avenue Alamogordo. Several of its 42 partners are offering Christmas in July discounts from 10% to 30% off discounts of their expanded art work, Native American Art, Antiques, jewelry, collectibles and more.

The Burro Street Exchange – Cloudcroft, NM sections of jewelry, unique gifts and more.

McGinn’s Pistachio Land-World’s Largest Pistachio select gifts, unique decor and more, 70, 7320 US-54, Alamogordo, NM 88310

Most major online retails from Amazon, QVC, Macy’s and more are offering Christmas in July sales.

So escape the summer heat and if in Alamogordo come check out Christmas in July at select fine small businesses such as Roadrunner Emporium, check out Victoria and other fine local shops on New York Avenue Alamogordo, Cloudcroft’s downtown and other local business locations around the area. 

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The Trinity Site Open House Oct 2nd, 2021, History of the site, the gadget and a history of the open house of the site…

The Trinity Site near Alamogordo, New Mexico at White Sands Missile Proving Ground New White Sands Missile Range is a spot of historical significance that changed the world, the outcome of World War 2 and impacts sociopolitical dialog around the globe to this day. Tours are limited to 1 day a year. This year October 2nd, 2021 from 8 am to 3:30 pm.

What is the history of the Trinity Site?

On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped a nuclear weapon on Hiroshima, Japan – the first time such weapon of mass destruction that was ever used in conflict. Three days later the U.S. released another on Nagasaki, devastating the city and ushering in the nuclear age.

By 1945, the scientists of the Manhattan Project centered in Los Alamos, New Mexico with Oak Ridge Laboratories in Tennessee and the University of Chicago labs working to develop and build a nuclear weapon had made significant progress. 

Employees of the top-secret project via it’s 3 locations developed two types of atom bombs. One used uranium and a fairly simple design, leaving scientists confident it did not need testing. The other was a more complex implosion design using plutonium. Project leaders decided this second bomb needed to be tested before it was deemed ready for use. 

On July 16, 1945, the first atomic bomb successfully detonated at the Trinity test site.

Seeking an isolated test site for both safety and secrecy, planners chose a flat desert region at a U.S. Air Force base near Alamogordo, New Mexico called White Sands Proving Ground. This was a top secret military base where missile, aircraft and bomb testing took place and still does to this very day

While the test site was relatively barren, the nearest town of Carrizozo was just over twenty miles away. 

As the test date approached, concerns grew over the possible effects of radioactive fallout on nearby towns. 

After receiving warnings over potential legal liabilities, Manhattan Project Director General Leslie Groves tasked the Army with setting up an offsite monitoring system and preparing evacuation plans for those in a forty-mile radius.

The morning of July 16, the test weapon – referred to as “the gadget” – sat atop a 100-foot tower. Key observers were stationed in the control shelter constructed about 6 miles from the point of explosion. Others observed from shelters similarly situated around the test site, from base camp ten miles away, from “Hill Station” twenty miles away or from the air in B-29 bombers. Thunderstorms in the area delayed the test until early morning. At 5:30 am, the plutonium bomb detonated.

Video of Explosion and First Atomic Bomb Test in History

The term “Gadget” was a laboratory euphemism for a bomb, from which the laboratory’s weapon physics division, “G Division”, took its name in August 1944. At that time it did not refer specifically to the Trinity Test device as it had yet to be developed, but once it was, it became the laboratory code name. The Trinity Gadget was officially a Y-1561 device, as was the Fat Man used a few weeks later in the bombing of Nagasaki. The two were very similar, with only minor differences, the most obvious being the absence of fuzing and the external ballistic casing. The bombs were still under development, and small changes continued to be made to the Fat Man design.

To keep the design as simple as possible, a near solid spherical core was chosen rather than a hollow one, although calculations showed that a hollow core would be more efficient in its use of plutonium. The core was compressed to prompt super-criticality by the implosion generated by the high explosive lens. This design became known as a “Christy Core” or “Christy pit” after physicist Robert F. Christy, who made the solid pit design a reality after it was initially proposed by Edward Teller. Along with the pit, the whole physics package was also informally nicknamed “Christy[‘s] Gadget”.

Of the several allotropes of plutonium, the metallurgists preferred the malleable δ (deltaphase. This was stabilized at room temperature by alloying it with gallium. Two equal hemispheres of plutonium-gallium alloy were plated with silver, and designated by serial numbers HS-1 and HS-2.  The 6.19-kilogram (13.6 lb) radioactive core generated 15 W of heat, which warmed it up to about 100 to 110 °F (38 to 43 °C), and the silver plating developed blisters that had to be filed down and covered with gold foil; later cores were plated with nickel instead.  The Trinity core consisted of just these two hemispheres. Later cores also included a ring with a triangular cross-section to prevent jets forming in the gap between them.

Basic nuclear components of the Gadget. The uranium slug containing the plutonium sphere was inserted late in the assembly process.


A trial assembly of the Gadget without the active components or explosive lenses was carried out by the bomb assembly team headed by Norris Bradbury at Los Alamos on July 3. It was driven to Trinity and back. A set of explosive lenses arrived on July 7, followed by a second set on July 10. Each was examined by Bradbury and Kistiakowsky, and the best ones were selected for use. The remainder were handed over to Edward Creutz, who conducted a test detonation at Pajarito Canyon near Los Alamos without nuclear material.  This test brought bad news: magnetic measurements of the simultaneity of the implosion seemed to indicate that the Trinity test would fail. Bethe worked through the night to assess the results and reported that they were consistent with a perfect explosion.

Assembly of the nuclear capsule began on July 13 at the McDonald Ranch House, where the master bedroom had been turned into a clean room. The polonium-beryllium “Urchin” initiator was assembled, and Louis Slotin placed it inside the two hemispheres of the plutonium core. Cyril Smith then placed the core in the uranium tamper plug, or “slug”. Air gaps were filled with 0.5-mil (0.013 mm) gold foil, and the two halves of the plug were held together with uranium washers and screws which fit smoothly into the domed ends of the plug. The completed capsule was then driven to the base of the tower.

Louis Slotin and Herbert Lehr with the Gadget prior to insertion of the tamper plug (visible in front of Lehr’s left knee)

At the tower, a temporary eyebolt was screwed into the 105-pound (48 kg) capsule and a chain hoist was used to lower the capsule into the gadget. As the capsule entered the hole in the uranium tamper, it stuck. Robert Bacher realized that the heat from the plutonium core had caused the capsule to expand, while the explosives assembly with the tamper had cooled during the night in the desert. By leaving the capsule in contact with the tamper, the temperatures equalized and, in a few minutes, the capsule had slipped completely into the tamper.  The eyebolt was then removed from the capsule and replaced with a threaded uranium plug, a boron disk was placed on top of the capsule, an aluminum plug was screwed into the hole in the pusher, and the two remaining high explosive lenses were installed. Finally, the upper Dural polar cap was bolted into place. Assembly was completed at about 16:45 on July 13.

The Gadget was hoisted to the top of a 100-foot (30 m) steel tower. The height would give a better indication of how the weapon would behave when dropped from a bomber, as detonation in the air would maximize the amount of energy applied directly to the target (as the explosion expanded in a spherical shape) and would generate less nuclear fallout. The tower stood on four legs that went 20 feet (6.1 m) into the ground, with concrete footings. Atop it was an oak platform, and a shack made of corrugated iron that was open on the western side. The Gadget was hauled up with an electric winch. A truckload of mattresses was placed underneath in case the cable broke and the Gadget fell. The seven-man arming party, consisting of Bainbridge, Kistiakowsky, Joseph McKibben and four soldiers including Lieutenant Bush, drove out to the tower to perform the final arming shortly after 22:00 on July 15.

The scientists wanted good visibility, low humidity, light winds at low altitude, and westerly winds at high altitude for the test. The best weather was predicted between July 18 and 21, but the Potsdam Conference was due to start on July 16 and President Harry S. Truman wanted the test to be conducted before the conference began. It was therefore scheduled for July 16, the earliest date at which the bomb components would be available.

The Trinity explosion, 16 ms after detonation. The viewed hemisphere’s highest point in this image is about 200 metres (660 ft) high.

The detonation was initially planned for 04:00 MWT but was postponed because of rain and lightning from early that morning. It was feared that the danger from radiation and fallout would be increased by rain, and lightning had the scientists concerned about a premature detonation.[89] A crucial favorable weather report came in at 04:45,[60] and the final twenty-minute countdown began at 05:10, read by Samuel Allison.[90] By 05:30 the rain had gone.[60] There were some communication problems. The shortwave radio frequency for communicating with the B-29s was shared with the Voice of America, and the FM radios shared a frequency with a railroad freight yard in San Antonio, Texas.[86]

Two circling B-29s observed the test, with Shields again flying the lead plane. They carried members of Project Alberta, who would carry out airborne measurements during the atomic missions. These included Captain Deak Parsons, the Associate Director of the Los Alamos Laboratory and the head of Project Alberta; Luis AlvarezHarold AgnewBernard WaldmanWolfgang Panofsky, and William Penney. The overcast sky obscured their view of the test site.[91]

Trinitite

At 05:29:21 MWT (± 15 seconds), the device exploded with an energy equivalent to around 22 kilotons of TNT (92 TJ). The desert sand, largely made of silica, melted and became a mildly radioactive light green glass, which was named trinitite.  The explosion created a crater approximately 4.7 feet (1.4 m) deep and 88 yards (80 m) wide. The radius of the trinitite layer was approximately 330 yards (300 m). At the time of detonation, the surrounding mountains were illuminated “brighter than daytime” for one to two seconds, and the heat was reported as “being as hot as an oven” at the base camp. The observed colors of the illumination changed from purple to green and eventually to white. The roar of the shock wave took 40 seconds to reach the observers. It was felt over 100 miles (160 km) away, and the mushroom cloud reached 7.5 miles (12.1 km) in height.

Ralph Carlisle Smith, watching from Compania Hill, wrote:

I was staring straight ahead with my open left eye covered by a welder’s glass and my right eye remaining open and uncovered. Suddenly, my right eye was blinded by a light which appeared instantaneously all about without any build up of intensity. My left eye could see the ball of fire start up like a tremendous bubble or nob-like mushroom. I dropped the glass from my left eye almost immediately and watched the light climb upward. The light intensity fell rapidly, hence did not blind my left eye but it was still amazingly bright. It turned yellow, then red, and then beautiful purple. At first it had a translucent character, but shortly turned to a tinted or colored white smoke appearance. The ball of fire seemed to rise in something of toadstool effect. Later the column proceeded as a cylinder of white smoke; it seemed to move ponderously. A hole was punched through the clouds, but two fog rings appeared well above the white smoke column. There was a spontaneous cheer from the observers. Dr. von Neumann said, “that was at least 5,000 tons and probably a lot more.”

In his official report on the test, Farrell (who initially exclaimed, “The long-hairs have let it get away from them!”) wrote:

“The lighting effects beggared description. The whole country was lighted by a searing light with the intensity many times that of the midday sun. It was golden, purple, violet, gray, and blue. It lighted every peak, crevasse and ridge of the nearby mountain range with a clarity and beauty that cannot be described but must be seen to be imagined …”

William L. Laurence of The New York Times had been transferred temporarily to the Manhattan Project at Groves’s request in early 1945.  Groves had arranged for Laurence to view significant events, including Trinity and the atomic bombing of Japan. Laurence wrote press releases with the help of the Manhattan Project’s public relations staff.  He later recalled that

“A loud cry filled the air. The little groups that hitherto had stood rooted to the earth like desert plants broke into dance, the rhythm of primitive man dancing at one of his fire festivals at the coming of Spring.”

Original color-exposed photograph by Jack Aeby, July 16, 1945.

After the initial euphoria of witnessing the explosion had passed, Bainbridge told Oppenheimer, “Now we are all sons of bitches.”

Rabi noticed Oppenheimer’s reaction: “I’ll never forget his walk”; Rabi recalled, “I’ll never forget the way he stepped out of the car … his walk was like High Noon … this kind of strut. He had done it.”

Joan Hinton, a graduate student working on the Manhattan Project, described the explosion:

“It was like being at the bottom of an ocean of light. We were bathed in it from all directions. The light withdrew into the bomb as if the bomb sucked it up. Then it turned purple and blue and went up and up and up. We were still talking in whispers when the cloud reached the level where it was struck by the rising sunlight so it cleared out the natural clouds. We saw a cloud that was dark and red at the bottom and daylight at the top. Then suddenly the sound reached us. It was very sharp and rumbled and all the mountains were rumbling with it.”

The explosive force was equal to roughly 20,000 tons of TNT, far larger than the expected 7,500 tons. The flash of light was visible over 280 miles from the test site; the blast broke windows 120 miles away. Military police in nearby towns told those who saw the flash that an ammunition dump had exploded.

Radioactive green glass created from some of the dirt and debris caught in the fireball littered the test ground. Reports of public radiation exposure in the days following the test and evidence indicating high rates of infant mortality in counties downwind from the test site were largely ignored though officials did decide to forego further testing at the site in favor of a larger, more barren space. Residents of southern New Mexico are still pushing for the government to acknowledge and take responsibility for the lasting effects of the Trinity test, as detailed in a new report on the decades of health issues and deaths in the region.

Following the successful test, word was sent to U.S. Secretary of War Henry Stimson who relayed the news to President Truman. It was clear to everyone the most destructive weapon ever built by humankind was ready for war.

The exact origin of the code name “Trinity” for the test is unknown, but it is often attributed to Oppenheimer as a reference to the poetry of John Donne, which in turn references the Christian notion of the Trinity (i.e., the three persons constituting the nature of God). In 1962, Groves wrote to Oppenheimer about the origin of the name, asking if he had chosen it because it was a name common to rivers and peaks in the West and would not attract attention, and elicited this reply:

I did suggest it, but not on that ground … Why I chose the name is not clear, but I know what thoughts were in my mind. There is a poem of John Donne, written just before his death, which I know and love. From it a quotation:

As West and East
In all flatt Maps—and I am one—are one,
So death doth touch the Resurrection.

That still does not make a Trinity, but in another, better known devotional poem Donne opens,

Batter my heart, three person’d God.

Visits to the Trinity Site:

In September 1953, about 650 people attended the first Trinity Site open house. Visitors to a Trinity Site open house are allowed to see the ground zero and McDonald Ranch House areas.

More than seventy years after the test, residual radiation at the site was about ten times higher than normal background radiation in the area. The amount of radioactive exposure received during a one-hour visit to the site is about half of the total radiation exposure which a U.S. adult receives on an average day from natural and medical sources.

On December 21, 1965, the 51,500-acre (20,800 ha) Trinity Site was declared a National Historic Landmark district, and on October 15, 1966, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The landmark includes the base camp, where the scientists and support group lived; ground zero, where the bomb was placed for the explosion; and the McDonald ranch house, where the plutonium core to the bomb was assembled. One of the old instrumentation bunkers is visible beside the road just west of ground zero. An inner oblong fence was added in 1967, and the corridor barbed wire fence that connects the outer fence to the inner one was completed in 1972. Jumbo was moved to the parking lot in 1979; it is missing its ends from an attempt to destroy it in 1946 using eight 500-pound (230 kg) bombs. The Trinity monument, a rough-sided, lava-rock obelisk about 12 feet (3.7 m) high, marks the explosion’s hypocenter. It was erected in 1965 by Army personnel from the White Sands Missile Range using local rocks taken from the western boundary of the range.

A simple metal plaque reads:

Trinity Site
Where
the World’s First
Nuclear Device
Was Exploded on
July 16, 1945
Erected 1965
White Sands Missile Range
J. Frederick Thorlin
Major General U.S. Army
Commanding

A second memorial plaque on the obelisk was prepared by the Army and the National Park Service, and was unveiled on the 30th anniversary of the test in 1975.  It reads:

Trinity Site
Has Been Designated a
National
Historic Landmark
This Site possesses National Significance
in Commemorating the History of the
United States of America
1975
National Park Service
United States Department of the Interior

Visitors to the Trinity site in 1995 for 50th anniversary


A special tour of the site was conducted on July 16, 1995, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Trinity test. About 5,000 visitors arrived to commemorate the occasion, the largest crowd for any open house.

Since then, the open houses have usually averaged two to three thousand visitors. The site is still a popular destination for those interested in atomic tourism, though it is only open to the public twice a year during the Trinity Site Open House on the first Saturdays of April and October. Due to Covid-19 restriction the site has been closed the last year to visits.

 In 2014, the White Sands Missile Range announced that due to budgetary constraints, the site would only be open once a year, on the first Saturday in April. In 2015, this decision was reversed, and two events were scheduled, in April and October. The base commander, Brigadier General Timothy R. Coffin, explained that:

Trinity Site is a national historic testing landmark where the theories and engineering of some of the nation’s brightest minds were tested with the detonation of the first nuclear bomb, technologies which then helped end World War II. It is important for us to share Trinity with the public even though the site is located inside a very active military test range. We have travelers from as far away as Australia who travel to visit this historic landmark. Facilitating access twice per year allows more people the chance to visit this historic site

To visit the Trinity Location Opened October 2nd, 2021 from 8 am to 3:30 pm

Stallion Gate Entrance

Exit I-25 on mile marker 139 (San Antonio, N.M.) and head 12 miles east or exit U.S. Highway 54 onto U.S. Highway 380 and head west 53 miles of Carrizozo, N.M. Turn south on New Mexico State Highway 525 and head south five miles to the Stallion gate.

Alamogordo Caravan

Alamogordo Alternative – The Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce sponsors a caravan for visitors to Trinity Site. The Alamogordo caravan meeting site is at the Tularosa High School Athletic Field Parking lot. Turn west off Hwy. 54/70 in Tularosa at Higuero St. Proceed west to La Luz Ave. Turn right on La Luz Ave. (north) to athletic field.

Vehicle line up will begin at 7 a.m. Caravan departs at 8 a.m. NO STRAGGLERS WILL BE ALLOWED INTO THE CARAVAN ONCE THE LAST PERSON IN THE CARAVAN HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED.

Visitors entering this way will travel as an escorted group to and from Trinity Site. The drive is 145 miles roundtrip and there are no service station facilities on the missile range. Please make sure you have a full tank of gas.

The caravan is scheduled to leave Trinity Site at 12:30 for the return to Tularosa.

Cameras are allowed at Trinity Site but their use is strictly prohibited anywhere else on White Sands Missile Range.

Official Press Release:

Trinity Site Open House is set for Oct. 2

WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M. (July 9, 2021)  White Sands Missile Range will open Trinity Site to the public after a brief pause in activities due to COVID-19 on Oct. 2. Trinity Site is where the world’s first atomic bomb was tested at 5:29:45 a.m. Mountain War Time July 16, 1945.

The open house is free and no reservations are required. At the site visitors can take a quarter-mile walk to ground zero where a small obelisk marks the exact spot where the bomb was detonated. Historical photos are mounted on the fence surrounding the area.

While at the site, visitors can also ride a missile range shuttle bus two miles from ground zero to the Schmidt/McDonald Ranch House. The ranch house is where the scientists assembled the plutonium core of the bomb. Visitors will also be able to experience what life was like for a ranch family in the early 1940s.

The simplest way to get to Trinity Site is to enter White Sands Missile Range through its Stallion Range Center gate. Stallion gate is five miles south of U.S. Highway 380. The turnoff is 12 miles east of San Antonio, New Mexico, and 53 miles west of Carrizozo, New Mexico. The nearest city to make hotel reservations is Socorro, New Mexico. The Stallion Gate is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visitors arriving at the gate between those hours will be allowed to drive unescorted the 17 miles to Trinity Site. The road is paved and marked. The site closes promptly at 3:30 p.m.

Media who would like to visit the open house must register by calling the Public Affairs Office at 575-678-1134.

For more information on the open house please visit the Trinity Site website at: Trinity Site Information

White Sands Missile Range, DoD’s largest, fully-instrumented, open air range, provides America’s Armed Forces, allies, partners, and defense technology innovators with the world’s premiere research, development, test, evaluation, experimentation, and training facilities to ensure our nation’s defense readiness.

Author Chris Edwards Source research of article found in original published article at the AlamogordoTownNews.com

From the roots of Alamogordo High School athletics, excellence is handed from one generation to the next – the record of Greg Stephens class of 1985 and the success of his young daughter Madeline Stephens…

Alamogordo High School Sports Fun Fact:

Alamogordo has had 2 undefeated football seasons since its inception and first football game played in 1912. Those seasons were 1936 and 1985. In 1936 the Tigers tied Deming and were undefeated 7 games. The season of 1985, however set a record in that it was the first and only untied and undefeated season since 1912.

Photo Greg Stephen’s Alamogordo Football Quarterback in 1985 and Madeline Stephen’s his daughter, 2021 USATF Regional Hammer Throw Champion, Nationals qualifier and medalists in Javelin and Discus.

An Alamogordo Tiger Football recap -1985

Coach Hveem did a presentation kicking off the new season with a Century Club kickoff covered by the Alamogordo News on August 4, 1985. The spirit of Tiger football was burning bright according to Coach Gary Hveem who proceeded to discuss the team and recognize some key athletes.

                Wilson Holland was introduced as a returning letterman and Coach Hveem, said, “Holland exemplified the attitude shown by a serious player during the summer.” “Guys like this young man made a commitment and made it personally and taken and engulfed others with enthusiasm needed to play. The team wants to win, Alamogordo wants a winning team. These young men do not want to be part of a second losing record. They have prepared well,” he spoke passionately.

                He noted that Ted Cisneros and Jeff Fulton would be moving into coaching ranks.  He said they had 65 participants in the conditioning drills over the summer so the team would have depth.

The New Mexico Activities Association changed its’ policy beginning with the 1985/86 season that allowed for an 11th game for high school teams. Hveem’s thoughts were that this could prove to be a disadvantage, as Alamogordo was not able to pick up am extra game due to scheduling conflicts however, competitors such as Clovis, Roswell and Hobbs were able.

The team opened regular season September 13, 1985. The Tigers were to play 10 games in a row.

                By October 18th1985, things were looking particularly good for the Tiger football team for the 85 Season. They were gaining momentum and confidence with a 5-0 record and the community was rallying behind them with an unprecedented level of support.

                The team was hosting pre-game pep rallies that included the public. The business community was decorating their stores and showing the Tiger colors with pride.  But the season was about to get significantly more difficult, as they were soon to take on Carlsbad, Hobbs, Clovis and Roswell. The Clovis team was viewed as the biggest threat, but Coach Hveem spoke with confidence to the press about going for the gold this season.

                The AP also viewed this team from Alamogordo favorably in their ratings, thus the team was feeling the pressure to perform.

                The dream indeed came through the 85season with the game on Friday November 15th, 1985, bringing the Alamogordo team to a 10-0 season. The team entered the history books with a 32-16 victory over Roswell.

Besides winning the district championship outright, the perfect regular season performance represented the first time in the schools 73-year football history to have a team go through regular season with no losses and no ties.

Greg Stephen’s as quarterback was a young 16-year-old junior. He was only the 2nd Junior to ever start for Head Football Coach Gary Hveem and the only to lead a team to an undefeated season, a record still not broken under the leadership of a junior class quarterback.

Going into the season Coach Hveem was “not convinced” on Stephen’s abilities but JV Football Coach and Head Track and Field Coach, Robert Sepulveda convinced Hveem to give Stephens a chance, and take a second look at the “slow of foot” player for quarterback.

Coach Hveem had a quote before he started Stephens was, “Stephens, you look like a fish out of water moving, but you do great things once you get there.”

That indeed proved to be true.  A new school season record was broken prior to the last game of the season by Quarterback Greg Stephens.  He set a new school record with a total of 1660 yards made in the air, with an average of 16.6 per toss as of the Roswell game. Stephens got the lions share or 1604 yards with 102 completions in 181 attempts, for the season. Terry Davis made the remaining yardage. The previous record for the team, 1488 yards in 1978 in the air attacks.

The Tigers entered this regular season ending game coming from a tough game the prior week with Clovis. They had not beaten that district rival since 1980.

                As the season ended, Alamogordo had battled back from the prior seasons 4 to 6 showing. It was said that this season the Tigers ruled what some in New Mexico called the southern “Murderer’s row” at 10-0 and 4-0.

                The Tigers went into the state playoffs with the homefield advantage over Del Norte.

                For Senior Anthony Branch, the night was particularly sweet. Two years prior as a sophomore, he dropped what would have been the winning pass in the final game of the regular season against Roswell, a loss which kept the Tigers that year from the playoffs. He lived with that but carried forward with a passion and perseverance.

                This go around Branch showed the Coyotes how to play the game- he scored on a 3-yard run with 3:59 remaining in the 3rd Quarter- and then put the game away at the 6:06 mark in the fourth quarter on a second downplay for an 83-yard run.

                Anthony Branch’s run, in which he broke several tackles, came after the Tiger defense had stopped a Roswell drive at the Tigers 15-yard line.

On the night Branch rushed for 110 yards on 9 attempts and covered 47 yards in 3 receptions.

                The run made the night. Coach Hveem said of Branch and that night in the Alamogordo News, “Nothing was said, but we both know Anthony did not have to agonize anymore about what happened 2 years ago. He more than redeemed himself and has proven to be a formidable athlete.”

                Roswell fought hard. They pulled out all the stops frustrating the Tiger defense during the opening periods.

Roswell Quarterback Sean Reeves did some fancy running and throwing and was difficult to stop till the second period.

                Alamogordo’s Tony Gonzalez started the scoring with 8:52 remaining in the opening period. He ran in from the two after the Tigers had control of the ball over a 70-yard drive following the opening kickoff. The Tigers had a 7-0 first quarter lead after a Brad Adams kick.

                Roswell scored in the second after John Singleton ambled 3 yards and Peter Sanders made the two-point conversion at the 9:49 mark in the second period. This gave the Coyotes their only lead.

                Adams gave the Tigers back the lead with a 20-yard field goal with 1:29 remaining before the half.

                                Coach Hveem said, “he talked a long time with his team during the halftime and came out once and I felt we were flat, so we went back in and talked a little bit more as a team.”

                Alamogordo’s defense started to move. First came Branch’s score, followed by a two-point run by Terry Davis.

                In the fourth, Branch showed his stuff, followed by another Adams kick to etch the score 25-8.

                A costly 15-yard pass interference penalty against Alamogordo set up the final Coyote score- a 30-yard run by Peter Sanders in the 4th quarter.

                Alamogordo continued to work its ground game, eating up the clock. With 4 seconds remaining, the record setting performance was announced- and the crowd started to head onto the track ready to run onto the field in celebration.

                However, it was not over yet. Terry Davis, in as Quarterback, ran from 9 yards out and Adam’s kick was good, and time ran out.

                The field went crazy in celebration, this marked Coach Hveem’s 10th year at Alamogordo, the longest of any Varsity Football coach since the school was founded in 1912, and his first undefeated team in 22 years of coaching up to that point.

                That game night, Alamogordo made 206 yards on the ground and 222 in the air- thanks to the 15 of 20 successes from Quarterback Greg Stephens. Roswell was held to 141 on the ground and 42 in the air.

                Fullback Scotty Pierce has another successful night on the ground, making 56 yards in 13 carries. Jesse Harris had 41 in six tries.

                Gonzales led receivers with 85 yards in 4 catches. David Bailey had 24 yards in three receptions and Wilson Holland 66 in five.

                Alamogordo controlled the downs with 18 to Roswell’s 12. The Tigers were flagged for 5 penalties totaling 50 yards to Roswell’s 3 for 29 yards.

Tigers win again! The Tigers shut out Del Norte in the quarter finals 28-0.          Due to this victory the Tigers would only need two more wins to win the state title. Alamogordo won a state title under Rolla Buck but in the B small school division of the time. The nearest to a state title in the upper division has been Coach Gary Hveem. This makes another chance at the elusive title. Under his leadership there have been multiple state playoffs, but this team trended the best overall.

                During the quarter finals with Del Norte, they played better as the night progressed. Halfback Anthony Branch scored 2 touchdowns and rushed for 122 yards on 9 tries to lead the Alamogordo offense which finished the night with 202 yards rushing.

                It was the Tiger defense that controlled the tempo., holding Del Norte to 94 yards on the ground.

                Del Norte which finished the year 7-4 got inside the Tiger 25-yard line 6 times but was held each time.

                At the 6:36 mark in the 2nd Quarter the Tiger’s offense took off.

                Greg Davis took a punt and zipped his way through the Del Norte defense 66 yards.

                The Tigers struck back again 4 minutes later in the 2nd quarter after only 2 plays. Quarterback Greg Stephens hit Tony Gonzalez with a 25-yard throw to key the drive. Then it was Anthony Branch who strolled through the Del Norte defense for a 44-yard touchdown.

                Branch struck gold again at the &15 in the 3rd Quarter capping a 5-play drive, this time going 39 years in the 3rd Quarter to give the Alamogordo Tigers a 21-0 lead.

                Alamogordo scored once more in the 4th Quarter at 7:15 when Fullback Scotty Pierce ran from 1 yard out.

                Brad Adams who had only missed 2 conversion kicks in 11 games, was 4 for 4 for the night.

                Stephens finished the night with 104 yards with 7 of 9 completions. Gonzalez was 2nd in the Tiger rushing department with 50 yards in 9 tries. Gonzales let the Tigers in receptions with 34 yards and 2 tries with Branch with 32 yards and 1 catch and finally Wilson Holland with 30 yards in 3 catches.

                Matt Fleming of the Tigers was injured with an

Ankle sprain that came from an illegal block that was not called.

                Team spirit and community support was at an all-time high going into the Tigers attempt at victory in the State Semi-finals AAAA competition in football. The Mayor of Alamogordo declared Tiger Pride Day in a mayoral proclamation for Friday November 29, 1985. The proclamation noted the historic record set by Alamogordo setting a record in the schools 71-year history. It went on to congratulate the team for showing outstanding teamwork and sportsmanship, plus being good representatives of Alamogordo for the state tournament.

                Alamogordo moved into the semi-finals to compete against Albuquerque Highland High School hosted at Alamogordo. The game garnered so much support the band was moved to the field instead of the stands and extra temporary bleachers were erected to expand crowd capacity.

                Due to the excitement and the seriousness of play extra security was dispatched and the opposing team received a police escort in and out of town along with assistance of the state police.  KOB had circulated some stories in newscast of overly rambunctious fans on the Alamogordo side potentially creating havoc or having potentially created havoc in the quarterfinals game. Investigations occurred and it was deemed a non-issue.

                Alamogordo secured a win in the semi-finals against Albuquerque Highlands with a score of 28-6 adding a 12 straight game record to the Alamogordo books. Alamogordo’s season was thus 12-0 verses Highland finishing a 7-5 season.

                The leader on the night was Alamogordo fullback Scotty Pierce. Pierce scored all 4 touchdowns. He ran in from 3 yards out and 3 times from 1 yard out. He finished with 69 yards and 16 carries. He also passed the ball of 22 yards on a key play early in the game.

                After controlling the ball through most of the 1st Quarter, Alamogordo took an early lead in the opening seconds of the 2nd Quarter, when Pierce competed an 18 play, 80-yard drive with a 3-yard plunge on 4th down.

Brad Adams added the extra point- the first of 4 on the night.

                Later in the quarter, two Highland errors directly led to Tiger scores.

                Alamogordo took advantage of a short punt deep in Highland’s territory to set up Pierce’s first 1-yard run, making it 14-0. Alamogordo struck at the 8:44 mark.

                The Tigers struck 2 minutes later when following Tiger David Bailey’s interception of a Garrett Young pass, Anthony Branch returned it to the Highland 1 yard line. Pierce scored on a 1-yard run and Adams’s kick made it 21-0 at the 6:15 point.

Pierce gave the Tigers their final score with another 1-yard run in the opening seconds of the 4th quarter. 

                Highland Coach Bill Gentry credited the Tiger win to the teams “rolling right.” “Alamo did the right things”, he concluded in a recap conversation about his team’s loss. Alamogordo quarterback, Greg Stephens completed 9 of 17 passes for 134 yards with Wilson Holland catching 3 for 34 yards and Anthony Branch catching 3 for 59 yards. Jesse Harris was second behind Pierce in the rushing department with 35 yards on 7 runs.

                On the negative side, Alamo lost 2 fumbles and was flagged for 8 penalties for over 80 yards. The overall game was a huge victory for Alamogordo and placed them 1 game away from a historic 1st State Title as a AAAA competition.     Going into the state finals with Clovis was Coach Gary Hveem’s 200th game coaching. His career average going into the finals was 142 wins, 54 losses and 3 ties. At Alamogordo he had 10 years of coaching with 77 wins, 32 losses and 2 ties.

So close but No Cigar

                The Clovis Wildcats behind their powerful offense keyed by senior running back Daren Kelley and a defense that was playing for pride and a measure of revenge, crushed the Alamogordo Tigers 36-12 for the State Football Title. The Tigers had to again settle for a state second place trophy.

                A bet between Clovis Mayor, Frank Murray, who bet a bushel of grain that Clovis would win verses Alamogordo

Mayor Don Carroll, with a bushel of apples that Alamogordo would win. Unfortunately, the apples carried the bet, and were handed to the Clovis Mayor by Alamogordo Mayor Don Carroll pictured.

                Even in the face of a loss the Tiger fans were full of enthusiasm and proud their boys got a 2nd Place State Trophy.                             

Coach Gary Hveem & Co-Captains Anthony Branch and Tony Gonzalez claimed the state runner up trophy marking the winningest season in the history of Tiger football.

(Photo’s courtesy Alamogordo News.)

                “It’s tough,” said the wife of Tiger Coach Gary Hveem, Ms. Fran Hveem. Her husband had been chasing the New Mexico class AAAA state football title for 10 years. For the 2nd time in that decade, the title escaped his grasp in a title game and historically was the 2nd time in the school’s history as a class AAAA school.

                Former New Mexico State Senator Aubrey Dunn commented to the Alamogordo News, “The team played

great all year. These were two of the greatest teams in the state without question.”

                Chuck Montjoy another fan and supporter of the Tiger team said, “the team played terrific, the boys had a super season they are still #1 in my book.”

                The community was hungry for a win with a record 10,000 plus crowd in the stands filling both side and additional bleachers brought in for the game.

                The community showed support before the game and after. Trinity Lutheran Church Reverend Charles Ullman expressed, “this was a great opportunity for people to set aside their problems and unify around the local community.” One fan Rex (Doc) Hutchinson told the Alamogordo News, he had a dream that the Tigers won 39-6. The dream did not quite turn out as he envisioned as the final score was 36-12.

                Sue DeWolf one of the Tiger fans at the game that night told the Alamogordo News editor Mike Lamb as reported in the December 8th edition, that she had been supporting the Tiger Football program for over 30 years and every time she came to the game, she carried an exceptionally large stuffed Tiger with her. She said, “Every game he is with me, any bigger and they’d probably make me purchase a ticket for him” She was a determined fan indeed.

                Toots Green, state representative for Alamogordo at the time was at the game. He thought it was great Clovis was playing as that was his hometown but game night for the state title in 1986, he said he was, “rooting for Alamogordo.”

                State Senator Bill Vandergriff was in attendance and stated, “I think this is the greatest game for Alamogordo in 50 years. I do not think they have to be ashamed of anything, win or lose. There has been particularly good sportsmanship. I saw no problems on the field at all and the team is the best Alamogordo has put forward over the past 50 years.”

                Alamogordo Athletic Director Glen Markham said of the game, “It was a tremendous first half, I would like to have seen the game end at the half and call it quits in victory, whatever the outcome the team made Alamogordo proud.” Alamogordo ended the 1st half ahead 12-9.

                The Alamogordo game garnered attention not only in New Mexico but also in distant lands. Dickie Johnson, who was living at the Beirut Hilton in Beirut Lebanon who grew up in Clovis called the Alamogordo Daily News Sports office multiple times during the game from Beirut asking for updates on the game. Dickie had a connection to Clovis and the district as he was the quarterback for the championship team of 1966 and was happy with the outcome of this state competition. Johnson also played for the University of Texas when they were national champions in 1969 so he had a deep interest in regional football. Johnson was working in the oil industry is why he was in the middle east in 1986 or he said he would have been at the game.

                The game was awesome in two strong teams competed and gave their all. The night however favored Clovis sparked by the running feet of Darren Kelley and the Wildcat team took advantage of every opportunity presented to it.

                Kelly rushed for 228 yards on 29 carries on the day to lead the Cats to a stunning 418 yards on the ground.  His performance passed 2000 yards for the season in rushing and crashing though the Alamogordo Tiger defense which had limited past opponents to an average of under 10 points a game.

                “You are champions. Be proud of what have done, not disappointed. This has been my best year in coaching over 22 years,” Coach Gary Hveem told his Tiger team moments after the game ended. He concluded, “Hold your heads high. We had a great record-breaking season. The best team may have won today, but not the best guys.”

                The Tigers were strong the 1st half carrying a 12-9 lead after scoring a beautiful 66-yard pass from Quarterback Greg Stephens to Anthony Branch at 9:36 mark in the first period, and then a 3-yard pass from Stephens to Wilson Holland at 3:35 in the second.

                Not to be outdone, Clovis scored at 6:15 in the opening segment on an 18-yard run by Quarterback Drooper Greenwalt, and then Charles Deckard kicked a 36-yard field goal at the 7:05 point in the second quarter.

                Things started to fall apart for the Alamogordo Tigers in the 3rd quarter as several little things

Combined to break the backs of the Tigers winning streak.

Clovis’s Kelley scored on an 8-yard run at 8:45 in the period to give Clovis a 15-12 lead. In the next Tiger drive, Stephens was sacked at 7:09 to halt momentum.

                When Alamogordo again got the ball, a pass from Stephens to Tony Gonzales was intercepted, and then a short time later Alamo was hit for a holding penalty to further slow the drive.

                Wildcat Sam Dickery grabbed another Stephens pass at the 1:54 point to give Clovis the spark needed. Greenwalt kept his cool and the ball and less than a minute later ran 54 yards deep into Alamogordo’s territory to set up the next score.

                Clovis’s Ron Cook then scampered in from the 2-yard line and Deckard added the extra point to set the kill.

                The Tiger boys struggled valiantly in the 4th quarter but the fire of the last 13 wins was gone.

                A pass from Alamogordo’s Stephens to Holland was broken up at the 10:15 mark with Stephens and Duece Sullivan shaken up on the play. Reserve Quarterback Terry Davis came in – but the Alamogordo team could not keep control and Anthony Hall strolled in from 80 yards at the 7:36 point. Deckard’s kick was good.

                Clovis clobbered a Stephens pass again and forward motion slowed.

 Kelley of Clovis ran in one more score at 1:54 which combined with Deckard’s kick closed the door permanently to a state victory by the Alamogordo Tigers.

                The Alamogordo Tigers went into the state finals with a 12-0 season after finishing the first season in the schools 71-year history of football in 1986. This was a first in its history undefeated and untied. Clovis got into the playoffs thanks to Alamogordo’s district championship over Roswell and had to travel to Santa Fe and Cibola to make it to the finals.

                For the game Alamogordo’s lead rusher was Scotty Pierce with 37 yards in 10 tries. Jesse Harris was right behind with 34 yards in 6 runs.

                On the night, Alamo’s Stephens passed for 137 yards, making 10 of 22 tries with 4 interceptions.

                Anthony Branch was Stephen’s favorite receiver with 64 yards in 3 catches, and Tony Gonzalez was second with one 44-yard grab. Wilson Holland had 22 yards on four tries.

                Strong play was shown by Terrance Roberts, Ruby Rivera, and Matt Fleming.

                “Fans on both sides for 3 hours had nothing to think about but football, I am personally just excited for the kids and a good clean game,” said Clovis Coach, Eric Roanhaus.

                The season was the best season in the career of Coach Gary Hveem while at Alamogordo. Gary Hveem maintains the record as the longest tenured varsity football coach for Alamogordo High. He also continues to hold the record, of the coach with the most state football trophies – 2 of the 3, Alamogordo owned 2nd Place State AAAA trophies, that Alamogordo holds, were secured during his tenure.

                The irony of the season, Alamogordo was undefeated, but the record also played against the team when it came to state playoffs.

                Gary Hveem told AP Sportswriter, Pete Herrera of the 1986 state finals, “I knew all along it would come to this – to a football civil war punctuated by touch of irony and a ton of pressure.”

                The seasons ironic twist is that had it not been for an assist from Alamogordo 3 weeks prior, Clovis would not have been in the finals and Clovis would not have been chasing their bid for a record 5th straight state championship.

                By beating Roswell on the final week of regular season, Alamogordo clinched the district 4AAAA title but in the process handed Clovis the runner up spot in the district and a berth in the playoffs.

                Coach Hveem to the AP, “I knew all along it would be Clovis in the state finals. I’m glad, that the actual best 2 teams, in the state in 86, got to settle the title.”

                Coach Hveem and the Alamogordo boys were trying to do what has never been done to Clovis Coach Eric Roanhaus’s team, which was “to beat them twice in the same year.” Alamogordo beat Clovis 12-7 in district play.

                Clovis Coach, Roanhaus throughout the season had downplayed the significance of being in the running for a potential 5th straight AAAA State Varsity Football Title. He was equally complimentary of Alamogordo and did not want to underestimate their abilities or those of Alamogordo’s Coach Gary Hveem. Roanhaus told the AP’s Pete Herrera, “They (Alamogordo) team members were playing better in the championships than when they at any time in memory. That was a team that was a credible threat and each of those boys should be proud of their efforts.”

Coach Hveem’s legacy was that of the longest tenured football coach in Alamogordo’s history. His legacy also continues to this day, as the winningest coach and the only football coach in its 109-year history to compete in the finals for 2 state titles in 4AAAA play. Though, during his tenure the team never brought home the 1st Place State Trophy, of the 4 State Football Trophies that Alamogordo received in its’ 109-year history, 2 2nd Place State Trophies belong to the decade of Coach Hveem’s leadership.  During the 2006 season Alamogordo Varsity Football won a 2nd Place trophy under Coach Bruce Dollar.

                The NMAA has awarded one 1st Place New Mexico State Football Title to Alamogordo. It was under Coach Rolla Buck in 1950 when Alamogordo won it as a class B school. In 1950 there were 3 divisions Class A, B and C.

While remembering the past of the glory days of the 1985 football season and Greg Stephen’s lest we not forget the title of the article,from the roots of Alamogordo High School athletics, excellence is handed from one generation to the next and the successes of his daughter Madeline Stephens

Greg Stephen’s of Alamogordo Football stardom has an incredibly talented young daughter Madeline Stephens. A student in Texas she has proven herself to be an extremely talented Hammer, Shot, Javelin and Discus Throw competitor. To the point she qualified to compete in the USATF Junior Olympics Regional finals in Texas in the Hammer Throw event.

As we edge through Olympic trials and head toward the Olympics in Japan it is worth noting that the USA Track and Field Junior Olympics are moving forward as well.  With roots tracing back to Ancient Greece, track & field is the centerpiece of the Olympic Games. From the 100-meter dash to the discus throw, hammer throw etc. athletes set new standards for excellence in sport. USATF’s Junior Olympic Track & Field program is a wellspring of this excellence.

America’s next generation of track & field stars compete throughout the summer–and over 6,000 of these athletes qualify for the USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships held during the last week of July. Entry for the national championship is based on athlete performances at preliminary, Association, and regional levels.

And so, for Greg Stephen’s the legacy of athleticism has shown it does carry down from one generation to the next, as his daughter Madeline Stephens Qualified and Won 1st Place at Regionals in the Hammer Throw.

                As an 8th grader this is an awesome achievement and one of which Mr. and Mrs. Stephen’s should be proud but equally proud of course is Coach Gary Hveem and Alamogordo High Schools Winningest Track and Field Coach in its history, Coach Bob Sepulveda as well as the Alamogordo community as well as her Texas community.

