Archive for: December 2017
By Pat Veltri
For several decades, from 1971 to 2010, Ratonians were the recipients of a delightful homemade Christmas card, in the form of an animated display featuring Santa and his reindeer traveling across the sky over a small town with snow-covered homes and businesses, – a virtual winter wonderland. Described by its sender, Virgil Buscarini, as a “Christmas card in action”, the wonderland montage, with moving figures and vehicles, was set into action with a combination of pulleys, nylon string, and rotisserie motors. Buscarini’s idea for his unique display was initially sparked by a beautiful Christmas card that he received from friends back in the late 1960s, while living in Pico Rivera, California. “It had Santa Claus going through the sky and some cars and people. I thought it would be real nice to make that in animation, and that’s how I got started,” he says.
Armed with mechanical ingenuity and a creative imagination, Buscarini used scrap plywood, old tricycle wheels, and other found materials to begin turning his idea into reality. He started out on a small scale in 1966, “The first year I built two houses and I had Santa Claus going around the two houses.” Dissatisfied with the way it turned out, he tore it down and began again. He redid the houses, added businesses, and created the pulley system for the moving parts of the display. He entered Pico Rivera’s Christmas Lighting Contest and earned second place honors in the novelty division. In subsequent years, as the display grew bigger and better, he won several first place awards in the novelty division.
Sadly, Buscarini’s wife Shirley passed away in 1969. He made plans to leave California, with his two children, and relocate to Raton, where he was born and raised. Before heading for his native home, he gave away the wonderland display, realizing that it would be too unwieldy to transport.
Once established in Raton, Buscarini found a job breaking thoroughbred horses at the CS Ranch. One particular day, while working at the ranch, he discussed Christmas with his friend and co-worker Ernie Baca and mentioned his California Christmas display. Baca suggested that he revive the display in Raton. In 1971, inspired by his friend’s prompting, he began, from scratch, to recreate his initial display. He constructed a few houses and a church and set it up in the front yard of his home on Maxwell Avenue. He didn’t use nails or screws to assemble his houses, but instead wired them together. The houses and other buildings were covered with cotton batting to simulate snow. “We had to cover it up at night because the dampness caused the cotton to turn yellow. So I couldn’t get it too big. I covered it up with canvas and I made kind of a little lean-to for the next year so I could put in some cars and a few little things and a train. People just started coming to look at it, and it grew and grew and grew,” Buscarini recalls.
Coincidentally, Buscarini had also remarried in 1971. His second wife, Virginia, loved setting up the display as much as he did, and proved to be an enthusiastic helpmate. All of the skaters, skiers and other figures in the display sport colorfully crocheted hats and clothing that showcase her needlecraft skills.
Eventually Buscarini began adding businesses to the panorama. City Market and Kenn’s Pharmacy were the first followed by other commercial enterprises and community buildings such as the Shuler Theater, Radio Station KRTN, International Bank, the El Raton Theater, Ace Hardware, and the Raton Depot, to name a few. Soon the display took on the look of “Raton America”. At some point in the life of the display, backdrops were painted by Marv Newton’s high school art classes.
To accommodate the growing exhibit, Buscarini sought a place to house it. His brother-in-law, Louie Castellini, obliged by offering him the use of the Raton Camera Corner. In future years the Winter Wonderland was given center stage at several other places, including Anthony’s Department Store, the Medicine Shoppe, the Gambles building, Hester’s Yamaha, Cimino Brothers Ford, and lastly, the DiLisio building.
Buscarini’s guest books, requesting the signatures of visitors, indicate that thousands have viewed the display over the years, including guests from almost every state in the United States, as well as several foreign countries.
From the outset there were few expenses related to the exhibit since Buscarini recycled materials that he had on hand. His policy has always been to make the display available to the public free of charge and without the need for donation requests. “I don’t like donations at all. I don’t like to charge anybody. It’s just from the heart,” he adamantly says. His daughter, Sophie Atwater, adds, “The whole thing has been a gift of love and homemade from scratch stuff, nothing was really purchased. It was all made with the best of intentions and all the love that anybody could have.”
Despite some adversity in their lives the Buscarinis managed to have the display up and running every Christmas season for thirty-nine years. Virgil, retired from Kaiser Steel, has experienced some heart health issues and Virginia, a former Colfax county commissioner and probate judge, is wheelchair-bound after suffering a stroke. “They’ve gone through some misfortunes,” Atwater says, “but they still keep going. They’ve kind of had to slow down a bit on things that they can do, but they just keep doing it. When the display is up, it really does require somebody that knows how to operate it properly because of the pulleys and motors.”
