Archive for: December 2014

State Forestry Awards $6,000 for Tree Planting in Raton

SANTA FE, NM  The New Mexico State Forestry Division’s Forest Re-Leaf Program awarded $6,000 in grant funding to plant trees in Raton as part of the third phase of the city’s downtown urban forestry project, according to the Division’s Urban and Community Forester Jennifer Dann.  

 “The City of Raton has been actively working on revitalizing their historic downtown. They recognize that trees can aid in economic development by attracting new business as well as creating a customer friendly experience,” said Dann. “We’re pleased to be working with city officials and economic development groups like GrowRaton, who understand the important role trees play in the overall health of New Mexico communities.” 

 The Raton Urban Forestry Project will include planting 14 trees and 36 shrubs along the sidewalks in the downtown area, adding to previous plantings that were funded through Re-Leaf grants in 2012 and 2013. The plantings will transform the sidewalk in front of nine historic store fronts on the west side of First Street between Rio Grande and Cook Avenues.

 Awards for up to $6,000 per community were made to projects in five communities across New Mexico. These funds, administered by New Mexico State Forestry, support valuable community tree planting efforts aimed at improving the environment, educating citizens, and beautifying public places. This year’s grant recipients include the communities of Corona, Farmington, Raton, Rio Rancho and Taos. The statewide grant total for 2014 is $20,587.

 New Mexico Forest Re-Leaf was established in 1990 to provide a tree-planting grant program for public entities such as public schools, cities, towns, counties, soil and water conservation districts, rural fire districts and others. New Mexico Forest Re-Leaf fills a budgetary void for these entities that lack tree-planting funds. Since its inception, New Mexico Forest Re-Leaf has awarded more than $600,000 for tree-planting and education efforts. 

 New Mexico Forest Re-Leaf is solely funded through private donations from individuals, businesses and corporations. Donations can be made through a “New Mexico Forest Re-Leaf” check-off box on the New Mexico Individual Income Tax Form, Schedule D. There is also a donation check-off box on the Forestry Division’s Seedling sales order form. Donations can also be made online at nmforestry.com or by contacting the New Mexico State Forestry Division at (505) 476-3332 or at 1220 South St. Francis Dr., Santa Fe, NM 87504.


2014/2015 Grant Cycle Project Awards


Rainbow Community Park Tree Expansion – City of Rio Rancho – $2,025

Trees for the Performing Arts – Rio Rancho Public Schools – $950

Raton Urban Forestry Project – Grow Raton – $6,000

Heartwood Coalition Parr Field Orchard Project – Rivers and Birds (Taos) – $6,000

Simpson/Sloan Community Park and Cemetery – Village of Corona – $5,612



The Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department provides resource protection

and renewable energy resource development services to the public and other state agencies.


1220 South St. Francis Drive ▪ Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505

Phone (505) 476-3325 ▪ Fax (505) 476-3330 ▪ www.emnrd.state.nm.us/sfd


CIMARRON           Position 1: 1- Laura J. Gonzales;  2- Ronald L. Anderson

                               Position 2: Valorie C. Garcia

                               Position 3: Annie Jo Lindsey

                               Position 5: Misty R. Ogata


Maxwell                Position 2: Will D. Ward

                             Position 3: Mary Lou Kern


Springer                Position 1: 1- Linda E. Baca; 2- Monica S. Burton

                              Position 4: 1- Joe Anselmo Apodaca; 2- Janette Marie Sandlin; 3- Joy B. Weisdorfer

                              Position 5: Raughn D. Ramirez


Raton                     Position 1: Kathleen Honeyfield

                               Position 3: Janet Lee Jones

                               Position 4; Theodore P. Kamp

                               Position 5: Harley Beaver Segotta

January 2 2015 Update  Janet Jones has withdrawn from the school board election and Robert Gonzales has filed as a write-in candidate 

New Mexico MainStreet Announces Raton Chosen for First-Ever “Great Blocks on MainStreet Design Initiative” Award

Special to KRTN Multi-Media

Santa Fe – New Mexico MainStreet, a program of the New Mexico Economic Development Department, announced today 
Raton MainStreet and the City of Raton are the first recipients of the “Great Blocks on MainStreet Design 
Initiative” award. The first-annual competition was open to MainStreet and Arts & Cultural Districts to help 
develop an innovative, intensive-design demonstration project within the district. Raton MainStreet and the 
City of Raton will be provided a professional team of landscape architects, architects, and design 
professionals worth $50,000, to revitalize a section of Historic First Street within their MainStreet and 
their Arts & Cultural District boundary. 

