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Archive for: December 2015

Public help sought to protect big bucks during breeding season

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Media contact: Karl Moffatt, (505) 476-8007
Public contact: (888) 248-6866
karl.moffatt@state.nm.us

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Dec. 14, 2015:

Public help sought to protect big bucks during breeding season

SANTA FE- The Department of Game and Fish is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying poachers preying upon big bucks during the ongoing mule deer breeding season.

“Bucks in the rut are easy targets for opportunistic poachers,” said Bobby Griego, colonel of Field Operations for the department. “We’re asking the public to keep an eye out for our wildlife and report any suspicious activity.”

The mule deer breeding season in northern New Mexico is in full swing and deer can be found congregating in easily accessible areas where wildlife watchers, photographers and others can observe them. It is also the time of year that game wardens find many illegally slain bucks minus their heads and antlers — rotting by the roadside.

“They’re poaching some of our finest bucks,” Griego said.

The loss of these trophy bucks deprives deer herds of prime breeding stock for future generations and negatively impacts hunting for others. 

Game wardens work overtime during the rut, patrolling wintering grounds where mule deer gather. Officers already are investigating numerous poaching cases, including:

  • Officers received a report Dec. 8 of a large mule deer buck having been illegally killed several days earlier in a field off U.S. Forest Road 313 and N.M. 595 north of Lindrith. At the scene, officers discovered the carcass of a big buck missing its head, and two dead elk left to rot. Witnesses reported having seen a white Ford Raptor pickup truck in the field.

  • A large gathering of ravens alerted an officer patrolling the Simms Mesa area near Navajo Lake on Sunday morning, Nov. 29, to evidence of a fresh kill. The officer observed tire tracks on a dirt road about half-mile north of mile marker 14 on N.M. 527 that indicated a vehicle had stopped, backed up and pulled off the road. Further investigation revealed drag marks leading into the brush, where a fresh gut pile from a male mule deer was found. No deer hunting was allowed in the area at that time.

  • An officer on patrol Dec. 2 on N.M. 527 near mile marker 4 near Navjao Lake found the body of a dead buck with its antlers sawed off in the brush by the roadside. The body of a gutted but intact doe also was found nearby, along with a dead fawn that had been struck by a vehicle.

  • An officer on patrol Nov. 28 investigated a large gathering of ravens at a well pad off Rio Arriba County Road 362, also known Rosa Road on the mesa east of Navajo Lake. The officer investigated and found the remains of a doe mule deer missing the only choicest cuts of meat known as the “back straps.”

Anyone with information about these cases or any others can earn cash rewards while remaining anonymous by calling the department’s Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-432-GAME or reporting online at www.wildlife.state.nm.us.

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THE CITY OF BETHLEHEM: A CHERISHED TRADITION SPONSORED ANNUALLY BY THE RATON LIONS CLUB

 

By Pat Veltri

 

“It will remain a sacred display without commercialism.”  That’s a recorded proviso in the archives of the Lions Club, a service organization that has partnered with the city of Raton for almost seventy years in the yearly setting up of the City of Bethlehem, a montage of the Nativity of Christ.

 

A series of twenty scenes cut from plywood, artistically rendered, complete with words of explanation and enhanced lighting, the City of Bethlehem display is permanently housed in the city-owned Climax Canyon at the outer periphery of Apache Avenue.

Entrance to City of Bethlehem

Entrance to City of Bethlehem

 

Turning the lights on in the City of Bethlehem occurs annually on the Friday after Thanksgiving, and coincides with the lighting of the town’s Christmas tree. The display, gratis to visitors, remains open until the first of January.

 

Spanning the decades of its existence, various public figures, including governors, television personalities, and senators, have pulled the switch to open the tableau, but mostly it’s been local people and Lions dignitaries. According to Jim Mullings, who has been a member of the Lions Club for thirty-five years, various individuals are nominated for the honor at the club’s regular meetings throughout the year. “It’s just a good idea someone has,” Mullings says, “sometimes to honor a person, someone who has been very helpful to us and so forth.” Raton’s Chief of Police, John Garcia, was the designee for the 2015 lighting ceremony.