                Congratulation Madeline, your fathers star burned bright in Alamogordo and beyond, but we have great expectations that your star may shine even brighter, with your demonstrated excellence and talent at such an early age. We wish you the absolute best on your journey at the USA Track and Field junior Olympics finals. Know deep in your heart you have fans all over the country rooting for your success.

                Have fun, take in the moments before you and know, though not officially a Tiger, Tiger blood and Tiger Spirits is within you!

Source:

The History of the Alamogordo Class of 1985 is an excerpt from the book, Coach Bob Sepulveda & Gary Hveem, Alamogordo’s Golden Years, by Authors Chris Edwards & Rene Sepulveda, to be released August 30, 2021, at Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo, New Mexico, and at independent bookstores and Amazon.com in 46 countries worldwide.

Details of Madeline Stephen’s courtesy of USA Track & Field.

Author Chris Edwards, 2nd Life Media Inc.

Tackling Urban Blight Only Happens When Government Takes Responsibility at the Local Level – Alamogordo Town News Special Report

Today the city of Alamogordo Fire Department released a press release concerning the property fire at 3002 Del Sur Fire was ruled an arson and suspects have been identified for arrest. Excellent job on the part of the Alamogordo Police Department and the Alamogordo Fire Department in collaboration and solving a crime that could have resulted in damage or death to property owners of adjacent properties. Kudo’s to Alamogordo Fire Department for its quick response and for its arson investigation team and collaboration with the Alamogordo police. This cross department collaboration is an example of how government departments can and should work together for the common good of the citizens.

The press release from the City of Alamogordo Fire Department today reads…

Alamogordo, NM Thursday, July 8th, 2021, on May 3rd, 2021, the Alamogordo Fire
Department was dispatched to a structure fire at 3002 2 Del Sur Avenue. After the fire was quickly extinguished, the Alamogordo Fire Department Fire Investigations Unit conducted an Origin and Cause investigation. The fire was determined to be Incendiary in nature. A collaborative investigation with the Alamogordo Police Department Detectives Division developed two persons of interest. After a thorough investigation it was confirmed, the fire was caused by an act of Arson. Subsequently the collaborative investigation has led to charges being pursued. The investigation is closed.

Contact for this Release
William Skaggs
AFD Fire Investigations Unit Leader
Fire Investigator & Inspector
575-635-7589
WSkaggs@ci.alamogordo.nm.u

The bigger crime than the actual arson involved, is the city commissions lack of leadership in relation to issues of blight within the city of Alamogordo. An editorial was published in the Alamogordo Daily News, May 4, 2021 by Beth Crabbe, outlining her ongoing concerns with the neighboring property and the city’s failure in policy or enforcement. Ms. Crabbe owns an adjacent property to 3002 Del Sur, her engagement with the city of Alamogordo highlights as a prime example, of a bad issue going even worse, and the results of ongoing issues within the city of blight and the failure of city leadership to act upon those safety issues.

Per her editorial…

“At 6:46 p.m. on May 3, 2021, the house next door to me at 3002 Del Sur caught on fire.

This home has been vacant for at least 15 years. This story is one of neglect. It is one that occurs throughout our community. It is something that needs to be addressed through city ordinances and to create ordinances and repercussions for home owners who do not maintain their properties. I am sure the city has spent a large amount on the abatement of this yard for the past 10 to 15 years. Does the owner at some time not run out of their ability to continue to have the yard abated because of their irresponsibility?”

The question for the city commission, do the ordinances exist to help terminate this urban blight problem? If they do, why is code enforcement not more aggressive in pushing property owners toward resolution to resolve blight? Fifteen years? In what universe does it take 15 years to solve a blight issue. Fifteen years is excessive and shows negligence by multiple parties. If enforcement of ordinances related to blight does not exist, then where is the city leadership? If they do exist where is the oversight?

As recently as Tuesday, I personally witnessed the results of urban blight and crime associated with it. As a partner business owner on New York Avenue, great progress is being made by the Alamogordo Main Street organization in building community consensus, surveying the community and working to secure funding for revitalization. But Tuesday mid afternoon, broad daylight, while in our store, we heard glass shatter and discovered one of the abandoned buildings a few stores up the street had the glass door kicked in and was vandalized. The police came, took our statement and reviewed the damage. Was an arrest made of the gentlemen driving a moped on the sidewalk that committed the damage? Not as of yet. But the bigger issue is the blight of these buildings. 

Business owners in the old town and primarily along 10th Street, and homeowners throughout the city, are faced with multiple buildings, both commercial and residential, that are vacant and are not being maintained, or occupied and not maintained. For the adjoining property owners and business owners, this blight creates a greater opportunity for crime and risk for the business owners and homeowners adjacent to these properties. It causes increased expense of the adjacent property owners and business owners in needing high lever security systems and because the zone is a blight zone insurance premiums can cost more if even attainable.

Other cities around this country have tackled urban blight with local city and county tax incentives to encourage upkeep of these properties. For commercial properties several cities in the US have created ordinances which reward property owners that offer low cost rents for these properties, by creating sales tax rebates and property tax rebates to homeowners and commercial building owners that offer low cost rentals in an attempt to revitalize a property. Has that been considered by the city commission? Is there a task force between the city and the county to craft policy around urban blight? What I have witnessed is finger pointing not collaborative dialog and policy debate. 

The city commissioners should appoint a task force consisting of public representatives as home and business property owners,  business owners that rent, commissioners at both the city and county level and commit to solving the issue with a task force that has a defined role in crafting policy and ordinances with a timetable of deliverables for the greater good of the overall community.

In cities that are less willing to go the route of tax rebates and incentives to owners, then those cities have tackled the issue, with very aggressive code enforcement against abandoned or derelict property owners. In speaking with some elected officials and commissioners, it does appear the only way to get enforcement action is by citizen complaints. However that does not always work as well. 

Note the adjacent property owner, Beth Crabbe’s, editorial published in the Alamogordo Daily News, May 4, 2021 where she claimed to have spoken to city officials of concern about the 3002 Del Sur property, to no avail!

“I have called DPS (Department of Public Safety), code enforcement and talked to the Mayor about this house. I have talked to the city attorney about my situation next door. This fire put many lives in danger and it is because of the lack of action to remove dangerous, deserted, neglected and dilapidated properties from our community. I am told we cannot do that because of regulations. It is time to change them.”

Yes, Ms. Crabbe it is time the commission act and take responsibility. They work for the public interest and we must ensure they do take responsibility.

Per the city budget the city of Alamogordo received in 2018, $170,512 for a program funded by HUD

The CDBG grant program’s state and national objectives require that the funded activities address at least one of the
following:
1. Benefit principally low to moderate income families;
2. Aid in the prevention or elimination of slums or blight; or
3. To help meet an urgent need of recent origin that pose a serious and immediate threat to the health and welfare of the community where other financial resources are not available.

In 2019 under the leadership of commissioner Alfonso “Al” Hernandez he asked the City Planning Department  to draft an ordinance regulating the outward appearance of some types of buildings in the City’s commercial districts.

The proposed ordinance was discussed and tabled at the regular Alamogordo City Commission meeting Tuesday, Oct. 22. 2019, for the purpose of getting additional input from the building community.

Per Alamogordo City Planner Stella Rael at the time, “This is very important. Staff recommends approval of this amendment to maintain the beautification and integrity of our City.”

The streets listed as benefiting from the ordinance are Indian Wells Road, Scenic Avenue, First Street, White Sands Boulevard, 10th Street and Florida Avenue.

This is an interesting first step if indeed it was passed and shows leadership by Commissioner Hernandez in stepping up the city response to urban blight. But why such a limited area? Where is the response to blight and beautification for the whole city?

The draft ordinance would have updated the Alamogordo Code of Ordinance about specific requirements on certain streets in section 4 of the City Zoning Ordinance.

The proposed ordinance would require new buildings to have a brick or stone wainscot, at least 35 percent of sidewall height in the front of the building and on the sides of any building that is adjacent or abuts an arterial street or a full stucco façade on the front of the building or on a side that is adjacent or abuts an arterial street.

According to the Alamogordo Daily News. October 23, 2019 story by Nicole MaxwellAlamogordo City Commissioner Josh Rardin opposed the measure saying “We have trouble attracting businesses and people to Alamogordo anyway. Why would we want to put more restrictions on what they can and can’t build?”

No, Mr. Rardin as a new business partner in Alamogordo and our partnership having done business in communities on the west coast with very restrictive zoning rules, I can assure you zone enforcement and community guidelines encourage more upscale businesses to seek a presence in your community. However, the lack of guidelines or a free for all and the lack of code enforcement leading to urban blight, that sir, is what will drive investment to look at alternative communities to Alamogordo for investment and a presence. Upscale business interest prefer a community that takes pride in itself and has local community flavor verses a cookie cutter approach to every town looking the same. 

The recent fire on 3002 Del Sur was quickly put out and an investigation began by the Alamogordo Fire Investigations Unit. 

In an article published in the Alamogordo Daily News by Nicole Maxwell published May 14, 2021 The Fire Investigations Unit Leader of Alamogordo was quoted:

Every fire in Alamogordo is investigated,” Alamogordo Fire Department Fire Investigations Unit Leader William Skaggs said. “We’ve always investigated them, we’re just taking a more proactive rather than a reactive stance with it.”

In 2018, Alamogordo Fire Department started its own investigations team. Prior to 2018, the New Mexico State Fire Marshal’s Office would investigate fires, Skaggs said.

The fire department did their job! The police department did their job! Indictments have been crafted as a result of the actual fire.

Beth Crabbe’s, editorial published in the Alamogordo Daily News, May 4, 2021 said it well. The criminals of the actual fire will be found and prosecuted. But as Ms. Crabbe eloquently points out, the real indictment is the city of Alamogordo leadership and their failure to act on derelict buildings…

Quoting Ms. Crabbe:

This has gone beyond the visual appeal to our community, but has now embraced the lives of our fearless firefighters.

For 10 years I have called about this property. These fire dangers sit in our community with nothing being done. We risk the lives of our firefighters because of the lack of action by the city to remedy this situation.

I hear our hands are tied. Not if you create change. How long are we going to let these abandoned buildings sit, encourage vagrants to occupy them, create unsightliness to our community and most importantly, has potential for great harm to man – whether a vagrant or a firefighter?

The reality is the next act of vandalism, the next fire, the next loss as a result of inaction by the city commission is owned by them! 

Inaction is unnecessary, open the blinders as inaction by the commission is crime against the good citizens who care for their properties and care for this city. 

Those in power who fail to address this issue that not only impacts property values and business recruitment, their failure to act, at the core, makes them complicit in putting public safety at risk. 

Study other communities via a task force and see how they addressed the issue. A good example of a plan comes from Augusta Ga. See their response and ordinances put into action via  the link below..

https://www.augustaga.gov/DocumentCenter/View/14392/Blight-Pressentation

Now is the time for the city commission and those in power to act!

Set up a task force, now is the time to solve this issue for the greater good of the Alamogordo Community. 

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Artist Corner – Five Questions with Alamogordo New Mexico’s Artist Marty H Torres

We met the Alamogordo based artist Marty H. Torres recently after viewing her expanded works of art now showcased at Roadrunner Emporium Fine Arts Gallery, Antiques and more, 928 New York Avenue Alamogordo, New Mexico. Mrs. Torres showcases her collection of eclectic paintings and fine art pieces in an incredibly unique and well executed corner of Roadrunner Emporium. Her works stand out as many of her works begin with an acrylic base, but she adds other media to give a three-dimensional look. Some of her works are quite whimsical such as her Wizard of Oz inspired collection of paintings or the Charlie Chaplin inspired painting. Other are much more serious such as a few of her paintings highlighting Native Americans and her Sailor and Woman painting which is compelling yet sensual.

We began our interview asking about her upbringing and her history of how she got into the world of the creative arts…

Photo of the works of Marty H Torres On Exhibition at Roadrunner Emporium Fine Arts Gallery, Antique and More 928 New York Avenue Alamogordo New Mexico (Photo by Chris Edwards AlamogordoTownNews.com)

Marty H Torres was born and raised in El Paso Texas, and her appreciation for art began in the 6th grade. Her teachers saw her work and told her to continue her art studies in High School. She was strongly encouraged and supported by her in high school and college. Upon their recommendation she continued her studies with a focus on arts. Throughout her artistic career she has studied interior decorating, fashion design, art, visual merchandising, small business management, sales, and makeup artistry in El Paso.

She explains that she loved the arts but as a youngster she was also a tomboy, so her dad sent her off to charm or finishing school at an El Paso institution called Mannequin Manor. The school made famous as Model and Actress Susan Blakely of El Paso was a graduate in the 70s of the same school prior to her successful modeling and acting career.

Most of her post-secondary studies were of Art Institute of El Paso but upon moving to Alamogordo she studied at New Mexico State University NMSU where she studied art, ceramics, and theater and did backstage makeup artistry as well.

In addition to her passion for painting and works on canvas she also has a passion for dance. While in El Paso she performed dance for Viva El Paso, where she danced tap, ballet, modern dance, Spanish dancing, and dancing w/ castanets.

Most of her professional career was as a visual merchandiser of which she did for 33 years. In addition, she was a Makeup Artist for Estee Lauder and Clinique and Elizabeth Arden for 14 years.

She says her life has always been about art, “really in my life was a lot of Art. I love every minute of it. I love to talk to people and hear about their life and what they love in life. If you have a talent, your talent is God gift to you. What you do with it, is your gift back to GOD,” she explained.

We concluded our interview with 5 questions for the artist…

How would you describe the work you create?

Marty H Torres: “I would suggest my art comes from my heart. Sometimes I have dreams about my art and will stretch it out and paint it onto canvas. So many times, what is on the canvas reflects a dream I have had or another world I crossed into in my dreams.”

What message do you want to get across with your artistic work?

Marty H Torres: “I want to let everyone know that anyone can do art. Even if you can only draw a stick person it can be beautiful so someone. Art is beauty. I sometimes paint nude people; some people think that is bad but its not. The human form as an artistic form is beauty and God’s creation. Where one’s mind is, is what one sees when they interpret art. What one sees from their perspective may not be the message the artist is trying to convey. My art is about happiness and beauty from within. Some artist paint sadness. The point is an artist should express themselves and paint what they feel. My artistic expression is to paint what I feel and in doing so I thank God every day for giving me the ability and the talent to express myself via art.”

How did you come to mixing textures, media, and colorful designs into your paintings? What is your favorite media or canvas?

Marty H Torres: “I love acrylics, charcoal, pastels and oils. My favorite is charcoal and oil. When you paint with oils, you can always go back the next day and change the painting or add to it, because oils take an awfully long time to dry. Charcoal is also incredibly fun to use and allows you to easily blend colors. I love bright colors as well as exclusively black and white paintings. I love to wear black all the time as Black is Beautiful.”

Do specific colors, forms or subjects have specific meaning to your works?

Marty H Torres: “Depending upon what I am going to paint, and my mood is, at the time, is what defines my works. Sometimes it could be a person, other times a flower or animals. Sometimes I want an abstract or Picaso tyle looks it all depends on what I am feeling at the moment. Each work has special meaning to me, and I pour my heart onto the canvas in an expression of love.”

Did the goals of your artistic work change during Covid-19 and do you have advised for any aspiring artists?

Marty H Torres: “No, I really think the lock down period helped me paint more and do more at home and to think more positively about life and the future. I worked more at home doing more paintings, decorating, working on my yard and a mural for my house. Life is too short not to make the best of every moment and do what you enjoy doing regardless of what is happening around you.

I know for many Covid-19 was scary and is scary and dangerous to many. But do not let it take over your life and prevent you from doing what you want to do to express yourself or expand your inner self. Learn to enjoy life regardless of circumstances, be happy and live life.

I am a candle lighter. I pray often for those around me that I know and those I do not know. Be good, be nice, be happy. If you are not an artist, just try something artistic, you might actually like it and find out how much fun any form of artistic expression can actually be.”

With that that concluded our interview with Marty H Torres. It was a pleasure and a joy to see how passionate she was and the beauty she sees in everything around her. A portion of her collection of works are on exhibition and for sale daily downstairs of Roadrunner Emporium Fine Arts Gallery, Antiques and More, 928 New York Avenue Alamogordo, New Mexico. Drop on by and see her fine works of art and that of several other artist, sculptured artists, photographers, antiques dealers, jewelers and more.

Repression to Freedom an Interpretative Art Installation Window Display by Coach & Artist Rene Sepulveda

Repression to Freedom

an Interpretative Art Installation by Coach & Artist Rene Sepulveda

In celebration of America’s freedom Artist Rene Sepulveda presents “Repression to Freedom” an interpretative window display showcasing the natural beauty of the white sand’s region and a natural view of freedom.

The art installation is composed of all-natural elements of fallen tree stumps, recycled metals, and other earthly elements to create a natural desert scene of color and beauty.

The scene begins with a fallen barbed wire fence. The tree stump it is attached to is an actual original barbed wire fallen fence representing the struggle of confinement and the repression of the barbed wire. Within the installation the barbed wire manifests itself into a scorpion representing change in the forms of death and rebirth. The Scorpion indicates there are lessons of our past lives that die off. Note the scorpion is reaching to leave the scene whereas the bluebirds look down from their corner perch onto the desert scene as a symbol of hope, love, and renewal as a part of many Native American legends. They are complimented by the nest of wise desert owls within the turquoise cholla cactus representing the wisdom of the desert. Along the fallen woods nestling into the tree trunks is the colorful gecko representing self-protection and re-growth that humanity and nature goes through. The customary gecko circle symbolizes the natural cycle of life.

The dominance of the turquoise coloring, center to the exhibit represents strength, skill, or even invincibility of the natural elements of the desert.

Center to the exhibit is the manifestation of the Native American designed turquoise accented pot with the turquoise tree root. containing the hanging gourds of sand pouring endlessly into the white sands symbolic of our never-ending unity with nature and the natural elements of the desert.

Throughout the exhibit are Roadrunners. The Roadrunner is a sign of Epiphany, Illumination and that something in our life has been healed on the spiritual and physical levels. The Roadrunner is a sign to the completion of a phase, a transformation of goal in life. The several Roadrunners in the scene symbolizes how we move forward to new and greater horizons. That within the desert we move on with renewed hope.

The scene ends with large moss-covered tree trunk of copper coloring and hanging above it is a Zia with an eagle soaring through the outline of the Zia. The Zia sun symbol represents the four cardinal directions, the four seasons of the year, the four period of each day (morning, noon, evening, and night), and the four seasons of life (childhood, youth, middle age, and old age) paired with the soaring eagle. The eagle caps or completes the artist installation with its acute eyesight, the eagle has come to embody an all-seeing EYE. The eagle is the solar symbol linked to the Zia thus representing the sky gods. It signifies inspiration, release from bondage, victory, longevity, speed, pride; and is the emblem for release from the constraints of the bondage of the barbed wire at the beginning of the installation.

As our eyes pull away from the artistic beauty of the display we are left with a feeling of renewal and hope from the sands of the desert to the vast sky above us.

New Mexico led the way to today’s NCAA announcement that it will allow athletes to earn money.

$1.5 billion annually, that’s how much college football’s 25 most valuable teams earn in combined profit in an average year, according to Forbes‘ most recent “College Football’s Most Valuable Teams” list.

College sports generates a tremendous amount of money for universities, but college athletes have long been given little more than a scholarship in return.

Polling has consistently shown a majority of Americans believe college athletes should be paid more though, and NCAA officials have started showing support for allowing players to profit off the use of name, image and likeness, until today.

New Mexico Led The Nation

New Mexico SB 94. Titled STUDENT ATHLETE ENDORSEMENT ACT, Sponsored by Mark Moores, Bill B. O’Neill, and Antonio “Moe” Maestas passed the New Mexico Senate with 39 yes votes and 0 no votes on 2/19/21. The bill then passed the New Mexico House of Representatives with 43, yes votes and 21, no votes.  The governor signed the bill into law on 4/7/21 to take effect July 1st, 2021.

The text of the actually bill signed by the governor is available to read via the text:

The law goes into effect on July 1st, the same day that a similar law will go into effect in the state of Florida, becoming the first two states that will have the laws in effect. 

“The NCAA model is not working for the athletes who drive the product,” Lujan Grisham’s press secretary told the Albuquerque Journal following the pass of the bill on Wednesday.

New Mexico’s law includes that athletes can receive food, shelter, having medical expenses paid for by a third party, or making money based off the use of their name, image, and likeness. Meaning that athletes featured on billboards, in commercials, or in video games can now begin to make money without fear of being declared ineligible. Athletes can also hire agents to set up endorsement deals but cannot hire them to represent them in contact with professional teams.

A total of 10 state have similar laws taking effect in July based on the New Mexico model. The NCAA wants to have federal laws or its own permanent rules regarding the issue known as NIL, but was forced to seek a temporary solution rather than have athletes in some states eligible for compensation while others were not.

Without NCAA action, athletes in some states could be making money without putting their college eligibility in jeopardy while their counterparts in other states could be in danger of breaking NCAA rules.

The NCAA’s stopgap measure comes less than two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the association in a case involving education-related benefits. That 9-0 ruling is expected to impact issues related to compensation for athletes.

The NCAA cleared the way for athletes to profit off their name Thursday, the eve of legislation becoming the law in New Mexico and Florida that would allow for such compensation.

The expected approval from the NCAA Board of Directors came a few days after a recommendation from the Division I Council to allow athletes in every state to pursue compensation for their name, image and likeness without jeopardizing their college eligibility.

The NCAA’s stunning reversal came after California passed a Fair Pay to Play Act, which would go into effect in 2023. Other states are looking at possible legislation. The California law would allow athletes to sign endorsement deals and licensing contracts, something NCAA rule makers will address.

NCAA officials said they were aiming to have a nationwide rollout of the recommendations made among their 1,100 members.

Figuring out all the details of it, it’s going to be a challenge. It’s a much more complex issue than most people see it as. I think schools are going to be able to work through this process and come up with rules that makes great sense for the student athletes and allow universities to continue their collegiate model of athletics, NCAA Officials have said.

NCAA officials said the working group will continue to get feedback on how to deal with state legislation and that will help guide future recommendations.

A very interesting argument in favor of athlete pay was made by the New Mexico Law Review and can be found in the link below…

 New Mexico Law Review -Let’s Get Serious – The Clear Case for Compensating the Student
Athlete – By the Numbers
Neal Newman
Texas A&M University – School of Law

This move follows compliance to a New Mexico state law that takes effect July 1st. 

The New Mexico legislature found itself on the cutting edge beating out typical states such as New York, California or Washington State on a progressive approach to student athlete compensation. What is even more impressive is the bi-partisan support this bill got in the New Mexico legislature with unanimous approval by all New Mexico Senate Republicans and Democrats and example of true bi-partisanship.

The fallout to this new regulation will become a true headache for college coaches and compliance officers creating a whole new set of pressure on those professional staffs. It is conceivable with a superstar collegiate athlete whose likeness is used often could be high paid than the millions of dollars paid to college football coaches. That in itself will ultimately create an interesting dynamic that social scientist and college administrators will be studying for decades into the future. 

When it comes to sports we indeed do live in interesting times in the 21st Century. 

History and Furs in Fashion Alamogordo, New Mexico Roadrunner Emporium Upcycled Vintage Furs

History and Furs in Fashion Alamogordo, New Mexico & Roadrunner Emporium Upcycled Vintage Furs

Regardless of one’s feelings of the use of fur in fashion and the modern-day fur trade since the beginning of humanity the wearing fur to stay warm has been a part of the human experience. As such a respect for the history of furs in functionality and fashion is essential. At Roadrunner Emporium we do have a few partner vendors that sell vintage furs with a respect to the history of the fur trade and their place in fashion.

Recycled Furs Sustainable and High Fashion

Most respected stylists and personal shopper see outerwear trends going sustainable—vintage or passed down—or turning to high-end faux styles, “but not seeing many clients buying new furs due to sustainability and the sad state of past fur production houses from Europe and beyond.”

However, as a nod to history many stylish women and some men, invest in vintage furs out of respect for the beauty of the fashion piece or craftsmanship and as a nod to history. Many high society women and men at formal balls from Texas to Albuquerque wear vintage furs and wear them as a sign of high fashion. The belief of the modern fur wearer is vintage is the style, the older and better condition they are in the more prestige. Vintage fur is highly fashionable and is sustainable as it is upcycling verses landing the furs in the landfill.

History:

A remarkably interesting explanation of the history of the fur trade and furs in fashion was created by the Chemung County Historical Society in Elmira, New York. It is dedicated to the collection, preservation, and presentation of the history of the Chemung River Valley region. The society was founded in 1923 and first chartered by New York State in 1947.

Our connection at Roadrunner Emporium, Alamogordo New Mexico to the museum and the story of fur, is we happen to have a few furs like what they have showcased at their museum, and vintage furs crafted from that very community of Elmira New York by one of their showcased furriers – Jesse Green Furriers.

The museum has a fairly large collection of items made with fur, from coats and stoles to muffs and fur-lined boots. Some pieces were made for functionality, like the coat and mittens Ross Marvin wore on his first Arctic expedition, while others were obviously made only for fashion like the half mink one of our partner vendors at the Roadrunner Emporium is offering for sale based on its historical value.

During the Victorian era, fur was used on all sorts of clothing and accessories. Both winter and summer dresses were decorated with fur trim. Coats and capes with fur cuffs and collars were popular with both men and women. Wide fur stoles and plush muffs provided warmth and style and were considered a sign of prestige.

The “modern fur coat,” with fur worn on the outside rather than as a lining, first appeared in the mid-19th century but did not gain popularity until the early 20th century. In the 1920s, people wore large, full fur coats to stay warm while traveling in open motorcars. Similarly, college men wore raccoon coats while attending football games. By the middle of the century, new techniques of processing and dying furs made it possible for more people than ever before to own fur coats.

One of the vintage furs we are offering at Roadrunner Emporium is crafted from Jesse Green Furrier of Elmira, New York.

The museum showcases a full-length version verses our half length offering. The story of Jesse Green Furriers is they were a custom producer of exquisitely crafted furs.

Many customers of Jesse Green would bring in pelts that were trapped-locally to have them made into a coat.  One story is of a woman traveling several times to Elmira for fittings while it was being made. Then she came home with the truly one-of-a-kind, hand-made fur coat.

The support of upcycling and recycling verses new fur…

At Roadrunner Emporium 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo they are offering one of those very Jesse Green custom furs available in excellent condition and awaiting the collector who recognizes it for its beauty as well as its historic value. Additionally, they have a few vintage fox fur coats and fake fur coats available for a limited time. So come support the over 42 local small business owners that collectively represent Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo New Mexico

#AlamogordoMainStreet #RoadrunnerEmporium #SmallBusiness #AlamogordoBusinessCenter #AlamogordoArts # AlamogordoFashion #AlamogordoHistory #2ndLifeMedia #AlamogordoTownNews

New Mexico Supreme Court Clears Way to Recall Couy Griffin

Today the New Mexico Supreme Court Ruled that the Committee to Recall Couy Griffin may proceed with the recall per the attached…

An effort to recall the founder of Cowboys for Trump from his public office as a county commissioner can move forward under an order of the New Mexico state Supreme Court.

In a written order Monday, the Supreme Court rebuffed an appeal from Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin and upheld a lower court ruling that said voters can circulate a recall petition. A successful petition would trigger an election vote on whether Griffin can finish his four-year term in office.

Retired military veteran Paul Sanchez and other members of the Committee to Recall Couy Griffin are accusing Griffin of using his elected county position for personal gain and a variety of other charges.

They say Griffin used his office space to solicit contributions to Cowboys for Trump that covered his personal expenses. They also are criticizing Griffin’s pursuit of travel reimbursements from taxpayers for a cross-country trip that culminated in a visit with Trump at the White House.

Griffin has called those allegations frivolous, baseless and politically motivated per his many public rebuttals. Griffin says that the Cowboys for Trump is a for-profit endeavor and as such that is not subject to financial disclosure requirements for political organizations. The state of New Mexico ruled against this assertion affirming that Secretary of State may go after him and the organization for failure to comply with New Mexico political reporting laws.

The losses continue for Griffin… 

Separately, Griffin is defending himself against criminal charges in connection with the siege on the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6.  Couy Griffin spent nearly three weeks in a Washington jail, after a judge released him and said she will trust Griffin to show up for trial in connection with the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol.

The U.S. District Court Chief Judge Beryl Howell reversed a magistrate judge’s prior detention order that described Griffin as a flight risk. Griffin denies federal charges that he knowingly entering barricaded areas of the Capitol grounds with the intent to disrupt government as Congress considered Electoral College results even though there are photos from his own official photographer that the prosecution is basing their case on that shows otherwise.

Griffins luck continues to be bad in related to cases pending against him as witnessed by the KOB Channel 4 story showing him climbing a barricade to gain access to a restricted area of the nations capital.

The status of the initial lawsuit  regarding the recall succeeded with District Judge Arrieta in proving probable cause for all 5 allegations the committee asserted. The judge he gave the committee permission to begin collecting signatures toward having a recall election. 

However, as Commissioner Griffin exercised his right to a single appeal under the New Mexico Recall Act and appealed the case to the NM Supreme Court (NMSC), until today they were waiting for the Supreme Court to rule on Griffins appeal. 

The committee could NOT collect any signatures until the NMSC rules. 

Commissioner Griffin filed that appeal within his appropriate time limit on 18 Apr, ’21.  The Recall Act required the district court that the case was filed in to hear the case within 14 days of when the committee initially filed. 

It was actually 28 days from filing to the hearing. Then from when the judge issued the ruling in favor of the Recall Committee, Commissioner Griffin had 5 days to file an appeal. 

Commissioner Griffin actually got 11 days to file his appeal. He filed on the last day with the New Mexico Supreme Court. 

The Recall Act says that the NMSC must hear the case and rule on it “forthwith”. 

Because of the way that Judge Arrieta correctly wrote his ruling, because Commissioner Griffin did file an appeal, the committee was prohibited from even collecting signatures until today’s ruling which upheld the recall initiative. 

Paul Sanchez is the Chairman & Spokesperson for the Committee to Recall Couy Griffin

The committee information can be found on their Facebook Page at:

https://www.facebook.com/RecallCouy

They are fundraising per the committee webpage at

https://donorbox.org/committee-to-recall-couy-griffin

As it stands now it is not the courts but the voters that will decide if Griffin represents their best interests? The question for his district is the district better off now under his leadership on the commission that it was without him? What has his record been on lowering district poverty, bringing in livable wage jobs, improving education and securing state and federal money to enhance opportunities via grants and support to his district? The voters will decide!

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Oil and Gas Industry Funding of New Mexico Politics, Follow the Money…

What is reason big oil contributes so much to New Mexico and to the southern Congressional District? 

14 Congressional Districts produced roughly 80% of onshore U.S. oil and this district inclusive of Otero county is one of those mighty 14 districts.

New Mexico following a 19th Century Budget process of 21st Century needs…

New Mexico for the long term must look at revenue options to wean itself off oil and gas tax revenues but that is an uphill battle. Republican and Democratic leadership of the state has allowed oil and gas to fund such a large portion of government operations that they are fearful to tackle the industry too much as to disrupt the tax revenues the state has become overly reliant on. Over the years, the state’s budget has become increasingly reliant on oil and gas funds. In the 2020 fiscal year, that share was about $2.6 billion — just over a third of the state’s general fund. Since 2006, the state has used oil and gas revenue for at least 28 percent of its budget and sometimes as much as 37 percent.

New Mexico is following a 19th century tax and business model for 21st Century business and public needs. In the end this is a recipe for failure for failing to adapt the model of income generation for the state. New Mexico’s dependence on natural resources has been a feature of the tax structure since statehood in 1912. As decades passed, the resources being pulled from New Mexican earth changed what was once coal, then became uranium, then natural gas and shale oil but the economic model never changed with them times. Basically, the state is running with the same tax model as it did from 1912 but is facing 21st Century needs.

But how did the state become so reliant upon oil and gas money to fund its budgets? First the history as seen above then big money influence. All one must do is to just follow the money paid to political campaigns. Where political contributions go, so goes public policy, it would seem.

Oil and Gas industry money was the largest source of state campaign contributions in 2020, according to an analysis from New Mexico Ethics Watch.

Per New Mexico’s Ethics Watch Report Titled The Continuing Influence of the Oil and Gas Industry in New Mexico in 2020: New Mexico’s Long-Standing Resource Curse…

“In spite of Covid-19 and a state wide shutdown…money from oil and gas interests to New Mexico politicians and political organizations continued to flow, with almost $3.3 million from the industry going to political causes during this past election cycle.”

Between 2017 and 2020 the old and gas industry contributed $11.5 Million to politics in the state of New Mexico.

New Mexico Ethics Watch has documented and researched 98 corporations, 262 individuals, 23 associations, 11 PACs, and almost 100 lobbyists active in New Mexico political campaign fundraising from 2017-2020.

Oil and Gas Political Spending 2017 to 2020

$4.3 MILLION – DIRECT CONTRIBUTIONS
$3.75 MILLION – LOBBYIST CONTRIBUTIONS
$3.4 MILLION – PAC SPENDING
APPROXIMATELY $11.5 MILLION TOTAL

Oil and Gas CONTRIBUTORS to new Mexico Political Circles

98 CORPORATIONS
262 INDIVIDUALS
23 ASSOCIATIONS
11 PACs
~100 ACTIVE LOBBYISTS

A detailed report on campaign money from the oil industry can be found at https://www.nmethicswatch.org/uploads/1/3/6/2/136215453/oil-and-gas-report_05012020.pdf

As was the case in the previous election cycle, the California-based Chevron corporation overwhelming was the top source of political money for New Mexico politicians in 2020, spending almost $1.8 million last year. Chevron lobbyists alone gave $700,000 during the primary to a PAC called “New Mexico Strong,” which, despite its name, is based in Texas.

Have you ever wondered why our member of congress spends so much time in Texas? Follow the money. Over 70 percent of the oil and gas contributions to politicians last year came from out-of-state companies, individuals and committees.

Top 20 Oil & Gas Contributors, 2020 Amount

1 Chevron $1,786,198.90

2 Jalapeno Corporation $142,462.00

3 Exxon Mobil Corporation $117,550.00

4 Strata Production Company $106,500.00

5 Devon Energy $102,500.00

6 Marathon Oil Company $83,500.00

7 Occidental Petroleum Corporation $76,162.50

8 PNM $61,918.18

9 Concho Resources, Inc. $59,350.00

10 Bowlin Travel Centers $57,975.00

11 John Yates $53,500.00

12 John A. Yates Sr Trust $50,000.00

13 Peyton Yates $47,500.00

14 NGL Water Solutions Permian LLC $47,000.00

15 New Mexico Gas Company $45,750.00

16 Process Equipment and Service Co $45,181.50

17 Conoco Phillips $44,500.00

18 Marathon Petroleum Corp. $40,750.00

19 Charlotte Yates $40,000.00

20 Petro-Yates, Inc. $37,000.00

With a few notable exceptions, the top contributors list is composed of corporations. There’s a reason for that. New Mexico law, unlike federal law, allows for direct contributions to candidates by corporations, associations, PACs and individuals

Grouping the oil and gas industry political contribution numbers by election cycles, we see the following amounts:

• 2015/2016: $1,697,488

• 2017/2018: $3,101,581

• 2019/2020: $3,082,830

The California-based Chevron USA is one of the best-known oil companies in the world. It’s also one of the top oil producers in New Mexico, currently holding more than 1,600 active drill permits, some that have been in use since the 1930s, according to data from the state Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department. The company also led the oil and gas sector in terms of political spending in the 2020 election cycle, just as it did two years earlier. In 2020, Chevron reported contributing $1,761,198.90 to candidates and political committees in New Mexico. Last year’s Chevron contributions came during a time in which the corporation was losing money – more than $11 billion in new income loss during the 12-month period ending in September 2020.

The top recipient of Chevron’s contributions in New Mexico last year was the political action committee New Mexico Strong, which received a total of $700,000 during the primary from the oil giant. The PAC used the money to produce ads, mailers, and other services for six conservative incumbent Democratic senators facing challenges from more liberal primary opponents. Four of those incumbents lost their primaries.

Chevron also contributed to several leadership PACs in New Mexico in the 2020 election. The company gave Republican PACs $94,300, with PAC 22, (the Senate GOP PAC) getting $50,000 and the New Mexico House Republican Campaign Committee receiving $44,300. But Chevron did not completely leave out Democrats during last year’s election. Chevron contributed $44,300 to the Brian Egolf Speaker PAC, $25,000 to the New Mexico Senate Democrats, $5,000 to the Senate Majority Leader PAC and $10,000 to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s MLG PAC. (The governor was not up for re-election last year.) The company also contributed to dozens of individual candidates in 2020. Chevron contributed $245,300 to Republican candidates and $108,800 to Democrats.

What is all of this money buying?

The industry’s reach stretches beyond campaign donations. Its power led to the demise of a bill that would’ve outlawed spills of produced water, a toxic byproduct of oil and gas drilling. In committee where the measure died, Cervantes blocked public comment on the measure but did give fossil fuel lobbyists a chance to explain why they opposed it, according to the New Mexico Political Report.

Oil and gas industry leaders have also been intimately involved in shaping the policies meant to regulate it – and even boasts about the number of edits it secures to new rules.

In a February presentation, the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association told its board it had secured significant changes to a proposed rule for limiting methane pollution. The state accepted more than 70 of the trade group’s redline edits, NMOGA said, according to records obtained by the Energy and Policy Institute.

The “process has been fruitful,” the group announced.

Among the fruits of NMOGA’s nearly $1 million influence campaign was greater leniency on “emergency” exceptions for venting and flaring – referring to the releasing or burning off of excess methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

The Future?

With the oil and gas industry providing such a big portion of state government revenues – not to mention providing employment for so many in southeastern and northwestern New Mexico – nobody is predicting the end of fossil fuel production in this state any time in the near future nor should we.

However, what is advocated is that we as citizens need to be wary of where the big money is going. We need to hold our candidates accountable for our wishes not just the wishes of big money contributors. We need to hold candidates accountable to be in their districts in New Mexico and ensure they are representing small business and local interests not just those of big business which is donating millions of dollars to their campaigns. As citizens we need to stay active and vocal and ensure our voice does not get lost in the fray to big money and big corporate political interests.

Attend city commission and county commission meetings, attend congressional and senatorial open houses. The Governor does not make most policy it is made locally and via the legislature. Know what each level of government is up to and hold representatives accountable to represent us, “we the people.”

June 29th, Marijuana Possession is Legal, Local Politicians Have Shown Mixed Support. Jobs & How are citizens impacted in New Mexico?

Photo of Marijuana which is legal in New Mexico June 29th, 2021 (Alamogordo Town News Photo)

The road to legalization of recreational marijuana use in New Mexico has been a mixed and complex journey which finally culminated on the legislature approving and the governor signing into law legalized marijuana in the state of New Mexico. Effective June 29th, 2021 possession of marijuana is no longer a punishable offense by city nor state law.

However. be careful on Federal lands and at border control checkpoints. It is still a violation of Federal law to be in procession of marijuana so technically a border control agent at a checkpoint or on any Federal lands if in procession of marijuana one is in violation of Federal laws.

The road to legalization has been a mixed one, locally in Otero County and the city of Alamogordo politicians have been mixed in their support of the changing laws.

In Tularosa, Mayor Margaret Trujillo was happy that the new cannabis bill passed the state legislature.

She told the Alamogordo Daily News Reported Nicole Maxwell in March per an Article in the Alamogordo Daily News April 3, 2021; “I think it was a fantastic idea. I’m glad that it was finally done,” Trujillo said. “I think were several years behind the whole thing. I mean other states have done the same thing and they have raked in lots of money and we’re (New Mexico) barely getting started. At least we’re getting there.”

On the flip side of the coin, Alamogordo City Commissioner, Susan Payne seeing the writing on the wall, has shown support in voting to align local laws with the state laws concerning marijuana, yet she has issued a statement in opposition to marijuana decriminalization law revisions.

During a revision to the local laws to align decriminalization to the state laws in July of 2019, Commissioner Susan Payne, issued a statement in opposition to decriminalization of marijuana laws. The city commission voted to update an ordinance regarding unlawful possession of marijuana to be in line with a new state law in 2019.

Per the city attorney “It decriminalizes the first offense up to half an ounce, just to make it easier for everybody, we are staying right in line with the state just as we do with all of our ordinances,” City Attorney Petria Bengoechea said before commissioners.

The motion to update the ordinance passed unanimously at the meeting, but Commissioner Payne was not happy with the outcome. District 3 County Commissioner Susan Payne voted in favor of the motion but said she disapproved of the ordinance changes after the vote per the Alamogordo Daily News report of July 25th, 2019; Professionally speaking, I think that we do need to be in line with the state but personally, no I am absolutely not in favor of this and I just wanted to make that clear,”
Payne said.

Meanwhile, Marijuana legalization means JOBS for Alamogordo, Tularosa and Otero County citizens.

Just outside the Tularosa Village Limit is Ultra Health’s hemp farm. Through this farm legal marijuana means JOBS for the Otero County community and Southern New Mexico. This company is building the largest cannabis cultivation site in North America. Ultra-Health is New Mexico’s #1 Cannabis Company and the largest vertically integrated medical cannabis provider in the United States.

Ultra-Health is expanding its outdoor cultivation capacity with the acquisition of 150 acres of additional farmland and more than 750 acres of water feet in Tularosa, New Mexico. The operator purchased an initial 200 acres of farmland and 1,000-acre feet of water in the same area in early 2018.

Between all its operations, Ultra Health has more than 15.8 million square feet of retail, production and cultivation space and has already invested more than $30 million into the New Mexico cannabis market. Ultra-Health’s 2020 expansion efforts exceeded $12 million including constructing a new, state-of-the-art, 35,000-square foot greenhouse on its Bernalillo campus as well as the purchase of HQ1, a 35,000-square foot commercial building in Albuquerque that will serve as the organization’s New Mexico headquarters.

The provider currently employs nearly 300 New Mexicans and plans to hire several hundred more employees to satisfy retail, cultivation, packaging, distribution, and professional services required to support both increased medical patient and adult-use demand for commercial cannabis activity. With the expansion of the facilities new Tularosa, it means jobs for Otero County residence.

The Law and How it Impacts Citizens Daily:

The verbiage of the law can be found at https://www.nmlegis.gov/Sessions/21%20Special/final/HB0002.pdf

On June 29th, 2021, cannabis or more commonly referred to as marijuana, will be legal to possess or use in New Mexico by adults aged 21 years or older.

How much possession is allowed after the 29th?

  • Up to 2 ounces of cannabis;
  • up to 16 grams of extract;
  • or up to 800 milligrams of edible cannabis.

Where can I consume marijuana legally after the 29th?

Like alcoholic beverages, public consumption of cannabis is limited to licensed “consumption areas” where it may be served and consumed — and those don’t exist yet. Consuming cannabis elsewhere in public could get you a $50 ticket. So, if you have your marijuana don’t smoke it out in the public but you may in your house or backyard.

Private property owners and businesses can forbid it, and your workplace can institute zero-tolerance policies against it. Under federal law, “marijuana” is a Schedule One controlled substance, classified with heroin and other narcotics, which means any amount is forbidden on federal territory so do not take it to the base or Federal public lands.

Where can I buy it?

Legally, nowhere in New Mexico yet, unless one is a registered medical cannabis patient who buys medicinal products at licensed dispensaries. For non-medicinal cannabis, the state has until September to begin processing business licenses and until January to establish rules for producing, marketing, and serving cannabis. Retail sales are to commence no later than April 1 of next year, if not sooner.

And yes, that means for a few months, possession of small amounts of cannabis will be decriminalized while it is not yet legal to buy or sell it in the state but of course you can pop over to Colorado or Arizona where it is legal and buy from one of their dispensaries until April 2022 in New Mexico.

