Alamogordo is a unique community in that it is basically a town without a legitimate major news provider. Like many small rural communities, the local community stopped supporting the local paper, the paper struggled and was eventually acquired by a national media conglomerate. The result now the public complains, because there is no consistent local coverage and dedicated local reporting.
2nd Life Media saw that gap in coverage and felt the community of Alamogordo deserves local coverage. March of 2021 2nd Life Media Inc launched the AlamogordoTownNews.com site as an alternative to get local news, local sports coverage and local business and non-profit events covered and before the public realm. The week of launch the online publication had 20 readers and the focus was initially on downtown revitalization and sports coverage. Now we have over 6000 readers.
On March 21st, 2021, we published our first story announcing the launch of this new service we market at AlamogordoTownNews.com…
“Hello to Southern New Mexico. We love the history of the Alamogordo News but believe it is time that more local news coverage of sports, politics and small business comes to Alamogordo. So, in collaboration with the local community and in support of building Alamogordo into an art, entertainment, tourism capital of Southern New Mexico. We begin this journey together. If you have news stories you would like to see published, please email me at CoachEdwards@2ndLifeMedia.com. with story details, photos and more. Let’s work together to create a real local positive community newspaper. We look forward to working with our community together in positivity.”
Our first several stories announced the Marilyn Sepulveda Scholarship Fund encouraging applicants, a focus on New York Avenue small businesses and sports coverage. As Covid restrictions loosened up we began more focus and the arts and cultural initiatives within Alamogordo and the potential growth and investment by small business entrepreneurs. As elections and politics took center stage we covered highlights of municipal elections, interviewed candidates, and found ourselves digging deeper and asking more candidate questions then the traditional newspaper. All along the way our readership grew significantly.
While delving into the political antics of Couy Griffin, John Block, Karl Melton, and the machines that run the political leadership of Otero County we hit on the nerves and the comfort of some of the establishment.
We have been called a right-wing talking piece by those on the left and attacked harshly by Couy Griffin supporters and the Trumpian brigade on the right. Given we have been equally criticized by the old guard chairmen of both political parties, that reinforced to our board of advisors, we are on the right track of being fair, allowing for each party to be heard, and balanced, in that both sides staying equally critical of our coverage, as it does not favor either.
Our coverage can be critical, asks questions and looks beyond the walls of Otero County and Alamogordo at precedent. We seek advise and reach out to academia and other media sources to validate information, to seek history or background and to reach a perspective that extends beyond Alamogordo and Otero County.
Our favorite stories to run are on the personalities and business leaders that are carrying Alamogordo forward into prosperity and those with a vision or passion. Stories on COPE, published stories in Influence Magazine, ongoings of the Flickinger Center, Alamogordo MainStreet investment and people making a positive difference to our community are our favorite stories to create. Stories on STEM and Academic successes of high school students are always fun to create. Stories on sports success and highlights of high school sports successes always bring joy to our faces when writing them in partnership with other media partners.
We have a great working relationship with the local radio stations and deep partnerships that help us with news tips and getting information to the public with many nonprofits, those in the faith community and the resources of government.
AlamogordoTownNews.com believes we have made a positive impact with our commitment to get information out to the local community that is missing by the traditional new sources.
Is there room for improvement? Certainly, YES!
We operate on a shoestring budget, and we do the best we can with limited resources. We would we like to hire a team of reporters certainly. With the public support that may happen in the upcoming years. We’d love to launch a print edition, someday, but as media evolves print is devolving, so time and financing will determine if that is feasible in the future.
Running a local news publication can be tricky and can be dangerous in some people’s eyes.
When we exposed some of the political antics of Couy Griffin, we had a gentlemen come into our place of business wielding a gun, telling us that gun rights trump our right of free speech. We quickly reminded him amendment one, is that of free press, and we are not intimidated by a gun wielding lunatic. The pen is mightier than the sword in the end. An armed idiot in our place of business is met with like force.
When we ran stories counter to the propaganda of John Block and Karl Melton, again we hit home with facts that made them uncomfortable. Rather than respond in a mature matter of political rhetoric. they went on the offensive, and personally attacked the authors and the businesses owned by 2nd Life Media Inc. They then went on and tried to impede the right of the author to petition and vote, attempted to assassinate the reputation of the affiliated businesses and ownership, and may have violated laws around voter suppression and intimidation. Investigations will determine if rights were violated. A free press won’t be intimidated into silence by character assassination and tactics of intimidation.
A free press that is open to challenge those in authority ensures a free society. Amendment One is Intentional by our founding fathers.
“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.”
Political coverage appears to be the most controversial coverage we provide via AlamogordoTownNews.com.
While we prefer the more positive coverage of community events, business success, and sports sadly the political stories drive the most readers and engagement.
Just yesterday we were asked by a seated County Commissioner who filed a restraining order against a former commissioner to “not litigate this issue in the public realm” and “which side are you on?”
Our response is the same to this Democratic leader as it was to our Republican leaders. Our job is to keep the public informed on those issues or cases that are of interest to the public and in the public realm.
Elected leaders that take actions are in the public realm, and we will cover the story, if there is an interest to the public. We are not on any side of the issue. We ran stories on precedent in the courts to these types of actions by elected leaders and the public.
We seek to inform the public on precedent and on any situation that could potentially impact Amendment One or any of the founding principles of a free society.
2nd Life Media and AlamogordoTownNews.com has expanded with readership now in the thousands. We now partner with additional outlets such as its sister publication AlamogordoConservativeDaily.org which publishes stories of local interest on several different platforms and via a Newsbreak Newsletter.
We, of course operate on a shoestring budget. If you would like to support an independent citizen driven news source, we appreciate contributions to the primary news site.
The total advertising revenue for locally focused U.S. daily newspapers in 2020 was $1.07 billion, based on the Center’s analysis of financial statements for publicly traded newspaper companies. This is down 40% from 2019, much steeper than the 25% decline the overall newspaper industry experienced during the same time.
The United States has lost almost 1,800 papers since 2004, including more than 60 dailies and 1,700 weeklies. Roughly half of the remaining 7,112 in the country – 1,283 dailies and 5,829 weeklies – are in small and rural communities. The vast majority – around 5,500 – have a circulation of less than 15,000 consistent with our readership and that of the Alamogordo Daily News.
Vanishing Readers: Print readers are disappearing even faster than print newspapers, and the pace appears to be accelerating.
Over the past 15 years, total weekday circulation – which includes both dailies and weeklies – declined from 122 million to 73 million.
While more and more readers prefer to receive news online, this dramatic loss has been driven not only by changes in reader preference, but also by the business decisions of newspaper owners. The decrease in daily circulation comes primarily from the pullback of metro and regional newspapers from distribution to outlying rural and suburban areas. In contrast, much of the loss in weekly circulation since 2004 comes from the closure of more than 1,700 weeklies.
This decrease in print readers raises serious questions about the long-term financial sustainability of both small community and large metro newspapers.
Web hosting, marketing recruitment, posting time, research and creative all takes resources. Contributions help keep an alternative news and media source viable. We ask that you shop local with our local advertisers and sponsors and shop in our local storefronts on New York Avenue.
If you feel generous enough to directly contribute to our news enterprise, we will recognize you if you so desire as a special supporter of a free and independent press. Some donors prefer to remain quiet and discrete. We respect those sponsors and donors to the AlamogordoTownNews.com operations as well and their need for discretion. We keep in confidence our donors and supporters except those who give permission to use their support in public.
This holiday season from our family to yours, thank you for the support! We look forward to an interesting and even more engaging 2023. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family. May you have a blessed and prosperous New Year.
Rene Sepulveda, Chris Edwards and the staff and family of 2nd Life Media, AlamogordoTownNews.com and AlamogordoConservativeDaily.org and our podcasts, thank you!
When a public official files a restraining order for public comments is that a dangerous precedent to free speech?
The Otero County Commission the last several years has been the albatross of New Mexico in driving a media circus of controversy. Most of those controversies were driven by Couy Griffin while holding office of County Commissioner District 2, but the actions of the commission related to a variety of issues have raised questions and multiple court cases, a few of which have risen to the attention of the New Mexico Supreme Court and may eventually land on the docket of the US Supreme Court.
With the removal of Mr. Griffin from office, some thought civility and common sense would come back to the commission. The appointment of Stephanie DuBois by the Governor to fill Mr. Griffin’s position led to more controversy being so close to the general election.