“We received many great proposals from communities across the state, however Raton MainStreet’s proposal 
received the highest ranking for integrating principles and practices of urban design, landscape architecture, 
architecture, preservation and public art,” said Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela. “The Great Blocks 
assistance is a big boost for the City of Raton and we look forward to working with them in revitalizing their 
historic downtown.”   
Communities submitted their Great Blocks project proposals demonstrating how their design initiative would 
dramatically upgrade the site increasing economic vitality and engaging the commercial properties, businesses 
and the pedestrian and street environments. Great Blocks is an outgrowth of more targeted design interventions 
provided by New Mexico MainStreet through its “tactical urbanism,” “facade squads,” and “placemaking” 
initiatives. “It’s like one of our targeted initiatives on steroids,” said Rich Williams, Director of New 
Mexico MainStreet.

Qualified applicants had to be from an existing MainStreet and/or Arts & Cultural District affiliate in good 
standing. The project proposal needed to demonstrate how its implementation would have positive economic 
impact on the site within the district. Qualifying projects needed to be on the adopted MainStreet District 
Master Plan or Metropolitan Redevelopment Plan or an adopted Arts & Cultural District’s municipally adopted 
Cultural Economic Development Plan. Bonus points were awarded if the specific project was part of the 
organization’s annual work plan and if it was on the municipality’s ICIP priority plan (Infrastructure and 
Capital Improvement Plan).

Other areas of the review by the committee which ranked applicant proposals were; letters of public and 
private sector support from stakeholders within the proposed site, demonstrated partnerships with other 
organizations to do the proposed project, preservation-based elements within the proposal, and identified 
funding sources to implement the design project.

New Mexico MainStreet is a grassroots economic development program of the New Mexico Economic Development 
Department. For more information about New Mexico MainStreet visit http://gonm.biz/Mainstreet.aspx or 

In Loving Memory of Feloniz A. Vigil

Feloniz A. Vigil age 86, Springer, New Mexico, passed away Sunday December 14, 2014 in Raton. She was born July 23, 1928 in Wagon Mound, NM, the daughter of Jose and Feloniz Mestas Archuleta. She was a homemaker, teacher’s aide and a New Mexico State Retiree. She was also a member of the Silver Spur Cowbells and the Senior Citizen Center of Springer and St. Vincent DePaul Catholic Church in Maxwell, NM.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Juan J. Vigil, numerous brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. She is survived by her daughters, Mary Lou Peterson and husband Jeff of Ft. Collins, Colorado, Janet Murdoch of Canyon, TX, Susan Vigil of Albuquerque, NM and Peggy Walton of Santa Fe, NM. Sons Alfred Vigil of Springer, NM. Steve Vigil of Canyon, TX, Kenny Vigil of Corrales, NM, Mike Vigil and wife Mindy of Cimarron, NM and Karl Vigil and wife Kelly of White Deer, TX. sisters Adelina Aragon of Chino, CA, Domie Le Febre of Albuquerque, NM and Josephine Rivale of Las Vegas, NM , and one brother Ben Archuleta of Pueblo. Co. 18 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren. 

Visitation will be Friday December 19, 2014 from 2:00 P.M. until 4:00 P.M. at the Yaksich-Long Funeral Home in Raton.

Recitation of the Most Holy Rosary will be Saturday December 20, 2014 at 9:30 A.M. at Santa Clara Catholic Church in Wagon Mound recited by Deacon Paul LeFebre, Mass of the Resurrection will follow at 10:30 A.M. with Father John Brasher as the celebrant, Rite of Christian burial will be in the Santa Clara Cemetery in Wagon Mound with pot-luck to follow

Donations may be made to MCMC, Silver Spur Cowbells or the Senior Citizen Center of Springer.

Arrangements and a celebration of love for Feloniz A. Vigil are under the direction of the Yaksich-Long Funeral Home of Raton.

In Loving Memory of Luis A. Lopez

Luis A. Lopez, age 70, passed away peacefully at home on December 17, 2014.

Rosary will be recited Monday December 29, 2014 at 7PM at Holy Trinity Church.
Funeral Mass will be Tuesday, December 30, 2014 at 10AM at Holy Trinity  Church.
Inurnment will follow at the Trinidad Catholic Cemetery.

Complete obit to follow.
Arrangements are pending and will be announced later by the Comi Funeral Home. 