In 2010 Buscarini set up the display in the DiLisio building for what he thought was the last time, and when it was taken down, it was stashed in a family member’s barn, where it resided for the past seven years.
But Buscarini didn’t anticipate the tenacity of Raton business woman, Trish Romero, who persuaded him to bring the display out of storage during the 2017 Christmas season. Romero had ample opportunity to use her powers of persuasion on Buscarini during the times he escorted his wife to Romero’s place of work for weekly hair appointments. “I was just constantly saying I missed Winter Wonderland and I wish he would do Winter Wonderland,” she says. When all was said and done, Buscarini agreed, if Romero would find a building to house the display and enough manpower to put it together.
The building and the manpower arrived via Raton Main Street, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the rebuilding and revitalization of Raton’s downtown area. Romero, who is a member, enlisted the assistance of the executive director Brenda Ferri to secure a building. According to Ferri, Raton Main Street already had a building in possession – the former site of the Raton Museum – that it had been using for art classes. “We knew we needed a space for the Winter Wonderland so I went to our city manager, Scott Berry, and talked to a few of our commissioners and asked permission to set it up in there. They all thought it was a wonderful idea so Raton Main Street would really like to thank our city partners – our city manager and our city commission – for supporting us in this endeavor and allowing us to bring this to Raton,” she states.
With Buscarini’s tutelage, Ferri, Romero and other Main Street board members and volunteers, including Jessica Barfield, Devon Barton, Eric Chavez, Katie Feldman, Mike Ferry, Arthur Fulkerson, Sandy Lucero, Diana Sanchez, and Jonni Valdez-Silva, had the display ready for opening on November 25, which coincided with the lighting of Raton’s Christmas tree and the City of Bethlehem. At that time Buscarini officially turned over his Winter Wonderland to Raton Main Street. The exhibit will remain in the building located at 216 South First Street indefinitely and in the future Raton Main Street will be responsible for its maintenance and operation. Buscarini has encouraged Main Street members to enlarge the exhibit and add their own personal touches to it.
People enjoy getting homemade Christmas cards because they reflect the love and care that was put into making them. Judging by the feedback that he has received Buscarini’s homemade “Christmas card in action” has been a consistent source of enjoyment. “Everybody loves it,” he says, and “everyone that sees it says they’d like to see it again. It’s made a lot of people happy, a lot of children. It gives me a good feeling in the heart.”
Ferri notes that it is special for Raton Main Street to have the exhibit. “We are so excited,” she says, “because most of us on Main Street grew up here in Raton so we all remember it as children and it’s just a living legacy and we wanted to be part of it.”
Romero recalls that when the display was set up in Buscarini’s yard that she and her brothers would stand by his fence and look at the display. She states, “It’s very sentimental. It’s like everybody’s childhood. It’s magical. It makes you feel like a kid again. We’re very thankful to Virgil and the Buscarini family for leaving this ‘everybody’s childhood’ for years to come, for peoples’ children and grandchildren.”
Atwater sums it up, “The Christmas card must have really been special that Dad saw all those years ago to make it really come to life and for so many people to enjoy it like they have.”
The Winter Wonderland, 216 South First Street, will be open to the public through December 30th on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Mary Miller, age 80, died on Thursday, December 14, 2017, in Clayton, New Mexico.
Funeral services were held at 2:00 PM on Saturday, December 16, 2017 at Hass Funeral Home with Rev. Kenneth W. Tidmore, pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Clayton, New Mexico, officiating. Burial followed in the Grandview Cemetery north of Clayton, New Mexico by Hass Funeral Directors of Clayton, New Mexico.
Mary Miller was born on August 11, 1937 in Seneca, New Mexico to Ollie T. Campbell and Esther Pearl (Havens) Campbell. She was raised in the Seneca community and graduated from Clayton High School in 1955. She married Buck Miller on October 24, 1963 in Raton, New Mexico and he preceded her in death on June 13, 2006. Mary was a lifelong housewife and ranchers wife, she enjoyed gardening, quilting, reading and most of all her grandchildren. In addition to her parents and husband, Mary was preceded in death by an infant sister and a brother, Theo Campbell
1 DAUGHTER: Hilma Swagerty and her husband Danny of Clayton, New Mexico.
2 SONS: Buck S. Miller, Jr. And his wife Mary of Buffalo, Oklahoma and George R. Miller and his wife Brandeis of Moriarity, New Mexico.
