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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christmas in July in Alamogordo…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is the history of the Trinity Site?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Video of Explosion and First Atomic Bomb Test in History

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trinitite

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

Ralph Carlisle Smith, watching from Compania Hill, wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Batter my heart, three person’d God.

Visits to the Trinity Site:

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

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

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

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

A simple metal plaque reads:

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

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

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

Visitors to the Trinity site in 1995 for 50th anniversary


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

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

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

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

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

Stallion Gate Entrance

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

Alamogordo Caravan

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

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

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

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

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

Official Press Release:

Trinity Site Open House is set for Oct. 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alamogordo High School Sports Fun Fact:

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

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

An Alamogordo Tiger Football recap -1985

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                Matt Fleming of the Tigers was injured with an

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So close but No Cigar

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

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

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

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

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

(Photo’s courtesy Alamogordo News.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Combined to break the backs of the Tigers winning streak.

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

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

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

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

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

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

                Clovis clobbered a Stephens pass again and forward motion slowed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source:

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

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

Author Chris Edwards, 2nd Life Media Inc.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Per her editorial…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quoting Ms. Crabbe:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We concluded our interview with 5 questions for the artist…

How would you describe the work you create?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Positive News – Daily Affirmation: 7-1-21, 28 Days A Habit, 90 Days A Lifestyle

As we remind our readers, podcast listeners and partners daily concerning our affirmations; a habit is “a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.” Habits become a lifestyle a “glass half full” mindset becomes a lifestyle and that leads to permanent results. Science and real-world experience tell us that it actually takes a minimum of 28 days to begin to form a habit, but on average its really between 60 to 90 days. For most of us 90 days is a much more effective and realistic timeframe to incorporate a new behavior into our life, thus 90 Days To A Glass Half Full Lifestyle.

Our Daily Action Steps Are To:

  • Commit to taking 5 minutes each morning as you begin your day to read the daily quote.
  • If you are moved or inspired by the quote; share it in an email, phone call, conversation, text, tweet or on your social media network or platform. When we share something, it becomes more real to us.
  • In your own words write in a journal how the quote or thought applies to you or your circumstances, today. If it doesn’t write on your page the first thing that comes into your mind after reading the quote.
  • The end of the day, prior to bed, take 5 more minutes for yourself. Re-read the quote again and write or think of how you applied or took an action today with a person, situation or referenced the daily quote in mind. Reflect on the day, was there any event in the day where your thinking was impacted differently because of the quote or the affirmation.
  • Let’s have fun with the system and commit.
  • Now, Let’s begin with today’s affirmation:
“Just because my path is different does NOT mean I am lost.”


Beginning of Day
: How’s the above quote apply to me or what comes to mind when reading the quote above?

End of day: Re-read the quote. Did I share the quote or apply any of its meaning into any part of my day? What issue or situation made me think of or refer to the quote above? Did it help me bridge a positive outcome or mindset?

We encourage you to write or journal your thoughts or reflections on today’s quote.

“Just because my path is different does NOT mean I am lost.”

It’s your life, express yourself as your true and honest self and let’s work together for self improvement and a Glass Half Full mindset.

Author Chris Edwards lectures, has his podcast and writes. His book series 90 Days to a Glass Half Full Lifestyle is 3 part series that garnered much acclaim from many coming out of rehab and those coming out of incarceration and beginning anew. His other book series, book 1 Coach Bob Sepulveda The Early Days is an inspirational sport history of interscholastic sports in New Mexico. All of his books are found at fine independent book sellers such as Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo, New Mexico and available via Amazon in 36 countries.

Listen to our report and positive affirmations via our podcasts:

https://anchor.fm/chris-edward…

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

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

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

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

New Mexico Led The Nation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recycled Furs Sustainable and High Fashion

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

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

History:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The support of upcycling and recycling verses new fur…

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

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

Positive News – Daily Affirmation: 6-28-21, 28 Days A Habit, 90 Days A Lifestyle

As we remind our readers, podcast listeners and partners daily concerning our affirmations; a habit is “a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.” Habits become a lifestyle a “glass half full” mindset becomes a lifestyle and that leads to permanent results. Science and real-world experience tell us that it actually takes a minimum of 28 days to begin to form a habit, but on average its really between 60 to 90 days. For most of us 90 days is a much more effective and realistic timeframe to incorporate a new behavior into our life, thus 90 Days To A Glass Half Full Lifestyle.

Our Daily Action Steps Are To:

  • Commit to taking 5 minutes each morning as you begin your day to read the daily quote.
  • If you are moved or inspired by the quote; share it in an email, phone call, conversation, text, tweet or on your social media network or platform. When we share something, it becomes more real to us.
  • In your own words write in a journal how the quote or thought applies to you or your circumstances, today. If it doesn’t write on your page the first thing that comes into your mind after reading the quote.
  • The end of the day, prior to bed, take 5 more minutes for yourself. Re-read the quote again and write or think of how you applied or took an action today with a person, situation or referenced the daily quote in mind. Reflect on the day, was there any event in the day where your thinking was impacted differently because of the quote or the affirmation.
  • Let’s have fun with the system and commit.
  • Now, Let’s begin with today’s affirmation:
“YOU ARE THE ARTIST OF YOUR OWN LIFE. DON’T HAND THE PAINTBRUSH TO ANYONE ELSE.”


Beginning of Day
: How’s the above quote apply to me or what comes to mind when reading the quote above?

End of day: Re-read the quote. Did I share the quote or apply any of its meaning into any part of my day? What issue or situation made me think of or refer to the quote above? Did it help me bridge a positive outcome or mindset?

We encourage you to write or journal your thoughts or reflections on today’s quote.

“You are the artist of your own life. Don’t hand the paintbrush to anyone else.”

It’s your life, express yourself as your true and honest self and let’s work together for self improvement and a Glass Half Full mindset.

Author Chris Edwards lectures, has his podcast and writes. His book series 90 Days to a Glass Half Full Lifestyle is 3 part series that garnered much acclaim from many coming out of rehab and those coming out of incarceration and beginning anew. His other book series, book 1 Coach Bob Sepulveda The Early Days is an inspirational sport history of interscholastic sports in New Mexico. All of his books are found at fine independent book sellers such as Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo, New Mexico and available via Amazon in 36 countries.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oil and Gas Political Spending 2017 to 2020

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

Oil and Gas CONTRIBUTORS to new Mexico Political Circles

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

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

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

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

Top 20 Oil & Gas Contributors, 2020 Amount

1 Chevron $1,786,198.90

2 Jalapeno Corporation $142,462.00

3 Exxon Mobil Corporation $117,550.00

4 Strata Production Company $106,500.00

5 Devon Energy $102,500.00

6 Marathon Oil Company $83,500.00

7 Occidental Petroleum Corporation $76,162.50

8 PNM $61,918.18

9 Concho Resources, Inc. $59,350.00

10 Bowlin Travel Centers $57,975.00

11 John Yates $53,500.00

12 John A. Yates Sr Trust $50,000.00

13 Peyton Yates $47,500.00

14 NGL Water Solutions Permian LLC $47,000.00

15 New Mexico Gas Company $45,750.00

16 Process Equipment and Service Co $45,181.50

17 Conoco Phillips $44,500.00

18 Marathon Petroleum Corp. $40,750.00

19 Charlotte Yates $40,000.00

20 Petro-Yates, Inc. $37,000.00

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

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

• 2015/2016: $1,697,488

• 2017/2018: $3,101,581

• 2019/2020: $3,082,830

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

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

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

What is all of this money buying?

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

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

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

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

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

The Future?

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

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

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