Or of course you can plant it between the tomatoes or in your flower garden…

The law permits individuals up to six mature cannabis plants and six immature plants, or a maximum of 12 in a household with multiple residents. The law also says you can make edibles or extracts — with nonvolatile solvents, alcohol or carbon dioxide or no solvents.

Whatever the case, on June 29th in New Mexico, Otero County and Alamogordo you can roll yourself a joint, and you can share some with a friend if they are at least 21 years old and with that a new era begins.

For some there will be the flashback to the 60s and a reminder of the song by the 5th Dimension The Age Of Aquarius, Let the Sunshine In!

When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius
Age of Aquarius
Aquarius
Aquarius

Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more falsehoods or derisions
Golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revelation
And the mind’s true liberation
Aquarius
Aquarius

When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius
Age of Aquarius
Aquarius
Aquarius
Aquarius
Aquarius

Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in, the sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in, the sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in…

Given the modern political climate of our time, a look back at the age of Aquarius and letting a little sunshine in would be a particularly good thing.

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Alamogordo Town News Sports Tiger Girls Track & Field Win 5A State Title & Title History

Congratulations to Alamogordo Track & Field Girls on winning the 5A State Championship!




Alamogordo Girls Interscholastic Track and Field Program began in 1972 under the leadership of Coach Marilyn Sepulveda. Under her leadership she brought home the first State Track and Field Titles for either the Boys or Girls Team in 1982 when there were only 4 divisions. She won the division AAAA State titled in 1982. Following upon the legacy she built of a sound program the team won a state title again in 1990. Leading the team that season was coach Joe Jaramillo
who had been an assistant to Coach Marilyn Sepulveda. The team won the victory in 1990 in honor of Coach Marilyn Sepulveda who died of cancer in 1989. Several of her athletes carried the banner in 1990 in her honor and eventually the prestigious Coach Marilyn Sepulveda Invitational State Qualifying Meet was created in her honor.

The Alamogordo Girls went on to win a state title again in 2017 under Coach Jason Atkinson. Coach Atkinson again proceeded to carry his team this unusually difficult post Covid-19 year to a second title under his leadership winning the girls state title today for 2021. Great job Coach Atkinson!!!

The Western Sky Community Care Class 5A Girls State Track & Field Championships awarded Alamogordo Tiger Girls with the first place title with a score of 79.50, second place went to La Cueva with 53 points and the third place trophy went to Sandia with 51 points. 

The High Point athlete for the day was Adriana Tatum, Sandia with 19 points.

The Tiger Girls Individual Awards went to…

 – 1st (Vanesa Najar, Gabi Sandoval, Janae Shaklee, Ellary Battle – 10:05.51) – State Record800 – Ellary Battle 1st (2:20.69)

Sprint Medley – 2nd (Rebecca Adams, Sydney Thomas, Gabi Sandoval, Michaela Neilson)

4×100 – 2nd (Yvonne Stinson, Justyse Martin, Gracie Walker, Kaelan Duchene – 47.99)

100 – Justyse Martin 2nd (12.05), Yvonne Stinson 3rd (12.15)

200 – Yvonne Stinson 2nd (25.59), Justyse Martin 3rd (25.63)

Discus – Macy Marquez 3rd (117-02)

300 Hurdles – Kaelan Duchene 3rd (46.58)

4×200 – 3rd (Gracie Walker, Kaelan Duchene, Rebecca Adams, Sydney Thomas – 1:48.94)

High Jump – Yvonne Stinson T-3rd (4-10)

4×400 – 4th (Gabi Sandoval, Justyse Martin, Michaela Neilson, Yvonne Stinson)

Pole Vault – Eva Gerou 5th (9-00)

Javelin – Sierra Lessentine 5th (105-03)- Ellary Battle 5th (5:35.42), Janae Shaklee 6th (5:37.53)

Triple Jump – Alyssa Esquero 6th (33-07.75)

Awesome job!!!!

On the boys side:]

Alamogordo High School began an organized sports program in 1912 for Caucasian boys offering PE, Track & Field and Basketball and Football.  In 1913, the authorities of the University of New Mexico believing that one of the great needs of the High Schools of the state was an opportunity to meet, at least once a year in athletic and other contests, organized the University of New Mexico Track Athletic Association. A track meet was held in the spring of that year at Albuquerque, and two high schools, Santa Fe and Albuquerque contested for the banner.

Although the beginning was small, a great deal of interest from across the state was aroused.

Alamogordo High School won its first state medals in 1916/17 School Year and they were in Track and Field via the High Jump and the Triple Jump.

Alamogordo High School boys won the first State Title under Coach Rolla Buck the year that Alamogordo integrated with High School with African American and Hispanic Athletes in 1951.

The results of the State Competition winners include…

  • Bobby Lee, 1st Place, 100 Yard Dash, 9.8
    • Bobby Lee, 1st Place,220 Yard Dash, 21.21.6
    • Bobby Lee, 1st Place, Long Jump, 21’-01.375
    • Norman Kinder, 1st Place, Pole Vault, 10’-10.50”
    • Benny Garcia, 1st Place. Javelin, 193’-01.325

The Alamogordo Tigers Track and Field Team of 1951/52 smashed the competition at the state finals of that year.

They took and won the state competition with 48.5 points. Albuquerque High, the 1951 State Champion scored 21.5 points less for a 2nd place finish of 27 points.

  • Lee in addition to setting 2 state records personally scored 24 ¾ points. He broke the state records in the 100-yard dash by .2 seconds and the 220 by .8 seconds better than the record.
    • Lee was also 3rd Place in Shot Put
  • Benny Garcia shattered the state record in Javelin 11’ 3 ⅛” of 5 state records; the Tigers broke 3 of them.
  • Norman Kinder Placed 1st in Pole Vault with 10’-10.50”
  • Ed McAlpine, 2nd Place. in the state competition in Javelin behind Garcia.
  • Bobby Fritz, 3rd Place, Broad Jump
  • In the sprints in addition to the 1st Place wins of Bobby Lee, Oliver Lee, 4th Place 180 Low Hurdles.
  • The 880 Yard Relay Team consisting of Henderson, Fritz, O Lee and Bobby Lee placed with a 3rd place medal.
  • Benny Garcia shattered the state record in Javelin 11’ 3 ⅛” of 5 state records; the Tigers broke 3 of them.
  • Norman Kinder, 1st Place, Pole Vault, 10’-10.50”

Benny Garcia went on to join the 1956 Olympics…

Alamogordo continued a winning tradition of building a strong track and field team and under Coach Bob Sepulveda the Boys won state titles in 1985, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 and under Coach Joe Bryant in 2007.

The Alamogordo Boys did a fine showing this difficult 2021 year continuing the tradition of bringing home individual medals to Alamogordo from the State.

 The Alamogordo Boys finished 7th overall this post Covid  5A Track and Field Championships

Individual Scorers Boys

4×400 – 2nd (Ezequiel Barraza, Harlon Gilbert, Omar Enriquez, Gabe Kotter – 3:25.68)

Discus – Kaden LoCoco 3rd (144-08)400 – Harlon Gilbert 3rd (49.63)

200 – Harlon Gilbert 5th (22.76)

Long Jump – Harlon Gilbert 5th (21-04)

4×800 – 5th (Aiden Kepfer, Celso Garcia, Isaiah Dalmas, Omar Enriquez – 8:37.97)

Congratulations to these young men for their commitment and determination to carry on a tradition of Tiger success.

Congratulations to ALL of the athletes that competed this most difficult season, you are each winners and demonstrate the best of New Mexico pride!

To learn more of the history of Alamogordo Track and Field check out Coach Robert Sepulveda The Early Days Book 1 – part of a 3 part book series on Alamogordo Athletics and its history from 1912 to 1976 is Available at Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo, New Mexico or on Amazon and available in 36 countries. Book 2 the Alamogordo Track and Field History and all district and state title holders named from 1976 to 1996 will be available soon!

Some video highlights of the Alamogordo Track and Field 2021 Season and heading to the state meet!<!– EMBEDDED YOUTU.BE URL: https://youtu.be/MeOik5IuLkA –>



Alamogordo Town News Special Report: Modifying the 13th Amendment Jobs & The Right Side of History

With the recent focus on Juneteenth, the public is familiarizing themselves with the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution. What is recognized and we were all taught in civics classes is that the amendment abolished slavery and involuntary servitude. That at face value is true and 2 years after passage all states recognized that thus the Juneteenth celebrations.

What we were not taught in history class or civics was the loophole. In reading this article, you will learn history but also how that loophole benefits for-profit prisons but harms counties where they are located. The reader will learn, good paying jobs promised to the public are not created in the local community due to the loophole creating exploitations and ultimately harming local communities like Otero County and Alamogordo, robbing the community of those promised good paying jobs for the local citizens.

Few of us neither realized the amendment has a loophole nor paid it attention! A big loophole, that has allowed for exploitation, that few realize that still exists today…

The amendment reads:

Thirteenth Amendment

Section 1

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. The amendment was passed by Congress on January 31, 1865, and ratified by the required 27 of the then 36 states on December 6, 1865, and proclaimed on December 18.

“It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones. – Nelson Mandela

The passage of the 13th Amendment was seen as a successful move to migrate the nation away from slavery. But southern business owners sought to reproduce the profitable arrangement of slavery with a system called peonage, in which disproportionately black workers were entrapped by loans and compelled to work indefinitely due to the resulting debt.

Peonage continued well through Reconstruction and ensnared a large proportion of black workers in the South and harmed wealth generation of black workers of which the repercussions of generational wealth loss are felt today.

These workers remained destitute and persecuted, forced to work dangerous jobs, and further confined legally by the racist Jim Crow laws that governed the South. Peonage differed from chattel slavery because it was not strictly hereditary and did not allow the sale of people in the same fashion. However, a person’s debt—and by extension a person—could still be sold, and the system resembled antebellum slavery in many ways.

With the Peonage Act of 1867, Congress abolished “the holding of any person to service or labor under the system known as peonage”, specifically banning “the voluntary or involuntary service or labor of any persons as peons, in liquidation of any debt or obligation, or otherwise.” However, forms of it persisted especially in the deep south until the 1940’s.

In 1939, the Department of Justice created the Civil Rights Section, which focused primarily on First Amendment and labor rights. The increasing scrutiny of totalitarianism in the lead-up to World War II brought increased attention to issues of slavery and involuntary servitude, abroad and at home. The U.S. sought to counter foreign propaganda and increase its credibility on the race issue by combatting the Southern peonage system. Under the leadership of Attorney General Francis Biddle, the Civil Rights Section invoked the constitutional amendments and legislation of the Reconstruction Era as the basis for its actions.

In 1947, the DOJ successfully prosecuted Elizabeth Ingalls for keeping domestic servant Dora L. Jones in conditions of slavery. The court found that Jones “was a person wholly subject to the will of defendant; that she was one who had no freedom of action and whose person and services were wholly under the control of defendant and who was in a state of enforced compulsory service to the defendant.” The Thirteenth Amendment enjoyed a swell of attention during this period, but from Brown v. Board of Education (1954) until Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co. (1968) it was again eclipsed by the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Fourteenth Amendment, ratified in 1868, has generated more lawsuits than any other provision of the U.S. Constitution. Section 1 of the amendment has been the centerpiece of most of this litigation. It makes “All persons born or naturalized in the United States “citizens of the United States and citizens of the state in which they reside. This section also prohibits state governments from denying persons within their jurisdiction the privileges or immunities of U.S. citizenship, and guarantees to every such person due process and equal protection of the laws. The Supreme Court has ruled that any state law that abridges Freedom of Speech, freedom of religion, the right to trial by jury, the Right to Counsel, the right against Self-Incrimination, the right against unreasonable searches and seizures, or the right against cruel and unusual punishments will be invalidated under section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment. This holding is called the Incorporation Doctrine.

However back to the 13th amendment and the concern of the exemption for penal labor from its prohibition of forced labor. This amendment allows prisoners who have been convicted of crimes (not those merely awaiting trial) to be required to perform labor or else face punishment while in custody. While on the surface that makes sense and does not sound like a bad thing, we must keep in mind this amendment was passed well before the idea of privatized for profit corporate run prisons.

Prison labor, or penal labor, is work that is performed by incarcerated and detained people. Not all prison labor is forced labor, but the setting involves unique modern slavery risks because of its inherent power imbalance and because those incarcerated have few avenues to challenge abuses behind bars. Free prison labor, or work that is performed voluntarily, can be a valuable activity but it becomes exploitative when there are elements of coercion, force, and threat of punishment against detainees.

The line between free prison labor and forced prison labor is difficult to define. The International Labor Organization (ILO) lists several indicators of free prison labor which, if absent, could point to conditions of modern slavery. These include the right to written consent forms, wages and working hours comparable to those of free workers, and standard health and safety measures. The ILO states that these factors must be considered “as a whole” to determine if prison labor is forced.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) discusses prison labor in its so-called Nelson Mandela Rules, which outline minimum standards by which to treat those incarcerated; rule 97 states that those incarcerated “shall not be held in slavery of servitude” and that they must be covered by the same wage, health, and safety standards as free citizens. That is very much different that the US 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

The United States, which has the world’s largest prison population, aimed to abolish slavery with the Thirteenth Amendment of 1865. But the Thirteenth Amendment echoes the ILO’s definition by allowing involuntary servitude—in the form of forced labor— “as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

Meanwhile, American labor laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act exclude those incarcerated by classifying their working relationship as penal, not economic.

Incarcerated people are thus unprotected from forced labor. Activists have further pointed out that mass incarceration and racial profiling in the United States has led to African Americans being incarcerated at far higher rates than their white counterparts. With forced labor remaining legal as punishment for a crime, the legacy of slavery and racism persists in the U.S. industrial prison complex. In fact, organizers of a 2018 prison strike called their labor exploitation “prison slavery,” with those incarcerated being farmed out to local governments and companies to perform labor for just pennies a day.

The U.S. is one of several countries around the world where mass incarceration has in effect become an avenue for forced labor based with clear links to racial discrimination. Commentators have called the exemption of prison labor a “fatal flaw” in the 13th Amendment; indeed, almost immediately after its passing, states began to take advantage of it to continue to exploit black and brown communities. The practice continues to this day, with many major corporations complicit in using free, cheap, or exploitative prison labor in what has come to be known as the prison-industrial system.

As recently as this year and as close as El Paso we see where this labor is exploited to do jobs others will not do or do not want to do.

The El Paso Times reported: Low-level inmates from El Paso County detention facility work while moving bodies wrapped in plastic at one of ten refrigerated temporary morgue trailers in a parking lot of the El Paso County Medical Examiner’s office on November 16, 2020, in El Paso, Texas. The inmates, who are also known as trustees, are volunteering for the work and earn $2 per hour amid a surge of COVID-19 cases in El Paso. Texas surpassed 20,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths today, the second highest in the U.S., with active cases in El Paso now well over 30,000.

The recent surge in labor performed in prison has led to more people laboring in captivity than were enslaved 200 years ago. The surplus value that is created by the labor of prisoners takes a system that theoretically exists to protect society and turns it into one that steals the work of individuals and lowers the market value of all labor.

However, in the late 1960s and 1970s, the government increased its criminalization of dissent in America, which caused the skyrocketing of incarceration rates. Richard Nixon started his war on drugs, which was first used to crack down on Black activists. This led into the Reagan administration increasing the penalties for the possession of crack cocaine and other narcotics. Then in 1994, the Clinton Crime bill, championed by Joe Biden, resulted in the largest increase of incarcerated people in the history of the United States.

During this surge in mass incarceration, state and federal governments also started loosening the restrictions set in the 1920s and 1930s on private corporations using prison labor through the Private Industry Enhancement Certification Program (PIECP), which was authorized by Congress in 1979. This program. which allows private industries to form partnerships with prisons to use inmate labor, is supposed to follow certain requirements, including paying a prevailing wage. However, wages under the PIECP program have been reported to be as low as 0.16 cents a day.

Over 4100 corporations use the PIECP program to profit from prison labor made available by mass incarceration. 385 of these are publicly traded, and include companies such as 3M, ACE Hardware, Amazon, Microsoft, and Northrop Grumman.

The connection between prison labor and racial discrimination is also clear in immigration detention. Immigration detainees are at particular risk of modern slavery; according to the International Detention Coalition, immigration detention tends to have extraordinarily little oversight and is “among the opaquest areas of public administration” worldwide. This lack of oversight allows for widespread human rights abuses against immigration detainees—including forced labor.

In the United States, immigration detainees, including refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants, are especially vulnerable because they are often held by private prisons. Whereas over 90 percent of the American prison population is held in state-run facilities, more than 70 percent of people in immigration detention are held in private detention centers.

Because they are for-profit and receive a fixed income from the government, these facilities are incentivized to cut costs and rely on detainees for much of their operation—paying them as little as a dollar a day.

Freedom United an organization that is fighting to change the 13th Amendment and is currently campaigning against Core Civic—the second-largest private prison and immigration detention company in the United States—which has been the target of several lawsuits for subjecting detainees who have not been charged with any crimes to forced labor, sometimes even under the threat of being sent to solitary confinement.

Per The Case Against Private Detention Facilities in New Mexico, Authors: Margaret Brown Vega, Lynne Canning, Nathan Craig, and Else Droof with contributions by Sarah Manges October 2020

In the 1990s, New Mexico witnessed one of the nation’s biggest surges in the use of private prisons, a national trend for which New Mexico was an epicenter. Privatization was intended to address overcrowding and poor conditions and accelerated when the State of New Mexico began to view private prisons as a development tool in rural areas. In New Mexico, the shift to private prisons came on the heels of the state’s worst prison riot, and one of the worst in the nation. Evidence of corruption in the state prison system, promises of reform, and cost cutting fed the private prison building boom.3

Additionally, the new facilities were built under the untested pretext that rural prison hosting would drive economic growth and create jobs. The early promises of improved conditions, cost savings, and economic development for New Mexico, however, were not realized by privatization. Department of Justice and Government Accounting Office reports show that private prisons provide almost no cost savings and what meager “savings” are achieved is accomplished by reduced staffing and lower wages both problems that have plagued New Mexico.

Otero County plays host to 2 for profit prisons – The Otero County Prison Facility and The Otero County Processing Center.

A recent study shows that Otero and Cibola counties, the two non-metro counties that host the largest number of private prison beds, do not have significantly lower unemployment rates than adjacent non-metro counties. The presence of multiple large private prisons in these counties objectively produces no meaningful change in unemployment. The majority of those employed at the two Otero County facilities live in El Paso, Texas, not Chaparral or Alamogordo, New Mexico. The employment boom that was promised when facilities such as the ones in Otero were built simply has not materialized.

In Chaparral, New Mexico advocates who visited the Otero County Processing Center spoke to individuals detained at the facility who did heavy landscaping work, laid foundation, and built a shade structure for staff, 20 performed welding, maintained, and repaired the building, and cleaned inside the facility, in addition to cooking, doing laundry, and providing haircuts.

These activities are all performed as part of the work program, in which individuals are paid $1 per day for 8 hours of work. Most if not all these tasks could easily provide much needed work for Chaparral or Alamogordo Otero County residents, but it is difficult for residents to compete with such cost-saving wages paid to detained immigrants.

The risk of incarcerated people facing forced labor is heightened dramatically during times of crisis. Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, state governments in the U.S. have relied on prison labor to produce essential medical supplies, including hand sanitizer and face masks, and stacking bodies as mentioned in El Paso. Those incarcerated face consequences for refusing to participate and typically earn less than a dollar a day, and are at high risk of infection given the low levels of sanitation and overcrowding in American prisons that makes social distancing impossible. The exploitative practices have been decried by critics as “nothing less than slave labor.”

Thus, the impact or repercussions of the 13th Amendment are even felt locally in Alamogordo and Otero County today. Those repercussions of low wage prisoners exploited by for profit prisons and doing many of the jobs that should be offered to local residence of Otero County at a living wage. But instead, what is happening is prisoners are exploited and those jobs in welding, construction and maintenance are not offered to the local citizens of Otero County and the promise of good paying jobs for the locals is lost.

Last week Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley and Georgia Rep. Nikema Williams reintroduced legislation to close the prison loophole in the 13th Amendment. We challenge the congressional leaders from New Mexico Representatives Yvette Herrell, Melanie Ann Stansbury and Teresa Leger Fernandez to join the effort. We challenge New Mexico’s two Senators to lead the charge on the Senate side of the Legislature.

Why? Because it is the right thing to do, for profit prisons are exploiting the incarcerated.

Why? Because for profit prisons are exploiting the incarcerated and keeping good paying and skilled jobs away from the local citizens of Otero County and other counties in New Mexico for which these jobs should be offered.

Why? Because this is not just about civil rights, or human rights but it is about jobs in the state of New Mexico and throughout the nation that should be offered as livable wage jobs to the public for which these institutions have settled for business operations.

Author Chris Edwards, Sourced and quoted content from: MSNBC, US Constitution, Wikipedia, Freedom United, Freedom United Project, The Real News.com, The Case Against Private Detention Facilities in New Mexico, Authors: Margaret Brown Vega, Lynne Canning, Nathan Craig, and Else Droof with contributions by Sarah Manges October 2020. Oxford, Andrew. “New Mexico Trying to Recover $3.6m from Private Prison Company.” News. Santa Fe New Mexican, August 20, 2018. http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/new-mexico-trying-to[1…, Julian. “Lawmakers Want Answers from Ice, Contractor Regarding Covid-19 Outbreak at Nm Jail.” Border Report, August 18, 2020. https://www.borderreport.com/hot-topics/migrant-centers/lawmakers-want[…. El Paso Times, Alamogordo News, Prison Legal News

About Chris Edwards author of Removing Barriers to State Occupational Licenses to Enhance Entrepreneurial Job Growth: Out of Prison, Out of Work Paperback, speaks from the point of view of criminal justice reform and there are significant references to the impact on post incarcerated individuals of the existing framework of Occupational Licensing and how reform will assist in job creation. The proposed reforms come from a standpoint of job creation and improving entrepreneurial opportunities within California and beyond. This book is fact based with significant documentation and research and is a personal plea for reform to not only California legislators but those across the nation.

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Our Responsibility for the Soul of the GOP

Republican Party at a Crossroads

The struggle for the heart soul and the future of the Republican party is real and is divisive. The Republican party is at one of its most difficult crossroads since its founding. Two factions are fighting for control of the party and its future. Some question rather the party has a future based on its present trajectory given the demographic shifts taking place in the US and the radicalization of Trump loyalist that have controlled the direction of the party the last 4 years.

But four years after winning the presidency, Trump and Republicans are now on the outside looking in, having lost control of the House, the Senate, and the White House. A fight to define the future of the Republican Party is playing out among a small, but influential, group of Republicans, even as Trump remains central to the party and to its identity. He keeps trying to assert his influence, but it is waning as time passes from his presidency.

The heart and soul of the party is in conflict by the two competing sets of ideology – Trumpian ideology and true conservatism. Groups and old guard party leaders like the Bushes, Cheney’s, McCains, the Lincoln Group, George Will, and others represent the old guard conservatives. What those on the outside and within are viewing is a war for the go forward path for the party.

That infighting is a war that is very visible to the outside world, and many believe the Trumpian ideologists are winning the war. Are they?

At first peak it would appear they are as they are loud, radicalized, utilizing visuals and demonstrations in radical formats, and gaining media attention. What is being fought is a war of ideology, but the tactics are changed from ideological wars of the past.

To an outsider it would appear the old guard is fighting the war using 19th Century ideals and wanting to fight a gentleman’s war verses the Trump ideologs fighting with guerilla tactics. To an outsider is almost appears and has been compared to the American Revolution.

The old guard British fought at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, using the standard tactics of war used on the battlefields of Europe.  This called for large formations of men to be lined up three deep.  They engaged the enemy in open fields and exchanged fire.  Part of the British strategy required the use of certain battlefield weapons.  The most used weapon for a British soldier during the war was consisted of Brown Bess (75 caliber 3/4 of an inch in diameter), cannons, and bayonets.

The tactics of the British were not designed to shoot down the enemy until retreat, but to break up the organized lines so your side could then march forward, in an organized and linear fashion, and charge with the bayonet. A disorganized unit cannot stand against an organized bayonet charge.

The war for the soul of the Republican party by the old guard some would argue is a fight like the British colonial fight. They are using old school tactics and trying to fight a gentlemanly war for the ideology of the Republican party.

On the other hand, we see the Trump ideologs. They are fighting the public relations war verbally, loud and in an obnoxious and rambunctious format some would say they are fighting using guerilla war tactics.

Francis Marion, otherwise known as Swamp Fox, was a Revolutionary officer during the Revolution. He is well known today as the Father of Guerrilla Warfare for introducing and bringing guerrilla fighting tactics into the war.

 The British had a much greater advantage in terms of weapons, abilities, and numbers. Militias had no change against them with their lack of supplies and military experience. However, commander Francis Marion changed that by planning secret guerrilla attacks against the British. While the British troops had supplies, strength, and order, the American rebels compensated with their creativity and wits. Compared to large, fully armed armies, guerrilla groups are generally small packs of fighters. They are not equipped with any uniforms, weapons, or other useful resources; instead, they scavenge for whatever weapons they can find. They use the land around them for resources like food and shelter, whereas professional soldiers are provided with all these necessities.

The traditional fighting tactics of the time meant meeting the enemy in open field ready to battle. Marion and his men, however, knew they could not do this because they would not stand a chance against such well trained and equipped soldiers. Marion took a different approach and fought his enemy using stealth and secrecy. The British never expected these attacks because it went against the unwritten rules of war. Secret ambushes were not something anyone during the war could expect. For this reason, guerrillas could do a lot of damage to their enemy. And because the groups were always moving, it was exceedingly difficult for the enemy to catch them.

Some say that Donald Trump and his team are the guerrilla fighters in the war for the ideology of the Republican party. His team and his followers have become the master of disruption and manipulation. They learned to make up facts and to craft and spin a story on social media and if it is repeated loudly and enough then it becomes the storyline and assumed as factual by the masses.

From a romanticization of history and the ideals of the founding of the republic one would think at first glance that the guerilla methodology will win the war, and that the fight they are fighting, is just and noble, but broad public opinion is turning against the cause. The more silent majority is tiring of the hysteria, conspiracies, and lack of intellectual dialog.

An underestimated element, within the ideological fight for the soul, and go forward path of the Republican party is what most political scientists and polished politicians know, that is the party has within it the “silent majority.” What is the silent majority?

The headlines in the ideological fight for the party are crafted by those that scream loud, stage rallies, post crazed memes’, proclaiming extremist statements on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms.

What is not always recognized is most of the party is made up of centrist, traditional conservatives, and independents.

During the presidential election cycle the mouthpiece of the party was the Trump ideologs.

Now, in the post Trump era that “silent majority” is becoming more and more uncomfortable with the divisive actions and speech and the nonsense of science deniers by this element as the true conservatives are working to claw their way back and save the party.

The Mitt Romney’s and Liz Cheney’s of the party are being portrayed by Trumpian ideologists as out of step with the party and out of step with the populist ideals the party represents. But are they?

The party is a party of with a history of conservative ideology. Few, of the Trump influenced leadership that now controls many of the nations’ central committees and the ideology of the party even understand the roots of the conservative movement or what true conservatism is.

Polling shows that Trump enthusiasts actually only represent fewer than 30% of register Republican voters, but their media presence makes it appear, they are the majority, versus the fact that there is a more silent responsible majority.

A history lesson on conservatism:

Conservatism is an aesthetic, cultural, social, and political philosophy, which seeks to promote and to preserve traditional social institutions. The Republican party has traditionally held the political views that favor free enterprise, private ownership, and socially traditional ideas.

At least that was until the Trump machine took the lead of the party. Now the fight that exists between the Trump ideology and true conservatism. But how did conservatism and its marriage to the Republican party begin?

In 1955, William F. Buckley, Jr., wrote that the purpose of his newly founded magazine National Review was to “stand athwart history yelling stop.” The phrase belongs to modern conservatism, which defies the dark, incoming tide of liberalism. Interestingly, only one of the conservative heroes mentioned in this essay, Edmund Burke (1729-1797), had the self-conscious idea that he was standing athwart the tides of history. That is one reason why he was the first truly modern conservative.

Burke looked at the French Revolution and realized that the tide of the times was flowing in the wrong direction. Before the Revolution, France had a brilliant culture and provided cultural leadership to the West. The Revolution inflicted such profound damage to the culture and social fabric of France that French society and culture never entirely recovered its former glory and brilliance. For those who cared about civilization and high culture, the French Revolution was a catastrophe.

Although Burke pronounced bitter anathemas on the French revolutionaries – who destroyed a culture in the name of abstract theory – he was sympathetic to the American Founding Fathers, who fought to preserve the rights of Englishmen. He used his influence as a member of parliament to promote conciliation with the American colonies.

When William F. Buckley burst onto the national scene in 1955, conservatism was a dead letter in American politics, as some would argue it is dying now, under the ideology of Trumpism trying to suppress it.

“Lots of people thought that it was outdated, anachronistic, prehistoric, foolish, not very intelligent,” Carl Bogus was once quoted on All Things Considered by host Guy Raz.

Bogus is the author of a biography, Buckley: William F. Buckley and the Rise of American Conservatism. He says that back in the 1950s and ’60s, there really was an established liberal elite in America, which controlled both political parties.

Buckley set out to change that. As a Yale graduate, he published a book called God and Man at Yale, which took the university to task for failing to promote Christianity and free market economics.

He collapsed in that book religion, economics and political ideology,” producing the mix of ideas we recognize today as conservatism: free-market capitalism, support for American military actions, libertarianism, and social conservatism.

“It was Buckley who made that coalition. He held within him all … of those beliefs. He was what today we call a neoconservative, a social conservative and a libertarian.”

Building on the prestige of his first two books, Buckley founded National Review in 1955. He staffed the journal with talented intellectuals. Buckley’s and National Review’s articulation of an intellectually coherent conservatism, as well as its sharp and often witty criticism of the eccentricities and intellectual laziness of the dominant liberalism of the era, soon earned it a large audience on the right as well as massive hostility from the left. By the end of the 1950s, National Review was easily the preeminent journalistic voice of conservatism and one not easily dismissed by liberals.

Buckley and The National Review acted as gatekeepers of conservatism, excluding those ideas and groups they considered extremist, nutty, or dangerous. Among those considered unworthy of inclusion in modern conservatism were anti-Semites, white supremacists, the extremist anti-communists of the John Birch Society, and Ayn Rand and her ideology of hyper-capitalism combined with hyper-atheism. Note each of those groups were embraced into Trumpian ideology of the modern era thus the clash of the old guard Republican Conservativism verses the Trumpian ideologs of today.

Within national Republican politics, Buckley supported the 1964 candidacy of Senator Barry Goldwater, first for the Republican Party nomination (successfully) and then in the general election for the presidency (unsuccessfully). Buckley was only mildly enthusiastic about Republican Richard Nixon, initially supporting his presidency in 1969 but breaking with it in 1971, over Nixon’s pursuit of detente with the Soviet Union and Communist China and his attempt to establish a government-funded national minimum income.  

(Note a government funded national minimum income is not a new Democratic nor Biden creation of socialism but was first introduced in concept by Republican President Richard Nixon.)

In 1973, Nixon appointed Buckley to the post of American delegate to the United Nations.

Buckley was an early backer of Ronald Reagan for the presidency, first in Reagan’s unsuccessful campaign for the Republican nomination in 1976 and then in his successful campaign for the nomination and the presidency in 1980. Buckley later wrote a book about his long friendship with Reagan: The Reagan I Knew (2008). Some view the Reagan presidency as the pinnacle of the conservative movement and that there has not been conservative leadership in this nation since and as such the Republican party has lost its way thus opening the door to Trumpian ideology due to it being a party that lost its way.

Regardless of what factions eventually take the leadership of the Republican party as it limps along to the 2022 mid-terms one this is for sure; Americans waiting for the Republican Party to return to “normal” by historical standards, waiting for “traditional” Republicans to be guided by the better angels of their nature, that party of yesterday is NOT going to happen. And if playing a waiting game to sit back watch and remain silent then that wait is going to be lengthy.

In his 2012 book “Coming Apart,” conservative sociologist Charles Murray portrays the white poor in terms he once reserved for African Americans, describing them as a socially disorganized, economically dependent, culturally deficient, and even genetically debased population. It is no coincidence that Trump’s strongest support comes from working-class Republicans who feel their whiteness no longer protects them and that is the honest root to Trumpian ideology.

What now for the GOP?

Per Joseph Lowndes, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Oregon

“In every polarized era, one or two key problems become the lens through which all others are viewed. In this Second Gilded Age, these are perhaps the twinned issues of excessive wealth and economic abandonment. Yet unlike the leaders of past populist revolts however, Trump seems less a champion of working people than a figure who confirms their debased status. Having titled his campaign memoir Crippled America, the then candidate reveled in such terms as “disgust,” “weakness,” “losing,” and “pathetic.” And of course he was the star of a reality show whose tag line was “You’re fired.”

Trump’s followers respond less to appeals to their value as producers, which in a financialized economy seems nostalgic anyway, than to brutal rage against immigrants and Muslims, who along with establishment elites are seen as the authors of their misery.

Delegitimizing elections, authoritarianism, cult of personality, white supremacy, destroying trusted institutions, ignoring the Constitution, flouting the rule of law. That is Trumpism. That is the Republican Party at present but several do hold out hope that the silent majority has about had enough from the 30% that Trump has indoctrinated and that the middle, the true conservatives the real American Patriots that get up every day go to work, raise a diverse and respectful family that those diverse patriots of the silent majority will again rise up and say, enough is enough and reassert their base of power.

Most Americans are now decades into an era of stagnant or declining wages. A Princeton study on rising morbidity and mortality rates among non-college-educated whites is merely one indicator of the physical and psychic costs of this abandonment. Yet these white middle and working-class Americans who are getting left behind are dismissed by conservative elites and thus the divide of the Republican party that allowed the opportunity for Trumpism it exist and thrive. And thrive it does primarily in rural and poor or depressed areas. Alamogordo, Mexico peaked in the 1960s and early 70’s due to the investments and technologies in Space and missile defense. Since then, it has slipped and is just of hundreds of examples of towns that were once centers of innovation, science and technology and now are strongholds of Trumpian ideology despite its progressive history.

Time and circumstance can yet move Republicans in new directions. Demographics could shift the GOP to the wayside. Time and demographic trends favor the Democrats over the next decade. But rejuvenating the party will depend on examples of leadership, vision and a base ready to reembrace conservatism’s highest ideals. There are groups trying to mobilize those conservative ideals of a proud party that represents the big tent of George Bush Jr. and the optimism of Ronald Reagan. Groups such as the Lincoln Group, Retake Republicanism and others are fighting for the soul of a GOP to ensure that demographics and extreme ideology of Trumpism to not move it to irrelevance over the next 2 decades.

In 2016, the renowned sociologist Arlie Hochschild, whose book “Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right” documented her journey deep into conservative country, Louisiana, and said that a key to understanding the tea party and later Trump voters was that many felt “dishonored” and “disrespected” by those in power. They saw in Trump a warrior to battle on their behalf, someone who would bring a gun to a cultural knife fight.

But Trump’s most profound imprint on the Republican Party is in effect, in disposition, in temperament. Republicans, time and again, accommodated themselves to Trump’s corruptions; as a result, they became complicit in them. By the end of the Trump administration much of the Republican Party was animated by cultural and class resentments, gripped by fear and implicated in Trump’s brand of politics.

In some cases, Republicans have been led down strange and dark paths. For example, nearly 30% of Republicans believe the fantastical claims by QAnon that “Donald Trump has been secretly fighting a group of child sex traffickers that include prominent Democrats and Hollywood elites.” It is no surprise that with the help of powerful Republicans like Jim Jordan, Marjorie Taylor Greene, a far-right conspiracy theorist, was elected to the House of Representatives.

“They just legitimized a person that used tactics I would say 10 years ago, even five years ago, would have been abhorrent to the Republican Party,” Elizabeth Neumann, a former assistant secretary in the Department of Homeland Security in the Trump administration, observed. “But … they know they can’t condemn that behavior because they know the base loves it.”

The danger for the GOP is that those who hope to succeed Trump could lead the party into even more appalling places, since there are indications from focus groups that post-2020 election, a sizable group of Trump voters are more inclined to embrace conspiracy theories and they are becoming more, not less, extreme.

Importantly, there are several influential figures within the Republican Party who are determined to see the GOP move beyond Trump, and they have this argument on their side: The Republican Party at the national level has been shut out of power after a single Trump term. Today Democrats enjoy a rare double-digit lead over Republicans in party favorable ratings, and a recent Gallup poll found the largest Democratic lead in party affiliation over Republicans in nearly a decade (49% compared to 40%).

Alamogordo New Mexico and Every Depressed Community in America…

The road forward for the GOP starts with leaders and voters who show integrity, act courageously, and speak words of truth in the face of political mediocrity. Guerilla Warfare does not win political wars, it just causes dissention in the hive. Old school debate, and local activism changes the hearts and minds of neighbors with responsible dialog. It starts with us holding local political leaders accountable. Does Couy Griffin serve the best interest as a commissioner for Otero County or is there someone who has leadership, vision, and courage. Is Evette Herrell effective or will she grow into the position beyond Trumpian ideology and represent the diversity that is New Mexico? Do local commissioners have vision to build a diverse economy and expand upon local tourism and cultural opportunities within Alamogordo and Southern New Mexico? Is the Republican Party in rural America capable of embracing a solutions-based platform and lead the people or does it want to rest on its laurels and play victim? The answers to what is next for the Republican party will NOT begin in Washington, nor in a think tank in New York or at Harvard or Princeton. What is next for the Republican party begins here and now with you, me, and every concerned citizen at the local and state level and with that participation and leadership then the national party will fall in line.

The GOP was once a great party of great ideals. It still can be again, if it turns away from the ideology of white victimhood and accepts its role as a leader of a diverse multi-cultural country where every person is valued regardless of skin color, nation of origin, education level, sexual orientation and the party embraces its responsibility to plan, lead and not always do what is easy for now but what is right for future generations.

The party must turn away from the corruption of money and greed and join the effort to lead on term limits, responsible investment in infrastructure, jobs and education and turn away from social issues and yet again engage on issues of strength and fiscal power.

 As a citizen are you up to the challenge of sacrifice today to show leadership for tomorrow? Republican conservatism calls for you to place the good of those around you above your personal comfort. The greatest generation did it during WWII now can you step up to the plate? Its on you to turn away ideology of ignorance and embrace the ideology of diversity, economic prosperity, and strength.

Sources: Bill of Rights Institute, Wikipedia, The National Review Archives, The Biography of Willam F Buckley, American Conservatism, Time, People, NPR, Firing Line, Duluth Tribune, The Conversation, The Desert News, Peter Wehner Ethics and Public Policy Center, The Washington Post, The Congressional Review, The White House Archives, Retake Republicanism.

Commentary by Author, Political Activist, Business Leader and Registered Republican Chris Edwards.

Chris Edwards New Mexico Bestselling Author and Executive Coach. Fitness, Sports History, Healthy Life Balance make up our core values. We focus on physical, mental, and spiritual fitness for a healthy lifestyle. We provide tips an offer A Social Perspective, Philosophy and participate in Political Activism for societal change as a Writer, Businessman, Lover of Life Experiences, Ambassador and Proponent of the Cultural Arts, Advocate in Exploring The Best In Humanity and the Celebration of Life Experience.

Author of the Coach Robert Sepulveda Book Series and the 90 Days to a Glass Half Full Lifestyle 2 Hours Unplugged series offered at fine independent book sellers and on amazon.com.

Honey & Eggs, why buy local verses at Walmart? Alamogordo Town News Special Business Report

Honey & Eggs, why buy local verses at Walmart? Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue Alamogordo New Mexico sells local La Luz honey and local free-range farm raised eggs but why buy local? This is why!

Why would I want to purchase eggs and honey at Roadrunner Emporium verses the convenience of Walmart?

  1. Supporting local businesses and keeping money in the local economy
  2. You are getting local quality honey and eggs verses what may not be pure honey and the eggs are not industrial produced eggs from industrial farms.
  3. Health benefits to purchasing local products
  4. Local purchased Honey is better for the environment

Local Honey and Eggs verses Industrial Walmart Honey and Egg, The Story Economics of Local Purchases:

Roadrunner Emporium on New York Avenue is partnered with 40 small business owners, artists, farmers, and antiques vendors. Each are local small business professionals. The farms in La Luz, the Naturally Balanced Farms products and others are all local and purchasing supports the local economy.

When one purchases a container of honey from Walmart let us review the travel path to get to your home. Much of the honey at Walmart and other big chain retailers and big chain drug stores originated in China and technically is not honey at all. More on that in a few minutes.

Its safe to assume a large percentage of the product marketed as honey in the big chain stores originated in China and as such travels thousands of miles to a Walmart or similar distribution center via ship, train and then eventually to your local store via truck.  That product was purchased for pennies in China, the major expense is not the product but the shipping to eventually get it to you.

You then purchase the product at Walmart or your big chain retailer and 90% of the money from the sale goes to the companies headquarters and then overseas. A purchase from Walmart of honey or other items does not help the local community and does not help the American economy.

Here are the facts per the Alliance on American Manufacturing specific to Walmart:

95 Percent vs. 20 Percent

Walmart China “firmly believes” in local sourcing with over 95 percent of their merchandise coming from local sources. In America, estimates say that Chinese suppliers make up 70-80 percent of Walmart’s merchandise, leaving less than 20 percent for American-made products.

Source: Walmart ChinaFrontlineThe Atlantic

$3.9 Trillion vs. $250 Billion

Walmart’s financial records show it collected $3.9 trillion in net sales between 2005 and 2014. In 2013, the company committed to purchasing $250 billion in American-made goods by 2023 – just 6 percent of its net sales over the past decade (5% in 2014). If Walmart continues to grow at the same rate, in 2023 the company will spend just 3.2 percent on American-made goods.

Source: Walmart Stores Inc. Annual Report 201420102005

5 hours for $10 million

Walmart makes $34,985 in profit every minute, meaning that Walmart makes $10 million in profit approximately every five hours. For several years, Walmart has been the single largest U.S. importer of consumer goods, surpassing the trade volume of entire countries. According to the Journal of Commerce, Walmart remains the top U.S. importer.

Source: Journal of Commerce: 2012201320142015        

2.7 million Jobs Lost Between 2001-2011, 2.7 million jobs were lost to China with 2.1 million in manufacturing.

Source: Economic Policy Institute

100 For Every One More than 100 U.S. jobs were displaced for every actual or promised job created through Walmart’s Investing in American Jobs initiative.

Source: Economic Policy Institute

When you purchase your honey from a local supplier or local store such as Roadrunner Emporium then you are supporting local small business owners and not a large corporation and as such you create local jobs and the money stays in the local economy.

When you buy local honey, you are getting authentic honey:

According to the FDA (as well as the food safety divisions of the World Health Organization and the European Commission), the one test that authenticates honey is the presence of pollen. If the liquid gold does not contain pollen, it is not honey. This prompted Food Safety News to test more than 60 different samples of store-bought honey for pollen. The results were damning:

76% OF GROCERY STORE “HONEY” HAD NO POLLEN IN IT!

When buying from drug stores like Walgreens, Rite Aid, and CVS, the failure rate went as high as 100%!

However, the FDA is not checking honey sold here to see if it contains pollen. Ultra-filtering is a high-tech procedure where honey is heated, sometimes watered down and then forced at high pressure through extremely small filters to remove pollen, which is the only foolproof sign identifying the source of the honey. It is a spin-off of a technique refined by the Chinese, who have illegally dumped tons of their honey – some containing illegal antibiotics – on the U.S. market for years.

Food Safety News decided to test honey sold in various outlets after its earlier investigation found U.S. groceries flooded with Indian honey banned in Europe as unsafe because of contamination with antibiotics, heavy metal and a total lack of pollen which prevented tracking its origin.