5 Grandchildren: Morgan Miller, Clifton Miller, Wayne Swagerty, Emily Murdock and her husband Cade and Baylen Miller.
3 SISTERS: Jean Kear of Clayton, New Mexico, Joy Hanson and her husband Richard of Cherryvale, Kansas and Leta Burton of Felt, Oklahoma.
1 SISTER-IN-LAW: Emma Jean Miller of Stratford, Texas.
MEMORIALS: The family asks that memorials be made in Mary’s Memory to a charity of your choice.
Saturday, December 16, 2017
Hass Funeral Home
324 Main Street
Clayton, NM 88415
December 13, 2017
RATON, NM – FFP Group, Inc. and Raton Capital Corporation, the parent bank holding company for International Bank, jointly announced the signing of an Agreement and Plan of Merger under which FFP Group, Inc. will acquire Raton Capital Corporation and its subsidiary bank, International Bank.
Closing of the acquisition, which is expected to occur in the second quarter of 2018, is subject to customary conditions, including regulatory approvals and approval by the shareholders of Raton Capital Corporation.
“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to inherit the legacy of such a strong community bank and we remain deeply committed to the people of the Northern New Mexico and Colorado communities that the bank serves,” said Francis. “We highly value the International Bank employees and believe they will be well-served as part of this proposed merger. In addition, we intend to retain all of the International Bank branches in Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado and to strategically grow the bank’s footprint in the region. We believe Ron Schmeit’s tenure of nearly 35 years as CEO has set International Bank on course to become a prosperous community bank in Northern New Mexico and Colorado. It is an honor to be part of a bank that has been lifted by the steady shoulders of the DiLisio and Moore families. They have shepherded the bank to success over the past 100 years. We are proud to be joining the International Bank team and setting the course of success for the next 100 years.”
Raton Capital Corporation’s subsidiary, International Bank, was established in 1918 and operates six offices in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado and one office in the Denver Metroplex. At September 30, 2017, International Bank had $321 million in assets, $152 million in loans and $275 million in deposits.
FFP Group, Inc. is led by Ed Francis and a team of experienced senior bank executives. Francis has almost 30 years of banking experience and previously served as Executive Vice President and Chief Banking Officer of Hancock Whitney Bank which serves the Gulf Coast area states. Francis also served on Hancock Whitney Bank’s executive management committee for over ten years and was responsible for leading the retail and commercial divisions for the bank.
“When I met with Ed Francis, I knew right away that this was the perfect fit,” said Ron Schmeits. “Combining with such a strong partner as Ed Francis and his team is a great cultural and business strategy unification as we share the same passion for serving customers with superior personal service and products customized to fit each client’s needs. I am proud to say that International Bank has been a family-owned bank for almost 100 years, and that it will remain an independent community bank after the merger with FFP Group.”
Raton Capital Corporation operates six offices in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado and one office in the Denver Metroplex through its subsidiary, International Bank, a New Mexico state-chartered institution established in 1918. International Bank provides a full range of deposit and loan services to its personal and business customers. For more information, visit www.classicbanking.com.
Long time Raton resident, Bill Erwin, passed away peacefully on December 12, 2017 in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. William Carl Erwin was born to Woody and Jane Erwin on May 18, 1943 in Raton. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Jenny, his sister, Jane, his parents, Jane and Woody Erwin, and his nephew, Ross Erwin. He is survived by Jackie Erwin, his daughter and son-in-law, Lura and Donny Amparan, his granddaughters, Breanne and Jordan Amparan, his brother,Ralph Erwin, and nephew, Rees Erwin, and many close friends.
Bill attended school in Raton and played football, basketball, tennis, and ran track for the Raton Tigers. After high school, Bill attended Texas Western University in El Paso, Texas. He worked on the railroad and as an announcer at the racetrack to put himself through college and law school. While attending UTEP, he met his future wife, Jackie Erwin. They moved to Denver while Bill attended law school and then on to Raton to raise their two daughters, Lura and Jenny. He started a law practice in Raton and soon after was elected the youngest president of the State Bar of New Mexico. He later went on to practice law in Angel Fire.