 

City of Bethlehem Postcard, circa late 1970s or early 1980s, made from a slide by Bill Mobley

City of Bethlehem Postcard, circa late 1970s or early 1980s, made from a slide by Bill Mobley

The Lions Club was chartered in 1945 and within a short period of time a young Lion, Glen Karlin, brought the idea of a lighted display of the Nativity to his fellow club members.  Mullings, a local artist and retired educator, says, “Glen Karlin was a student at the University of New Mexico and he returned home one time through Madrid, New Mexico. Madrid had a unique outdoor lighting display depicting the birth of Christ. He brought the idea to the Lions Club and the first year they simply did a Nativity scene.”

Illustrations are by Jim Mullings for Mike Pappas' book RATON History Mystery and More

Illustration by Jim Mullings for Mike Pappas’ book RATON History Mystery and More

 

The following highlights of the history of the City of Bethlehem were culled from the archives of The Raton Daily Range:

 

  • 1947 On December 17, 1947 The Range reported that the Raton Lions Club was planning to erect a Christmas scene on the lawn of the courthouse.  The Range said, “The Christmas display, arranged by Woodrow (Woody) Ballard, will include a big Christmas tree and a Nativity scene.  Christmas carols will be played at the display over a public address system during the week of Christmas.”

 

  • 1948 The initial response from the public to the simple display was positive so the following year the club decided to expand the project.  Beginning in November of 1948 the club made plans for a drive to finance a Christmas display in Climax Canyon.  The Range stated, “The project has been underwritten and promoted by the Raton Lions Club. Any financial assistance from anyone will be greatly appreciated, officials of the club said.” By the end of November, $675, including a $50 pledge from the Kiwanis Club, was collected to build three scenes. The city improved the canyon road and considered the idea of a horseshoe drive in and out of the canyon. On December 6, 1948 lights were flicked on for the first time in the Lions Club sponsored City of Bethlehem display. A public address system played sacred music while the scenes were lighted.

 

  • 1949 In 1949 the club conducted another successful financial drive to pay for more scenes for the display. Invitations were sent to eighteen Lions Clubs in the area to participate in the turning-on ceremony.  Mayor C.L. Healey pulled the switch that lighted the canyon with nine Christmas scenes. Photographers Dan Sheehan of Raton and Fred Baker of The Denver Post recorded the event on film.

 

  • 1950 In 1950 Raton’s citizens once again opened their pocketbooks and generously donated money to the City of Bethlehem fund.  On December 12 The Range said, “It was announced by drive chairman Charles Toller that a total of $1143.27 had been raised for the lighting.” Woody Ballard was chosen Ratonian of the Month by The Range and praised by Range columnist, Jim Elliot, “for his work on the City of Bethlehem Christmas lighting scenes”. Fred Baker, a photographer for The Denver Post, pulled the switch for the third year of the display.

 

  • 1951 In the year 1951 the term “bigger and better” aptly described the Lions Club Christmas display.  Glenn Karlin was the general chairman for the fund drive, which was seeking $1000 to build additional scenes and displays. 

Attendance at opening night was twice as large as the previous year. An estimated 1815 people “oohed and aahed” at the 1951 City of Bethlehem lighting display. The Range gave daily accounts of cars and passengers visiting the display and noted the different states that were represented. The final tally for 1951 was nearly 30,000 people! The show was closed two days early because many of the scenes were destroyed by high winds.

 

  • 1952 In 1952 The Lions Club made the decision to relocate the City of Bethlehem to the old Raton Pass.  The move was decided upon in order to accommodate the increasing number of visitors as well as the expansion of the display itself.  Locations for the scenes were selected in early November.  For the fifth year of the display, another fund drive was held to defray the expense of moving the display and the expense of adding scenes and repainting some of the old scenes. 

Another first for 1952 was the addition of five Toyland scenes on top of Goat Hill. A new opening night record was set when approximately 2300 people viewed the lighting display. Mayor James Morrow; J.F. Buchanan, District Deputy Governor of Lions; Lions president Charles Toller; and other club officials took part in the opening ceremony. Traffic was heavy on the narrow road but no accidents were reported. 

Church scene in the City of Bethlehem

Church scene in the City of Bethlehem

  • 1953 Another fund drive in 1953 enabled the club to add four new scenes to the display, bringing the total to twenty. The City of Bethlehem was publicized in the December issue of New Mexico Magazine. Four pages of photographs by Daniel Sheehan of the House of Photography were featured.

 

  • 1954 The City of Bethlehem tableau was moved back to Climax Canyon, which is now its permanent home, in 1954. The Range noted that “no cash drive is being made this year, but that the club will welcome contributions.” Mayor Floyd Atchison lit the 1954 display and commended the club for “providing the community with such an outstanding holiday attraction.”

