Happiness drive

Joshua Lucero: Staff photo
Joseph Torres, 3, left, and his brother Josiah Torres, 7, pose
with Santa Claus, played by PPD animal control officer
Adam Aguilar, while their mother Edana Torres takes their photo Saturday afternoon during the Santa Cop toy distribution. Children that attended received toys and got to sit with Santa as part of the event.

By Joshua Lucero Staff writer jlucero@pntonline.com For Portales mother Edana Torres, the Portales Police Department’s annual Santa Cop toy distribution is a helpful and special event for her kids and the community. Torres’ two young boys, along with about 300 other children, received new toys from Portales police officers Saturday afternoon at the Yam Theater […]

Texico New Mexico Visitors Center closed longer than anticipated

Kevin Wilson: Staff photo
The New Mexico Visitors Center near Texico has been closed since September due to staffing issues.

By Kevin Wilson Staff writer kwilson@cnjonline.com Welcome to New Mexico. Keep on driving. That’s the message some travelers seem to have taken over the last four months, as the Texico New Mexico Visitors Center has been locked up and unstaffed since September. The building, about two miles west of the Texas-New Mexico border, is advertised […]

Santa’s Elks

Kevin Wilson: Staff photo
Fred Lybarger of Clovis staples a cotton “snow blanket” to a trailer Thursday in his driveway in Clovis. The trailer was set up as a sleigh to help deliver gifts to a needy family for Christmas.

By Kevin Wilson kwilson@cnjonline.com For one down-on-its-luck family in Portales, Santa Claus is coming to town. Santa’s sleigh, which is set for a Saturday night delivery, is lined with reindeer, pulled by a truck and powered by Elks. The Clovis-Portales Elks Lodge No. 1244, which has membership through the area of more than 400, is […]

Mills Canyon features rock cliffs, rugged landscapes

U.S. Forest Service photo
The walls of the Melvin Mills house still stand at the Mills Canyon Campground near Roy.

Mills Canyon, in Harding County, presents a startling but pleasant change from the sea of prairie grass above it. At its end, the road into Mills Canyon descends rapidly, shifting from level prairie grasses to ponderosa and pinyon pine and rock cliffs. The descent ends at the Canadian River. A look back reveals the river’s […]

Spreading Christmas cheer

Derek Major: Staff photo
Kindergarten students sing “Feliz Navidad” to customers and employees at Yucca Telecom in Portales Wednesday.

By Derek Major Staff writer dmajor@pntonline.com Kindergarten students at Brown Elementary got a chance to bring a little Christmas cheer to several Portales businesses on Wednesday by singing Christmas carols. “We do this for a couple reasons,” said Brown Principal Rebecca Flen, who has been at the school for six years. “The community always gives […]

County settles lawsuit

Tony Bullocks: Staff photo
Abdoulaye Sarr of Portales recently settled a federal lawsuit against Roosevelt County and state police after being falsely accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

By Robin Fornoff Projects editor rfornoff@cnjonline.com Roosevelt County officials have quietly settled a federal lawsuit for malicious prosecution and false imprisonment filed by a Portales man who claims he was arrested for no reason. Abdoulaye Sarr, 58, was a student at Eastern New Mexico University when arrested in Portales three years ago and accused of […]

End of a journey

Derek Major: Staff photo
Brittany Lee Garner receives her bachelor’s degree in the College of Education on Saturday at ENMU’s commencement ceremony.

By Derek Major Staff writer dmajor@pntonline.com Jane Hammond had finally reached the end of her collegiate career after receiving her master’s degree in sports administration Saturday. She was ready to celebrate with her husband, Eastern New Mexico University Professor Bradford Hammond. “We have a bottle of wine at home, so we’ll have a couple glasses,” […]

Theft prevention

Joshua Lucero: Staff illustration
Local law enforcement agencies are urging residents to keep valuables and gifts out of sight while they perform their holiday shopping this Christmas season. Hiding valuables and locking doors help to limit the opportunities thieves have to steal from vehicles and homes.

By Joshua Lucero jlucero@pntonline.com The holiday season is here and police are reminding area residents to be aware of holiday thieves. Portales Police Department Detective Charlie Smart said the December shopping season usually sees an increase in theft in the area. Smart said thefts often occur in vehicles that have valuable items visible through windows. […]

Construction on schedule

Joshua Lucero:
Staff photo
Williamson Restoration workers remove a large portion of the old ventilation system Saturday morning at the Roosevelt County Courthouse. County officials said the new HVAC system is currently being installed and will directly impact three floors of the building.

By Joshua Lucero Staff writer jlucero@pntonline.com Construction at the Roosevelt County Courthouse is running smoothly and on schedule, according to County Manager Amber Hamilton. The overhaul of the building’s heating and cooling system began in August with the removal of eight types of mold found by a private lab consultant, including a toxic strain of […]

Final thoughts

Joshua Lucero: Staff photo
ENMU students study for finals in the Golden Library Wednesday night. Students are taking final exams for the fall semester throughout the week.

