The Pecos River Gazette wishes you and yours a beautiful
Holiday Season and a New Year filled with Love and Laughter !
Alternative Energy Wind Turbines on Our Mesas?
High-tech windmills generate electricity. They also generate controversy.
No one is against alternative energy and using wind to generate electricity is a great idea. But on November 5 at the Valley Elementary School gymnasium in Pueblo, nearly 200 people attended a wind farm presentation.
Invenergy LLC, a Chicago based company, installs alternative forms of energy, mostly wind turbines. One of their current projects is La Sierrita, up to 50 wind turbines on mesas in the Pecos Valley, beginning with Starvation Peak located near Blanchard and Bernal.
Mark Jacobson, the company's representative, said, "We're a ways away from making an official application. We're looking for wind in the area and access to transmission lines."
The turbines, built by General Electric, are nearly 400 feet high. This is the height of a 40-story building and taller than the Statue of Liberty. Each turbine will sit on a concrete pad 15 feet in diameter and 40 feet deep. The project will require 67 miles of roads at least 15 feet wide.
The plan is to place turbines on a checker board of public and private lands. Jacobson said once they've identified potential sites, they'll then go to the landowners to see if they want to participate. "Some landowners are interested," he said. The company has talked with about 20 landowners about either placing turbines on their land or hosting the tie-lines that will transmit the electricity.
"Is the view from your home a wind farm?"
--a voice from the audience
Jerry King, with the renewable energy program at the NM State Land Office, said our state has several wind turbine projects on state land near Ft. Sumner, Elida and San Jon. None of these were built by Invenergy. "At these other sites no one is out there, and it's different than where they want
to put these turbines--near communities," King said.
The local Invenergy plan has targeted 25 percent of this particular project for public lands; the rest is on private property.
"We are not the regulatory office," said King, "but if this is a viable project for this community, we want to be involved." He suggested taking the time to look at the maps and see where your houses are in conjunction with the boundaries of the project. "Where are the right-of-ways?" he asked. "This is the first time we're working for a community--what's this wind farm going to do for the county, the schools, the tax base?"
"We want to know how to stop the project, and you want to know how to proceed." Les Montoya, manager for San Miguel County, said when Invenergy contacted the county, they wanted to know if "we'd be interested in finance bonds to finance a project like this. We gave them our ordinance for wind farms so they can prepare their application," he said.
--a voice from the audience
Alex Tafoya, Planning and Zoning Supervisor for the county, said, "Once Invenergy submits an application, it's up to the Board of Commissioners to approve it."
"Until we get an application everything is just talk," he said
Several members of the audience wanted to know if the community would benefit from the electricity that would be generated.
Answer: Not directly.
The electricity would be sent into the grid that serves many western states. The electricity might come back to the area through the Mora-San Miguel Rural Electric Co-op. "But we don't know who is going to buy the electricity," said Jacobson.
However, the electricity that Invenergy would sell, he said, would generate a six-figure revenue income for the county. This can be used for whatever the county wants--more fire trucks, clinics, reduce property taxes.
When someone suggested the turbines would destroy our beauty, Jacobson responded: "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." When someone asked about alternative sites, he said, "If there are better places, then our project won't be built here." He stated that their choice to install the turbines here was because they'd be close to transmission lines. They are six miles to the north and owned by PNM, which has room to "inject power into their lines."
"Other communities have had your same concerns," said Jacobson, "but they're pleased with the results now." Other states that have Invenergy wind turbines are Tennessee, Montana, Texas, Wisconsin, Illinois, Colorado and Idaho. Jacobson suggested asking other communities that host the turbines about their experience and said each project is specific with its own issues.
If the project goes through, Jacobson said 150 jobs would be created for up to nine months. After that they'd provide 10 permanent jobs. How confident is Invenergy that the project will go through? "I would say I'm hopeful," said Jacobson.
Jack Maes, a rancher who owns land on top of the mesa, said he's not really opposed to it. "We can't be too emotional, but we have to be involved. Learn all you can. The only way to shut this down is by getting involved in the legal process," he said.
NEWS CLIPSSanta's Coming to Town
Santa Claus will be in Pecos hosting festivities in the parking lot of the Bank of Pecos. Bank Manager Betty Weseman says Santa will have treats for children and there will be hot cider. Deacon Richard Roybal will make a blessing, Christmas carols will be sung and Village Mayor Tony will speak. Last May, Weseman planted a 12-foot tree for this very event. "This is the first annual Christmas tree lighting," she said. The bank is stringing lights on the tree, the Village is providing the tree top ornament. Santa will arrive on the local volunteer fire truck. Activities start at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 6th.