 

City of Bethlehem Postcard, circa late 1970s or early 1980s, made from a slide by Bill Mobley

City of Bethlehem Postcard, circa late 1970s or early 1980s, made from a slide by Bill Mobley

After more than thirty years of use, the air-brushed scenes designed and constructed by commercial artist Woody Ballard began to show signs of wear and tear.  In 1982 Mullings and his daughter Gail (Mullings) Cimino, took on the monumental task of replicating the Nativity artwork. Mullings says, “The original paintings were weather beaten and scratched and in sad shape.  The Lions Club decided to see if they could repaint them, but we had no one in mind. We held a fundraiser and we offered a $1000 to have someone paint the City of Bethlehem scenes. I personally didn’t want to tackle that; it seemed like an awesome job. My daughter Gail came home from her freshman year at the University of New Mexico, wanted a summer job and she put in an application.  As it turned out it was the only application that we got and being a member of the Lions Club I volunteered to go ahead and work with her.”

 

The Mullings father/daughter team painted at the former ARF Products Capulin plant building, which was vacant at the time. He continues, “We just stacked all the scenes in there and the Lions themselves would lay them down and trace them on the plywood and they’d cut the plywood with a saber saw in the right shape. Then we stood up the old one, looked at it and painted the new one. That was a full summer’s job.” The scenes were painted with acrylic paint. As the scenes were completed, they were sprayed with clear acrylic for protection from the elements.

 

Illustration by Jim Mullings for Mike Pappas' book RATON History Mystery and More. "Driving up Toyland"

Illustration by Jim Mullings for Mike Pappas’ book RATON History Mystery and More. “Driving up Toyland”

Mullings continues to use his artistic talents to refurbish Nativity scenes that are showing signs of deterioration, and has on occasion painted a few Toyland characters, including Sponge Bob Square Pants. Another club member, Arlin Swank, works with Mullings on the restoring of scenes. 

 

The Toyland characters that are displayed along both sides of Apache Avenue leading the way to the City of Bethlehem, have been creative contributions from the community, including individuals, school clubs, and businesses.  The back of each Toyland character is signed by the artist or artists.

 

Toyland characters have revolved over the years, but only one has been “retired” according to Mullings.  Complaints from citizens were made about “Darth Vader” being inappropriate for the Christmas season and it was withdrawn from the display. Mullings quips, “There are a number of characters that have gone away, like E.T. and Sponge Bob Square Pants. They’re too popular and they get new homes!”

 

The City of Bethlehem is housed in various outbuildings in Climax Canyon. When mid November rolls around the Lions and the city workers know the routine for a smooth assembly of the Christmas exhibit. Mullings explains, “The first thing is all the weeds and the growth that occurs on the Climax road has to be cleared. That’s usually done by a city road grader; then all the scenes are taken out and parceled out to the different areas that they need to go and the Lions themselves handle that as much as they can. Finally, the city crews are enlisted to do some of the heavy duty work and without them we’d be in a big mess.”

 

Jim Mullings, a member of the Raton Lions Club for 35 years, authored a brochure about the City of Bethlehem, which was published by the Raton Chamber of Commerce in the early 1980s.

Jim Mullings, a member of the Raton Lions Club for 35 years, authored a brochure about the City of Bethlehem, which was published by the Raton Chamber of Commerce in the early 1980s.

For many years the Lions Club members and interested citizens put up the display. In the early times there was a Lions Auxiliary, comprised of wives of the Lions, who provided lunch for the volunteers. Now that the organization has dwindled to fifteen members, the actual setting up is in the hands of the small group of Lions and the city employees. “It’s a struggle to put it up, and without young healthy bodies it cannot be done, which poses the question of recruiting for the Lions Club new members that can handle it. I’ve often wondered when we are going to be unable to do that anymore. That’s my biggest concern about the City of Bethlehem,” Mullings states.

 

Repairs and replacements are ongoing problems with the display, due to weather damage and at times vandalism. Another costly problem is replacement of bulbs in the floodlights. Support from the community, via fundraisers and monetary contributions from civic-minded individuals, businesses and organizations, enable the Lions to maintain the display. An added benefit is that electrical power used for the display is furnished free of charge by the Raton Public Service Company.