The County Commission meeting of November 10th became a true circus of hostility and the meeting fell into disarray that again garnered national media attention to Otero County New Mexico and not in a positive light.
During that meeting, during public comments Couy Griffin went on a verbal rampage disparaging Ms. Dubois and attacking her role in the office she was appointed to calling her “an eight time looser.” Ms. Dubois felt she was verbally assaulted and not protected by the County Commission Chair nor the Sherrif is what she has stated in public comments.
Ms. Dubois told KOAT Action News; “I’m just fearful. I’m 77 years old. I don’t own a gun. I don’t have any way [to protect myself]. And for me, that thing in the room was frightening,”
According to a filing at the Otero County Courthouse, Couy Griffin is facing a restraining order from Stephanie Dubois. She’s the current county commissioner till December 31st via the appointment.
Dubois said she made the order after an incident that happened during a county commission meeting on Nov. 10. During the Thursday meeting, Griffin made a few comments towards Dubois during a public comment period. An argument then ensued between both parties, involving shouts and harsh words.
Dubois said she was terrified over what happened and still fears for her life. “I’m just fearful. I’m 77 years old,” she said. “It was very scary that nobody protected me.”
However, the verbal quarrel wasn’t the only incident that happened to Dubois. She claims she felt threatened the day the commission certified the election results when Couy was on horseback on the public street carrying a flag that said, “we the people.”
She told KOAT “Couy is on a horse, hiding behind a fire truck with a big flagpole that said, ‘We the people.’ All of a sudden, I see the flagpole moving and he comes down and puts himself between me and my car,” she said. After the two moments, the 77-year-old decided to file a restraining order, to ensure her safety and protection.
These statements to KOAT and statements she has given prior and then yesterday to radio personality Anthony Lucero of KALH radio raise questions as to the timing of events, were they as aggressive as perceived, or were they just an exercise of free speech?
Free speech can sometimes be intimidating when on the receiving end as a public servant. But unless an actual threat has been made it is hard to define what is meant as rhetoric and what is an actual threat to a public servant.
The restraining order was filed prior to the incident on horseback. There seems to be conflicting dialog and conflicting interpretations as to what occurred via the horseback incident.
Ms. Dubois did a post on November 12th that described the incident and then the description to Anthony Lucero at KALH and the description of that incident to KOAT television News seems to differ a bit.
To KALH she mentioned a deputy sheriff asked her where she was parked and agreed to walk her to her car. She then said during the interview with Mr. Lucero that “the deputy was present when Mr. Griffin appeared from behind a parked firetruck on horseback and on the public street. She claimed to Mr. Lucero in an interview yesterday that the deputy, “only went so far with me and I ended up going to the car by myself.“
Did Ms. Dubois feel intimidated, one could certainly see how she could feel intimidated by Mr. Griffin, but the question posed is was her safety at risk? It’s hard to imagine a deputy sheriff would have exposed Ms. Dubois to harm due to the personal liability and the liability to the department. Further based on experience with law enforcement in Otero County most are very responsible, professional and take their oath of office to ensure public safety seriously. I recently personally had an incident on the street with a gentleman that threatened me, the deputy at the courthouse was very protective of me and ensured my public safety from the threat. Based on my experience with the Otero County Sheriff’s Department and with the local Alamogordo Police Department it seems at odds that a sworn officer would allow Ms. Dubois to be at risk.
Even at the crazed County Commission meeting of November 10th, 2022, at 1:15.43 of the video one can witness Sherrif Black removing the microphone from Mr. Griffin and ordering the room vacated to calm the room. The Chairwoman ordered the room closed for 15 minutes for a cooling off period.
While the tone of the conversation was not “civil dialog” and was harsh and aggressive in tone, one is hard pressed to see a threat of harm to those seated on the commission dais.
Ms. Dubois via her filing for the restraining order claims, “I am an elderly woman who feels she has no protection from law enforcement.”
While her assertion that “Mr. Griffin shows a great deal of anger towards the party” she belongs is factual, the assertion that she feels she has no protection from law enforcement seems counter intuitive to the culture of law enforcement.
The filing of a restraining order is a serious action by a public official on a constituent.
The issue locally is such a hot potato that local judges recused themselves from presiding over the hearing scheduled for December 5th, 2022. The state Supreme Court appointed the Honorable Shannon Murdock to preside.
Judge Murdock has an interesting job in hearing this case. Not often does a public official file a restraining order on a member of the public due to public comments.
There is precedent in California for such a case…
Can a city restrict the conduct of a self-described civic-minded individual, with a history of flamboyant speech and dramatic behavior in his communications with the city, without running afoul of free speech rights?
In City of San Jose v. William Garbett, filed on November 24, 2010, the Sixth Appellate District Court of Appeal says yes, when the conduct meets the conditions for an injunction under Code of Civil Procedure section 527.8.
Section 527.8, also known as the Workplace Violence Safety Act, allows any employer to seek a temporary restraining order and injunction on behalf of an employee who “has suffered unlawful violence or a credible threat of violence from any individual” at the workplace. For purposes of the statute, a city is an “employer.” (Code Civ. Proc. § 527.8(d).) “Unlawful violence” is defined as “any assault or battery or stalking as prohibited in Section 646.9 of the Penal Code, …” (§ 527.8(b)(1).)
“Credible threat of violence” is defined as “a knowing and willful statement or course of conduct that would place a reasonable person in fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her immediate family, and that serves no legitimate purpose.” (§ 527.8(b)(2).)
To obtain an injunction, an employer must establish, by clear and convincing evidence, not only that the defendant engaged in unlawful conduct within the meaning of the statute, but also that great or irreparable harm would result to the employee if the injunction were not issued due to the reasonable probability unlawful violence will occur in the future. (Code Civ. Proc. § 527.8(f); Scripps Health v. Marin (1999) 72 Cal.App.4th 324, 335.)
Interestingly in the case it was not the elected or appointed individual seeking the restraining order but the city applying for the restraining order to protect its paid personnel. In the case of Ms. Dubois, she is paid by Otero County thus the county is the one that is tasked with workplace protection.
In Garbett, the City of San Jose sought 14 injunctions (and temporary restraining orders) on behalf of the city’s deputy city clerk, the mayor and city council. The city submitted evidence that the appellant, William Garbett, age 70, had a long history of grievances with the city going back many years, and that the appellant made a “credible threat of violence” toward a deputy city clerk, and other city employees under section 527.8(b)(2). In addition to evidence that the appellant regularly visited the city clerk’s office and attended city council meetings, expressed fanciful ideas, appeared agitated or angry or resentful toward the city, and had inappropriate verbal or physical outbursts, there was additional evidence that this antagonism escalated. Specifically, there was evidence that the appellant threatened a deputy city clerk by stating that his only recourse to change policy in San Jose was to act similar to that of one angry man in Kirkwood, Missouri, who a few months prior had shot and killed several people at Kirkwood City Hall. The deputy clerk, who understood the reference, reportedly felt threatened and feared for her safety and the safety of the mayor and city council. After she reported the event, the city searched the appellant when he attempted to enter council chambers and implemented extra monitoring procedures or security measures.
The trial judge granted the city’s initial requests for interim restraining orders. Following an evidentiary hearing – which included the testimony of several witnesses who had previous interactions with the appellant and two expert witnesses – the trial judge also issued 14 injunctions restricting the conduct of the appellant toward the deputy city clerk, mayor, and council.
Each injunction included orders requiring the appellant to stay 300 yards from the protected individuals and City Hall. The injunction also included specified exceptions which would allow appellant to attend public City Council. Those exceptions included requiring appellant to enter City Hall through a specified entrance, be subject to a search before entering the City Council chambers, sit in a specific row, use a particular stairway during meetings, and communicate with the City Clerk’s office by mail or proxy.
Appellant sought review of the injunctions contending, in part, that the orders restricting his conduct and movements violated his rights to free speech under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and the California Constitution and represented the city’s attempt to “curtail what amounts to annoying behavior.”
The Court of Appeal affirmed all 14 injunctions including the restrictions on the appellant’s movements. The Court disagreed with the appellant’s First Amendment arguments, relying on California Supreme Court precedent establishing the right of the state to penalize willful threats to perform illegal acts, even those consisting of pure speech. In re M.S. (1995) 10 Cal.4th 698, 710.) The Court also found substantial evidence to support the court’s factual findings on the requisite elements of section 527.8, namely that the appellant had expressed a credible threat of violence toward city employees that was not constitutionally protected speech; that this conduct caused the city employees to experience fear; and a likelihood of future harm.