Food Safety News purchased more than 60 jars, jugs, and plastic bears of honey in 10 states and the District of Columbia.

The contents were analyzed for pollen by Vaughn Bryant, a professor at Texas A&M University and one of the nation’s premier melissopalynologists, or investigators of pollen in honey.

Bryant, who is director of the Palynology Research Laboratory, found that among the containers of honey provided by Food Safety News:

•76 percent of samples bought at groceries had all the pollen removed. These were stores like Safeway, Giant Eagle, QFC, Kroger, Metro Market, Harris Teeter, A&P, Stop & Shop and King Soopers.

•100 percent of the honey sampled from drugstores like Walgreens, Rite-Aid and CVS Pharmacy had no pollen.

•77 percent of the honey sampled from big box stores like Costco, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Target, and H-E-B had the pollen filtered out.

•100 percent of the honey packaged in the small individual service portions from Smucker, McDonald’s and KFC had the pollen removed.

•Bryant found that every one of the samples Food Safety News bought at farmers markets, co-ops and “natural” stores like PCC and Trader Joe’s had the full, anticipated, amount of pollen.

Purchasing honey at Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue means you are getting real honey that is full of pollen and has the health benefits of local grown honey.

Health Benefits to Purchasing Local, Honey Eggs and Products:

Local bees make local honey, which means the pollen they collect and bring back to the hive is all sourced from local plants. Since many seasonal allergies are caused by these same plants, eating honey that contains that pollen can possibly combat those allergies, the idea behind trace-exposure to allergens to desensitize patients to food allergies is one that is gaining steam.

In addition to potentially fighting allergies, one of the great benefits of local honey is that it is unprocessed and pure. The stuff you find in the grocery stores is often filtered, a process that removes the trace amounts of pollen it might contain and as detailed above is not pure and real honey. The purer the honey, the stronger its medicinal benefits, like potential anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.

Local honey is known to be the best remedy for cough. This may be the best health benefit of honey. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend honey as the best natural remedy for cough. Honey is even better than some of the common medications for cough. Research shows that a tablespoon of honey can reduce the irritation in the throat. In addition, it reduces cough symptoms and helps in better sleep more than cough medications.

Good-quality and pure local honey contain some important antioxidants that are beneficial for your health. Antioxidants are your body’s natural defense against diseases and promote good health. They reduce the risk of strokes, heart attacks and some types of cancer. Antioxidants basically slow down the dangerous disease processes in your body. They work by destroying the free radicals in your body – compounds that can damage healthy cells. Research shows that honey contains variable amounts of polyphenols. These are powerful antioxidants that help in reducing the risk of cancer and heart diseases. Polyphenols are also present in fruits, vegetables, green tea, and olive oil.

The sweet taste of honey makes it a natural replacement of sugar. It contains about 38% of fructose and 31% of glucose which makes it sweet in taste. Sugar has a lot of harmful effects on your health and contains no nutrients, but only empty calories. Due to this reason, honey is supposed to be a better option than sugar.

Another major health benefit of local honey is its healing effects. Since ancient times, people are using it to heal burns and wounds and it is still common today. These healing powers of honey come from its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Studies show that honey is most effective in healing partial thickness burns and infected wounds after surgery. Another study published in The Cochrane Library says that “topical honey is cheaper and better than other interventions like antibiotics – which may have other side effects.” In addition, honey can also be used in the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers, which can have serious complications. On top of that, it can nourish skin tissues and can help in treating other skin conditions.

So rather the convenience of purchasing honey at Walmart or the big box retailers, take 5 more minutes and stop by a local store such as Roadrunner Emporium and purchase your local produced honey to ensure you are getting a local product that is pure and have the health benefits of real honey verses an over processed honey like product.

Local Purchases of Honey, Eggs and other products are Better for the Environment:

Different flavors of honey are available at Roadrunner Emporium and the flavors are based on the plants pollinated. Local plant life in La Luz and other honey producing farms factors into the local honey-making process. The honey produced at the farm comes in different flavors, including the traditional wildflower, orange etc. These flavors do not come from additives, however. Instead, they are created based on the plants from which the bees draw pollen. Releasing the farm-raised bees into select local plant life not only creates some incredible honey flavors, but it also helps pollinate the plants, which is beneficial to all local wildlife.

Besides benefiting the plant life, supporting local honey helps the bee population as well. Since bees are now endangered, it is more vital than ever to support local bee farmers in New Mexico and beyond who are helping raise and maintain healthy bees.

Another benefit of local verses the large store purchases is the carbon footprint. A jar of honey produced in China, shipped over on an ocean liner, carried by train to a warehouse and then trucked to the local store consumes lots of gas and spews lots of carbon into the air to get you that little jar of honey. However, is you purchase local La Luz honey or honey from your local community you are further reducing the carbon footprint and helping the environment.

So drop by and purchase your fresh eggs or honey, natural soaps and oils and artwork and antiques and other repurposed goods from, Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue. Roadrunner Emporium is a local Main Street Alamogordo business, that is committed to enhancing the local community, providing alternatives to a healthier lifestyle, and enriching our community with offerings fine arts, antiques and locally procured products in a safe engaging environment that brings value to the Alamogordo community. Drop by Roadrunner Emporium and meet the 40 artisans and partner small businesses that offer unique and engaging products and are a vital part of the Alamogordo small business community.

Author Chris Edwards Alamogordo Town News, 2nd Life Media

https://2ndlifemediaalamogordo.town.news/g/alamogordo-nm/n/31910/alamogordo-business-spotlight-honey-eggs-why-buy-local-roadrunner-emporium

Sources: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3609166/, Food Safety News, Texas A&M University Palynology Research Laboratory, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/most-store-bought-honey-i_b_1118564,  Source: Walmart Stores Inc. Annual Report 201420102005,  Journal of Commerce: 2012201320142015, Economic Policy Institute , Economic Policy Institute

Don’t Blame the Governor, Local Government and Business Leaders Own the Economic Recovery Alamogordo Town News Special Report A Microcosm of the Nation on Jobs Creation

The economy within Alamogordo, Otero County and New Mexico was damaged by the COVID-19 crisis in 2020 and into the beginning months of 2021. Productivity plunged, new business development, licensing, and recruitment all but stopped and unemployment spiked. Mandated shutdowns, social distancing, and altered consumption patterns has resulted in many businesses adjusting work hours, some closing permanently and several laying off workers, modifying working conditions to include more automation and less need for employees.

Do not blame the governor and those outside of Alamogordo the issue of the thousands of square feet of vacant and not rented retail space began in Alamogordo long before Covid-19. Self-reflection and holding local political leaders accountable are where solutions begin. We can blame the Democrats; Democrats blame the Republicans, but the fact is the ownership of local jobs and education issues and the solutions to each can only come from within Alamogordo and Otero County. Help in the form of Federal Grants and State Grants can assist but first the local political and business machine must own up to creating a roadmap, accept responsibility for past sins, quit blaming others and remedy the issue with a collaborative, solutions driven resolution towards jobs growth and long-term economic prosperity. Call center recruitment is a 20th Century solution that is a failed path to jobs growth. Tourism, specialty retail, arts, culture and fitness that takes advantage of the local features of nature are the key to local prosperity.

Just look at the expanded self-check checkout lines at Lowes Grocery Store, Albertsons, Walmart, and McDonalds. Jobs are not being lost locally due to immigrants taking low wage jobs, jobs are being lost due to automation, a business community that is not adapting to changing retail trends and political leadership that must collaborate with small business owners via incentives, tax rebates, and state and federal block grants.

For Alamogordo and Southern New Mexico to move forward and replace lost jobs and incomes, the region needs small business entrepreneurs to fill the void with business startups of businesses that can capitalize on the local resources, tourism, fitness, arts and culture.

During the economic downturn a decade ago, the business startup rate fell and never fully recovered, which contributed to a slow recovery. Alamogordo had its business peak during the 70’s and has had a slow drain and a lack of consensus among the political leadership and the business community to end the economic drain.

The business community also suffers in recruiting due to the downward spiral of the public school system in rankings. In the 1960’s Alamogordo ranked in the top 10 school systems in the US in achievement pay and rankings. Today Alamogordo High ranks in the bottom 1/3 of US High Schools, no longer offers most vocational educational training programs of the 60’s and 70’s and the poverty rate among students is at a record high. The high school is feeling additional pressure and a loss of students and community support due to the proliferation of religious based private educational institutions that pull students from the public system, offer inconsistent curriculums and compete thus lowering even more the pull of funds available to the public education system and further depressing jobs recruitment of large corporate jobs into the area.

The startup rate of small business growth has trended downward since the 1980s. That is troubling because startups play crucial roles in the local economy and the sales tax base that funds local services. Small business entrepreneurs create the most net new jobs in most communities and Alamogordo would not be unique. They are a key source of innovation because new products and services offerings are often pioneered by new companies. And they challenge dominant firms, which helps to restrain prices and expand consumer choices as witnessed locally by the growth of Walmart and the closure of so many small businesses to include more recently several at the local mall such as Penny’s etc.

This Alamogordo Town News spotlight suggests that state and local policymakers should slash regulatory barriers to startup businesses. The state of New Mexico State should repeal certificate of need requirements, liberalize occupational licensing and restaurant alcohol licensing, liberalize licensing requirements of ex-felons and quick start the business licensing of legalized marijuana and hemp businesses.

The Alamogordo city and county government should collaborate on reducing small business owner property tax rates and provide sales tax holidays to small business owners to encourage business growth, sales, and entrepreneurship. The city should implement online permitting and licensing application for new businesses and make a commitment to turn licenses within 5 business days of application. The cities of Southern New Mexico should also liberalize zoning rules for home‐​based businesses and encourage their growth and that of food trucks and locally crafted arts, crafts, and food items.

US trends that are trickling into New Mexico, Ortero County and Alamogordo.

In recent years in the United States, entrepreneurship and business growth and adaptability have trended downward. An indicator of this is the decline in the startup rate for employer businesses, as calculated from the Census Bureau’s “business dynamics” data.

During the economic downturn that began in 2008 and we clawed out of by 2010, the startup rate for new businesses fell below the shutdown rate for several years. Alamogordo was not immune to that trends and the bounce back has never materialized in Alamogordo’s retail sector as witnessed by the many empty retail storefronts on 10th Street, the New York Avenue District and on the White Sands inner city corridor.

The new business startup rate has not fully recovered from the decline, which is one reason why it has taken many years for the unemployment rate to fall to its pre‐​recession low and is now spiked during Covid with questions of its rebound.  Political leaders and struggling business recruitment like to point blame for unemployment on liberal unemployment compensation, closures mandated by the governor and deflect responsibility locally for the lack of incentivizing business development and lack of commitment to small business entrepreneurship incubation.

Per the CATO Institute, business permitting, and licensing is a challenge for startups in the restaurant industry, which is the largest industry for new businesses aside from professional services. There are about 650,000 restaurants in the United States and about half are not part of chains. Restaurants employ more than 12 million people. In 2020, the industry was hit hard by the pandemic and government‐​mandated shutdowns. A September 2020 survey found that more than 100,000 restaurants may close permanently.

State fees for alcohol licenses range from about $100 to more than $6,000. But there are 18 states that impose on‐​premises license caps, which limit the number of licenses for each municipality generally based on per capita formulas. Such caps create shortages — often severe shortages — with the result that licenses sell on the secondary market for vastly inflated prices, often hundreds of thousands of dollars. The restrictions on hard alcohol licenses are typically more severe than restrictions for beer and wine licenses. In big cities, full liquor licenses can cost up to $250,000 in California, $750,000 in Florida, $400,000 in Indiana, $320,000 in Montana, and $975,000 in New Mexico. If Alamogordo wants to get serious about catering to tourism and creating real jobs it needs to work with the state assembly and the governor on a process to better procure liquor licenses for Southern New Mexico at a more affordable rate. Further collaboration in efforts begin with the City Commission addressing the concerns of liquor license costs and the few numbers available to Southern New Mexico via the assembly and via the state Liquor Control Board. A resolution of concern is a first step and needs to be taken by the mayor and the city commission.

The complexity of permitting, licensing, and zoning rules, and the discretion it gives to officials, makes it a breeding ground for corruption in many municipalities. Corruption is exacerbated by artificial caps that limit the supply of valuable permits and licenses and by slow bureaucracies that incentivize businesses to bribe officials in order to speed approvals.

Corruption favors incumbent and politically connected and existing businesses at the expense of new and independent businesses. One expert noted on marijuana licenses that “A statewide cap tends to benefit well‐​connected and well‐​capitalized applicants such as large publicly traded companies while excluding smaller entrepreneurs and resulting in less choice and availability in the marketplace.” The lessons from alcohol licensing and the abuse seen needs to be noted as the regulations around marijuana are being debated at the state and local levels.

The 2020 pandemic caused the shutdown of many businesses and threw millions of people out of work nationwide and thousands in southern New Mexico. As the economy rebuilds in 2021, it needs startup new businesses especially in services, tourism, fitness and the arts to create jobs and pursue new post‐​pandemic opportunities.

Startup businesses in the arts, fitness and tourist related realms add value to Alamogordo and Southern New Mexico as well as the state and nation.

To speed economic recovery and support long‐​term growth, governments should remove regulatory barriers to startups.

State and local governments should review all occupational licensing rules and regulations and repeal those that fail cost‐​benefit tests. States should accept licenses issued by other states, explore whether licenses can be replaced by private certification, and reduce the costs and time requirements for needed licenses. States and local governments should repeal most licensing boards as they are detrimental to new business growth. The state and local governments should repeal laws around licensing of ex-felons and encourage them to gain full professional employment rather than punitive long term punishment post incarceration.

Bureaucratic processes should be much faster and more transparent, and most licensing should be done online, automated with status updates available online for transparency reasons. It makes no sense that entrepreneurs burn through cash for months on end waiting for government approvals before they can open their businesses. There is no excuse in small towns and cities in New Mexico nor anywhere in the US that business licenses should take more than two weeks to be executed given the real time data that is in front of everyone via the interconnected web of the internet we live in today.

Sources:

“Business Dynamics Statistics,” U.S. Census Bureau, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/bds.html “Federal Policies in Response to Declining Entrepreneurship,” Congressional Budget Office, December 29, 2020. The CBO estimates are based on data from “Business Dynamics Statistics.” The CATO Institute, Elizabeth Weber Handwerker, Peter B. Meyer, Joseph Piacentini, Michael Schultz, and Leo Sveikauskas, “Employment Recovery in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Monthly Labor Review, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2020. And see Opportunity Insights Economic Tracker, https://tracktherecovery.org

Positive News – Daily Affirmation from a dogs perspective: 6-2-21, 28 Days A Habit, 90 Days A Lifestyle

As we remind our readers, podcast listeners and partners daily concerning our affirmations; a habit is “a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.” Habits become a lifestyle a “glass half full” mindset becomes a lifestyle and that leads to permanent results. Science and real-world experience tell us that it actually takes a minimum of 28 days to begin to form a habit, but on average its really between 60 to 90 days. For most of us 90 days is a much more effective and realistic timeframe to incorporate a new behavior into our life, thus 90 Days To A Glass Half Full Lifestyle.

Our Daily Action Steps Are To:

  • Commit to taking 5 minutes each morning as you begin your day to read the daily quote.
  • If you are moved or inspired by the quote; share it in an email, phone call, conversation, text, tweet or on your social media network or platform. When we share something, it becomes more real to us.
  • In your own words write in a journal how the quote or thought applies to you or your circumstances, today. If it doesn’t write on your page the first thing that comes into your mind after reading the quote.
  • The end of the day, prior to bed, take 5 more minutes for yourself. Re-read the quote again and write or think of how you applied or took an action today with a person, situation or referenced the daily quote in mind. Reflect on the day, was there any event in the day where your thinking was impacted differently because of the quote or the affirmation.
  • Let’s have fun with the system and commit.
  • Now, Let’s begin with today’s affirmation:
“THINGS MONEY CAN’T BUY: A DOGS LOVE, A DOGS LOYALITY, A DOGS JOY IN GREETING YOU, A DOGS FAITH IN HUMANS.” – TUDY


Beginning of Day
: How’s the above quote apply to me or what comes to mind when reading the quote above?

End of day: Re-read the quote. Did I share the quote or apply any of its meaning into any part of my day? What issue or situation made me think of or refer to the quote above? Did it help me bridge a positive outcome or mindset?

We encourage you to write or journal your thoughts or reflections on today’s quote.

“Things money can’t buy: A dogs love, a dogs loyality, a dogs joy in greeting you, a dogs faith in humans.” – Tudy

It’s your life, express yourself as your true and honest self and let’s work together for self improvement and a Glass Half Full mindset.

Author Chris Edwards lectures, has his podcast and writes. His book series 90 Days to a Glass Half Full Lifestyle is 3 part series that garnered much acclaim from many coming out of rehab and those coming out of incarceration and beginning anew. His other book series, book 1 Coach Bob Sepulveda The Early Days is an inspirational sport history of interscholastic sports in New Mexico. All of his books are found at fine independent book sellers such as Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo, New Mexico and available via Amazon in 36 countries.

Listen to our report and positive affirmations via our podcasts:

Memorial Day May 31, 2021 The history, the numbers and how you can honor those fallen heros memories…

https://2ndlifemediaalamogordo.town.news/g/alamogordo-nm/n/31374/alamogordo-remembers-memorial-day-may-31-2021-history-and-how-you-can-honor

L-R Catherine Trevino, son Edward Balli, killed in Afghanistan 2014; Nadia McCaffrey, son Patrick killed in Iraq 2004; Martha and Daniel Garcia, son Juan killed in Iraq 2005; Kathleen Chappell, stepson Jason killed in Iraq in 2004: and Sandra Aceves. son Fernando, killed in Iraq 2004 at Gold Star Manor on Thursday, May 27, 2021. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

World War II lasted nearly four years for the United States and during that time, 49,579 New Mexican men volunteered or were drafted into military service. New Mexico had both the highest volunteer rate and the highest casualty rate out of all the forty-eight states which were then in the Union.

Soldiers from New Mexico were some of the first Americans to see combat during the war. Hundreds of soldiers from the 200th Coast Artillery, New Mexico National Guard, were in the Philippines manning the anti-aircraft guns at Clark Field and Fort Stotsenburg when it was bombed by the Japanese aircraft just ten hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The New Mexicans found their job frustrating because their shells could not hit high-flying Japanese bombers, although they did manage to shoot down a few fighters, which were flying at a low altitude. After the Japanese launched their main offensive to conquer the Philippines, the 200th Coast Artillery and New Mexico’s 515th Coast Artillery covered the withdrawal of Filipino and American forces during the Battle of Bataan, which ended on April 9, 1942.

The New Mexicans then took part in the Bataan Death March, in which thousands of Allied prisoners of war were killed during a forced march from the battlefield to camps at Balanga, where they remained until the end of the war. Of the 1,800 New Mexican troops serving in the Philippines, only 800 returned to their home to New Mexico.

The History of Memorial Day:

Before it became a federal holiday in 1971 and its observance moved to the last Monday in May, Memorial Day was called Decoration Day and took place on May 30th.

The roots for Decoration Day go back to shortly after the Civil War when citizens paid local tributes to those who had died. In 1868, Maj. Gen. John A. Logan, commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, issued an official proclamation for a nationwide Decoration Day observance. After World War I, the observance was expanded to honor all those who had died in service during any American war.

Since its transfer to make it part of a three-day weekend, however, Memorial Day has also become synonymous with the unofficial start of summer. Over the last 45 years, trips to the beach to kick-off the vacation season or local mall to take advantage of holiday sales have vied for attention with more traditional observances.

In keeping with day’s more solemn purpose, here are a few things you could do this Memorial Day to honor our nation’s fallen heroes.

We remember those soldiers killed in the many American military conflicts…

During the Korean War according to the Department of defense over 200 soldiers were killed while in active duty…

A complete listing of those 200 New Mexican heroes’ can be found at https://www.archives.gov/files/research/military/korean-war/casualty-lists/nm-alpha.pdf

During the Vietnam War over 395 New Mexican soldiers died in service per the national archives the complete recognized list includes…

Even as the perceived major wars have ended our military has continued to serve in war zones and those heroes get less attention via the press than those from the great wars however each deserves equal respect…

In Operation Enduring Freedom, the name for the war in Afghanistan, which began in October 2001 and officially ended December 2015, 2,351 Americans were killed. More have continued to be killed since the official end to the war as we draw down. A complete list of all 2351 solders that died through 2015 can be found at

Operation Iraqi Freedom, the initial name for the war in Iraq, lasted from 2003 to 2010, during which 4,412 Americans were killed. A list of the solders that died through 2015 can be found at https://cms.qz.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/oifnames-of-fallen.pdf

Operation New Dawn, as the campaign was renamed after the US reduced its troop presence, has claimed 66 deaths on the American side. A list of the solders that died through 2015 can be found at

As the draw down from Afghanistan and Iraq continues the number of fallen soldiers reported continues to grow and more concise records of those fallen are committed to be released via the National Archives by the end of 2021. We honor all that have fallen and apologize for the missing names of those more recent deaths in the service to our country.

This statistic shows the fatalities of the United States’ military in Iraq and Afghanistan as of February 02, 2021, has grown. As of February 02, 2021, the United States had lost total 7,036 soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, with 128 coming from New Mexico.

A May 24th release by the Department of Defense tell the story of death by the numbers in presently active war zones…

What can you do to honor the sacrifice of those who died serving our country?

Attend the Memorial Service in Tularosa on Memorial Day or if not in Southern New Mexico attend a service in your community. The Tularosa Memorial Day Service details

https://2ndlifemediaalamogordo.town.news/g/alamogordo-nm/e/31355/tularosa-veterans-memorial-day-observance

The public is invited to the Tularosa Veterans Memorial Day Observance to be held in Tularosa Veterans Park, 1050 Bookout Road, along Highway 70, on Memorial Day, Monday, May 31, 2021, at NOON. We honor the fallen, those who served and those who are serving today. This observance is dedicated to the memory of Major Wm Guthrie.

Wear or display a red poppy.

Around Memorial Day, you usually can find Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) members selling paper red poppies in front of shopping centers. Now a widely recognized memorial symbol for soldiers who have died in conflict, the red poppy tradition grew from the World War I poem, “In Flanders Field,” by Canadian Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae. The poem refers to the red poppies that grew over the graves of fallen soldiers in the lines:

“In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row by row.”

Pause at 3 p.m.

In accordance with the National Moment of Remembrance resolution, which was passed in 2000, pause from whatever you are doing at this time to reflect on the sacrifices made by so many to provide freedom to all. https://www.usmemorialday.org/national-moment-of-remembrance

Read the original Decoration Day proclamation.

Less than 500 words in length, Logan’s proclamation, officially titled General Orders No. 11, is a sobering call-to-duty for all U.S. citizens. https://www.usmemorialday.org/general-order-11

Display the U.S. flag.

Do you have an American flag for your home? Since Memorial Day is a day of national mourning, fly the flag at half-staff from sunrise until noon to commemorate those who have died. The flag is raised back to full staff at 12 p.m. to honor living veterans.

Volunteer and Commit Your Time to Veterans

Agencies and organizations that work with veterans or active military and their families need volunteers the local hospital, USO center or homeless shelter, senior center and commit to volunteer your time on a regular basis.

What do you plan to do this Memorial Day to honor our nation’s fallen heroes?

Take a moment reflect and honor those fallen today as you move forward this holiday with family, shopping or continuing your day-to-day routine. At the Alamogordo Town News and 2nd Life Media and Boutique this weekend we pause a moment, remember and celebrate the sacrifice.

Article Sources: Wikipedia, The Department of Defense, The National Archives, Memorial Day.org, USA Today, CMS.QZ.com, New Mexico History Archives

Author Chris Edwards, 2nd Life Media & Alamogordo Town News. Published books and bio found at

https://2ndlifemediaalamogordo.town.news/g/alamogordo-nm/

Alamogordo Town News Investigates: Why do homeowners have to pay for repairs to sewer connections that are in the city street and not the city?

Dear Mayor Richard Boss and Susan Payne District 3 City Commissioner and member of the Commission,

https://2ndlifemediaalamogordo.town.news/g/alamogordo-nm/n/31293/alamogordo-town-news-investigates-why-do-homeowners-have-pay-repairs-sewer

We are writing this letter as one of several concerned citizens who have experienced damage to their water or sewer pipes or foundation damage as a result of actions by the City of Alamogordo and the contractors working on the McKinley Channel Project. The City of Alamogordo Department of Public Works has notified homeowners that they must repair the damaged sewer pipes connecting into their homes but that are in the public street beyond the sidewalk due to street damage that was caused by the McKinley Channel Project large equipment mismanagement under the direction of the Army Corps of Engineers and the City of Alamogordo.

Throughout the project over the last several months the streets adjacent to the project and homes adjacent to the project have suffered damages due to the rumblings, shaking and use of the heavy equipment used for this project.

While the citizens of the streets of Juniper and McKinley are appreciative, that after so many years, the city finally found funding for this important Channel Project. However, that project that benefits the city in whole, should not be done at the peril of the residence of Juniper and McKinley Avenues without consequences.

Several homeowners had complained to no avail until the last 2 weeks about the heavy equipment damaging the foundations of the homes when the equipment was running along the McKinley alley way. Primarily the weight of the industrial size earth dump truck. When driving along the ditch its vibrations were significant enough to cause considerable cracking to the foundations of multiple homes. See photo below as example 1 of damages caused by use of equipment from this project.

Under the stress of normal circumstances with natural earth vibrations one would agree with that thinking however this is not normal circumstances. The streets of Juniper and McKinley have been bombarded with extreme vibrations by heavy industrial grade earth moving equipment for months and these continued vibrations have caused unwarranted extra stress on these properties resulting in damages that the homeowners are having to cover and insurance refuses to cover.

The heavy dirt dump trucks were going up and down Juniper Drive and causing significant damage to that street. A local plumber reported multiple homes on that street had called him out for street repairs to their plumbing connections that all began during the time the dump trucks were driving up and down Juniper and the homeowners were forced by the city to pay for the repairs as the damage was on the streets at the connection points to the sewers and water mains. When asked why they must pay for damages of which they did not create they were told it was city code by city personnel.

City personnel also reported that they, “don’t believe the homeowner should be responsible once the line is in the street or sidewalk which is public domain but that their hands were tied. They claimed they have reported the issue many times to department heads and the commissioners, and they were told the code is the code and the person is liable.” What is most alarming is that not only did the residents NOT create this issue, but they were also forced to absorb the expense and Alamogordo is one of few cities in the state of New Mexico that forces homeowners to pay for damage to piping and connections from the sidewalk to the street, why?

A city worker also reported that, “the city is aware of the issue and the contractor and FEMA was actually compensating the city to repair the pavement that has been cracked and destroyed on Juniper Drive as a result of this heavy equipment. So here we have a real concern that raises a question of corrupt intent? The city is aware of the issue but has kept it quiet in admitting that the issue exists. The city forced homeowners on Juniper do conduct repairs to piping and infrastructure on public lands, yet the city was paid off or is in the process of being paid off for damages on Juniper. Is the city then going to reimburse those homeowners for “out of pocket expenses” or has the city enriched itself with this “payoff” and not reimbursed the homeowners? The homeowners who are out of pocket deserve answers.

NOW COMES MCKINLEY AVENUE, the giant earth moving dump trucks have been driving up and down McKinley for the past month and guess what? McKinley Avenue is now cracking even after being newly paved just 2 years ago…

The typical residential road in a small town of less than 50,000 residence costs on average $1.5 Million per mile to properly pave and that residential road should have a life of 30 years.  McKinley Avenue was repaved just 2 years ago and should not be seeing the cracking that is now showing up. That cracking was however a direct result of heavy equipment from the McKinley Channel Project.

Per the Institute of Urban and Regional Planning, University of California at Berkeley there are specific weight limits in place for what a typical residential road can handle verses a main through fare and a US interstate. Obviously the later has heavy weight limits and most residential roads are not designed for repeated use by heavy machinery such as the industrial dump trucks carrying dirt for the McKinley Channel Project. In a nutshell, McKinley or Juniper were not designed for the month of heavy industrial traffic that has been going up and down the roads. As such the vibrations and weight has cracked the roads and has cracked the sewer pipes and water pipes in the roads going into the homes.

The construction company admitted as such these past few weeks to some homeowners and then came in and fixed the issue at their expense not the homeowner on 5 damaged residences this past week. While we are happy, they did, the question remains what happens to those homeowners where the issue may not be immediately apparent, and the issue pops up over the next year as a result of the recent damage? The construction company said when they are gone, they will no longer accept responsibility.

Photos of damage and recent repairs during May on McKinley Avenue.

In any other city in New Mexico, the city would assume responsibility as the connector to the sewer city is beyond the sidewalk in the street and in most cities in New Mexico the city assumes responsibility for those connections. The City of Alamogordo’s Public Works Department however notified several residences that the city is NOT responsible, and that the homeowner is responsible no matter where the connection to the sewer lies rather in middle of the road or nearer the homeowner’s property line. When the insurance companies were contacted several said they will NEVER pay a claim that is at the sidewalk to the street and that the city should be responsible and city code is contrary to that of almost every other city in the state.

In reviewing the city code for Alamogordo, it says the homeowner is responsible for repairs to the connection period and that liens are placed on homeowners’ properties for damages fixed by the city and not paid by the homeowner. So, in a nutshell, the city may allow damage and large oversized vehicles to trapse a residential road, that road may be damaged, and the damage may also happen to the homeowners piping and lead to their foundation. The city claims no responsibility and lands it with the homeowner. The city says the average fee is around $2,000.00 for these types of repairs that go into the sidewalk and city street. Alamogordo is the only known city that forces homeowners to absorb the cost of repairs that are beyond the homeowner’s property line into the sidewalk and street.

We propose this ordinance needs to be changed to be consistent with every other major city in the state of New Mexico or the city needs to reach an agreement with all the various homeowners insurance companies and pass an ordinance that makes them liable to cover such damage as they would if it were within the bounds of the property line of the home or business owner. The existing ordinance on the books is punitive and unjustifiably passes an unwarranted burden onto the property owner to fix and repair piping that is in the city domain.  As citizens we request the city to modify the city ordinance to be consistent with that of other cities in New Mexico immediately. The ordinance as written raises questions of constitutionality and property rights questions. By way of this letter and public statement we are requesting the city to place this letter into the public record in the public comments of the next city council meeting. Further we are requesting that this item be placed on the docket for review and discussion and finally request a vote be taken within 90 days on modifying the ordinance so that it is consistent with every other major city in New Mexico and that the city assume responsibility for all pipes, and connections outside of the property line of the homeowner or business owner meaning past the sidewalk and into the city street.

Concern Citizens of McKinely and Juniper Avenue, Alamogordo New Mexico

https://2ndlifemediaalamogordo.town.news/g/alamogordo-nm/n/31293/alamogordo-town-news-investigates-why-do-homeowners-have-pay-repairs-sewer

New Mexico History & Politics- 1910 to 2020: On the back Soledad C. Chacón climbs the New Mexico Round House and the Congressional Delegation of Rep. Deb Haaland, Yvette Herrell and Teresa Leger Fernandez

On the back Soledad C. Chacón climbs the New Mexico Round House and the Congressional Delegation of Rep. Deb Haaland, Yvette Herrell and Teresa Leger Fernandez

Was 2014 the flashpoint for women in executive leadership and politics for the state of New Mexico? A lot of dialog has been created about the number women in politics in New Mexico of recent but not much has been published about the pathway that led to the success of women in power. There are a few key leaders, key organizations and the path fell on the backbone or foundation of some strong and determined women to get New Mexico to where it is now. Not only is it a leader in the number of women in political power it is also the national leader of women of color in political power. Let us look at a little insight into the history of what created the pathway to female equity in New Mexico political leadership.

The history of women impacting New Mexico politics begins in excess of 100 years ago…

New Mexico during its founding had been among the more politically conservative states in the West when it came to women’s suffrage, refusing to extend women the right to vote until after the passage of the 19th Amendment. The fight for women’s suffrage in New Mexico was incremental and had the support of both Hispanic and Anglo women suffragists. When New Mexico was a territory, women only had the right to vote in school board elections. Women under the Republic of Mexico in the land that became New Mexico had more rights than women in the United States did at the time. During the time that New Mexico was a territory of the United States, women were allowed to vote in school board elections.

The New Mexico State Constitutional Convention of 1910…

In 1910, New Mexico was eligible to become a state and a state constitutional convention was held. Just before the convening of the convention, the New Mexico Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) held a public debate on women’s suffrage. This debate took place in August in Mountainair, New Mexico and featured the president of the University of New Mexico and a socialist.

Most delegates to the convention did not women participating in politics. Nevertheless, during the convention which began on October 3, librarian, Julia Duncan Brown Asplund, attended each day and petitioned delegates to provide partial suffrage for women in the right to vote in school elections Delegate Solomon Luna, uncle of prominent New Mexican suffragist, Nina Otero-Warren, and H.O Bursum were both pro-suffrage.

Delegate Reuben Heflin, a Democrat from Farmington introduced the school election provision early on during the convention. On November 8, the convention’s Committee on Elective Franchise sponsored a “motion to strike out the limited franchise for women.” Two of the delegates were very opposed to women voting even in school elections were Delegates Dougherty and Sena. Dougherty stated that he didn’t believe women in New Mexico wanted to vote and Sena claimed that voting would lead to harm for women.

After this, the Woman’s Club of Albuquerque presented a petition for partial suffrage to the convention through Delegate Stover. The provision to allow women to vote did pass and was adopted in the final draft of the constitution which was passed on November 21. However, the constitution was also written in such a way that adding other voting rights would be difficult. The constitution required that three-fourths of all voters in each county in New Mexico would have to approve any changes to suffrage in the state.

When New Mexico created its state constitution in 1910, it continued to allow women to vote only in school elections. Upon creation of the state constitution, it was deemed impossible to modify the constitution to extend the voting rights of women any further.

Women in the suffrage fight in the state of New Mexico chose to pursue advocating for a federal women’s suffrage amendment. They organized among both English and Spanish speaking groups from the Alfred M. Bergere House which is on the National Register of Historic Places. That house was the flashpoint and the origin of the suffrage movement in New Mexico. The home originally built in the early 1870s on the Fort Marcy Military Reservation became the home of the Otero Bergere family, including Adelina (Nina) Otero Warren, a noted suffragist, author, and businesswoman. Her suffrage work in New Mexico caught the attention of suffrage leader Alice Paul, who tapped Nina in 1917 to head the New Mexico chapter of the Congressional Union (precursor to the National Woman’s Party). Nina insisted that suffrage literature be published in both English and Spanish, in order to reach the widest audience. Under their leadership in galvanizing women of color to unite with Caucasian women pressure then was put on the many male New Mexico politicians who then were forced to support suffrage on a federal level. Continued advocacy on behalf of suffragists in the state allowed New Mexico to become the 32nd state to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment on February 21, 1920.

The Nations First Female Statewide Office Holder A New Mexican and a Woman of Color…

In 1922, two years after the 19th Amendment guaranteed women the right to vote, the people of New Mexico elected Soledad Chávez de Chacón (August 10, 1890–August 4, 1936) as the first woman elected to be the Secretary of State of New Mexico, and the first Hispanic woman elected to statewide office in the United States.

She served as acting Governor of New Mexico for two weeks in 1924, becoming the second woman to act as chief executive of a U.S. state.

The Growth Curve and Roadblock to Women In Politics…

The trend of women in political power continued to grow in New Mexico. The trends favored a growth of women in political office nationwide. In New Mexico and nationally the proportion of women among statewide elective officials had grown substantially during the 1960s to 1971. From 1971 to 1983 the increases were small and incremental. Then, between 1983 and 2000, a period of significant growth, the number and proportion of women serving statewide almost tripled, reaching a record of 92 women, constituting 28.5 percent of all statewide elected officials, in 2000. Since 2000, the numbers and proportions dropped notably. As a result, dialog began on what to do to help train and groom women for leadership and into political office.

The decline in women statewide elected officials continued following the 2010 elections. Despite the election of three new women governors, the number of women serving in statewide elective offices nationwide actually decreased by two, and fewer women, 69 held statewide offices in 2011 than in 1995 when there were 84 women.

A review of the 2010 election results in 2011 showed some major issues of concern, women held 21.8 percent of the 317 statewide elective positions nationwide. In addition to the six women governors, 11 women (four Democrat, seven Republican) served as lieutenant governors in the 44 states that elect lieutenant governors in statewide elections. This was considerably fewer than the record number of 19 women who served as lieutenant governors in 1995.

Other women statewide elected officials included: 11 secretaries of state (eight Democrats, three Republicans), seven state auditors (five Democrats, two Republicans), six state treasurers (five Democrats, one Republican), seven attorneys general (five Democrats, two Republicans), five chief education officials (two Democrats, two Republicans, one nonpartisan), four public service commissioners (three Democrats, one Republican), four state comptroller/controllers (one Democrat, three Republicans), two commissioners of insurance (one Democrat, one Republican), three corporation commissioners (one Democrat, two Republicans), one commissioner of labor (Republican), one railroad commissioner (Republican), and one public regulatory commissioner (Democrat).

In addition to the two women of color who served as governors, the women serving in statewide elective office included four African-Americans (the lieutenant governor of Florida, the attorney general of California (Kamala Harris), the state treasurer of Connecticut and the corporation commissioner of Arizona); three Latinas (the secretary of state of New Mexico, the attorney general of Nevada and the superintendent of public instruction for Oregon); and one Native American (the public regulatory commissioner of New Mexico).

The decreases of women in politics became and alarming trend not only in the US but south of the border in the country of Mexico as well. However, they took an interesting approach and made it the law of the land to engage more women into leadership…

The country of Mexico approved a political reform package that, among other things, included new measures aimed to ensure the greater participation of women in politics in 2014. The law now requires gender parity, which means that at least fifty percent of the candidates fielded by a political party in either federal or state legislative elections must be female.

Mexico had a history of encouraging the participation of women in politics and has impressive rates of participation in the federal Congress. Women in 2014 accounted for 38% of the legislators in Mexico’s lower house and 35% of the senators, rates in line with the Nordic countries (in 2014 the US, 18% of the seats in the House of Representatives and 20% of the Senate seats are filled by women). Mexico’s high rate of female participation is due in large part to previous affirmative action policies, which included several loopholes that the new law closes. Formerly, in order to comply with established quotas, women who were put on the ballot were later encouraged to cede their place to a male listed as a reserve replacement (oftentimes their husband) –the political party’s preference in the first place. Furthermore, women were included on the list to be assigned by their party under proportional representation but were so far down in the pecking order that they were rarely tapped to serve.

The new reform increased the quota requirement for candidates to 50%, with more stringent rules related to how the quota is implemented. Now, for example, the candidate and her replacement will have to be female.

Demographics favor women and most especially women of color in New Mexico…

The state of New Mexico took notice of what was happening in the country south of her border and of the trends within the United State. It was determined demographics actually work in the favor of women in key states such as New Mexico. As such women especially the Democratic leadership reviewed options in keys states such as New Mexico.

New Mexico’s population is a majority Latino or Hispanic and an additional 11 percent American Indian or Alaska Native, making it one of the few states, in which most of its residents, are non-white. The Latino population has grown over the past few decades, meaning a Chicanx or Latina candidates share a similar ethnic background now with a majority of the population.

The percentage of racial and ethnic minorities — people who identify as Hispanic, black, Asian, or “other” — in New Mexico eclipsed the percentage of white residents’ way back in 1994. California, New Mexico, and Texas were not far behind.

And by the year 2060, a total of 22 states are projected to have what demographers call, somewhat oxymoronically, “majority-minority” populations.

Four states — Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and New Jersey — are set to tip in the 2020s. In the 2030s, Alaska, Louisiana, and New York will follow. Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Virginia will obtain race-ethnic majority-minority status in 2040s. And Colorado, North Carolina, and Washington are on track to make it in the 2050s.