Police Probe Recent Break-ins
A Neightborhood Watch group met with state police and the county sheriff in East Pecos to discuss recent break-ins. Police say they have five suspects and are in the process of obtaining search warrants. Law enforcement says that citizen input really helps and to call 505-827-9300 or 757-2297 if you see anything suspicious going on in your neighborhood. "Be extra alert this holiday season," they warn. "Burglaries spike at Christmas time."
Assisted Living in Pecos?
Maria Elena Roybal has ideas and energy to share. John Lacombe of La Paz Properties has some land that might make one of her ideas a reality. They want to build a not-for-profit assisted living facility in Pecos. This means many of our elders and those in need of respite care would not have to leave and go to Las Vegas or Santa Fe. Roybal and Lacombe know this idea will take fund raising and expertise so want to meet with people in the community to see if this can happen. If you are interested in helping this project along, please call Maria Elena at 757-8472 or John at 757-3231.
A Local Art Room
Artist Laura Tarnoff of Rowe is opening her studio on Wednesday's to artists who want to work in a space for free. She is starting a school with free classes for teens and an after-school art program. Tarnoff would like to hear from local artists who want to teach. She uses watercolors, acrylics and pastels and wants to offer classes in fiber, quilting, drawing, iron welding and pottery. For more information call 505-757-3502.
Lights and Speed Bumps
Residents of East Pecos continue trying to get county officials to address concerns about speeding along County Road 51-B. They have also asked for 14 street lights. At a neighborhood meeting suggestions were made for ways to work with county officials so the issue can be addressed.
| I recently went to the Pecos Senior Citizen Center and visited with the Tuesday- morning sewing ladies. Sitting in a large, sunlit room, some were chatting while knitting and crocheting; some only concentrated on their needlepoint. Others used the sewing machine.
Way Back WhenMemories of Pecos
I wanted to learn what Pecos was like "way back when." Everyone was more than happy to share their remembrances. The memories were flying, and I don't know who said what, but it was a lot of fun hearing how things used to be.
Everyone remembered getting water from the ditches because no one had indoor plumbing when they were children. One lady recalled the water being too muddy to drink sometimes, so her father would cut a pear shaped cactus, drop it into the dirty water, and the cactus would absorb the mud.
They all agreed that it snowed much more years ago than it does now. "There was always snow on the ground all winter long," someone commented.
They also told me that the Sr. Center is where many of them attended school through the eighth grade. They remembered walking to school in deep snow all winter long. One lady knew a crippled classmate and said each day two different kids picked her up and carried her to school so she could get an education like everyone else. Some of the smaller kids would wiggle into the deep snow and basically travel through tunnels.
"And there were no buses and no snow days," one lady reminded me. Many laughed and said, "Kids have it so easy nowadays."
They also remembered walking to church through snow. They used to go from house to house asking for blessings for the Holy Communion; sometimes people would give them a nickel or dime. "Now there's just party after party," one lady laughed.
When they played sports against other schools, the kids were transported by a horse-drawn wagon. No one had automobiles.
People also grew their own food. All summer beans, pumpkins, peas and corn were grown then put up for food during the long, cold winters. Families got their milk from cows and goats. Their meat was deer, sometimes beef and rabbits. One lady smiled and said, "I ate so much deer meat as a child I still don't like it to this day." People made their own cheese, and the only source of heat was wood burning stoves.
There was one doctor in Pecos back then. He made house calls when needed. However, many babies were born without a doctor present. Home remedies were used for coughs, colds and tummy aches. Many of their parents or grandparents used juniper tea for bladder infections and mint leaves for coughs.
As I listened to how it how it used to be, I got a small sense of what living in Pecos was like years ago and how difficult it must have been at times. Yet the memories these ladies have are precious indeed.
|In the Neighborhood
by Cindy Bellinger
Shelost her son. She lost her brother. Now, 13 years later on the other side of these untimely and unexpected deaths, Jo Ann Valdez of Pecos says those days made her a different person.
"Everything changed for me. I became more caring and more compassionate about others," she said. "And my faith kept me going. It really helped me through the dark times." The good that came out of these losses, that happened within weeks of each other, was it brought the family together. "We had our differences and arguments, but after the deaths, we all came together. We knew what was important--family," said Valdez, 47.