When the appellant protested that he did not intend to threaten anyone, the Court dismissed this argument, concluding that the defendant’s subjective intent is not required for the conduct to be deemed a credible threat under the current definition found in section 527.8(b)(2).
Appellant further challenged the injunctions on overbreadth grounds, taking issue with the limitations on his access to the City Hall building and his movements within the council chambers. The Court nevertheless upheld these restrictions, deferring to the trial judge’s view of the evidence and factual findings on the requisite elements of section 527.8, and the lower court’s considerable discretion to fashion orders aimed at preventing harm of the nature suggested by the threats.
The Garbett case establishes good law for public entities which seek to curtail repeat offenders or conduct that escalates or develops into what has been classified as more than merely annoying or unprotected speech.
The question in the case of Ms. Dubois verses Couy Griffin, does this case escalate to the level that requires such action? Did Ms. Dubois ask the County Attorney for assistance and protection?
Based on court precedent should the county be filing on behalf of Ms. Dubois or is she correct in filing a restraining order on her own?
As usual, this will be another interesting case that will draw much attention of the media both locally and on the national level. The judge in the case is in a no-win position, as whatever the outcome, there will be an outcry of criticism. Depending upon the ruling, this is yet another case, that could end up in appeal and continue to drive negative headlines to Otero County New Mexico.
Sadly, this again is another black eye to the reputation of Otero County and Alamogordo and does not show the best and the brightest of the region. This is another incident that makes the region look like the wild west verses an area of sophistication and a place that is conducive as a good business environment.
When a public official files a restraining order for public comments is that a dangerous precedent to free speech?
Based upon the case outlined above the answer is complicated at best, as the erratic individual was able to continue in his quest of expression but was required to comply with additional security measures to ensure the safety of public servants.
Otero County politics is always entertaining as we have said before. In the new year may we get past entertainment and move to a zone of civility and good governance for the good of the public.
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The traditions of the Alamogordo local small business community members of the historic New York Avenue Business, History and Cultural Arts District continues with First Friday, Downtown Nights on Friday December 2nd, 4 pm to 8 pm and then the annual Christmas on MainStreet this Saturday, December 3rd from 4 pm to 9 pm.
Claudia Loya, president of Alamogordo MainStreet explained to the AlamogordoTownNews.com staff that this event is typically the largest signature event for the Alamogordo MainStreet Merchants to showcase their best for the holiday season. “This year will be the biggest and best in many years. Last year we were just coming out of the pandemic and the event was restrained. For 2022 we have all the street involved in creating a truly memorable event. The theme is Christmas in Candyland, and all of the stores are getting decked out into the theme. This is the biggest signature event for Alamogordo MainStreet. We thank the many sponsors who help make this event possible.”
The radio stations of 94.3 FM 94Key, Cool FM 107.9 and Country KZZX invite you to call in and win $25 dollar gift cards or MainStreet Bucks sponsored by your favorite shops on New York Avenue to include Mia’s Collectibles, The Local Bodega, Elite Memories Boutique, Victoria Alamogordo, Globug, Roadrunner Emporium, Good News Thrift Store, Pins and Needles, Rad Studios, Kaias Fitness Studio, Monicakes, Flickinger Center for the Performing Arts, and Capped.
Friday night also hosts events leading up to Saturday’s big street party and merchant event which is the monthly New York Avenue First Friday Downtown Nights. Friday night volunteers will begin transforming New York Avenue but most merchants will be open till 8 pm with Rocket City Gaming Lounge open past midnight.
Downtown Nights Friday December 2nd is the monthly showcase of New York Avenue with Roadrunner Emporium hosting live music from the sensational Sage Gentlewing, Friday shoppers can enjoy live music while shopping to add even more fun to kicking off a New York Avenue weekend.
Saturday evening December 3rd then begins the big day with a transformation of New York Avenue into Christmas in Candyland. There will be a Santa’s Village, Live Nativity Scene, Holiday Hayrides, Shopping, Food Trucks, A car show, Photos with Santa, Photos with the Grinch, Music, Dancing and more.
The events begin at 4 pm but the shops of New York Avenue are open at 10 am for all shoppers to shop early as well as all are open late till 9 or 10 pm Saturday. At the 800 and 900 Blocks of New York Avenue the events begin at 4 pm with a Little Miss and Mister Christmas Pageant, Santa Arrives at 5 pm, the Saint Francis Cabrini Choir performs ay 5:15 to 5:45, 5:45 to 6:15 is the Ugly Sweater Contest, Most Creative Contest, and the Pet Costume Contest, 6:15 to 7:00 pm the St Francis De Paula Folkloric Dancers will perform, 7:00 to 7:30 the Children’s Theater of Alamogordo & Friends perform, 7:30 to 8:15 Bells of Grace perform, at 8:15 to 8:45 Hannah Peterson performs.
On the Flickinger side of New York Avenue at the 1100 Block of New York Avenue events include Dorso Dirtbags leading events 5:30 to 8:30 and dispersed in between is Ballerinas De La Immaculada Maria at 6:00 to 6:30, 8:30 to 9:00 pm the dancing sensations of Anala Nahada, the live Nativity Scene will be ongoing, a car show hosted by Immaculate Cars Car Club in front of the Courthouse, photos with the Grinch on the Flickinger Stage and more.
Alice Weinman of Victoria Alamogordo welcomes the public to visit her store decorated as a Christmas Wonderland and to remember the meaning of Christmas, so go and enjoy the huge live Nativity Scene that will be hosted besides the Sands Theater.
Pins and Needles will be hosting a 15% off special pricing on select fabrics and accessories. Each store on New York Avenue will be in the spirit and décor of Christmas.
Be sure to drop by Mia’s Collectibles at the 800 Block of New York Avenue and see the awesome Christmas Tress and special offerings that are unique and highly collectible. Did you know that Globug has eatable geodes and more?
Roadrunner Emporium will have artisans on site to answer questions about the creative process. Alamogordo’s most unique collection of small business entrepreneurs and artisans will be showcasing their best this Friday for Downtown Nights and Saturday for Christmas on MainStreet.
There will be many street vendors and so much going on this awesome holiday weekend. This is the perfect event to get inspired by the holiday cheer, see people in special holiday costumes, shop local and support small business, and see the best and the coolest of the New York Avenue business and cultural arts community in full holiday cheer.
Don’t miss out on this biggest and best holiday festival in Southern New Mexico, Christmas on MainStreet – Alamogordo’s New York Avenue, Saturday December 3rd, 2022, 4 pm to 9 pm. Put on your best holiday cheer and we will see you there!
It’s said that individuals go through various phases or stages of life and are different people at various periods of one’s life. The life of my mother, Stella M Edwards, would be just such a life.
The person I knew and grew up with was a much different mother than the one my middle brother, Michael, who is 9 years younger than me experienced. Then again, my youngest brother, Steven, is 18 years younger than me, thus the mother he knows and experienced, was a totally different woman, than the mother that my middle brother or I had. When one is put into the position of reflection and one writes of the memories of someone’s life or an obituary, the perspectives, viewpoints, and sense of who that person is will not always jive, with the memories or perspectives of another person’s recollections of that same person.
My mother, like many mothers could be considered a complicated anomaly. She like her mother before her had secrets. Mom like my grandmother sometimes would spill pieces of family secrets to their grandkids, but never, the story in whole. As such, much like my grandmother Maynard before her, there are family stories and gaps in our heritage that are secrets carried to the grave. The intention of those secrets was never malice but was to protect her me and her other children. Was she protecting us from perceived scandal, from hurt feelings, from feelings of inadequacy? Was the carrying of secrets meant to avoid conversations or questions that could be uncomfortable? When secrets fall to the grave do they die? Time always brings questions, and the wisdom of time brings about answers.
Mom over the years battled with depression and that depression caused health issues. Later in life those health issues were complicated by weight issues. Those weight and health concerns I’m convinced were a result of the demons of depression she covered up and never fully addressed throughout her life. Mom was an avid reader and had read enough books to fill a public library from a lifetime of reading. The invention of kindle probably saved a forest of trees in the books that she would have purchased and read in the later years of her life. Mom loved a good mystery from the complete works of Agatha Christie to the wonders of Stephen King. Mom loved more classical styles like O’ Henry and published poetry of her own winning several regional awards around South Carolina.