 

In a 1951 article in The Range Woody Ballard summarized the theme of the City of Bethlehem, “Let this place be a tribute to the Savior’s birth. Let the story be painted in the truest of form, and the story written in the simplest of words so even the smallest child could understand. Let the story be a respecter of all creeds, so that all religions could be a part of the worship of His own nativity.”

Beth

In 2015 the City of Bethlehem continues, without commercialism, to be a simple, gentle reminder of the true meaning of Christmas, reflecting the theme as stated by Woody Ballard. It has become one of Raton’s most cherished Christmas traditions. Mullings says, “It’s expected. I’ve talked to so many people that have made trips through the City of Bethlehem all through their childhood and adulthood and they continue to do that. Many people revere that opportunity to drive through.” 

Photos/Illustrations are courtesy of Jim Mullings, Ann Marie Rigdon, and Arthur Johnson Memorial Library.

 

New Mexico DOT Prepares for Raton Pass Work

By Marty Mayfield

KRTN Multi-Media

 

New Mexico Department of Transportation held a public meeting Thursday evening at the International Bank Conference Room to get public input on construction plans for work to be done on the Raton Pass.

Most of the work planned will be at the top of the pass at exit 460. Four proposals were presented that include rehabilitating the bridge over the Interstate to moving the bridge. The proposal to rehabilitate will include having to lower the roadbed under the bridge to allow for more room.

One proposal will build a new bridge just south of the old bridge, while another moves the bridge about 930 feet to the south which will have a major impact on the Port of Entry and another moves the bridge as far as 1870 feet south.

Along with these proposals work will include moving and expanding the on and off ramps as well as the frontage road on the east side of the interstate. Concerns for that include turning areas for snowplows from both Colorado and New Mexico.

Other work being considered is rock fall mitigation, drainage improvements, pavement rehabilitation, access control, wildlife fencing and electronic information signs. It was noted that there is 15 to 19 inches of asphalt road bed and to take all that up would a major problem as well as having to rebuild the road bed under it so they will mill as much as nine inches of asphalt and replace it with that much new asphalt.

The project is in the preliminary stage and over the next few months design work and decisions will be finalized with NMDOT bringing a more complete plan and costs back to Raton in mid 2016 for final public input and comments with construction beginning in 2017.

Comments and question about the project can be sent to Eric Johnson at Marron and Associates, Inc. 7511 4th St NW in Albuquerque NM 87107. The phone number for Johnson is 505-898-8848 and his email is eric@marroninc.com.  (Download the Comment Form here)

Derek Meier explains what work will be done in the first plan at Exit 460 on I-25. More specifically the work to be done on the bridge that crosses I-25 just north of the Port of Entry

Derek Meier explains what work will be done in the first plan at Exit 460 on I-25. More specifically the work to be done on the bridge that crosses I-25 just north of the Port of Entry

This plan shows the work to be done and builds a new bridge just south of the original bridge.

This plan shows the work to be done and builds a new bridge just south of the original bridge.

Alternative plan 3 builds a new bridge about 930 feet south of the old bridge and will have a major impact on the Port of Entry.

Alternative plan 3 builds a new bridge about 930 feet south of the old bridge and will have a major impact on the Port of Entry.

Plan 4 moves the bridge about 1870 feet to the south and will require some easement work and changes to the on and off ramps south bound out of the Port of Entry

Plan 4 moves the bridge about 1870 feet to the south and will require some easement work and changes to the on and off ramps south bound out of the Port of Entry

In Loving Memory of Joyce An Paine

Joyce An Paine, age 65, passed away on December 7, 2015, after a lengthy illness.

She was born in Trinidad, CO, on July 15, 1950.

Joyce was preceded in death by parents, Raffie L. DeGarbo  and Bert Dolce and aunt Margie Molinaro.

Joyce PaineLeft to cherish her memory are daughters Anna (Ed) Till, Heather (Dora) Belcher, Tiffany (Ron) Zamora, granddaughter Hailey Felthager, grandsons, Charles Belcher, Nathan and Tristan Zamora, uncle Sam Molinaro, numerous cousins and friends.

At her request, cremation with private family services.

Arrangements made under the direction of the Comi Funeral Home.

In Loving Memory of Angela Guerra

Angela Guerra, born July 13, 1918, passed away on Tuesday, Dec. 8, at the age of 97.

