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

STAY CONNECTED! SUBSCRIBE TO FREE EMAIL UPDATES FROM 2ND LIFE MEDIA ALAMOGORDO

SIGN UP!

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

STAY CONNECTED! SUBSCRIBE TO FREE EMAIL UPDATES FROM 2ND LIFE MEDIA ALAMOGORDO

SIGN UP!  

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. 

STAY CONNECTED! SUBSCRIBE TO FREE EMAIL UPDATES FROM 2ND LIFE MEDIA ALAMOGORDO

SIGN UP!

New Mexico’s Couy Griffin Recall Status Update

As we reported on June 28th, 2021 the New Mexico Supreme Court cleared the way to allow the political action committee that is leading the effort to recall Commissioner Couy Griffin could go forward.

In follow-up, about two weeks since the ruling, the committee has begun circulating a petition and gathering signatures within his district to recall Cowboys for Trump founder Couy Griffin from public office as a commissioner in Otero County.

The non-partisan Committee to Recall Couy Griffin consists of an equal number of representatives of both parties with a charter to collaborate for the removal of Griffin for the greater good of the overall county. Partisan politics has been put aside to work together for what the group deems is the common good of Otero County, the district, and Southern New Mexico.

The group is not focused on his removal due to rhetoric and outlandish statements, which are in themselves unappealing and lack dignity. Though the statements are unappealing and show a level of ignorance that does not shine well upon the county for business recruitment, they are not the basis of the recall.

The committee and the Supreme Court ruling affirmed that the focus of the recall effort of Griffin was for using his elected county position for personal gain and a variety of other charges.

The committee assert in their brief before the New Mexico Supreme Court that, 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. Additional causes for recall argued were Griffin’s attendance of Otero County Commission meetings by phone rather than in person, his banishment from the Mescalero Apache Reservation along with alleged use of Otero County Commissioner offices for personal business.

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.

Since the positive ruling signature gathering has moved forward to get the question of recall on the ballot. AlamogordoTownNews.com reached out to the Committee to Recall Couy Griffin to get their assessment of how the effort is going. We presented committee spokesperson Scott Fredrick with questions for an update…

AlamogordoTownNews.com – Do you have any updates on the recall effort?

Scott Fredrickson – “We had good traffic this weekend at the La Luz and Tularosa locations. Only 2 people came to the locations that did not support our efforts, but they were nice and with discussed our case with them.

AlamogordoTownNews.com – When and where are the next signature drives?

Scott Fredrickson – We have a meeting Monday night to discuss the next weeks efforts. The committee will be at Veterans Park in Tularosa again next Sunday, July 18th from 1 to 4 at a minimum.

AlamogordoTownNews.com – Do you anticipate meeting the deadline to get the question on the November general election ballot?

Scott Fredrickson – “We have been told that we need to have the signatures to the clerk by August 5th to have them validated in time for the recall to be in the November general election. We are going to do all we can to prevent having a special election at an additional cost to the taxpayers.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com – What is the deadline to qualify for a special election of the August deadline is missed?

Scott Fredrickson – “We have 90 days from July 1st (September 28th) petition initiation date to get them to the clerk.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com – Has Couy Griffin been in touch with your group in the last week?

Scott Fredrickson – “We have not had any contact with Couy other than one of our committee members briefly spoke with him during a break at the county commission meeting last week.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com – Has the group encountered any recent hostility?

Scott Fredrickson – “No.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com – You are now the acting spokesperson for the Committee to Recall Couy Griffin, for what reasons are you involved in this effort and what is your community and political background?

Scott Fredrickson – “I am involved in the effort because I voted for Couy and do not like how he has represented me as a commissioner. I feel he spent too much time in his Cowboys for Trump role to effectively tend to the needs of Otero County. I live in District 2 and I am active in local politics because I want what is best for the local area. I am a registered Republican and ran for the city commission in the last Alamogordo District 2 election. I retired from the US Air Force 5 years ago and stayed here because we like the area and I work for Holloman.

Mr. Fredrickson concluded, “Our committee has 5 Republicans and 5 Democrats, and we are a non-partisan organization. Our goal is to get a commissioner who will work for Otero County and not bring negative press to the local area.”