Mom in her younger years was athletic and would challenge my dad to many games of back yard badminton, swimming, bowling and loved to play card games and Scrabble. Every time I would come home, I could count on a good and very competitive game of Scrabble with mom, dad and myself competitive for the title.
Tuesday 11/2/22, Stella Maynard Edwards, age 74, wife of John Melvin Edwards, 423 Indian Trails, Taylors (Greenville) South Carolina passed away peacefully in her home, after battling a stroke with son Steven Edwards at her side. Stella is survived by her husband, John M. Edwards; sons: Christopher Edwards (Rene), Michael Edwards (Cheryl), and Steven Edwards (Ashley); grandchildren: Christy Anderson (Quintin), Alicia Raines, Lori Edwards, Charles Edwards, Alaina Stewart, and Joshua Edwards; great-grandchildren, Mariah Gray and Tristan Anderson; sister, Judy Maynard; niece, Katie Grant (Chris); and beloved pets: Buddy, Minnie, and Penny. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her brothers Jackie L. Maynard and John Robinson, sisters Joyce Ann Maynard and Janet Clayton; and fur baby, Sadie.
Stella Edwards was born and raised in Shawneetown, Illinois, where she was a cheerleader and active in the community during her high school years. She married John M Edwards of Cave-N-Rock, Illinois and traveled the country, living in multiple states in support of her husband’s career in retail for Woolworth, TG&Y and AutoZone.
Stella was passionate about education and community service. Mom took us to every museum possible and we spent many hours at the Field Museum in Chicago and the Smithsonian in DC. She was an avid supporter of being involved in her children’s education. She judged multiple high school and collegiate level speech and debate classes for her elder son, Chris. She homeschooled her youngest son, Steven who outperformed the educational system of South Carolina. Through volunteer service in her younger years, she instilled that passion of service to her children. Stella served as a community volunteer and chaired several activities and non-profit events in Florence, Alabama and in Clarksville, Tennessee. Events she led for charity included the local Mothers March of Dimes Walk, Danny Thomas St Jude Hospital Bike-a-thon, A Walk-a-thon for Childhood Leukemia and sponsored phone teams to assist with the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon.
She became interested in the medicine because of her volunteering work with the various health related charities. Her visits to St Jude’s Hospital made a lifetime impact upon her and her volunteer service through her sorority, at a women’s clinic, operated by Planned Parenthood, that assisted with health screenings and Pap Smears in Florence Alabama was impactful on her ultimate career choice.
In her younger years she would have been deemed a progressive; a woman that demanded women’s rights and pay equity, had no tolerance for racial discrimination and supported marriage equality for the LBGTQ community, she supported President Carter and New Deal policies. In her later years she drifted more conservative becoming disillusioned with the political process. She leaned toward Trump’s shake it up and break it up philosophies due to frustration with public health policies in the US. She could never embrace the health plans of Hillary Clinton or Obama but respected their passion though she traveled to the beat of a different path. Mom was never terribly religious but felt a connection with a spirit beyond this place and time.
Stella and John Edwards had three boys as children: the eldest, Chris Edwards, middle, Michael Edwards and youngest, Steven Edwards. Stella went back to the university system later in life and attended during the same years her son, Chris was attending to his higher education and beginning a career, all the while having her third son Steven late in life and while seeking a secondary degree.
Stella was a graduate of Austin Peay State University, in Clarksville Tennessee ascertaining her nursing degree. She practiced medicine for several decades, beginning her career at the Clarksville Regional Medical Center and ultimately at Mary Black Medical Center in Spartanburg, South Carolina as head nurse. Her responsibilities included oversight of the critical care nursery. Her passion was such that many premature babies would spend months in the nursery, she produced a video diary for hundreds of patients, ensuring the mothers and fathers, didn’t miss a day of the baby’s growth from an at-risk birth to check-out as a functioning healthy infant.
After retirement mom and dad, refurbished their home together one room at a time. From there they traveled the country and drove thousands of miles exploring route 66 and every stop on the way. They traveled to California, and we have fond memories of viewing the salmon spawning near Tahoe to sharing experiences of the wine country, the missions of California and San Francisco. Mom met and engaged with my friends without judgement over the decades. Through my ups and downs, even with distance between us I could count on her and my dad’s support. At times I’d be frustrated by questions and what I felt were intrusions but in retrospect I know that her intentions were meant as support.
The mom of the last few decades was not the mom I grew up with, by no fault of either of us, the fault was distance and time. The trips to the mall, Books-a-Million, museums and battlefields, late night movies, card games of rummy or Scrabble with her and my aunt, the history we experience together is a far-off memory. Those memories are to be cherished and I would not trade them for the world. For the times you were there, and I ignored you, our years of silence, and the reunification, the ups and the downs thanks for the patience and the love. Time, distance, personal relationships, and ones chosen and immediate family in real life, takes precedent. Should we regret that, no, what we do is cherish the relationships of our chosen family but thank our birth family for the foundation they provided us. I am the person I am today because of the foundation I received. The good came from the guidance, care and love of my mother and father. The bad and errors in judgement I have made in life, I own those mistakes, they are no reflection of the family foundation of love and mutual respect I had as a youngster.
The gaps of my absence by distance were filled over the years with the love and constant companionship of my father, who was there for so many decades, through to the end. Together they always enjoyed their grandchildren. Charlie (Nathan), their eldest grandson who they helped provide homecare for in his most formative early years, to the many others, each always brought mom a smile and much joy. Her niece Katie Hill was the “daughter to her that she never had.” Her Granddaughter Lori she spoke of often, proud that she was also going into the medical field and following her grandmothers’ footsteps of care.
Mom, Stella Edwards, you are gone physically to that next plain of existence, but you will forever live in my heart and the hearts of those that knew you. May you find peace happiness in the next life that you sought in this life.
New Mexico joined the Union in January 1912. It has participated in 28 presidential elections through 2020, alternating some extended periods of support for Democratic and Republican candidates. Democrats have now won 7 of the last 8 elections, including Joe Biden’s 54% to 44% win over Donald Trump in 2020.
Locally in Alamogordo, Otero County, New Mexico
In Otero County, it appears the Republican stronghold is strong and in place and most races are a given to swing to the Republican candidate with ease.
However, there are three races of interest this mid-term election that could be seen as competitive for a variety of reasons.
The position of magistrate judge in Otero County is typically a snooze as to what to expect of an outcome. However, this midterm election for magistrate Division One and Magistrate Division Two there are interesting dynamics at play.
The position of magistrate is one that does NOT require a law degree, and candidates typically, are individuals well embedded in the local political party system.
The position of magistrate in Otero County has historically been made up of candidates that come from the “political machine” and as such, the position has been riddled with controversy, the last several years with political games alleged locally and via former Governor Martinez…
Most recently Otero County Magistrate Judge Steve Guthrie agreed to resign the Division I seat April 25, 2022, ending further disciplinary proceedings related to a judicial inquiry by the New Mexico Supreme Court which began in 2021. Guthrie’s resignation became effective April 25, according to New Mexico Supreme Court documents when the court granted a petition for permanent resignation “in lieu of further disciplinary proceedings.“
In September 2021 the Judicial Standards Commission asked the court to open a disciplinary inquiry related to a slew of alleged misconducts by Guthrie. The Commission had conducted its own inquiry into the allegations beginning in January 2021. Among the allegations were improper sentences and incarceration for defendants, improper bail issuance, failure to complete required paperwork, engaging in judicial activities without proper jurisdiction, judicial misconduct and violation of a defendant’s right to due process.
Guthrie was censured prior to that incident in 2019 by the New Mexico Supreme Court for misconduct related to a spat he had with a neighbor.
Otero County Magistrate Judge Scott Newton officially resigned from the bench and withdrew his candidacy for 12th Judicial District judge. Newton said he was tired of the politics being played at the local and state level because of him taking a leave of absence due to a medical issue. Newton said he was not going to have his good name destroyed or put his family through it. “They’re attempting to use this legal absence that I took for a basis that I am unfit to do my job,” he said to the Alamogordo Daily News in 2017 “It’s a total lie. There’s nothing wrong with me. I do have my own personal health issues to deal with, but it’s not an issue in terms of being a judge. It’s just somebody wants to make it an issue. I am not going to stick my neck out there and get it chopped off. It’s just not worth it. Especially with the medical issues that I’ve been dealing with, I don’t have the energy or stamina to fight that fight or put my family through that fight.”