She was born, raised, and lived out her life on the Guerra ranch. She was the second youngest of 8 brothers and sisters. She and her two brothers, Reno and Jimmie, kept the ranch going after their parents passed away, and she always felt her greatest accomplishment was that the family likely would have lost the ranch during the depression and during WW II if she had not been there to keep things going.

guerraAngie had a witty sense of humor and often enjoyed sitting around the kitchen table with friends, drinking a cup of coffee, remembering days gone by, and making witty comments that would bring a smile to people’s faces. She liked to say that she did the best she could with the ranch, and it showed.

She is survived by her sister, Mary Keller, her niece, Phyllis Bursch, and her nephew, Charles Keller. She is also survived by her unofficial family who stayed with her during her last years, Jim & Pat Noble and Al & Jane Scarafiotti, as well as close friends Tom & Kathy Vertovec and Frances Mendez. Her passing is the end of an era. Her generation of immigrants built this country into what it is today.

Visitation will be Wednesday December 16, 2015 from 12:00 until 4:00 P.M. at the Yaksich-Long Funeral Home in Raton.

Solemn Mass of the Resurrection will be Thursday December 17, 2015 at 10:00 A.M. at the St. Patrick’s-St. Joseph’s Catholic Church with Father John Trambley as the celebrant. Rite of Christian burial will follow at the Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Raton..

Raton City Commission Meets 12-8-15

The Raton City commission met in regular session on Tuesday, Dec. 8th and all commission members were present with the commission setting its Legislative Capital Outlay Priorities.  City Manager Scott Berry presented the list that included

  1. Water Treatment Facility, originally completed in 1946, $ 250,000.
  2. Streets, Business District improvements, more to be done in Spring due to weather.
  3. Continued drainage system Improvement: $300,000.
  4. Solid waste station: $250,000.

The motion to approve the Capital Outlay Priorities was passed unanimously.

“You Rock Award” this quarter for recognition of community service was given by the City and the Raton Ministerial Alliance to Kenny & Judy Volpato.

The Raton City Municipal Election was addressed by the Commission with 3 seats, including Mayor Pro-Tem Neil Segotta, Linde Schuster and Don Giacomo all up for election. Any qualified candidate can submit their name for candidacy on January 5, 2016 with the Municipal election set for March 1, 2016

The election motion was also passed unanimously.

Public Discussion was opened up by Mayor Mance on granting approval of a beer and wine license for Bruno’s Pizza and Wing’s. With no public response against the request, a motion to grant license was approved unanimously.

The proposal for a Well Work plan, this was tabled until Jan. 12th meeting due to final costs not being ready.

The Commission also passed unanimously amended cost proposal for Landfill Cover Engineering. Some 42000 Cubic yards of topsoil is needed, Monitoring is required, cost proposal is $60,000.

City Treas. Michael Ann Antonucci presented a report on the individual duties of City administrative employees with many of the administrative staff responsibilities that are handled such as a $4, 524,919 City of Raton payroll, with budget expenditures of 14 million dollars. She went on to state the City of Raton has implemented internal controls and that no fiscal agent is now required, also reporting that there is a reduction in audit funding and an increase in cash reserves.

Under the City Manager’s report, Scott Berry reported that he has asked Dept. Heads to report to the City Commission in public meetings the status of their departments to insure communication and clarity for all.

Berry stated the Multi-Modal project is underway and will continue as weather permits and also stated the Senior Center project is just beginning and that future street improvements will continue contingent on weather and available funding.

City Manager Scott Berry also discussed the importance of a vandalism meeting to be held Monday Dec. 14 th at International Bank to discuss the recent wave of vandalism, and how we all can work together for a solution.

Berry also stated that NMDOT will hold a meeting Dec. 17th 6pm at International Bank in Raton to discuss the Construction project Raton exit 454 to the Colorado State Line.

In earlier action, Mayor Pro-Tem Neil Segotta read and presented The Reindeer Dash Proclamation to Jamie Esquibel and Sally Chavez. Raton Police Chief John Garcia and RFD Chief Jim Matthews stated they had collected combined monies of $3500.00

The next regular meeting would fall on December 22nd, so it was cancelled in observance of Christmas week.  That means the next regular scheduled meeting is Tues. Jan 12th at 6pm, and will be broadcast on KRTN AM 1490.

