October 16, 2010

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Pile burning scheduled (posted October 16, 2010)

Approximately 510 acres of slash piles generated from forest thinning activities on the Smokey Bear Ranger District are scheduled to be burned Monday, Oct. 18 through Friday, Oct. 22, 2010, weather conditions permitting. The Munoz Prescribed Burn is part of the Southwestern Region’s Central Priority of restoring fire-adapted ecosystems, which includes reducing the risk of crown fires, protection of private resources and restore forest health.

The location of the burn area is northeast of Ruidoso Downs, near Devils Canyon by the Sierra Blanca Regional Airport. Residents in Ruidoso and surrounding Lincoln County communities will see and smell smoke for the duration of the burn.

When burning begins, signs will be posted along roadways, which may be affected by smoke. Motorists are urged to use caution. As always, firefighter and public safety are the top priority.

For more information, please contact the Smokey Bear Ranger District office at (575) 257-4095, between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The address is:  901 Mechem Drive, Ruidoso, NM, 88345.

For more information on the Lincoln National Forest, please review our updated web site at: or for the latest fire information, follow us on Twitter at:

2nd Annual Empty Bowl Event Scheduled (posted October 14, 2010)

News_Oct_14-001.jpg (15976 bytes)Eastern New Mexico University recently announced its 2nd Annual Empty Bowl Event to benefit the Nest Domestic Violence Shelter on October 24th from 4 p.m.-7 p.m.

The Empty Bowl Event is the brainchild of ENMU’s instructor Judy Pekelsma.  A $15 entry fee yields a choice of one pottery bowl filled with delicious pozole, baked potato soup and chicken vegetable soup made by the students in the culinary program. Bread will be provided by Cornerstone Bakery and desserts and drinks are also included.

The Empty Bowl Event features over 400 pottery bowls handmade by Pekelsma, ENMU pottery and ceramic students, HEAL board members and staff, to benefit the women and children who live at the Nest.

Local artists have donated art and pottery for the silent auction.  Music will be provided by Mountain Top Music and Cindy Fogelson of Capitan, who teaches classes in guitar, mandolin, cello, violin/fiddle.  The music students will play gospel, celtic, fiddle and other eclectic music from 4:30 to 7 p.m. There will be quartets, quintets and the whole group, as well as solos and duets.                              .

Tickets may be purchased at the ENMU bookstore, the Nest, Sweet Charity Retail Boutique, Chamber of Commerce and Josie's Framery.

For further information, please call the Nest at (575) 378-6378.

Pictured are HEAL board & staff members with Pekelsma at ENMU making bowls for the Empty Bowl Event.

Ruidoso woman struck and killed  (posted October 10, 2010)  

LAS CRUCES – Rosa Rodriguez-Bersosa, 57, of Ruidoso, was killed when she stepped out of her vehicle and was struck by a passing motorist at about 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 8.

New Mexico State Police said Rodriguez-Bersosa was traveling south on US 54 in her vehicle when she pulled to the shoulder near mile post 10 (10 miles north of Chaparral) and stepped out of her pick-up in an attempt to speak to her sister who was traveling behind her in another vehicle.

While walking towards her sister’s vehicle a southbound 1995 Cadillac driven by Robert Turner, 46 of Deming struck her with his vehicle and threw her to the side after impact.

The Office of the Medical Investigator pronounced Rosa Rodriguez-Bersosa deceased on scene.

Turner was not injured in the crash and once completed the accident report will be submitted to the Otero County District Attorney’s office for review.

Seatbelts were worn and alcohol has been ruled out as a contributing factor in this crash.


Judge Mike Line Remembered  (posted October 9, 2010)  

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Altrusa of Ruidoso is proud to dedicate the 23rd annual Low-Cost Mammogram Program to the memory of Judge Mike Line.  He was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1993, after discovering a lump the size of a marble in the breast tissue.  A lawyer for over 20 years, he decided after his diagnosis to quit litigating and in 1994 was elected Ruidoso Municipal Judge.  He continued to serve in that position until his resignation in March.

Judge Line died this past May, after a 17-year battle with cancer.  He passed away even as 1300 attendees at the Lincoln County Prayer Breakfast were praying for him.  Village residents remember Judge Line as fair, honest and compassionate.

Although breast cancer in men is rare, there are about 2,000 cases diagnosed in the United States each year.  Because this cancer is rare, screening men with routine mammograms is not advisable unless their doctor recommends it.  However, men and women both should do a periodic self exam to check for lumps. For most men, breast lumps are easily detected because the male “breast” area has less fatty tissue compared to the female breast.  Generally, a breast cancer lump is not painful.  A man or woman who finds a new lump in the breast, should see a physician at once to determine whether the lump is suspicious.

With the month of October designated as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Altrusa would like to remind women to schedule an appointment for their annual mammogram.  Women aged 30 to 39 should have a baseline mammogram to be used as a comparison to later testing.  Women aged forty and older, or who have other risk factors, should have one every year.  Early detection with a mammogram can save your life!

Patients between the ages of 30 and 64, who are residents of Lincoln County or have a doctor in Lincoln County, are eligible for the annual Low-Cost Mammogram Program.  The program offers routine mammograms only, and cannot serve patients with implants or augmentation.  Appointments are available through Friday October 29.  Call Terri at 258-4615, Monday through Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm to schedule your appointment. 

Symposium kickoff (posted October 7, 2010)  

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Pinecliff Village Condominiums owners Lynn and Bruce Morgan visit with a guest, center, Wednesday night at the annual Pinecliff Village Cowboy Symposium Kickoff. Tommy Allsup and a group of musicians perform at the Pinecliff Village indoor pool in the annual jam session where dozens of the musicians performing at the Symposium get together and play during this annual event. All the musicians take to the stages at Ruidoso Downs Racetrack Friday. See Today's Events each day during the Symposium for a complete listing of the activities. Photos by Harold "The Boss" Oakes.


September births at Lincoln County Medical Center (posted October 7, 2010)  




Baby's Name





Tracy Ahidley

Mason Raymond Ahidley

7lbs, 12.0oz




Stephanie Loretto & Michael Olivas

Juanico Eli Dilan Olivas

5lbs, 14.6oz




Etna Rodriguez

Zion Rodriguez

8lbs 7.2oz

21 1/2"



Amber & John Walker

Lilyana Mae Walker

6lbs, 10.8oz

19 1/2"



Candice & Miguel Souverbielle, Jr.

Rayna Nicole Souverbille

8lbs, 6.9oz

20 1/2"



Laura Hernandez & Alberto Gutierrez

Jake Gutierrez

7lbs, 1.oz




Bianca Carrillo & Michael Munoz, Jr.

Michael Ralph Munoz, III

7lbs, 8.2oz




Gertrude Coonie & Stanislaus Venego, III

Christina Levette Venego

7lbs, 12.6oz

19 1/2"



Sarah M & Dustin Swaim

Walker Wayne Swaim

9lbs, 2.9oz

20 1/2"



Katherine Montoya

Vivian Grace Montoya

8lbs, 4.2oz

20 1/2"



Mariana Melendez

Aedro Alexander Melendrez

8lbs, 11.1oz

21 3/4



Shirley Shosh-Chee

Adrian Israel Shosh-Chee

9lbs, 9.4oz

21 1/2"



Tori & Christopher Marden

Davanae Mikalynn Marden


18 1/2"



Stephanie & Alex Gallardo

Brianna Gallardo

6lbs, 15oz




Kasey & Bryce Duggar

Bryce John Duggar

7lbs .09oz




Audry & Brendan Gochenour

Sadie Rachel Gochenour

7lbs, 9.3oz




Katie Morgan & Blair Chee

Abrina Baylee Chee

7lbs, 12.2oz

19 3/4"



Adelina Garcia & Dustin Marko

Kira Lilly Garcia Marko

6lbs, 3.9oz




Brittany Antonio & Vincent Magoosh

Ishlow Emery Magoosh

7lbs, 12.2oz




Vanessa Pacheco & Steven Leach

Nicolas Caden Leach

9lbs, 3.2oz




Ayla Perez

Nala Lashae Perez

7lbs, 2.9oz

19 1/2"



Melissa R. & Edward N. Misquez

Aiden Edward Misquez

6lbs, 12oz




Donnelle Yazza & Erik Shanta

Issman Whitman Duane Shanta

6lbs, 1oz




Serena & Vance Myers

Joah Ranen Myers

6lbs, 14oz




Jaelyn Bolden & Darryl Bagley

Cali Nevaeh Bagley

6lbs, 14.9oz

19 1/4"



Glenda & Aldridge Morgan

Ryan Noelle Morgan

7lbs, 9oz




Katy Wilbourn & Patrick Perales, Jr.

Patrick Junior Perales

6lbs, 8oz




Nadette Lovato & Oscar Saucedo

Christopher Sebastian Saucedo

8lbs, 8oz




Dena Odell & Steven Yanoff

Molly Lillian Yanoff Odell

8lbs, 2oz




Natasha & Brett Nichols

Leiren Skye Nichols

6lbs, 7oz




Denise Gutierrez & Victor Baca

Alayshia Marie Gutierrez Baca

8lbs, 1oz




Kylee Kinzhuma & Cory Chino

Kylena Delphine Chino

6lbs, 2.7oz



McKinley out, Morales in at Free Press (updated November 1)  

Ruidoso Downs Racing fired Ruidoso Free Press Publisher Emmett McKinley Monday, Oct. 4 and installed Lisa Morales to head the weekly newspaper.

McKinley came to the Free Press from FIG Publications in Las Cruces under a management agreement.

Morales was the General Manager of the Ruidoso News. She resigned her position there about a week ago and, according to staffers at the Ruidoso News, cleaned out her office and left.

Morales has worked at the Alamogordo Daily News and Carlsbad Current-Argus also.

UPDATE: has learned that McKinley was not fired. McKinley works for FIG Publications and was running the Ruidoso Free Press under an agreement with Ruidoso Downs Racing. Ruidoso Downs Racing exercised their option to terminate that agreement. McKinley remains an employee of FIG Publications and Ruidoso Downs Racing is reportedly committed to continue paying for his services for 60 days.


Film Shooting in Carrizozo (posted October 5, 2010)

Film stars two-time Academy Award® –winner Sean Penn

SANTA FE, NM—Governor Bill Richardson today announced that a portion of acclaimed director Paolo Sorrentino’s English language debut THIS MUST BE THE PLACE is being shot in New Mexico.  Locations include Bingham, Alamogordo, Carrizozo, Eagle Nest, Red River, and Questa, and overall the production is expected to hire more than 100 New Mexicans for crew and background talent.  A gripping examination of a man on the precipice of obsession, the production will shoot in New Mexico through next week, and is also being filming in Ireland, Michigan, New York and Italy.

“This is an impressive production with a terrific cast and I am pleased they are working in rural locations around New Mexico,” said Governor Richardson.  “The top filmmakers in the industry continue to take advantage of the many benefits our state has to offer and bring with them jobs and opportunities for New Mexicans.”

Academy Award®-winner Frances McDormand (Fargo) co-stars alongside Sean Penn. Other casting includes Judd Hirsch, David Byrne, Kerry Condon, Simon Delaney, Joyce Van Patten, Harry Dean Stanton and newcomer Eve Hewson.

The date of the filming in Carrizozo is unknown, but will be reported here, if it is released.

Officer struck by vehicle (updated October 5, 2010)      

A vehicle struck a Ruidoso Police officer at about 9:29 a.m. Saturday.

Officer David Gallegos was directing traffic at Mechem and Terrace when he was struck. The police were diverting traffic from Mechem Drive for the annual Aspenfest Parade.

The Ruidoso Police Department said EMS took the officer to Lincoln County Medical Center for treatment of "non-life threatening injuries." Gallegos was treated and released.

The driver was identified as Brady Hester. He stated he was traveling south on State Road 48. He was stopped at the intersection of State Road 48 and Terrace Drive by a Police Officer. As Hester was proceeding into a left turn Hester struck the Officer, with the assistance of Ruidoso PD two witnesses to the crash were identified and their statements were taken after the crash.

State Police Officers identified the pedestrian as Dave Gallegos, the officers investigation determined Gallegos was directing traffic at the intersection of State Road 48 and Terrace Drive. The vehicle was directed to turn east onto Terrace Drive off of State Road 48, by Officer Gallegos. As the vehicle was making the turn it struck Officer Gallegos and stopped in the middle of the roadway. After Officer Gallegos was struck he fell to the right side of the vehicle. Located on the right front of the vehicle were black marks consistent with markings left from Officer Gallegos' duty belt.

State Police will be filing charges against Hester for reckless driving.


Fugitive in custody (posted October 1, 2010)      

The Alamogordo Department of Public Safety took John Ortiz into custody last night, according to Carrizozo Chief of Police Rachel Weiser.

Ortiz was sought for assault on Carrizozo Police officer Gary Lindsey and then eluded arrest Monday, Sept 20.

Weiser said she spoke with Ortiz on the phone Wednesday Sept. 29, and he agreed to turn himself in. He did not.


First Class of 8th graders to finish new program (posted September 30, 2010)    

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The graduating class of Leadership Lincoln’s 8th grade program were honored on Monday September 27th at the Ruidoso Valley Chamber of Commerce. Cheryl Strong, Chairman of Leadership Lincoln presented certificates to Frank Lester, Zane Reynolds, Lea Zoller and Rylan Vega, all of Ruidoso Middle School. The entire class includes: Bunshry Bhakta, Harley Bonnell, Alexa Davis, Claudia Diaz, Harlynn Marian Geronimo, Frank Lester, Candee Muniz, Justin Platta, Alexis Quinones, Zane Reynolds, Sarah Rue, Kayleen Schenk, Javier Segovia, Rylan Vega and Lea Zoller.

Strong told the students “As graduates of the 8th grade program, you have helped us enhance the quality of leadership in our area. Your enthusiasm, your willingness to participate, your frankness,  your spirit, your humor, - just being yourself – made this program more than we had envisioned.

Long after we are gone – you will carry on the tradition of Leadership Lincoln.

 Knowing that you will face many challenges ahead, we have confidence you will meet these with integrity,  gusto and a willingness to do the right thing.

Leadership Lincoln is a non-profit organization whose mission is “to identify, enlighten, encourage, and retain leaders of diverse backgrounds, occupations, and cultures for the purpose of enhancing the quality of leadership in our communities.” The concept for the 8th grade program began in 2008 and was implemented in 2009 at Ruidoso Middle School with the goals of: Promoting the development and enhancement of leadership skills, Defining Leadership, Developing Leadership Skills and Practices and Practicing Leadership through Service.

The initial session was held in November with subsequent sessions held each month covering a different topic and skill. Once school ended the students committed to do at least one community service project to qualify for graduation from the program.

The school year ended on a high note for those involved with the 8th graders.

The next step is to provide this program to schools in Corona, Carrizozo, Capitan, Hondo and Mescalero as well as continue at the Ruidoso Middle School.  Leadership Lincoln alumni in each community will implement the sessions under the guidance of the Youth Leadership Committee. Eventually the hope is to expand the program to include students in the 6th and 7th grades.


Aspenfest Parade street closures (posted September 29, 2010)    

Parade on Saturday, October 2nd

Ruidoso Police will be closing streets in advance of the Aspenfest Parade through Midtown Ruidoso Saturday.

At 9:15 a.m. Mechem Drive will be closed to all southbound traffic at Terrace Drive (Thriftway Grocery Store).

At 9:30 a.m. Sudderth Drive will be closed to all westbound traffic at Paradise Canyon Road.

At 9:45 a.m. Sudderth Drive will be closed to all traffic from Mechem Drive to Carrizo Canyon Drive. All streets intersecting Sudderth Drive will be closed.

Sudderth Drive will reopen to traffic as the parade passes through town from Mechem Drive to Carrizo Canyon.

Citizens wishing to view the parade may park in authorized parking areas along the route prior to 9 a.m.

Motorists should plan ahead and seek alternative routes to avoid delays.

The parade begins at 10 a.m. and goes east on Sudderth to Carrizo Canyon Drive.


Fugitive still at large (posted September 28, 2010)    

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Carrizozo Police are still seeking John Ortiz.

Ortiz allegedly assaulted Police officer Gary Lindsey and then eluded arrest Monday, Sept 20.

Carrizozo Police Chief Rachel Weiser said Ortiz has a long criminal history and is considered to be dangerous.

If you know where John Ortiz is, please call 911 or the Carrizozo Police Department at 575-648-2351.


Services set for jockey (posted September 28, 2010)    

HOBBS — Funeral services for jockey Mark Villa, who was killed in a race riding accident at Zia Park on Saturday, will be held at 1 p.m. on October 6 in Phoenix.

The services will be held at the Deer Valley LDS Stake Center at 2939 West Rose Garden Lane.

On October 5, there will be a viewing from 5-8 p.m. at the Shadow Mountain Mortuary at 2350 East Greenway Road in Phoenix. There will also be a viewing at 11 a.m. on October 6 at the Deer Valley LDS Stakes Center, immediately preceding the funeral service.

A graveside service will follow the funeral service at Phoenix Memorial Cemetary.
Villa is survived by his wife Krystal, 33, and twins Olivia and Garrett, 6.

The fund for the Villa family is being coordinated through the Ruidoso Downs Race Track Chaplaincy. Checks should be made out to "Race Track Chapel" and sent to the Ruidoso Downs Race Track Chapel, P.O. Box 449, Ruidoso Downs, New Mexico 88346. Please specify "Mark Villa family" in the memo line on the check.


Safety Corridor to change (posted September 25, 2010)  

The New Mexico Department of Transportation Traffic Safety Section is taking proactive steps to keep traffic moving on U.S. 70 and N.M. 48 in Lincoln County, while enhancing safety for motorists and pedestrians along those busy corridors.  The Department is designating N.M. 48 as a safety corridor and removing the safety corridor from U.S. 70. 

The Department has collaborated with many local agencies to establish N.M. 48 as a Safety Corridor which basically designated sections of roadway where fines for speeding are doubled.  The New Mexico Department of Transportation District Two Traffic Safety Section announced safety corridor change from U.S. 70 to N.M. 48, after a review of traffic safety data.

Safety corridors are designed to reduce motor crashes, U.S. 70 was designated a safety corridor during the U.S. 70 Hondo Valley Project in 2003, and was the second highway to be designated a safety corridor. 

The segment of road on N.M. 48 between Ruidoso and Capitan, from mile marker 9 to mile marker 19, will have new signs notifying motorists of the safety corridor.  The change will take affect the week of October 4th.

A safety corridor is designed to reduce traffic crashes and fatalities on certain stretches of a highway that have high crash rates.  The safety corridor designation allows for an increased law enforcement presence, along with an increase in traffic violation fines.  Motorists caught speeding in a safety corridor will be assessed double fines.  Seatbelt use will also be closely monitored with general emphasis on safe-driving habits.

The primary objective of a safety corridor is to instill safe driving habits among motorists and reduce crashes.  Other goals include education, speed control, heightened inspections of semi-trucks and tractor-trailers and better signage.  The Department designates safety corridors based on the crash rate per road miles, followed by an action plan to improve safety on the designated route. 

There were a total of 303 accidents on N.M. 48 during the last three years.

Safety Corridors are authorized by New Mexico Statute Section 66-7-301, Subsection A (allows DOT to designate safety corridors), and Section 66-8-116, subsection D (doubles fine for speeding in the corridor).

For up-to-date information on road conditions in New Mexico, go to the NMDOT road advisory website at, or dial 511. 

Dangerous fugitive still at large (posted September 24, 2010)  

Carrizo Police are still searching for John S. Ortiz, 39.

Magistrate Judge Martha Proctor issued an arrest warrant for Ortiz Tuesday, Sept. 21, after Ortiz allegedly broke a window of a Carrizozo home and then threatened officer Gary Lindsey with the glass from the window and attempted to ram Lindsey's patrol car when Lindsey followed him while awaiting back up.

Police Chief Rachel Weiser, Sheriff's Deputies and State Police joined the hunt for Ortiz Monday evening, but were unable to locate him.

Weiser contacted Ortiz Tuesday and he said he would turn himself in. As of 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 23, Ortiz had not appeared to answer for the charges.

Carrizozo police say Ortiz has a long criminal history of theft, larceny and assault on police officers.

Weiser said he is considered to be very dangerous and has said he will not go back t prison without a fight.


Racetrack tax narrowly passes (posted September 21, 2010)  

By a vote of 3,719 for and 3,299 against, Lincoln County voters favored implementing a 3/16th of one percent Gross Receipts Tax to supplement taxes at Ruidoso Downs Racetrack Casino for the next five years.

The results will not be official until validated by the County Commission at their meeting on Friday.

The Business Retention Gross Receipts Tax will go into effect County wide January 1 and remain in effect for a maximum of five years.

Ruidoso Downs Racetrack majority owner R.D. Hubbard has said that if the tax passes he will not move the racetrack during these five years.

The ultimate goal for the Racetrack is to get a tax parity bill passed in the Legislature, bringing their tax rate on the casino closer to the rate paid by the Mescalero Apaches on the slots at their two nearby casinos. That measure has passed the House of Representatives twice, but never got out of the Senate Finance Committee for a vote by the Senate.


Polls close today (posted September 21, 2010)  

Those who wish to vote in the Business Retention Gross Receipts Tax election will have to hand carry their ballots to Carrizozo today.

If you haven't already mailed your ballot, it must arrive at the County Clerk's office by 7 p.m., and you may only turn in your own ballot, which could mean a drive to Carrizozo this afternoon for some procrastinators.

Over 50 percent of the ballots of active voters had been returned to the Clerk's office as of Friday, which is a larger than usual turn out for any election. The turn out proves opponents of a special election wrong about how many would return the ballots. Their argument was there would be larger turn out in the General Election in November. will post the results of the election later this evening, when the count is finished.