New Mexico as one of the first majority-minority states is the trendsetter into the future of politics…

New Mexico politics has also become increasingly dominated by Democrats, which may have helped some women of color, as women of color are disproportionately likely to run — and win — on the Democratic side of the ticket. But recruiting women of color has also become a higher priority for groups that aim to propel more women into elected office, like Emerge, a national Democratic organization that opened an office in New Mexico in 2005. Emerge New Mexico, claims that over the past 14 years, 350 women have gone through their six-month training program. Of those, over half have run for office and over half of the program members are also women of color. 98 Emerge New Mexico Alumnae are actively in Public Office per their 2020 data on their website to include…

U.S. Cabinet Secretary

Deb HaalandU.S. Secretary of the Interior, ENM ’07;

New Mexico Statewide Office

Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard Commissioner of Public Lands, ENM ’08; Chair Marg Elliston Chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico, ENM ’13

New Mexico Supreme Court

Justice Barbara VigilNew Mexico Supreme Court Justice, ENM ’12Justice Julie VargasNew Mexico Supreme Court Justice, Statewide, ENM ’14Justice Shannon Bacon New Mexico Supreme Court Justice, ENM Founding Board Member

New Mexico Court of Appeals

Judge Jennifer Attrep New Mexico Court of Appeals, Statewide, ENM ’15: Judge Kristina Bogardus New Mexico Court of Appeals, Statewide, ENM ’17Judge Megan Duffy Mexico Court of Appeals, Statewide, ENM ’18; Judge Shammara Henderson New Mexico Court of Appeals, Statewide, ENM ’10Judge Jacqueline Medina New Mexico Court of Appeals, Statewide, ENM ’14Judge Jane Yohalem New Mexico Court of Appeals, Statewide, ENM ’18

State Senate

Senator Shannon Pinto Senate District 3, Tohatchi, ENM ’20;
Senator Katy Duhigg Senate District 10, Albuquerque, ENM ’11; Senator Siah Correa Hemphill Senate District 28, Albuquerque, ENM ’19Senator Carrie Hamblen Senate District 38, Albuquerque, ENM ’15

State House

Rep. D. Wonda Johnson House District 5, Gallup, ENM ’14; Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero House District 13, Albuquerque, ENM ’07; Rep. Dayan “Day” Hochman-Vigil House District 15, Albuquerque, ENM ’18; Rep. Debbie Armstrong House District 17, Albuquerque, ENM ’12; Rep. Meredith Dixon House District 20, Albuquerque, ENM ’20; Rep. Debbie Sariñana House District 21, Albuquerque, ENM ’16; Rep. Liz Thomson House District 24, Albuquerque, ENM ’09; Rep. Georgene Louis House District 26, Albuquerque, ENM ’10; Rep. Marian Matthews House District 27, Albuquerque, ENM Bootcamp ’19; Rep. Melanie Stansbury House District 28, Albuquerque, ENM ’17; Rep. Joy Garratt House District 29, Albuquerque, ENM ’16; Rep. Natalie Figueroa, House District 30, Albuquerque, ENM ’16; Rep. Angelica Rubio House District 35, Las Cruces, ENM ’13; Rep. Joanne Ferrary House District 37, Las Cruces, ENM ’13; Rep. Kristina Ortez House District 42, Las Cruces, ENM ’20; Rep. Christine Chandler House District 43, Los Alamos, ENM Bootcamp ’18; Rep. Linda Serrato House District 45, Las Cruces, ENM ’18; Rep. Andrea Romero House District 46, Santa Fe, ENM ’18; Rep. Tara Lujan House District 48, Santa Fe, ENM ’12; Rep. Karen Bash House District 68, Albuquerque, ENM ’18

Judges

Judge Maria Sanchez-Gagne 1st Judicial District, Div II, ENM ’16; Judge Shannon Broderick Bulman 1st Judicial District, Div III, ENM ’19; Judge Sylvia Lamar 1st Judicial District, Div IV, ENM ’15; Judge Kathleen McGarry Ellenwood 1st Judicial District, Div X, ENM ’20; Judge Catherine Begaye 2nd Judicial District, Children’s Court, ENM ’14; Judge Beatrice Brickhouse 2nd Judicial District, Div IV, ENM ’10 Judge Nancy Franchini 2nd Judicial District, Div V, ENM ’14; Judge Lisa Chavez Ortega 2nd Judicial District, Div XIII, ENM Bootcamp ’19; Judge Marie Ward 2nd Judicial District, Div XIV, ENM ’06 Judge Erin O’Connell 2nd Judicial District, Div XVII, ENM ’19; Judge Amber Chavez Baker 2nd Judicial District, Div XXII, ENM Bootcamp ’19; Judge Debra Ramirez 2nd Judicial District, Div XXIV, ENM ’15; Judge Jane Levy 2nd Judicial District, Div XXV, ENM ’17; Judge Clara Moran 2nd Judicial District, Div XXVIII, ENM ’16; udge Melissa Kennelly 8th Judicial District, Div IX, ENM Bootcamp ’19; Judge Amanda Sanchez Villalobos 13th Judicial District, Div IX, ENM Bootcamp ’19; Judge Rosemary Cosgrove Aguilar Metropolitan Court, Bernalillo County, ENM ’08; Judge Brittany Maldonado Malott Metropolitan Court, Bernalillo County, ENM ’19; Judge Courtney Weaks Metropolitan Court, Bernalillo County, ENM ’13; Judge Elizabeth Allen Municipal Judge, District 32, ENM Bootcamp ’18; Judge Cristy Carbón-Gaul Probate Court Judge, Bernalillo County, ENM Founding Board Member

Municipal

Councilor Diane Gibson Albuquerque City Councilor, District 7, ENM ’11, Councilor Tessa Abeyta-Stuve Las Cruces City Councilor, District 2, ENM ’18; Councilor Johana Bencomo Las Cruces City Councilor, District 4, ENM ’18; Councilor Renee Villarreal Santa Fe County Councilor, ENM ’18; Councilor Guadalupe Cano Silver City Town Councilor, ENM ’11

County

Assessor Tanya Giddings Bernalillo County Assessor, ENM ’14; Assessor Linda Gallegos Sandoval County Assessor, ENM Bootcamp ’18; Clerk Linda Stover Bernalillo County Clerk, ENM Bootcamp ’19; Clerk Amanda López Askin Doña Ana County Clerk, ENM ’19; Clerk Katharine Clark Santa Fe County Clerk, ENM ’17; Clerk Naomi Maestas Los Alamos County Clerk, ENM ’20; Treasurer Nancy Bearce Bernalillo County Treasurer, ENM ’14; Treasurer Jennifer Manzanares Santa Fe County Treasurer, ENM ’19; Commissioner Charlene Pyskoty Bernalillo County Commission, District 5, ENM ’18; Commissioner Adriann Barboa Bernalillo County Commissioner, District 3, ENM ’17; Commissioner Diana Murillo-Trujillo Doña Ana County Commissioner, District 2, ENM ’15; Commissioner Alicia Edwards Grant County Commissioner, District 3, ENM ’15; Commissioner Sara Scott Alamos County Councilor, Position 1, ENM Bootcamp ’18; Commissioner Katherine Bruch Sandoval County Commissioner, ENM Bootcamp ’18; Commissioner Anna Hansen Santa Fe County Commissioner, District 2, ENM ’14; Commissioner Anna Hamilton Santa Fe County Commissioner, District 4, ENM ’16; Commissioner Anjanette Brush Taos County Commissioner, District 4, ENM ’19

New Mexico Public Regulation Commission

Commissioner Cynthia Hall PRC District 1, ENM ’15

New Mexico Public Education Commission

Commissioner Melissa Armijo PEC District 1, ENM ’19; Commissioner Glenna Voigt

PEC District 3, ENM ’18

New Mexico County/Municipal School Boards

Yolanda Cordova APS Board of Education, District 1, ENM ’18; Elizabeth Armijo APS Board of Education, District 6, ENM ’09; Nancy Baca CNM Governing Board, District 5, ENM ’10; Teresa Tenorio Las Cruces School Board, District 4, ENM ’18; Chris Bernstein Los Alamos School Board, District 3, ENM ’18; Mara Salcido Lovington School Board, District 3, ENM ’15; Hilda Sanchez Roswell School Board, District 4, ENM ’17; Jody Pugh Santa Fe Community College Board of Trustees, Position 3, ENM ’18; Carmen Gonzales Santa Fe Public Schools Board of Education, ENM ’18; Kate Noble Santa Fe Public Schools Board of Education, District 3, ENM ’17; M. Paulene Abeyta To’hajiilee School Board, ENM ’17

Democratic Party

Flora Lucero Bernalillo County Democratic Party, Chair, ENM ’19; Laura Childress Lincoln County Democratic Party, 1st Vice-Chair, ENM ’20; Leah Ahkee-Baczkiewcz Sandoval County Democratic Party, Vice-Chair, ENM ‘18

Middle Rio Grande Conservation District

Stephanie Russo Baca MRGCD Board Director, Position 5, ENM ‘19

Soil and Water Conservation District

Teresa Smith De Cherif Valencia Soil & Water Conservation District Board Supervisor, ENM ‘14

New Mexico Women by the Numbers after 2020…

Many women are now being elected as witnessed by this training of groups like Emerge and the training paid off in strong numbers in 2020. After the election of 2020, the real story in New Mexico is, it was the year of the woman and the year of the woman of color. Women made state history by winning most seats in the New Mexico State House of Representatives. Though still in the minority in the New Mexico Senate, women set a record in that chamber, too, with 12 seats. Out of 70 State Representatives, women now make up 37 of them on the house side, and of course the Governor is a woman.

New Mexico now ranks fourth in the nation for the ratio of women to men who will hold House chamber seats in January, said Jean Sinzdak, associate director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University in New Jersey, per the Santa Fe New Mexican publication.

New Mexico continued to make its mark in political history by becoming the first state in history to elect an all-female delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives. It also made history as the first state in the continental US to elect all three members of this historic delegation as also women of color. Incumbent Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., Yvette Herrell (Republican) and Teresa Leger Fernandez (Democrat) in New Mexico’s three congressional districts were the three women elected. (Note Deb Haaland has since been appointed to the US Secretary of the Interior as the first Native American to hold that title, her seat is now up for special election) The first U.S. state to have an all women of color House delegation was Hawaii in 1990, when Rep. Patsy Mink (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Pat Saiki (R-Hawaii) took office, however New Mexico is the first state to do so in the continental US.

Haaland is an enrolled citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna and made history in 2018 when she became one of the first Native American congresswomen. Herrell is a member of the Cherokee nation and former N.M. state representative. Leger-Fernandez is the first woman and Latina to ever represent northern New Mexico in U.S. Congress.

Our hope our future New Mexico…

Each of the proud and deserving women have a long difficult road ahead of them to represent a diverse population within New Mexico. Much has been said about the poor rankings of the state in academics, the reliance upon the oil industry to keep the state budget afloat and the many challenges with crime and poverty within the state. The men proceeding these women have not made it an easy job for them to step into. However, the editorial staff of the publication has the hope that each of these 3 elected women and the 98 others in the variety of offices showcased above will step up to the challenges ahead. Our hope is they will reach across the isle and put partisan ideology aside and work together as women with compassion and strength to craft policy that carries New Mexico forward into jobs creation for the 21st Century.

Each woman highlighted in this article is a woman of convictions and of talent to gain the position they have ascended to. Our hope is they will read this, remember the battles of suffrage fought by Julia Duncan Brown Asplund, Alice Paul, Nina Otero-Warren and others from 1910 that gained them the right to hold the office they are in today and the right to vote. Our hope is they will honor the memory of Soledad Chávez de Chacón by leading, not pandering to special interest and money like the men have for so many decades but by honestly leading and listening to the diversity of constituents to put them there.

Are you up to the challenge?

Rep. Deb Haaland and her ultimate successor, D-N.M., Yvette Herrell (Republican) and Teresa Leger Fernandez (Democrat) the baton was handed to you. Now are you listening? Will you reach across the diversity that is New Mexico and represent all of the diverse opinion’s ideas and constituencies? Will you step up and above the fray and show that women can lead differently and with more compassion than men? History will be judging you and we hope it will be a kind judgement in the years ahead!

Author Chris Edwards

Follow Executive Coach and Author, Chris Edwards via the Alamogordo Town News, 2nd Life Media or his Podcast, 2nd
Life Media Present. Published books by Author Chris Edwards include Coach Bob Sepulveda: The Early Days, 2 Hours Unplugged Unplug and Reconnect, 90 Days to a Glass Half Full Lifestyle, and has published essays on criminal justice reform Removing Barriers to State Occupational Licenses to Enhance Entrepreneurial Job Growth: Out of Prison, Out of Work.

Research for the story above sourced from:

Soledad Chávez Chacón: A New Mexico Political Pioneer. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Printing Services. Retrieved August 27, 2020, “Woman Wielding Power: Pioneer Female State, Legislators”. nwhm.org. National Woman’s History Museum. Retrieved 23 March 2015., “National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Salvador Armijo House”. National Park Service. October 8, 1976., knowledgecenter.csg.org, Vox Media- Here’s when you can expect racial minorities to be the majority in each state, Five Thirty-Eight Why New Mexico Elects More Women of Color Than the Rest Of The Country, EMERGE, Ballotpedia, Wikipedia, NCLS.org, nmlegis.gov, AP News, MSN.com, US.gov

Young School Board Leaders with fresh ideas, making a difference, challenging the status quo…

In the 1960’s, Alamogordo High School ranked in the top 10 in the nation and attracted teachers from around the nation. According to US News and World Report School rankings the school now ranks #40 in New Mexico High Schools and 6754 in national rankings.  In school districts around the nation with problems, youth are stepping into leadership roles within school boards, with fresh ideas and insights and making a difference in challenging the status quo and making change.

Mark Twain once said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” That is the mantra of Anthony X. Vigil the 19-year-old elected school board president of Mesa Vista Consolidated School District in New Mexico. This quote seems to be a similar mantra for several other young people from a diverse spectrum of cultures who are grabbing ahold of American Democracy, and not only participating, but seeking elected office and winning at the level of school board.

There are those in life that complain about the political system and the world around us, and then there are those that do something about it. Age does not determine one’s ability to have a positive impact and to make a difference in the world. One’s ability to go after a goal, and get it done, is what determines success, no matter age or experience.

Photo of Anthony X. Vigil Swearing in to School Board Mesa Vista Consolidated School District in New Mexico. (Photo Courtesy of Mesa Vista Consolidated School District, Alamogordo Town News, 2nd Life Media)

Anthony X. Vigil was a graduate of Mesa Vista High School in 2019, he was elected to the Mesa Vista Consolidated Schools’ Board of Education on November 5, 2019. Anthony ran for the school board to give the students, who are his contemporaries, a voice. He knows that since students are directly impacted by district shortfalls, they may be able to offer valuable outside-the-box solutions. At age 19 he would be one of the youngest elected school board leaders in the nation, and one of the youngest in the nation at age 19 to be named as the school board president.

Anthony X. Vigil appears to be one of several young student activists, turned candidate being elected as representatives of their school system. There is a trend toward student activism and entering politics at a young age. The school board appears to be an excellent entry point for these young citizens to enter the profession of politics.

A trend toward diversity and youth…

Photo of Kelly Gonez (Photo Courtesy Los Angeles Unified School District Alamogordo Town News, 2nd Life Media)

In 2020 the nation’s second largest school system in the US, the Los Angeles Consolidated School system, elected its youngest school board president ever at age 32. Kelly Gonez became the youngest-ever female president of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education. Gonez, 32, was also the first of the millennial generation and one of only four women of color and one of three Latinas to lead the board that sets policy for the nation’s second-largest school district, which serves a student population that is currently 80% Latino or Black, according to LAUSD officials. Kelly Gonez, 32, is the only parent on the school board with young children, and she grew up in an immigrant family in the district she now represents, encompassing much of the East San Fernando Valley.

But the trend is showing an interest of those even younger getting involved and making a difference

Photo of Bushra Amiwala, the youngest elected Muslim official in the United States. (Courtesy Busha Amiwala twitter Alamogordo Town News, 2nd Life Media)

Meet Bushra Amiwala, she is the youngest elected Muslim officeholder in the United States. Amiwala’s age and status as the youngest elected Muslim official and the only one wearing a hijab in the state of Illinois have brought her fame not normally associated with being elected to a school board. Among the diverse membership of the Skokie School District Board of Education, Bushra Amiwala stands out. She is also a former student in the school district and is featured in a Hulu documentary, “Our America: Women Forward,” which began streaming this March 2021. She is up for re-election to the school board in April 2023 but openly admits she is keeping her eye on other potential offices.

Photo of Ty’Relle Stephens (Photo Courtesy of Channel 10 WJAR Alamogordo Town News, 2nd Life Media)

Out of the ashes of the Rhode Island state takeover of the Providence Public School system, comes a fresh voice. The city’s youngest school board member ever. Meet 20-year-old Ty’Relle Stephens, one of the newest, and the youngest ever Providence School Board member, sworn it at City Hall Wednesday. Stephens started his freshman year at the Juanita Sanchez Education Complex on Thurbers Avenue in South Providence in 2015, getting the lay of the land. Stephens says the voices of the students who have gone through the failed school system are invaluable to fixing what is broken. His plate is full working full-time at Kent Hospital in patient access, and now Providence School Board member, but he is up to the challenge. When asked if he would like to advance in the profession of politics. He leaves that answer to his supporters that believe he has a strong future ahead of him.

Photo of Musab Ali. (Photo Courtesy of NJ.com Alamogordo Town News, 2nd Life Media)

Mussab Ali, 23, became the youngest trustee to ever to named Board of Education President following a 5-2 vote during the board’s reorganization meeting for Jersey City, New Jersey’s Board of Education, earlier this year. He is the youngest trustee and is its new president for 2021. Ali, a law student at Harvard University, won his first year-long term on the school board in 2017 and was later re-elected to three-year term. He is the youngest person ever elected to the nine-member Jersey City school board and the youngest elected official ever in Jersey City. In 2018, Ali was accepted into a prestigious master’s degree program at Tsinghua University in Beijing. The board’s counsel approved Ali’s request to continue serving on the board while studying in China. Ali, a 2015 graduate of McNair Academic, was one of 147 people chosen for the Schwarzman Scholars program at Tsinghua University. He studied biology and economics at Rutgers University-Newark.

And back to New Mexico, where we began this article, we have the youngest school board president in the state and quite possibly the US, Anthony X. Vigil, age 19.  At age 19 he is making an impact on his district in leading it based upon his high school experience. We reached out to Mr. Vigil and asked him about how he got his start in the political process in New Mexico and he responded, “I attended board meetings since I was in middle school and since then I knew I wanted to become a part of the board. Shortly after my first board meeting, I acknowledged my passion to make a real change in society. I always had a strong support system and am compelled to create more opportunities for the generation to follow. The year I graduated was an election year and I didn’t want to waste any time on creating a better tomorrow.”

We mentioned a few of the other young leaders referenced above and asked if he felt participation and leadership by younger adults was becoming a trend and what was the catalyst for that trend? We also asked if he considered himself liberal or conservative in his political leanings. His response, I believe there is a combination of factors leading to the up-tick in the younger generation running for elected positions. I think more and more people are realizing that age is not a barrier and young people offer outside-the-box solutions to world-wide challenges. I am thrilled to see younger people becoming involved in the democratic process. Whereas I am more liberal, I firmly believe educational growth should be a bipartisan consensus. After all, education yields innovation across all industries.”

We would happen to agree with Mr. Vigil wholeheartedly. He is currently pursuing his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology at the University of New Mexico. Additionally, Mr. Vigil is an intern with the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Engineering Services Division. Before joining the National Labs, he served as an intern Medical Assistant at Las Clinicas del Norte, a non-profit health center which serves the local community. In high school, he led several student organizations and was a runner for the 2015 and 2016 cross country state championship teams. In 2019, he was part of the state championship medley relay team for track and field.

Under his leadership as the president of the board of education he is championing those issues that are important to the students and partnering with leaders in the state to make that happen. As a former track and field and cross-country athlete he knows that a well-maintained track is critical to a team’s success. As such he and the board have partnered to get capital funds from the state of New Mexico to assist in getting much needed track maintenance done at his former high school. In partnership with New Mexico State Senator Leo Jaramillo, $75,000 in capital outlay funds were secured for a new track and field.

The money comes from Capital Outlay funds. School Board President Anthony Vigil says the track needs repaving, and the field needs new grass. “We will be redoing the track and making those repairs so that way it can be used to host track meets,” Vigil said. Vigil says they hope to have the work completed by the next track season.

Anthony X. Vigil, age 19 of New Mexico; Ty’Relle Stephens, age 20 of Rhode Island; Bushra Amiwala, age 22 of Illinois; Mussab Ali, 23 of New Jersey; Kelly Gonez, age 32 of California each represent true diversity and action.  Each is of a diverse generation of young, aggressive and determined individuals that respect the teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, team activities and active participation in the system of civics. Each represents a diverse collection of ideas from a broad section of our country representing school districts large and small. Through their actions and their rise into political power they demonstrate as a truth, Mark Twain’s quote, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”

Getting started they have done indeed! We will be watching each of these youthful young adults as their careers move forward over the decades ahead. Inspired we are, in their youthful approach to stepping up, acting and owning the future by offering solutions by their personal actions today.

As we conclude, we wonder, are there any inspired youthful leaders in Southern New Mexico, and more directly in Ortero County or in Alamogordo, ready to take on the challenge and the example set by these youthful leaders? Alamogordo, who is the next generation of leaders ready to step forward today?

Salute’!

Follow Executive Coach and Author, Chris Edwards via the Alamogordo Town News, 2nd Life Media or his Podcast, 2nd Life Media Presents.  Published books by Author Chris Edwards include Coach Bob Sepulveda: The Early Days, 2 Hours Unplugged Unplug and Reconnect, 90 Days to a Glass Half Full Lifestyle, and has published essays on criminal justice reform Removing Barriers to State Occupational Licenses to Enhance Entrepreneurial Job Growth: Out of Prison, Out of Work.

Research for the story above sourced from:

KRQE NEWS, ABC 7 News Los Angeles, Los Angele’s Unified School System, The Hudson County View, www, NJ.com, Baca, Stacey (2021-03-09). “Skokie’s Bushra Amiwala is the youngest Muslim elected official in US”. ABC7 Chicago, Wikipedia, Providence Schools, Mesa Vista Consolidated Schools, Alamogordo Public Schools, US New & World Report

Removing Barriers to State Occupational Licenses To Enhance Entrepreneurial Job Growth: Out of Prison Out of Work An Essay and proposal by Author Chris Edwards

IMPACT ON ENTREPRENEURSHIP & THE FORMERLY INCARCERATED

 Chapter 1

This Book speaks from the point of view of criminal justice reform and there are significant references to the impact on post incarcerated individuals of the existing framework of Occupational Licensing and how reform will assist in job creation. However as a reader, please also review the proposed reforms from a standpoint of job creation and improving entrepreneurial opportunities within California and beyond.

For those outside of the state of California, this is a model position paper and applicable to what every state and the Federal Government should do, to reform Occupational Licensing and to enhance job creation opportunities across the nation.

From a criminal justice standpoint: most individuals that were formerly incarcerated want to work.

Many have acquired professional skills while incarcerated especially those in the Federal Prison Programs, that would add significant value to most professional organizations; if allowed to pursue the profession of choice, without governmental sanctioned barriers to entry.

Many individuals, while incarcerated receive college degrees through community college partnership programs. Others have in depth skills training on legal system filings through experience, others have gained skills in cosmetology, literacy teaching and other trades, of which they were proficient in learning while incarcerated. However, these skilled individuals are blocked from gaining fair pay employment due to governmental sanctions barriers in licensing them preventing them from entering those fields.

Historical perspective as related to jobs creation and protectionism within industries…

Interestingly state licensing for all but the most technical professions of medicine and law has expanded significantly in recent decades. Per the Goldwater Institute in a study by Morris Kleiner and Alan Kreuger, two of the foremost scholars on state licensing, have noted, “in the early 1950s only about 5 percent of workers were covered by state licensing laws. Today, that number exceeds 20 percent of workers.”

State policymakers play a critical and longstanding role in occupational licensing policies, dating back to the late 19th century when the Supreme Court decision in Dent v. West Virginia established states’ rights to regulate certain professions. Shortly after, states began developing their own systems of occupational regulation and licensing.

State policymakers play a central role in developing and shaping these systems by:

•             Establishing licensing requirements for specific occupations authorizing regulatory boards to license applicants and oversee compliance • Reviewing the merits of existing and proposed licensure requirements

•             Proposing strategies or guiding principles to improve the state’s overall approach to regulating professions

“Of the 1,100 occupations that were licensed in at least one state in 2016, a small number (less than 60), were licensed in every state, illustrating the considerable differences in licensure requirements from state to state”, according to the same source.

Every state licenses emergency medical technicians, bus and truck drivers, and cosmetologists, while three or fewer states license professions such as home entertainment installers, nursery workers, conveyor operators and florists.

Morris Kleiner, economics professor at University of Minnesota’s Center for Human Resources and Labor Studies, asserted that, “With growth of licensing laws has come a national patchwork of stealth regulation that has, among other things, restricted labor markets, innovation, and worker mobility.” Kleiner further asserted that,  “licensing resulted in 2.85 million fewer jobs nationally, with an annual cost to consumers of $203 billion.”

The Institute of Justice’s 2012 License to Work Report ranked states based on the burdens imposed across 102 low and moderate income licensed occupations. The state comparisons revealed “several inconsistencies across states: Many occupations are licensed in a small number of states, the same occupations have significantly different training requirements across states, and licensure requirements do not always align with public health or safety concerns.

The inconsistency in licensing and the misnomer that the structure is in place to protect the public is what has created this anti-competitive layer of bureaucracy.

 Researchers point out that “cosmetologists require an average of 372 training days, significantly higher than emergency medical technicians, who need an average of 33 training days.”

Researchers find little evidence that licensure improves the quality of services or protects consumers from harm.

                In fact, evidence suggests that the most onerous licensure laws may lead to lower-quality services and increased public safety risks.

Licensing reduces the supply of service providers while simultaneously increasing the average operating costs for professionals.

The result of limited consumer choice and increased prices can be a provision of licensed services at a rate below true market equilibrium; in other words, consumers forego necessary services because prices are too high, or no one is available for hire.

This situation can pose a threat to public safety in certain occupations. For example, the inability to legally hire an electrician for repairs may lead to electrocution or fire. Similarly, licensing that limits the supply and increases the cost of veterinarians may prevent animal owners from vaccinating against contagious diseases like rabies.

According to a 2015 paper published by the Brookings Institution, “economic studies have found little impact of occupational licensing on service quality in occupations that are not widely licensed; even in occupations that are widely licensed, studies have found few impacts of tougher requirements for licensing on health measures or quality outcomes.”

Further, a 2014 report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on the safety of professionals in licensed industries concluded that “the impact of occupational regulation on deaths and injuries is statistically insignificant.”

Economic research on professions that directly provide health and safety services has shown that licensing requirements may not achieve their intended goals.

A study on dental licensing found that dental office visits were reduced, and dental health outcomes were hindered because of “licensure restrictions reducing employment.”

Similarly, a study of private security guard licensing found that lowering licensing burdens increased the supply of private security guards and was related to a significant drop in violent crime.

According to a 2015 brief published by the Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation, “civic leaders, elected officials, and courts have struggled to balance legitimate interests in protecting public health and safety with the preservation of free practice.”

Striking the right balance represents an opportunity for executive and legislative policymakers in California and beyond to achieve important public policy goals, including consumer protection, job creation, criminal justice reform, workforce mobility and economic growth.

Removing employment barriers for unique populations, such as immigrants with work authorization, military families, and people with criminal records, offers a powerful lever to achieve multiple policy goals. These include employment growth, reduced recidivism for employed ex-offenders, enhanced geographic mobility, and economic stability and opportunity for individuals and their families.

The Goldwater Institute findings go further; “Policymakers over the past few decades have rationalized that the growth of government licensing is necessary to protect the health and safety of the public at large. But the most robust explanation—which also explains the persistence of state licensing regimes—is that occupational licensing serves the purposes of keeping out new competitors.”

As such, it is favored mainly by incumbent businesses for that sole purpose.  Note that any change as proposed will be a battle and the lobby dollars will come from business interests that are attempting to limit competition not for what is best for the state economy or job creation.

The Goldwater Institute findings continue; “in  truth, the health and safety justification rarely holds up under scrutiny. In cases where the policies have been studied, there is scant if any evidence that they enhanced the public’s safety.”

From a criminal Justice Perspective: Structural barriers to securing employment, particularly within the period immediately following release are rampant for good paying jobs, when indeed they are most eager in their search, and the need for gainful employment is at its greatest.

For individuals, especially BIPOC individuals, women and members of the LBGTQ communities with a status of “formerly incarcerated,” their chance for fair paying employment are further hampered.

 This perpetual labor market punishment creates a counterproductive system of release and homelessness in urban cores or significant poverty, hurting everyone involved: employers, the taxpayers, and certainly formerly incarcerated people looking to break the cycle of crime and become productive engaged citizens again. This additional burden hits rural communities disproportionately as well due to fewer job opportunities. Thus the rural states of the mid-west and the south and poorer inland communities of California carry these jobless opportunities burden in a more visible manner, then wealthier communities. However the homeless numbers in urban cores is increasing drastically of late as these individuals flee the rural areas in hopes of urban opportunities

Criminal justice research suggests that finding and maintaining a legitimate fair paying job can reduce a former prisoners’ chances of reoffending.  The higher the wage, the less likely it is that individuals will return to crime. The three years following release from prison is the window in which ex-prisoners are mostly likely to re-offend. Successful entry into the labor force has been shown to greatly increase the chances that a prisoner will not recidivate. Yet government imposed barriers to reintegration into the labor force, particularly occupational licensing requirements, can be among the most harmful barriers faced by ex-prisoners seeking to enter the workforce.

According to one estimate, there are currently over 12 million ex-felons in the United States, representing roughly 8% of the working-age population.(Uggen, Thompson, and Manza 2000).

 It is estimated that roughly 2 Million ex-felons live within the state of California.  Reintegration of released prisoners back into the workforce will be crucial to the eventual success of any criminal justice reform effort.

A first of its kind of study was commissioned by the Center for the Study of Economic Liberty to explore the relationship between three-year recidivism rates for new crimes and relate it to occupational licensing burdens by combining data from the Institute for Justice, the Pew Center on the States, and the National Employment Law Project. This study estimates that “between 1997 and 2007 the states with the heaviest occupational licensing burdens saw an average increase in the three-year, new-crime recidivism rate of over 9%. Conversely, the states that had the lowest burdens and no such character provisions saw an average decline in that recidivism rate of nearly 2.5%.”

Some staggering statistics are to be found in a research document titled The Growth, Scope, and Spatial Distribution of People With Felony Records in the United States, 1948–2010 by Sarah K. S. Shannon1 & Christopher Uggen & Jason Schnittker & Melissa Thompson & Sara Wakefield & Michael Massoglia…

 “…15 % of the African American adult male population has been to prison; people with felony convictions account for 8 % of all adults and 33% of the African American adult male population.”

 The report further explains…

“People with any kind of criminal history experience wide-ranging penalties and disruptions in their lives, especially given the widespread availability of criminal background information (Lageson 2016; Uggen et al. 2014).

 Nevertheless, people convicted of felonies face more substantial and frequently permanent consequences (Ewald and Uggen 2012; Travis 2005; Uggen and Stewart 2015).

 A felony is a broad categorization, encompassing everything from marijuana possession to homicide. Historically, the term “felony” has been used to distinguish certain “high crimes” or “grave offenses” from less-serious, misdemeanor offenses.”

People with felony records are set apart not only by the stigma and collateral consequences that come with a criminal conviction but also by the extreme concentration by sex, race, and socioeconomic status.

Current prison and community corrections populations are overwhelmingly male: 93 % of prisoners, 89 % of parolees, and 76 % of probationers (Carson and Golinelli 2013; Maruschakand Bonczar 2013).

Recent estimates have shown that 30 % of black males have been arrested by age 18 (vs. 22 % for white males) (Brame et al. 2014). This figure grows to 49 % by age 23, meaning that virtually one-half of all black men have been arrested at least once by the time they reach young adulthood (vs. approximately 38 % of white males) (Brame et al. 2014).

Western and Pettit have shown that incarceration has become a routine life event for low-skilled black men—more common than serving in the military or earning a college degree (Pettit and Western 2004; Western 2006).

The cumulative risk of imprisonment for black men ages 20–34 without a high school diploma stands at 68 % compared with21 % of black men with a high school diploma and 28 % for white men without a high school diploma (Pettit 2012).

According to a report by PrisonPolicy.org formerly incarcerated people are unemployed at a rate of over 27% — higher than the total U.S. unemployment rate during any historical period, including the Great Depression.

The American criminal justice system holds almost 2.3 million people in 1,719 state prisons, 109 federal prisons, 1,772 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,163 local jails, and 80 Indian Country jails as well as in military prisons, immigration detention facilities, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in the U.S. territories.

(The number of state facilities is from Census of State and Federal Correctional Facilities, 2005, the number of federal facilities is from the list of prison locations on the Bureau of Prisons website (as of March 14, 2019), the number of youth facilities is from the Juvenile Residential Facility Census Data book (2016), the number of jails from Census of Jails: Population Changes, 1999-2013, and the number of Indian Country jails from Jails in Indian Country, 2016)

Roughly 95% will eventually be released. Over 600,000 people make the difficult transition from prisons to the community each year according E. Ann Carson. 2018. Prisoners in 2016. Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Another startling statistic is every year, over 600,000 people enter prison gates, but people go to jail 10.6 million times each year. Via The Jail Reentry Round-table, Bureau of Justice Statistics statistician Allen Beck estimates that of the 12-12.6 million jail admissions in 2004-2005, 9 million were unique individuals.

Per PrisonPolicy.org more recently they analyzed the 2014 National Survey of Drug Use and Health, which includes questions about whether respondents have been booked into jail; from this source, they estimate that approximately 6 million unique individuals were arrested that year.

In a PrisonPolicy.org research document it was found that; “among working-age individuals 25-44 the unemployment rate for formerly incarcerated people was 27.3%, compared with just 5.2% unemployment for their general public peers during the study period. That such a large percentage of prime working-age formerly incarcerated people are without jobs but wish to work suggests structural factors — like discrimination — play an important role in shaping job attainment.”

While I personally have witnessed discriminatory practices in the hiring and interview process; they are also prevalent once individuals are employed in relation to promotions, pay equity and task assignments. However that is not the primary focus of this book it is worth noting and its impact on fair wage employment of those formerly incarcerated.

In a paper titled The Mark of a Criminal Records by Devah Pager, Northwestern University, he examined the effect of a criminal record in the labor market by sending out paired job testers (two white testers and two Black testers) where one tester in each pair was given a fictitious felony record. Pager’s audit methodology allowed her to examine the independent effects of race and criminal records. Importantly, Black job testers without criminal records were less likely to receive callbacks from employers than white job testers with criminal records.

Although employer’s express willingness to hire people with criminal records, evidence shows that having a record reduces employer callback rates by 50%. What employers say or believe they are doing contradicts what they actually doing in practice per another research report by Devah Pager and Lincoln Quillian titled,  Walking the Talk? What Employers Say versus What They Do. American Sociological Review.

Based upon my experience with Goodwill Industries of the Greater East Bay, who’s mission was to help place formerly incarcerated; I found that individuals want to work. A majority of the unemployment among this second chance population is a matter of public policy, and practice, biased hiring practices and not in the lack of aspirations for a better life.

Statistically, Black women who were formerly incarcerated are hit especially hard with severe levels of unemployment, whereas white men experience the lowest. Formerly incarcerated Black women experience an unemployment rate 7 times that of the general population. Formerly incarcerated Black men experience unemployment 5 times that of the general population.

When formerly incarcerated people do land jobs, they are often the most insecure and lowest-paying positions according to Gretchen Purser. 2012.

“Still Doin’ Time:” Clamoring for Work in the Day Labor Industry. The Journal of Labor & Society.

According to an analysis of IRS data in a report by Adam Looney and Nicholas Turner. 2018 Work and opportunity before and after incarceration , “the majority of employed people recently released from prison receive an income that puts them well below the poverty line.”

This is even though many of these individuals have skills or experience in higher paying and professional occupations of which they are barred from due to government supported barriers to entry into those higher paying or more professional jobs.

So what have we learned in this chapter?

•             Governmental sanctions via barriers in licensing harm job creation and economic growth

•             In the early 1950s only about 5 percent of workers were covered by state licensing laws. Today, that number exceeds 20 percent of workers.

•             Licensing does not necessarily create a safer workplace nor safeguards to the public good. • Rural communities are especially hard hit in job creation due to the over-reach of licensing boards

•             12 Million people are ex-felons clamoring for work, 2 Million within the state of California.

•             The staggering numbers of Black individuals and especially Black Women that struggle the most in re-entry. We’ve seen the workplace, due to governmental sponsored barriers and ingrained bias, both racially and due to the stigma of incarceration, is not generally conducive to hiring formerly incarcerated individuals. • Th pathway out of poverty is stymied by these roadblocks which further harms socioeconomic development of these impacted individuals and thus their families and their communities.

Good Intent Poor Results Chapter 2

Fact: Nearly 2 in 5 workers in the U.S. need State or Federal government permission just to do their jobs.

The intent of occupational licensure is to:

•             Safeguard public health and safety.

•             Protect consumers by guaranteeing minimum educational requirements and industry oversight.

•             Support career development and pathways for licensed workers and enhanced professionalism for licensed workers.

•             Step in when competitive market forces (e.g., litigation or reputation) fail to achieve desired outcomes.

However, unnecessary licensing requirements have been found to:

•             Reduce employment in licensed occupations.

•             Reduce geographic mobility.

•             Reduce wages for unlicensed workers relative to their licensed counterparts.

•             Reduce market competition and innovation.

•             Increase the price of goods and services.

•             Disproportionately burden low income and military veterans and families, people with a criminal history, immigrants with work authorization, and dislocated and unemployed workers.

The Federal Trade Commission has asserted that unnecessary licensure regulations “erect significant barriers and impose costs that cause real harm to American workers, employers, consumers and our economy as a whole, with no measurable benefits to consumers or society.”

Acting FTC Chairman Maureen Ohlhauser, recently asserted that “occupational licensing disproportionately affects those seeking to move up the lower and middle rungs of the economic ladder, as well as military families and veterans, those with criminal histories and those that have vocational skills but may not be college educated.”

She noted that licensing requirements “can prevent individuals from using their vocational skills and entering new professions, as well as starting small businesses or creating new business models.”

State policymakers play a critical and longstanding role in occupational licensing policies, dating back to the late 19th century when the Supreme Court decision in Dent v. West Virginia established states’ rights to regulate certain professions. Shortly after, states began developing their own systems of occupational regulation and licensing. State policymakers play a central role in developing and shaping these systems by:

•             Establishing licensing requirements for specific occupations

•             Authorizing regulatory boards to license applicants and oversee compliance

•             Reviewing the merits of existing and proposed licensure requirements

•             Proposing strategies or guiding principles to improve the state’s overall approach to regulating professions

According to a 2015 brief published by the Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation, “civic leaders, elected officials, and courts have struggled to balance legitimate interests in protecting public health and safety with the preservation of free practice.”

Striking the right balance represents an opportunity for state legislatures and those of the executive branches to achieve important public policy goals, including consumer protection, job creation, workforce mobility and economic growth. Removing employment barriers for unique populations, such as immigrants with work authorization, military families, and people with criminal records, offers a powerful lever to achieve multiple policy goals.

These include employment growth, poverty reduction in rural areas and urban inner cities, reduced recidivism for employed ex-offenders, enhanced geographic mobility, economic growth and increased tax base and economic stability and opportunity for individuals and their families.

One study in New York conducted by the National Institute of Justice showed ex-offenders were 50 percent less likely to receive callbacks or job offers. Employers are understandably reluctant to hire someone if they have a reason to think, right or wrong, that a job applicant could be untrustworthy or would somehow put customers at risk.

But what many may not know is that the law makes many occupations off-limits for people with a criminal record, even if an employer is willing to give them a chance.

Numerous licensing laws have morality clauses that (1) bar automatically and permanently ex-offenders from working without any individualized review or (2) require the ex-offender to prove a negative—that the ex-offender’s past crimes will not cause him to harm customers in the future.

Such provisions ironically may decrease public safety. States with prohibitions and high burdens on entry have increasing criminal recidivism. Conversely, states that have no such bars and low burdens have seen declines in recidivism, according to Professor Stephen Slivinski’s landmark study, Turning Shackles into Bootstraps.

Occupational licensing for individuals with criminal records face additional challenges finding and maintaining fair pay employment which is a critical aspect of reducing recidivism. Individuals with criminal records face many barriers to licensing including both those codified in federal and state law as well as implicit biases.

The National Inventory of Collateral Consequences of Conviction (the NICCC), catalogs over 15,000 provisions of law in both statute and regulatory codes that limit occupational licensing opportunities for individuals with criminal records.

According to Barriers to Work: People with Criminal Records Report from the National Counsel of Legislatures July 18, 2017: “occupational licensing statutes in a number of states have blanket prohibitions on awarding of licenses to those with a criminal record. Some states’ laws contain an automatic disqualification which prohibits a person with a felony conviction from obtaining an occupational license, regardless of whether the offense is directly related to the practice of the occupation or poses a substantive risk to public safety. In addition, licensing laws often contain “good-character” or “good moral character” provisions that grant licensing boards broad discretion to deny applications due to an applicant’s criminal history, including convictions for minor offenses and sometimes arrests that never led to a conviction.”

The net result or negative side effect of these regulations or licensing requirements prevent people from starting a business and creating their own opportunity when no one else will hire them.

There is an effort the change the trend of the abuse or overreach of the rules from the prevailing war on crime during the most recent few legislative sessions across the US.

State legislatures across the country are moving more quickly and creatively to repair some of the damage done by the War on Crime, which left a third of the adult U.S. population with a criminal record. In the second quarter of 2019, 26 states have enacted an eye-popping total of 75 separate new laws aimed at addressing the disabling effects of a record – bringing the first-half total to 94 new laws enacted by 36 states. By way of comparison, in all of 2018 there were 61 new restoration laws enacted in 32 states and two territories, which was then a record, according to

Collateral Consequences Resource Center http://ccresourcecenter.org/

Most legislative attention was on facilitating access to record-clearing, although a significant number of new laws regulate consideration of criminal record in the occupational licensing process such as California SB2138 which was enacted into law in 2018 but does not take full effect until January 2021.

California under Jerry Brown attempted to make changes under SB2138.

This was a good, first step.

Assembly Bill 2138 was signed into law by Gov. Brown in September 2018. According to the bill, a licensing board cannot take away, or deny, a license on the basis of a criminal conviction if the following is true:

1.            The conviction is seven years or older; and,  (FLAW)

2.            The conviction is not substantially related to the job details the applicant will perform. (FLAW Open to broad interpretation)

Please note, however, that these rules do not apply if a conviction is for a serious felony. That loophole is vague and allows for abuse and is a compromise that makes the intent of the law ineffective of its original charge.

This was a first step however, there are significant flaws in the law that need to be tweaked or addressed.

•             The law still allows a ban on licenses when there was a conviction for “any act involving dishonesty, fraud, or deceit with the intent to substantially benefit himself or herself or another.” If the applicant was convicted of a financial crime currently classified as a felony that is directly and adversely related to the fiduciary qualifications, functions, or duties of the business or profession for which the application is made” then a license may be denied. If the idea behind justice is rehabilitation and not punitive long term punishment, then once the sentence has been completed the individual should not be prohibited from entry or re-entry into a profession. However most criminal justice advocated would concur, that if after a second time, individuals, make a mistake and are convicted again of an offense, then they should have a lifetime ban.

•             “A person shall not be denied a license solely on the basis that he or she has been convicted of a felony if he or she has obtained a certificate of rehabilitation”, however this certificate s not issued in California or in many states for individuals that had cases in other state courts or in the Federal System.

•             7 Year Time frame Concern: “…revise and recast those provisions to instead authorize a board to, among other things, deny, revoke, or suspend a license on the grounds that the applicant or licensee has been subject to formal discipline, as specified, or convicted of a crime only if the applicant or licensee has been convicted of a crime within the preceding 7 years from the date of application…”  The 7 year time frame creates significant disadvantages to those re-entering the workforce or those attempting to move forward post incarceration with a fair-pay employment opportunity. The

timing of good job availability individuals post incarceration is critical to the reduction of recidivism.

We want convicted felons to overcome their criminal past. We want them to become productive members of the community. Yet we brand the with a “Scarlet F” that makes rehabilitation increasingly difficult.

Twenty-nine states allow occupational licensing boards to reject outright the application of someone with a criminal record

Ex-convicts can’t become school bus drivers, peace officers or employee at a children’s treatment facility in most states. Even if the state licensing board must not automatically reject an ex-convict, there may be little to no restriction in state law to prohibit a licensing board from denying, at their discretion, a license based on the mere presence of a criminal record.

Eleven of the states  can be called “prohibition states,” that is, they either automatically penalize ex-prisoners in the licensing processor have no other legal restrictions on the power of licensing board to base denial of a license on anything other than the presence of a criminal record, even for non-violent offenders or if the ex-prisoner’s conviction; according to 2016 study from the National Employment Law Project (NELP).

Ex-convicts are usually unable to possess, obtain or maintain most professional licenses, certifications, or registrations. They’re typically restricted from credentials for occupations in the Department of Public Health’s jurisdiction or in real estate, the distribution of drugs or pharmaceuticals, pest control, embalming and insurance sales.

In California, you are not going to get a license or credentialed if you are a doctor, athletic trainer, dentist, pawnbroker, psychologist, massage therapist, barber, nail salon operator, cosmetologist, contractor, veterinarian, social worker, physician’s assistant and radiographer, physical therapist, and the ability to obtain a California alcoholic beverage license may also be affected by a prior felony conviction inhibiting job creation in the wine industry impacting many counties that have a significant employment base in that industry such as Napa, Sonoma, Lake, and those in the middle of the state.

Ex-convicts are not actually barred from practicing law in all states, but candidates are typically required to go through a waiting period, usually a minimum of five years, after being released from prison before restoring their civil rights. In Florida, this means candidates can attend law school but can’t take the bar exam. Candidates in Texas wait five years before registering to take the bar – but the state notes that registering doesn’t mean you will be allowed to practice.

At the federal level, a felony conviction may also result in the loss of a license, such as a customs broker’s license; export license; license to export defense articles and services; merchant mariner’s document, license, or certificate of registry; locomotive engineer’s license, transportation worker identification credential (TWIC); and any other license, if the conviction is for a drug offense.

People convicted of a felony are ineligible to enlist in the Armed Forces unless they receive a waiver from the Secretary of Defense.

Ex-felons with tax consequences cannot even get a passport to leave the country or for employments with cruise lines or overseas with rare exception.

Recidivism Chapter 3

The revolving door of American’s prison systems have proven very costly. The highest rate of “recidivism” (a relapse into crime and often, as a result, a return to incarceration) occurs within the first three years after release, nearly 68% of released prisoners recidivate during this time per Matthew R. Durose, Alexia D. Cooper, and Howard N. Snyder. “Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 30 States in 2005: Patterns from 2005 to 2010.”

Estimates of how much can be saved in State and Federal budgets simply by helping these individuals avoid a return to prison reaches an average of at least $15.5 million annually. The total estimate of $635 million in budget savings resulting from a 10 percent decrease in the total recidivism rate comes from the Pew Center on the States, “State of Recidivism: The Revolving Door of America’s Prisons,” April 2011. This estimate is based on data from 41 states, hence the estimate quoted here of $15.5 million on average.