Raton RFES Catch House Fire Early

By Marty Mayfield

  KRTN Multi-Media

  Raton Fire and Emergency services were called to 532 Martinez a little after 1:00 p.m. Tuesday afternoon for a report of smoke coming from the roof of the house. 

Fire Fighters quickly put the flames to rest and began mopping up a little before 2:00p.m.  Fire Chief Jim Matthews noted the main concentration of flames appeared to be around the fire place. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. 

No one was found in the house and it is unknown if the house is even occupied. 

 

Raton fire fighters responded to 532 Martinez for a report of smoke coming from the roof of the house Tuesday afternoon just after 1pm. Fire fighters are removing wood from the inside of the house.

Raton fire fighters responded to 532 Martinez for a report of smoke coming from the roof of the house Tuesday afternoon just after 1pm. Fire fighters are removing wood from the inside of the house.

Fire Fighters remove wood from the inside of the house at 532 Martinez. Raton Fire and Emergency Services were called to that house for a report of smoke just after 1p.m. Tuesday afternoon

Fire Fighters remove wood from the inside of the house at 532 Martinez. Raton Fire and Emergency Services were called to that house for a report of smoke just after 1p.m. Tuesday afternoon

Crime Stoppers Grow Raton Branch

By Alan Kenny, KRTN

    A special meeting entitled Stop Vandalism Now – sponsored by GrowRaton! and the City of Raton – was held on Tuesday, December 14th at International Bank. It is recognized by all parties involved that in order to stop the wave of vandalism that has been afflicting local businesses and residents, it is time for the public to get involved and set up a Crime Stoppers Reward Fund.

On behalf of International Bank, President Ron Schmeits presented a check for $500 to Paul Jenkins for the Crime Stoppers Reward Fund.

On behalf of International Bank, President Ron Schmeits presented a check for $500 to Paul Jenkins for the Crime Stoppers Reward Fund.

Addressing an estimated crowd of over 100 concerned citizens, Paul Jenkins of GrowRaton! opened the meeting by stating, “We have a real problem. One of the solutions needed to address this problem is to organize a local Crime Stoppers Program which has been successful in other communities.” Jenkins informed the crowd that over $1600 had been collected. Then, Jenkins introduced International Bank President Ron Schmeits who presented a check for $500 on behalf of International Bank.

Charles Duran, President of High Country Crime Stoppers, gave words of encouragement to those in attendance and handed Paul Jenkins a check from High Country Crime Stoppers in the amount of $2000. Duran stated that High Country Crime Stoppers will stand shoulder-to-shoulder, with this newly formed, local Crime Stoppers Group. Paul Jenkins then announced the need for a Board of Directors in order to form a 501c3 and be allowed to operate under corporate provisions – allowing tax deduction status.

Raton City Manager Scott Berry addressed the audience with an overview of city basic services which are running at maximum proficiency.

Raton City Manager Scott Berry addressed the audience with an overview of city basic services which are running at maximum capacity.

Raton City Manager Scott Berry addressed the audience with an overview of city basic services which are running at maximum capacity. Berry explained that any additional help from the Police or Fire Department would require additional sources of funding. Berry concurred that a local Crime Stoppers Group could help alleviate some of the vandalism problems.

Raton Chief of Police John Garcia suggested, “The more eyes, the more arrests.” During the question-and-answer period, many people raised concerns that the present police cameras were not functioning well enough to capture photos of suspects. This, in theory, was agreed upon by both the Police Chief and City Manager. It was mentioned that, due to changes in technology, Raton needed new updated cameras and that the City was moving in that direction to remedy this problem.

A crowd of over 100 concerned citizens met for a special meeting to help "Stop Vandalism Now!"

A crowd of over 100 concerned citizens met for a special meeting to help “Stop Vandalism Now!”

Meanwhile, Chief Garcia repeatedly stated the importance of surveillance equipment and deemed it a necessity for all businesses.

It was also clearly stated that the time for community policing is at hand – it is time to partner up with the community to help the Police Department by reporting any suspicious activity immediately and using surveillance equipment whenever possible.

Chief Garcia informed the audience, “We are knocking on doors, trying to resolve this vandalism problem, but we need community involvement.” Chief Garcia specified that there were 45 calls reporting vandalism this November versus seven calls last November.

District Court Judge Emilio Chavez stressed the importance of discussing with judges any circumstance that a citizen wants brought before the court. Also pictured are:  Raton City Commissioner Don Giacomo, Nancy Poe and Johnny Volpato.