Thousands of bikes roar through town (posted September 19, 2010)  

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Ruidoso Police led the Golden Aspen Motorcycle Rally Parade down Sudderth Drive to Highway 70 Saturday morning. The police bikes were followed by thousands of motorcycles, including a large contingent from Mexico. The parade ended at the Ruidoso Downs Racetrack Sport Theater where long lines waited for registration. Attendance numbers were down for Wednesday and Thursday but seemed to be back on track for Saturday, according to organizers. Photos by Harold Oakes.


Riordan found not guilty of murder (posted September 18, 2010)  

The jury delivered their verdict just before 6 p.m., Friday, Sept. 17, finding J Tyrone Riordan not guilty of killing Jonathon Lopez.

They did find him guilty of tampering with evidence and conspiracy to tamper with evidence for his part in burying the body of the mentally disabled 20-year in a shallow grave near Arabella.

Riordan showed no emotion as the verdict was read by Judge Karen Parsons and expressed no gratitude to his two Public Defenders, refusing to shake hands with attorney Jeff Van Keulen before leaving the courtroom to return to Lincoln County Detention Center.

Attorney Jim Walker said the primary witnesses against Riordan, James and Michael Woodull and Marcus Hurley, kept changing their stories to appease the police officer they were talking to. Walker also said there was no way to prove how Lopez died. Walker said his theory is that Lopez died as a result of a tragic accident at the hands of Michael and James Woodull.

After the trial District Attorney Diana Martwick said she still thought Riordan was the ring leader of the group and that he was more responsible than the others.

The Woodull brothers had made a deal with previous District Attorney Scott Keyes to plea guilty to tampering with evidence and conspiracy to tamper with evidence in return for their testimony against Riordan.

"I feel sorry for the Lopez family," Martwick said.


Jury to decide Riordan's fate (posted September 17, 2010)  

The jury is expected to begin deliberations Friday morning to decide if J. Tyrone Riordan is guilty of killing Jonathan Lopez in August of 2006.

Defense attorney Jim Walker requested a directed verdict from Judge Karen Parsons on Thursday, after the State had rested their case. Walker said the contradictory testimony didn't even show that Riordan was present when Jonathan Lopez was killed.

Parson said the contradictory evidence was the reason it need to be decided by the jury and denied Walker's motion.

Walker's only witness for the defense was Riordan's father, Gary Riordan, who testified that the truck reportedly used to haul Lopez's body to the Arabella grave site was broken down at the time. Gary Riordan said Micheal Woodull burned the clutch out of the truck riding the clutch while driving.

Gary Riordan also said that the Yukon Jack bottles found at the Ruidoso Downs house fur months after the crime were his and he purchased them from Walgreen's. 

The first order of business in the trial in District Court for the fifth day of the trial will be to instruct the jury in how they may find in the case. Second degree murder is the finding District Attorney Diana Martwick will be asking for. Not guilty will be the finding Walker will request.

With the jury dismissed for the day, Riordan asked to be excused from the proceedings while the attorneys discussed which instructions the jury would hear. Riordan protested that his defense attorney's, Walker and Jeff Van Keulen, were not doing what he asked of them. Riordan wanted them to introduce the tapes of the witnesses interviews with police to demonstrate that the witnesses had changed their stories or added to their testimony since those interviews.

After the attorneys and Parsons explained why these tapes could not be given to the jury as evidence, Van Keulen relented to Riordan and requested the tapes be entered into evidence. Martwick cited the law and Parsons disallowed their entry. Van Keulen then gave Riordan the law book with the citation Martwick used to prevent their being used as evidence.

This is the first time Riordan has spoken during the trial, except to whisper to Van Keulen, who is seated beside him at the defendant's table. 


U.S. 70/380 work continues (posted September 16, 2010)  

The New Mexico Department of Transportation District Two will continue surface maintenance work of nearly 24 miles on U.S. 70/380 just west of Roswell.  Crews are working from mile marker 326 to mile marker 302.    

The maintenance work is in an effort to seal the surface of that section of U.S. 380.   Overall maintenance work includes usage of recycled asphalt millings, a pavement surface engineering technique, in an effort to keep water out the surface structure and extend the life of the highway.

Work is anticipated to be complete by the end of the month.  Reduce speed signs, loss gravel signs, and message boards are being utilized to alert motorists of work.  Motorists are encouraged to slow down, and proceed with extra caution when driving through the work zone.


Murder trial continues (posted September 16, 2010)  

The murder trial of J. Tyrone Riordan recessed a little early on Wednesday, but continues this morning.

As Judge Karen Parsons dismissed the jury for the day at about 3 p.m. Wednesday, she told them they were way ahead of schedule. However two expert witnesses were unavailable to testify for the State on Wednesday, so the prosecution continues their case with these witnesses Thursday morning via a video link.

Wednesday's testimony included the Sheriff's Deputies that pursued the case and a family friend of Riordan's. That family friend testified that Riordan, Michael and James Woodull came to his house in Roswell to clean up after they buried Jonathan Lopez's body in a shallow grave near Arabella.

He testified that Riordan told him what happened and that he had choked Lopez down.

The defense is expected to have their chance to present witnesses later today.


County property tax mil rate goes up (posted September 15, 2010)  

The Lincoln County Board Of Commissioners certified a mil rate increase for property taxes at a special meeting yesterday, according to KWES Radio News.. 

Capitan residents will see the largest increase in residential rates, going up 17. 78 per cent to 18.184 mils.  

In Ruidoso the mil rate has been set at 26.2 mils.  The previous rate was 25 .988 mils.  

Alto residents will see a five per cent increase to 14.922 mils.   

Countywide, the mil rate will go up an average 3.53 per cent.  

Property tax bills should be in the mail by around the first of November, with the first half of property taxes due by November 10th. The second half is due by April 11th.  


Murder trial goes into third day (posted September 15, 2010)  

The murder trial of J. Tyrone Riordan continues today, Wednesday, Sept. 15.

On Tuesday, District Attorney Diana Martwick presented the heart of her case with the testimony of James and Michael Woodull. The brothers claim they were there when Riordan strangled Johnathan Lopez Aug. 28, 2006 and helped him bury the body in a shallow grave near Arabella the following day.

Defense attorney Jim Walker questioned the Woodull's motive for pointing the finger at Riordan, claiming that they blamed Riordan to get a deal from the State to drop murder charges against them.

Michael Woodull was the one that led police to Lopez's grave, four months after Lopez was killed in Ruidoso Downs.

The day ended with Lincoln County Sheriff's Deputy Sergeant Ken Cramer testifying on the physical evidence and on his investigation that led him to arrest the Woodull brothers and Riordan.

Cramer resumes his testimony this morning.

Murder trial begins  (posted September 14, 2010)  

The murder trial of J Tyrone Riordan began Monday morning at the District Court in Carrizozo with a jury of eight women and six men hearing testimony.

In her opening statement, District Attorney Diana Martwick said the State's evidence would show that Riordan strangled 19 year old Jonathan Lopez at a Ruidoso Downs home Aug. 28, 2006 and buried the body in a shallow grave near Arabella the next day.

Defense attorney Jim Walker said this is the story of "J.T. (Riordan) and the three snitches. Walker said the three witnesses had every reason to point to Riordan as the murderer, to take the blame from themselves.

Brother's James and Michael Woodull are the primary witnesses against Riordan. They have both pled guilty to tampering with evidence for their part in burying Lopez's body, which they said they did under threat from Riordan.

Security is high at the court because Riordan has escaped once and attempted to escape again, since he has been in jail.

The trial is scheduled to last all week.

Two arrested, three sought in shooting (posted September 9, 2010)  

Ruidoso Police have arrested two and obtained arrest warrants for three others believed to have been involved in Monday night's shoot out in Two Rivers Park.

William Lothridge, 20 years old, has been arrested and charged with aggravated battery, conspiracy to commit aggravated battery, shooting at or from a motor vehicle, and conspiracy to commit shooting at or from a motor vehicle.

Victoria Arauz, 21 years old, has also been arrested and charged with abuse of a child.

Outstanding warrants have been issued for the following persons believed to have been involved in the shooting:

Anthony Arauz: Wanted for abuse of a child, conspiracy to commit aggravated battery, and conspiracy to commit shooting at or from a motor vehicle.

Tomas Guilez: Wanted for conspiracy to commit aggravated battery, and conspiracy to commit shooting at or from a motor vehicle.

Ricci Granado: Wanted for conspiracy to commit aggravated battery, and conspiracy to commit shooting at or from a motor vehicle.

Anyone with knowledge as to the whereabouts of these persons is urged to contact the Ruidoso Police Department immediately. Crime Stoppers will pay a cash reward for information leading to the arrest and District Court bind over of these persons. The  Crime Stoppers phone number is (575)257-4545 or (575)258-7300.  

The Ruidoso Police Department has impounded two vehicles involved in the shooting.

Investigation continues into this shooting incident.

Shootout in Two Rivers Park (posted September 8, 2010)  

Ruidoso Police are currently investigating a shooting incident, occurring at approximately 10:20 p.m. Sept. 6, 2010 in the 100 block of Robin Road, next to Two Rivers Park in Ruidoso.

Arriving at the scene officers reported finding numerous spent bullet casings on the roadway.

Shortly thereafter, the officers were notified that two male gunshot victims at Lincoln County Medical Center. Mescalero Bureau of Indian Affairs notified Ruidoso Police of another gunshot victim on the Mescalero Reservation.

Identification of the gunshot victims are being withheld pending investigation of their possible involvement in the shooting.


Counting the Boot money (posted September 8, 2010)  

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Ruidoso Firefighters watch as Carol Psencik runs money through the counter at First National Bank Tuesday, Sept. 7. The Firefighters spent Labor Day weekend collecting money at Sudderth and Paradise Canyon, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day, for the Labor Day Muscular Dystorophy Association fundraiser. Once the money had been counted, First National Bank cut the MDA a cashier's check for the $21,130.18 dropped into the boots. Captain Mike Morrow's shift won the annual internal competition, collecting $9,148.72. Morrow said they had the advantage of having the first day's collection, which are always the most. Photo by Harold Oakes.


Report Highlights Economic Impact of Extreme Weather

A new Environment Mexico report documents how global warming could increase the frequency and severity of extreme weather events like the 2008 Ruidoso flood. On Sunday, July 28th, 2008 remnant moisture from Hurricane Dolly dropped nearly seven inches of rain over Ruidoso Village, flooding the Ruidoso River and damaging over 350 houses, campers and mobile homes.

The flood also left many residents and visitors stranded. “I had three different rescue teams working throughout Lincoln County,” said Travis Atwell, Emergency Manager of Lincoln County. “Citizens were trapped in the upper canyon of the village and campers were trapped near Bonito Lake and around the Glencoe area.”

“The 2008 Ruidoso flood is just one example of how extreme weather threatens New Mexico’s economy and public safety,” stated Veronica Gutierrez, Federal Field Organizer for Environment New Mexico. “Given that unchecked global warming is likely to increase the occurrence of these weather events, we need to start regulating global warming pollution now.”

The new report, entitled Global Warming and Extreme Weather: The Science, the Forecast, and the Impacts on America, details the latest science linking global warming to hurricanes, coastal storms, extreme precipitation, wildfires and heat waves.  The report also summarized some of the most damaging recent weather events nationally, including 2010’s “Snowmageddon” and 2008’s Hurricane Ike.

The report is being released as the Obama administration begins developing new global warming pollution and fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks.  If stringent enough, these standards could result in significant cuts in global warming pollution, while slashing oil use and saving New Mexicans money at the gas pump.

Also related to the release of the report is Congress’ consideration of several bills to let polluters off the hook by blocking global warming pollution standards for some of the largest pollution sources.  Environment New Mexico urged U.S. Senators Bingaman and Udall to hold polluters accountable and to reject Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s Dirty Air Act (S. 3072), which would block the Clean Air Act’s ability to clean up global warming pollution from coal-fired power plants, oil refineries and other stationary sources.  Coal-fired power plants are the largest single source of global warming pollution. 

 “The threat of increased extreme weather is just one of many reasons why we need to hold polluters accountable for their pollution,” stated Gutierrez.  “If our senators pass Rockefeller’s Dirty Air Act, coal fired power plants and oil refineries will be allowed to pollute our air and water supplies and put us at risk for more frequent extreme weather events like the 2008 flood in Ruidoso.”

Gutierrez noted that while no single event can be entirely attributed to global warming, a warming climate increases the odds of more extreme weather.  Each weather event arises from a combination of short-term weather patterns and long-term climatic trends, and global warming “loads the dice” for severe weather.

“Today’s report shows how the 2008 Ruidoso flood was just a taste of what’s to come for New Mexico unless we curb global warming pollution,” said Gutierrez.

Key findings from the Environment New Mexico report include:

  • Scientists project that global warming may bring fewer—but more intense—hurricanes worldwide, and that the number of intense Category 4 and 5 hurricanes in the Atlantic may nearly double over the course of the next century.  Estimated damages from the seven most costly hurricanes to strike the U.S. since 2005 exceed $200 billion.

  • Global warming is projected to bring more frequent heavy downpours and snowfalls, since warmer air can hold more water vapor.  Already, the number of heavy precipitation events in the United States increased 24 percent between 1948 and 2006, helping to make flooding the most common weather-related disaster in the U.S.  Recent years have seen a string of incredibly destructive floods and snowstorms, including the 2008 Midwest flood that caused $8 to $10 billion in damage and 2010’s “Snowmaggedon” that cost the East Coast more than $2 billion.

  • Heat waves are projected to be more frequent, more intense, and last longer due to global warming.  Heat waves are among the most lethal of extreme weather events, as illustrated by a 2006 heat wave that affected the entire contiguous United States and was blamed for at least 147 deaths in California and another 140 deaths in New York City.

Environment New Mexico is a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization working to protect New Mexico’s air, water, and open spaces.


Hix surrenders (posted September 3, 2010)  

Ruidoso Police confirmed Friday afternoon that Christopher Hix has turned himself in to authorities in California.

See story below.


Felon sought (posted August 31, 2010)  

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Ruidoso Police are searching for a man wanted in California on felony warrants, who has been living in Ruidoso for three years under an alias.

Sergeant Dale Harrison, discovered that Christopher L. Hix, wanted for five outstanding warrants from California, has been living and working in Ruidoso under the name David Van Dellene since at least 2007. Four of the California warrants are for felonies and are extraditable offenses.

Hix is believed to be driving a silver 2003 Dodge Intrepid, license KPH352, and told co-workers at Cattle Baron Restaurant that he was going to El Paso.

Harrison has also filed nine counts of concealing identity and 24 counts of forgery, a fourth degree felony, against Hix.

The Ruidoso charges stem from numerous contacts with the Ruidoso Police Department and Lincoln County Magistrate Court since 2007, in which Hix used the identity David Van Dellene and signed official documents under that name.


Bear attack in Ruidoso Downs (posted August 28, 2010)  

Police and Wildlife agents tracked down and killed a bear that killed a goat and threatened a teenager behind Walmart in Ruidoso Downs Wednesday, Aug. 25.Vivian-with-Ginger-and-Fern.jpg (668409 bytes)

14-year old Vivian Twite was going to feed the horses and goats when she saw a bear attacking one of their goats. She ran back to the house screaming for her father, who armed himself with a pistol and followed her back to the lot.

Harv Twite said the bear stood on it's hind legs and threatened his daughter before he could get there. Vivian reportedly grabbed a 2x4 and began swinging it and screaming at the bear, who loped off and crossed a nearby fence.

Twite said the bear returned a third time and came over a six-foot fence. Ruidoso Downs police officer Joseph Bailey shot and wounded the bear while it was atop the fence and it ran away.

Ruidoso Downs police officers and New Mexico Fish and Game officers tracked the bear for two hours before locating and killing it. The bear was once again reportedly returning to the scene of the attack when it was located.

The incident happened on Wood Lane, directly behind the Ruidoso Downs Walmart Supercenter.

"We're glad they eventually shot and killed that bear, but overall, dozens of shots were fired within 300 feet of Walmart," the teenager's mother Ann Twite said. "Scary."

Pictured: Vivian with goats Ginger and Fern in April 2009. Courtesy Anne Wilson Twite.


Highway 54 work scheduled (posted August 24, 2010)  

UPDATE: Because of a jury selection today, Wednesday, Aug/ 25, the Highway Department will not be doing this work until Thursday.

The State Highway Department advises motorist not to park on Highway 54 through the center of Carrizozo on Wednesday & Thursday – August 25 & 26, 2010. 

The Highway Department will be coming through with equipment to patch the road. The equipment and material could damage your vehicle.

If you are parked along the Highway, you could be asked to move your vehicle.  


McGovern announces resignation (posted August 22, 2010)  

Ruidoso Downs Racetrack president and general manager Ann McGovern announced Friday, Aug. 20 that she is resigning.

McGovern, who replaced Bruce Rimbro when he retired in 2008, said she will be leaving after the racing season, which ends Labor Day Weekend with the running of the All American Derby.


Top Cop Shots (posted August 22, 2010)  

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New Mexico State police officer Paul Flores, front right, won the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 26 shooting competition at the Ruidoso Gun Range on Hale Lake Road Saturday, Aug. 21. FOP Lodge 26 president Jonas W. Proctor, right to left, front row, runner up NMSP officer Alex Horcasitas and third place finisher Ruidoso Deputy Police Chief Dewayne Goar, pose on the range with Range Officers, back row right to left, Dana Terlecky, Dave Mader, Ray Merritt and Jim Minter.

New Mexico soldier killed in Afghanistan (posted August 19, 2010)  

The Department of Defense announced Aug. 18, the deaths of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

They died Aug.17 in Kunar province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device caused a military vehicle roll-over.

Killed were:

Pvt. Charles M. High, IV, 21, of Albuquerque, N.M.

Pfc. Benjamen G. Chisholm, 24, of Fort Worth, Texas.

They were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.


Commissioners to delay next meeting (posted August 18, 2010)    

The next Lincoln County Commissioners meeting will be held on a Friday, instead of the usual Tuesday.

Mindful of the need to canvas the results of the Sept. 21 Business Retention Gross Receipts Tax election and expecting an update on the financing of a bond for paving roads in Deer Park Valley, Commissioners agreed to delay the September meeting until September 24. The canvassing of the election results will be a part of the meeting.


Two arrested for drugs (posted August 14, 2010)    

RUIDOSO DOWNS – Ruidoso Downs Police served two search warrants and arrested two Ruidoso Downs residents on drug charges Saturday, Aug. 7.

“We were doing a joint operation with State Police SID at the Racetrack,” Ruidoso Downs Police officer Joseph Bailey said. “We were looking for over serving and purchasing alcohol for minors, when we observed a yellow Dodge driving around with an open container.”

Bailey said they stopped the vehicle and administered a field sobriety test to the driver, David Carter, 38.

“He passed the field sobriety test but we ran him through NCIC and it came back that his license was revoked with an arrest clause,” Bailey said.

Following the arrest of Carter, officers searched the vehicle and found nylon bag containing clear plastic baggies that they suspected of being drugs.

“We went ahead and secured the vehicle and had it towed,” Bailey said. “We then got a search warrant for the vehicle.”

Ruidoso Downs Police officers searched the vehicle.

Bailey said they recovered 2.8 grams of methamphetamines in baggies and drug paraphernalia from the bag.

“He (Carter) was charged with possession with intent to distribute, a class 2 felony,” Bailey said.

Ruidoso Police officers Matt Christian and Lance Ledford, State Police officer Cory Crayton and Ruidoso Downs Police officers Corporal Jim Minter, Alex Valenzuela, Chris Rupp and Bailey served a second search warrant on Highlands Drive, where Carter was living.

There they found more drugs and arrested Katherine Keaton, 36, on charges of possession of methamphetamines, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of under one ounce of marijuana.

Carter was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, driving while license suspended or revoked, consuming or possession an open container of alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle and possession of under one ounce of marijuana.


Highway 380 roadblock scheduled (posted August 14, 2010)    

Highway 380 is scheduled to be closed for a missile firing commencing at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, August 16, 2010 for about two hours until 12:00 noon.  Road blocks will occur at about mile marker 3 eastbound and about mile marker 28 westbound.

Travelers are advised to adjust their plans accordingly.


Holloman announces F-22 flying schedule  (posted August 13, 2010)  

Officials with the 49th Wing have announced the flying schedule for the week of Aug. 16 to Aug. 20.

Sonic booms could occur Monday, Aug. 16, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Tuesday, Aug. 17, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Wednesday, Aug. 18, from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; Thursday, Aug. 19, from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; and Friday, Aug. 20, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Schedules can change based on a variety of reasons and scheduled times do not always mean sonic booms will occur.

For additional information, please visit the Holloman Web site at

Phone outage at ENMU-Ruidoso (posted August 12, 2010)  

Eastern New Mexico University Ruidoso campus suffered a telephone outage Wednesday, Aug. 11.

The problem is expected to be resolved by the afternoon of Thursday, Aug. 12.


Recreation fees waived on the Lincoln National Forest (posted August 10, 2010)

Recreation Fees will be waived August 14 and 15 on the Lincoln National Forest. It is a great time for everyone to get outdoors and hike, bike and enjoy the adventure and mystery of the mountains and caves.

Fee-free sites on the Smokey Bear Ranger District are:  Cedar Creek Picnic/Pavilion, Schoolhouse Picnic Area, Monjeau Campground, Skyline Campground, Baca Dispersed Campground, and Three Rivers Campground located on Highway 54 north of Tularosa.

Fee-free sites on the Sacramento Ranger District are: James Canyon Campground, Upper and Lower Karr Campground, Bluff Springs, the Trestle Recreation Area, Silver Campground and Silver Overflow Area.

The Guadalupe Ranger District offers fee-free days at Sitting Bull Falls Recreation Area, including Last Chance Trailhead, located near Carlsbad.