“This would be even higher for states that maintain a high per prisoner cost. Meanwhile, the costs to society, the economy, and to the former prisoners themselves, in the form of lost hours of labor, the social cost of higher crime rates, and the lost potential of the individual ex-prisoner, are immeasurable.”

The greater the legal restrictions to working in a state, the higher the likelihood that an ex-prisoner will be turned away from entering the labor force and will return to crime hitting urban centers and the rural areas of a state hardest, thus increasing poverty and individual reliance upon government support programs.

A key component to Criminal Justice reform is to lower the rate of  recidivism. Gainful employment is a key component post incarceration in making that happen.

Policy Recommendations & Considerations Chapter 4

Occupational licensure requirements can have a range of effects on individuals with criminal records and policymakers across the country are considering ways to address those barriers. The policy options reviewed below focus specifically on those relevant to this population, but it is important to note that broader reforms can also affect individuals with criminal records. Information on broader tools and frameworks that can be used to help refine a state’s regulatory approach are outlined in The State of Occupational Licensing: Research, State Policies and Trends.

It is worth noting that specific to this population as defined in statute, a states’ policies should focus on the goals of seeking to encourage rehabilitation of criminal offenders while also protecting public safety and enhancing job creation within the state.

Modification of Morality Clauses

In order to create more transparency and fairness in the licensing process and, provide licensing entities more guidance in their treatment of criminal records, some states have chosen to remove vague and broad standards, such as “good moral character” and restrictions against “moral turpitude” offenses and provide more clarity on exclusionary convictions. This also allows potential applicants, with the specified offenses, to be more prudent in selecting occupations where those disqualifications are clear.

•             As part of broader efforts on criminal justice reform, lawmakers in Kentucky disallowed licensing boards in the state from requiring that applicants possess vaguely defined “good moral character.” Establish Pre-qualification Standards

Some states have mandated licensing entities to allow people with criminal records to petition the board for a “per-qualification” opinion. Pre-qualification allows an applicant to get a determination on eligibility before going through the licensing application process. In these cases, licensing boards are required to explicitly list disqualifying offenses and are able to notify applicants if their particular offense will disqualify them from licensure. This process helps ensure that people with criminal records, can devote their time and resources into occupations that will lead to gainful employment.

•             In 2018, Arizona enacted legislation giving licensure applicants the authority to seek a predetermination from an agency as to whether the criminal record is a disqualifying offense for an occupational license.

Certification of Rehabilitation

Another policy option chosen by some states offers people with criminal records the opportunity to secure certificates of rehabilitation or certificates of employ-ability that would open the door to receiving occupational licenses.

Although the application of these certificates varies from state to state, they “may be used to provide a way for qualified people with criminal records to demonstrate rehabilitation or a commitment to rehabilitation, ”and to relieve barriers to jobs and licenses. Certificates of rehabilitation may also be a viable option for states that have yet to adopt comprehensive record closure laws (expungement/sealing) since some are able to “directly limit the application of collateral consequences” while not removing information from a person’s record or limiting public access.

•             At least 12 states now make certificates of rehabilitation available through the court system and a few others through administrative agencies including California, Colorado, Illinois, North Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, and Washington.

•             Note California offers this option only or those convicted of a state crime. There is no offer or consideration for those that were convicted in Federal Courts within the jurisdiction of California. The recommendation is that the existing law be modified to also include a Certification of Rehabilitation to those under-served individuals that are presently exempted from the benefits of the existing laws.

•             Offering certificates of rehabilitation, which remove some of the employment restrictions imposed by occupational licensing statutes is an option

Another is a “Certificate of Good Conduct” which can be issued for anyone who goes either one year after release for a misdemeanor or two years after release from certain felonies without committing further crimes. These certificates also exempt employers from any “third-party liability” when they hire former offenders in some states.

Petitioning the court for any of these certificates can cost a lot of money. In California, which only Offers A Certificate of Rehabilitation for state offenses can cost from $1499 to $10,000 to gain once all legal fees and attorney fees are paid and again there is no such offering for those convicted of Federal Crimes within California and their pathway is further limited.

That kind of money is something many newly released and unemployed offenders don’t have and further shows the inequity in the criminal justice system that negatively impacts those on the lower end of the economic spectrum in finding a way out.

Furthermore, people in this situation can’t just wait a year or two for a certificate of good conduct when they need to support themselves and their families immediately upon release from prison.

Other states have enacted changes …

Occupational licensing was the second most frequent area of law reform. Seven states, five in the South or Southwest, emerged from their legislative seasons this quarter having adopted proposals intended to give people significant new opportunities to join a regulated occupation or profession despite a criminal record, without unfair exclusions on vague “moral character” grounds:

•             Arkansas went the farthest with the first revision of its licensing  laws in 10 years, eliminating “good moral character” as a licensing criterion and prohibiting consideration of felony convictions after  5 crime-free years, sealed convictions, and pardoned convictions.

•             Mississippi, Nevada and West Virginia for the first time imposed general procedural and substantive limits on their licensing boards.

•             Texas further restricted its boards’ discretionary authority to deny a license based on a conviction more than five years old, absolutely prohibited consideration of non-conviction records, and created a new “restricted license” in air-conditioning and electrical work aimed at people returning to the community from prison;

•             Arizona made significant modifications to its licensing laws for the third year in a row, prohibiting consideration of felonies after 7 years, without regard to whether they have been set-aside.

•             Alabama created a process allowing individuals to avoid mandatory bars on licensing via a court order of relief.

•             New York eliminated statutory licensing barriers in many occupations.

Per the http://ccresourcecenter.org/2019/07/09/new-restoration-lawstake-center-stage-in-second-quarter-of-2019/#more-20013

As states consider occupational licensing policy options, data collection can also be an important piece of the governing language. Collecting applicant demographic data can help identify who is excluded from licensed work. Data collection also allows states to understand the effects of the licensing policy and be able to identify and address any gaps that may arise. However, a significant limitation to data collection is the inability to determine who is not applying for a license due to existing regulations or uncertainty of how standards are applied. Recognizing the barriers people with a criminal history face to entering the labor market, state policymakers across the country are actively addressing the challenges through legislation and executive orders.

 Blanket bans, “good moral character” requirements and licensing fees can all be particularly difficult barriers for this population to overcome, which may ultimately be restricting a significant portion of workforce supply. Through policy options that include ensuring convictions are recent and relevant, the modification of statutory morality clauses and the implementation of prequalification standards or certificates of rehabilitation, policymakers can reduce unintended barriers to the labor market for individuals with criminal records. 

Conclusion & Legislation Proposal or Revision Chapter 5

One of the primary concerns for people being released from prison is finding a job. But as our analysis illustrates, formerly incarcerated people are almost five times more likely than the general public to be unemployed, and many who are employed remain relegated to the most insecure jobs.

Note to Congressman Mike Thompson and Senators Kamala Harris and Senator Diane Feinstein; Congress has not attempted to deal with the problem of reintegration for more than a decade either by reducing federal collateral consequences or by restoring rights to people with federal convictions.  It is time to act on behalf of those charged within the Federal System.

As more states and California explores reforming their criminal justice systems, much of the attention is likely to be paid to liberalizing sentencing laws, how and when to incarcerate someone and when probation or alternative means of punishment will suffice. Those reforms are extremely important and overdue.

Yet those reforms, while valuable, don’t address how best to reintegrate someone into the labor force once they have served their sentence.

Programs that have been aimed at helping formerly incarcerated increase their levels of educational achievement can be helpful, but these programs only overcome one aspect of re-integration into the labor force.

The government imposed hurdles for the formerly incarcerated will remain, regardless of education attainment or skill level, if the so-called “good character” provisions remain.

Moreover, while removing the “good character” provisions in occupational licensing laws will certainly help labor force reintegration, it will not deliver the biggest impact.

Liberalizing the occupational licensing burdens themselves and/or the skill level required and even the requirement that a license be required at all to work in a chosen occupation, will be the most likely to lead to widespread employment success for former prisoners and anyone with a criminal record.

A good source of information for consideration of the economic benefits to a state is a sunset process to licensing. A source study for  a “sunset process” for occupational licensing regulations and insight on how such a process could work, see Stephen Slivinski, “Bootstraps Tangled in Red Tape: How State Occupational Licensing Hinders Low-Income Entrepreneurship,” Goldwater Institute Policy Report No. 272, February 23, 2015, available at: http://www.goldwaterinstitute.org/en/work/topics/freeenterprise/entre preneurship/bootstraps-tangled-in-red-tape/

Entrepreneurship among low-income households and those of formerly incarcerated individuals has been shown in numerous studies to be an effective means of alleviating poverty and encouraging income mobility and reduce recidivism.

Legislators and regulators would be well advised to advance a course of action that increases the potential for low-income entrepreneurship as one important tool in increasing prosperity and reducing poverty.

Broad-based reform of occupational licensing is a good idea from this perspective of job creation and state economic growth, not just from the perspective of its impact as a part of Criminal Justice Reform.

Incremental reforms can help achieve part of this goal.

Requiring a review and potential sunset of most occupational licensing laws would put the burden of proof on those who advocate extending them and require them to prove the benefits of the regulations outweigh the costs, which should include the lower level of new business creation that results from these regulations.

Over time, it may become more obvious through such a review process that the health and safety regulations have outlived their usefulness, particularly in the face of new technologies, internet training and use of modern virtual educational systems. Sun setting entire classes of occupational licenses could provide an economic boom to California especially rural areas and urban inner cities and to any other state which implements these reforms. The side benefit to the criminal justice debate and might be the longer term goal.

There’s no single remedy to fix the problem of ex-offender unemployment and the need for more job creation within states or the need to increase economic growth for entrepreneurs.

A simple blueprint modeled from the Institute on Justice includes the following actions…

•             Repeal needless licenses—and refuse to adopt new ones.

 Examine current licenses: Is there empirical evidence of significant, widespread, and permanent harm in the field?

 Are there less restrictive alternatives to licensing?  Repeal needless licenses and replace them, if necessary, with less restrictive regulations.  Apply the same analysis when new licensing laws are proposed.

•             Scale back anti-competitive licensing laws and policies  Identify and eliminate “licensing creep”—anti-competitive licensing regulations, often imposed by licensing boards, which encroach on competing fields or outlaw innovative services. • Codify in statute the right to engage in a lawful occupation

 Give aspiring workers and entrepreneurs the chance to take unnecessary, anti-competitive licensing restrictions to court—and win.

•             Implement meaningful sunrise and sunset reviews of licensing laws

  • Charge a non-partisan, independent agency with producing written reports evaluating the need or proposed and existing licenses.

 Give it a mandate to use the inverted pyramid process to recommend less restrictive regulatory alternatives to licensing.

•             Rein in anti-competitive behavior by licensing boards  Establish an oversight body to actively supervise licensing boards.

 Give the oversight body a mandate to promote competition and favor less restrictive regulatory alternatives, curbing boards’ tendency toward anticompetitive behavior and reducing the risk of federal antitrust liability.

•             Strengthen the rights of people with a criminal record to gain meaningful employment

                Curtail license denials based on irrelevant or long-past criminal records.

 Require case-by-case decisions on license applicants, demand substantial proof of risk of harm to deny a license, and allow applicants to seek a decision before investing in costly education, training, or testing

. • Improve interstate mobility first by eliminating licensing barriers

 Before establishing reciprocity agreements or standardizing licensing requirements, ask whether there is substantial proof that licensing addresses a real problem. If not, tearing down licensing barriers is a better way to improve geographic mobility and expand economic opportunity.

•             But part of the solution it is simple: let people work without asking the government’s permission first.

This may not fix the ex-offender unemployment problem overnight. But government shouldn’t be in the business of keeping people out of gainful and fair paying employment.

As citizens we are tasked with a responsibility to hold our government officials accountable to act in the best interest of the public for economic and personal liberty and security.

For our public legislator’s nationwide and those within California mentioned in the introduction, the task before you is not an easy one but a noble one. You have the authority, there is public support for reform, the question before you is do you have the will-power against protectionism and lobbyist that use fear mongering to do what is right for more job creation?

On a more personal note, within California; Governor Gavin Newsom, State Senator Bill Dodd, Assembly Member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry & Congressman Mike Thompson you each can champion these changes and be examples to the nation. 

What will be your legacy? Now the ball is in your court…

Barriers to State Occupational Licenses To Enhance Entrepreneurial Job Growth: Out of Prison, Out of Work by Author & Executive Coach Chris Edwards” This work is a comprehensive review of the flaws of the legislative process in which felons are penalized post incarceration with punitive laws that prevent gainful employment. The judicial system was crafted to create justice and once an individual has served their time or paid their debt to society then they should be able to rebuild their lives and regain employment without a lifetime of punishment. The policy recommendation contained in this book is an outline of the cause and effect of a broken system and a policy recommendation to remove the barriers of licensing in a variety of businesses to allow ex-felons to return back to work and become productive contributing members of society. This book is timely, needs to happen and every legislative representative at the state and national level of every state and the federal level should be required to read this recommendation. Every civics class in America should have a copy and discuss. Get a copy today and let’s achieve legitimate jobs security for all Americans.”  – Martha Robinson’s Judicial Justice Report Recommended Reading

Complete Book and details is available: https://www.amazon.com/Removing-Barriers-Occupational-Licenses-Entrepreneurial/dp/1081556544

Removing Barrier to State Occupational Licenses To Enhance Entrepreneurial Job Growth; Out of Prison, Out of Work by Author Chris Edwards 2nd Life Media

History of Alamogordo New Mexico, White Sands Proving Ground and the Missiles that blew up in Alamogordo and Juarez, Mexico

Alamogordo has a vast history and was a city of significant and strategic importance to the US Military establishment in the 1940’s through the 1970’s. During that time some would say that was the peak of Alamogordo. It was the center of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Following Hitler’s fall in 1945, the United States brought 177 German rocket scientists and technicians to White Sands Testing Range under Operation Paperclip. Some would say this “Operation Paperclip” is what put Alamogordo on the world map and brought about a period of peak prosperity. From the 1940’s to the 1970’s Alamogordo was a prosperous city with a lively nightlife full of nightclubs, cultural arts, live theater, and a robust retail environment. The school system at that time was ranked in the top 10 in the nation and it paid its teachers better than almost any school system in the country. Science, education and prosperity reigned on the city of Alamogordo and it loved its relationship with the scientist and the military. However, there was temporary fear in the air due to an incident in 1947. But a little history before we get there…

 Following Hitler’s fall in 1945, the United States brought 177 German rocket scientists and technicians to White Sands Testing Range under Operation Paperclip. White Sands Missile Range is the largest overland military test range in the United States, occupying some 3,200 square miles of southern New Mexico. With more than 80 years’ experience in rocket and weapons system test and development, it has earned the title “Birthplace of America’s Missile and Space Activity.”

First known as White Sands Proving Ground (renamed White Sands Missile Range in 1958), this installation was established on July 9, 1945, as the place to test rocket technology emerging from World War II.

The first atomic bomb (code named Trinity) was test detonated at Trinity Site near the northern boundary of the range on 16 July 1945, seven days after the White Sands Proving Ground was established.

After the conclusion of World War II, 100 long-range German V-2 rockets that were captured by U.S. military troops were brought to White Sand Proving Ground. Of these, 67 were test-fired between 1946 and 1951 from the White Sands V-2 Launching Site. (This was followed by the testing of American rockets, which continues to this day, along with testing other technologies.)

A launch complex, now known as Launch Complex 33, was built in the desert sand dunes six miles east of the post. It featured a concrete blockhouse with 10-foot-thick walls and a 27- foot-thick roof. A WAC Corporal launch tower was also erected. A year later, a gantry was added.

The first rockets crafted by Americans to blast off from the launch complex, the nation’s first large-scale launch facility, were WAC Corporals. Built by the fledging Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the 16-foot, 660- pound rockets were designed to carry a 25-pound weather package to an altitude of 20 miles. Since the WAC Corporal was under-powered, JPL engineers used a solid-fueled rocket booster dubbed “Tiny Tim” to get the rocket out of its launch tower and up to speed. The booster generated 50,000 pounds of thrust for a half second. By the time, the WAC Corporal was out of the 100-foot tower it was going almost 275 mph. During a series of tests in 1945 and 1946, the WAC Corporal was phenomenally successful, ultimately attaining an altitude of 43 miles. However, there were incidents. Documents in the New Mexico Museum of Space History archives detail the classified project, and how the military also sent 300 railroad boxcars crammed with V-2 parts into southern New Mexico and as the Germans began building the United States Army’s rocket program many early launches either blew up on the pad or crashed on base.

After multiple successful tests one with over 100 Newspaper reporters present and news around the world floating of US gaining in rocket research a series of crashes occurred. The first crashed May 15, 1947 in the city of Alamogordo. The crash occurred on the site of what is now New Mexico State University and the Space Hall of Fame.

After the May 15 disaster, the May 22 Alamogordo News reported “the people of Alamogordo got a thrill and incipiently a scare as some sort of body flew over the town in erratic flight and exploded at least once before dropping to earth.”

The book “We Develop Missiles, Not Air!” by Mattson and Martyn Tagg, (Air Combat Command, USAF/Cultural Resources Publication No. 2/June 1995) said the launch took place at 4:08 p.m. from Launch Complex 33. The liquid fuel was programmed to burn for 63.6 seconds and thrust the 9,827-pound rocket to 4,696 feet per second or 3,202 mph, attaining 76 miles in altitude. However, technicians noted “steering was a trouble from liftoff,” and “We Develop Missiles, Not Air!” said the V-2 “began tumbling end over end through the atmosphere. The pressure broke the missile apart.” Pieces fell near 13th Street and Cuba Avenue, and along the Southern Pacific Railroad tracks.

The Alamogordo News reported residents “got into cars and hastened to the vicinity” of the crash above Indian Wells Road, about 35 miles from LC 33. Citizens also “guarded a portion of the apparatus the rocket was carrying” that had plummeted down to First Street.

Bob Callaway, a high school freshman in 1947, said in a 1995 NMMSH oral history that he and a friend were tossing a ball at Michigan Avenue and 15th Street when the power lines “started shaking violently. About that time, we got the sound wave from the explosion of the V-2.” Callaway and four friends rushed to the scene in a truck and watched personnel load wreckage onto a trailer. He said security permitted them to take non-hazardous material, and they carted off a “bonanza” of wiring and steel tanks. They used the wires to build model airplanes, and the tanks to make “portable welding units,” he said.

Callaway knew of one person who found cameras. That night “OSI started knocking on doors, and believe it or not, by midnight had recovered all five cameras,” Callaway said.

An Army release stated the payload was benign: “scientific equipment” for the Naval Research Laboratory, “two spectrographs and four 16mm gunsight aiming point cameras a cosmic ray count recorder camera and two other aircraft cameras.” Also aboard was “a quantity of rye seed, which will be tested for effect on fertility of exposure to the upper atmosphere.”

An international incident nearly occurred when the V-2 plowed into a cemetery south of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

The El Paso Times reported the incident:

V-2 Rocket, Off Course, Falls Near Juarez May 30, 1947

El Paso and Juarez were rocked Thursday night when a runaway German V-2 rocket fired from the White Sands Proving Ground in New Mexico crashed and exploded on top of a rocky knoll three and a half miles south of the Juarez business district.

The giant missile burst in a desolate area of jagged hill, gullies and bondock.

No one was injured.

Lt. Col. Harold R. Turner, White Sands commanding officer, said failure of the rocket’s German-made gyroscope caused it to swerve from its set northerly course.

He said there was an error in judgment on the part of the safety control department in not shutting off the rocket motors as soon as it was determined the missile had swerved off course.

The violent blast, which shook virtually every building in both El Paso and Juarez, startled citizens of the two cities, who swamped newspaper offices, police headquarters and radio stations with anxious telephone inquiries.

The missile, of the type which terrorized wartime England, landed about a half-mile south of Tepeyac Cemetery.

CRATER 50 FEET

WIDE, 24 FEET DEEP

The terrific impact of the rocket, which contained only telemetering equipment, scooped out a perfectly rounded crater, about 50 feet in diameter and 24 feet deep. Only a few scraps of metal were around the crater when nearby residents reached the scene.

Army authorities form White Sands and Fort Bliss rushed to the spot as soon as they learned of the rocket’s fall and expressed to Mexican officials their regret at the rocket falling on Mexican soil.

Colonel Turner said the missile was fired at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. He said the rocket reached an altitude of 40 miles and was in flight five minutes.

He said the V-2 was being used to test certain component parts in American-made rockets.

Colonel Turner explained that the explosion actually was concussion caused by the force of the four and a half ton V-2 ramming the earth at 12 miles per minute.

The alcohol and liquid oxygen with which the rocket is fueled would only burn and would not explode, the colonel explained.

Mexican soldiers were ordered in the rater to mount guard. They were stationed on the rim, aiding American Military policemen to keep sight-seers and souvenir hunters from the area.

The site is half a mile from Buena Vista airport, where 13 planes were shaken by the blast, and a mile and a half from an oil plant. Many Juarez citizens at first believed the oil plant had exploded.

Wild rumors circulated in El Paso before cause of the blast was ascertained. One man said a “box car full of dynamite” had exploded in South El Paso, devastating the section, while another was certain “an underground gasoline storage dump” had blown up.

Many El Pasoans spotted the rocket’s vapor trail after the missile was fired at White Sands, about 500 airline miles north of El Paso, and a few minutes later heard a terrific explosion and smoke rising in the direction of Juarez.

Lt. Col. John Carroll, former R.O.T.C. commander of El Paso schools was just leaving Fort Bliss when he saw both the vapor trail and the blast.

SAW ROCKET FLIGHT,

WATCHED CRASH

Morris J. Boretz, who was en route to Southwestern General Hospital to visit his daughter, said he was at Brown street and Rim Road when he saw the rocket leaving White Sands and saw the crash south of the Rio Grand, looking like a miniature atomic bomb explosion.

Others who saw the spectacle were R.E. Nelson, 5801 Auburn street; Frank Moltans of the Times circulation staff; Wencis Tovar, 3703 Pera Street; Mrs. S.C. Cox, 3660 Douglas Street.

Lt. Col. George F. Pindar, commanding officer, First Guided Missile Battalion, White Sands, made the first official investigation into the rocket crash. He sped to the scene at about 8 p.m.under orders of Major Gen. John L. Homer, Fort Bliss commander.

Colonel Pindar was in El Paso at the time of the firing. He said he watched the rocket rise with a long tail of flame. Then the rocket appeared to hesitate and almost fade from view. Colonel Pindar looked away for a moment and when he next looked at the rocket it was moving overhead at a high rate of speed, traveling south toward El Paso. A moment later he heard the explosion that rocked the city.

Meanwhile Thursday night an emergency squad of eight Fort Bliss soldiers were searching the western slope of Mount Franklin for evidence of a second explosion reported seen by General Homer.

He told Colonel Pindar that he Saw a smaller explosion just prior to the Juarez blast several miles over the crest of Mount Franklin on the west side. Colonel Pindar said it was possible that a portion of the rocket had sheared off and dropped on Mont Franklin.

SHOCK FELT IN ANTHONY, FABENS

Detective W.D. White of El Paso Police Department, another eyewitness to the explosion, was at the corner of Mesa Avenue and Ninth Street looking in the direction of Juarez when the rocket landed.

“Flames shot into the air like a mushroom,” White said. “It looked just like a haystack on fire.”

Victor Robinson, 3907 Fort Boulevard said, “I saw the rocket go right over our house. It looked like it was going to land in the middle of town.”

Three windows were broken in Fire Chief Joe Boone’s office by the concussion. An electric clock in the Sheriff’s was stopped at exactly 7:32 p.m. by the shock.

Sheriff’s Deputy William Stoddard reported that the shock was felt as far west as Anthon, N.M. and south to Fabens.

The May 29 disaster was never listed in “the official White Sands firing summary,” What occurred with the second crash was it launched from LC 33, the rocket was supposed to fly north, but instead turned south. “The missile ultimately arced over El Paso and landed” (impacted) south of Juarez near a cemetery. “A few hours after the wayward missile landed (impacted), the U.S. Army showed up and found that enterprising Mexicans were selling any old piece of scrap metal they could find and claiming it was V-2 debris. The United States ultimately apologized to Mexico for the incident and paid for all damages incurred.

Subsequently, V-2 launches resumed in July 1947 after safety procedures had been developed to prevent the rockets from endangering civilian populations again.

Article Sources: Wikipedia, White Sands Military Archives, Department of Defense Records, University of New Mexico, US Space Hall of Fame, Alamogordo Town News, El Paso Times, Oral Accounts of Bob Calloway per the Space Hall of Fame and the Alamogordo Daily News.

Positive News – Daily Affirmation: 5-22-21, 28 Days A Habit, 90 Days A Lifestyle

As we remind our readers, podcast listeners and partners daily concerning our affirmations; a habit is “a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.” Habits become a lifestyle a “glass half full” mindset becomes a lifestyle and that leads to permanent results. Science and real-world experience tell us that it actually takes a minimum of 28 days to begin to form a habit, but on average its really between 60 to 90 days. For most of us 90 days is a much more effective and realistic timeframe to incorporate a new behavior into our life, thus 90 Days To A Glass Half Full Lifestyle.

Our Daily Action Steps Are To:

  • Commit to taking 5 minutes each morning as you begin your day to read the daily quote.
  • If you are moved or inspired by the quote; share it in an email, phone call, conversation, text, tweet or on your social media network or platform. When we share something, it becomes more real to us.
  • In your own words write in a journal how the quote or thought applies to you or your circumstances, today. If it doesn’t write on your page the first thing that comes into your mind after reading the quote.
  • The end of the day, prior to bed, take 5 more minutes for yourself. Re-read the quote again and write or think of how you applied or took an action today with a person, situation or referenced the daily quote in mind. Reflect on the day, was there any event in the day where your thinking was impacted differently because of the quote or the affirmation.
  • Let’s have fun with the system and commit.
  • Now, Let’s begin with today’s affirmation:
“THE UNIVERSE IS SO WELL BALANCED THAT THE MERE FACT THAT YOU HAVE A PROBLEM ALSO SERVES AS A SIGN THAT THERE IS A SOLUTION.” – STEVE MARABOLI


Beginning of Day
: How’s the above quote apply to me or what comes to mind when reading the quote above?

End of day: Re-read the quote. Did I share the quote or apply any of its meaning into any part of my day? What issue or situation made me think of or refer to the quote above? Did it help me bridge a positive outcome or mindset?

We encourage you to write or journal your thoughts or reflections on today’s quote.

“The universe is so well balanced that the mere fact that you have a problem also serves as a sign that there is a solution.” – Steve Maraboli

It’s your life, express yourself as your true and honest self and let’s work together for self improvement and a Glass Half Full mindset.

Author Chris Edwards lectures, has his podcast and writes. His book series 90 Days to a Glass Half Full Lifestyle is 3 part series that garnered much acclaim from many coming out of rehab and those coming out of incarceration and beginning anew. His other book series, book 1 Coach Bob Sepulveda The Early Days is an inspirational sport history of interscholastic sports in New Mexico. All of his books are found at fine independent book sellers such as Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo, New Mexico and available via Amazon in 36 countries.

Read our positive affirmations via

https://2ndlifemediaalamogordo.town.news/g/alamogordo-nm/n/30641/positive-news-daily-affirmation-5-22-21-28-days-habit-90-days-lifestyle

Commitment to Alamogordo’s Fine Arts: Local Coach & Artist Rene Sepulveda Releases “Angelica” at Roadrunner Emporium and Fine Arts Gallery, New York Avenue (Reprint from Alamogordo Town News)

Award Winning retired NCAA Track & Field Coach turned Author, Fitness Coach and Artist, Rene Sepulveda has released “Angelica” A sculpture dedicated to his aunt as part of the 3rd phase of his Valley of the Fires Collection, along with 13 other new and original creations. These among other original creations are on exhibition and for sale at 2nd Life, Fine Arts Boutique, at the Roadrunner Emporium and Fine Art Gallery, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo, New Mexico.

Artist Rene Sepulveda and his business partners are committed to the revitalization of the New York Avenue business district. As sports, business and cultural arts leaders they believe revitalization begins with a personal commitment to the business zone. As such they bringing attention to the district via the arts. This release is a part of a multi-pronged approach to build awareness of the New York Avenue, its historical significance and to build an interest in investment and reinvention of the zone into a culturally diverse business zone that serves locals, attracts tourism and increases tax revenues to the benefit of the broader community.

This commitment began with the publishing of books of historical significance to Alamogordo created by Executive Coach, Publicist and Author Chris Edwards, such as Coach Bob Sepulveda The Early Days Book 1 which tells the history of Alamogordo interscholastic sports from 1912 to present. The second in the series covering sports records from 1977 to 1996 will soon be released with significant coverage of football, the Coach Hveem years and his influence and more.

The second phase of this awareness building within the New York Avenue enterprise zone is to create works of art that are interesting and unique and to  market them as showcased on New York avenue and then highlighting the many artists and cultural opportunities within the zone and the stories behind the small business owners located at Roadrunner Emporium and other locations within the district thought to enhance the longer term vision. This phase includes the release of the interesting art creations showcased in this article.

The third phase of their goal to assist in revitalization is to partner with the Alamogordo Main Street, Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce, Alamogordo City, County and State Government and with potential investors to invest dollars, time and commitment to the district. The duo has crafted a  policy position paper soon to be released to local leaders and to a group of significant investors they have been in conversations with as a starting point of “real dialog” to rebuild stronger and better the core business district with a sensitivity to the changing demographics, tourism trends and ecology of which we will live in the next 50 years of economic transition as a nation.

The key to the plan has been a commitment this past year during Covid-19 to explore the business climate of Alamogordo, to see which small business leaders believe in progress and which will fight for the status quo and to see if businesses in the arts could grow in Alamogordo. The conclusion is yes they can and are needed to grow tourism in the city core. 

With each release of new artwork by artist Rene Sepulveda and with each exhibition, photo on the web and sale from around the country and internationally, more awareness of the artistic talents of Southern New Mexico come to bare to the public. As such the next release of his artistic creations are now released for public viewing and purchase.

One of significant importance to the artist is entitle “Angelina” and is dedicated to his 80 year old aunt, Bertha Angelina Sepulveda Rommel. The story dedicated to the crafting of this unique sculpture and it’s significance follows…

“Angelina” Flowing Ivy, Abstract Wooden Basket and Lava Rock Natural Native American Inspired Sculpture by Artist Rene Sepulveda

The historic symbolism of ivy, central to the sculpture by Rene Sepulveda as it reaches out of the wooden basket deals with connections of family, because of its propensity to interweave in growth. Ever furrowing and intertwining, the ivy is an example of the twists and turns our relationships and family connections take – but also a testimony to the long-lasting connections and bonds we form that last over the years. Ivy is further considered a symbol of survival and determination for the same reasons. It seems to be virtually indestructible and will often return after it has suffered damage or has been severely cut back symbolic of the indestructability of family.

This is an example of the human spirit and the strength we all have, to carry on regardless of how harrowing our setbacks may have been.

The basket is one of humankind’s oldest art forms, and it is certainly an ethnic and cultural icon filled with myth and motif, religion and symbolism, and decoration as well as usefulness. Taping in the artist Native American heritage of his ancestors he felt a wooden pieced basket was an essential part of this sculpture due to its symbolism and history as a not to his family roots. The Native Americans may well have left the greatest legacy to the world of baskets. The Indians of Arizona and New Mexico made basket-molded pottery from 5000 to 1000 B.C. as part of the earliest basket heritage. Their baskets (many of which have survived in gravesites) are heralded as a pure art form and one that was created not only by a primitive people but also by women. Basketry extended into the making of many other materials the Indians used daily including fishing nets, animal and fish snares, cooking utensils that were so finely woven that they were waterproof, ceremonial costumes and baskets, and even plaques. The Hopi, Apache, and other Pueblo tribes made coiled baskets with bold decorations and geometric patterns of both dyed and natural fibers. Thus, the bold geometric coloring and shape of the basket crafted into this artistic sculptured work by Rene Sepulveda.

The wood of which the basket hangs is of fallen branches that were gathered near the Apache Mescalero tribal basin and symbolize the strength of eternity. This strength lives on and transcends life and death representing the timeless strength of family.

The 5000-year-old lava rock of which is the sculptures base is composed of rock from the Valley of the Fire lava flow originating at Little Black Peak in Southern New Mexico. The selection of this material as the base was to signify the strength of the earth from deep within, as lava flows deep within the earth and periodically erupts, so do the emotional ties of a family. Those ties and emotional connections are buried deep and carry from one generation to the next, and on occasion erupt to show their true inner strength and strong bonds as the foundation of family.

Finally, the piece is capped with a metal Zia symbol. Given that this artistic creation was conceptualized, crafted and created with natural elements of New Mexico, Artist Rene Sepulveda found it only fitting to cap the piece with the Zia symbol which is sacred to the original people of New Mexico, from the Zia Pueblo and who regard the sun as sacred. Four is a sacred number of the Zia and can be found repeated in the points radiating from the circle.


The number four is embodied in:
The compass (north, south, east, and west)
The seasons of the year (spring, summer, autumn and winter)
The periods of each day (morning, noon, evening and night)
The stages of life (childhood, youth, middle years and elderhood)
The sacred aspects one must develop (a strong body, a clear mind, a pure spirit, and a devotion to the well-being of others)

That final aspect in symbolism of the Zia is what ties this artistic creation of Rene Sepulveda, entitled Angeline, together in each of those characteristics that speak of his aunt. She has always been one from youth to age 80 of strong body, clear mind, pure spirit and devotion to her family as well as the well-being of others.

Each component of this work of art independently is of beauty, but when combined into a sculptured work named “Angelina,” from the heart and mind of the Artist, Rene Sepulveda; one sees it spiritual relevance and reverence to family, presented as a visual piece of artistic beauty.”

To learn more about the artist and the other 39 small business cultural partners, pop into Roadrunner Emporium and Fine Art Gallery at 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo 10 to 5 daily.

Rene Sepulveda art creations are priced for any lover of art. Prices are discounted significantly to local purchasers at the gallery 928 New York Avenue and sell online from $25.00 to $25,000.00 depending upon the detail and demand of the piece. Mr. Sepulveda has sold selections locally and recently to London, Mexico and Canada and is recognized as the preeminent artist using Cholla Cactus, Tree Trunks and Lava as his canvas of creation.

One art critic recently said of his works that they are “incisive meditations of colorishis designs, shapes and composition complimenting natures wonders using lava rocks, tree roots, tree trunks, bark, cholla desert cactus as components of his canvas.”

To learn more about Artist Rene Sepulveda himself visit his online sites such as:

https://artistrenesepulveda.com/

https://www.etsy.com/shop/2ndLifeBoutiqueStore

Some interesting facts around arts and their impact on business:

America’s nonprofit arts industry generates $135 billion in economic activity every year – $61 billion in spending by arts organizations and an additional $84 billion in event-related spending by arts audiences. The Fitness Community generates roughly $24 Billion in economic activity in the US. Together the economic impact of fitness and the arts is $159 Billion annually on the conservative side. The arts and fitness communities together generated over $34 Billion for local state and federal tax coffers in 2019. 

Including full and part time positions, arts and fitness related businesses employ 5.2 million full time equivalent jobs. The arts and fitness account for about 8.2% of the U.S. gross national product. Annually the arts and fitness community generate $108 Billion in household incomes nationwide.

New Mexico has a vibrant art, cultural, movie, entertainment and fitness community in Northern New Mexico. Southern New Mexico towns such as Alamogordo have an opportunity to tap into that wealth for 21st Century livable wage job creation.

As close as Las Cruces, a focus on the arts has an impact. In fiscal year 2015 the Las Cruces Arts Community generated $19.1 Million in revenues, paid $10.6 Million in wages to Las Cruces citizens and generated $1.9 Million in state and local tax revenue and fees paid to the city, county and state. 

330,000 people attended a cultural event or visited an art gallery, an additional 75k participated in a fitness related event and followed with a cultural event. In 2015 and the average visitor that was in the city of Las Cruces that visited a gallery, performance venue or participated in a hosted fitness event pumped or spent 3 times more dollars than locals spend on average, benefiting the business community and government coffers due to tax collection.

Cultural activities the arts and fitness attract tourists and spur the creation of additional facilities such as restaurants, hotels, and the services needed to support them. The Travel Industry of America estimates that “cultural tourists” spend one more day at their destinations and 50% more money than other tourists.

Available museums, Zoos, art Galleries and facilities of historic significance are factors 42% of the time on rather a traveler will stay in a community on their travels. Other cultural activities Americans enjoy while on trips away from home include live theater (23%), performance art galleries (21%), heritage or ethnic festivals (20%), and music concerts (19%).

Cultural facilities and events enhance property values, tax bases, and overall profitability. In doing so, the arts directly contribute to urban revitalization.

LOCAL ASSETS & OPPORTUNITY:

Alamogordo is a known tourist destination recognized around the world for the Space Hall of Fame, the beauty and proximity to White Sands and Lincoln National Forest and for its connection to White Sands Missile Range and the Military. Art, cultural activities and fitness focused business developments goes hand in hand in keeping tourist in our hotels, extending business growth and contributing to our local economic base.

Alamogordo has several amazing parks such as the Washington Avenue Corridor and the Briggs Park Complex. There are opportunities for more. As an example, the alleyway on McKinley Avenue, post McKinley Channel Construction completion, could be enhanced into a Fitness and Cultural Trail combining fitness, community art with bike and walking trails to enhance that neighborhood with approachable fitness and cultural access.

Numbers alone cannot tell the whole story of improved quality of life in urban neighborhoods resulting from arts, fitness and cultural activities and institutions: increased foot traffic brings safety resulting from “eyes on the street,” enrichment of community service options such as outreach programs to public schools and youth centers, and a greater sense of community identification and pride.

THE ROLE OF THE ARTS IN THE ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL VITALITY OF ALAMOGORDO

Impact numbers also cannot adequately conceptualize the “creative capital” that attracts a skilled workforce and new businesses thus jobs and tax payments. Cities that invest in urban centers focused on arts and fitness support diverse lifestyles and cultural amenities that enhance community value. A better educated and more financially sound community is a secondary benefit. Crime is traditionally lower in cities with a focus on art, fitness and community wellbeing. According to the Arts & Business Quarterly“the arts stimulate the economic revitalization of communities, develop skilled and motivated employees, foster a civil society, and can benefit businesses through increased brand-name recognition, product sales, community goodwill and positive visibility.”

The bottom line is that cities need an arts and fitness focus even more today than just a pure business focus. “Business thrives where a community is focused on arts and fitness, as communities with an art and fitness leaning; tend to be healthier physically, mentally and economically
“per the Carnegie Foundation.

As former Seattle mayor Paul Schell once said, “success in business and community growth lies in creating a community where the creative experience can flourish. When that occurs a community, can prosper.”

In order to support local art, fitness and cultural initiatives, we must build local support and nurture that support of the arts and fitness communities in partnership to fill our hotel rooms with guest that will stay in Alamogordo. We must give them a reason to stay and eat in our city restaurants, shop in our local stores and market to visitors to stay in the city of Alamogordo.

As business, arts, fitness and government leaders we must set deadlines and demand action from the political establishment to implement real support for a renaissance of New York Avenue into a lively, robust economic engine and creates livable wage jobs and fills the city and county coffers with tax revenue rather than the quiet, desolate zone of abandoned and unkempt buildings that exist today.

The arts community, new business interests and government partnering with compatible business interests such as Flickinger, Roadrunner Emporium and others can lead the charge to rebuild, rebrand and revitalize the New York Avenue business district and Alamogordo retail business, city wide. Small local artist and interested individuals such as Rene Sepulveda in partnership with others showing a commitment to the city, even during Covid-19 is what it takes

We each own the success of Alamogordo today, to ensure it is an economic engine tomorrow. Now let’s enjoy the arts, shop local and let’s get started today.

https://2ndlifemediaalamogordo.town.news/g/alamogordo-nm/n/30393/commitment-alamogordos-fine-arts-local-coach-artist-rene-sepulveda-releases

New Sculpture Release by Artist Rene Sepulveda: “Angelina” Flowing Ivy, Wood and Lava Rock Natural Native American Inspired Sculpture

Angelina Flowing Ivy, Wood and Lava Rock Natural Native American Inspired Sculpture Artist Rene Sepulveda available at artistrenesepulveda.com or at Roadrunner Emporium & Fine Arts Gallery Alamogordo New Mexico

“Angelina” Flowing Ivy, Abstract Wooden Basket and Lava Rock Natural Native American Inspired Sculpture by Artist Rene Sepulveda

“Angelina” A Flowing Ivy, Abstract Wood Basket and Lava Rock Natural Sculpture by the Artist Rene Sepulveda was crafted as a piece to honor his 80-year-old aunt Bertha Angelina Sepulveda Rommel.
The historic symbolism of ivy, central to the sculpture by Rene Sepulveda as it reaches out of the wooden basket deals with connections of family, because of its propensity to interweave in growth. Ever furrowing and intertwining, the ivy is an example of the twists and turns our relationships and family connections take – but also a testimony to the long-lasting connections and bonds we form that last over the years. Ivy is further considered a symbol of survival and determination for the same reasons. It seems to be virtually indestructible and will often return after it has suffered damage or has been severely cut back symbolic of the indestructability of family.

This is an example of the human spirit and the strength we all have, to carry on regardless of how harrowing our setbacks may have been.

The basket is one of humankind’s oldest art forms, and it is certainly an ethnic and cultural icon filled with myth and motif, religion and symbolism, and decoration as well as usefulness. Taping in the artist Native American heritage of his ancestors he felt a wooden pieced basket was an essential part of this sculpture due to its symbolism and history as a not to his family roots. The Native Americans may well have left the greatest legacy to the world of baskets. The Indians of Arizona and New Mexico made basket-molded pottery from 5000 to 1000 B.C. as part of the earliest basket heritage. Their baskets (many of which have survived in gravesites) are heralded as a pure art form and one that was created not only by a primitive people but also by women. Basketry extended into the making of many other materials the Indians used daily including fishing nets, animal and fish snares, cooking utensils that were so finely woven that they were waterproof, ceremonial costumes and baskets, and even plaques. The Hopi, Apache, and other Pueblo tribes made coiled baskets with bold decorations and geometric patterns of both dyed and natural fibers. Thus, the bold geometric coloring and shape of the basket crafted into this artistic sculptured work by Rene Sepulveda.

The wood of which the basket hangs is of fallen branches that were gathered near the Apache Mescalero tribal basin and symbolize the strength of eternity. This strength lives on and transcends life and death representing the timeless strength of family.

The 5000-year-old lava rock of which is the sculptures base is composed of rock from the Valley of the Fire lava flow originating at Little Black Peak in Southern New Mexico. The selection of this material as the base was to signify the strength of the earth from deep within, as lava flows deep within the earth and periodically erupts, so do the emotional ties of a family. Those ties and emotional connections are buried deep and carry from one generation to the next, and on occasion erupt to show their true inner strength and strong bonds as the foundation of family.

Finally, the piece is capped with a metal Zia symbol. Given that this artistic creation was conceptualized, crafted and created with natural elements of New Mexico, Artist Rene Sepulveda found it only fitting to cap the piece with the Zia symbol which is sacred to the original people of New Mexico, from the Zia Pueblo and who regard the sun as sacred. Four is a sacred number of the Zia and can be found repeated in the points radiating from the circle.


The number four is embodied in:
The compass (north, south, east, and west)
The seasons of the year (spring, summer, autumn and winter)
The periods of each day (morning, noon, evening and night)
The stages of life (childhood, youth, middle years and elderhood)
The sacred aspects one must develop (a strong body, a clear mind, a pure spirit, and a devotion to the well-being of others)

That final aspect in symbolism of the Zia is what ties this artistic creation of Rene Sepulveda, entitled Angeline, together in each of those characteristics that speak of his aunt. She has always been one from youth to age 80 of strong body, clear mind, pure spirit and devotion to her family as well as the well-being of others.