Newton was elected to the Magistrate Court Division I judge’s seat in 2010 after Judge Richard Stokely retired from the bench.
Otero County Magistrate Court Judge Gene C. Galassini hung his robe up in April 2016 also under a cloud of criticism.
Per the Alamogordo Daily News at the time, “Galassini, 59, decided to resign or in his case retire from the bench because of health reason but more importantly to spend time with his three grandchildren. He and his wife, Rocky, also just celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary,” at the time of his resignation.
“It’s the stressful nature of the job,” Galassini said. “I’ve got three grand babies plus one on the way. It’s just time to start spending some time with them.”
He was first elected Magistrate Court judge in 2006 then took the bench in January 2007 after 23 years of being an officer with the New Mexico State Police in Las Cruces, Roswell and Alamogordo. Galassini retired as a lieutenant from State Police District 8 in Alamogordo.”
However, records with the State Supreme County show that the resignation may of had more to the story; then stress and health issues.
The New Mexico State Supreme Court granted the State Ethics Commission’s Petition to Accept Stipulation in Light of Permanent Resignation from Judicial Office concerning Otero County Magistrate Judge Gene C. Galassini, Supreme Court Case No. S-1-SC-35791, JSC Inquiry No. 2015-074. “The Supreme Court order made Judge Galassini’s retirement permanent effective 02/29/16, forever barred him from holding judicial office in New Mexico, and unsealed the Supreme Court’s file in the matter.
A link to the Supreme Court File and Mr. Galacini’s resignation letter is below:
Mr. Galassini was hired in 2021 to serve Congressional Representative Yvette Herrell as her law enforcement liaison and has been paid a salary and other compensation since appointment of $34,833.33 as a member of staff.
The 2022 Mid Term Otero County Magistrate Matchup:
Magistrate Judge Division One has turned into a very competitive race with the Reverend Warren Robison competing against John R Seacrest III, both candidates have deep roots in Otero County, both have professional, volunteer and business experience and both have campaigned with professionalism, dignity and mutual respect with no negativity in their race for office.
Reverend Warren Robinson Experience: “Reverend Robinson has 20 years of teaching, counseling and community service in Alamogordo to include 3 years’ experience with Juvenile Justice Board helping youth with reconciliation for criminal offenses, a wide range of local board experience with non-profit service organizations, Chaplain for both Alamogordo City Police and the Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center, knowledge of the community business leaders and deeply involved in local history and historical preservation” according to his responses to the League of Womens Voters.
John R Secrest III Experience: “What I bring to the courtroom is real life experience and vast knowledge. I am an entrepreneur/small business owner since age 18 with 21 years in Landlord/tenant rights, business contracts, and well versed in DWI/DUI laws. I have also been a plaintiff on several appearances in Mag. Court. To further prepare, I have been mentoring with previous Mag. Judges as well as studying the NM Criminal/Traffic Law manual and NM Constitution. I am a constitutionalist, from the people for the people’s court. I live with unwavering morals, integrity, and honesty. I am UNBIASED and fair.” according to his responses to the League of Womens Voters
The League of Womens Voters asked both candidate what they would do about the backlog within the Magistrate System? Their response was…
Reverend Warren Robinson: “Once within the system I’ll be thoughtful in listening to staff and reviewing the existing processes, then use my experience interfacing with multiple constituencies to influence process changes to end any backlog.”
John R Secrest III: “It is my understanding that Otero County Magistrate Court does NOT have much of a back log. If there is a back log it is primarily due to covid restrictions impeding the court’s ability to operate per usual and in that instance, I would say more cases will need to be handled telephonically. There is always room for improvement.”
Both candidates demonstrate a passion for community and a sense of ethics that the magistrate’s office needs to rebuild its reputation in Otero County.
Magistrate Division 2
The race is between well-known Alamogordo MainStreet and arts advocate and realtor, Claudia Powell, verses Michal Ryan Suggs, the incumbent who was appointed to the Division II Magistrate Judge’s seat Feb. 20, 2018, by Gov. Susana Martinez after Judge James Scot Newton resigned from the bench.
Claudia Powell’s Experience per her website:” Claudia Powell has been part of this community working tirelessly as a relator since 1986 serving our military with impeccable service since 1986. Mrs. Powell has received the Military Relocation Specialist designation from the National Association of Realtors, Past President Alamogordo MainStreet, Director of the Tularosa Basin Historic Society, Otero County Habitat for Humanity, Past President Otero United Way and Past Director of the Flickinger Center for the Performing Arts.“
Michal Ryan Suggs Experience per the League of Women’s Voters: “Juris Doctor- Master’s degree in criminal justice from New Mexico State University, a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, 21 years law enforcement experience, 6 years adjunct professor of criminal justice and 4 years incumbent as Otero County Magistrate.”
When asked what they would do about the backlog within the Magistrate System?
Claudia Powell: “My understanding is the backlog that was created during the Covid-19 crises is now cleared. However, if I were on the bench, I would work with the staff, within the legally bound confines, utilizing my years of collaboration and partnership skills to ensure we did all within our means locally to ease any backlog.”
Michal Ryan Suggs Experience per the League of Women’s Voters: “I can proudly say, there is no backlog of court cases in Otero County Magistrate Court. The court continued to operate throughout Covid. All of the Judges in the 12th Judicial District work tirelessly to serve the people. Whatever adjustments were needed to the docket to ensure timely access to justice were and continue to be made. Under my leadership as Presiding Judge, the speedy and fair resolution of cases has been and always will be a priority of the Otero County Magistrate Court. Our rights deserve this level of experience, knowledge, and continued commitment.”
The other race that has proven, interesting, is the race for Otero County Commissioner District Two, formerly occupied by the controversial Couy Griffin. The two candidates to win the primaries are Amy Barela on the Republican side, verses Stephanie Dubois, on the Democratic side. Both candidates won a contested primary.
The race was considered initially an easy win for Amy Barela given the district leans heavily Red and heavily conservative. However, politics, judicial rulings and an appointment by the Governor of Ms. Dubois into the seat of which Couy Griffin was removed by judicial order has created many interesting dynamics into the race.
Political scientist and pollsters watching the district competition believed it an easy win for Ms. Barella. Speculation was that there would be a backlash, due to the judicial removal of Couy Griffin, thus a wave of Republican voters activated and to the polls.
Ms. Barella has easily outraised, outspent and outpaced Ms. Dubois in advertising, door knocking and overall visibility.
Ms. Dubois on the other hand, received an appointment to the vacant position by the Governor with swearing in to occur on 10/28/22.
Ms. Dubois has been much more visible in the recent weeks and attended several events with the Congressional Democratic Candidate and others. Yesterday in Tularosa, a Get Out the Vote event was sponsored by Ms. Dubois, and Independent Candidate Elaine Allen seeking the position for District 56 State Representative was also present.
The campaign within Tularosa has become very competitive with some rumors of foul play, but thus far the campaign has been, overall civil.
Ms. Dubois appointment by the Governor, received a respectful response by Ms. Barella. However, the response to the appointment by the Republican Party and by the Candidate for State Representative District 51, was aggressive in tone, and filled with negatives that did not benefit candidate Barela, who has shown a level of respect and decorum during the race.
Several independents and moderate Republicans questioned, said they were leaning toward Ms. Barela but after the Republican Party response, and that of the candidate for District 51, they “opted for Ms. Dubois.” One cited, “I’ve had enough hate from that office, Couy was an embarrassment and brought nothing but trouble to Otero County, the vigor of hate that was espoused by the Party response made me decide to break the party line and vote for Ms. Dubois,” a respected and well-known Republican that asked that his name not be used said he really likes Amy but “maybe it’s time to shake things up on the commission, and end the rubber stamping of the Steve Pierce mandates, the county budget is a mess, obviously what we have in place is not working.”
Will there be a backlash from the Republican Party response to the appointment of Ms. Dubois, will Ms. Dubois be able to elicit enough moderate Republicans, motivated Democrats and Independents to the polls to carry her over to remain in the district 2 seat? Will the curse of mid-terms and the economy play into the results of the local elections? We will know in about 2 weeks.
The mid-term elections in most states are traditionally, a completely different animal and can lead to all kinds of unexpected results. The mid-term election of 2018 was the year of the woman.
2018, women candidate had broken the records for the number of candidates for governor, U.S. House and U.S. Senate. The U.S. House of Representatives elected a record number of women, with at least 90 women expected to make their way to Washington, D.C. in January.