The Recreation Enhancement Act permits federal land management agencies to charge modest fees at campgrounds, high-impact recreation areas and at day-use sites that have certain facilities.  The Act is designed to increase consistency, coordination, maintenance and enhance visitor services across participating Federal agencies and provides a safe and healthy recreation setting on public lands.

For additional information on the Lincoln National Forest, please contact the Supervisor’s Office at (575) 434-7200; the Smokey Bear Ranger District Office at (575) 257-4095; Sacramento Ranger District Office at (575) 682-2551 or the Guadalupe Ranger District Office at (575) 885-4181, between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Forest Service maps, brochures and Smokey Bear memorabilia items are available.

For more information on the Lincoln National Forest and its District Offices, review our website at and follow us on Twitter at

Old Lincoln Parade (posted August 9, 2010)

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An old Fire Truck leads the parade through Lincoln Sunday, Aug. 8 in the annual Old Lincoln Days Parade. The event also included the conclusion of the Lincoln County Sheriff's Posse Pony Express Trail Ride from White Oaks to Lincoln with the delivery of mail bags to the Lincoln Post Office. For more parade photos go to Harold Oakes on Facebook.


Holloman flight schedules (posted August 7, 2010)

Officials with the 49th Wing have announced the flying schedule for the week of Aug. 9 to Aug. 13.

Sonic booms could occur Monday, Aug. 9, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Tuesday, Aug. 10, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Wednesday, Aug. 11, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Thursday, Aug. 12, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; and Friday, Aug. 13, from 8:30 to 12:30 p.m.

Schedules can change based on a variety of reasons and scheduled times do not always mean sonic booms will occur.

For additional information, please visit the Holloman Web site at 

Construction continues outside Lincoln  (posted August 6, 2010)  

The New Mexico Department of Transportation wants to remind those traveling to Fort Stanton Live/Old Lincoln Days to observe temporary traffic signals that are in operation during bridge replacement work on the U.S. 380 Priest Gulch Canyon Bridge, in Lincoln County.  As part of the work, temporary mobile traffic signals are in place for one lane operation.  The traffic signals are in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

This $1 million project includes the installation of a new bridge with placement of new guardrail, permanent signing and striping, erosion control measures, and other miscellaneous construction.  Work is anticipated to be complete this fall.

Motorists are asked to watch for construction personnel working in the area, observe temporary construction signing, and reduce speed to posted speed limits.

For up-to-date information on this work, visit the NMDOT road advisory web site at,


PNM schedules community meeting  (posted August 4, 2010)  

PNM has scheduled another meeting in Ruidoso concerning proposed rate hikes.

PNM invites customers to attend community meetings to hear and discuss the drivers behind the company’s first request for a rate increase in more than five years.
“Nobody likes a rate increase - and we hate asking for one.  It is important for our customers to understand what is at stake for them,” said Ron Darnell, PNM vice president of Regulatory Affairs.
The presentations will cover what the rate increase pays for, why the company is asking for an increase now and how it will affect customers.
This meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Aug.  12, in the Village of Ruidoso  Council Chambers from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  

Utility rates for PNM’s customers are set by the N.M Public Regulation Commission through a public process that began in June when PNM filed a request for an approximately 20 percent increase for its former TNMP customers in Southern New Mexico communities to be phased in over two years starting in 2011. (Other PNM customers could see a 22 percent rate increase.)

Making sure that customers have reliable power today and in the future at the least cost is the key focus for PNM and for regulators, according to Darnell.  PNM has or will make significant ongoing investments in power plants, substations and power lines to assure reliability and must be able to pay for them.  At the same time, while PNM bills would remain more than 25 percent below the national average even with the increase, Darnell acknowledges that tough economic conditions make any increase a matter of concern.  

In response to rising energy costs, PNM offers programs to help customers reduce their energy use at home and at the office, and to help customers living on a limited or fixed income pay their PNM bills. That information will be available at the meeting and is also posted online at

“We welcome the opportunity to discuss the current and future requirements of the electric system with our customers and to listen to their concerns,” said Darnell.  


Special election dates set (posted August 3, 2010)

Lincoln County will conduct a Special Election on September 21, 2010 through an all –mailed ballot in accordance with the Mail Ballot Election Act.

The Voter Registration Books close on August 24, 2010 at 5:00 p.m. The County Clerk will mail out the ballots for this election between September 1 and September 3, 2010. 

County Manager Tom Stewart said he has received reports of someone conducting a phone survey asking County residents if they are in favor of the tax and stating they are doing the survey on behalf of the County. Stewart said the county is not conducting the survey and did not authorize anyone to do it on their behalf.

A precinct board will be appointed by the County Clerk and will convene, as stated in the proclamation, to tally the results. 

As a reminder, the return envelope must be signed by the voter for the ballot to be counted. Voted ballots must be received by the County Clerk no later than 7:00 p.m. on September 21, 2010.

F-16s to replace F22s at Holloman (posted July 30, 2010)  

The Air Force announced July 29, that Holloman Air Force Base is scheduled to lose the F-22, but gain the F-16.

The Department of the Air Force announced its actions to consolidate the F-22 fleet.  The secretary of the Air Force and the chief of staff of the Air Force determined the most effective basing for the F-22.  This requires redistributing aircraft from one F-22 squadron to units at four F-22 bases.  A second squadron will be relocated to an existing F-22 base. 

The affected bases are:

Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.:  Deactivate one squadron of  F-22s and disperse that squadron's aircraft to other F-22 units.  Relocate the remaining squadron to Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.

Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska - receive six additional aircraft

Langley Air Force Base, Va. - receive six additional aircraft

Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. - receive two additional aircraft

Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. - receive one additional squadron

"This plan maximizes combat aircraft and squadrons available for contingencies," said Kathleen Ferguson, deputy assistant secretary for installations.  "By consolidating aircraft at existing bases, F-22 operational flexibility is enhanced."

Teams surveyed four F-22 bases, evaluating them for feasibility, timing, cost, and planning purposes to accept additional F-22 aircraft.  The secretary of the Air Force and the chief of staff of the Air Force carefully considered the site survey results and military judgment factors in making these basing determinations.  These actions will be finalized subject to completion of appropriate environmental analysis.

The secretary and chief of staff of the Air Force then announced the transition of Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., to the F-16 training mission.

The Air Force determined that Holloman has the capacity to accept two F-16 training squadrons and offers ability to synergize training activities with MQ-1/9 training occurring on the same base. 

Transitioning Holloman to F-16 training stabilizes an enduring training mission and capitalizes on the existing airspace and range complex.

Implementation of this action is subject to completion of appropriate environmental analysis.


Deadline for scooter raffle approaching  (posted July 30, 2010)  

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The deadline to purchase raffle tickets for a Scooter SL50QT-7 is quickly approaching, according to Joe Gomez, President of Help End Abuse for Life (HEAL) who is conducting the raffle.
Only 200 tickets will be sold for the raffle.  Each ticket is $20.  All proceeds will go to benefit the Nest Domestic Violence Shelter.

Miss Teen Ruidoso Juliann Lamb will be showing the Scooter at the HEAL at the INN 2010 inaugural charity golf tournament, which occurs Saturday, August 14th at 1pm at the Championship Golf Course at the Inn of the Mountain Gods.

The few remaining tickets will be available during the tournament.  Miss Lamb will draw the winning raffle ticket during the Awards Ceremony and Cookout, following the tournament.

Tickets can be purchased at Sweet Charity Resale Boutique, the Chamber of Commerce or from any HEAL Board member.  Please call the Nest for further information at (575) 378-6378.
Pictured is Joe Gomez, President of HEAL, on the Scooter that is being raffled to benefit the Nest Shelter.

Bridge construction to cause delays (posted July 29, 2010)  

The US 380 Priest Canyon Bridge, in Lincoln County may be closed intermittently on Friday, July 30th, between the hours of 6:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. while work takes place.  As part of the work motorists can expect 15 to 20 minute delays.  All work is weather permitting.   It is advised that motorists seek alternate routes.  

The New Mexico Department of Transportation began bridge replacement work on the US 380 Priest Canyon Bridge, in Lincoln County in May. As part of the work, temporary mobile traffic signals are in place for one lane operation.  The project includes the installation of a new bridge with new guardrail, signing and striping, erosion control, and other miscellaneous construction.


Mayors to discuss rate hike (posted July 29, 2010)

Ruidoso Mayor Ray Alborn is putting together a conference of area mayors, who’s communities are served by Public Service Company of New Mexico.  

The purpose of the meeting would be to discuss PNM’s  proposal to raise rates over 21 percent  beginning next year.  

Alborn says he’s not “anti-PNM” but the proposed increase is “a matter of concern for everyone.

“What we’re gonna do is get all the other mayors from PNM South to come to Ruidoso and talk about this rate increase and see what we can do to alleviate some of that,” Alborn said on KWES Radio Wednesday morning. “What I'm concerned about is the economic impact on everybody...citizens and businesses.  We're trying to get people to come here, but is that gonna negate that because of the high cost of utilities".

The Mayor says he hopes to have that conference in Ruidoso in the next couple of weeks.

From Mike Kissling, KWES Radio News


Supplies for The Nest (posted July 29, 2010)  

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Ruidoso Optimist Club treasurer Lisa McMinn shops for school supplies for the children at The Nest Domestic Violence Shelter at Walmart Supercenter in Ruidoso Downs, Wednesday, July 28. The Optimist Club, First Savings Bank, and Walmart are sponsoring the the annual drive to provide school supplies to The Nest for children who find themselves in an unfortunate situation and needing supplies for school. Donations can be made at First Savings Bank or with any Optimist Club member.

Photo by Harold Oakes


County begins year with extra cash (posted July 27, 2010)

CARRIZOZO – Lincoln County is starting the fiscal year with more money than they expected, allowing them to add some projects.

“Living conservatively, within our means, with minimal staffing and conservatively estimating our revenues, while pessimistically forecasting budget expenditures for the worst case has, once again, paid great dividends,” County Manager Tom Stewart said during the Public Hearing on the budget Tuesday, July 20. “In the preliminary budget, a beginning General Fund cash balance of $5,500,00 was used. The actual beginning cash balance for the General Fund is $7,619,263.”

Stewart corrected this amount to $7,465,625.

“We had to split that amount,” he said. “We had to put some cash into the Road Fund.”

Stewart said that did not change the actual beginning cash amount, it just moved some of it into the Road Fund because they could not begin the year with a zero balance in that fund.

“We received $633,321 more revenue than we budgeted to receive,” Stewart said.

The increased revenues were in spite of a reduction in Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) received from the Federal Government.

“Which was a reduction of $293,116,” Stewart said of the annual payment for Federal land in the County.

Stewart said revenue, without PILT, has grown at an average of 7.65 percent while expenditure have grown at an average of 7.54 percent and appraisal values has grown at an average of 7.49 percent, since 1997.

“In 1997 it was $406,541,068,” Stewart said of the appraised value of property in Lincoln County. “And now in 2010 it is $1,036,199,737.”

Stewart said averaging that amount out gave him the growth figure of 7.49 percent in property values.

Property values will change in 2011 with a reappraisal.

“We’re not sure what the 2011 reappraisal is going to say,” County Commissioner Tom Battin said. “It could decline. Also, PILT could decline.”

“There’s a lot of questions out beyond 2012 about PILT that are kind of unknown,” Stewart said.

Stewart presented the Commissioners with four pages of recommended adjustments to the preliminary budget.

“Our ending reserve, or required reserve, with all of the above adjustments made, was $2,160,833,” Stewart said.

Stewart recommended spending this money for projects:

  • $1,300,000 for the Justice Complex

  • $200,000 for continued work on the old Detention Center

  • $565,590 for repaving 3.73 miles of road in Alto (around Alto Golf & Country Club)

“Including these suggestions puts the reserve above required reserve at $95,234,” Stewart said.

Commissioner Jackie Powell questioned the inclusion of the fence, road and concrete pad planned for Espuela Arena.

“That’s not in there,” Stewart said.

Commissioner Dave Parks, the County’s representative on the Greentree Solid Waste Authority Board, said the amount needed to complete the trash dump area was not known and GSWA director Debra Ingle was out of town.

The public hearing ended with commissioners joking about a trash tax or business retention tax to fund the trash collection area construction.

The Commissioners approved the budget additions, including $25,000 for the Espuela Arena trash collection site. This brought the reserve above required reserve number down to $70,234. Stewart said the required reserve is $3.2 million.

“We’re in good shape going in to 2011 and 2012,” Stewart said. “I’m really concerned about 2012 going forward and I’m trying to look at it so we are not dependent on PILT.”

The Commissioners also approved some transfers from the General Fund to balance the budget for 2009-2010 and close that out.

“This is probably the shortest list of transfers I have ever encountered,” Stewart said.

Stewart listed four transfers from the general fund to specific programs, totaling $12,716.50, all of which he said the County will receive back.

F-22 Flight schedules this week (posted July 27, 2010)

Officials with the 49th Wing have announced the flying schedule for the week of July 26 to July 30.

Sonic booms could occur Monday, July 26, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 27, from 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday, July 28, from 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and Thursday, July 29, from 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

At this time, no flights are scheduled for Friday, July 30.

Schedules can change based on a variety of reasons and scheduled times do not always mean sonic booms will occur.

For additional information, please visit the Holloman Web site at


Hitting the street (posted July 25, 2010)

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Vendors lined 12th Street in Carrizozo Saturday, July 24, for the Street Fair. The Carrizozo Women's Club served food, the Special Olympics sold water and candy, the Little League held a cake walk and lots of artists displayed their wares for sale. Susan Kolb and Lanny Maddox provided the soundtrack for the event that drew an estimated 175 people, before the rain threw a wet blanket on the party.

Photo by Harold Oakes


Museum closed for a day (posted July 23, 2010) 

The Hubbard Museum of the American West will be closed on Saturday, July 24th for one day only, and will re-open for regular hours on Sunday, July 25th. 

“We apologize for the inconvenience to our patrons,” said Jay Smith, Director of the Museum, “We have scheduled our annual fundraising event that day, and the staff, volunteers, and City Councilors will be busily preparing the Museum for the annual event and making sure we are ready for business the next day.  Generating funds for future exhibits, programs, and other public outreach activities is extraordinarily important, so we hope that the public understands our need to have the Museum ready for an event that can generate as much as 10 to 15 percent of our annual budget.” 

 Please call the Museum at 575-378-4142, or visit our web site at <> for more information about the facility, or about other events taking place at the Museum.  If you would like to purchase tickets to the Annual Fundraiser, please contact Jim Kofakis at 575-378-4142. 

The Hubbard Museum of the American West is located at 841 Highway 70 West, and is open seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. excluding Thanksgiving and Christmas Days.  Admission to the Museum is $6.00 for adults, and reduced admission is available for senior citizens and youth.  Visit our web page at for information about other events, exhibits, and activities at the Museum.  The Hubbard Museum of the American West, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is owned and operated by the City of Ruidoso Downs.


Back to school schedule (posted July 22, 2010)

Ruidoso schools start in just a few weeks.   

District officials say students should be registered by August 9th.   

School supply lists are available from each school and from the District Office…and are also available at Walmart, Walgreens, and the Dollar Store.

Orientation for students at Sierra Vista, White Mountain Elementary and Ruidoso High School will be held on August 16th. Orientation for Nob Hill Early Childhood Center will be August 18th.  

You can visit the Ruidoso Schools website at for a list of times.  Buses will begin running on August 17th.

Call the bus contractor for a list of stops and times.  

Special election now on (posted July 21, 2010)

County Commissioner Don Williams changed his mind and his vote on a Special Election for the Business Retention Gross Receipt Tax, and that changed the outcome.

Supporters and opponents of the Gross Receipts Tax filled the Council Chambers and the lobby outside Tuesday afternoon and the Commissioners listened to over an hour of passionate testimony from those on both sides before revisiting the Special Election matter. The Commission had rejected a Special Election during their June meeting.

At the June meeting Ruidoso Downs City Attorney H. John Underwood said he would form a Political Action Committee and raise the $25,000 cost of the Special Election. On Tuesday Underwood brought the $25,000 check, raised from donations from over 150 individuals, and Ruidoso Downs Racetrack, the benefactor of the tax, agreed to stay in Lincoln County for five years or repay the tax collected.

Williams, who voted against the Special Election in June, said the assurance that the Ruidoso Downs Racetrack would stay in Lincoln County convinced him to change his vote on the Special Election.

Commissioners Jackie Powell and Eileen Sedillo voted against the Special Election, just as they had in the June meeting. Commissioners Tom Battin and Dave Parks voted for the Special Election as they did in the June election.

The decision about implementing a one-sixteenth of one percent Gross Receipts Tax throughout Lincoln County to offset taxes paid by the Casino at Ruidoso Downs Racetrack will be made by the voters in September in an election held by mail. Each registered voter will get a ballot and have about 30 days to fill it out and send it in.


Fire destroys home (posted July 19, 2010)

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A Sunday morning fire destroyed a home in Ruidoso Downs and left the family with only the clothes on their backs.

Firefighters from Ruidoso Downs and Glencoe responded to Parker Road, north of the bridge, at about 8 a.m. Sunday, to battle the blaze. The occupants of the home escaped safely, but barefooted.

Walmart donated $225.89 worth of shoes, socks and essentials for the victims.


Nutrition program receives $10,000 grant (posted July 18, 2010)

New Mexico Alliance for Children (NMAC) announced Saturday, July 17, that it has received a $10,000 grant from the General Mills Foundation to support a preschool health and fitness program for Lincoln County Head Start during the 2010-2011 school year.

Over 1,150 organizations applied for the Champions for Healthy Kids grant nationwide, and NMAC, a non-profit organization based in Ruidoso, was one of fifty national recipients. The General Mills Champions for Healthy Kids initiative, in partnership with the American Dietetic Association, has awarded grants to community-based organizations across the United States for programs that provide youth with the tools they need to live healthy, balanced and active lifestyles.

 “This grant will allow us to expand our health and fitness enrichment program, Eating SmART, to include 175 preschool-age children in Ruidoso and the surrounding communities,” says Julia Price, Director of NMAC. “We’re really glad to have the chance to provide vital services for so many more children in our area, and to take our program inside the school year. In addition to the nutrition and fitness classes, we have some wonderful art, music, and gardening projects planned for the kids year-round.”

As a part of the Eating SmART/Head Start program, NMAC is building a Children’s Demonstration Garden at 411 Fort Stanton Road this summer. The garden includes raised beds, an in-ground vegetable garden area, a strawberry patch a butterfly habitat, a lasagna garden, composting and worm boxes, and cold frames. Children from ages one to hundred are welcome to drop in and participate in the ongoing garden projects! The garden will be open all day Saturday, July 24, from 9AM to 5PM, for mural painting and a Lady Bug Release at dusk. Call Julia Price at 336-1933 for more details.

“Our biggest priority, through our partnership with the General Mills Champions for Healthy Kids initiative, is the health of our nation’s children,” says Judith L. Dodd, registered dietitian and chair of the American Dietetic Association Foundation. “This is a complex issue that requires the combined effort of families, schools, communities, corporations and health professionals such as registered dietitians to address the issue. By working together we can make a difference.”

The mission of New Mexico Alliance for Children is to improve the quality of life for children in high-needs areas of the state through nutritional and health-related programs and to promote youth empowerment through the arts. Its goal is to develop creative ways to help kids of all ages incorporate physical fitness and good nutrition into their daily lives. 

For more information about Eating SmART, visit


Lost hikers rescued (posted July 17, 2010)

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It took rescuers five hours to find and five hours to rescue a lost Texas couple Thursday, July 16.

The Weatherford, Texas couple were reported missing at 7:15 p.m. Thursday.

Five hours later, rescuers located Jeff and Jennifer Bell south of the Spring Cabin off of trail 29 where they had moved to get cell phone reception. At first, what they thought were headlamps from the searchers turned out to be lights from a cell tower. With no moon or flashlights, the Bells were not able to walk out on their own.

The couple was able to walk almost the entire way out. A wheeled Stokes litter was used to take Jennifer. Bell out the last section. 

"These guys are my heroes,” Jennifer Bell exclaimed.  

Chuck French, Deputy Fire Chief for Bonito, said his crew must have walked over 17 miles tracing various trails.

Also assisting were 8 members of the Mesilla Valley Search and Rescue including Incident Commander Ruben Gonzalez and 3 members from the White Mountain Search and Rescue who all fall under the New Mexico State Police. State Police were also on scene.  Lincoln County Deputy Bill Heineken provided critical radio communications between the Bonito rescuers and dispatch.            

The exhausted rescuers and the Bells were treated to ham and cheese sandwiches, snacks and drinks provided by the Sierra Blanca Disaster Relief team.  

Pictured: Jennifer Bell thanks members of the rescue team that brought her and her husband safely out of the Lincoln National Forest Friday mornng. Photo by Arthur Hoopes/Sierra Blanca Disaster Relief.

Information provided by Kathryn Minter, Bonita Volunteer Fire Department.


Burglary victims sought (posted July 16, 2010)    

Police are still waiting for victims of last year’s burglary ring to come forward and identify their property.

Although they have identified most of the victims of the burglars who stole some $350,000 worth of property from numerous homes in Ruidoso, Capitan and Lincoln County, there are still some items that remain unclaimed and the police need the victims to identify it as theirs. Mainly, this is power lawn and garden equipment the police believe to have been stolen from homes on Paradise Canyon Drive in Ruidoso.

Property owners who wish to claim their property should contact Capitan Police Chief Randy Spear at 575-937-1125.