Lady Miners Beat Lady Tigers

By Marty Mayfield

KRTN Multi-Media

In what could be called a Varsity versus JV game the Lady Miners easily stomped on the Lady Tigers Tuesday evening in Tiger Gym.

Between injury and illness the Lady Tigers managed to put together a team of mostly JV players, young and inexperienced ones at that to go up against the varsity Lady Miners Tuesday evening. According to head coach Victor Esparza there were at least three girls out with illness and one injury from the cowbell. 

So it was kind of surprising the Lady Miners didn’t rack up the points against the Lady Tigers as their defense held up pretty strong until the second half. It took the Lady Tigers at least three minutes in the first quarter to get it past half court but they also held the Lady Miners to only 12 points in the quarter. 

The Lady Tigers however struggled once they did get across half court taking the ball to the basket scoring only four points in the first half. part of that was the lack of Tarry Trujillo who was out with an ankle injury she suffered in the cowbell. 

The girls travel to Clayton for the Black and Orange tourney this week.

Trinidad 49

High Point Casey Lafon 14

Raton 7


Ivy Fernandez and Brittnee Coberly tussle for the ball during the Raton Trinidad game in tiger Gym Tuesday night.

Ivy Fernandez and Brittnee Coberly tussle for the ball during the Raton Trinidad game in tiger Gym Tuesday night.


Syria Atencio gets the rebound among all those tall girls against Trinidad Tuesday evening.

Syria Atencio gets the rebound among all those tall girls against Trinidad Tuesday evening.


Briana Pais slides past Brittnee Coberly for the lay-up against Trinidad Tuesday night.

Briana Pais slides past Brittnee Coberly for the lay-up against Trinidad Tuesday night.

In Loving Memory of Frank Joseph Salerno Jr.

Frank Joseph Salerno Jr., passed away on December 14, 2014 in Fruita, CO. at the age of 95.
Visitation will be Monday from 2PM-7PM at the Comi Chapel.
PLEASE NOTE  that a Rosary will be recited Monday . December 22, 2014 at the Comi Chapel at 4PM.
Funeral Mass will be celebrated Tuesday December 23, 2014 at  10AM at Holy Trinity Church.
Interment will follow at the Trinidad Catholic Cemetery with graveside services conducted by Ft. Carson Honor Guard.
Complete obituary to follow.
Arrangements made under the direction of the Comi Funeral Home.

In Loving Memory of Roy Lee Robinson Jr.

Roy Lee Robinson Jr., age 87, followed the angels to Heaven on December 15, 2014. 
He was surrounded by his wife, children ad grandchildren.
Memorial Services will be held Monday December 22, 2014 at10AM at the Comi Funeral Home Chapel.
Inurnment will follow at the Trinidad Masonic Cemetery.
Complete obituary to follow.
Arrangements made under the direction of the Comi Funeral Home.

Oh Christmas Tree!

Oh Christmas Tree!
By Pat Veltri 

Christmas Tree -vintage Raton

It lies in the Raton Public Service pole yard, in pieces and bits, worn out and shabby, and seemingly insignificant. It was once a wooden flag pole with holes strategically placed from top to bottom, and it had an important role in Raton’s Christmases.  It was the city’s Christmas “tree” pole that for more than half a century came to life during the Christmas season in the form of a “handmade” Christmas tree, complete with lights and star, in the median between Park and Clark Avenues in downtown Raton. Nowadays, the Christmas “tree” pole is retired and visitors and residents enjoy a live Christmas tree in Ripley Park.

Raton Public Service Company first began dressing up the town for the Christmas season in 1935, and with the exception of the years of World War II, the tradition has continued to the present day. 

The municipal building as it was decorated in 1935. Municipal offices were on  both sides of the lobby of the Shuler. The chamber of commerce and the fire department  were also in the building.

The municipal building as it was decorated in 1935. Municipal offices were on both sides of the lobby of the Shuler. The chamber of commerce and the fire department were also in the building.

Through the years, the eye-catching Christmas tree that is the main attraction of the downtown lighting decorations has ranged in size from 40 feet to 71 feet and has been positioned in several different places in the downtown area.

1935 Christmas Tree

1935 Christmas Tree

Initially, back in 1935, RPS put up three trees, along with stringers of colored lights across the streets. The Raton Daily Range reported on Nov. 25, 1935 that “three huge trees will stand at the intersections of First and Cook, Second and Cook and Second and Park. They will be brilliantly lighted.”   