In 2018 Deb Haaland of New Mexico broke the barrier and became one of the first Native American Women elected to congress. Democrat Deb Haaland, the former chairwoman of New Mexico’s Democratic Party, won New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District in the 2018 midterms.
Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe, became one of the first Native American women elected to Congress alongside Democrat Sharice Davids, who won Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District. Two Native American men — both Republicans — served in the U.S. House of Representatives prior to 2018.
Expectations for this mid-term election…
It’s true that the polls have shifted somewhat toward Republicans in certain key races. On September 15, FiveThirtyEight’s forecast gave Democrats a 71 percent chance of holding the Senate, as of midday Wednesday, that number is 61 percent. In other cases, forecasts haven’t changed much: FiveThirtyEight has the GOP’s House takeover chances still above 70 percent. And there have been some contrary indicators, with surprisingly good poll results for Democrats in redder states like Iowa and Oklahoma.
Yet what amounts to a relatively minor poll shift has been greeted with a sense of impending Democratic doom, for reasons mostly unrelated to the polls themselves. The bad economic news, the historical trend of the president’s party performing poorly in midterms, and the tendency of polls to understate Republicans in certain key cycles (especially Senate races) can all be read to suggest that the smart money is on the GOP to do well.
This underlying assumption that Republicans should be the favorites and will end up the favorites means that small poll shifts in the GOP’s favor get interpreted as devastating for Democrats. And that assumption could well be correct — there are good reasons to believe it. Alternatively, it remains possible the polls are basically on target, or that election night results could deliver a surprise in the other direction.
Democrats remain the favorites in the battle for the Senate, according to FiveThirtyEight, but their advantage has shrunk in the past month. When you look under the hood of FiveThirtyEight’s model to see why, it mostly comes down to shifts in four contests:
In Nevada, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) dropped from a 61 percent favorite to a 49 percent slight underdog.
In Pennsylvania, the chances of John Fetterman (D) winning dropped from 83 percent to 68 percent.
Meanwhile, the chances of challengers Mandela Barnes in Wisconsin and Cheri Beasley in North Carolina winning each dropped from about 40 percent to 27 percent.
Other Democratic candidates, like Sens. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and Raphael Warnock (D-GA), haven’t seen similar drops in the past month. Kelly is a 78 percent favorite to win, and Warnock is a 57 percent favorite. In Ohio, Tim Ryan remains a 28 percent underdog.
With the Senate split 50-50, the basic math is that so long as Fetterman picks up that GOP seat in Pennsylvania, Democrats can afford to lose one seat of their own. So, they could lose Cortez Masto or Warnock, but not both. And if Fetterman loses (and no other Democrats campaigning for GOP-held seats win), even losing one Democratic incumbent would flip the chamber.
Georgia, Nevada, and Pennsylvania look like the most important states in determining Senate control. But there’s a problem. Only one of those contests — Georgia — has been frequently polled of late. And it’s unclear how useful those polls are, since if neither candidate tops 50 percent of the vote next month, Warnock and Herschel Walker will just head to a runoff in December.
Public polling in the other two key states has been sparse. In Nevada, we’ve gotten only two public polls conducted in October — one showing Cortez Masto up 2, and one showing her trailing by 2 among likely voters. Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, the two public polls have both shown Fetterman up just 2. One of those polls is from the Trafalgar Group, while another is a joint effort from one Republican firm and one Democratic firm.
Since Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s sweeping four-term presidency, every president has fallen victim to the “midterm curse.”
The “curse” is considered political shorthand at this point—the opposition party to the incumbent leader will wrest control of the House of Representatives or the Senate from the leadership. In fact, the sitting presidential party has lost seats in the House in every single midterm election since FDR’s first term, save for three: FDR himself in 1934, Bill Clinton in 1998 during his second term in office, and George W. Bush in 2002 fresh off a hotly contested victory in the 2000 general election. In each of these instances, the presidents had remarkably high approval ratings—around 70%—often due to historic moments that offered an opportunity for landmark leadership, such as FDR’s New Deal, Clinton’s federal budget surplus, and Bush’s handling of the aftermath of 9/11.
There are a variety of explanations as to why parties often face defeat in the midterms after sweeping the floor in the presidential election. Voter apathy and presidential approval ratings play a large part, but voters are not the only ones who sway the outcome of elections. Midterm elections are susceptible to impacts from the re-drawing of districts and gerrymandering that may occur after a presidential election and can work to disenfranchise a party’s voting block. This is not a phenomenon isolated to the U.S., either: The parties of political leaders across the globe tend to strengthen early in a presidential term before diminishing later.
The President’s party has only gained seats in the House three times since 1934
The incumbent party lost control of either the House or the House and Senate six times since 1934. Only three presidents—FDR, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush—gained seats in the House of Representatives for their parties at midterms.
In FDR’s case, this was thanks to his swift decisions steering the country out of the Great Depression, including the New Deal and various economic relief measures. Clinton’s second term in office marked the first Democratic president to gain a second term since FDR. Though his popularity was beginning to falter due to emerging personal scandals—including the Monica Lewinsky situation, which saw Clinton face impeachment for lying to Congress—it hadn’t yet hit the low that would follow. Bush’s midterms were a narrow race to win an easily swayed power balance, marked by gerrymandering and expensive campaigns that ultimately favored the incumbent party.
The Senate has faired similarly
Statewide Senate races are not impacted by redistricting but still often suffer the same outcome for the president’s party. For most of the 20th century, Senate races were often won by the opposite party than the state in question had gone for in the presidential race. In 1986, for instance, the “mismatch rate” of U.S. Senate races was around 59%, meaning over half of states voted into office senators of the opposite party than they had voted for president most recently. This has waned in intensity recently—particularly during Obama’s presidency—but still generally held. However, the 2022 election cycle may mark a departure from this tradition, with only 4% of registered voters claiming they planned to vote for a senator from a different party than they had endorsed for president.
Presidential approval rating is often the clearest predictor of seat changes
Midterm elections tend to be considered referenda on the party in power. As a result, the electability of Congressional members is increasingly tied to the public’s attitude toward the president. Swing seats have consistently gone to the nonincumbent party when public approval of the current president is low, and the inverse when the public believes their administration is doing well.
Since FDR’s presidency, presidents with a low public approval rating have lost an average of 37 congressional seats during midterms. Only two presidents—Bill Clinton and George W. Bush—have had a public approval rating above 60% during midterm elections; consequently, they have been the only two presidents in recent history to avoid the “midterm curse.”
Voters may be motivated more to turnout when their party is not in power
Voters generally turn out in lower numbers for midterms than for presidential elections. In the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections, respectively, only 4 in 10 eligible voters turned up to the polls, whereas 6 in 10 voted in the 2016 general election. However, the drive to overturn the actions of an unfavorable president can be a powerful antidote to voting apathy. A good example of this was the 2018 midterms, in which, according to an analysis by Catalist, “young voters and voters of color, particularly Latinx voters, were a substantially larger share of the electorate than in past midterms.” These voters were majority Democrats, voting in opposition to the Republican incumbent, Donald Trump. That year, midterm surge voting leaped up, and it was “clear that both mobilization and persuasion were critically important in producing this scale of victory for Democrats.”
What does this mean for 2022?
In sum, the 2022 midterms will likely follow the patterns laid out here. All seats in the House of Representatives are up for the taking and a third of those in the Senate. President Joe Biden’s approval rating—40% as of Oct. 20—is on the lower end of historical midterm rates for an incumbent president, suggesting that, if historic precedent holds, Republicans will gain seats on Nov. 8. However, some factors may exert outside influence on the midterm results.
The Democratic Party has been experiencing the same mobilization that spurred a midterm surge during Trump’s presidency, this time regarding issues such as abortion rights and inflation. Voters in Kansas recently turned up in record numbers to vote down measures that would restrict abortion access; elsewhere in the country, local and state legislatures have taken up steps and earmarked funds protecting the right to choose in repudiation of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.
New Mexico Economic Development Department announces $1.9 Million grant to New York Avenue…
Alamogordo MainStreet, in partnership with the City of Alamogordo and New Mexico MainStreet, was recently awarded $1.9 million in Capital Outlay funds from the New Mexico Economic Development Department and New Mexico Main Street to improve the street scape of the 800 and 900 blocks of New York Avenue in Alamogordo’s downtown district.