The following residences have been identified, thus far, as victims of the burglaries:

Lincoln County:

114 Neil

602 Sun Valley

130 El Centro

116 Tobaggon

196 Musketball

163 Musketball

107 Musketball

124 Spring Canyon

106 Cedar Creek

112 Cedar Creek

??? Cochise

142 Meander

113 Deborg

Rainmaker Maintenance Area

Village of Capitan

130 Pinehurst

133 West Lobo

216 Long Road

100 Lonesome Pine

129 Short Drive

137 Short Drive

Village of Ruidoso

142 Mt. Blanc

123 Mt. Blanc

125 Mt. Blanc

127 Mt. Blanc

102 Spruce

110 Davis

158 Yellow Pine

132 Yellow Pine

118 Maple

230 Hemlock

109 Main Road

749-B Main Road

300 block of Wingfield (identified during interview)

615 Wingfield

211 Lookout

409 Paradise Canyon

107 Dogwood

310 Barcus

103 Monica Court

158 Apache Hills Drive

156 Apache Hills Drive

154 Apache Hills Drive

152 Apache Hills Drive

150 Apache Hills Drive

309 LL Davis

City of Ruidoso Downs

Ruidoso Downs Maintenance Garage


Village behind in reconciliations (posted July 15, 2010)    

The Village of Ruidoso has implemented new measures to ensure the Village's bank accounts are reconciled in a timely manner.  According to Mayor Ray Alborn, the Village was thirty months behind in bank reconciliations.      

"I've heard one of our ex Councilors referred to as the fiscal watch dog,” Alborn said.  I'm not sure where the watchdog was when this was all going on".           

The Village has put in place, a process where the Village manager and the finance director sign off on each reconciliation to ensure no future lapses.  

From Mike Kissling, KWES Radio News

John Farnsworth Painting Workshop (posted July 14, 2010)  

Famed Santa Fe artist, John Farnsworth, will conduct a week-long painting class through ENMU-Ruidoso Community Education. 

The class begins Monday, July 19 and runs through Friday, July 23. 

Farnsworth is known for his large watercolor and oil paintings of horses, bulls, and landscapes. His workshops concentrate on color mixing using a limited palette to create vibrant and translucent color. Last year, he closed his Canyon Road gallery to travel and to teach. He recently finished an installation at the Premiere Gallery Collection at La Posada Resort and Spa.

The fee for the class is $550 for the week. Space is limited and filling up fast. Registration may be made by calling ENMU-Ruidoso Community Education at 257-3012.

Charity BBQ Raises Funds for Shelter (posted July 14, 2010)  

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Thriftway of Ruidoso hosted a charity BBQ to benefit the Nest, Lincoln County's first and only shelter for victims of domestic violence.  Over $800 was raised at the event, which was held last Saturday in the store's parking lot.

Thriftway donated the potato salad, coleslaw, chips, sandwich buns, onions & peppers and serving items.  Coca Cola contributed the soft drinks and bottled water.  Hereford Brand Beef and their staff brought in the Rib-eye steaks for the BBQ.

Miss Teen Ruidoso Juliann Lamb worked at the BBQ as part of her community service.  Lamb's platform in the pageant was domestic violence prevention.

The BBQ was staffed by Thriftway employees, local radio personality Perry Champion of KBUY, a Hereford rancher from Mesilla, a representative of the national Certified Hereford Beef Association and the Nest Directors and Shelter Supervisor.

The Nest is operated by the local nonprofit organization, Help End Abuse for Life, Inc.  For further information about the Nest, please call the shelter at (575) 378- 6378.
Pictured are (front row) Thriftway employees Michelle Salazar and Richard Salazar, Mick Welch of the Certified Hereford Beef Association, HEAL Executive Director Coleen Widell, Perry Champion of KBUY 1360am, (back row) Thriftway employee Warren Hurtizen and Thriftway Store Manager Duane Parnell.

Downs holds short meeting (posted July 13, 2010)

The Ruidoso Downs City Council took care of business very quickly Monday evening at their regular meeting. They were finished in less than 10 minutes.

The only action item on the agenda was naming a voting delegate for the New Mexico Municipal League meeting.

Councilor Rene Olivo made a motion that Mayor Tom Armstrong be designated as the voter with Mayor pro tem Dean Holman as the alternate.

The measure passed unanimously.

During the public input, Wayne Williams said when he talked about being against a tax to help one business being unconstitutional at the previous Council meeting, he may have said Hubbard Museum, but he meant Hubbard Racetrack and Casino.

The meeting that began promptly at 5:30 p.m. adjourned at 5:38 p.m.

County to lift fire restrictions (posted July 11, 2010)

The Lincoln County Commissioners have scheduled a special meeting for Wednesday, July 14, to lift the fire restrictions.

The meeting is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. and the lifting the fire restrictions they put in place June 22 is the only item on the agenda, so far.

Holloman announces F-22 flying schedule (posted July 11, 2010)

Officials with the 49th Wing have announced the flying schedule for next week – July 12 to July 16.

Sonic booms could occur Monday, July 12, from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Tuesday, July 13, from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Wednesday, July 14, from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. and Friday, July 16, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

At this time, no flights are scheduled for Thursday, July 15.

Schedules can change based on a variety of reasons and scheduled times do not always mean sonic booms will occur.

For additional information, please visit the Holloman Web site at

Illegal Dumping ‘Dirty Dozen’ Gets Worse in 2010 (posted July 10, 2010)  

The Lincoln County Illegal Dumping “Dirty Dozen” for 2010 is now official: the Highway 380 Mile Marker 106 and 107 area east of Lincoln has the dubious distinction of winning the No. 1 position in Lincoln County’s “Dirty Dozen” for the second year in a row. A nasty illegal dump of construction waste at the location totaling nearly 110 cubic yards on June 30 and on July 2 raised the total of 2010 illegal dumping at the site to 852.5 cubic yards, icing the area’s position as the worst illegal dumpers in Lincoln County. Nor is the County-wide illegal dumping news any better. The total of illegal dumping across the County rose from 1,219 cubic yards in 2008-2009, to 2,049 cubic yards for the year just ending on June 30, 2010.

Here’s Highway 380’s notorious ‘Dirty Dozen’ company:

  • No. 2 – Lower Eagle Creek

  • No. 3 – Cedar Creek

  • No. 4 – Ski Run Road

  • No. 5- Highway 37 Nogal Mesa

  • No.6- Tinnie

  • No. 7 – Gavilan Canyon

  • No. 8 – Capitan Highway 380 “Propane Tanks”

  • No. 9 – Highway 48 Laughing Horse Lane

  • No. 10 – Airport Road

  • No. 11 – Sun Valley

  • No. 12 – Alpine Village

Greentree Solid Waste Authority response to the Highway 380 situation was swift in coordination with the Lincoln County Manager’s office. Additional grapple trucks and manpower was dispatched to the scene to pickup 60 cubic yards of illegally dumped construction waste on June 30. A similar deployment was made again days later on July 2 for another 45 yards of illegally dumped construction waste at the same location. All trash dumpsters were then removed from the Highway 380 site following the July 2 cleanup following loose trash dumped on the ground amid construction waste. Area residents were directed to begin disposing of household solid waste at the disposal site at the “Y” on Highway 70 where additional trash dumpsters were also placed to receive the increased trash volume.

Construction of a new solid waste disposal compactor site eastward at the  Espuela arena is expected to relieve much of the illegal dumping that has plagued Highway 380 and the NM Department of Transportation for years. However, the project was delayed in early July when site construction bids came in above the project budget. Site construction will be delayed until the job is rebid at a lower project cost, or the Authority can identify and secure additional outside funding.

The area continues to be an illegal dumping ‘magnet’. The NM Department of Transportation had threatened closure of dumpster sites by April 15 at Tinnie and the Highway 70 / 380 “Y” intersection, citing the continued problem of illegal trash dumping by areas residents at the two sites. Continued dumping of sacks of trash, discarded construction and building materials, appliances, furniture, yard waste and other items outside of the designated dumpsters has led to the DOT mandate. DOT issued a temporary reprieve to the Authority until the Espuela site can be built and brought on-line.

“This has been a continuing issue that the District [DOT District #2] has dealt with on and off for the last 10 to 12 years” stated a April letter from Gary Shubert, DOT District Two Engineer to the Solid Waste Authority. Earlier efforts by the Authority working with private Hondo Valley citizens at identifying new temporary dumpster locations off of US and NM highways have been unsuccessful.

“We are even getting small Wal-mart sized plastic sacks of trash and loose, unbagged trash dropped on the ground outside of the empty dumpsters,” stated GSWA Operational Supervisor Debra Ingle. “It should be a matter of community pride for Valley residents to properly dispose of solid waste and to join together to prevent others from dumping illegally. The Hondo Valley is such a beautiful place, but not with constant illegal dumping.”

The prohibition of placing trash outside of approved containers is not limited to Lincoln County. Trash disposal and collection sites across New Mexico are increasingly subject to greater restrictions, requiring closed top roll-off containers, locked and fenced areas not open 24 hours a day to ensure resident safety around potentially hazardous materials, equipment, and conditions. Unfortunately, illegal dumpers dump anyway on the open ground. They dump. The citizens pay.

In other portions of the County, surveillance cameras have been used to identify illegal dumpers. Prosecution resulted in one County resident following court conviction serving jail time in the County jail earlier this year. Several cases are pending prosecution through the District Attorney and the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department.

To report illegal dumping reporting, contact the Lincoln County Sheriff at 1 - 800 687-2419, or the New Mexico Illegal Dumping Hotline at 1-800-867-7666, or www.nmed/swb/Solid Waste and Dumping Complaints.


HEAL Board of Directors Focus on Shelter at Retreat (posted July 10, 2010)  

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The Board of Directors for Help End Abuse for Life (HEAL) recently met at their annual Board Retreat to focus on shelter funding and service projections for the new fiscal year, which began July 1st.

According to Board President Joe Gomez, "The current economic downturn means continued financial restraint.  Our staff and board have always been fiscally conservative but the time of significant impact we have been dreading is upon us."

The HEAL Board of Directors meets each June at a retreat with their Executive Director and Operations Director.  Topics of discussion include revisiting the HEAL mission and vision statements, planning for pending budget cuts, teambuilding exercises, domestic violence education and the new Sweet Charity Resale Boutique that benefits the Nest.

For further information or to apply to be considered for the Board of Directors, please call Coleen Widell at (575) 973-0828.

Pictured are HEAL Operations Director Kathryn Walker, Deacon Bob Racicot, Treasurer Jules Videau, Vice President Danny Sisson, Gina Klinekole, Executive Director Coleen Widell, President Joe Gomez and Secretary Josie Powell.  Not pictured are Jamie Estes and Victor Montes.

Mystery meet (posted July 8, 2010)  

The Ruidoso Downs City Council held a special meeting Wednesday, July 7 to discuss “acquisition or disposition of real property.” They did not specify which property.

“Mayor, I make a motion for the City Attorney to move forward with the proceedings that were discussed in executive session,” City Councilor Dean Holman said when the open meeting resumed.

Councilor Gary Williams asked that the motion be clarified.

“I think my instruction are, as the discussion was, for me to get the necessary documentation from the parties involved and bring it back to the Council for final review,” City Attorney H. John Underwood said.

Underwood would not comment on the documentation required or the parties involved.

Mayor Tom Armstrong invited Underwood, City Clerk Carol Virden, City Finance Director Teri Mosley, Robert Donaldson and Ed Berger to attend the meeting. The Mayor also asked  Hubbard Museum of the American West director Jay Smith to stand-by outside the Council Chambers, in case there were questions for him.

Berger works for Ruidoso Downs Racetrack owner and former Hubbard Museum of the American West owner R. D. Hubbard. Donaldson, a former Ruidoso Village Mayor, is the Executive Director of the R.D. and Joan Dale Hubbard Foundation.

The Council gave unanimous approval for Underwood to obtain the documentation and bring it to the council.

Truck strikes pedestrians (posted July 7, 2010)  

A pickup truck struck two pedestrians in the crosswalk on Sudderth Drive, at about 11:50 a.m., July 4.

Officer Tillman Freeman reports the vehicle, a 2008 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, driven by William Stewart of Alto, struck Harry Wolf, 58, of Midland, Texas and Molly Fike, 48, of Prescott, Ariz. As they crossed Sudderth Drive at the Eagle Drive intersection in Midtown Ruidoso.

EMS transported Wolf to Lincoln County Medical Center for treatment of back pain. Fike reported minor injuries to her right elbow.

Stewart reportedly said he was distracted by a black car that was partially in the intersection and, once he saw the pedestrians, it was too late to avoid hitting them.

Freeman reports the pedestrians were walking south in the crosswalk, with the light.

Freeman cited Stewart for failure to yield to pedestrian.


Downs attorney contract renewed (posted July 6, 2010)  

The Ruidoso Downs City Council gave unanimous approval to the second renewal of the contract for legal services with the firm of H. John Underwood and gave approval to a special assignments for the firm on a split vote during the Council meeting June 28.

The renewal of the legal services contract was done quickly. There was a motion, a second, no discussion and unanimous vote.

The consideration for special assignments involved discussion and the vote was not unanimous.

“Let me just explain what this is for,” Underwood told the Council. “I have been contacted by various groups to make presentations on the Economic Development Ordinance that has been passed by the Legislature and that this body authorized me to lobby for at the last session.”

Underwood said that Business Retention Gross Receipts Tax issue would be coming up either through a special election or the general election.

“I know that there has been discussions with this body in the past regarding the importance of Ruidoso Downs Racetrack to the economic well being of this community and the economic well being of the people of this community,” Underwood said. “So, I have been asked to participate in public information forums and things of that nature and so I am asking that the City of Ruidoso Downs, as provided under my legal services agreement, allows me to do that as a special assignment under my legal services agreement.”

Underwood said he didn’t think this fell under the routine legal services to the City.

“So, before I incur a lot of time doing that on your behalf, I wanted to get your permission to do that,” he said.

Underwood said this would not take away from his duties to serve as the City Attorney.

Ruidoso Downs Racetrack president and general manager, Ann McGovern, spoke on behalf of the Council approving the special assignment for Underwood’s firm.

“John’s knowledge of the issues really benefits Ruidoso Downs and represents this community well,” she said. “I would support him being the person who represents this council and this community.”

 Councilor Dean Holman questioned the fees for this special assignment.

“Would the fees be separate from the basic legal services provided?” Holman asked.

“No, sir,” Underwood said. “The hours would be included in the same amount of hours I put in elsewhere in the same contract.”

Holman asked Underwood to spell out the exact topics he would be discussing in regard to the Business Retention Gross Receipts Tax authorized by House Bill 203.

Underwood said it was about whether to vote on the tax authorization in a special election or the general election and about being in favor of passage of the tax to insure that Ruidoso Downs Racetrack does not move.

“There are going to be lots of public forums and lots of public events to explain that process,” Underwood said.  “And I would act within those events and those forums as an advocate on behalf of the City of Ruidoso Downs.”

Councilor Rene Olivo made the motion and Councilor Gary Williams seconded.

Olivo and Williams voted yes. Holman and Councilor Tommy Hood voted no.

Mayor Tom Armstrong broke the tie with a yes vote.

The Lincoln County Commission is scheduled to address putting the tax measure on the ballot during their July 20 meeting in Carrizozo.

In other actions, the council gave unanimous approval to the plan to renovate the old Motel and RV Park on Harris Street and Short Street. The developers received unanimous approval for the project from the Planning and Zoning Commission June 1. The project includes spaces for six recreation vehicles and six motel rooms. There are also two apartments, where the owner, Richard Ford and his father plan to live.

The Council also approved a plan presented by Keep Ruidoso Downs Beautiful to place a flagpole where the old Cigarette Alley sign was at All American Park and approved payment of the May invoice for the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The City Council has a special meeting scheduled for Wednesday, July 7 at 5:30 p.m. The agenda calls for a closed session. An informed source told the Ruidoso Free Press there will probably be an open session with action taken following the closed session.

From the Ruidoso Free Press


Zone change approved (posted July 6, 2010)  

It took a zoning change for Richard Ford to renovate and reopen the RV Park and motel on Harris Lane in Ruidoso Downs.

On Tuesday, June 28, the Ruidoso Downs City Council gave their approval to a special conditional use Mixed Use Planning Unit Development (M-PUD) for Ford to reopen the RV Park and motel at the intersection of Short Drive and Harris Lane. The property was zoned C-1.

The motel part of the project is going to be called a “bunkhouse,” rather than a motel.

“It will be for week long stays,” Ford told the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z), June 1st. “We can have overnight stays, but we will not have a daily service.”

Ford said the rates and service would be based on three to seven day stays, with daily towel service, but weekly linen exchange.

There are six rooms in the bunkhouse that are for rent and two living quarters where Ford and his father plan to live.

“It was one living space, but we put in a wall and divided it into two spaces,” Ford said.

Where the previous RV Park has 16 or 17 RV Spaces, there will now be six spaces.

“When I looked at this project I took your ordinance for RV Parks and put it into the site,” architect Eric Collins said.

Collins said he accounted for set backs, traffic flow and the requirement for recreation space in designing the RV Spaces.

The plan also includes a six-foot fence around the property and a stop sign at the exit on to Harris Street.

“In the Comprehensive Master Plan there is much mention of doing what we can to improve our community,” P&Z Chairman Paul Van Gulick told the City Council. “This has to be one of the most squalid properties I have ever seen.

“The owner has already done a lot to improve the property,” he said.

P&Z gave their unanimous approval to the project.

The property had contained a motel and an RV Park that had sat empty for years.

“There have been problems with that site,” attorney Alan Morel said at the City Council meeting. Morel represents Ford. “We have done a lot to address those problems. There is going to be an on site owner. Additionally, fencing is going to help a great deal. And the fact that we dropped it from 16 to 18 RV spaces down to six should help tremendously.”

Councilor Rene Olivo questioned the owners allowing parents to continue to drop off and pick up school children at the busses there.

“I have talked to Mr. Ford and he said that he would allow parents to drop their kids off there,” Morel said. “Actually he is looking at putting a gate in so the kids can cut through to the street behind the property instead of having to walk around.”

At the June 1 P&Z meeting Mayor Tom Armstrong and Virginia Armstrong voiced objections to the zoning change. The Armstrongs live behind the property.

The Armstrongs objection was to having a transit population in the residential neighborhood, as it was when the previous RV Park and motel operated there.

After the P&Z meeting the Armstrongs and the Fords met outside City Hall and discussed the renovation plans.

After that informal meeting and discussion, Mayor Armstrong told Ford he would support the zoning change.

Ford has also purchased a barn at Ruidoso Downs Racetrack and he and his father, Jess Ford, train and race horses at Ruidoso Downs. He said during the racing season most of the RV spaces would be used by family and friends.

“What we have submitted is all we can do,” Morel said at the Council meeting. “A planned use development does give more flexibility to the developer and to the City.”

From the Ruidoso Free Press


Sharing the cool (posted July 6, 2010)  

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David Graham shares his icee with his puppy at the Little League All-Star game in Alamogordo Monday, July 5. See Sports for the results of the game.


Lost 11-year old found (posted July 5, 2010)

Searchers were called out Sunday, July 4 to look for an 11-year old boy wandered away from his family at Southfork Campground.

Youth Conservation Corps workers located the boy on Cedar Crest Trail and returned him safely to the campground.

The search began at about 3:45 p.m. with Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputies, Forest Service employees, and other volunteers, and lasted about three hours.

Heavy rains, flooding possible (posted July 2, 2010)

Lincoln County Fire and Emergency Services advises everyone of possible heavy moisture occurring this July 4th weekend.

Meteorologist Ron Roberts is forecasting rain throughout the weekend with possibly heavy rains on Sunday.

There is a chance of severe weather this holiday weekend and please keep aware of your surroundings:

·        Don’t camp near streams or river beds.

·        Avoid low laying area’s when the rain occurs

·        Do not attempt to cross flowing rivers or streams

·        If flooding occurs seek higher ground

Most importantly keep informed on current weather in your area and stay vigilant.


New Chamber Board takes office (posted July 2, 2010)  

The Ruidoso Valley Chamber of Commerce announces their new board officers for the Fiscal Year 2010/2011.  President--Glenda Duncan of Noisy Water Lodge;  President-Elect--Anne Reveley of Anne Reveley Interiors; Treasurer---Rutalee Jernigan of Farm Bureau Insurance; VP of Economic Development---Brad Treptow of Lincoln County Medical Center; VP of Membership--Bruce Timson of Crown Point Condos.  

To ensure proper representation from the membership, the Chamber Board consists of 12 members representing 10 business councils.  Each year four new members are replaced on the board.  The newly elected board members are Clayton Alred of ENMU-Ruidoso, Marne Modine of Square Moon Gallery; Rutalee Jernigan of Farm Bureau Insurance; and Brad Treptow of Lincoln County Medical Center. The Ruidoso Valley Chamber of Commerce would like to thank the exiting board members for their exceptional service and sound advice:  Lydia Radosevich of The Ruidoso Physical Therapy; Avril Coakley of Ruidoso Office Supply.

“The Chamber had a strong ballot for our membership to choose from,” said Glenda Duncan, New Chamber Board President. “I’m looking forward to working with the four new directors as we continue to work on issues important to businesses and our community.  Their eagerness is apparent as two have already volunteered to become officers,” Duncan added.

The Ruidoso Valley Chamber of Commerce is a member organization dedicated to encouraging prosperity in the Greater Ruidoso Valley.  The duties of these directors are to guide the direction of the members to work together, build better business relationships and provide the resources to do so.  If you would like to become more involved with the Chamber, please contact any of the directors or call 257-7395.


El Capitan Precious Metals merger (posted July 2, 2010)  

El Capitan Precious Metals, Inc., and Gold and Minerals, Inc,  have agreed to a merger, according to KWES Radio News. The result of this action will leave El Capitan Precious Metals, Inc. the surviving Company and 100% owner of the New Mexico Property.