Eastern New Mexico University students are in their last week of the fall semester and many of them are taking up residence in Golden Library as they prepare for their final tests. We caught up with several students Wednesday evening to find out how they are handling finals week. Name: Shawn Martinez Classification: Junior Major: […]

ENMU nursing master’s program graduate to become professor

Judith Piepkorn

By Desiree M. Cooper ENMU Communication Services Judith Piepkorn is nearing the end of Eastern New Mexico University’s first master’s in nursing program. After graduating Saturday, Piepkorn will become a nursing professor at Eastern. Her husband, the Rev. Gary Piepkorn, is an adjunct professor of religion at ENMU. Judith Piepkorn, who also has a bachelor’s […]

Innocent of murder

Joshua Lucero: Staff photo
Erik Pina, right, stands with his lawyer, Randall Harris, Tuesday afternoon as Judge Stephen Quinn reads the jury’s verdict during Pina’s trial for the 2011 shooting death of Jose Montoya. The jury found Pina not guilty of first-degree murder, but convicted him of eight other charges, including aggravated burglary, armed robbery, and possession of stolen property.

By Joshua Lucero Staff report jlucero@pntonline.com After a day of deliberations, a Roosevelt County jury on Tuesday found Erik Pina innocent of first-degree murder in connection with the 2011 shooting death of Jose Montoya. Pina, 19, was convicted of eight other charges in connection with the crime, including armed robbery, conspiracy to commit burglary, aggravated […]

Festive creativity

Joshua Lucero: Staff photo
Family members sit at the table of Altrusa member
Judy White Saturday morning during the Holiday Happening at the Campus Union Building ballroom. Lisa Jaynes, far
left, daughter of Judy White, helped her sister Carol
McDowell create the “Camping at Christmas” theme for their table.

By Joshua Lucero Staff writer jlucero@pntonline.com For Altrusa Holiday Happening first-timer Alex Montoya, the event brought out a creative side of Roosevelt County residents that he had not seen before. Montoya, who decorated one of the 60 tables on display in the Campus Union Building ballroom during the 17th annual Holiday Happening on Saturday morning, […]

Parade goes smoothly

Joshua Lucero: Staff photo
From left, Adilene Trillo, Analiya Trillo, and Imari Rodriguez rush to grab candy Friday night during the 28th annual Christmas Jubilee Light Parade in Portales. The three girls were most excited to see Mr. and Mrs. Claus during the parade.

By Joshua Lucero jlucero@pntonline.com Candy, lights, and Santa Claus were a few of the reasons for Portales residents to line the streets Friday night. The 28th annual Christmas Jubilee Light Parade made its way from the Portales Recreation Center to the town square with more than 40 floats in tow. Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce […]

Adoptions celebrated at courthouse

Aubry Buzek: Staff photo
Harmony Rose Smith and her sister Carnation were adopted by their parents Joe and Denise.

By Aubry Buzek Staff writer abuzek@cnjonline.com Tears are not out of place in a district court room, but on Wednesday they were tears of joy as district judges united families from Curry and Roosevelt counties. “We are here to celebrate families, children and adoptions,” said Ben Cross, the 9th Judicial District Court staff attorney. “Adoption […]

‘Tis the season for house fire dangers

Joshua Lucero: Staff photo
With winter settling in, residents will be using a variety of methods, like the pellet stoves, as a supplemental heat source in their homes. Local fire chiefs suggest keeping flammable items such as clothes at least three feet away from heating appliances.

By Joshua Lucero Staff writer jlucero@pntonline.com With frigid temperatures settling in for the winter, local residents are urged to use caution when keeping warm. Portales Fire Chief Gary Nuckols said the winter months tend to see more house fires than during the warmer seasons due to improper heating methods. “We see a lot more fires […]

Police: Suspect confessed to killing Ariel Ulibarri

Matthew Jennings

Staff report Ariel Ulibarri did not know her alleged killer, her sister said Tuesday. Police say Matthew P. Jennings, 25, of Clovis on Tuesday confessed to the Nov. 9 slaying of Ulibarri at the Goodwin Lake walking trail. Jennings was being held on charges not related to the stabbing death early Tuesday evening, but officials […]

Suspect located in Portales business fire

Joshua Lucero: Staff photo
Hamilton GM Country was closed Monday following Saturday night’s fire.

By Aubry Buzek Staff writer abuzek@cnjonline.com         Clovis police said Monday they have located a suspect in connection with weekend fires at The Hamilton Auto Group’s Auto World car dealership in Clovis and GM Country in Portales. Clovis Police Capt. Patrick Whitney declined to identify the suspect because charges have not been filed. Curry County […]

Retailers, shoppers tout benefits of Small Business Saturday

Joshua Lucero: Staff photo
Steve Justice, right, browses 
Small Business 
Saturday sale items Saturday afternoon at Creighton’s Town and Country with the help of Creighton’s retail sales manager Ofelia Jasso. Justice said he went  shopping Saturday for good deals on clothing.

By Joshua Lucero Staff writer jlucero@pntonline.com Shoppers looking for deals were in luck Saturday as Portales businesses offered specials on goods as part of Small Business Saturday. Fatima Montoya, who was in town from Carlsbad visiting relatives, said the Saturday deals at local businesses and the 78-degree weather prompted her to get out and go […]

Food bank director feels efforts ‘barely scratching the surface’

File photo
Inventory and Receiving Clerk Mida Cadena of Clovis cleans, inspects food for the food bank’s backpack program earlier this year.

By Kevin Wilson Staff writer kwilson@cnjonline.com The easiest part of being the executive director of the Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico is knowing how much the efforts help people. The hardest part, Dianna Hernandez said, is knowing how much that help was needed. “I’ve been trying to go out to all of our sites, […]