District Court Judge Emilio Chavez stressed the importance of discussing with judges any circumstance that a citizen wants brought before the court. Also pictured are: Raton City Commissioner Don Giacomo, Nancy Poe and Johnny Volpato.

During audience discussion, a recurring concern was that many suspects that were caught were released over and over again by the court system. District Court Judge Emilio Chavez stressed the importance of discussing with judges any circumstance that a citizen wants brought before the court – as the Court only sees want is presented to it.

During this meeting, an audience member shared that there seem to be many juveniles who have no mentoring or guidance which tends to lead to crimes being committed. At this point, Seth Ward introduced himself as the local Big Brother/Big Sister representative, an organization that mentors children and provides on-going guidance at no charge. Seth Ward was well- received by a concerned audience looking for a solution to the pressing vandalism occurring in Raton.

It was observed that – with the night’s extra donation – the local Crime Stoppers Fund is now up to $5,000.  It was also acknowledged that the usual reward for a Crime Stoppers tip is $1,000, so it is encouraged that the public keep the funding coming in.

The contact number for donations to the local Crime Stoppers Fund is 245-Grow (4769).

“SE Colorado is one of the richest petroglyph sites in North America”

 
Interview with Dr. Lawrence Loendorf, anthropologist/archeologist, Part one of two
by Bob Kennemer
WJ  250x55LA VETA — Recently one of North America’s foremost anthropologists/archaeologists, specializing in the ethnography of the intermountain West, gave a talk in La Veta. Dr. Lawrence Loendorf (he prefers to just be referred to as ‘Larry’) was en route from Montana to his winter home in Albuquerque and was invited by the La Veta Public Library and Francisco Crossing to present.  Loendorf chose to speak on the subject of technological advances in the study of rock art both in the field and in the lab.
Even with more than 11 books that he authored or co-authored under his belt, plus numerous honors and awards, Loendorf is very humble and down to earth.  Sitting in on his presentation was more like being in the living room of an old friend, who just so happens to know a whole lot and shares his knowledge with exuberance.  Loendorf’s excitement was catching as he shared dozens of photographs of himself and his teams studying petroglyphs (etched or pecked in stone) and pictographs (painted on stone) of Native American rock art throughout the west.
A deep respect for Native Americans is evident as Loendorf speaks; noting that Indian people do not consider these works “rock art,” but as something more spiritual and cultural.  It is clear that Loendorf works hard to understand Native peoples, along with their history, and has worked closely with many western tribes.
Throughout his talk, Loendorf stressed the need to protect and preserve rock art sites. One cardinal rule is to be cautious when approaching a rock art panel, as there are often artifacts at the base of the panel in the soil.  Another rule is to not touch rock art, as oils in one’s skin can erode the art and affect the ability to properly date the site, when contaminated by modern DNA. “These technological advances we now have allow us to study rock art without damaging it,” notes Loendorf.  He told the audience about special portable x-ray machines that can help analyze the art without touching the actual panels.
When asked how he came to be interested in the rock art of southeastern Colorado Loendorf said, “About 20 years ago the University of Denver had been contracted to conduct a survey of rock art sites within the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site.  The DU team was overwhelmed as they found far more sites than was ever expected, mainly along a hogback. The Army asked me to review the study and the sites.” When he did so, Loendorf found even more sites, saying although the hogback area in the PCMS was full of sites, more than 100 boulders were found with art panels on them.
“There are more than 300 petroglyph sites in Las Animas County, with more than 200 of those sites being in Pinon Canyon,” states Loendorf.  Additionally, the PCMS is home to old Spanish ruins, North America’s longest dinosaur track way, and hundreds of other anthropological/archeological sites.  Loendorf said the hogback site is off limits now as it is considered a sacred site by Native Americans.
“The Army has made right on previous wrongs.  They are good stewards and protectors,” says Loendorf.  Because the area is so culturally rich, the Army restricts access to Pinon Canyon, limiting the area to day use only.  Public access is only allowed via foot, mountain bike, or horseback.  It is more than five miles one way to the dinosaur tracks and more than that to other sites.  Loendorf notes, “The difficult access helps to protect the area.” He added that private citizens can visit Piñon Canyon on guided auto tours from the spring until the fall.  Several of the main rock art sites are visited, along with the dinosaur tracks, and more.
Editor’s Notes: The guided auto tours mentioned in this article run every Saturday in May, June, September and October. There is a per-person fee.  
Reservations for Picket Wire Canyon – GuidedAutoTour@www.recreation.gov or call toll free 1-877-444-6777.   Next week, this series will focus on other rock art sites in our area and the people who made them.
 