The Company has raised, through a private placement equity facility,  approximately $800,000, to date, and are in the process of raising additional working capital.

The net result of the merger is to facilitate a sale to a major mining company.

El Capitan Precious Metals is an exploration stage company that owns a 40 percent interest in the El Capitan property located near Capitan, as well as a joint venture and 20 percent ownership of 13 mining claims and other assets known as the C.O.D. mine located near Kingman, Arizona.



Downs resident wins $200,000 (posted June 30, 2010)

Curry Reynolds of Ruidoso Downs won a $200,000 prize from the New Mexico Lottery.

On Saturday morning, Reynolds bought a $20 ticket from the lottery’s “$200,000 Black Gold” Scratcher game while stocking up on water jugs to take to a job site.  The self-employed carpenter said the discovery of a six-figure prize didn’t faze him a bit.

“I went out to my truck and drove to the job,” Reynolds recalled for lottery officials in Albuquerque.   “I didn’t get nervous, but I was in a real good mood all day.”

Reynolds kept his lucky ticket a secret until that evening. 

“I got more excited showing it to my wife,” he said.

The surprise nearly ruined their dessert.

“She was making a peach cobbler when I told her and she just started throwing everything in,” he recalled.

Reynolds spent his weekend spending his prize. 

“It’s time to work on my own house,” he said. 

Reynolds purchased his ticket from Allsup’s Store No. 343 located at 127 E. Highway 70 in Ruidoso.  Previously, the store has sold five large prize-winning tickets paying between $1,000 and $30,000.

Earlier in the year, Ruidoso resident Bill Swann won $3.54 million playing Hot Lotto®.

PILT check lower this year (posted June 30, 2010)  

Lincoln County received their Payment in lieu of taxes check from the Federal Government Tuesday, and it was less than last year

The County received a deposit of $1,437,375, without any explanation. Stewart had to figure out that this was the PILT payment.

“When the DOI (Department of the Interior) calculated the 2010 PILT payments, they took into consideration “federal land payments” made through other federal agencies,” Stewart said in an email to County officials Tuesday. “ Every December, LGD (Local Government Division) prepares a report, by county, showing prior year federal land payments from Taylor Grazing, Forest Reserve, Edward Jones, etc.  The January 2009 forest reserve payments were substantially larger than the 2008 payments due to a reauthorization of the federal Secure Rural Schools Act.  Therefore, those counties that receive forest reserve payments may see a lower 2010 PILT payment.”

According to the Department of Interior, for purposes of calculating the 2010 payment, the per acre amounts are adjusted for inflation from the 2009 payment of $2.37 per acre and thirty-three cents per acre to $2.40 and thirty-three cents per acre, and the population variables are adjusted from $63.68 - $159.18 to $64.56 - $161.38 per capita. The 2010 payment will fund the authorized level of $358.4 million. This includes $400,000 for program administration.

The computation also adjusts the payment for the level of prior-year revenue payments and the amount that a county receives under Sections 6904 and 6905 of the PILT Act. Revenue payments are federal payments made to local governments under programs other than PILT during the previous year. These include those made under the Refuge Revenue Sharing Fund, the National Forest Fund, the Taylor Grazing Act, the Mineral Leasing Act, the Federal Power Act, and the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000. Sections 6904 and 6905 provide additional payments for additions to the National Park System and National Forest Wilderness areas.

As a result of increases in Forest Service timber and Mineral Leasing Act payments, reductions in PILT entitlement land, expiration of section 6904/5 payments and payments falling below the $100 threshold, the total 2010 PILT payments to the following twenty-eight states will be lower than their 2009 payment: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Virgin Islands, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

The result of all these calculations is that Lincoln County received $293,106 less from the Federal Government for the 925,092 acres of Federal Land in the County.

“Although there was a slight delay in payments this year, local governments received their funds by June 29,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said. “We deeply appreciate the support these communities provide federal lands and disbursing this money before the counties’ fiscal year begins helps them budget for essential services, such as firefighting and emergency response, and allows for additional improvements to school, road and water systems.”

The Department of Interior said the 2010 payment amounts were delayed because of late reporting by some entities and the complexity of evaluating prior year payment amounts authorized by the Mineral Leasing Act and the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act. Each of these statutes and the PILT statute include requirements that impact the development of county payment amounts under a multi-factor formula.


Forest waste tonnage on the rise (posted June 30, 2010)

The 2010 forest slash pickup schedule is in full swing for residents in many southern Lincoln County locations outside of Ruidoso. Greentree Solid Waste Authority, (GSWA). County residents may call the Authority office to request a copy of the County pickup schedule by fax, via email or from the GSWA web site, The schedule sets general by designated areas each 8-12 weeks when the GSWA grapple truck will pickup forest slash and pine needles. The schedule is altered only due to unanticipated equipment breakdowns or other emergencies.

The guidelines for forest slash and pine needle pickup include:

·    Piles may be placed on residential property lines with no overhead utility wires, adjacent to county road so that the grapple truck driver may reach the pile

·    Do not place piles too close to fences, overhead wires or culverts

·    All tree branches and trunks must be cut to 4 feet lengths or less

·    No construction lumber, household trash, metal or rocks in piles

·    No stumps in piles

·    Piles are picked up only on lots with houses. Pickups are paid for as part of quarterly residential solid waste bills

·    Piles on vacant lots will be picked up, for a one-time charge, only by calling the Authority office for an appointment. Empty lots pay no regular solid waste bill which would include forest waste pickup.

·    Slash or pine needles should be left loose and not be bagged in plastic sacks

·    Slash should not be placed in or next to dumpsters, polycarts or compactors and will not be picked up at household waste disposal sites

All collected, clean forest slash is delivered to a private company to be ground up into garden and roadside erosion control mulch. Thanks for your cooperation!

For more information on forest slash pickup, contact the Solid Waste Authority office at 378-4697, and toll free at-1-877-548-8772, via email at or at


Holloman announces F-22 flying schedule (posted June 30, 2010)

Officials with the 49th Wing have announced the flying schedule for the next two weeks – June 28 to July 9.

For the week of June 28 to July 2, sonic booms could occur Wednesday, June 30, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.; and Thursday, July 1, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

For the week of July 5 to July 9, sonic booms could occur Tuesday, July 6, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.; Wednesday, July 7, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Thursday, July 8, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

At this time, no flights are scheduled for Friday, July 2, and Monday, July 5.

Schedules can change based on a variety of reasons and scheduled times do not always mean sonic booms will occur.

For additional information, please visit the Holloman Web site at


Hira to appear, magically (posted June 27, 2010)  

Magically each July David Hira reappears in Ruidoso.

Hira has been performing his jaw dropping magic for the Ruidoso Evening Lions Club Magic Show since 1993, missing only one year. He got sick that year.

There are now parents who saw Hira perform when they were small and take their kids to the show.

For the Evening Lions it is about the kids. Businesses buy the tickets from the Lions and then, usually, donate them back to the Club to be given to kids to attend the show.

But, Hira is not just a kid’s magician. He is an international performer who has performed on stage at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, in London, in Sydney and on cruise ships. He has also been on 36 television shows in the United States and Japan.

“Of all the fund-raisers we do each year, this is the members favorite,” Evening Lions Club president Mike Zaragoza said. “It is just so much fun to watch the amazement of those kids, and the adults, as David does his magic.”

The Lions have been presenting a Magic Show in Ruidoso since 1983 and the Evening Lions have been the sponsor since 1989.

This year the show will be held on Saturday, July 10 at the 1st Christian Church on Hull Road at 1 p.m.

Businesses who wish to purchase tickets to either use or donate can call Lion Ron McDaniels at the Ruidoso Evening Lions Club at 575-257-6305. Ron is there Monday through Friday from 8 to 5.


Deadman Canyon fire contained (posted June 27, 2010)  

Fire officials declared the Deadman Fire 100-percent contained Friday, June 25.

The fire crews continued mop up operations and looked for hot spots in the fire that consumed 3,046 acres about 15 miles north of Hondo in two days. Lightning started the fire on private land Wednesday.

Four engines and 20 fire fighters were conducting the mop up operations.


Deadman Canyon Fire 75-percent contained (posted June 25, 2010)  

Firefighters reported Friday, June 25, at 4 p.m., that they now have the Deadman Canyon Fire 75-percent contained.

The fire burning about 15 miles north of Hondo has consumed 3,046 acres. It started from a lightning strike Wednesday, June 23.

"The objectives for the fire today was to continue to patrol and mop up to secure the perimeter, with the majority of the concentration being on the southern end of the fire near the Nelson Road," the update from Jennifer Myslivy said. "Deputy Incident Commander, Larry Ashley from the BLM, stated “due to the excellent progress by the fire resources the fire is now 75% contained.“ Resources will start being released tomorrow with a couple engines staying on the fire to continue patrolling and mopping up the fire perimeter."


Smokey Bear Ranger District – New Ranger In Town (posted June 25, 2010)

The Lincoln National Forest is happy to announce the new District Ranger for the Smokey Bear RD, Chad Stewart.

“We had a strong list of candidates that applied but with Chad’s experience, education and talent his skills showed through as we went through the process of selection. We are very fortunate to have him move into a Line Officer position”, said Lincoln National Forest Supervisor Jacque Buchanan.

Chad has worked in the Lincoln NF Fire/Timber Staff for the forest for the last 3 years. Chad Stewart’s start date, as the Ranger, is set for August 29, 2010.

Congratulations Chad from all of us! Welcome to the Smokey Bear Ranger District


Deadman Canyon Fire update (posted June 24, 2010)  

The Deadman Canyon Fire, a lightning caused fire, has burned 3,500 acres so far about fifteen miles northeast of Hondo.   

The fire is burning in rough, rocky terrain east of Highway 368 near Tinnine.  

It started on private property and has also burned some BLM lands.  

Aerial operations from two air tankers provided brief support yesterday, until they were grounded by thunderstorm. Today, a helicopter will join two type two hand crews, five engines,  a water tender and other service trucks in the attack on the fire.   

No structures are threatened by the Deadman Fire.  

Depending on winds, Ruidoso and Ruidoso Downs residents could see and smell smoke from that fire.  

As of the last report, at 8:45 a.m., June 24, the fire was zero percent contained.  

Mike Kissling, KWES Radio, provided this update after talking to Jennifer Myslivy, NM Type III Interagency Incident Management Team


Deadman Canyon fire burning near Arabella (posted June 24, 2010)  

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Smoke rises over the hills as fire crews prepare to go out and battle a wildfire burning on the Cooper Ranch near Arabella yesterday. There are three fire crews battling the blaze, named the Deadman Canyon Fire, that has consumed a reported 2,000 acres. Smoke from the fire blew into Ruidoso and Ruidoso Downs last night, prompting a rash of 9-1-1 calls to report smelling smoke. Picture courtesy Arthur Hoopes, Sierra Blanca Disaster Relief Team.


Plane crash preliminary report released (posted June 24, 2010)

A preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board gives some new details on the crash of a private plane that killed five people and seriously injured two others, last Thursday at the Ruidoso Airport.  

One of the two brothers who survived the crash told investigators that in the moments before the crash,   "the wings were rocking and it felt like the airplane was being tossed around by wind," Mike Kissling at KWES Radio reports.

Aviation consultant Denny Kelly has been looking into crash.  He said winds were light at the time.  

"Winds gusting to 10 knots, so that shouldn't have been a factor,” Kelly said.

Kelly said the plane showed signs of stalling.  A witness at the airport said the plane came in a little too high on approach ˜ then dropped nose-down rapidly at a highly unusual 60-degree angle.”

 According to the report, the left wing hit, then the nose; then the twin-engine plane cart-wheeled and burned, indicating to investigators the plane may have stalled.

Investigators are looking at the plane's load, and the possibility it may have had too much weight on board. The seven passengers were aboard a six seat Cessna 310 airplane.


Mayor to appoint Rebstock replacement (posted June 24, 2010)

Ruidoso Mayor Ray Alborn will have the task of selecting someone to replace Village Councilor Michelle Rebstock.

Rebstock resigned from the council on Tuesday. Rebstock was elected to the council in 2004 and re-elected in 2008. Her term expires in March 2012.

Mike Kissling at KWES Radio reports that Alborn is in no hurry to make the appointment, in order to make a correct decision. He reportedly has six to eight candidates to choose from.

"I'm looking for someone who can stand on their own two feet and take care of all the business associated with being a councilor, and, that doesn't have an agenda," Alborn told Kissling

There were five candidates for Village Council in March 2010 who did not get elected. Gloria Sayers got the most votes, among those not elected.

Alborn will make the recommendation to the Village Council, who then must approve his choice.


Smoke from Arabella fire reaches town (posted June 23, 2010)    

East winds are blowing smoke into Ruidoso from a fire burning on the Cooper Ranch near Arabella.

Kathryn Minter with the Bonito Volunteer Fire Department said the fire started about 9:30 Wednesday morning and has burned about 2,000 acres.

Minter said Ruidoso area residents have been calling 9-1-1 to report smelling smoke.

Hot shot crews are battling the blaze

Minter said the smoke should be less noticeable in the Ruidoso and Ruidoso Downs area as the winds die down for the night.


Commissioners say no to special election (posted June 23, 2010)  

The Lincoln County Commission said “No” to a special election on the Business Retention Gross Receipts Tax, Tuesday, even if it would cost nothing.

The Business Retention Gross Receipts Tax would offset up to $750,000, annually, in State taxes paid by the Ruidoso Downs Racetrack.

Tuesday afternoon the Commissioners defeated a motion offered by Commission chairman Tom Battin to hold a special election in September, funded by a Political Action Committee, by a vote of 3-2.

Attorney H. John Underwood, the City Attorney for Ruidoso Downs, told the commissioners he was prepared to form the Political Action Committee and raise the $25,000-plus cost of the election from local businesses.

Underwood said he had talked to the Deputy Attorney General and County Attorney Alan Morel, and could find no prohibition against a PAC donating to the County to pay for a special election.

The Special Election in September would have allowed the tax to take effect January 1, 2011.

“My preference would be no action,” Commissioner Eileen Sedillo said.

The Commissioners were presented with options ranging from taking no action, to a special election, and putting the tax on the ballot in the General Election in November.

“I kind of feel like I am being held hostage,” Commissioner Jackie Powell said. “I would like to do nothing too, but I am just one person out of 20,000 and I think the people need to vote on this. But I think that vote should be in the General Election.”

Battin agreed with Powell that the measured needed to be voted on by the public.

“If it is no cost to the county, I don’t see the difference between a Special Election and the General Election,” Battin said.

Parks sided with Battin on the Special Election, as long as it didn't cost the County.

“I went on the record during the campaign that I am not in favor of Special Election because of the cost to the taxpayers,” Commissioner Dave Parks said. “If there is no cost to the taxpayers, I see no difference,”

Commissioner Don Williams questioned the amount of the difference between the tax taking effect in January and July. That difference, it was pointed out, is $375,000, to Ruidoso Downs Racetrack.

“I think it is a lot transparency and perception,” Powell said.

Sedillo, Powell and Don Williams voted against the Special Election. Battin and Parks voted for it.

The Commissioners did vote to hold a public hearing during the July 20 Commission meeting, to consider putting the tax on the ballot in the General Election in November.

If the tax is on the ballot in November and if it passes, it would take effect in July 2011.


This is National Lightning Awareness Week (posted June 22, 2010)  

June 21-26

New Mexico is prone to violent and severe thunderstorms and lightning strikes every summer. The Department of Homeland Security and the National Weather Service remind all New Mexicans that awareness of the danger posed in lightning strikes just might save your life. The state averages 17 thunderstorm events per year and a 1.1% chance of a fatality from thunderstorms or lightning every year.

New Mexico, at times, has been ranked as number two in the nation for lightning strike deaths. Lightning strike wildfires are also a danger with this month being an example of that with multiple events that have been caused by lightning generated by thunderstorms.

Lightning’s unpredictability increases the risk to individuals and property and often strikes outside of   a thunderstorm too far away for thunder to be heard. However, the storm may be moving toward you. Most lightning deaths and injuries occur in the summer months during the afternoon and evening when people are caught outdoors with no safe shelter.

A safe shelter is one fully enclosed with a roof, walls and floor and has plumbing or wiring. A safe vehicle is any fully enclosed, metal topped vehicle such as a minivan, car, bus or truck. Convertibles, golf carts, open tractors and similar vehicles are not lightning safe.

Even though there is no safe place outdoors, there are certain precautions and actions that can increase your chance of safety and survival. Pay attention to the weather, if a thunderstorm seems imminent and you are outdoors avoid open areas and fields, the top of a hill or ridge and stay away from tall isolated trees or other objects. If you are in the forest, stay near a lower stand of trees. When camping, set up your camp in a valley, ravine or other low area. If you are in a flash flood area avoid the arroyos. A tent offers no protection from lightning. Stay away from water, wet ropes and metal fences and poles. Metal objects and water are excellent conductors of electricity.

If you are inside, stay off corded phones and use a cellular or cordless phone. Unplug electronic equipment before the storm arrives. Don’t take a shower; wash your hands or dishes. Stay away from windows and doors and open porches. Don’t lean against concrete walls.

Remember your pets. Dog houses are not safe shelters from lightning. Dogs that are chained to trees or poles or wire runners can easily fall victim to a lightning strike. Bring your pets inside. If a building is struck, lightning can travel through a structure through wires or pipes that extend outside and through the ground.

If you are in a boat on the water, get as low as you can.

For more information go to or


Holloman announces F-22 flying schedule (posted June 22, 2010)  

Officials with the 49th Fighter Wing have announced the flying schedule for this week – June 21 to June 25.

Sonic booms could occur Monday, June 21, from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.; Tuesday, June 22, from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Wednesday, June 23, from 8:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. and 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.; Thursday, June 24, from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Friday, June 25, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Schedules can change based on a variety of reasons and scheduled times do not always mean sonic booms will occur.

For additional information, please visit the Holloman Web site at


July LCHS program announced (posted June 22, 2010)  

The July program of the Lincoln County Historical Society will be at the Nogal Mesa Ranger Station.  The Nogal Mesa Station served the Lincoln National Forest from its establishment in 1908 to 1958.  Although most of the Ranger Station has been torn down, the old barn is still used by the Forest Service today.

Gary Cozzens, Vice President of the LCHS will give the program.  While the program will focus on the Ranger Station, the talk will also include the Jornada Mogollon culture in the region, the Bonito Pipeline and a homestead site in the area.

The program will begin at 1:00 p.m., July 15, in the trees at the Ranger Station, but participants are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and a picnic lunch before hand starting about noon.  Summer programs and presentations are a major fund raising event for the LCHS and participants are encouraged to donate $10 per person at the event.

Directions to the Barn and Ranger Site:

The site is located just off Highway 37 in Lincoln County.  Traveling south on Highway 37 turn right (west) on Ranger Road between mile markers 5 and 6.  If you are traveling north on Highway 37 Ranger Road will be on your left and almost across Highway 37 from Cora Dutton Road.  Go about 0.7 mile and as the road makes a “S” curve and crosses a bridge over Magado Creek the barn will be on your left.  If you park in the open area before you cross the bridge you will be in the general area of the Ranger Station site.

For more information call Gary Cozzens at (575) 354-3185.


Racetrack tax on the agenda (posted June 21, 2010)  

The Ruidoso Downs Racetrack tax is on the agenda for the Lincoln County Commissioner's meeting tomorrow, but only for discussion.

The agenda for the Tuesday, June 22 meeting lists the "Business Retention GRT Timeline/discussion" as item 16 on the agenda for the meeting that starts at 8:30 a.m. in the Commission Chambers in Carrizozo.

The Business Retention Gross Receipts Tax bill passed the legislature earlier this year, allowing Lincoln County to vote to allow a gross receipts tax to offset the taxes paid by the casino at Ruidoso Downs Racetrack.

Ruidoso Downs Racetrack owner R.D. Hubbard said that if this tax passes, he will not go through with his plans to move the track to Las Cruces.

The County Commission must put the tax on the ballot for voters to decide yes or no before the tax can be imposed. Because this is a discussion item, that will not happen at this meeting.


Miller honored   (posted June 20, 2010)  

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Jim and Nancy Miller visit with Carol Price and Coda Omness at the Ruidoso Valley Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet Saturday, June 19 in the Turf Club at Ruidoso Downs Racetrack. Jim Miller was honored as the Chamber Volunteer of the Year for his work with recycling projects, renewable energy and his work with the Ruidoso Optimist Club youth projects. Jim retired as President of Eastern New Mexico University-Ruidoso a few years ago and has dedicated his time to recycling, renewable energy and Optimist Club projects. Photo by Harold Oakes.


Hikers rescued   (posted June 19, 2010)  

Six hikers were rescued from the Lincoln National Forest on Friday after spending the night in the mountains.

The hikers became lost on the Aspen Trail Thursday afternoon and were located from their cell phone. Rescuers did not get them off the mountain until Friday morning.

One of the hikers was airlifted the the hospital for treatment of injuries reportedly suffered during a fall.


Plane crash victims identified  (posted June 18, 2010)  

The five killed in yesterday morning’s airplane crash at Sierra Blanca Airport have been identified as two couples and an 11 year old child.

Mike Kissling of KWES Radio reports New Mexido State Police identified the victims as Rodney and Delanie Duree, both about 50, their 11-year old son Lake Duree and Karl and Kaeri Richey. Karl Richey was 46, Kaeri 44.

The Richey’s two sons, 16-year old Alexander and 12-year old Christopher were reportedly thrown from the plane and survived. Both were transported to El Paso where they are in intensive care.

According to Magic Forest Restaurant manager, Brian Hennington, the couples were friends of Avalon Development owner Don Murphy and were scheduled to have dinner at the Magic Forest with Murphy and his family last night.

The twin-engine Cessna 310 was registered to Rodney Duree, who was chairman of the Granbury Texas Municipal Airport Board.