Other parts of her life haven't been easy, either, but she's grateful for what she's learned and experienced. At age 17 she dropped out of high school to have a baby. She earned her GED and now owns Jo Ann Valdez Secretarial Services.
In business 17 years, she takes notes at meetings, transcribes recordings and types written material. "I attend 20 committees a month and do stenography for the City of Santa Fe, the county and the state. It's really interesting. I learn a lot, and it's a way to keep up with everything that's going on," she said.
Valdez gave up a few jobs so she could take care of her first grand daughter, Jaelynn Ramona.
"She is the joy of my life. I love being with her. My daughter is taking night classes at the college and I want her to have some of the advantages that didn't get," she said. "I want the best for my family."
Some of her family includes her husband Raymond Valdez, Sadie Quintana, her mother, and Brian Sandoval, her brother who owns Frankie's, the restaurant in Pecos. It's named after their late brother.
"I don't take anything for granted anymore. You just never know what's going to happen. I'm a better person now," she said.
|THE GARDENER'S EDGE by Cindy Bellinger
Gardening the Pecos Valley...between miserable soil, unrelenting sun, insects and hail, putting in a garden presents a challenge. The economy is heading south and growing our own food feels like a necessity. Share what's worked for you and the tricks you've learned. Email your ideas and experiences to firstname.lastname@example.org.
My Little Garden Patch
By Cindy Bellinger I'm sure you're dying to know what's happening with my straw bale coldframe. Sprouts, that's what! After our first hard frost, I raised the cover, and there they were - little spinach sprouts all in a row.
The next day the lettuce poked through. Delightful! I jumped around squealing like a little girl. Then the usual set in. Fretting.
And there I stood, wringing my hands. When it comes to my garden, I'm like an old mother hen. The worry this time lies in the seeds.
In the past I've never paid much attention to the salad seeds used. Just grabbed a few packets and was on my way. No matter what, they've always come up. Last summer proved the exception. My salad growing box remained nearly barren. I wasn't the only one. Very few gardens did well last year. When the sprouts sort of fizzled, I gave up. It seemed pointless to replant. A few seeds were still in the packet, and these are what used in the coldframe.
So. The question remained: was it the seeds or was it me?
This coldframe business has become a true experiment. Never have I set stakes with the packets on them; this time I have. This time I'll know which seeds work the best. I have all kinds of brands, all varieties of spinach and lettuce.
This is what keeps us gardening season after season, isn't it?--seeing what works. Only I do wear out my hands fretting.
A GROWING QUESTION?
-- with Jeff Clark,
Assistant Nursery Manager Santa Fe Greenhouses,
Owner of Refugio Verde in La Fragua.
Q. What can be done now to prepare for next year's vegetable garden?
First thing you can do is clean up last year's debris and put it in your compost pile. Sometimes this debris can harbor insects and fungal spores, so if you compost correctly these pests will be destroyed and you'll have nutritious compost to feed your soil and ultimately your plants next year.
Cover your garden soil with mulch, compost or manure to protect the soil. It will decompose slowly and when dug in next spring will help "feed" your vegetable starts. This is also the time to order seed and bare-root plants for delivery next spring.
Q. What can be done now to control weeds?
A basic tenet of weed control is to prevent them from setting and dropping seed. It's too late for that now, so clean up as much as you can, and possibly use a weed burner to eliminate any seed left behind. Nothing's more rewarding than turning weeds into compost.
For problem areas consider using sheet-composting. This is a technique that uses layers of cardboard or newspaper topped with straw and manure that composts weeds in place, burning up seeds and building soil in the process.
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|For Sustainability: Try the Growing Dome
"It's all about food security," said Susie Waterman, sitting in her geodesic dome greenhouse. "I have ten different kinds of greens right now--chicory, escarole, red lettuce. Lots of lettuce. Beets, turnips, kale."
She and her husband Clark bought the dome from Growing Spaces in Colorado, and this winter marks the third year they've grown food year round. The 24-feet diameter dome has a 900-gallon water tank for humidity and thermal mass to retain the collected heat.
"Once a week I top it off with an inch of water. The entire system is self-sustaining," said Waterman, who worked for years as a bio-tech researcher. "I was with a company that genetically modified plants. In 1989 the light went on. I saw what all that meant and realized I couldn't do it anymore."