According to Economic Development Secretary, Alicia J. Keyes, “Capital Outlay investments are an important economic driver because they upgrade utilities, public safety, pedestrian access and more. These visible improvements beautify the streetscape, enhance a community’s character, and build confidence for private sector reinvestment.”
Alamogordo MainStreet and the City of Alamogordo, along with MRWM, have already completed work on creating the engineering and development plans for improvements in the district, and construction is likely to begin summer of 2023. Improvements will include major infrastructure like replacing water and sewer lines, updating utilities, new sidewalks, lamp posts, benches, and place making elements as well as much needed ADA compliant upgrades for pedestrians, and more accessible parking.
These improvements will benefit the downtown district of Alamogordo by helping to bring more foot traffic to the area, thereby improving the economy of the district and Alamogordo as a whole. Studies show that dollars spent in small local businesses are more likely to stay in the local economy than money spent at chain stores, and local businesses typically reinvest twice as much into their local economy.
In addition to the benefits that will be seen through increased foot traffic, this project will also create jobs during construction.
With the completion of this project, Alamogordo MainStreet will be eligible for more Capital Outlay grant opportunities to continue improving and beautifying Alamogordo’s historical downtown district.
During construction, businesses on the 800-900 blocks of New York Avenue will remain open and be accessible through their rear entrances during sidewalk work. Alamogordo MainStreet is working on a plan for signage to direct shoppers to the most convenient parking areas.
Alamogordo Mayor Susan Payne creating a business-friendly environment of Alamogordo.
Alamogordo, Mayor Susan Payne has made it a priority of her tenure to revisit and strike cumbersome city ordinances coordinating and collaborating with private business leaders to ensure city government gets out of the way and supports local small business growth. Her priority has been collaboration with all stakeholders in Santa Fe and locally.
Alamogordo Mayor Susan Payne reacted to the news with the following statement: “I am thrilled to see this project moving forward thanks to the incredible effort put forth by our Alamogordo MainStreet Partners led by Executive Director Nolan Ojeda. His leadership is exactly what was needed for this time and the dedication to this project by the Alamogordo MainStreet Board of Directors is something to be admired. I also want to give a huge thank you and express my appreciation to our incredible city staff for working so diligently to make this happen. The partnership, along with the many downtown merchants that have invested so much into the revitalization of our downtown area, are just one example of what is possible when we all work together for the betterment of our community. “
Increased Community Activities:
Alamogordo’s downtown MainStreet corridor of New York Avenue has seen a significant uptick in activities in 2022, with a variety of street festivals to include the Flickinger Center hosted Heritage Festival, Alamogordo MainStreet sponsored Rockabilly and the upcoming MainStreet Christmas, plus merchant driven activities such as Downtown Nights First Friday and the Summertime New York Avenue Farmers Market, Blush Salon sponsored Dogtoberfest and the November 12th New York Avenue Roadrunner Emporium sponsored Fashion Show at the Gardens of New York benefiting COPE. Additionally, the Flickinger Center via Patrons Hall, the Local Bodega and Roadrunner Emporium hosts art classes, singing lessons, free live music nights, a partnered history and ghost tour and more.
Private Investment is leading the way to New York Avenue growth and jobs:
New businesses to the New York Avenue business district that have opened over the past year include the Local Bodega, Lydia Emmanuel Office Suites, New York Art and Music Studio, the Gardens of New York, and Copper Rose Salon. Soon to open businesses include Zia Comics, ReneFit NM Fitness, the 1209 Gallery, Gallery 1207 and more.
Cultural Arts Paired with History Making the District Unique
An investment group consisting of Emmanuel Lydia Productions and 2nd Life Media/Roadrunner Emporium Inc. recently purchased the Sands Theater, built in 1928, that is undergoing renovation and will open in the near future hosting the Southern New Mexico Film Museum, a Cafe and be reinvented into a boutique performance venue and will show foreign, independent and classic films.
The Tularosa Basin Historical Society is also involved in downtown improvement in facilitating the building of a new railroad history park at the corner of White Sands and 10th Street also with a grant procured via Alamogordo MainStreet from Union Pacific Railroad. The park development is funded in partnership with the Alamogordo MainStreet facilitated grant, the city of Alamogordo and the Tularosa Basin Historic Society within eyeshot of the 900 Block of New York Avenue.
Come on downtown to Alamogordo’s MainStreet New York Avenue, support local small business and keep dollars in the local community.
The partnership of 2nd Life Media Roadrunner Emporium Inc and Lydia Emmanual Productions LLC has completed the acquisition of the Historic Sands Theater, Alamogordo, New Mexico. The partnership is soon to begin renovations but, in the meantime, is having fun exploring options for decor and changes to come into a premier cafe, film museum and theater that will showcase classic and independent movies and live entertainment and musical acts.
The White Sands Theater opened in the 1920’s as an open-air theater. It was used mainly as an overflow for the Alamento Theatre on nearby 10th street. During hot summer evenings, it was widely used, as the Alamento was far too hot to enjoy a movie.
In the 1930’s a roof was added and became known as the White Sands Theater. It boosted itself of having a water-cooled loft that kept the entire theater air-conditioned. The original capacity was 210 seats. The White Sands Theatre on Alamogordo’s New York Avenue opened in 1937 seating 456. The movie house continued with films until the late-1960’s. It then became a broadcast center which lasted until the mid-1990’s.
In the late-1990’s the building got a facelift, and the interior and exterior were restored to a modified Art Deco styling. It then operated as a live performance venue and movie theater. In 2012, it became a religious broadcast studio. It reopened on December 23, 2013, screening family movies and continued to operate as a studio but was closed to the public due to disrepair and lack of maintenance.
In June of 2022, a partnership arrangement formed to acquire the theater and rehabilitate it back to its grandeur. The partnership is between New York Art and Music Studio and 2nd Life Media/Roadrunner Emporium Inc. These two organizations are pulling talent and resources to make the venue a showcase for a variety of theatrical uses from independent films to live performances.
In a very productive meeting of the Alamogordo City Commission tonight the Commission passed the first publication of the City Ordinance that places a Code of Conduct Policy and a social media ordinance into action for the City Commissioners.
Under the leadership of Mayor Susan Payne, the city moved forward with a 6 to 0 vote based on a strong recommendation from the City Manager and the Municiple League to add a local layer of accountability and protection for the citizens of Alamogordo and to commissioners themselves.
There was light debate led by Commissioner Josh Rardin on semantics of language as related to the city charter on one point. Once the language was verified and the city charter was consulted to by the city attorney and the city manager all seemed pleased with the policy mechanics and the ordinance as proposed. A motion was made by Commissioner Sharon McDonald and Seconded by Commissioner Burnet and the vote was called. Without further debate and a roll call vote the motion for the Code of Conduct passed 6-0.
Commissioner Melton was not present and made comments in a previous meeting opposing the ordinance. In a text dialog with AlamogordoTownNews.com on October 4th at 7:59 pm Mr. Melton said, ” I made the comment during the last commission meeting about why I OPPOSE the draft code of conduct, in its current form.” He continued, “if changes are made, I will happily vote for it.”
The Code of Conduct lays out a process for conduct and a process for complaints by staff or the citizens of Alamogordo for a breach of such conduct. A chairperson with legal experience would be convened to weigh the complaint and if legitimate they would assemble a review panel to review the compliant. After the review then a recommendation of a fine or censorship or escalation to the state level would then occur. Or if found not guilty of the charge then all would go back to status quo. Citizens abusing the policy would be barred from future complaints via the process in the ordinance.
A second complimentary ordinance was also passed related to use of social media. The ordinance passed without debate with Commissioner Rardin calling the vote and Commissioner McDonald seconding the vote. It also passed 6-0 with Melton being absent.
The other topic that actually had the most dialog was the streamlining of the way business licenses are issued. The new process requires a streamlined application, an inspection by fire first and ensuring zoning is correct then a quick approval by the city clerk. The process spreads renewals across the year to the business application anniversary date verses all 1500 or so of them coming due the `1st of January. There was debate on the fees for missing the renewal and dialog around some verbiage and cannabis but overall was civil and mature dialog. Mayor Payne again explained the importance of the process, there was dialog around public safety and food trucks, but this was another very pro-business approach to streamlining the process and ensuring it was affordable to register in Alamogordo to do business.
Mayor Susan Payne has made it a priority of her administration to show Alamogordo is “Open for Business and Business Growth.”