Dr. Lawrence Loendorf spoke at the La Veta Public Library on November 4, in an event that was co-sponsored by Francisco Crossing.  His book, Thunder and Herds, Rock Art of the High Plains, focuses on southeastern Colorado rock art. Here Loendorf explains what precautions are needed, when approaching a rock art panel.  Photo by Bob Kennemer.

Dr. Lawrence Loendorf spoke at the La Veta Public Library on November 4, in an event that was co-sponsored by Francisco Crossing. His book, Thunder and Herds, Rock Art of the High Plains, focuses on southeastern Colorado rock art. Here Loendorf explains what precautions are needed, when approaching a rock art panel. Photo by Bob Kennemer.

Rich in rock art and ruins

 
But who were these ancient people? Part 2 of 2.
by Bob Kennemer
WJ  250x55COLFAX, LAS ANIMAS, HUERFANO — In part one of this series we met Dr. Larry Loendorf, an archaeologist and anthropologist with extensive field experience in southeast Colorado and northeast New Mexico.  He recently spoke in La Veta.  Most of Loendorf’s work in our area has been focused on the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site east of Trinidad, but there are several other sites in the area including Apishapa Canyon State Wildlife Area, Cuchara Canyon, the Sopris Site (now underneath Trinidad Lake State Park), Glorieta Mesa in New Mexico and numerous sites on private property.  Many were occupied by the same peoples.
Many of these sites are discussed in Loendorf’s book, ‘Thunder and Herds.’  This book is considered to be the best on the subject of rock art in our region and is utilized by lay readers and academics alike.
Most of the rock art in our region are petroglyphs (pecked or etched in stone) as opposed to the much rarer pictographs, which are painted on stone or other surfaces.  America’s ruins and rock art were primarily made during the Paleo-Indian Period, ranging from about 15,000 BCE (before common era) until about 7,000 BCE.  This period covers the time when people first came to and spread across the Americas.  The period is split into three successive temporal units, marked by the Clovis, Folsom, and Plano cultures. 
The oldest rock art found in our region is often referred to as ‘abstract’ and was created during the archaic period, which began around 7,500 years ago and continued until 2,000 years BCE.  Petroglyphs are often odd images of various shapes and patterns, which are etched into naturally occurring varnish deposits found on rocks.  Anthropomorphs (human) and animal figures are also represented in the rock art of this period.
Interpreting rock art is an evolving art and science, especially with abstract pieces.  In many cases the lines, swirls, and squiggles simply have no known rhyme or reason.  However, as scientists combine additional artifacts with their growing knowledge of abstract rock art, some reasonable interpretations begin to emerge.  For example, there are several sites in our region where rock art panels that looked like some kind of woven web or mesh are now believed to represent nets used in cutting off animals for a hunt.
Hunting animals on the wide open plains was difficult to impossible, for the prey could easily see the predators coming.  This time period was also before the bow and arrow and before horses were introduced to the Americas.  Thus, primitive peoples tended to hunt near rock formations and in canyons, where they could remain unseen by their prey.  By pushing or luring animals into these rocky areas, the entrances and exits could be blocked using large nets to prevent escape.  A group of hunters could then converge on the animals.  These rock art panels could be marking a hunt site, or represent a hope or vision for a successful hunt.
Again, as noted in part one, these drawings are not actual art.  Rather they are cultural and spiritual representations, made by a variety of ancient peoples.  The people used carefully shaped rock points to hunt and do work. Previously it was believed these ancient people somehow disappeared, due to drought, lack of game, or newcomers driving them out.  According to Loendorf many of these factors could have affected these people, but there is mounting solid evidence that some stayed.
Loendorf believes the Apishapa evolved out of the archaic period and ultimately became what we now refer to as the Wichita and the Pawnee. They went from being hunter/gathers to growing crops like corn.  Ultimately, the Apache came in and took control of the region.  It is exciting to know that primitive humans have been in this region for 12,000 years and left so much behind for us to learn from.
Now retired, Loendorf spends his time with his non-profit called Sacred Sites Research Program.  To learn more or to make a donation, check the site out at: www.sacredsitesresearch.com