She ended up running a farm based on more sustainable practices. Along with growing food, she raised sheep and goats. During this time she also presented at conferences.
She began acquiring grants for alternative agriculture, which took her to India for eight years. Waterman worked with many rural villagers to help them become more sustainable. She returned to the U.S. in 2004 and chose to relocate in New Mexico.
Today, she and Clark focus on growing food in their dome. Last year was the real test. "Remember those four feet of snow?" she asked.
The dome held up and continued working well. Three solar panels run the fans and vents; pipes under the soil maintain soil temperature. The Watermans built the dome themselves from a kit and have since become local representatives for the company. Freight and assembly are included in the price, which ranges from $4,350 to $39,450, depending on size and other options.
"It feels good to know we'll always have food growing," she said.
For information call 575-421-4373.
by Frank Collins,
The Mountain Man
The Rocky Mountain Elk is highly sought after by sportsmen throughout New Mexico, including the Pecos Wilderness. But it was not always so. Elks were a plains animal two or three hundred years ago, grazing undisturbed, until settlers pushing westward gradually
forced them to the foothills, then the mountains. In the mountains, they adapted to a harsher climate, new food and habitat conditions, and were relatively safe--for a while.
Early explorers, fur trappers, and prospectors found an abundance of elk until the 1870's.
The elk were hunted for meat with no rules or regulations. Commercial hunters served the mining camps, new railroads and new towns along the Santa Fe Trail. The elk population was dropping
drastically, and by the mid-1880's there were no more sightings reported in the Pecos Wilderness. Around the turn of the 20th century, territorial laws were passed establishing elk season, a statutory
value of $200 and banning sale of elk meat.
While still a territory, New Mexico had lost all its elk. But conservation sentiment was rising and in the early 1900's our new State Game and Fish warden, Trinidad C de Baca, on a very meager budget, determined to re-establish elk in the Pecos Wilderness.
Elliot Barker, one of the state's early conservationists, recalled how this operation went in his book Beatty's Cabin.
Warden C de Baca persuaded the Secretary of the Interior to donate and ship two train carloads of elk from herds in Yellowstone Park. He also persuaded the Santa Fe Railroad to donate the freight service. It was December when he was all set to get his elk.
He then persuaded the Valley Ranch (now the Monastery) to build a sturdy corral to hold the elk until spring. Local ranchers volunteered some cowboys to move the elk from the train to the corrals, also furnishing hay. Fifty elk were shipped, but only forty survived the ride and winter in the crowded corral. By spring the herd was in poor shape.
Finally in April, the 18-mile, two-day elk drive to Grass Mountain in the Pecos Canyon began.
It must have been like herding cats. The bulls charged up the canyon walls, but the cows wouldn't follow. They bedded the herd down near El Macho for the night. Early the next morning, the trek resumed. Again a few bulls tried to lead the herd up and out of the canyon, but the cows were weak and wouldn't follow. Three died in route. At Mora Creek, the herd was driven up the south end of Grass Mountain. From all this, ten bulls and 27 cows re-established an elk presence in the Pecos Wilderness.
Public hunting of elk was not allowed until 1933. The following year the elk population for the state was estimated at 4,000, with perhaps half of that being in the Pecos Wilderness area. At the present time, hunting elk in New Mexico is regulated by the Game and Fish Department with a comprehensive lottery and fee system to manage the population in accord with available habitat.
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Rushing streams, owls overhead (or a blue heron?). boughs of snow
melting, no reception, much personal reception, the hot tub and the
Pecos River Gazette. Heaven.
--Suzanne Noga, a happy new resident. -
Fishing Those Special Waters
by Jerry O'Shea
A stretch of the Pecos River most people never get to see is the Forked Lightning Ranch. When I was a young man, I hiked the eight miles between Rowe and Pecos and never forgot how beautiful and tranquil it was. At the time, Greer Garson owned it. In 1990, the ranch was almost snatched from her by a shady developer from Florida.
Thanks to the quick action of the people of Pecos, led by George Adelo, the Mayor of Pecos, Greg Toya the Lt. Governor of Jemez Pueblo and Linda Stoll, Park Superintendent, Greer decided to deed the Forked Lightning Ranch to the Pecos National Historic Park (NHP) just before she died.