The Cessna 310 is a six-seat aircraft last produced in 1980


Plane crash kills five  (posted June 17, 2010)  

A plane crash killed five and seriously injured two at about 10 o'clock this morning at Sierra Blanca Regional Airport, north of Ruidoso.

"It was on approach to Sierra Blanca Airport," State Police Sergeant Robert Eshom said. "It was a twin engine Cessna with seven passengers on board.

"Five are deceased and we have two that were airlifted out," he said. "Names are being withheld due to the fact that next of kin have not been notified.

Eshom said authorities have not positively identified the source of the flight.

"We are still in the process of identifying where they are from and what their final destination was," Eshom said.

Eshom did say that the plane was from Texas.

"From what I have been told they were on approach to the airport on runway B," he said. "There is no indication of them having trouble. He was calling in to the airport."

Eshom said the crash started a small grass fire, but Airport and Bonito Volunteer Fire Departments were able to extingish the blaze and remove the survivors from the plane.

"What I have been briefed, the two individuals that were transported were somewhat coherent, although they did have life threatening injuries," he said. "One was up moving around, the other was lying on the ground. They both had signs of life."

Eshom said the National Transportation Safety Bureau out of Denver, Colo. would be taking over the investigation.

"We are waiting for them to arrive," Eshom said.


Grass fire burns two acres  (posted June 17, 2010)  

Quick response by Lincoln and Hondo firefighters held a grass fire to under two acres Wednesday, June 16.

The fire started around 5:30 p.m., at about mile marker 95.5 near Lincoln and was extinguished a couple or hours later.

Lincoln County Emergency Services Manager Travis Atwell said the fire, named the Vigil Fire, appears to have been human caused, ignited by a cigarette.

"No structures were threatened, due to quick response," Atwell said.


Ruidoso firefighters qualify for World title shotNews-June-17-Firefighters.jpg (471579 bytes) (posted June 17, 2010)  

A team of four Ruidoso Fire Fighters has qualified for the Firefighter Combat World Challenge XIX.

The four Ruidoso Firefighters participated in the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge on Saturday June, 5th. 

The team of  Firefighters Nick Baker, Steve Gonzales, John Herring, and Captain, Michael Morrow did well enough to qualify for the Firefighter Combat World Challenge XIX to be held in South Carolina in November.  The competition featured some 50 teams from around the U.S. and was held in record temperatures of 114 degrees, in Carlsbad, N.M.

While the Ruidoso Fire Department Team only had four members, they were up against teams which had five members.  The course must be completed in six minutes and these men from the Ruidoso Fire Department were able to complete the entire course in 1:54 seconds.  This puts them in a position to compete for the World Title in South Carolina. 

John Herring and Steve Gonzales both ran individual races.  Herring won his heat and Gonzales placed 2nd overall for the “40 years and over class”.  Herring and Gonzales then competed in a tandem heat which they won handily. 

The firefighters have been training for this event for a few months in the Virgil Reynolds Unity Gym at Station 1.  This gym was fully equipped by donations from SERG (Special Events Resource Group).  A stair climber machine donated by The RAC has also helped build the leg endurance needed for the competition. 

The World Competition in South Carolina is set for November 8th – 14th and will bring firefighters from around the globe. Competitive firefighters from the US, Canada, New Zealand, Germany, Argentina, Chile and South Africa are expected. Officials expect the competition to draw 5,000 competitors along with their families and friends.  The Ruidoso Fire Department team is currently seeking area sponsors to help get them to the South Carolina.  If you or your business would like to help them in this effort, please contact Elaine Reynolds at (575) 937-4798. 

The success of this team has inspired other members of the Ruidoso Fire Department to try to get a second team qualified for the World Finals by competing in Lubbock later this summer. 

The Scott Combat Challenge consists of five events:

The first event is the Stair Climb. This challenge consists of a 42 lb.  hose which must be carried up six flights of stairs. This activity replicates a five story building where water is needed at the top. The 42 lb. hose is a standard 100 ft., 1.75 in. thick hose.

The second event is the Hose Hoist. Using a hand-over-hand motion, the Competitor must pull up a 42 lb. hose roll and place it into the box on the top of the 5-story Tower. The 42 lb. prop is a donut roll of large diameter hose plus 7 lbs. of rope.

The third event is the Forcible Entry challenge. This event simulates a firefighter breaking down a door or wall to enter a burning building. In this event, the firefighter must drive a 160 lb. steel beam a total of 5 feet with a 9 lb sledge hammer.

The fourth challenge is the Hose Advance. This simulates a firefighter running from a fire engine towards a fire. The competitor sprints 140 feet and picks up a 1.75 in. diameter charged (pressurized with water) hose then drags it 75 feet. The firefighter must then break through a set of swinging doors and open the hose nozzle, releasing water onto a small target.  After hitting the target, they must close the nozzle and drop the hose, which completes the event.

The fifth and final event is the Victim Rescue. This event simulates a firefighter removing a victim from a fire as quickly as possible to save the victim from injury. A 175 lb. mannequin must be picked up from the ground, grabbed from behind, and dragged backwards 100 ft. Time ends once the 175 pound mannequin and the competitor passes the 100ft line. Then competition has ended and time is stopped.

The Holloman Air Force Base also competed in this event and did exceptionally well.

Film Symposium scheduled (posted June 16, 2010)  

Film Lincoln County NM, the newly formed county wide film commission, will host a film industry symposium on August 26th at the Spencer Theater.  This symposium will have speakers from the State Film Office, the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees, New Mexico Women in Film, Crew New Mexico and more. The purpose of the film industry symposium is to inform the county about the state of film making in New Mexico and how that can affect Lincoln County. This will also allow people in the industry to see what Lincoln County has to offer the film business.

Film Lincoln County NM was formed in March of this year and has a representative from each of the municipalities and one from the county itself. Currently Film Lincoln County NM is in the application process to become a member of the AFCI which is an international film liaison organization. The mission of Film Lincoln County NM is to “promote Lincoln County as a film location, and to foster the art and education of film making in Lincoln County.”

The Film Lincoln County NM website is and provides information to film makers about Lincoln County. It includes a photo data base for locations, and a directory for film workers. Anyone living in Lincoln County or anyone whose business is located in Lincoln County and is related to the film industry may register for free. This directory will help film makers locate local resources to use when filming in Lincoln County.

The members of Film Lincoln County NM wanted to bring those who are knowledgeable about the industry to come to Lincoln County and talk about what this industry does for the state. Speakers from the New Mexico State Film Office will be presenting the facts about the state’s tax incentives that are offered to the film industry and make it clear as to how they benefit the state.


Former Ruidoso Downs Mayor dies (posted June 15, 2010)  

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John Columbus Day, Jr., 84, died June 11, 2010 at his home in Ruidoso Downs, N.M.

Day, better known to locals as J.C., was born October 24, 1925, the youngest of five children born to Dollie Brooks and John Columbus Day, Sr. of Snyder, Texas.

J.C. entered the US Navy in 1944 serving 28 months in the South Pacific as a Navy Armed Guard Gunner aboard Merchant Vessels.

After discharge from the service, J.C. returned to Snyder, Texas where he worked for his father as a truck driver.  There he met Betty Ray Roberds, “the cutest little waitress”, at the local coffee shop.  J.C. would save his nickels for a cup of coffee just so he could see her. The two were married November 24, 1949.

The Day’s moved their family of four children to Ruidoso in 1960 where J.C. worked as a finish carpenter until a sledding accident shattered his hip. While still recovering, J.C. went to work as Maintenance Supervisor for Ruidoso Hospital which later became Lincoln County Medical Center.

A former active member of Ruidoso Evening Lions Club, J.C. retired from the hospital in 1978 and later was elected and served as Mayor of Ruidoso Downs from 1982-1986.

J.C., very well known for his lighthearted since of humor and “joke of the day”, is survived by his wife of 60 years, Betty, one son John Day III of Ruidoso, two daughters, Mickie Reynolds of Ruidoso and Alisa Day-Kenyon of Carrizozo, New Mexico. There are three surviving grandsons, six granddaughters and fourteen great-grandchildren. Mr. Day was preceded in death in 1996 by his eldest son, Stephen Ray Day.

A Celebration of Life Memorial Service will be held Wednesday, 2:00 pm, June 16, 2010 at Gateway Church of Christ.  

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Lincoln County Community Health Council Mobile Food Pantry.  Monetary donations sent to: The Counseling Center, 206 Sudderth Dr. Ruidoso, NM 88345, with Mobile Food Pantry on the memo line.

Arrangements are under the direction of LaGrone Funeral Chapel.  Condolences can also be sent thru LaGrone at 


Retiring the flags (posted June 15, 2010)  

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Jack Shuster, right, organized and led the Flag Retirement Ceremony, conducted by area Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts and their Troop and Pack leaders, during the Flag Day Celebration at the Ellis Store in Lincoln June 14. 90 American Flags were ceremoniously retired during the ceremony.


More than spilt milk (posted June 13, 2010)  

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Clean up crews work to right a Price's Dairy Truck that wrecked at about 4:30 a.m. Saturday, June 12, at mile marker 306 on Highway 70. The driver was taken to the hospital in Roswell and reported to have been in stable condition. It took 6 1/2 hours for crews to clean up the accident scene. Photo courtesy Sierra Blanca Disaster Relief.

Ruidoso Downs Energy Fair scheduled (posted June 13, 2010)  

Apply for Help with Utility Bills and Food, Get Great Giveaways, Information and More

The New Mexico Alliance for Children (NMAC) and PNM will hold a free energy fair on Friday, June 25, at the Zia Senior Center, 393 U.S. Highway 70 West in Ruidoso Downs, from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., featuring nutrition and food program information, help with utility bills, giveaways, snacks and more.  

“Our organizations have joined together to help people living on a limited or fixed income,” said Maddie Martinez, PNM manager of low-income customer programs.

“We are also reaching out to help parents provide nutritious meals and a safe environment for their children,” said Julia Price, New Mexico Alliance for Children executive director.

The first 200 families to apply for the PNM Good Neighbor Fund, PNM Budget Billing or the government-funded Low income Home Energy Assistance Program known as LIHEAP will get a $25 Walmart grocery card.  Applications can be made for both programs, which provide a once-a-year grant to help pay utility bills. The PNM Fund has helped nearly 3,000 families this year, thanks to the PNM customers and shareholders who donate to the fund.  

Families will also be able to apply for free home weatherization, Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps).  

Additionally, the fair offers these attractions:

Energy efficient light bulb giveaway;

· Lincoln County DWI simulator rides;

· Art exhibit by area children who participated in Southwest Art Traditions art classes offered at the Hubbard Museum of the American West sponsored by PNM and NMAC;

· Face painting courtesy of the Ruidoso Regional Council of the Arts;

· Information on energy efficiency and nutrition for children.

Assistance programs are based on household income.  To sign up, please bring:

·                     Proof of household  income;

·                     An ID for the person  filling out the  application;

·                     A Social Security number  for all household members;

·                     One of the following from  the last 12 months:

o        Your highest gas or  electric bill for 30 days of  service;

o        An account history  printout from a propane company or receipts for two propane fills with the  fewest days in between;

o        A receipt for a wood  purchase, or,

o        A disconnect notice, if  you have received one, or the cost of starting utility service at your home.

For information, call PNM at 1-888-DIAL PNM (1-888-342-5766).


Holloman announces F-22 flying schedule (posted June 13, 2010)

Officials with the 49th Fighter Wing have announced the flying schedule for next week – June 14 to June 18.

Sonic booms could occur Monday, June 14, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.; Tuesday, June 15, from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Wednesday, June 16, from 8:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. and 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.; Thursday, June 17, from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Friday, June 18, from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Schedules can change based on a variety of reasons and scheduled times do not always mean sonic booms will occur.

For additional information, please visit the Holloman Web site at .


More arrests expected in burglary ring (posted June 12, 2010)

Six months into an investigation of a burglary ring that operated throughout the county for the past two years, police continue to make arrests and recover stolen property.

At this point, seven arrests have been made and eight more could be made soon, according to the Task Force investigating the burglaries.

The Ruidoso Police Department, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Capitan Police Department and the Mescalero Apache Reservation Bureau of Indian Affairs Police Department make up the Task Force that continues to work in a joint operation to identify the criminals and recover the stolen property.

So far, they have been able to solve 86 burglaries that have occurred in the past two years.

The investigation into the burglaries began in December 2009, when an individual burglarized a residence in Ruidoso and, in the same time period, another individual burglarized a residence in Alto. The property from these crimes was traced to the Village of Capitan, where it was being traded for narcotics and money.

As a result of these two incidents, the Ruidoso Police Department Criminal Investigations Division and the Special Response Team were deployed Dec. 31, 2009 to conduct search warrants and investigate the burglaries with the Capitan Police Department and Sheriff’s Department.

Officers arrested Bryan Painter, 26, and Autumn Judd-Painter, 22, for probation violations and arrested Donna Baker, 56, for felony possession of stolen property. Officers also cited Tanner Davis-Ferris for misdemeanor possession of stolen property.

As a result of these search warrants, the investigation expanded to the Mescalero Apache Reservation. With the cooperation of the BIA Police Department, more stolen property was recovered there.

The investigation has reached El Paso, Texas, where one of the suspects arrested in the case, is accused of burglarizing a commercial store.

Investigators also allege that property was disposed of in Albuquerque and Clovis, New Mexico, as well as in Phoenix, Ariz.

The Task Force estimates the value of the property recovered so far at $350,000. Items stolen range from children’s toys to power tools, a wedding dress with matching shoes to a sink, and books to coins.

The investigation continues, attempting to recover additional property stolen during the burglaries.

Identified victims will soon receive a letter from Capitan Police Chief Randy Spear requesting they contact him at 575-937-1125 to recover their property. The victims will have a chance to view the property between June 14 and July 1.

The following residences have been identified as victims of the burglaries:

Lincoln County:

114 Neil

602 Sun Valley

130 El Centro

116 Tobaggon

196 Musketball

163 Musketball

107 Musketball

124 Spring Canyon

106 Cedar Creek

112 Cedar Creek

??? Cochise

142 Meander

113 Deborg

Rainmaker Maintenance Area

Village of Capitan

130 Pinehurst

133 West Lobo

216 Long Road

100 Lonesome Pine

129 Short Drive

137 Short Drive

Village of Ruidoso

142 Mt. Blanc

123 Mt. Blanc

125 Mt. Blanc

127 Mt. Blanc

102 Spruce

110 Davis

158 Yellow Pine

132 Yellow Pine

118 Maple

230 Hemlock

109 Main Road

749-B Main Road

300 block of Wingfield (identified during interview)

615 Wingfield

211 Lookout

409 Paradise Canyon

107 Dogwood

310 Barcus

103 Monica Court

158 Apache Hills Drive

156 Apache Hills Drive

154 Apache Hills Drive

152 Apache Hills Drive

150 Apache Hills Drive

309 LL Davis

City of Ruidoso Downs

Ruidoso Downs Maintenance Garage

Three Lincoln County schools to get solar power (posted June 10, 2010)

Ruidoso, Carrizozo and Corona Schools are among the 15 New Mexico schools selected for solar power.

Governor Bill Richardson announced Wednesday, June 9, that $4.5 million in federal stimulus funds are now available to 15 school districts for installation of solar photovoltaic electric systems. The projects will create jobs and allow schools to invest in energy-saving technology.

“These new solar systems will not only create jobs and help these schools reduce their utility bills, but the entire process – from installation to monitoring the energy and cost savings – will serve as an invaluable educational tool for both students and teachers,” Governor Richardson said. “We want these projects to inspire students to pursue education and jobs in New Mexico’s emerging green economy.”

The 15 school districts were selected through a competitive application process and include: Belen, Carrizozo, Corona, Dulce, Elida, Gallup, Hatch, Los Alamos, Los Lunas, Moriarty, Peñasco, Portales, Rio Rancho, Ruidoso, and Taos. Funds will be used to purchase and install a 50-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system at a school in each of the 15 districts.

“Districts can look forward to lower utility bills and students can expect new hands-on learning opportunities,” Secretary of Education Veronica C. Garcia said.

The Public Education Department will manage the projects and the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department will provide technical assistance.

“We are pleased that the renewable energy projects at these schools will provide jobs for New Mexicans at a time when they are greatly needed,” said Jon Goldstein, Cabinet Secretary of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department. “And we are happy to see so many additional projects around the state that help us to further reduce our dependence on non-renewable resources.”

The program will be funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment State Energy Program administered by the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department and supported by the U.S. Department of Energy. Through Recovery Act funding, the State Energy Program is overseeing, to date, 39 other renewable energy and energy efficiency projects around the state, including the recently completed statewide traffic light project that replaced 150-watt incandescent bulbs with 6- to 12-watt LED bulbs.

A photovoltaic energy system is a solar electric system that converts the sun’s abundant energy into clean, reliable, and affordable electricity. Multiple components, like solar modules, structure mounts, and inverters that convert solar energy into usable electricity, make up the system. As a renewable energy technology and a domestic source of energy, it has numerous environmental benefits and contributes to the nation's energy security.


Missing hiker found (posted June 9, 2010)

Search and Rescue teams initiated a search for a 71 year old hiker Monday, June 7, after he got separated from his group while hiking the Crest Trail in Lincoln National Forest.

After not hearing from him for three hours, the group contacted the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department.

White Mountain Search and Rescue, Lincoln County Sheriff's Department, Bonito Volunteer Fire Department and the New Mexico State Police began the search.

The man walked out to the south Bonito Lake area between 6:30 and 7 p.m. and called his wife on his cell phone, ending the search.


Nob Hill wants your votes  (posted June 9, 2010)

Nob Hill Early Childhood Center (NHECC) is seeking votes.

NHECC is among 30 schools in the running to receive a $5,000 grant from Windstream.

The technology committee at NHECC applied for the Windstream Classroom Connections Technology Grant in March.  In April they were notified that they were in the top 34 schools. In May they received the news that they did not make the top five for a $25,000 grant, but were still eligible for a $5,000 Spirit Award grant.

To receive the $5,000 grant, NHECC must gather more on-line votes than most of other schools.

To vote for NHECC go to through August 20, 2010. The 10 schools whose videos receive the most online votes will each receive $5,000 to use at their discretion. Voters can vote once a day, every day.

"Vote, vote, vote!" said Ron Proleika, vice president of marketing communications for Windstream. "Windstream is excited to award the four $25,000 grand prize donations, but it is now up to the students, teachers, parents and friends in these 30 communities to determine the 10 Spirit Award winners."

NHECC is the only New Mexico school to receive consideration for the Spirit Award.

Windstream Corp. (Nasdaq: WIN), headquartered in Little Rock, Ark., is an S&P

500 company with communications operations in 21 states and about $3.7 billion in annual revenues. Windstream provides phone, high-speed Internet and high-definition digital TV services. The company also offers a wide range of IP-based voice and data services and advanced phone systems and equipment to businesses and government agencies. For more information about Windstream, visit


Sweet Charities to host Grand Opening  (posted June 9, 2010)  

Help End Abuse for Life (HEAL) has scheduled the grand opening of its newest adventure, Sweet Charity Resale Boutique, for Thursday, June 17th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Born out of a proactive response to a substantial budget cut pending for July of this year, Sweet Charity is intended to both fill a part of the anticipated $80,000 shortfall as well as continue the many layers of community support the Nest survivors need to move past their abusive relationship.

Sweet Charity looks forward to continuing a solid working relationship with the thrift stores in Lincoln County, with whom they share existing partnerships.  

Past HEAL board members Debbie Haines-Nix and Sarah Mayes served as “The Thrifty Chicks” in creating the concept and layout of Sweet Charity.  Soon, their part of the project will be complete and the proverbial baton will be passed to the newly hired Manager, Celina De La Garza.

Celina has extensive experience in business and is already considered a tremendous asset to Sweet Charity.

According to Kathryn Walker, Operations Director for HEAL, “Celina has the kind of experience the Boutique needs as manager and she also clearly understands the work behind our mission.  We never lose sight of why we do what we do.  It is always about supporting our survivors and their kids.”

There is still ample opportunity for those interested in supporting the Nest to participate as a volunteer.  According to De La Garza, “We love how Lincoln County comes forward to help the women and children who live at the Nest.  This is but one more way to do that and it doesn’t matter if you want to volunteer two hours a week or two hours a month.  We welcome and appreciate everyone.”

The Grand Opening will feature several special and unique items for sale.  Light refreshments will be served.  The Ruidoso Greeters will conduct a ribbon cutting at 10 a.m.

Sweet Charity Resale Boutique is located at 26156 US Highway 70 in Ruidoso Downs in the old C&L Lumber building west of Wal-Mart.  Its office hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm.  The purple Sweet Charity Volkswagon parked in the front of the building will be hard to miss!

For further information, call Sweet Charity at 575-378-0041.

Hospital announces charity care figures  (posted June 7, 2010)  

Lincoln County Medical Center, LCMC, announced June 3, it provided nearly $900,000 in charity medical care in 2009 to patients unable to pay for their medical services. In 2009, LCMC also provided nearly another $1.5 million in uncompensated and under-compensated care to patients where reimbursement is generally less than the cost of rendering the services.

Charity and uncompensated care figures are cited at the cost of care.

LCMC is managed by Presbyterian Healthcare Services, New Mexico ’s only private, not-for-profit healthcare system. In 2009, Presbyterian provided more than $20 million in free medical care and an additional $42 million in uncompensated care.

“I think Presbyterian’s commitment to Lincoln County and New Mexico is supported by the amounts and level of care provided for those who can’t afford it or when reimbursement is typically lower than the cost of the services,” said Al Santos, LCMC Administrator.

Bad debt figures, which include costs of care provided but not paid for by those who do not meet charity care requirements, are not included in the figures stated above.