Bill was always an outdoorsman. He was an Eagle Scout and guide at the Philmont Boy scout Ranch during his youth. He loved to hike, mountain bike, ski, play tennis, and pilot his small plane. Bill had many opportunities to travel and hike all over the U.S. as well as Napal and Machu Picchu. His favorite thing to do was blend into a new place and visit with the locals over coffee while soaking up their culture.
He loved horse racing and working on his land in Yankee. He spent many years announcing the races at La Mesa Park in Raton. Bill was very involved in every community he lived in. He was generous with his advice and tried to help anyone achieve their dreams. Bill always believed in the power of education. He encouraged many people to attend college, and ensured that his own children and granddaughters were able to attend college and grad school.
He leaves us all with so many wonderful memories and will be missed dearly by many people. Per his wishes, an informal celebration of life will take place in Yankee Canyon in late Spring.Information about this will be provided at a later date. In lieu of flowers a memorial donation can be made to the the Amyloidosis Foundation in his name http://www.amyloidosis.org.
John T. Trujillo, age 92 passed away from natural causes on December 9th, 2018 at MCMC Long Term Hospital.
He was born on June 11, 1925 in Sopris, CO to Bernardo and Encarnacion Trujillo. He is a Veteran of the United States Marines Corp. Most of his life he worked in the coal mines in northern New Mexico, and he retired from the mine in 1987. He was a proud member of the UMWA, and a member of the St. Patrick’s-St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Raton. He also worked in construction in Denver, CO for a number of years. He was a loving, kind, gentle man who loved his family. He had a special place in his heart for his “Aidee Luv” (great-granddaughter) as she came to see him in the nursing home numerous times. He also loved all his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. John was a great inspiration to all who came by his path. He always had a joke to put a smile on your face.
John was preceded in death by his parents Bernardo and Encarnacion Trujillo, his wife Amelia, his sister Sally Valdez, his brothers Bernardo, Felix, Willie, and Richard, and his son Steven Trujillo
John is survived by four sisters, Gloria Shelhammer from Yuma, AZ, Mary Uriosti from Santa Fe, NM, Monica Crowley and husband Bill from Capitola, CA, and Fritosa Jaramillo and husband Tom from Albuquerque, NM. He is survived by three children, Dennis Trujillo of Segundo, CO, John Trujillo and wife Isabel of Colorado Springs, CO, and Judy Duran and husband Gene of Raton, NM. He is also survived by 16 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren, 1 great-great grandson, and many nieces, nephews, and friends.
The family would like to thank MCMC Long Term Care and Acute Care for the excellent care he received while a resident there. A special thank you to the wonderful nurses, CNAs, and Dr. Lopez for all of their care and support.
Visitation will be Thursday, December 14, 2017 from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at the Yaksich-Long Funeral Home. A Celebration of Life service will be held Friday, December 15, 2017 at the Yaksich-Long Funeral Home Chapel at 10:00 a.m. Right after the service, everyone is welcome to attend the Memorial Luncheon at the First Christian Church fellowship hall, 330 North 3rd Street. Interment will be Tuesday, December 19, 2017 at the National Cemetery in Santa Fe, NM.
Arrangements for John T. Trujillo are under the care and direction of the Yaksich-Long Funeral Home of Raton.
Lawrence E. Torres age 48 passed away on December 5,2017 in Longmont CO. He was born on July 24, 1969, he was the son of Phillip Salazar and Mary Chavez. Lawrence was proceeded in death by his father Phillip Salazar, brother –in– law Frank (Poncho) Cortez, and grandparents Filidelfio Armijo and Maria Rita Armijo. Lawrence is survived by his wife Sara Torres, son Lawrence A. Torres, daughter Ashley M. Torres and fiancé Isaiah J. DeHerrera and soon to be grandson Isaiah J. DeHerrera Jr., mother Mary Chavez, sister Rita Cortez, brothers Antonio Salazar and wife Edwina, Phillip Salazar and wife Cathy, Richard Salazar, Ben Chavez Jr, and Julian Chavez. He is also survived by numerous nephews and nieces. The family will be having a memorial luncheon on Saturday December 16,2017 starting at 11:00 a.m. at the Sister Hildegard Parish Hall in Cimarron, N.M. for anyone who would like to pay their respects. Following the lunch, the family will proceed to the Springer, N.M. cemetery for burial. Lawrence loved his family and friends. The family would like to extend their gratitude for all the support, and prayers through this difficult time.