Each component of this work of art independently is of beauty, but when combined into a sculptured work named “Angelina,” from the heart and mind of the Artist, Rene Sepulveda; one sees it spiritual relevance and reverence to family, presented as a visual piece of artistic beauty.

Available to be seen as part of the Valley of The Fire Collection Exhibition of Works of Artist Rene Sepulveda at 2nd Life Boutique and Gallery at Roadrunner Emporium and Fine Art Gallery, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo, New Mexico and is available online to ship for free anywhere in the US at https://www.etsy.com/listing/1007837864

Who was the fastest man on earth, was responsible for the Murphy’s Law “whatever can go wrong will go wrong, and championed the seatbelt you wear daily?

A resident of Alamogordo, who worked at Alamogordo New Mexico’s Holloman Air Force Base, made history in the U.S. space program and history for travel at a speed faster than a .45-caliber bullet in an experiment to test the limits of human endurance.

That same Alamogordo resident was known as the “fastest man on Earth” during the research phase of the US space program to the moon. He accelerated in five seconds from a standstill to 632 m.p.h. The New York Herald Tribune called this Alamogordo resident “a gentleman who can stop on a dime and give you 10 cents change.”

He won what will perhaps be even more lasting fame in a test five years earlier, when he suffered injuries owing to a mistake by a US Airforce Captain Murphy. The result was the phrase “Murphy’s Law, Whatever Can Go Wrong, Will Go Wrong .”

Who was this remarkable Alamogordo resident? Seven years before the US sent the other famous Alamogordo resident Ham, (the three-year-old chimpanzee) into space aboard the Mercury Capsule Number 5, this Alamogordo resident, was himself a live monkey, in many speed and endurance tests that tested the limits of man verses speed and gravity.

This individual of remarkable endurance was John Paul Stapp. Dr. Stapp was a flight surgeon in the U.S. Army Air Forces at the end of World War II, continued in the field of aviation medicine after the war, and transferred to the U.S. Air Force when it was established in 1947, to continue his work on the human response to flight.

His interests from the beginning were in the limits of the human body, when subjected to the increasing forces provided by faster and faster aircraft. In the early 1950s, no one knew what humans could withstand when it came for g-forces, rapid spins, oxygen deprivation, and exposure to cosmic rays.  Stapp began a program of human testing to determine those limits, becoming chief of the Aeromedical Field Laboratory at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico and living in Alamogordo.

Dr. Stapp made history aboard the Sonic Wind I rocket sled on December 10, 1954, when he set a land speed record of 632 mph in five seconds, subjecting him to 20 Gs of force during acceleration.

Although he had many individuals, available from a group of volunteers for this dangerous test ride, Dr. Stobb chose himself for the mission. He claimed he did not want to place another person into such a potentially hazardous position.

When the sled stopped in just 1.4 seconds, Dr. Stapp was hit with a force equivalent to 46.2 Gs, more than anyone had yet endured voluntarily on the planet to that point. He set a speed record and was a man of much scientific study. Upon ending the ride, he managed half a smile, as he was pulled from the sled. Dr. Stapp was in significant pain, and his eyes flooded with blood from the bursting of almost all of capillaries in his eyes. As Dr.  Stapp was rushed to the hospital, his aids, doctors, scientist and he all worried that one or both of his retinas had detached, leaving him blind. Thanks to a studious medical team ready with treatment on the standby, by the next day, he had regained enough of his normal vision to be released by his doctors. His eyesight would never fully recover back to the status prior to the tests but he felt the test was well worth the risk and was happy that he did it verses sending one of the volunteers due to the risk. A less strong man might not have survived the test intact.

Acclaimed by the world press as “The Fastest Man on Earth,” Dr. Stapp became an international sensation, appearing on magazine covers, television, and as the subject of an episode of “This is Your Life!” He appeared on the cover of Time Magazine…

Dr. Stapp was a modest man, in person and was approachable. He lived in Alamogordo after leaving the Air Forece and till the end of his life. He used his public acclaim not for personal gain but to pursue his dream of improving automobile safety. As a proponent for public safety, he felt that the safety measures he and his teams were developing for military aircraft should also be used for civilian automobiles.

Dr. Stapp understood the power of celebrity. As such he used his celebrity status to push for the installation of seat belts in American cars. He understood how to politic, navigate the government bureaucracy and use his public persona to push the Department of Transportation to review and eventually implement many now standard safety features. The success of his campaign efforts for public safety is measured in thousands of lives saved and injuries lessened every year by the safety precautions he championed during his lifetime not only in the US but around the world as his measures were adopted as standard world-wide.

In those early years of the mid 1950’s Dr. Stapp had hoped to make more runs on the Sonic Wind, with a goal of surpassing 1000 mph, however in June 1956, the sled flew off its track during an unmanned run and was severely damaged beyond appropriate repair.

Dr. Stapp would later ride an air-powered sled known as the “Daisy Track” at Holloman, but never again would he be subjected to the rigors of rocket-powered travel.

Dr. Stapp as an Airforce Colonel next planned and directed the Man-High Project, three manned high-altitude balloon flights to test human endurance at the edge of space. Conducted in June and August 1957, the project’s highlight was the second mission, during which Lieutenant David G. Simons reached an altitude of almost 102,000 feet. Project Man-High was a tremendous scientific success and helped prepare for America’s initial manned space which of course did not happen until after Alamogordo’s other famous resident “Ham” the three-year-old chimpanzee had successfully been launched and returned safely.

Dr. Stapp retired from the Air Force as a colonel in 1970. He went on to become a professor at the University of California’s Safety and Systems Management Center, then a consultant to the Surgeon General and NASA.

He next served as the president of the New Mexico Research Institute in Alamogordo, New Mexico, as well as chairman of the annual “Dr. Stapp International Car Crash Conference.”

 In 1991, Stapp received the National Medal of Technology, “for his research on the effects of mechanical force on living tissues leading to safety developments in crash protection technology.” He was also honorary chairman of the Stapp Foundation, underwritten by General Motors to provide scholarships for automotive engineering students.

Dr. Stapp was a well-regarded Alamogordo resident and spoke often at the public high school, in lectures at NMSU Alamogordo and as a guest lecturer at the Space Hall of Fame in Alamogordo.  He was always open to talking with young impressionable individuals encouraging the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Colonel Dr. John Stapp died in Alamogordo on November 13, 1999, at the age of eighty-nine. His many honors and awards included enrollment in the National Aviation Hall of Fame, the Air Force Cheney Award for Valor and the Lovelace Award from NASA for aerospace medical research.

Alamogordo, New Mexico has been called the cradle of America’s space program and offers a museum that applauds our exploration of the heavens with a mix of high-tech entertainment and dramatic exhibits. The United Space Hall of Fame and Space Museum in Alamogordo, New Mexico continues to honor Dr. John P. Stapp naming the Air & Space Park after him. Named after International Space Hall of Fame Inductee and aeromedical pioneer Dr. John P. Stapp, the Air and Space Park consists of large space-related artifacts documenting mankind’s exploration of space. Examples of exhibits include the Sonic Wind I rocket sled ridden by Dr. Stapp and the Little Joe II rocket which tested the Apollo Launch Escape System. At 86 feet tall, Little Joe II is the largest rocket ever launched from New Mexico. Many major breakthroughs in technology occurred in the Alamogordo area, and the museum offers a variety of exhibitions to showcase those milestones. Other features showcased are a tribute to the Delta Clipper Experimental; and the Clyde W. Tombaugh Theater and Planetarium, featuring a giant dome-screen and state-of-the-art surround sound to fully immerse the audience. If in the Alamogordo area or in Southern New Mexico this is a do not miss stop for anyone with an interest in space or the history of space exploration.

New Mexico Museum of Space History

LOCATION: Next to the New Mexico State University, Alamogordo at the Top of NM 2001, Alamogordo, NM

PHONE:(575) 437-2840

HOURS: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, closed on Monday and Tuesday

ADMISSION: Adults are $8, Senior/Military/NM Resident $7, Children (4-12) $6, Tots (3 & Under) Free. New Mexico foster families are admitted free. Additional fees for theater and planetarium.

On the Web: www.NMSpaceMuseum.org

Article Author Chris Edwards, Alamogordo Town News, 2nd Life Media.

Excerpts and Source of Information: New Mexico Museum of Space History, The History Channel, Time Magazine September 12, 1955, The Discovery Channel, “Space Men: They were the first to brave the unknown (Transcript)”. American Experience. PBS. March 1, 2016. Retrieved January 2, 2019. “Building 29: Aero Medical Laboratory”. Historic Buildings & Sites at Wright-Patterson AFB. United States Air Force. August 12, 2002. Archived from the original on June 22, 2008. Retrieved November 15, 2008. Spark, Nick T. “The Story of John Paul Stapp”. The Ejection Site. Stapp JP (August 1948). “Problems of human engineering in regard to sudden declarative forces on man”. Mil Surg. 103 (2): 99–102. PMID 18876408.  Aviation Week for 3 January 1955 says he accelerated to 632 mph in five seconds and 2800 feet, then coasted for half a second, then slowed to a stop in 1.4 seconds. It says the track was 3500 feet long. Spark, Nick T. (2006). “

A resident of Alamogordo, who worked at Alamogordo New Mexico’s Holloman Air Force Base, made history in the U.S. space program and history for travel at a speed faster than a .45-caliber bullet in an experiment to test the limits of human endurance.

That same Alamogordo resident was known as the “fastest man on Earth” during the research phase of the US space program to the moon. He accelerated in five seconds from a standstill to 632 m.p.h. The New York Herald Tribune called this Alamogordo resident “a gentleman who can stop on a dime and give you 10 cents change.”

He won what will perhaps be even more lasting fame in a test five years earlier, when he suffered injuries owing to a mistake by a US Airforce Captain Murphy. The result was the phrase “Murphy’s Law.”

Who was this remarkable Alamogordo resident? Seven years before the US sent the other famous Alamogordo resident Ham, (the three-year-old chimpanzee) into space aboard the Mercury Capsule Number 5, this Alamogordo resident, was himself a live monkey, in many speed and endurance tests that tested the limits of man verses speed and gravity.

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This individual of remarkable endurance was John Paul Stapp. Dr. Stapp was a flight surgeon in the U.S. Army Air Forces at the end of World War II, continued in the field of aviation medicine after the war, and transferred to the U.S. Air Force when it was established in 1947, to continue his work on the human response to flight.

A picture containing outdoor, transport, aircraft, old

Description automatically generated

His interests from the beginning were in the limits of the human body, when subjected to the increasing forces provided by faster and faster aircraft. In the early 1950s, no one knew what humans could withstand when it came for g-forces, rapid spins, oxygen deprivation, and exposure to cosmic rays.  Stapp began a program of human testing to determine those limits, becoming chief of the Aeromedical Field Laboratory at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico and living in Alamogordo.

Dr. Stapp made history aboard the Sonic Wind I rocket sled on December 10, 1954, when he set a land speed record of 632 mph in five seconds, subjecting him to 20 Gs of force during acceleration.

Although he had many individuals, available from a group of volunteers for this dangerous test ride, Dr. Stobb chose himself for the mission. He claimed he did not want to place another person into such a potentially hazardous position.

When the sled stopped in just 1.4 seconds, Dr. Stapp was hit with a force equivalent to 46.2 Gs, more than anyone had yet endured voluntarily on the planet to that point. He set a speed record and was a man of much scientific study. Upon ending the ride, he managed half a smile, as he was pulled from the sled. Dr. Stapp was in significant pain, and his eyes flooded with blood from the bursting of almost all of capillaries in his eyes. As Dr.  Stapp was rushed to the hospital, his aids, doctors, scientist and he all worried that one or both of his retinas had detached, leaving him blind. Thanks to a studious medical team ready with treatment on the standby, by the next day, he had regained enough of his normal vision to be released by his doctors. His eyesight would never fully recover back to the status prior to the tests but he felt the test was well worth the risk and was happy that he did it verses sending one of the volunteers due to the risk. A less strong man might not have survived the test intact.

Acclaimed by the world press as “The Fastest Man on Earth,” Dr. Stapp became an international sensation, appearing on magazine covers, television, and as the subject of an episode of “This is Your Life!” He appeared on the cover of Time Magazine…

A magazine with a person's face on it

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Dr. Stapp was a modest man, in person and was approachable. He lived in Alamogordo after leaving the Air Forece and till the end of his life. He used his public acclaim not for personal gain but to pursue his dream of improving automobile safety. As a proponent for public safety, he felt that the safety measures he and his teams were developing for military aircraft should also be used for civilian automobiles.

Dr. Stapp understood the power of celebrity. As such he used his celebrity status to push for the installation of seat belts in American cars. He understood how to politic, navigate the government bureaucracy and use his public persona to push the Department of Transportation to review and eventually implement many now standard safety features. The success of his campaign efforts for public safety is measured in thousands of lives saved and injuries lessened every year by the safety precautions he championed during his lifetime not only in the US but around the world as his measures were adopted as standard world-wide.

In those early years of the mid 1950’s Dr. Stapp had hoped to make more runs on the Sonic Wind, with a goal of surpassing 1000 mph, however in June 1956, the sled flew off its track during an unmanned run and was severely damaged beyond appropriate repair.

Dr. Stapp would later ride an air-powered sled known as the “Daisy Track” at Holloman, but never again would he be subjected to the rigors of rocket-powered travel.

Dr. Stapp as an Airforce Colonel next planned and directed the Man-High Project, three manned high-altitude balloon flights to test human endurance at the edge of space. Conducted in June and August 1957, the project’s highlight was the second mission, during which Lieutenant David G. Simons reached an altitude of almost 102,000 feet. Project Man-High was a tremendous scientific success and helped prepare for America’s initial manned space which of course did not happen until after Alamogordo’s other famous resident “Ham” the three-year-old chimpanzee had successfully been launched and returned safely.

Dr. Stapp retired from the Air Force as a colonel in 1970. He went on to become a professor at the University of California’s Safety and Systems Management Center, then a consultant to the Surgeon General and NASA.

He next served as the president of the New Mexico Research Institute in Alamogordo, New Mexico, as well as chairman of the annual “Dr. Stapp International Car Crash Conference.”

 In 1991, Stapp received the National Medal of Technology, “for his research on the effects of mechanical force on living tissues leading to safety developments in crash protection technology.” He was also honorary chairman of the Stapp Foundation, underwritten by General Motors to provide scholarships for automotive engineering students.

Dr. Stapp was a well-regarded Alamogordo resident and spoke often at the public high school, in lectures at NMSU Alamogordo and as a guest lecturer at the Space Hall of Fame in Alamogordo.  He was always open to talking with young impressionable individuals encouraging the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Colonel Dr. John Stapp died in Alamogordo on November 13, 1999, at the age of eighty-nine. His many honors and awards included enrollment in the National Aviation Hall of Fame, the Air Force Cheney Award for Valor and the Lovelace Award from NASA for aerospace medical research.

Alamogordo, New Mexico has been called the cradle of America’s space program and offers a museum that applauds our exploration of the heavens with a mix of high-tech entertainment and dramatic exhibits. The United Space Hall of Fame and Space Museum in Alamogordo, New Mexico continues to honor Dr. John P. Stapp naming the Air & Space Park after him. Named after International Space Hall of Fame Inductee and aeromedical pioneer Dr. John P. Stapp, the Air and Space Park consists of large space-related artifacts documenting mankind’s exploration of space. Examples of exhibits include the Sonic Wind I rocket sled ridden by Dr. Stapp and the Little Joe II rocket which tested the Apollo Launch Escape System. At 86 feet tall, Little Joe II is the largest rocket ever launched from New Mexico. Many major breakthroughs in technology occurred in the Alamogordo area, and the museum offers a variety of exhibitions to showcase those milestones. Other features showcased are a tribute to the Delta Clipper Experimental; and the Clyde W. Tombaugh Theater and Planetarium, featuring a giant dome-screen and state-of-the-art surround sound to fully immerse the audience. If in the Alamogordo area or in Southern New Mexico this is a do not miss stop for anyone with an interest in space or the history of space exploration.

New Mexico Museum of Space History

LOCATION: Next to the New Mexico State University, Alamogordo at the Top of NM 2001, Alamogordo, NM

PHONE:(575) 437-2840

HOURS: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, closed on Monday and Tuesday

ADMISSION: Adults are $8, Senior/Military/NM Resident $7, Children (4-12) $6, Tots (3 & Under) Free. New Mexico foster families are admitted free. Additional fees for theater and planetarium.

On the Web: www.NMSpaceMuseum.org

Article Author Chris Edwards, Alamogordo Town News, 2nd Life Media.

Excerpts and Source of Information: New Mexico Museum of Space History, The History Channel, Time Magazine September 12, 1955, The Discovery Channel, “Space Men: They were the first to brave the unknown (Transcript)”. American Experience. PBS. March 1, 2016. Retrieved January 2, 2019. “Building 29: Aero Medical Laboratory”. Historic Buildings & Sites at Wright-Patterson AFB. United States Air Force. August 12, 2002. Archived from the original on June 22, 2008. Retrieved November 15, 2008. Spark, Nick T. “The Story of John Paul Stapp”. The Ejection Site. Stapp JP (August 1948). “Problems of human engineering in regard to sudden declarative forces on man”. Mil Surg. 103 (2): 99–102. PMID 18876408.  Aviation Week for 3 January 1955 says he accelerated to 632 mph in five seconds and 2800 feet, then coasted for half a second, then slowed to a stop in 1.4 seconds. It says the track was 3500 feet long. Spark, Nick T. (2006). “Whatever Can Go Wrong, Will Go Wrong”: A History of Murphy’s Law. Periscope Film. ISBN 9780978638894. OCLC 80015522″: A History of Murphy’s Law. Periscope Film. ISBN 9780978638894. OCLC 80015522

Congratulations to the new owner of Artist Rene Sepulveda’s Abstract Sculpture titled “High Desert Bloom”

Congratulations to the new owner of Artist Rene Sepulveda’s Abstract Sculpture titled “High Desert Bloom.” This original abstract was showcased on exhibition at the Roadrunner Emporium & Gallery at the 2nd Life Art Gallery, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo, New Mexico and is SOLD and enroute to a collector of fine art in Austin, Texas, USA.

About the Piece: “High Desert Bloom” Artist Rene Sepulveda created this one-of-a-kind nod to the New Mexico high desert and white sands located near Alamogordo New Mexico. The piece was crafted with 5000-year-old Lava Rock from the Valley of the Fire Lave Flow, combined with ancient fallen driftwood and replicas of desert flowers that create a unique and inspiring view of natures “High Desert Bloom”. This one-of-a-kind piece is heavy, crafted from ancient lava flow rich in iron and heavy metals. The wood is ancient from the Lincoln Forest and the flowers are replicas of flowers colorized to the artists imagination and found in the High New Mexico Desert.

About the Collection: Artist Rene Sepulveda reaches from his Native American Tarahumara tribal roots and creates works of art from 5000-year-old New Mexican Volcanic Lava Rock paired with recycled metals fallen driftwoods to create art of nature for home, office or outdoor spaces. Highly prized and highly collectable. Approximately 5,000 years ago, Little Black Peak located in Southern New Mexico erupted and flowed 44 miles into the Tularosa Basin, filling the basin with molten rock. The resulting lava flow is four to six miles wide, 160 feet thick and covers 125 square miles. From a distance, the region appears as barren rock but when you visit the nature trails there are many varieties of flowers, cactus, trees, and bushes typical of the Chihuahuan desert. Animals include a variety of desert ants, bugs, bats, roadrunners, quail, cottontails, mule deer, barberry sheep, lizards, great horned owls, burrowing owls, turkey vultures, hawks, gnat catchers, cactus wrens, sparrows, and golden eagles and more.

This collection of works crafted by Artist Rene Sepulveda is inspired by his Tarahumara tribal roots as a tribute to the wildlife, flowers, cactus, and beauty of the region, crafted from recycled lava, woods and metals found from the Tularosa Basin and Sacramento Basin. The molten lava rock is repurposed rock pulled from abandoned homes and abandoned locations; repurposed into a “second life” as an “artistic sculpture” to bring joy and value to the owner of each unique piece.

#2ndLifeMedia#2ndLifeBoutique#LocalArts#AlamogordoArts#ArtistReneSepulveda#RoadrunnerEmporium#AlamogordoTownNews#AlamogordoMainStreet#NewMexicoArts#NativeAmericanArt#AbstractArt#DesertArt#2ndLifeGallery#RoadrunnerEmporiumArtGallery#NaturalArtSculptures

Where in New Mexico would someone go to see original Root Art, Cholla Desert Cactus Art, Sculptures of Recycled Metals combined with 5000 year old lava rock, original paintings and more? Santa Fe? NO, Alamogordo Of Course! Alamogordo Town News Showcase Roadrunner Emporium Art Gallery…

Where in New Mexico would someone go to see original Root Art, Cholla Desert Cactus Art, Sculptures of Recycled Metals combined with 5000 year old lava rock, original paintings, New Mexico Photography and more? Santa Fe? Albuquerque? No, to see these original works of art and much much more one must travel to Alamogordo New Mexico’s Main Street, Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue Alamogordo…

Original Rene Sepulveda Carrousel Horse Sculpture
Artist Rene Sepulveda Presents at Roadrunner Emporium Alamogordo
1000 Sunflowers a Window Display to Bring Joy Roadrunner Emporium Alamogordo
Awesome window displays by local artist to inspire Roadrunner Emporium Alamogordo

Roadrunner Emporium hosts 40 partnered vendors,  Artist Rene Sepulveda showcases his works that have been purchased by individuals in Europe, Mexico, Canada and throughout the United State. Rene Sepulveda does not take his art work too serous and approaches with whimsical insights but serious in their color, texture and use of natural elements procured from the natural environment.

Rene Sepulveda is credited with starting the “colorlicious styling & textured design’s” trend for in home, patio decor and fine art piece designs. His captivating sculptures crafted of Cholla Art, 5000 year old Lava Rock and/or recycled metals are being received to much acclaim and are bringing a little touch of New Mexico’s Desert in the form of artist sculptures using Cholla Cactus Skeleton, lava and metals to homes and offices throughout America.

His rootart (tree root art) offerings have been showcased in haunting displays, window displays by galleries and retail establishments in New Mexico, California and the western US and have been known to shock and to inspire.

Rene Sepulveda’s newest released collection released 3/14/2021 is “The Valley of the Fires Sculpture Collection” highlights the use of natural wonders from the Tularosa Basin combining recycled 5000 year old lava rock with recycled metals and/or distressed driftwood to create one of kind unique artistic wonders ideal for the home, patio or professional office spaces. His items ship around the world but are hosted at Roadrunner Emporium, Alamogordo.

Per the artist, “I believe that the artistry of Cholla Art, Tree Trunk Art, Root Art or Lava Rock and Metal works are unique and not well understood, in that most homeowners or business owners don’t have the knowledge of the beauty these pieces can bring to their environment. Most people have not been exposed to these kinds of sculptured works, very few artists create art with these mediums as a canvas. Most people don’t know the sense of Zen or harmony that is created by including these pieces into the home, office, or business environment. However those that venture south to Alamogordo are in for a treat. A treat of the senses. When they visit downtown Alamogordo they will find a gem of a art gallery that is part art gallery, part antiquing paradise, and more. One never knows what surprise awaits the customer that strolls into Roadrunner Emporium, Alamogordo. “

Delia Lopez Holloway showcases her works of wonder, complex design and interpretative expression on canvas. A Fine Arts Major of New Mexico State University. Her artistic creations are an expression of love, joy, beauty, calm and on occasion the exact opposite. She believes art show provoke and inspire.

A Collection of the Beauty of Women Expressed and on Exhibition at Roadrunner Emporium, Alamogordo New Mexico
The Beauty of Women A collection of Works by Delia Lopez Holloway Roadrunner Emporium & Gallery, Alamogordo New Mexico ( Alamogordo Town News 2nd Life Media
An Expression of Exquisite Color and Complexity on Exhibition Roadrunner Emporium & Art Gallery, Alamogordo New Mexico by Delia Lopez Holloway
An Expression of Exquisite Color and Complexity on Exhibition Roadrunner Emporium & Art Gallery, Alamogordo New Mexico by Delia Lopez Holloway ( Alamogordo Town News 2nd Life Media)

Photography such as from the infamous California nature photographer Janet Thornton. Scenes from California, New Mexico and the natural environment around us…

Moss A Photograph in Nature Janet Thornton Gallery Roadrunner Emporium
“Moss” A Photograph in Nature Janet Thornton Gallery Roadrunner Emporium
"Wisteria" A Photographic expression of color by Janet Thornton Galleries at Roadrunner Emporium Alamogordo
“Wisteria” A Photographic expression of color by Janet Thornton Galleries at Roadrunner Emporium Alamogordo (Alamogordo Town News, 2nd Life Media)

The photography of history and abandon of New Mexico by Author, Display Artist and Photographer Chris Edwards 2nd Life Gallery, Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue Alamogordo.

Photography of Author Chris Edwards Coach Bob Sepulveda The Early Days
Photography of Author Chris Edwards Coach Bob Sepulveda The Early Days
Photography of Author Chris Edwards Coach Bob Sepulveda The Early Days
Photography of Author Chris Edwards Coach Bob Sepulveda The Early Days
Photography of Author Chris Edwards Coach Bob Sepulveda The Early Days
Photography of Author Chris Edwards Coach Bob Sepulveda The Early Days

The Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue Alamogordo is owned by Debra Reyes and is dedicated to the enrichment of the cultural arts and downtown redevelopment of the Alamogordo Main Street District. It is located in a historic building that is clean, fresh and historic. Come check out the best art gallery in Alamogordo for art and more 10 to 5 daily. Closed Sundays. 

https://2ndlifemediaalamogordo.town.news/g/alamogordo-nm/n/29559/southern-new-mexicos-must-go-art-gallery-more-roadrunner-emporium-new-york

Alamogordo Sport History: A Look Back at the 1973 Alamogordo Tigers Track and Field Team with District & State Results – Alamogordo Town News & Sports

A Look Back at the 1973 Alamogordo Tigers Track and Field Team brings us to the first of many track and field state trophies to be awarded to Alamogordo High School under the leadership of Coach Bob Sepulveda who led the team from the late 60’s to the mid 90’s. Under his leadership the track and field team won 5 state title, 4 in a row in the mid 90’s and countless 2nd, and 3rd place state trophies as well as district titles. 1973 was a defining year in the path upward for Alamogordo High Track and Field.

The 1973 Alamogordo Tiger Track and Field felt the pressure of District Wins each of the 3 preceding years. From a team of only 13 just 3 years ago, the 1973 squad consisted of 32 team members.

(Photo above 1973 Alamogordo High Track and Field Team Fieldsmen L-R: Norman Avila, Terry Rich, Bob Tuttle. Backrow: Ron Gourley, Steve Fredrick, Carl Hutchison, David Burch & Tim McMurry.)

Photo Above 1973 Alamogordo High Track and Field Team Sprinters  front row: Will Henley, Paul Najera, Ken Washington, David Finley. Back row: Dale Norman, Dennis Baca, Larry Vorquez, Pat Telles, Jim Sanders. Third Row: Joe Wright, Scott Hutt and Chuck Wood.

Photo Above: 1973 Alamogordo High Track & Field Distance Runners front row: David Dunlop, Russell Golightly, Tom Woolworth, Brad Person, Charles Racoosin. Second row: David Sanchez, Steven Garcia, Terry McLean, Eddy Garcia, Robert Golightly and Ken Burns.

Photo in story above Coach Bob Sepulveda in 1973 with the stopwatch checking his teams times. His saying prevails today, “the stopwatch never lies, run, run, run”

The Alamogordo Tiger Boy’s took several medals at the White Sands Rolla Buck Invitational Meet of 1973. At that time girls did not participate in interscholastic sports but all of that was in the process of changing as GAA was phasing out and interscholastic sports for girls would begin the next year via title IX at Alamogordo High.

Alamogordo Boy’s who placed at the 1973 Rolla Buck White Sands Invitational Sponsored by the Lions Club included:

  • Terry Rich, 3rd Place Pole Vault
  • Chuck Wood, 1st Place, 220 Yard Dash
  • Dale Norman, 2nd Place 120 High Hurdles
    • 3rd Place Low Hurdles
  • Will Henley, 2nd Place, 100 Yard Dash
    • 2nd Place, 220 Dash
  • Robert Golightly, 3rd Place, Mile Run
  • Steve Frederick, 3rd Place, Shot Put
  • Mark Taylor, 2nd Place, 440 Yard Dash
  • Scott Hutt, 3rd Place, 880 Run
  • Art Keller, Ken Washington, Chuck Wood, Jimmy Sanders, 4th Place, Medley Relay

School records were established in the mile relay and the 180- yard low hurdles Saturday during the White Sands Relays sponsored by the Tiger Track Team and the Evening Lions Club of 1973.

Art Keller flashed over the hurdles in 19.6 in the preliminaries and went on to win the event and he was named the “Outstanding Athlete” for the Relays.

The Tiger mile relay team ripped off that distance in 3.24.7 to break the school record set by Bowie in 1972 during the Relays when they ran it in 3.26.2. Relay team members were Ken Washington, Dennis Baca, Mark Taylor and Jimmy Sanders.

The Tiger 440 Relay Team took first when they ran it in 43.6 Art Keller, Ken Washington, Chuck Wood and Jimmy Sanders were on the team. Keller also took first in the 100- yard dash. Chuck Wood took 1st in the 220 dash. Jimmy Sanders took 1st in the 440 dash. Carl Hutchison tied for1st in the High Jump. Steve Frederickson took 1st in the discus. Robert Golightly placed 1st in the two-mile run….

Meet results showed the Tigers with a team 1st place win with a final total of 112 ½ Bowie came in 2nd at 46 ½ and Cobre came in 3rd with a 41 ½.

The District Title in 1973 went again to the Alamogordo Tigers for a 4th consecutive year in a row. The local paper of the time the Alamogordo Daily News Reported:

1972/73 District Track & Field Results  May 6th, 1973 Headline Alamogordo Sports Section…”Thinclads Get 135 Points to Cop 4th District Win”

“Tiger Thinclads walked… or ran… jumped or threw further and faster than anyone else in the district 3AAAA at Las Cruces on Saturday, to take their 4th District Win in a row under Coach Bob Sepulveda. 12 of the Tigers placed 1st
Place in the meet competitions as the Tigers Topped 135 points for a 1st Place finish. Mayfield scored 94 points for a 2nd Place Finish and Las Cruces scored 75 points for a 3rd Place Finish.”

1973 Alamogordo High School Boys Track and Field District Medalist included:

  • Carl Hutchison, 1st Place, High Jump
  • Steve Frederick, 1st Place, Discus
  • 1st Place, 440 Relay Team
  • 2nd Place, Shot Put
  • Art Keller, 1st Place, 100 Yard Dash
    • 1st Place, 880 Relay Team
  • 1st Place, Mile Relay Team
  • 2nd Place,120 Low Hurdles
  • Jimmy Sanders, 1st Place, 440 Relay Team
  • Larry Vazquez , 1st Place, Mile Relay Team
  • Dale Norman, 1st Place, High Hurdles
    • 1st Place, Low Hurdles
  • Mark Taylor, 2nd Place, 440
  • Scott Hutt, 1st Place ,880
  • Chuck Wood, 1st Place220
    • 2nd Place, High Hurdles
  • Robert Golightly, 1st Place, 2Mile
    • 2nd Place, 1 Mile
  • Dennis Baca, 2nd Place,220
    • 5th Place, 120 High Hurdles
  • Brad Pierson, 2nd Place, 2 Mile
  • Charlie Racoosin, 4th Place, 2Mile
  • Art Keller, Ken Washington, Chuck Wood, Jimmy Sanders, 3rd Place, Medley Relay
  • Will Henley, 3rd Place,220
    • 4th Place, 100 Yard Dash
  • Terry McClean, 5th Place, Mile
  • Terry Rich, 5th Place, Pole Vault

13 Tigers qualified to attend the state meet in Albuquerque May 11th and 12th, 1973.

May 12th, 1973 is a day that will live in the memories of most of the class of 1973 as that is the day the Boys brought home a state trophy. The headlines across the state raged on about the upset and surprise that Alamogordo pulled off a 2nd place showing at the state level.

“The Alamogordo Tiger Thinclads surprised most of the track experts when they pulled into the 2nd Place position during

the State Track Meet to capture a big trophy at Albuquerque”

Photo Above 1973 2nd Place State Track and Field Trophy and Winning Team: Back L-R: Coach Dick Strong, Coach Jack Geron, Dale Norman, Steve Frederick, Carl Hutchison, Jimmy Sanders, Scott Hutt, Mark Taylor, Coach Jack Narrell, Head Coach Bob Sepulveda. Front L-R: Manager Pat McMurry, Art Keller, Robert Golightly, Brad Pierson, Dennis Baca, Ken Washington and Chuck Wood. (Photo Courtesy Coach Bob Sepulveda The Early Days Book 1- Alamogordo News 5/17/73)

Defending State Champion Hobbs took an early lead and placed 1st to win the state. Alamogordo Tigers placed second in the state meet with 48 points followed by Carlsbad in 3rd place and Clovis closing out with a 4th place win.

Individual State Medalist for the 1973 State Track Meet from the Alamogordo Tiger’s Track and Field Team included:

  • Steve Fredericks, 1st Place, Discus, 159’10”
  • Robert Golightly, 1st Place, 2 Mile Run ,10.31.1
  • Ken Washington, Larry Vazquez , Mark Taylor & Jimmy Sanders 1st Place, Mile Relay, 3.25.4
  • Jimmy Sanders, 3rd Place, 440,49.8
  • Dale Norman, 5th Place, 180 Low Hurdles, 21.3
  • Art Keller, Ken Washington, Chuck Wood, Jimmy Sanders, 3rd Place, 440 Relay, 48.4
  • Scott Hutt, 4th Place, 880,2.00
  • Chuck Wood, 3rd Place, 220, 22.6
    • 5th Place, 100, 10.2
  • Carl Hutchison, 3rd Place, High Jump, 6’.0
  • Art Keller, 4th Place, 100,10.1

(Photo Above Art Keller Team Member 1973 Track & Field State Medalist Alamogordo Tiger Track Team of 1973.)

(Photo Above Jimmy Sanders at the New Mexico State Track Meet Placing 1st in the 1 Mile Relay with team members Ken Washington, Larry Vazquez and Mark Taylor. (Photo courtesy Coach Bob Sepulveda Collection)

Alamogordo High School Girls competed in the state GAA event that same weekend. 59 Girls attended the 6th annual GAA track meet representing Alamogordo. Seventh to Twelfth graders took part in three classes: Senior, Junior and Intermediate. 31 Junior High, 21 Mid High and 7 High School girls entered.

The Alamogordo Girls took 2nd in the Senior High level, 3rd in the Junior Division and 3rd in the Intermediate Division.

The coaches were Marilyn Sepulveda, Fran Stirman and Helen Reed.

Source and certain Excerpts from Alamogordo News referenced in Coach Bob Sepulveda The Early Days Book 1 from 1973 Available Locally at Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue Alamogordo, Tularosa Basin Historical Society on White Sands Blvd, and on Amazon in 36 Countries.

https://2ndlifemediaalamogordo.town.news/g/alamogordo-nm/n/29443/alamogordo-sport-history-look-back-1973-alamogordo-tigers-track-and-field

Building Awareness Press Freedom Day,  Alamogordo, May 3, 2021 Alamogordo Town News & Second Life Media Author Chris Edwards

Amendment One: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

World Press Freedom Day in collaboration with the World Journalist Alamogordo Town News 2nd Life Media

Building Awareness Press Freedom Day,  Alamogordo, May 3, 2021

Press Freedom is a fundamental requirement for a free and informed Democracy. We don’t always agree with opinions expressed, we may not like much of the news we hear and we may feel all news is negative. It doesn’t have to be. A record amount of censorship, unprecedented attacks on journalists, a consolidation of news outlets by big corporations and the collapse of small town local newspapers and online papers all threaten the freedoms and foundation of our fragile democracy.

Even here in Alamogordo the primary newspaper is owned by a media conglomerate resulting in diminished local coverage and opinions expressed directed from far off corporate offices. Local free citizen journalism is more important now than at any time in our county’s history with a focus on local sports, business successes and positivity. That is where we fill a void. We are here to inform, inspire and encourage. We ask for you to support our advertisers, share our pages and daily posts, sign up for our free daily newsletter and share our vision of positive news and affirmations to a more positive community.

Journalists uncover the truth, check the abuse of power, and demand transparency from those in power. They are indispensable to the functioning of democracy. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, journalists and media workers have been on the front lines to keep the public informed, at significant risk to their own health. And, at a time when the truth is increasingly under attack, our need for accurate, fact-based reporting, open public conversation, and accountability has never been greater.

We collaborate and honor World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference. Since then, 3 May, the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek is celebrated worldwide as World Press Freedom Day.

After 30 years, the historic connection made between the freedom to seek, impart and receive information and the public good remains as relevant as it was at the time of its signing. Special commemorations of the 30th anniversary are planned to take place during World Press Freedom Day International Conference.

May 3 acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom. It is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics. It is an opportunity to:

  • celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom;
  • assess the state of press freedom throughout the world;
  • defend the media from attacks on their independence;
  • and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

This year’s World Press Freedom Day theme “Information as a Public Good” serves as a call to affirm the importance of cherishing information as a public good, and exploring what can be done in the production, distribution and reception of content to strengthen journalism, and to advance transparency and empowerment while leaving no one behind. The theme is of urgent relevance to all countries across the world. It recognizes the changing communications system that is impacting on our health, our human rights, democracies and sustainable development.

While governments harass, detain and silence journalists there are organizations around that work to protect your freedom of information around the world in order to keep you as citizens of the world informed.

American reporters are at risk at times at home but more so when reporting overseas. As an example Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian was arrested in Iran last July with his wife, who also is a journalist. She was later released, but he is on trial on charges that include spying, which he has denied. His trial is closed to the public.

The One Free Press Coalition acts as a voice for all journalists under attack for pursuing the truth. Media outlets worldwide, including Voice of America, unite to give voice to their stories and hold power figures to account.

The One Free Press Coalition publishes a monthly list of the world’s “10 Most Urgent” press freedom abuses, and the cases of journalists who cover human rights topics. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) determined that 55% of journalists imprisoned in 2020 write about human rights, and 306 journalists reporting on human rights have been killed since 1992.

CPJ and the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) maintain safety resources and provide support to ensure these professionals can carry out their work for the public good, and do so as safely as possible.

The 10 Most Urgent, May 2021 At Risk Journalist in the World Include:

1. Ibraimo Abú Mbaruco (Mozambique)

Mozambican radio reporter and human rights advocate in Cabo Delgado has been missing for over a year as conflict in the region escalates. Family and colleagues still have no information on his whereabouts after he sent an SOS text saying he was “surrounded by soldiers.” 

2. Kasra Nouri (Iran)

Journalist, serving a 12-year sentence related to his coverage of religious protests in 2018, has spent a significant amount of time in solitary confinement, been moved multiple times, and his family is currently unable to communicate with him. 

3. Pham Chi Dung (Vietnam)     

Freelance internet reporter and founding chairman of a civil society organization advocating for press freedom is serving a 15-year prison sentence on anti-state charges after calling on the EU to postpone trade agreements until Vietnam improves its human rights record.

4. Ahmed Humaidan (Bahrain)

Photographer covering protests in Bahrain was arrested while documenting protesters attacking a police station in 2012, and sentenced to ten years behind bars in 2014. He recently contracted and recovered from COVID-19 while imprisoned.

5. Esraa Abdelfattah (Egypt)

Longtime blogger, journalist and activist reporting on human rights has been held on false news and anti-state charges since 2019, and has had her pretrial detention extended. She has gone on hunger strikes multiple times to protest her sentence and treatment.

6. Leonardo Sakamoto and the team at Repórter Brasil (Brazil)

Leonardo Sakamoto is the president of Repórter Brasil, an investigative reporting organization, focused on issues from human trafficking to workers’ rights to environmental degradation. The outlet has faced online attacks, attempted break-ins and anonymous threats.

7. Sandhya Ravishankar (India)

Freelance journalist reporting on elections, politics and corruption, including on Tamil Nadu’s sand mafia and beach sand mining, has faced years of threats and harassment, including death and rape threats, doxing, and a 2018 attempt to sabotage her motorbike.

8. Agnieszka Pikulicka (Uzbekistan)

Freelance correspondent threatened publicly by Uzbek Interior Ministry with potential lawsuits in relation to her reporting on the attack of an LGBTQ activist.

9. Katsiaryna Barysevich (Belarus)

Correspondent for the independent news website Tut.by was sentenced earlier this year to six months behind bars for her coverage of protests in Belarus in 2020.

10. Daria Komarova (Russia)

Russian journalist for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has been put on three trials in relation to her coverage of pro-Navalny protests, facing potential fines and administrative detention.

Today, on World Press Freedom Day, we, as independent community journalist, authors and publishers with 2nd Life Media and Alamogordo Town News celebrate the awesome bravery of journalists everywhere; locally, within the US and worldwide that standup to popular opinions, the power structure and an informed public. We recognize the integral role a free press plays in building prosperous, resilient and free societies. We recommit daily to protecting and promoting free, independent, and diverse media around the world and always when possible inform, inspire, educate and promote the positivity life has to offer.

Today we celebrate a free press and a free Alamogordo that in unity with all celebrates freedom!

Commentary by Chris Edwards, Author Alamogordo Town New, 2nd Life Media.

Sources:  One Free Press Coalition,  Forbes, Wikipedia and United Nation Press Freedom Information Pages

Coaches Bill Aldridge & 28 year veteran Tommy Standefer have set the standard for Southern New Mexico Golf in a program with roots to the 1950s

Alamogordo has a long history of golf success dating back to the 1960’s under coach Billy Aldridge. To learn more and to hear coach Billy Aldridge’s story check our story archives or listen to our podcast on Spotify at https://open.spotify.com/episode/3RNff9f7XPuS6pMcZJBb4l

the New Mexico Activities association offered State Tournaments in Golf for boys beginning in 1933. The first Boy in the state of New Mexico to win a State Golf Title was Ralph Petty of Carrizozo in 1933.

Alamogordo High School Boys Golf program began to gain some tracking in the 50’s was was not recognized as truly competitive until the 1960s and 1970s under the leadership of Billy Aldridge. He was credited with creating a legitimate program that was a model high schools and community colleges around the country. The Alamogordo Boys Golf program has won 3 state titles and 4 individuals titles in the boys division since inception. 

State Individual Boys Title holders include:

  • 1966 AA Bruce McKenzie
  • 1971 AAAA Brad Bryant
  • 1973 AAAA Brad Bryant
  • 2008 AAAAA Jeffery O’Dell with scores of 76-73 total 149

State Boys Gold Team Titles were won in:

  • 1965 AA Alamogordo Coach Bill Aldridge
  • 1971 AAAA Alamogordo Coach Bill Aldridge
  • 1972 AAAA Alamogordo Coach Bill Aldridge

Girls Golf was not sanctioned as an interscholastic sport until 1973. The first girl to wine a state title was Nancy Romero of Socorro in 1973.

State Individual Girls Title holders include:

  • 1995 AAAA Dianne Overstreet
  • 1999 AAAA Tiada Lane with a total score of 160
  • 2003 AAAAA Destini Esquero  with scores of 78-78 totaling156
  • 2011 AAAAA Kacey Dalpes  with score of 79-77 totaling 156
  • AAAAA Kacey Dalpes with a score of 69-76 totaling 145

State Boys Girls Team Titles were won in:

  • 1996 AAAA Alamogordo Coach Scott Summers 
  • 2001 AAAAA Alamogordo Coach Tommy Standefer
  • 2002 AAAAA Alamogordo Coach Tommy Standefer 
  • 2003 AAAAA Alamogordo Tommy Standefer

Coach Tommy Standefer won 3 girls golf state titles in a row between 2001 and 2003. Coach Standefer has coached for Alamogordo for almost 28 years and is still coaching and assisted by Coach Billy Hays. The Alamogordo Girls have attended a state tournament 28 times in the last 30 years. Fifteen times, the girls have finished with a trophy, either first, second or third, at state a record to be very proud of.