The recall initiative is moving forward. The committee is in the parks and around County Commission District 2 gathering signatures. Couy Griffin is at present attending Commission meetings but is also embroiled in multiple lawsuits that are a distraction from serving his constituents.

Today, Couy Griffin is divorced, disparaged by family, and confronts a political recall drive, a state corruption investigation, and federal charges. He is charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, according to a United States District Court criminal complaint. In Washington, prosecutors unveiled photographs of Griffin climbing a toppled fence and another barrier to access the Capitol steps.

Griffin has been rebuked by many Republicans over his racial invective. He’s also been suspended from Facebook and banished from Native American lands in his district as he contests charges of breaking into the Capitol grounds and disrupting Congress that could carry a one-year sentence. A recall effort is underway, amid a plethora of lawsuits.

The New Mexico Secretary of State says that Cowboys for Trump operated by Couy Griffin qualifies as a political committee, amid its parades on horseback and merchandise sales in support of Trump. The secretary of state’s office prevailed in a June arbitration and appeal to court decision that ordered Cowboys for Trump to register, file expenditure and contribution reports and pay a fine of $7,800.

According tp the Santa Fe New Mexican Jan 18, 2021 “New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas said he intends to see Griffin removed from his elected office. Balderas said his office is aiding the federal investigation into Griffin, 47 — who is charged with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority — while also gathering evidence for a criminal probe into Griffin’s time on the Otero County Commission.”

“We’re hopeful the federal prosecution will move rather quickly and the evidence presented there will help make the case for his removal clearer,” Balderas said Monday. “The general public should be outraged about what he’s been able to do while in office.”

The two other County Commissioners; Gerald Matherly and Vickie Marquardt — both Republicans have asked Couy Griffin to please, just resign, so they can focus on the county’s business without distractions and drama.

At a commission meeting in April the drama and debate around Griffin intensified with both Republicans making statements that he needs to leave.

Matherly was clear about his position, “We have gone through many days of drama, with our staff and my office. I’ve received threats myself because of your actions. This is office supposed to be taking care of county business, and I don’t think you should be using county property for Cowboys for Trump business and filming personal videos. Every time we have county meetings, it turns into a meeting about Couy Griffin’s personal life and has nothing to do with county business.”

Marquardt didn’t hold back either, “How many hours do you think you actually spend on county business each week? You generate hate that rains down on this county, and we have to deal with it,” she said.

Griffin said that everything he did under the auspice of Cowboys for Trump was for the good of the county. “It was to represent the conservative values of Otero County.”

Griffin continues in defiance against all odds but now it is up to the voters of District 2 to decide. 

The question each voter should ask themselves…

Is the District better off since Couy Griffin was elected to his position?

What value has he brought to the district?

Has Mr. Griffin enhanced employment opportunities, recruited new businesses personally or via commission directives? What has he done to lower the poverty rates in his district?

Is he a good spokesperson for Otero county to recruit good paying jobs, tourism and new development?

Is he devoting a majority of his time to local constituent concerns?

If not allowed on the reservation, how does he represent their interests within the county and participate in collaborative dialog?

What has he done to improve the lives for our children since being elected?

What has his done that improves the lives of seniors and the middle class in his district since being elected?

The poverty rate for Otero County is 21.2% with the high number of individuals living in poverty, located in District 2, what has he done to help solve the issue of poverty since being elected, and how much time and how many speeches has he given specific to this topic since being elected?

Are you better off now then before he was elected?

If the responses to most of the questions above are positive, then he is your commissioner. If the answers to most of the questions above, are he has not impacted the issue, has not addressed the issue or has not proposed solutions and work towards them in district and on behalf of his constituents then the citizen should sign the petition for his recall.

Those who participate make the decisions. Be informed, participate, make a difference for yourself, family, and friends and for future generations. What we do today impacts tomorrow. The future of your district and of business growth and wealth creation for you, your family and future generation may indeed be impacted by this very recall effort.

Is Couy Griffin worth the gamble for the future of District 2 and Otero County? District 2 registered voters of all parties, that is up to you to decided.



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. 

STAY CONNECTED! SUBSCRIBE TO FREE EMAIL UPDATES FROM 2ND LIFE MEDIA ALAMOGORDO

SIGN UP!

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.