LCMC provides free medically necessary services for patients with income up to 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.  LCMC also provides sliding-scale discounts on medically necessary services for patients with income between 200 percent to 300 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.

In addition, LCMC provides a 25 percent discount on billed charges for self-pay patients without health insurance. 

LCMC commits significant time and resources to critical services that meet unfilled community needs.  Many of these activities are sponsored with the knowledge that they will not be self-supporting or financially viable. Such programs include, health screenings, cancer support groups, hospice programs, free transportation, funding for homeless healthcare programs and free flu vaccines.

Lincoln County Medical Center is a county-owned facility leased by Presbyterian Healthcare Services. This partnership has existed since 1972 and is dedicated to improving the health of individuals, families and communities. Lincoln County Medical Center and Presbyterian Healthcare Services operates a hospital, 6 clinics and a countywide ambulance service. Lincoln County Medical Center employs more than 250 people, including more than 20 providers throughout Lincoln County .


Sonic boom schedule for the week (posted June 7, 2010)  

Officials with the 49th Fighter Wing have announced the flying schedule for next week – June 7 to June 11.

Sonic booms could occur Monday, June 7, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.; Tuesday, June 8, from 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.; Wednesday, June 9, from 8:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. and 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.; Thursday, June 10, from 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.; and Friday, June 11, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Schedules can change based on a variety of reasons and scheduled times do not always mean sonic booms will occur.

For additional information, please visit the Holloman Web site at


Relay for Life raises over $40K (posted June 6, 2010)  

News-June-5-115.jpg (165386 bytes)This year's Relay for Life raised over $40,000 for the American Cancer Society.

The Friday evening into Saturday morning event received $34,844.80 in contributions and sponsorships and the Ruidoso Downs Walmart Supercenter is donating an additional $5,000. 

There is also another $1,000 in "Purple Toilet" money due to come in. A toilet, painted purple, made it's way around Ruidoso for a couple of months, collecting change and donations.

This year the Relay ended just a few hours before the Mountain of Blues Festival, which sponsored the relay and collected donations for the Relay. That money had not been counted yet.

"I think this is the most successful Relay for Life ever," Relay for life chairwoman Jennifer Friberg said Saturday morning while announcing the totals. 

Walmart was the number one fundraising team, raising $3,412.85, not including the $5,000 store donation.

The Walmart team won a canopy, donated by Walmart. Team captain Debbie Pacheco donated the canopy to second place Otero Federal Credit Union.

James Mowell was the largest single individual fundraiser. Mowell walked from Ruidoso to Alamogordo, in April, in honor of his mother, who died of cancer. Mowell raised $1,350 from the 70-plus mile walk.

Team Hope won the Golden Pillow award for keeping a team member on the track all night. The team carried a Team Hope flag that never stopped moving until the event ended Saturday morning. 

Pictured: The Sierra Blanca Steppers led an impromptu dance line in front of the stage in the wee hours of the morning Saturday. The Ruidoso High School dance team stayed up all night selling food and other items to raise money, then performed at the end of the event Saturday morning. Photo by Harold Oakes


Relay a success (posted June 5, 2010)  

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Georgia and Larry Underwood take the Relay for Life Survivor's Walk at the Ruidoso High School Track Saturday, June 4. The Relay for Life set a record for fundraising, even before the Relay took to the track for the night. 


Wreck no accident (posted June 4, 2010)  

A motorcycle wreck on Gavilan Canyon Road Saturday, May 29 was not accident.

Lincoln County Deputy Sheriff Neil Cox charged Aaron Ramos, 32, with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a car, after Ramos allegedly forced a motorcycle rider off the road on Gavilan Canyon at about 10 a.m.

According to Undersheriff Robert Shepperd, the victim hit a tree and suffered a concussion, punctured lung, possible fractured vertebrae, and other injuries. The victim was transported to Lincoln County Medical Center. No information about his condition is available.

Ruidoso Downs Police arrested Ramos on a warrant and turned him over the Lincoln County Deputy Sheriff Rex Beard. Beard transported Ramos to Carrizozo, where Cox filed charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, accident involving death or injury, failure to provide immediate notice of an accident and reckless driving.

Magistrate Judge Lorena LaMay issued a “no bond” hold on Ramos for violating the conditions of his release. Ramos is awaiting trial on charges of trafficking in cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia from a Nov. 18, 2009 drug buy and bust operation by the Lincoln County Narcotics Enforcement Unit.

Ramos was charged with battery for allegedly striking someone with a dresser drawer April 28, 2010, when that person asked Ramos to return the truck Ramos had borrowed to move.


National Trails Day – fees waived (posted June 4, 2010)  

National Trails Day, which encourages citizen stewardship and visitation to lands managed by the Department of Agriculture and Department of Interior will be observed on June 5-6, 2010, on the Lincoln National Forest. Fees will be waived at several of the Forest Service managed sites on the Forest. Fee waivers will not be offered at any of the sites currently managed by permitted concessionaires.

 “The Lincoln National Forest offers a multitude of outdoor recreation opportunities,” said Public Services Staff Officer, Ron Hannan. “When the warm summer days occur, the Forest offers a respite from the lowland desert heat for America’s visitors to enjoy a hike or picnic in the cool Sacramento Mountains.”

The following sites on the Smokey Bear Ranger District will have fees waived during the June 5-6, 2010 weekend:  Cedar Creek Picnic/Pavilion, Schoolhouse Picnic Area, Skyline Campground, Baca Dispersed Campground, and Three Rivers Campground located on Highway 54 north of Tularosa.

The Sacramento Ranger District will be offering fee waivers at the following sites: James Canyon Campground, Upper and Lower Karr Campground, Bluff Springs, the Trestle Recreation Area.

The Guadalupe Ranger District offers fee waivers at Sitting Bull Falls Recreation Area, including Last Chance Trailhead, located near Carlsbad.         

For additional information on the Lincoln National Forest, please contact the Supervisor’s Office at (575) 434-7200; the Smokey Bear Ranger District Office at (575) 257-4095; Sacramento Ranger District Office at (575) 682-2551 or the Guadalupe Ranger District Office at (575) 885-4181, between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Forest Service maps, brochures and Smokey Bear memorabilia items are available.

            For more information on the Lincoln National Forest and its District Offices, review our website at and follow us on Twitter at


Flag Day celebration planned (posted June 3, 2010)

The flag of the United States of America is an honored symbol of our nation's unity, it's hopes, it's achievements, it's glory and it's high resolve.  

When that American flag of yours becomes ripped, don't act like Betsy Ross and take to needle and thread.  And when that flag become soiled, don't throw it in the wash or take it to the cleaners.  When the flag is in such condition, through wear or damage, that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, it should be destroyed in a dignified manner befitting such a symbol.

The traditional way to retire a flag is to cut the flag into pieces and burn it in a modest but blazing fire.

That tradition will be followed at the Annual Flag Day Celebration on Flag Day, Monday, June 14, at the Ellis Country Store Inn in historic Lincoln.  

The public is invited to join a number of civic groups in honoring the Red, White and Blue from 5:30 p.m. until dusk.  

The main speaker at the event will be writer and historian Jack Shuster who will talk about the history of the flag and about Flag Day.  

This will be followed by a Flag Retirement ceremony with the help of local Lincoln County scouts.

Please bring your tattered and torn American flags to be respectfully retired.  New replacement flags will be available for purchase.

Hot dogs with all the trimmings will be served along with tea and lemonade and there is no charge!  Music, too.

All are invited to this free, county-wide annual event in Lincoln, so bring your friends and bring the kids.  

The historic Ellis Store Country Inn is on Highway 380 at Mile Marker 88, in the town of Lincoln.  

Call Dolores Stevens at 653-4379, or email at Let them know how many folks you're bringing so that they can prepare plenty of food.


Both incumbents upset in Primary (posted June 2, 2010)

Incumbent County Commissioners Don Williams and Dave Parks have both been unseated in the Primary.

Mark Doth defeated Williams in the District 2 race 143 to 123. Kathryn Minter defeated Parks in the District 4 race 298 to 285.

Jackie Powell is unopposed in the District 5 race.

The results of the election are unofficial.

In the statewide races, Diane Denish won the Democratic race for Governor and will face Republican winner Susana Martinez in November. Steve Pearce won the Republican race for U.S. Representative and will face incumbent Harry Teague. Brian Colon took the Democratic Party race for Lieutenant Governor and will face Republican winner Brian Moore.

Click here for all the results of the June 1 New Mexico Primary.


Saving the baby ducks (posted June 1, 2010)

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Ruidoso Fire Fighter Steve Gonzales holds the eight baby ducks rescued from a storm drain along Sudderth Drive at Highway 70, Tuesday, June 1. 

Veterinarian Nancy Newcombe watched the baby ducks fall into the storm drain while following mom across Sudderth Drive at about 10 a.m. 

Newcombe, a summer-time resident, was on her way to meet realtor Sheri Rodgers to look at property. Newcombe and Rodgers met and tried to get the babies from the drain and back to momma duck. 

At just after 3 p.m., Rodgers called the Ruidoso Fire Department. 

The Fire Department responded with a pumper truck and flushed the babies into the main channel, where fire fighters and Ruidoso Village Water & Sewer Department personnel captured them. 

Newcombe took the baby ducks to her RV to get the warmed up and Rodgers went for food for the babies. 

The search continues for momma duck.News-June-01-001.jpg (188887 bytes)

Update: (posted June 2, 2010)

Late Tuesday evening Rodgers notified that seven of the baby ducks survived and were doing very well.

"Nancy was able to get them dry, warm, loaded up with a drop or two of sugar water and they all came around," Rodgers said in her e-mail. :In fact, when she left to go to WalMart for a heat lamp for them, they apparently were rejuvenated to the point of escaping their little makeshift "nest" and were having a little party in her motor home when she returned."

Nancy Newcombe holds one of the rescued baby ducks

Photo by Sheri Rodgers


Ruidoso Restaurant owner dies (posted May 31, 2010)

Steve Nelson, 61, co-owner of Lucy & Ethel's Restaurant in Ruidoso died Sunday, May 30.

Unofficial sources have said he had a heart attack.

Funeral service arrangements are being made at LaGrone Funeral Chapel in Ruidoso.


The winner is (posted May 31, 2010)

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Ruidoso Noon Lions Club member Curt Dimberg presents winner David Paul, of Albuquerque, the Remington Rifle he won at the Noon Lions Club Gun Show at the Ruidoso Convention Center Sunday, May 30. Paul won the rifle with a $5 raffle ticket. The raffle benefits Lions Club projects.


Memorial Day service at Fort Stanton (posted May 30, 2010)  

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One woman stands alone among the crosses marking the graves, well behind the crowd gathered at Fort Stanton Saturday, May 29 for the annual Memorial Day Service. This year marked the 22nd year of the observation at the historic cemetery.


Throwing the first pitch (posted May 29, 2010)  

News-May-28-016.jpg (279501 bytes)

Ruidoso Downs Mayor Tom Armstrong throws the ceremonial first pitch at All American Park to get the games started in the USSA baseball tournament Friday, May 8. Armstrong said there were about 2,000 participants in this years tournament, playing on every field in Ruidoso Downs and Ruidoso.


Honoring their sacrifice (posted May 29, 2010)  

News-May-28-002.jpg (467828 bytes)

Blanche Love and Don Spencer help put flags on all the graves at Fort Stanton's Merchant Marine Cemetery Friday in preparation for Saturday's Memorial service. Blanche's son, Don's brother, Richard Lee "Red" Spencer was interned in Fort Stanton Tuesday, May 25. Red was a Vietnam Veteran who spent 30 years helping veterans. There will be a memorial service for all Veterans Saturday at 11 a.m. at Fort Stanton Cemetery.


Southwestern Art for Kids (posted May 29, 2010)  

Summer 2010

On Tuesday mornings from 9-11 during the month of June, New Mexico Alliance for Children will sponsor a series of four Southwestern Traditions art projects for children. Classes will be held in the Cope Room of the Hubbard Museum of the American West in Ruidoso Downs. The art projects, presented by different area artists each week, will celebrate the art of the Southwest through fun, brightly colored creations in a number of different modalities. The Hubbard Museum will offer a tour for children related to the art theme.

Thanks to funding supplied by PNM Resources these classes will be offered free of charge. The classes are appropriate for school-age children. Enrollment is limited, so please register early! Email with the names and ages of the children in your group who will be attending, or call 336-1933.

New Mexico Alliance for Children is an educational non-profit organization based in Ruidoso. For more information about our current programming, please visit our websites, and 

See Upcoming Events for classes.


Tears for Temo (posted May 28, 2010)  

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Ruidoso Downs Racetrack Executive Chef Brendan Grochenour offers condolences to the family of Temo Montelongo at a Memorial Service in the Turf Club at Ruidoso Downs Racetrack Thursday, May 27. Montelongo, a long-time employee of the track, was killed in Juarez, Mexico May 21, after refusing to pay protection money for a business he opened there to empoloy his brother and sister. A fund has been established at City Bank New Mexico for the family, including wife Jackie Benavidez-Montelongo, and two small children. Jackie Benavidez-Montelongo is a City Bank New Mexico employee.


HEAL Resale Boutique Seeking Donations (posted May 28, 2010)

Sweet Charities is operated by Help End Abuse for Life (HEAL), with all proceeds benefiting the Nest Domestic Violence Shelter in Ruidoso Downs.

All donations may be dropped at the Resale Boutique, located in the old C&L Lumber building east of Wal-Mart, at 26156 Highway 70.  Store hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  

Sweet Charities Resale Boutique is being managed by Debbie Haines-Nix and Sarah Mayes.  According to Mayes,

 "We are always so surprised at the quality of merchandise donated to the Boutique,” Maynes said. “ The vision for this store is to provide our community with a very upscale resale shopping opportunity while supporting the women and children who live at the Nest Shelter.  It is a win-win for everyone involved."

Haines-Nix notes that all donations will receive a tax receipt.

 "Because HEAL is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization, we have the ability to provide a tax receipt for donors and their accountants,” Haines-Nix said. “ It is a small way we can give back to those who give to our shelter."

For further information, call Sweet Charities at (575) 378-0041.   


County gets another new fire truck (posted May 25, 2010)  

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Lincoln County Fire Services received a new fire truck Tuesday, May 25, 2010. The Rosenbauer CAFS (Compressed Air Foam System) Tanker-Pumper was delivered to the Lincoln Fire Station.  The delivery marks the 10th new piece of fire apparatus delivered to County fire departments in 12 months and completes a program of planned upgrades. County Manager Tom Stewart said the County has a couple of more apparatus on the drawing boards and is searching for programmatic funding to continue the upgrades. Pictured with the new fire truck are from left to right -  Travis Atwell, County Emergency Services Director; Marshal Davis of Artesia Fire; Lincoln Fire Chief Bennie Long handing the Artesia Fire representative a check for $264,062; Joe Gallegos and Ernie Gallegos both members of the Lincoln Fire Department; and Joe Kenmore, County Emergency Services Coordinator. (Courtesy photo)


New Principal named (posted May 25, 2010)  

Ruidoso School's Superintendent Dr. Bea Harris announced this morning, May 25, that Pauline Staski has been hired to be the Principal of Ruidoso High School.

Staski, a 27 year veteran of Las Cruces area schools, begins her official duties Aug. 2. She replaces Stan Lyons, who quit after he was told his contract would not be renewed for next year.

Harris said that Assistant Superintendent Patty White will continue as Principal of Sierra Vista Primary School next year.

White stepped in to the position when Dave Bishop quit after he was told his contract would not be renewed.

Harris said keeping White in the Principal position would save the school system money and the Assistant Superintendent duties White had at the Central Office are being distributed to other staff members.


Alto resident injured in crash that leaves one dead (posted May 25, 2010)

Tularosa – Roscoe Godfrey, 79, of Hurricane, Utah, was fatally injured when the vehicle he was driving drove into oncoming traffic.      

State Police Officers from the Alamogordo office were called to a three vehicle collision just after 3 p.m. Sunday, May 23. 

The officers learned that Roscoe Godfrey was traveling north on US 54 approaching mile post 104 in his 2005 Lincoln Towncar; Roscoe Godfrey drove from the northbound lanes of US 54 into the southbound lanes.  Manuel Sanchez, 30, of San Diego, Calif. was traveling south on US 54 in his 1998 Freightliner Semi-trailer, when he swerved out of the way, however, Godfrey still struck the trailer. 

Godfrey’s Lincoln ricocheted off the trailer wrecking into another southbound vehicle, a 2006 Ford Expedition driven by Bridgett Herrera, 37, of Alto, N.M.

Godfrey’s passengers Maxine Godfrey, 78, and Jeanine Rosenvall (age unknown), were transported for medical attention and were in stable condition as of late yesterday evening. 

Manuel Sanchez was uninjured in the crash, Bridgett Herrera and her passenger Zachariah Diaz, 37, of Tularosa, N.M., were also transported for medical attention, and were listed in stable condition as well.  Roscoe Godfrey was pronounced deceased on scene by the Office of the Medical Investigator. 

Alcohol does not appear to be a contributing factor, and all were wearing their seatbelts.


Ruidoso Downs discusses Chief, again (posted May 25, 2010)

The Ruidoso Downs City Council once again held a closed meeting about Police Chief Alfred Ortiz at their Monday, May 24 meeting.

Before the council went into closed session, during Public Input, five Ruidoso Downs citizens expressed their support for the chief and told the council the "let him do his job."

At the end of the closed meeting, the council reconvened and adjourned without taking any action.

City Attorney John Underwood said after the meeting that his research showed that the conditions of Ortiz's six month probation, imposed at the May 10 City Council meeting, are part of Ortiz's personnel file and not public record.

In other actions, the City adopted a racial profiling policy for the Police Department.

Underwood told the council that the New Mexico Legislature passed the law in 2009 and municipalities were supposed to have enacted the local legislation prohibiting racial profiling by December 2009.

The policy adopted prohibits bias-based and profiling police activities and states that all police activities must be based on reasonable suspicion or probable cause for taking enforcement action in accordance with the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.

Councilors also adopted the 2010-2011 budget for the City, adopted a Fire Restrictions ordinance in line with the Lincoln County ordinance and adopted an amended memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Ruidoso for administration of DWI enforcement funds.

The DWI MOU was amended to include an additional $2,000 in funding for DWI enforcement in 2010-2011.


Alto Lakes signs Outlaw deal (posted May 25, 2010)

The deal is done to make The Outlaw Golf Course part of Alto Lakes Golf and Country Club.

“It is a lease to own agreement between Alto Lakes Golf and Country Club and ALD(Alto Land Development)/Outlaw,” Alto Lakes Golf and Country Club Board president Joe Watson said. “ALD is the land developer, Outlaw is the golf course.”

The name of the golf course is now The Outlaw at Alto Lakes.

The Outlaw golf course has been without play since last June.

“The Outlaw and ALD folks did what they could as far as maintenance of the course, but maintenance requires a lot of TLC,” Watson said. “The course is not in good playable condition.”

Returning the course to playable condition falls to Alto Lakes Golf Course superintendent Glen Denny.

“He and his crew are working on the golf course, doing what is necessary to get it into a playable condition,” Watson said. “As of this date, Glen has not even given us an estimate as to when he will be willing to let the golf course go for play.”

Denny started working on the course immediately after the lease was signed.

“We’re confident he will have it in good playable condition in a reasonable period of time,” Watson said.

Signing the agreement meant in influx of money into the local economy.

“As of May 15th we signed the lease,” Watson said. “Part of the agreement was that there would be funds provided to pay off all outstanding obligations that have not been paid ostensibly because of the turn-down in the economy.”

Watson said he did not have any of the numbers associated with payments to local vendors, but acknowledge there was an extensive list of locals who received payments.

Watson said the benefits to Alto Lakes and Lincoln Hills homeowners should be an increase in property values.

“I’m not sure that I could quote any numbers, but it would stand to reason that having the availability of two courses should have an impact on the value of property, both here and up there,” Watson said.

A benefit to Alto Lakes members will be the addition of another 18-hole golf course.

“The members of Alto Lakes Golf and Country Club who are golfers, and that is a considerably large percentage, will now have the option, when that course is ready to play, of either playing at this course or that course.” Watson said. “One of the problems the board recognized is that the amount of play on this course has increased every year.”

Watson said adding the Outlaw Golf Course will make it easier for members to play golf and eliminate the over-crowding at Alto Lakes.

“The members overwhelmingly agreed,” Watson said.

“The members had the vote,” Alto Lakes Golf and Country Club board member Jerry Ballard said. “It was 1948 for and 715 against.”

“That gave us a good mandate to go forward with this,” he said. “We couldn’t do anything without the member’s approval.”

The lease to own deal includes more than just the golf course.

“We are also getting the facilities,” Ballard said. “Which is the clubhouse, driving range, cart barn and also the maintenance shop.”

Ballard said they also get the tools and equipment.

“I was pleasantly surprised by what was there when I went down and did a walk-through on Monday,” Ballard said.

 “There is a space for a bar and grill,” Watson said. “There is not one that currently exists.”

Watson said they would probably be looking for someone to lease the bar and grill and operate it.

While the golf course comes under Alto Lakes control, the home sites do not become part of Alto.

 “They have their own home owner association up there,” Watson said. “There are certain parts of their covenants that will have to be modified because of the agreement, but they are not significant.”

Watson said that the two homeowners associations would continue to operate as separate entities for now.

Lincoln Hills also has it’s own water system

“Part of the agreement is that we will purchase water from them for the golf course,” Watson said. “We will only purchase the pro rata share that  we use and only pay for the pro rata share that we use.”

“As part of the lease we get 125 acre feet of water rights for the golf course,” Ballard said.