Now, eighteen years later, Pecos NHP has opened a section of this land to anglers for a pilot catch-and-release program. Between September 4 and November 3 of this year, 165 anglers from all over the state tried their luck in these special waters. They had to apply in person or online. Park staff reviewed the applications then assigned anglers a day and a "beat"--one of three sections, each about a mile long, set aside for fishing. Anglers met at park headquarters, got a brief orientation and map, paid a $25 fee and $3 park entrance fee, then drove to the fishing area.
The program was designed and managed by park rangers Eric Valencia and Christine Beekman. "The fishermen were all very excited," Christine said.
"They had a chance to fish an area that had been closed for a long time and from all reports, did very well." Eric said, "Most parties reported an average of nine fish caught and released, although some individuals caught over 30. Most fish were small German brown, but a few large rainbows were caught, fish that probably migrated from stocked waters below the park. The program provided us with information on special uses of the park and may lead to other programs in the future such as hiking."
I certainly hope they do renew the program. My friend Richard Jones and I were the first two people on the river on opening day. He caught 12, using mostly a bead head nymph on the bottom
and a caddis . I caught zero but still had a great day and want a chance to redeem myself next year. You can learn about the program and apply on line http://www.nps.gov/pecos (click fishing program).
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Our Local Treasure The Pecos National Historical Park is a collection of three treasures: the ruins of the great church and pueblo that once was the cross roads between the Plains Indians and the Natives to the Southwest; the Glorieta Battlefield, often referred to as the Gettysburg of the West, and finally the vacation home of the legendary movie actress, Greer Garson.
It was through the largess of Ms. Garson and her husband "Buddy" Fogelson that the National
Park Service acquired the land that now is a well known attraction for visitors from all over the country.
The visitor center houses a small museum and a short film explains the history of the pueblo and the church. A self guided tour explains the ruins, the midden and to a restored kiva. The view of the mountains and plains is awesome any time of the year from anywhere on the tour.
Work is ongoing for a new trail over the battlefield where the Colorado Union soldiers eventually forced the Confederate Texans to withdraw.
Tours of Ms. Garson's home can be arranged through the visitor center.
With so many yearly visitors to the Park makes us realize that we live in a special place that's right in our own backyard. It's a precious treasure: the Pecos National Historical Park.
The PECOS RIVER GAZETTE says
GO PECOS PANTHERS!
Causes of Obesity in Children
Obesity in children, once rare, is now among the most widespread medical problems affecting children in the United States. This condition is causing serious problems, such as: diabetes, heart conditions and strokes among our young people.
Dr. Lee Dubois, Diabetes Coordinator at the Pecos Valley Medical Center, says the main causes of obesity in children are pretty straight forward. "Children's dietary habits have shifted away from healthy foods to more fast food, processed food and sugary drinks," says Dubois. "School lunches have also gone down in the quality of food."
Changes in family structure and economics easily figure in to this. Today, more than ever before, there are more single-parent homes as well as more families with both parents working.
Whatever the arrangement is, there is less time to prepare healthy meals and snacks. Preparing a box of macaroni and cheese, which can be filled with chemicals and color additives, is easier than making it from scratch with higher quality ingredients.
Dr. Dubois cites inactivity as another force behind obesity in children.
Because of television, internet, and video games, children are not getting enough physical exercise. "They have what I call too much "screen time," he said. He recommends a website for anyone interested in finding out more about obesity in children.
Please visit: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/obesity/childhood.
ASK NIA...advice from our resident wild woman
During the past couple of years I have felt overwhelmed with death and loss, not only the deaths of loved ones but also the loss of work, youth and now finances during these crazy economic times. Any thoughts would be helpful.
We don't speak about death very easily in this culture of ours. I don't know why. It is something that every living being on this precious planet has in common. No living creature is exempt from dying. Still, we push it away from our consciousness as if not talking about it makes it go away.
Every culture and each religion hold their own beliefs about death. In the Catholic tradition, in early November, we celebrate both All Saints Day and All Souls Day coinciding with our Mexican tradition of El Dia de los Muertos, all for the purpose of taking a moment of remembering those that have gone before us.
Death has been called "the grim specter of death" and anthropomorphized into the Angel of Death and the Grim Reaper (a skeleton wearing a black cloak and carrying a scythe).
Death is as perennial as Life itself and greets us at the conclusion of our earthly life. For this, life is a peculiar paradox. Living is dying. Every breath of Life we live brings us one breath closer to Death.
Now, I don't say this lightly or with the intent of being morose or to imply that we should simply lie down and wait for Death to appear.