During Christmas of 1936 RPS and the Chamber of Commerce’s retail committee decided to set up one “gigantic tree” at the corner of Second Street and Cook Avenue. According to The Range, the 60-foot tree would have “myriads of lights, the numbers of which will engage the guessing ability of the populace for some time.” 

In 1937, a 40-foot tree was anchored at the center of the intersection of Park Avenue and Second Street. T.R. Kirby, the manager of RPS, announced that the company’s workmen were also “erecting a star on Goat Hill, measuring 40 feet from point to point.” The front of the city’s municipal offices (at that time located in the Shuler building) was festooned with evergreen garlands, and colored lights were strung across streets and avenues. 

RPS absorbed the cost of all of the decorations and provided free electricity for outside decorations for stores and businesses.

In the late 1930s, Raton was quickly earning a reputation for its elaborate Christmas decorations. Each year the retail committee and RPS set a goal to make the display bigger and better. With that goal in mind, in 1938, a 71-foot tree was placed atop Goat Hill along with the star. That same year The Range and RPS conducted a contest for citizens to guess the number of lights on the huge tree. 

The tree was set up along the curb in front of the Shuler Theater in 1939. This site for the tree was used until sometime in the 1950s, when it was moved to the middle of Second Street between Park Avenue and Clark Avenue. 

In November 1940, RPS Manager Kirby estimated that RPS spent $1,100 annually for Christmas lighting. 

In 1941, as a result of Japan’s Dec. 7th attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States became involved in World War II. As men fought and died in combat, Raton struggled to keep the Christmas spirit alive in the hearts of its citizens. The Raton Chamber of Commerce made this observation in The Range Dec. 18, 1941: “We should decorate a bit more this year —Christmas spirit should be a bit stronger for we are fighting to keep Christmas as we see it.”

In addition to the big tree, two other good-sized trees, several thousand feet of tree “roping” along the streets, and the star on Goat Hill decorated Raton.

At a meeting of the board of directors of RPS on Nov.23, 1942, it was decided to eliminate all outdoor decorations for the Christmas holiday.  The Range reported that this action was taken by the board “in compliance with the request of the War Production Board asking that all unnecessary lighting be abolished for the duration.” The War Production Board was established in 1942 by order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Its purpose was to regulate the production and allocation of materials and fuel during World War II in the United States. It rationed such things as gasoline, heating oils, metals, rubber and plastic.

The following year Raton was again without Christmas lights, this time as a result of a mandatory order by the War Production Board which banned “all outside Christmas decorations by utilities companies.” The chamber’s retail committee expressed its disappointment, saying that the holiday time should be as “bright as possible, not only despite war, but on account of the tragic state of world events.” 

With the end of the war in 1945, RPS was able to resume its Christmas decorating with the lighting of a huge 50-foot tree. The tree was augmented by other holiday lighting decorations in the business district, but RPS Manager V. A. Morgan said that  “the lighting this year will not be up to pre-war standards in view of the manpower and material shortages.” In connection with Raton’s huge tree, Morgan also announced that cash prizes would be awarded to two people guessing closest to the number of light bulbs on the tree. The Range stated that a special committee of judges, Arthur Johnson, Mayor Joseph Kastler, and Frank Pfeiffer, would count the bulbs, as the strings of lights were removed from the tree.

The Swastika Hotel decorated for Christmas

The Swastika Hotel decorated for Christmas

The traditional Christmas lighting was cancelled in November 1946, due to a nationwide coal strike, which left 850 coal miners idle in Colfax County. However, John L. Lewis, president of the United Mine Workers of America, dramatically called off the strike in early December, so RPS began making plans to put up the tree and lights as quickly as possible.

A significant turning point in the history of Raton’s Christmas tree occurred in 1947. In early December of that year, acting Manager of RPS, Jack Horner, explained that “this year’s Christmas tree was ‘made’ from a flagpole with evergreen branches attached by holes drilled in the ‘trunk’. The tree is an experiment, and represents a substantial saving to the company. In previous years, the company has spent a week chopping down and hauling in a tree. This one was erected and decorated in a day.”

Christmas tree at the Shuler

A Range column titled “From the South 30” (Dec. 3, 1966) said that RPS somehow came in possession of the flagpole from Camp Trinidad, a World War II prisoner of war camp located near Trinidad, Colo. According to the columnist, the pole “was gleaming white, straight as an arrow and perfectly tapered. Someone suggested using it for the trunk of a Christmas tree.”