Excellent job and dialog by all commissioners that were present at tonight’s meeting. The 10/11/22 City of Alamogordo Commission Meeting was an example of bi-partisan collaboration, driving transparency and business, by the 6 Commissioners that were present. Job well done!
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From Sheriff Black’s Website in regards to sexual predator allows the public to be better informed…
Sheriff Blacks office is pleased to provide OffenderWatch® for the citizens of Otero County. OffenderWatch® is the nation’s leading registered sex offender management and community notification tool with hundreds of leading agencies in dozens of states utilizing it. Otero County’s law enforcement utilizes OffenderWatch® to manage and monitor the whereabouts, conduct and compliance status of the registered offenders in Otero County. OffenderWatch® provides the most accurate and timely information available and now this information is available to you!
OffenderWatch® is updated instantaneously throughout the day as offender addresses and other offender information is updated in our office. You may enter any address in the county and see real-time information on the publishable offenders within the specified radius of the address you enter.
Offenders move frequently, so instead of having to check the maps on a weekly basis, the best way to stay informed is to take advantage of the free email alert system. You may confidentially register as many addresses in the county as you wish, and we will continuously monitor the addresses and send you an email alert if a new offender registers an address within one mile of any address you register. There is no cost for this service and no limit to the number of addresses you can register – your email address and physical addresses are all confidential.
Tell your friends and neighbors and be sure to register your home, school, work, gym, day care, park, soccer field, parents or children’s homes – any address of interest to you!
In 2016, there were approximately 861,837 registered sex offenders in the United States.
Most sex offenders (80- 95%) assault people they know.
At least half of convicted child molesters report that they also have sexually assaulted an adult.
Over 80% of convicted adult rapists report that they have molested children.
Approximately one-third of sex offenders report assaulting both males and females. Research shows that most convicted sex offenders have committed many, many assaults before they are caught.
Most sex offenders report that they have committed multiple types of sexual assault (sexual assault crimes include exhibitionism, voyeurism, oral sex, vaginal penetration, attempted penetration, fondling, and incest)
Over two-thirds of offenders who reported committing incest also said they assaulted victims outside the family.
Some studies of victims have shown less than 30% of sex crimes are reported to law enforcement.
Young victims who know or are related to the perpetrator are least likely to report the crime to authorities.
Sex Offender Characteristics
Most offenders commit multiple crimes against multiple types of victims with whom they have varying types of relationships (adults, children, male, female, known and unknown). This behavior is known as “crossover”.
Sex offenders rarely commit just one type of offense. Many offenders have NO official criminal record or sex crime history of any kind.
There is no such thing as a “typical” sex offender; however, all tend to be manipulative, deceptive, and secretive. Sex offenders come from all backgrounds, ages, income levels, and professions.
The majority of offenses (80 – 95%) are committed by someone the victim knows.
Sexual deviancy often begins in adolescence.
Sex offenders usually do not commit their crimes impulsively. They usually carefully plan their crimes.
Approximately 4% of sexual assaults are committed by women.
This article is provided as information not to encourage vigilante Justice but to ensure the public is aware of the tools available to better educate our community and to protect children and at risk populations of the presence of predators in our community.
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Our query last week to the City for information was responded to, and yesterday, we ran a story accordingly based on the information from the city provided to us….
A late afternoon development occurred this afternoon, in the continuing saga of the proposed Resolution to Protect the unborn ,which has NO power of law in Alamogordo.
The resolution, with no power of law and defended through true hostility by appointed commissioner, Karl Melton, and his domestic partner, Candidate, John Block via a slam campaign against a young woman battling cancer; the mayor, myself and others continues to offer twists and turns.
Late this afternoon we received an email from the city clerk saying…
“in the emails that were pulled for me, regarding “any correspondence from any member of the public requesting Mr. Melton to place the “Sanctuary for the Unborn” resolution on the agenda? the attached email was not among the emails pulled. I have attached the email.”
Mr. Melton texted me this evening via instant messenger to ensure I received the email and questioned rather we had journalistic integrity to report it.
Unlike his partner, John Blocks propaganda engine, which to date has not retracted the lies about the mayor; we do have integrity, thus we are reporting we have this NEW updated information and are sharing it accordingly.
We asked Mr. Melton if there were any other correspondence and if this correspondence was from a constituent in his district?
Fact she is not in his district thus cannot vote for him, thus not a direct constituent. She is a resident of Commission District 6 and NOT of his district 3.
“She is an Alamogordo resident. I am not sure what district she is. I have never met her before she emailed me. Regardless she is not alone. I also received 91 other emails urging me to support the resolution once the special session was announced. Not to mention the countless face-to-face conversations I’ve had with constituents about this.”
Mrs. Caraway is a business professional and a Christian but is not represented by Mr Melton. Her correspondence provided to us today, is as follows…
The font text of the email and the signature is inconsistent, however there is now a record of an out of District email received.
The fact the email, suddenly appeared after the story broke on the duplicity of this duo serving in office is entertaining.
The email was suddenly found and suddenly emailed to us and Mr. Melton wanted to ensure we received it.
Melton via text: ”I assume you got the updated information from Rachel today? O”
In asking why it suddenly appeared his response: “The email did not originally come up when the City’s IT contractors did a search. That’s it. Mistakes happen. Not everything is a giant conspiracy. All your other questions are irrelevant to the subject of the conversation and frankly are overly personal. It’s no business of yours. I’m just wondering if you will own up to your own ambitions of nonbiased, objective reporting, or if you are going to let your feud with John impact how honest your articles are.”
We will trust it was just an “mistake by the IT Department” and we have no reason to feud. We just want an understanding of events that are transpiring via our elected representatives.
So Mr Melton did NOT lie so to speak, he parsed words and received one email from a resident that cannot vote for him, and the the Melton/Block duo went on the offense.
Does one email from out of one’s District truly demand a response of such magnitude? I only hope when we make a request to Mr Melton he and his partner are equally ambitious in resolving our concern for action by the city.
Notice no correspondence of a response to the citizen was provided to us?
However Mr. Melton did respond by seeking a way to revoke the business licenses of any business in the city that may conduct abortions. That is illegal verses state law but he did ask staff to review options…
Interesting wording in his request “to NOT issue or renew a business license to any establishment that performs an abortion.”
The hospital is a business, that operates with a business license. A doctor may be a resident licensed doctor with a business license of Alamogordo but have to perform an emergency abortion in Las Cruces or at the local hospital, based on what Melton set forth, his business license to have a practice in Alamogordo would be revoked. A doctors office or a hospital is an establishment with a business license.
If Mr Melton were allowed to move forward with an ordinance and by state law he cannot, he would have proposed an ordinance, that would close down the hospital, if a life saving abortion were to transpire protecting the woman
Regardless of the semantics, Mr Melton wants to justify himself based on one email from outside his district. We stand corrected, there was one email.
The term constituency is commonly used to refer to an electoral district and only those who voted for a certain candidate within their district.
The terms (election) precinct and election district are more common in American English. Mr. Melton represents the constituents of District 3. The mayor represents the constituents of ALL of the city of Alamogordo.
We stand by the assertion this was not an issue that should have been brought before the city.
We stand by the assertion that the Block/Melton duo drove this debate and issue not by the overwhelming demand of majority of their constituents but based upon a personal agenda and apparently one out of district email.
Mr Melton alluded to me that he perceives us in a feud with his sleeping partner, Mr. Block. That is not the case. We are seeking to understand why the duo moved here and why this issue was so important to create such a fight, now as the duos first act at legislation locally.
We asked the question ,how much money he or Mr. Block were receiving from pro-life interests? He ducked the question. NO Response to the money questions.
Melton in his dialog with us suggested” I was really hoping after you posted your “tips for civil discourse” that this would turn out differently. I’m sorry you feel the need to withhold information because of how John writes his articles.”
His dialog is a suggestion we would not share the new information provided by the city clerk to us today.
We are indeed sharing that information and the reader can and will make their own conclusions.
And yes, we still hope that the duo of Melton/Block, mature as elected officials that they would retract the lies about the mayor, offer apologies to the individuals that differ from them but are active in the political process, and learn from this saga.
We hope they will follow the 10 tips for civil discourse and grow into their positions, as professionals, not ego driven advisories to compromise.
We need elected representatives to represent and to succeed not to divide but to drive collaboration not Division.
Can Melton/Block grow into professionals? Can Melton/Block practice civil discourse?
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