Life is not easy. Pain and agony may visit us regularly. At times, it seems as if suffering has taken up permanent residence within us.Yet even within the trauma the presence of peace is always accessible. Sounds simple? Yes. Easy to do? Not always.
Each step in our personal growth, each transformation, each eureka insight contains a death--a letting go of the old, a letting go of the past. This includes earlier ways, previous values, former methods, deep-rooted thoughts that no longer serve.
Living is a constant dying all along the way. Dying well, with grace and dignity, encompasses living to our fullest potential at the very same time.
If you have any relationship questions regarding family, friends, fellow workers or employers, write email@example.com. Names are not published.
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FROM THE FRONT PORCH SWING
by Cindy Bellinger, Managing Editor
The new Dollar Store in Pecos is ready to open. A wind farm
proposal is in the works. The building for the new
general store in Ribera is up and ready to go.
Change. It's enough to make your hair stand on end.
I remember starting my junior year in high school. All the senior boys from the year before were gone. My friend Becky and mourned for months. Nothing felt right. Life would never be the same. The change was distressing.
But you know the saying: nothing's more constant than change.That quote comes from Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher (535 to 475 B.C.) who determined change was central to the universe. As much as we'd like to, we can't live without change. It happens everywhere you look, all the time.
Mark Jacobson, the presenter for the company proposing the wind farm, was up against a lot of opposition. Finally he asked, "Are you against it because it's change?" In a recent email from Val Kilmer, he quipped: "People will fight the future, but the future always wins."
If we look to the past, we can see how change becomes something we get used to. Take the Bank of Pecos for instance. No one wanted a bank on that corner. Now it's a mainstay. Then there's the four-way stop at our main intersection in Pecos. took away some of our ruralness and took some getting used to. But it also cut down on accidents. Now, the sidewalk in Pecos: still have trouble with that. symbolizes a change that maybe wasn't necessary. But there it is, and I've gotten used to it.
We do get used to changes, but instead of grumbling about them, why not get involved. Can we create zoning guidelines to keep other corporate owned stores out? Do we want to? Can we propose resolutions to the county's wind farm ordinance that would be a compromise for everyone?
Change. It's a-gonna happen no matter what. And the future is always out there. Many times we do have the power to alter it. But darn it, we can't change those graduations that take away all the cute boys.
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FROM THE CYBER SWING
by Jude S. Roberts, Online Editor
Computers in the mountains. Computers in the valley. Too high. Too low.
The challenges of being high-tech in outlying areas are many. It seems like only yesterday our only option was dial-up. And we were grateful for it.
The ability to "cruise the internet" - especially when you live in rural areas, as we do, opened up our whole world. A bridge was built that allowed us
to communicate, research and travel, as we've never done before.
Most of us can relate to the frustration of being on dial-up. Really, you could chop a whole cord of wood waiting for that picture of your high school buddy to download. For me, it seems like only yesterday. That's because, literally, it was. I finally, finally got a satellite connection. Hallelujah! When you stop and look at it, change is happening faster than ever. It's nearly impossible to keep up.
However, here we are, not only keeping up, but exceeding our own expectations, doing things we never dreamed possible. When I first moved to Pecos 20 years ago, I never would have thought we'd be able to read our local newspaper on a computer, let alone forward it to our friends and family -- keeping them a part of our lives and community.
And, who would have thought we would see a day that advertisers could have direct links to their websites that allow the readers to access yet even more information about their businesses
and products? For that matter, who'd have even thought they'd have websites?
These innovative times of technological advances have shaped our lives in such a way that proves change can be a good thing. Hope you enjoy our December issue, and thank you all for your support!
|Your willingness to leap, contribute, stand up ... knocks me out. Courageous little muffins. Like the old wild west...intrepid women working to build community. Good energy. --Anne Sutton, Santa Fe, NM
by Anna Westeen Drowning Ruth
by Christina Schwarz,
Ballentine Books, 2000, 338 pp. W
hen you finish this book, the story lingers and lingers. The author takes our very human way of thinking half-thoughts and our tendency to narrow situations down to basics. Her clear, simple sentences are literary delights. But suspicion soon seeps in; those elemental sentences feel wrought with tension. Something eerie is going on.
Amanda Starkey, the main character, is prim, set in her ways and always prepared to tell how things 'should' be. But she exemplifies how even the most modest life can become thick with intricacies.