The columnist continued, “The pole was re-painted brown and several hundred holes were drilled at strategic points along its length. Branches from two good-sized trees were gathered and placed in the holes to form the ‘tree’.”

Christmas garlands Raton

The Christmas tree “experiment” mentioned by Jack Horner back in 1947 began a successful Raton tradition that lasted for 57 years.   Eventually the original flagpole splintered and deteriorated, and was replaced by a utility pole. While awaiting its moment of glory at Christmas time, the pole in use for building the tree was unceremoniously stored in the RPS pole yard with a few pieces of tin thrown over it to keep the moisture out.

In 1994, amidst some controversial public sentiment, city officials made the decision to move the tree from its usual position in the center of the median between Park and Clark Avenues to RipleyPark. The RPS board, including Mayor Joe Apache who sat on the board as a commissioner, and RPS General Manager Bob Scheafer, decided to take action in order to prevent a possible traffic accident.

In a November 1994 article in The Raton Range Mayor Joe Apache called the tree transfer “common sense” after receiving several requests from citizens asking about the possibility of moving the tree for safety reasons. Most of the enquiries expressed complaints about vehicles almost hitting children because the tree created an obstructed view of pedestrians crossing the street. His concern about the near misses with children led Apache to press the issue with the RPS board and the Raton City Commission. 

Apache said that if most people wanted the tree to be moved back to the median, it could be moved back the next year, but he felt the park setting provided a better place for the tree. “I truly believe you can enjoy it more now,” Apache said. “You can stop and look at it instead of just driving by. I think it can have a positive effect with people participating in things Christmasy. We haven’t lost the tree. It’s just in a better location.”  Apache’s idea was that more activities could “take place with the tree as the ‘hub’.”

Generations ago, when RPS first began transforming Raton’s downtown area for the holidays, living trees were used.  In 2004 things began to come full circle when the “tree” pole was retired and a live tree, originally gathered as a seedling from Johnson Mesa, was replanted in Ripley Park. The 25-year old evergreen tree, that is now the city of Raton’s permanent Christmas tree, came from the yard of Mary Lee Gabriele, who donated it in memory of her husband, Nardi, a longtime employee of RPS.

*Special thanks to Sandy Chavez and the Raton Public Service Company for use of the vintage Christmas tree photos.

RPS retired employee, Frank Ferri

RPS retired employee, Frank Ferri

In Loving Memory of Sherry Romine

Sherry Romine, age 62, of Pampa, Texas, (Former resident of Mills, New Mexico) passed away on Saturday, December 13, 2014 in an Amarillo hospital. 

Sherry was born on February 1, 1952 in Sweetwater, Texas to Mathie (Shorty) and Alma Marie (Gaston) Romine. She was an assistant postmaster in Mills, New Mexico, County Clerk in Silverton, Texas and a homemaker. She was a member of First Baptist Church of Blackwell, Texas. 

She was preceded in death by her parents, Mathie (Shorty) and Alma Marie Romine. 

She is survived by her daughter, Jennifer Douglas and husband Cody of Pampa, Texas, son, Justin Delano and wife Val of Martinsdale, Montana, three grandchildren, Crockett Delano, Garret Delano, and Tell Mathie Douglas, brother, Don Romine and wife Judy of Sweetwater, Texas, sister, Sheila Hayes and husband Dan of Blackwell, Texas, and many nieces, nephews,close friends and her companion Buster Brown. 

Family will receive friends at the funeral home on Tuesday, December 16, 2014 from 6:00-7:30 P.M..

Funeral Services will be held 2:00 P.M., Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at Cate-Spencer & Trent Funeral Home Chapel in Sweetwater, Texas with Rev. Ray and Beth Clark officiating. Burial will follow at Decker Cemetery. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Accolade Home Care, 6300 West Interstate 40, Ste 110, Amarillo, Texas 79106. 

Pallbearers will be Nathan Hayes, Kelly Hayes, Steven Hayes, Tristen Hayes, Skyler Hayes and Bill Campbell. 

Honorary pallbearers will be Trubert Flowers, Hunter Broom, Robert Gaston, Randy Chapman, Roy Cole, Michael Romine, and Skipper Gaston. 

Arrangements are under the direction of Cate-Spencer & Trent Funeral Home, 403 Locust Street, Sweetwater, TX 79556  
 (325) 236-6717.