Our dearest mother, Mary Louise Segura, daughter, sister, and grandmother happily joined the Lord and her husband Alfonso Segura, December 6th, 2017. Born August 18th, 1932.
Louise was totally dedicated to her husband Alfonso, sitting beside him on his 1962 Harley Davidson.
Louise was a beautician since 1962, when her elderly customers had a difficult time getting to the beauty Shoppe- mom would pick them up, and take them back home with their hair all set up. Her heart was made of Gold.
If you ever visited mom and dad you never left without a cup of coffee, or a handful of grapes, pears, and cherries form their trees, or a sip of homemade grape wine.
Preceding in death is her husband Alfonso Segura Jr., Son: Alfonso Segura Jr., Father and Mother Amadeo and Ramonsita Martinez. Brothers: John Martinez and spouse Cecilia, and their family.
Mom will be truly and dearly be missed by her children: Edna and Chris Candelario of Raton, NM, June and Chris Palomino of Las Vegas, NV, Juanita and husband Manuel Lucero of Raton, NM , and Ronnie and wife Karen Arguello of Las Vegas Nevada.
Mom will also be missed by her brothers and sisters: Amadeo and Helen Martinez of Albuquerque, NM, Aurora Herrera Martinez of Denver, CO, Marcella Ceballes, Denver, CO, Rosabel Ulibarri of Raton, NM, and Henry Martinez, of Albuquerque, NM.
Mary Louise Segura’s family would like to thank her doctors, and nurses at MCMC Long Term and Acute Care Hospital for their respectful care.
Please join us in celebrating, December, 13th, 2017 for her viewing from 4 to 6 p.m. at Alderette-Pomeroy-Funeral Home.
Recitation of the Most Holy Rosary at 10:00 a.m. December 14th, 2017 at St. Patrick’s’-St. Josephs’ Catholic Church recited by Deacon Tom Alderette. Solemn Mass of the Resurrection at 10:30 a.m. December 14th, 2017 at St. Patrick; s-St Joseph’s Catholic Church with Father Bill Woytavich Officiating. Interment will follow at Mount, Calvary Cemetery.
Louise would like you to join her family at St, Patrick’s-St, Josephs’ Parish Hall.
Arrangements for Mary Louise Segura are under the direction of the Alderette-Pomeroy Funeral Home.
|New Mexico fishing and stocking reports for Dec. 12|
Raton City Commission Approves Water Agreement
By Marty Mayfield
Before their regular meeting, Raton City Commissioners met in a joint meeting on Tuesday, December 12th, 2017 with the Raton Water Board to discuss a water rights issue in the Capulin water basin that has been in negotiations for the last couple of years.
The City of Raton bought water rights in the Capulin Water Basin several years ago and there have been issues that have come up in years past that have required Raton to protect their water rights. Several ranches have requested or have wanted to increase their water usage for irrigation, as a result there have been disagreements that have been negotiated and worked out. The joint meeting went over the agreement with both boards approving it.
Following the joint meeting Raton City Commissioners met in their regular meeting to handle an agenda which included setting the final capital outlay priorities to present to the NM State Legislature in January. The first priority is to replace some public works equipment that has exceeded its normal life. Other items on the request include city street improvements, drainage system improvements and the transfer station and recycling center funding. (Link to Capital Outlay Priorities)
Budget adjustments included the sale of a surplus ambulance and other line items changes. Commissioners then approved the disposal of surplus equipment, a landfill compactor. It is hoped the compactor which has over 6300 hours of operation will bring at least $75,000 or as much as $130,000. (Link to FY18 Budget Adjustment #6)
Commissioners approved the final loan agreement with the New Mexico Environment Department for initial work on the transfer station. The principal is $25,000 with an interest rate of 2.375%. The first payment is due in November 2018 and commissioners will discuss whether to pay it off completely during budget discussions next year.
In his report, City Manager Scott Berry noted that the work on the airport taxiways is complete with the exception of some signage and taxiway striping.
Berry attended a meeting concerning city branding with the state Mainstreet organization and Raton Mainstreet.
Berry told commissioners that Carol Baca was able to secure a $53,634 grant to upgrade the Raton PD Dispatch center and, due to her hard work, the upgrades will begin in January.
Berry also noted that one enterprise is already using the Coal Camp Community Kitchen to make candy, however, not all the equipment has been installed yet.
The Raton city commission will meet again January 9, 2018 for their next regular meeting.