Drowning Ruth is a story filled with shame, lies, loss and dark, dark secrets.
Set in 1919, the story takes place on the edge of a rural Wisconsin lake. The family also owns an island where their father built a summer home. So why did the two sisters, along with Mattie's little girl Ruth, decide to live there one winter?
The hired farm hand couldn't come to any logical reason for the girls moving to the island. They always met him down at the dock when he brought supplies. They never invited him up to the house for a meal, like they used to.
The book twists and turns through layers of flashbacks as Amanda slowly begins her confession. Piece by piece the reader learns how Ruth drowned, of how Mattie drowned. Amanda sloshes against the truth of her life and finally it becomes necessary to tell who remembers a baby crying. She remembers hiding under the bed. Snippets of her childhood need piecing together.
Throughout the book Amanda is forever touching a scar on her hand and only near the end is the reader allowed to put the blood, the baby, the scar, and that one winter night together.
How the truth is revealed is masterful. The book moves from first to third person, switches back and forth in time, all very distracting. Yet this is the only flaw. Upon finishing the book you'll be pondering your own family's secrets.
"Where else can you find a newspaper that mentions 'rock snot' and Thoreau's Walden Pond in the same publication?--or has counseling advice from a "resident WILD woman?" (I may
have to steal this one to use as my professional moniker.) And the
gardener in me appreciates the simplicity of using straw bales for cold
frames. Well done once again.f using straw bales for cold
- Pam Veazey, Norfolk, England
Check Out the Book Mobile and Check Out Books
The New Mexico State Library Bookmobile schedule has changed due to budget cuts. For the Pecos Valley the following are the current stops and times for December.
TUES. December 9
Bernal - Store 10:45 - 11:45
WED. December 10
Ribera - Post Office 10:00 - 11:30
Pecos - Paradise Inn 1:30 - 4:00
Rowe - Frontage Road 4:15 - 5:30
Rural Bookmobile Northeast: Arial
(575) 376-2474, (800) 395-9144 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
PECOS PANTHERS DECEMBER 2008 SPORTS SCHEDULE
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Las Chivas Coffee Roaster
"Coffee Brings People Together"
By Ginger Peters When customers visit Las Chivas Coffee Roaster in the Agora in Eldorado, they truly become part of a community. As owners, Ted and Lynn Pilgrim-Little put it, "Coffee brings people together," and this is never more evident than when you step inside this small coffee shop. It's friendly, smells great and more than likely you'll run into people you know--or share a table with a stranger who ends up being a friend.
Ted and Lynn were both long-time employees of the National Park Service and have been conservationists for the past 40 years.
"Both of us must have been born with green blood," Lynn laughed; and they've carried their beliefs into their business, using 100 percent bio-degradable cups, holders, bags and plates. More importantly, 99 percent of their coffees are organic; 30 percent are fair trade coffees, a global trend that ensures coffee growers get paid a fair price for their product.
Previous owners opened Las Chivas in 1995; the Little's bought the business in 2006. Their goal is to eventually have everything they sale be environmentally friendly.
From Caribbean and African, from Middle Eastern to Indonesian there is a large assortment of teas and coffees, both blends and dark roasts. Specialties include the Eldorado Blend, the Dos Griegos Blend. They also serve black, green, herbal, scented and flavored teas--all of which can be purchased by the cup or the pound. Many of the good eats they sell are purchased locally. pies and cookies come from the La Risa Café in Ribera; the brownies and sandwiches from the Chocolate Maven in Santa Fe.
Ted and Lynn hold a lot of gratitude for their fine staff and say their baristas (employees) go through extensive training. "are the ones that help make Las Chivas what it is," Lynn said.
The owners are heavily involved in community projects that make a difference in the lives of others. All of the photography, paintings and pottery for sale are by local artists. Beautiful
hand-sewn quilt scraps totes are made by Isabel Mooney, a 92-year-old woman who is legally blind.
The coffee shop also hosts local poetry readings, music and book signings and sponsors an artist each month, with a reception on the first Sunday of every month. It supports Nuno Pedrosa, of Portugal, who is riding a bicycle from northernmost Inuvik, Canada to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. His two-year journey is to raise money for disadvantaged children from his hometown of Leira, Portugal.
Their website www.laschivascoffees.com lists up-coming events and activities. Las Chivas is a place where real estate deals have been made, friendships have been formed, and as Lynn says, "It is an informal institution of free speech."
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