The Alamogordo Golf Teams most recent play was Wednesday at the Chaparral Invitational.

 The Alamogordo Boys finished 2nd at Chaparral on Wednesday. 

  • Boys Tyler Cullers – 82
  • Michael Overstreet – 92
  • Bradley McMillen – 92
  • Colin Silva – 93
  • Marco Terrazas – 100

In Girls Golf competition the girls did not have a complete team at Chaparral.

  • Sophia Fredrick – 100
  • Chloe Johnston – 110
  • Kylie Rideout – 133

Both teams next compete at Deming Tournament May 7th, 2021.

History Made 11/14/1960 & 4/28/21 “One Small Step” Ruby Bridges & Kamala Harris

One small step, by one brave little girl helped make it possible for one of the most striking historical images of President Biden’s state of the union address. The little girl in the top photos is that of Ruby Bridges, the first African American, to attend a white elementary school in the deep South, 1960.

The image of two women below; one a woman of color, the other the daughter of Italian Immigrants, both for the first time -women- in the chairs behind the president. The chairs historically are filled by the vice president and speaker. Tonight, 4/28/2021 is the first time both roles are held by women; a woman of color and the daughter of an immigrant — Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi.

Ruby Bridges and her place in our history

Judge J. Skelly Wright’s court order for the first day of integrated schools in New Orleans on Monday, November 14, 1960

At the early age of only six years old, Ruby Bridges advanced the cause of civil rights in that November 1960, she became the first African American student to integrate an elementary school in the South.

Born on September 8, 1954, Bridges was the oldest of five children for Lucille and Abon Bridges, farmers in Tylertown, Mississippi. When Ruby was two years old, her parents moved their family to New Orleans, Louisiana in search of better work opportunities. Ruby’s birth year coincided with the US Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka Kansas, which ended racial segregation in public schools.

Nonetheless, southern states continued to resist integration, and in 1959, Ruby attended a segregated New Orleans kindergarten. A year later, however, a federal court ordered Louisiana to desegregate. The school district created entrance exams for African American students to see whether they could compete academically at the all-white school. Ruby and five other students passed the exam.

Her parents were torn about whether to let her attend the all-white William Frantz Elementary School, a few blocks from their home. Her father resisted, fearing for his daughter’s safety; her mother, however, wanted Ruby to have the educational opportunities that her parents had been denied. Meanwhile, the school district dragged its feet, delaying her admittance until November 14. Two of the other students decided not to leave their school at all; the other three were sent to the all-white McDonough Elementary School.

Judge J. Skelly Wright’s court ordered the first day of integrated schools in New Orleans to be Monday, November 14, 1960. The historic day was documented in newspapers and magazines around the US.

Bridges described her first day of school, “Driving up I could see the crowd, but living in New Orleans, I actually thought it was Mardi Gras. There was a large crowd of people outside of the school. They were throwing things and shouting, and that sort of goes on in New Orleans at Mardi Gras, however I was soon to find out this demonstration was not a celebration and certainly was not the party atmosphere of the Mardi Gras.”

Retired, former United States Deputy Marshal Charles Burks recalled, “She showed a lot of courage. She never cried. She did not whimper. She just marched along like a little soldier, and we’re all immensely proud of her.” She was escorted and supported by the Federal US Marshals Service for over a year till things finaly stabilized and the people of New Orleans accepted integration as the law of the land.

Little Ms. Bridges spent her first day in the principal’s office due to the chaos created as angry white parents pulled their children from school. Ardent segregationists withdrew their children permanently.

Barbara Henry, a white Boston native, was the only teacher willing to accept Ruby, and all year, she was a class of one. Ruby ate lunch alone and sometimes played with her teacher at recess, but she never missed a day of school that year.

On the second day, however, a white student broke the boycott and entered the school when a 34-year-old Methodist minister, Lloyd Anderson Foreman, walked his five-year-old daughter Pam through the angry mob, saying, “I simply want the privilege of taking my child to school …” A few days later, other white parents began bringing their children, and the protests began to subside.

Every morning, as Bridges walked to school, one woman would threaten to poison her, while another held up a black baby doll in a coffin; because of this, the U.S. Marshals dispatched by President Eisenhower, who were overseeing her safety, allowed Bridges to eat only the food that she brought from home.

Child psychiatrist Robert Coles volunteered to provide counseling to Bridges during her first year at Frantz. He met with her weekly in the Bridges home, later writing a children’s book, The Story of Ruby Bridges, to acquaint other children with Bridges’ story. Coles donated the royalties from the sale of that book to the Ruby Bridges Foundation, to provide money for school supplies or other educational needs for impoverished New Orleans school children.

While some families supported her bravery—and some northerners sent money to aid her family—others protested throughout the city. The Bridges family suffered for their courage.

The Bridges family suffered for their decision to send her to William Frantz Elementary: her father lost his job as a gas station attendant; the grocery store the family shopped at would no longer let them shop there; her grandparents, who were sharecroppers in Mississippi, were turned off their land; and Abon and Lucille Bridges separated. Bridges has noted that many others in the community, both black and white, showed support in a variety of ways. Some white families continued to send their children to Frantz despite the protests, a neighbor provided her father with a new job, and local people babysat, watched the house as protectors, and walked behind the federal marshals’ car on the trips to school.

It was not until Bridges was an adult that she learned that the immaculate clothing she wore to school in those first weeks at Frantz was sent to her family by a relative of Coles. Bridges says her family could never have afforded the dresses, socks, and shoes that are documented in photographs of her escort by U.S. Marshals to and from the school.

In 1964, artist Norman Rockwell celebrated her courage with a painting of that first day entitled, “The Problem We All Live With.” The commemorated painting by Norman Rockwell titled The Problem We All Live With was published in Look magazine on January 14, 1964.

Bridges, now Ruby Bridges Hall, still lives in New Orleans with her husband, Malcolm Hall, and their four sons. After graduating from a desegregated high school, she worked as a travel agent for 15 years and later became a full-time parent.  She is now chair of the Ruby Bridges Foundation, which she formed in 1999 to promote “the values of tolerance, respect, and appreciation of all differences”. Describing the mission of the group, she says, “racism is a grown-up disease and we must stop using our children to spread it.”

Bridges is the subject of the Lori McKenna song “Ruby’s Shoes”. Her, childhood struggle at William Frantz Elementary School was portrayed in the 1998 made-for-TV movie Ruby Bridges. The young Bridges was portrayed by actress Chaz Monet, and the movie also featured Lela Rochon as Bridges’ mother, Lucille “Lucy” Bridges; Michael Beach as Bridges’ father, Abon Bridges; Penelope Ann Miller as Bridges’ teacher, Mrs. Henry; and Kevin Pollak as Dr. Robert Coles.

Like hundreds of thousands of others in the greater New Orleans area, Bridges lost her home (in Eastern New Orleans) to catastrophic flooding from the failure of the levee system during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Hurricane Katrina also greatly damaged William Frantz Elementary School, and Bridges played a significant role in fighting for the school to remain open.

In November 2007, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis unveiled a new permanent exhibit documenting her life, along with the lives of Anne Frank and Ryan White. The exhibit, called “The Power of Children: Making a Difference”, cost $6 million to install and includes an authentic re-creation of Bridges’ first grade classroom.

In 2010, Bridges had a 50th-year reunion at William Frantz Elementary with Pam Foreman Testroet, who had been, at the age of five, the first white child to break the boycott that ensued from Bridges’ attendance at that school.

On July 15, 2011, Bridges met with President Barack Obama at the White House, and while viewing the Norman Rockwell painting of her on display he told her, “I think it’s fair to say that if it hadn’t been for you guys, I might not be here, and we wouldn’t be looking at this together”. The Rockwell painting was displayed in the West Wing of the White House, just outside the Oval Office, from June through October 2011.

In November 2020 there was an image created of Bridges as a child and Kamala Harris that went viral and made a powerful statement to all that witnessed it. The image is simple: Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, clad in a dark suit and heels, strides past a wall with her eyes locked on the horizon. The shadow she casts is that of then-6-year-old Ruby Bridges, who integrated her New Orleans elementary school in 1960. The artist behind the widely shared image is Bria Goeller, who graduated with highest honors from Emory College of Arts and Sciences in December 2019. She designed the artwork in October for Carl Gordon Jones, founder and owner of the satirical clothing group WTF America-Good Trubble.

Goeller’s design showcasing the parallels between two Black women’s strength in the face of opposition took off Saturday, shared tens of thousands of times after media outlets projected Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election and Harris was declared the vice president-elect. Bridges, herself shared it on her personal Instagram, as did Kara Walker, the Black artist best known for her work with silhouettes. Bridges thanked Goeller, and Good Trubble “for the inspirational and beautiful artwork.” Tagging Harris and Biden in her post, she wrote, “I am honored to be a part of this path and grateful to stand alongside you, together with our fellow Americans, as we step into this next chapter of American history!”

On this evening as President Biden presents his state of the union address the memory of his speech may not be so much the content of his speech or the proposals to move America forward but the speech will go down historically as significant to the history of the US with the two women on the platform behind the president. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House and a child of an immigrant and Vice President Kamala Harris, the first person of color to sit in that prestigious seat.

We wonder as Vice President Harris looked at her shadow from the camera lights on the wall this historic evening; did she indeed pause for a moment, and see her own reflection, or did she see the reflection of Ruby Bridges and her small step from 1960 that paved the way for Ms. Harris spot in history today.

These two women- bright, committed, positive and successful demonstrate the power of action and how, small actions we do today, may impact the history of an unconnected stranger decades down the road. The historical significance of 11/14/1960 and 4/28/21 shows the destiny of the two amazing passionate women of color intertwined and bound by destiny.

https://2ndlifemediaalamogordo.town.news/g/alamogordo-nm/n/28597/history-made-11141960-42821-one-small-step-ruby-bridges-kamala-harris

28 Days A Habit 90 Days a Lifestyle Affirmation for 4-25-21

As we remind our readers, podcast listeners and partners daily concerning our affirmations; a habit is “a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.” Habits become a lifestyle a “glass half full” mindset becomes a lifestyle and that leads to permanent results. Science and real-world experience tell us that it actually takes a minimum of 28 days to begin to form a habit, but on average its really between 60 to 90 days. For most of us 90 days is a much more effective and realistic timeframe to incorporate a new behavior into our life, thus 90 Days To A Glass Half Full Lifestyle.

Our Daily Action Steps Are To:

  • Commit to taking 5 minutes each morning as you begin your day to read the daily quote.
  • If you are moved or inspired by the quote; share it in an email, phone call, conversation, text, tweet or on your social media network or platform. When we share something, it becomes more real to us.
  • In your own words write in a journal how the quote or thought applies to you or your circumstances, today. If it doesn’t write on your page the first thing that comes into your mind after reading the quote.
  • The end of the day, prior to bed, take 5 more minutes for yourself. Re-read the quote again and write or think of how you applied or took an action today with a person, situation or referenced the daily quote in mind. Reflect on the day, was there any event in the day where your thinking was impacted differently because of the quote or the affirmation.
  • Let’s have fun with the system and commit.
  • Now, Let’s begin with today’s affirmation:
“POSITIVE THINKING WILL LET YOU DO EVERYTHING BETTER THAN NEGATIVE THINKING WILL.” ZIG ZIGLER

Beginning of Day: How’s the above quote apply to me or what comes to mind when reading the quote above?

End of day: Re-read the quote. Did I share the quote or apply any of its meaning into any part of my day? What issue or situation made me think of or refer to the quote above? Did it help me bridge a positive outcome or mindset?

We encourage you to write or journal your thoughts or reflections on today’s quote.

“POSITIVE THINKING WILL LET YOU DO EVERYTHING BETTER THAN NEGATIVE THINKING WILL.” ZIG ZIGLER

It’s your life, express yourself as your true and honest self and let’s work together for self improvement and a Glass Half Full mindset.

Author Chris Edwards lectures, has his podcast and writes. His book series 90 Days to a Glass Half Full Lifestyle is 3 part series that garnered much acclaim from many coming out of rehab and those coming out of incarceration and beginning anew. His other book series, book 1 Coach Bob Sepulveda The Early Days is an inspirational sport history of interscholastic sports in New Mexico. All of his books are found at fine independent book sellers such as Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo, New Mexico and available via Amazon in 36 countries.

Listen to our report and positive affirmations via our paper:

https://2ndlifemediaalamogordo.town.news/g/alamogordo-nm/n/28261/positive-news-daily-affirmation-4-25-21-28-days-habit-90-days-lifestyle

History: Golf Coach Billy Aldridge, “Mr. Irrelevant” a title given to the last player picked in the NFL draft was relevant!

The title of “Mr. Irrelevant” is given annually to the last player picked in the NFL draft. 1960 brought a change in leadership of the Alamogordo football and the track and field program. The new program leader was Coach Ralph Tate. Coach Tate had a connection to the Alamogordo school system, via his college friend, Alamogordo Golf Coach Billy Aldridge. 

Photo Coach Billy Aldridge New Mexico Golf (Photo Courtesy Coach Bob Sepulveda The Early Days Book Series 2nd Life Media Alamogordo Town News)
Photo on Blog of Mr. Relevant Coach Billy Aldridge New Mexico Golf – (Coach Bob Sepulveda The Early Days Book Alamogordo Town News 2nd Life Media)

Both were alumni of Oklahoma State University, both were competitive and avid golfers; (competing in many tournaments together and against each other) and both were drafted to the NFL’s Green Bay Packers. 

Neither actually had play time in the NFL instead; Aldridge pursued his passion of Coaching Golf and Tate followed his passion into Coaching Track & Field and Football primarily Track and Field. 

For a brief time Tate coached in Alamogordo for the 1960/61 Track & Field Season, while Aldridge had a long career in Alamogordo as a recognized winning coach.

Tragedy shook the boys and coaches competing at State in 1976. Concurrent to the State Track and Field meet is also competition of other athletic events, Golf being one of them. Alamogordo had one of the winningest and most successful high school golf programs on the west coast. 

The Golf Program was under the Coaching leadership of Billy Aldridge. Aldridge and Coach Tate had a very strong bond and strong relationship in the early 1960’s. Tate moved on from Alamogordo but Aldridge built a reputation unsurpassed in Alamogordo even in more modern times. 

Coach Aldridge’s program was unique in that it was coached by him and he had exclusive control of that program. He collaborated in PE and was respected by all the other athletic coaches. He produced the 3 and only three State Golf Titles Alamogordo has ever won per the NMAA. The Tigers won the team state title in 1968, 1971 and 1972 under Coach Bill Aldridge.

Alamogordo High School has had 4 male golf champions win the state golf title 3 were under Coach Aldridge.  Under Coach Aldridge in 1966, Bruce McKenzie won the title and the title went to Brad Bryant in 1971 and 1973. Bryant attended the University of New Mexico for three years, but turned professional and qualified for the PGA Tour in 1976, a year before his scheduled graduation.

May 13, 1976 Alamogordo News Headline Page 1 Article by Rick Wright: “Team Playing for Coach, Aldridge Hit by Car on Duke City Street”

“ Alamogordo High School Golf Coach was listed in critical condition…after being struck by a car Wednesday night… Aldridge 53, was struck by a car while walking across Albuquerque’s Central Avenue… A medical center spokesman said Aldridge was in critical condition and suffered a broken back, broken ankle, broken leg, broken ribs and collapsed lung…

Aldridges 5 man golf team competing at state was badly shaken up by the event. Alamogordo’s individual leader Dan Koesters spoke for the team and said,”We are trying to win for him. He’d like for us to win for sure. We are trying to put the accident out of our minds for a few hours and win it for him.”

Per the Alamogordo News, May 14, 1976; “the Alamogordo Tigers Golf Team was 3rd after the first round and only 3 strokes behind Sandia and Santa Fe.”

Coach Bob Sepulveda was asked to step in to console the boys and fill in as the tournament coach during the final phase of the golf tournament. Coach Sepulveda said, “the boys were obviously shaken up as was I. I was there to console the team and provide support. We were all shocked and broken hearted.”

Coach Billy Aldridge did not recover and died of complications from the accident with the announcement of his death on May 16th, 1976.

Jimmy Tramel, World Sports Writer did an interview with Aldridges wife in 2006 and outlined a great highlight of his life…

1945’s ‘Mr. Irrelevant,’ a former OSU player, was relevant to many people during short life. The title of “Mr. Irrelevant” is given annually to the last player picked in the NFL draft. The label doesn’t fit Billy Joe Aldridge…

Aldridge, an Alma, Okla., native and former Oklahoma State football player, was the final player picked in the 1945 NFL Draft. He was selected in the 32nd round — 330th overall — by the Green Bay Packers. Aldridge never played a lick for the Packers, but he was relevant to many people during a life cut short 30 years ago this month.

Aldridge was a successful high school golf coach in Alamogordo, N.M., for more than two decades. He accompanied his team to Albuquerque for the state tournament in 1976 and the fatal accident occurred before the event concluded. His grief-stricken players got the worst kind of wake-up call the next morning, but teed it up nonetheless.

“He would have kicked us in the a– if we didn’t play,” said former player Dan Koesters, who is now director of golf at New Mexico State University’s course. “It was definitely one of those deals. There was never a day when you weren’t going to play some golf.” Aldridge coached Alamogordo teams that won multiple state championships. By Koesters’ count, at least seven Aldridge pupils played major college golf and five were All-Americans. Brad Bryant is fourth on  the Champions Tour money list this year and younger brother Bart Bryant is on the PGA Tour.

Billy Joe Aldridge died a month shy of his 54th birthday. He lived a long time in comparison to a younger brother, Bennie, a five-year NFL veteran who died in a 1956 plane crash, and a brother who died at age 3.

Another brother, Hubert, flirted with the grim reaper while in Iwo Jima. He took a sniper’s bullet and was unable to walk after he was transported to a military base.

Billy Joe Aldridge played football at Oklahoma A&M from 1941-42. His college career was interrupted by World War II. He spent three years in the Marines and his primary wartime duty was entertaining troops via athletic feats. He boxed and suited up for a Marine football squad alongside Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch, an NFL Hall of Famer who was picked 325 spots before Aldridge in the 1945 draft.

Aldridge once spotted a pretty female Marine, Bonnie Pedigo, in a dance hall. He told buddies he was going to marry that gal, and he was true to his word. Said Bonnie, “He called home and said ‘Mom, sell my 4-H calf. I’m going to get married.’ ” He had to pay a whopping tab (more than $30!) for a multiday honeymoon stay at the Statler Hotel in Washington, D.C.

After his military stint was over, Aldridge returned to his home state because he wanted to fulfill his dream of being a star runner at Oklahoma A&M. Problem was, a lad named Bob Fenimore already had that job.

Aldridge and his wife took advantage of the G.I. Bill to earn degrees and, while in Stillwater, golf became a passion. He soon was playing or practicing every day, regardless of weather.

If it rained, Aldridge would go out after the downpour stopped and hit balls until “dark-thirty,” said his widow. She recalled the time she made a hole-in-one and it was so cold that when she reached in the cup to grab her ball, she came away clutching a handful of ice. Aldridge burned a pile of leaves on the next hole so he and his wife could get warm.

Billy Aldridge wanted to coach and was determined to find a way to coach and was soon enroute to Alamogordo via teaching hitch in Carnegie. His first job was a $2,400-per-year gig in Carnegie. He and Bonnie took jobs in Idabel the next year because two incomes would allow them to be better providers for a son, Kent. Oklahoma teachers weren’t getting rich back then and Aldridge doubled his salary when he drove sight unseen to take a teaching and coaching job in Dexter, N.M. He left after one year to go to Alamogordo. “I heard they were building a golf course here and decided that since I liked golf better than any of the other sports I had been connected with, I would come here,” he once told an Alamogordo sports writer.

Aldridge coached nothing but golf at Alamogordo. Dan Koesters said Aldridge was ahead of his time as a high school coach, including the use of yardage books. Koesters said Alamogordo golfers “did things as a high school golf team that college teams didn’t do and things that I still have never seen a high school team do. We would meet at the park at 6:30 every morning and hit golf balls . . . and when we would get out of school, we would go to the course and play until dark.”

During Aldridge’s coaching career seven people came out of Alamogordo High and played Division I golf, that was really pretty amazing,” per Dan Koesters.

Koesters is in New Mexico State University’s Athletic Hall of Fame. “There is absolutely no question that my whole career hinges around a couple of people — coach Aldridge and my college golf coach, another guy I would put in that same classification. I guarantee you that Brad Bryant would say the exact same thing,” said Koesters of Aldridge.

Aldridges wife Bonnie, in an interview in 2006 acknowledged her husband’s contributions and his imperfections…

The late Billy Joe Aldridge was not perfect (no golfer is — imperfection is what makes golfers always come back for another round).” She acknowledged, “he battled the demon in the bottle.”

Bonnie found out what others thought of her husband after his death. She said “people I didn’t even know sent cards and letters.” She takes solace in the fact her husband made a difference. “I would like to think that every individual did good things for other people,” she said.

So the 1975,76 Alamogordo Tiger graduating class moved forward with tears and also great memories. The decade was a period of great change. Change did come to Alamogordo over the decades but the history and contributions of Coach Billy Aldridge are certainly relevant to this sports history of Alamogordo and of New Mexico. His impact on so many youth within New Mexico was relevant and is relevant today.

To learn more stories of the relevance of Coach Aldridge, Coach Tate, Coach Sepulveda and 100s of athletes. For more stories purchase Coach Robert Sepulveda The Early Days book series available on Amazon in 46 Countries or in the US also on Amazon and at fine independent book sellers such as Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue Alamogordo, New Mexico or your local independent book seller. 

28 Days a Habit, 90 Days a Behavior Todays Affirmation

Blanco ” I breath courage, I exhale doubt.” (2nd Life Media Alamogordo Town News)

As we remind our readers, podcast listeners and partners daily concerning our affirmations; a habit is “a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.” Habits become a lifestyle a “glass half full” mindset becomes a lifestyle and that leads to permanent results. Science and real-world experience tell us that it actually takes a minimum of 28 days to begin to form a habit, but on average its really between 60 to 90 days. For most of us 90 days is a much more effective and realistic timeframe to incorporate a new behavior into our life, thus 90 Days To A Glass Half Full Lifestyle.

Our Daily Action Steps Are To:

  • Commit to taking 5 minutes each morning as you begin your day to read the daily quote.
  • If you are moved or inspired by the quote; share it in an email, phone call, conversation, text, tweet or on your social media network or platform. When we share something, it becomes more real to us.
  • In your own words write in a journal how the quote or thought applies to you or your circumstances, today. If it doesn’t write on your page the first thing that comes into your mind after reading the quote.
  • The end of the day, prior to bed, take 5 more minutes for yourself. Re-read the quote again and write or think of how you applied or took an action today with a person, situation or referenced the daily quote in mind. Reflect on the day, was there any event in the day where your thinking was impacted differently because of the quote or the affirmation.
  • Let’s have fun with the system and commit.
  • Now, Let’s begin with today’s affirmation:
“I BREATH IN COURAGE, I EXHALE DOUBT.”

Beginning of Day: How’s the above quote apply to me or what comes to mind when reading the quote above?

End of day: Re-read the quote. Did I share the quote or apply any of its meaning into any part of my day? What issue or situation made me think of or refer to the quote above? Did it help me bridge a positive outcome or mindset?

We encourage you to write or journal your thoughts or reflections on todays quote.
“I breath in courage, I exhale doubt.”

It’s your life, express yourself as your true and honest self and let’s work together for self improvement and a Glass Half Full mindset.

Author Chris Edwards lectures, has his podcast and writes. His book series 90 Days to a Glass Half Full Lifestyle is 3 part series that garnered much acclaim from many coming out of rehab and those coming out of incarceration and beginning anew. His other book series, book 1 Coach Bob Sepulveda The Early Days is an inspirational sport history of interscholastic sports in New Mexico. All of his books are found at fine independent book sellers such as Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo, New Mexico and available via Amazon in 36 countries.

Listen to our report and positive affirmations via our podcasts:

5 Questions An Interview with New Mexico Abstract Natural Sculpture Artist Rene Sepulveda Roadrunner Emporium

Rene Sepulveda former NCAA Award winning Track and Field Coach, Rehabilitative Coach turned artist creates sculptured works. One art critic recently said of his works that they are “incisive meditations of colorishis designs, shapes and composition complimenting natures wonders using lava rocks, tree roots, tree trunks, bark, cholla desert cactus as components of his canvas.”

Artist Rene Sepulveda’s carefully constructed sculptures and art installations are abstract interpretative works that rely heavily on the influence of nature for texture and symmetry, for rural to urban spaces.

We sat down with the man who wears many hats; Former Award Winning NCAA Coach, Rehabilitative Fitness Coach, Author and Artist Rene Sepulveda, to find out more about his processes, inspiration, and his unique artistic journey with the release of his most recent exhibition the “Valley of The Fire Collection” With this interview he is also releasing two sculptured works, a tree trunk abstract sculptured piece called “Baily Canyon” which is a stunning blend of a hallowed out tree trunk textured, preserved and intriguingly colored then placed on a bed of lava rock and combined with local treated and colored natural cactus to make a stunning visual display.

The second piece to be released today he calls “Stark NM” it is a combination natural wood, recycled metals and woods crafted into a one of a kind abstract piece sitting on a Zia stone with lava. This intricate piece is a dazzling array of colors that inspires awe in its bold colors and unusual textures.

How would you describe the sculptures and artwork you create?

“My goal is to create compelling works that draw the viewer in to explore the underlying structure of color, texture and the natural elements created by mother nature. My hope is that the initial reaction is an emotional response to the color relationships, the contrasting textures between the flat and fluid paint and the hard edges and gestural marks that are embedded in the pieces as marks of nature. I want the person to enjoy my sculptured pieces and to be rewarded as they soak into the piece so that the placing of each element, the precise color balance, the textures, and carefully calibrated proportions of my sculptures are revealed to our inner senses. The inspiration comes from both natural and man-made elements and share my preoccupation with patterns, colors, textures, and the natural elements of nature.”

What message do you want to get across with your artistic works?

“I tap into my Native American roots. I believe I’m empowered by my grandfather’s ancestors in how I commune with nature to bring harmony and balance to my art pieces. I believe nature is complex in texture color. I know that harmony can be achieved to create an appealing and interesting work of art when we reconcile vastly different and contrasting colors and textures using techniques and processes that I’ve created to enhance natures work to be placed into an urban or rural household, office, or place of business.

I believe that the artistry of Cholla Art, Tree Trunk Art, Root Art or Lava Rock and Metal works are unique and not well understood, in that most homeowners or business owners don’t have the knowledge of the beauty these pieces can bring to their environment.

Most people have not been exposed to these kinds of sculptured works, very few artists create art with these mediums as a canvas.

Most people don’t know the sense of Zen or harmony that is created by including these pieces into the home, office, or business environment.

I’ve created works where chance takes over as the prominent sense and caused me to be fluid with colors and textures. The colors and textures then take over my mind and through my hands flows the wonder of color and texture. Sometimes it flows through me like a force of gravity down the surface of the art piece showing a series textures and colors from my mind that are then frozen in time to create a timeless piece of art.

Several of my creations become art dense in color and texture with very defined creations begun my nature that eventually show a high degree of control but are complex in their inspiration of color. I see this as the human impact on the natural world that is expressed with the culmination of taking objects from nature such as complex root art systems, tree trunks, unique fallen forest wood pieces, 5000 year old lava rock, unique cholla desert cactus skeletons and using them as the canvas for human expression of color and texture.

Patterns of all kinds fascinate me, including the hidden structures of living things. Tinting, repeat sequences, geometric shapes and grids, pre-historic symbols and pottery designs and the underlying laws that dictate how the natural world evolves influences my craft. The influence of all of that finds a way into my work, which I don’t really consider to be pure color or texture abstraction. Maybe interpretative abstract sculpturing is a better term for my works. I use very defined textures but counterbalance with color and the canvas of nature in my sculptured works. My work is all inspired by something I have seen or felt which has sparked my imagination. Nature is the foundation of hope for the world we live. That hope comes with a responsibility to acknowledge natures role in our daily lives, to embrace it and to appreciate its influence, by its placement, through art into our homes, offices, or businesses.”

How did you come to mixing texturing and color design in your natural art sculptures?

“Textures and colors of all kinds have always intrigued me, most especially the colors and textures of nature. When I was young and an Olympic Trials Athlete, I would run 100s of miles weekly in the mountains, the desert floor and in the woods and always along those runs, I could almost feel the colors and the textures of the natural elements around me.

So when I began exploring my artistic side, the ideas of color and texture were a natural expression of what I had absorbed from my time outdoors. On my travels around the world, I’m always attracted to the colors and textures of our ancient ancestors. The geometric abstraction in colors and shapes of the Inca’s in Peru, the geometry of the Pyramids in Egypt, my travels to my mother’s homeland of Ireland, the imaging of my grandfather’s ancestral tribes of the Tarahumara; each imprinted on my mind. Those influences’ flow through me into each art piece I create with color, textures, and design.”

Do specific colors and forms hold definite meanings in your work?

“For me color complemented with texturing is the most important part of creating art to be enjoyed. The relationship between the size, shape, texture, and color of each art form to ensure it compliments natures handiwork is of highest priority to me. The dominance of each color, the warmth or coolness, flatness, or texture, as well as denseness and fluidity, are hopefully resolved so that there is a restless balance that is appealing to the eyes and inspires the heart of those who are viewing my creations. My appreciation for color and texture began with me, in appreciate of Georgia Totto O’Keeffe’s paintings of enlarged flowers and New Mexico landscapes. O’Keeffe recognized as the Mother of American modernism certainly had an influence on me. Similarly Antoni Gaudi of Barcelona remarkable for his range of forms, textures, and for the free, expressive way in which these elements of his art seem to be composed have always inspired my own appreciation for colors and textures.

The colors and textured in each piece have symbolic meaning for me. The earth colors are often mixed directly with the piece to form the landscaped base and then the real creativity begins. I see color and texture as an evolutionary process, building up layers and design elements to reflect light and darkness differently with each vantage point. In some designs the colors of the urban world show though as they are attached to a piece created in the natural environment of forest or deserts. What is crafted is a contrast that is appealing and inspiring to the observer. Colors of reds and yellows remind me of the sunsets within nature and the natural elements of sunflowers which bring joy. The various grays, blacks and coppers define a more commercial manufactured world but when combined with the textures of nature they then bring meaning of wholeness with nature to me and hopefully the observer.”

Have the goals of your work changed during the Covid-19 lockdown and do you have advice for an aspiring artist?

“I have a hard time viewing myself as an artist. My business partner jokes with me and tells me once I began selling my works, I became a professional artist. I don’t know if I’d ever view myself as an artist, certainly not a professional artist, as I have a Masters in Epidemiology and a Master’s in Public Health. I Coached for over 20 years at the university level and competed professionally. I continue to coach as a rehabilitative coach today. However, the Covid lockdown did provide me an opportunity for reflection and a period of isolation without distractions to explore and expand on the artist within. With the support of family and my business partner, I’ve created some fun pieces that I am immensely proud to have been able to craft. Some people seem to enjoy my work. Some pieces are a bit eccentric, abstract, and sometimes confusing but overall the reaction has been incredibly positive, and we have sold several hundred pieces even with a pandemic going on. For that I am humbled and surprised. Each art piece I create is almost like a child to me. I nurture it and collaborate with it and want to ensure each piece goes to a good home or business where it will be cared for and cherished for years to come.

I can see preoccupations, moods and themes running throughout my artistic journey. My aim is to create a balanced work that is balanced between color, and texture and complimented by the canvas of nature. Those are competing forces which are the canvas that work as the inspiration in my work.

My advice for an artist starting out would be, just do it. It doesn’t matter if you are an art major or an art novice, it doesn’t matter if you are 12, 18, 25, 55 or 70 everyone has art within themselves, but few will ever express the art they have the potential to create. The world needs art, color, complex designs, and simple beauty. If its within you, do it, put it out there and just do it. Everyone of us wants to express ourselves from within, in some way; some write, some create art, some craft music, or performance arts. Whatever is within you, just believe in yourself and just do it.”

Learn More About Coach, Author and Artist Rene Sepulveda. Several of his pieces are showcased online via the 2nd Life Boutique and an Etsy Store. Rene Sepulveda’s more exclusive pieces are showcased on the artist website ArtistReneSepulveda.com. Many of his pieces are showcased and can be seen in person at Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue Alamogordo, New Mexico. A few of his largest installation pieces are showcased on exhibition in the yards and homes in and around Northern California and Southern New Mexico. His recently released 9 foot by 8 foot complex root art piece he calls “Ventricle” and his extraordinary 9 Foot Tall sculptured abstract tree trunk artistry sculpture called, “Bailey Canyon” and his other awesome piece called “Stark NM” can be found on exhibition at 2 private residences on McKinley Street in Alamogordo, New Mexico and are available for viewing. All are sold via his website ArtistReneSepulveda.com or at a discounted price when purchased in person and for pickup via the 2nd Life Boutique at Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo New Mexico.

To schedule a viewing in person and a discussion with the artist or for more information contact Mr. Sepulveda’s publicist coachedwards@2ndlifemedia.com or call 707.880.6238

New Mexico Olympic History: The 1950’s, Alamogordo High Schools First State Track & Field Title & New Mexico’s First Native Born Olympian Marvel

The 1950’s and Alamogordo’s First State Track & Field Title in New Mexico History

Photo on Blog and in original article posted to 2nd Life Media’s Alamogordo Town News courtesy of Coach Bob Sepulveda The Early Days Book Series and Archives. To see more photos of sports from the 50’s, 60s and 70s, visit 2ndlifemedia.com

The 1951/52 Track & Field Season was very historic for Southern New Mexico and for Alamogordo, with a state medal win from some very distinctive athletes.

The results of the State Competition winners include…

  • Bobby Lee, 1st Place, 100 Yard Dash, 9.8
    • Bobby Lee, 1st Place,220 Yard Dash, 21.21.6
    • Bobby Lee, 1st Place, Long Jump, 21’-01.375
    • Norman Kinder, 1st Place, Pole Vault, 10’-10.50”
    • Benny Garcia, 1st Place. Javelin, 193’-01.325

The Alamogordo Tigers Track and Field Team of 1951/52 smashed the competition at the state finals of that year.

They took and won the state competition with 48.5 points. Albuquerque High, the 1951 State Champion scored 21.5 points less for a 2nd place finish of 27 points.

  • Lee in addition to setting 2 state records personally scored 24 ¾ points. He broke the state records in the 100-yard dash by .2 seconds and the 220 by .8 seconds better than the record.
    • Lee was also 3rd Place in Shot Put
  • Benny Garcia shattered the state record in Javelin 11’ 3 ⅛” of 5 state records; the Tigers broke 3 of them.
  • Norman Kinder Placed 1st in Pole Vault with 10’-10.50”
  • Ed McAlpine, 2nd Place. in the state competition in Javelin behind Garcia.
  • Bobby Fritz, 3rd Place, Broad Jump
  • In the sprints in addition to the 1st Place wins of Bobby Lee, Oliver Lee, 4th Place 180 Low Hurdles.
  • The 880 Yard Relay Team consisting of Henderson, Fritz, O Lee and Bobby Lee placed with a 3rd place medal.
  •  Benny Garcia shattered the state record in Javelin 11’ 3 ⅛” of 5 state records; the Tigers broke 3 of them.
  • Norman Kinder, 1st Place, Pole Vault, 10’-10.50”

Coach Rolla Buck was incredibly pleased that year with his team having won both the state football title and the state track and field title. He said his boys; “overperformed and beat his expectations.”

 Coach Buck viewed Bobby Lee as “the best high school overall athlete the state of New Mexico had ever seen” to that point.

He also said that Garcia was the best Javelin player ever to come out of New Mexico’s high school system.

Two incredibly special athletes and their legacy is an honor to Alamogordo from that seasons track and field team of the early 1950s. Both athletes go down into the sports history of the United States, New Mexico and certainly of the Alamogordo community for their achievements.

Bobby Lee, after the amazing team results at Ysleta, (7 first place finishes out of 10 competitions) and winning the District Meet several athletes went to Albuquerque and competed at University Stadium in the State Competition. It was here that Bobby Lee set the state record on the 100 Yard Dash with a 9.8 which stood for 20 years and of course this strong team won Alamogordo’s first State Track and Field State Title.  

Bobby Lee also won the 220 Yard Dash and the Long Jump garnering enough points by himself to win the track meet for Alamogordo High School beating favored Highland High School which placed second.

In 1951 there was no class system in competitions, so all size schools and teams competed.

Bobby Lee kept his competitive spirit going as an adult and became a recognized political cartoonist and eventual New Mexico State Senator.

Coach Bob Sepulveda Alamogordo High Schools winningest Track and Field Coach in its 108 year history of the program  said of Bobby Lee; “Bobby Lee remained a strong supporter and advocate for the Alamogordo High School Track & Field Program as an adult. He attended many of the state meets. Bobby would come by and visit my student athletes in the 70’s and the 80’s for support of our team. He was a true leader on the field and as an adult for decades beyond.”

                                Also, of note from the 1951 competition was the amazing Javelin Talents of Benny Garcia with a distance of 193’-01.325.

The next year of 1952 brought Alamogordo High School Track & Field back to the winner’s circle with Benny Garcia winning for the second consecutive year in the Javelin competition.

  • Javelin Benny Garcia medalled with 186’-03.50”

Benny Garcia was an excellent Football kicker. He was on the B team. After some injuries and with the objection of his father concerned about him being injured, he became the primary starting kicker. Albert Romero sprained his ankle and Benny became the primary kicker after that. He had a reputation for making it between the goal posts when it mattered most.

Coach Buck saw Garcia’s talents and made concessions to ensure he was able to take part in the school athletic programs.

Benny would walk or run 6 miles home in the dark after practice to La Luz.

 At the request of Coach Rolla Buck, Superintendent Barnie arranged the use of a driver education vehicle for Benny to use so that he could take part in Sports.

The extra effort paid off for the High School and was life changing for Benny.

His real notoriety came from the Javelin throwing. He set the state record that stood from 1951 to 1966. That record got the attention of the Arizona State University Track and Field Coach that awarded him a full ride scholarship.

He is the only graduate of Alamogordo to make it to the Olympics taking part in the Melbourne Olympics in 1956. He was the first native-born New Mexico athlete to ever compete in the Olympics.

His name is displayed at the Tigers Hall of Fame, Arizona State Hall of Fame, Drake Relays Hall of Fame, and US Navy Hall of Fame.

At the 1956 Olympics he finished 8th place, disappointing Garcia but making his hometown exceptionally proud.

Garcia went on to live a phenomenally successful life as a high achieving Tiger Alumni and a respected businessman in Arizona.  He died in 2015.

Special Note on Alamogordo New Mexico:

Alamogordo High School and the region of Southern New Mexico has a rich history in sports and academic achievement. In the 1950’s and 60’s Alamogordo High School ranked in the top 10 High Schools for athletic and academic achievement in the United States. The region has a rich history in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It is home to the International Space Hall of Fame and is the testing ground for the latest in drone and military technology via Holloman Air Force Base and White Sands Missile Testing Grounds.

Today, Alamogordo is also the home to New Mexico State University, Alamogordo and is recognized for its pistachio farms, proximity to White Sands National Park and the Lincoln National Forest. As an oddity, Alamogordo is home to the largest Pistachio Sculpture in the World at the McGinn’s Pistachio Tree Ranch just outside Alamogordo.

For photos and more visit https://2ndlifemediaalamogordo.town.news/g/alamogordo-nm/n/27497/1950s-alamogordo-high-schools-first-state-track-field-title-new-mexicos

For the complete sports history of the founding of interscholastic sports to its impact on a small town check out Coach Bob Sepulveda The Early Days 1912 to 1976 on Amazon and fine independent book sellers such as Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue Alamogord, New Mexico and fine independent book sellers nationwide. Coach Bob Sepulveda The Golden Years 1977 to 1995 coming soon.

Positive Affirmation for 4/16/2021 Alamogordo Town News 90 Days to a Glass Half Full Lifestyle – Author Chris Edwards

As we remind our readers, podcast listeners and partners daily concerning our affirmations; a habit is “a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.” Habits become a lifestyle a “glass half full” mindset becomes a lifestyle and that leads to permanent results. Science and real-world experience tell us that it actually takes a minimum of 28 days to begin to form a habit, but on average its really between 60 to 90 days. For most of us 90 days is a much more effective and realistic timeframe to incorporate a new behavior into our life, thus 90 Days To A Glass Half Full Lifestyle.

Our Daily Action Steps Are To:

  • Commit to taking 5 minutes each morning as you begin your day to read the daily quote.
  • If you are moved or inspired by the quote; share it in an email, phone call, conversation, text, tweet or on your social media network or platform. When we share something, it becomes more real to us.
  • In your own words write in a journal how the quote or thought applies to you or your circumstances, today. If it doesn’t write on your page the first thing that comes into your mind after reading the quote.
  • The end of the day, prior to bed, take 5 more minutes for yourself. Re-read the quote again and write or think of how you applied or took an action today with a person, situation or referenced the daily quote in mind. Reflect on the day, was there any event in the day where your thinking was impacted differently because of the quote or the affirmation.
  • Let’s have fun with the system and commit.
  • Now, Let’s begin with today’s affirmation:

As we remind our readers, podcast listeners and partners daily concerning our affirmations; a habit is “a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.” Habits become a lifestyle a “glass half full” mindset becomes a lifestyle and that leads to permanent results. Science and real-world experience tell us that it actually takes a minimum of 28 days to begin to form a habit, but on average its really between 60 to 90 days. For most of us 90 days is a much more effective and realistic timeframe to incorporate a new behavior into our life, thus 90 Days To A Glass Half Full Lifestyle.

Our Daily Action Steps Are To:

  • Commit to taking 5 minutes each morning as you begin your day to read the daily quote.
  • If you are moved or inspired by the quote; share it in an email, phone call, conversation, text, tweet or on your social media network or platform. When we share something, it becomes more real to us.
  • In your own words write in a journal how the quote or thought applies to you or your circumstances, today. If it doesn’t write on your page the first thing that comes into your mind after reading the quote.
  • The end of the day, prior to bed, take 5 more minutes for yourself. Re-read the quote again and write or think of how you applied or took an action today with a person, situation or referenced the daily quote in mind. Reflect on the day, was there any event in the day where your thinking was impacted differently because of the quote or the affirmation.
  • Let’s have fun with the system and commit.
  • Now, Let’s begin with today’s affirmation:

“ I am unaffected by the judgement of others. I am strong, I have courage, I’m amazing.”

Beginning of Day: How’s the above quote apply to me or what comes to mind when reading the quote above?

End of day: Re-read the quote. Did I share the quote or apply any of its meaning into any part of my day? What issue or situation made me think of or refer to the quote above? Did it help me bridge a positive outcome or mindset?

We encourage you to write or journal your thoughts or reflections on todays quote.
“ I am unaffected  by the judgement of others. I am strong, I have courage,  I’m amazing.”

It’s your life, express yourself as your true and honest self and let’s work together for self improvement and a Glass Half Full mindset.

Author Chris Edwards lectures, has his podcast and writes. His book series 90 Days to a Glass Half Full Lifestyle is 3 part series that garnered much acclaim from many coming out of rehab and those coming out of incarceration and beginning anew. His other book series, book 1 Coach Bob Sepulveda The Early Days is an inspirational sport history of interscholastic sports in New Mexico. All of his books are found at fine independent book sellers such as Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo, New Mexico and available via Amazon in 36 countries.

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