Burn ban extended (posted May 24, 2010)

County manager Tom Stewart announced Monday, May 24, that the burn ban implemented Friday and set to expire today, has been extended.

"The County Manager in concert with the Emergency Services Director has determined that critical fire weather conditions favorable to the ignition and rapid spread of uncontrolled fire will exist today – May 24, 2010," Stewart said in his announcement.  "Accordingly, the temporary fire restrictions placed in  effect for the weekend on all open burning are hereby extended and imposed.   

Stewart said currently Lincoln County is “Very High” to almost “Extreme” Fire Danger. 

Depending upon conditions burning may resume on Tuesday, May 25, 2010, according to the statement. 

Stewart also announced that two Lincoln County Fire departments have dispatched units to Eddy County to fight the fire burning in the back country of  Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Units from Glencoe and Bonito have been sent to assist in the firefighting.

Drawing a crowd (posted May 23, 2010)

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Pinecliff Village owner Lynn Morgan drew a crowd of curious bikers to check out her Stallion three-wheeler in the Ruidoso Convention Center Parking lot Saturday afternoon. Mogan purchased the unique vehicle, which she called a "Jetson's car," at the AspenCash Motorcycle Rally. Photo by Harold Oakes.


No Scum in White Oaks (posted May 23)

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No Scum Allowed Saloon owner Tony Marsh and his nephew Bill Marsh survey the motorcycles parked along the street in White Oaks Saturday afternoon, as bikers flocked to the little town to celebrate. Bill Marsh is an attorney in San Diego and came to White Oaks to help his uncle for the AspenCash Motorcycle Rally. Photo by Harold Oakes.


Ruidoso fire fighters train with U.S. Army (posted May 23)

Two employees of the Ruidoso Fire Department have been training with the U.S. Army on HAZMAT Mitigation and Response. 

The Ruidoso Fire Department has two newly trained HAZMAT Technicians, Captain Cody Thetford and Assistant Chief Harlan Vincent. They concluded a four week, intensive training program that is nationally certified in March. This is a first for the Ruidoso Fire Department. The Department has never before supported this high level of qualification within its ranks. 

It also provides the Village of Ruidoso with first responder expertise to deal with these types of incidents. According to Fire Chief Tom Gavin, “the plan is to have Thetford and Vincent highly trained and equipped in this field, to the extent that they will be able to quickly assess a pending HAZMAT emergency and if necessary, dispatch and then interact with the 64th CST when they arrive on scene in Ruidoso. I commend these two fine employees for their dedication to this complex field, and their willingness to take on this huge additional training load. It will make Ruidoso a safer place to live.”

These two individuals were invited to train with the 64th CST-WMD in Farmington, New Mexico during a one week Field Training Exercise last week, May 17-21. During this training exercise, the two employees received hands on experience in HAZMAT detection, identification, modeling and mitigation. Their training was a vigorous physical and mental test of both individuals, under as real as possible conditions.  

The mission of the 64th Civil Support Team-Weapons of Mass Destruction (CST-WMD) is to support local and state authorities at a domestic Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) incident by identifying agents and substances, assessing current and projected consequences, advising on response measures and assisting with requests for additional military support.  

The 64th CST-WMD consists of twenty –two highly skilled HAZMAT Technicians, full-time Army and Air Force National Guard members who are federally resourced, trained and exercised, and employs federally approved CBRN response doctrine. 

The coordinated efforts will support future training exercises that are planned for the near future with the community of Ruidoso, the Mescalero Apache Tribe and all surrounding communities.

Submitted by the Ruidoso Fired Department.


County implements burn ban (posted May 22)

Lincoln County manager Tom Stewart announced a severe fire hazard restriction Friday, May 21 to last through Sunday, May 23.

The statement says "In accordance with Lincoln County Ordinance, Section 5, paragraph A, the County Manager in concert with the Emergency Services Director has determined that critical fire weather conditions favorable to the ignition and rapid spread of uncontrolled fire will exist during the period May 21 - 23, 2010.

Accordingly, temporary fire restrictions on all open burning are hereby imposed.   Currently Lincoln County is “Very High” to almost “Extreme” Fire Danger."

The statement says, depending upon conditions, burning may resume on Monday, May 24, 2010.


Walmart donates to Spanish Club (posted May 22)

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Walmart Supercenter manager Raymond Simpson, right, and Janett Herrera present a $1,000 donation to Ruidoso High School Spanish Club advisor Steve Clawsen and students Kristen Clawsen and Caitlin Furphy at Walmart Friday, May 21.


Holloman announces F-22 flying schedule (posted May 22)

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Officials with the 49th Fighter Wing have announced the flying schedule for the next two weeks – May 24 to June 4.

For the week of May 24 to May 28, sonic booms could occur Tuesday, May 25, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.; Wednesday, May 26, from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.; and Thursday, May 27, from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

For the week of May 31 to June 4, sonic booms could occur Tuesday, June 1, from 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.; Wednesday, June 2, from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Thursday, June 3, from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.; and Friday, June 4, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

At this time, no flights are scheduled for Monday, May 24; Friday, May 28; and Monday, May 31.

Schedules can change based on a variety of reasons and scheduled times do not always mean sonic booms will occur.

For additional information, please visit the Holloman Web site at 


Battin told to take it easy (posted May 21)

By Harold Oakes

Lincoln County Commission Chairman Tom Battin was told to take it easy, until he could see his cardiologist.

Battin's wife took him the the Emergency Room at Lincoln County Medical Center Sunday, May 16 because he complained of chest pains.

"It was not a heart attack," County Manager Tom Stewart said on Thursday. "There were some problems with his enzymes and they kept him in the hospital overnight. The doctors told him not to go back to work until he saw his cardiologist."

Stewart said he sent Battin an email advising that he not answer the phone until his doctor cleared him to return to work.


Locals evening at the Motorcycle Rally (posted May 21)

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Thursday evening was Locals night at the AspenCash Motorcycle Rally Trade Show at the Ruidoso Convention Center. Rally organizers send invitations to local area residents to come and check out the products available, letting them in for free. These ladies stocked up on Sham Wows. (Photo by Harold Oakes)


Crash on Paradise (posted May 19)  

Ruidoso Police officer Eric Ament directs traffic around the tow truck hauling away the two pickup trucks involved in an accident on Paradise Canyon late Wednesday morning, May 19. The little red truck t-boned the big red truck as the big red truck pulled from Foothills Road. The new pavement, allowing higher speeds on Paradise Canyon, may have contributed to the accident. (Photo by Harold Oakes)


Performing on the greens

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(posted May 18)  

Joined in teams of four, nearly 60 golf lovers played in the Spencer Theater Benefit Golf Tournament held on the gorgeous greens of the Inn of the Mountain Gods on Sunday, May 16.  The spring day was spectacular and players' spirits were high as they competed in the five hour shotgun scramble,. The event was the 5th annual Spencer golf benefit sponsored by the Inn and proved to be one of the most successful to date.  Thirty-two individuals and businesses sponsored holes for the event and Sierra Blanca Motors offered a brand new 2010 Jeep for anyone getting a hole-in-one at the 18th hole.  (Alas, no one did).

The Spencer Theater thanks: Allstate Ins, American Oxygen Co. Inc, AmeriPride, Apache Trading, Big O Tires, Bill Pippin Real Estate, Brunell's, Century 21 Real Estate, Chuy's Speed Shop, City Bank New Mexico, Club Car, Condotel, DJ's Jewelry, Denny's, Don & Wanda Harmon, DoubleTree Glass & Windows, Dr. Jon Ogden, Eagle Ranch Pistacio Groves, ENMU, First National Bank, Four Seasons Real Estate, H. John Underwood, Ltd, Attorneys at Law, Helen Joan Holt, High Country Agency, Inc., Josie's Framery, Lawrence Brothers, Lincoln County Grill, Log Cabin Restaurant, Mitchell's, Mortgage Pro, Myrl Good, NAPA Auto Parts, Otero County Electric Co-op, Otero Federal Credit Union, Pena's, Pinecliff Village, Pinon Pottery, Red Racoon, ROW Enterprises, Rainmakers, Ronnie Hemphill, Ruidoso Athletic Club (RAC), Ruidoso Ford, Ruidoso Downs Race Track/Billy the Kid Casino, Sierra Blanca Motors, Sierra Blanca Collision, Southwest Securities, FSB, Southwestern Wireless Internet, Tanner Tradition, The Adobe, The Lodge at Sierra Blanda, Thriftway Supermarket of Ruidoso, TR's Market, Troy & Milda Mason, Village Ace Hardware, Village Wellness, Visions, Washington Federal Bank, Western Auto, White Mountain Development, Zia Natural Gas.

Pictured: Cindy and Gary Lynch speed off to the greens for their first par of the day.

Story and photo submitted by Kathleen McDonald, Spencer Theater for the Performing Arts


Two weekend fires reported (posted May 18)  

The Ruidoso Fire Department responded to two fires over the weekend. 

The first was a response to a vehicle fire at 2810 Sudderth at 11:19 p.m., Saturday night. The first arriving fire unit was on scene at 11:21 p.m. and found a fully involved 2005 Chevrolet Cargo Van in front of the new furniture store at this same address. The fire was fully extinguished at 11:47 p.m. and an investigation by the Ruidoso Fire Department is ongoing. Cause is yet to be determined. Fire damage was estimated to be $8,000.

The second smaller fire was at 121 Paradise Road on Sunday at 11:43 p.m.. This fire was partially extinguished by the owner. The Ruidoso Fire Department completed the suppression effort and conducted a thorough fire investigation. The probable cause was determined to be an improperly ground hot water heater which was charged and in turn charged other nearby components, including an exhaust system, causing a fire. Damage was estimated to be less than $500.00.


Tornado touches down east of Downs (posted May 14)  

By Harold Oakes

Just before noon today a tornado touched down in a valley about six miles east of Ruidoso Downs Racetrack and just north of Highway 70 at the home of Ruidoso assistant fire chief Harlan Vincent.News-May-14-073.jpg (317338 bytes)

Vincent said he was on a bulldozer working when the twister engulfed him, ripping the buttons from his shirt. Vincent said the tornado moved away from him and uprooted trees as it moved toward his house, a couple of hundred yards away.

Inside the house, Rhonda Vincent said it sounded like the house was coming apart. The tornado passed over the house, scattering lawn furniture and slightly damaging Vincent's Ruidoso fire department truck.

The twister picked up a half-full 500 gallon diesel tank and dropped it about 400 yards to the north and turned over an empty box semi trailer,.

No one was injured and the Vincent's home appeared to be undamaged.

Vincent said the storm definitely had a circular motion.

In the photo to the right: Harlan Vincent points to the path the diesel tank, seen in the valley below, took as it flew about 400 feet. (Photo by Harold Oakes)


Walgreens buys Long's Drugs (posted May 13)  

By Harold Oakes

Walgreens has purchased Long's Drugs in the Sierra Mall.

Long's Drugs will be closed in early June and the prescriptions moved to Walgreens on Sudderth Drive.

The two pharmacist at Long's Drugs and possibly one other employee will move to Walgreens.

More information on this as it becomes available.


Judge Line service moved (posted May 12)  

The Memorial service for Judge Mike Line has been moved to the Ruidoso Convention Center.

The service will be held at 11 a.m., Thursday, May 13.

Line, 56, died Thursday in Lubbock after a 17 year battle with cancer.

Ruidoso Village offices will be closed from 11 to 1 to allow employees to attend the services.


Downs Chief place on probation (posted May 11)  

By Harold Oakes

The Ruidoso Downs City Council placed Department of Public Safety Chief Alfred Ortiz on six months probation at their regular meeting Monday, May 10.

The council discussed Ortiz in closed session for three hours before reconvening in open session and voting, unanimously, for the action.

The reason for the probation was not disclosed. Mayor Tom Armstrong and City Attorney John Underwood said it was a personnel matter.

Armstrong, Underwood and City Clerk Carol Virden are to develop the guidelines for the Chief for the probation period. 

About 20 citizens attended the meeting in support of Ortiz and most of them waited out the three hour closed session to hear the verdict, expecting Ortiz to be fired.

Ortiz told Harvey Twite at KEDU Radio earlier in the day that he would not resign, if asked to do so in the meeting.

"I am proud of the job this police department is doing. No one has done anything wrong here," Ortiz said during the phone interview.

Ortiz also denied the accusation by City Councilman Rene Olivo that the Police Department has been “profiling” subjects in conjunction with the U.S. Border Patrol.

Olivo was not at the meeting, participating instead by telephone.

“That man is the best thing that ever happened to this department,” Corporal Jim Minter said of Ortiz, while the Council debated the Chief's fate. Minter is the second in command at the department.


Military Appreciation Weekend

News-422.jpg (204826 bytes)Tularosa Legion Riders, Left to right, Bill Guthrie, Milton Chestnut and Pat Scherf collect donations for Operation Wounded Warrior at Ruidoso Downs Racetrack Saturday during MAW. 100 percent of the money raised goes to the warriors. (photo by Dana Terlecky)


Judge Line services set (posted May 8)  

Services for retired Municipal Judge Mike Line are set for Thursday, May 13, at 11 a.m. at the Gateway Church of Christ.

Line, 56, died Thursday in Lubbock after a 17 year battle with cancer.

He served four terms as Municipal Judge and was elected to a fifth term in March 2010, but resigned because of his and his wife Karan's battles with cancer.

Line was born Oct. 30, 1953 in Snyder, Texas. He graduate from Snyder High School, then attended Abilene Christian University before transferring to the University of Texas Austin where he received his Bachelors degree.  He then went to Texas Tech Law School where he received his Doctor of Jurisprudence.  He moved to Ruidoso in December 1988 and practiced as an attorney and served the past sixteen years as Municipal Judge for the Village of Ruidoso.  Mike married Karan on July 10, 1982 at Snyder, Texas.

He is survived by his wife, Karan of Ruidoso; two daughters, Robin Peterson and her husband Eric of Johnstown, Colorado and Carrie Line of Lubbock, Texas; son, Tyler Line of Lubbock, Texas and his mother, Marie Line of Ruidoso.  He was preceded in death by his father, Sig E. Line and a brother, Sig E. Line Jr.
The family has requested memorials to the Michael S. Line Scholarship Fund at First National Bank of Ruidoso.

Condolences may be sent to the family at 


Truck takes down poleNews-May-7-037.jpg (43700 bytes) (posted May 8)  










A pickup truck lost control and crashed into a utility pole in front of Denny's restaurant just after noon Friday, May 7.

Details on the cause of the crash and any possible injuries are not available.

PNM workers replaced the pole. (Photo by Harold Oakes)


Convoy arrives (posted May 8)  

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Military vehicles from Fort Bliss, Texas arrived in Ruidoso Downs just after noon Friday, May 7, for the Military Appreciation Weekend activities at Ruidoso Downs Racetrack. (see Today's Events) (Photo by Harold Oakes)


Judges Lines dies (posted May 6)

By Harold Oakes

Do you think he knew?

While the 1,300 in attendance at the Lincoln County Prayer Breakfast prayed for him, Mike Lines died. Lines proclamation.gif (28283 bytes)

“Beverly Rankin came in after the Prayer Breakfast and said while we were praying for Judge Line during the Prayer Breakfast she got a text message telling her that he had passed,” Village manager Debbi Lee said.

Lines, elected to five terms as Ruidoso Municipal Judge, lost his 17 year battle with cancer this morning in Lubbock.

Lines tendered his resignation before the March 2010 Municipal Election, in which he was elected to serve a fifth term. His resignation became effective as the polls closed March 2.

“The dear legacy of the honorable Michael Scott Line was one of respect, dignity and love for the community,” Beverly Rankin said when she was appointed to replace her long-time boss at the court. “It is not a legacy I have to live up to, it is a legacy I lived.”

Rankin served as Lines’ clerk for nine years and received the appointment to the bench March 11.

Lines said in his resignation letter that the cancer he has battled for so long “will never take his faith in my Savior and Lord Jesus Christ, my love for Karan my angel, my love for my children and love for my mother and finally, my love for my lifelong friends here in Ruidoso and back in Texas.”

Ruidoso Mayor Ray Alborn issued a proclamation this afternoon, ordering the lowering of the flags in the Village of Ruidoso to half-staff in Lines honor through May 13, the date set for his Memorial service.  


Crowd fills Convention Center for prayerPrayer-May-6-037.jpg (22102 bytes) (posted May 7, 2010)  

The announced attendance at the Annual Lincoln County Prayer Breakfast, Thursday, May 6, was 1,342.

This year's speaker was a famous father. Brad McCoy is a high school football coach and the father of Colt McCoy, the University of Texas quarterback last season.

McCoy told of the trials, tribulations and joys that came with Colt's rise to fame and how the trials of life make a person stronger. (Photo by Harold Oakes)

Chief to be sworn as police officer (posted May 5, 2010)

The newest Ruidoso Police Officer to be sworn in by the Judge Beverly Rankin will be the Fire Chief, Tom Gavin.

New Ruidoso Police Chief, Joe Magill will issue a law enforcement commission to Gavin at a ceremony at Municipal Court on Friday, May 7, 2010.

This will mark the first time in the history of the Ruidoso Fire Department that a commissioned law enforcement officer has even been employed within the Department, specifically for the purpose of conducting fire and explosion investigations within the Village of Ruidoso. In the past, the department has relied on the State Fire Marshal to conduct most of its fire investigations.

The Ruidoso Fire Department is moving forward to independently investigate our Village fire scenes, process the evidence and if necessary, file for the criminal prosecution of its own fire, explosion and/or arson cases.

Gavin will be commissioned by the Ruidoso Police Department and will train with the RPD as required to maintain his law enforcement commission. In addition, the Village has mutual aid agreements with adjacent municipalities specifically for fire investigation purposes.  

Gavin is a former graduate of several law enforcement academies including the Federal Law Enforcement Center in Glynco Georgia, the California Peace Officers Academy in California and the N.M. Department of Public Safety Certification by Waiver Academy in Santa Fe, New Mexico. 

He is a former Federal Officer and full time Police Officer with the City of Ruidoso Downs. In addition, Chief Gavin has extensive education and experience in fire and explosion investigation. He has 20 college credits in fire investigation course work and is currently nationally certified in structural, wildland and vehicle fire investigation by the National Association of Fire Investigators and the National Wildfire Coordinating Group.

He has also been a member of the International Association of Arson Investigators and the California Conference of Arson Investigators and has received many hundreds of hours of fire investigation education through these training institutions. During the course of his career, Chief Gavin served as the NPS Western Region (California, Pacific Area and Nevada) Fire Investigator for the Department of the Interior for five years.

Gavin has investigated an estimated 1500 fires and his experience includes memberships with the nationally known San Bernardino Arson Investigation Task Force and the San Francisco Arson Roundtable. Chief Gavin has also taught various fire investigation training courses and has both appeared in, and contributed to the making of the TV/NOVA presentation “In Search for the Serial Arsonist” documentary, one of the more prominent TV series ever devoted to the subject of serial arson. 

Gavin’s family will be present for the event, as well as Mayor Alborn and Village Manager Debi Lee.


Power outage update (Posted 4:35 p.m., May 3, 2010)

The Sunday power outage that effected Otero County Electric customers throughout Lincoln County was cause by a broken wire.

"A jumper wire broke and when that happens, no electricity goes down the line. Otero County Electric Manager of Member Services Clint Gardner said Monday afternoon.

Gardner said the broken wire occurred in the Carrizo Canyon sub-station, which routes power to Alto, Capitan, Carrizozo, Lincoln and Hondo.


Power outage

Power went out throughout the region this morning at about 10:35 when, according to Otero County Electric, a couple of transmission poles went down on the Mescalero Apache Reservation.

Power was restored at 1:05 p.m. for most of the area and at 1:20 in Alto, which is fed by a different line.

Clint Gardner, Manager of Member Services for Otero County Electric said the outage effected, he guessed, 5,000 to 10,00 meters. Gardner said he didn't know how many of those were homes and how many were things like well pumps.

Garnder said he had not been informed as to the exact cause, but suspected a tree had been weakened by last week's high winds and broke, knocking the main transmission line down.


Can I have this one?

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Three year old Drake Collingwood picks out a toy during the White Mountain Elementary School Yard Sale and Car Wash Saturday, May 1, in the School parking lot. (Photo by Harold Oakes)


Grandpa helps out

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Rafael "Rifle" Salas help granddaughter Ava decorate a container to plant seeds at the Eating Smart booth during the Walk In The Woods at The Links at Sierra Blanca walking trail Saturday, May 1. The Eating Smart group is trying to start community gardens in Ruidoso Downs, Mescalero and Carrizozo, locally. (Photo by Harold Oakes)


Run of the place

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Brock McGregor, 14-months old, runs through an ambulance Saturday, May 1, during the Region III EMS Conference. Brock's father works for Professional Ambulance in Fort Worth, so Brock gets to play in the ambulance. (Photo by Harold Oakes)


Over the edge

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Emergency Medical Technicians and firefighters attended a Rope Rescue Technician class Tuesday, April 27, beneath the Fire Lookout tower overlooking Midtown Ruidoso. There were 16 in the class and seven instructors.  Instructor Shane Adams from Roswell Fire Department plays the victim in the basket while Ruidoso firefighter Jerry Corlis guides the basket up the mountain. (Photo by Harold Oakes)


New Officer

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Tillman Freeman joined the Ruidoso Police force Tuesday morning, April 20, taking the oath of office from Judge Beverly Rankin outside the Ruidoso Police Department. Freeman is a native of California, but has lived in Ruidoso for 16 years.

"We wanted to add some local, uncertified officers to the force," Interim Police Chief Dick Sweenor said. "He begins his training today."

Freeman will be attending the New Mexico Police Academy to become a certified officer.

The addition of Freeman bring the Ruidoso Police force to 19 officers, two short of the 21 they are authorized. (Photo by Harold Oakes)