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, […]

Black Friday results mixed for merchants

Staff photo: Joshua Lucero
Grady Goodson, left, helps check out Black Friday shopper Michael Wood at Bar G Western Wear Friday afternoon in Portales. Goodson came in to help his parents at their store during the Black Friday shopping event.

By Aubry Buzek and Joshua Lucero abuzek@cnjonline.com jlucero@pntonline.com Depending on the retailer, locals showing up for Black Friday shopping this year may have experienced smaller than usual or just about right crowds searching for holiday savings. Several large retailers in Clovis offered consumers the savings early, opening in the afternoon on Thanksgiving Day and at […]

Plenty of help, plenty of food

Derek Major: Portales News-Tribune
Volunteers map out driving schedules Thursday to deliver food to those who couldn’t make it to the annual free Thanksgiving dinner at the Memorial Building. Volunteers delivered over 100 meals in Portales throughout the day, in addition to around 200 served on-site.

By Derek Major Staff writer dmajor@pntonline.com Dozens of volunteers came together on Thanksgiving day at the Memorial building to prepare, serve and deliver food for the Community Thanksgiving in Portales. Now in its 12th year, the Community Thanksgiving effort is as strong as ever. We had a wide variety of people volunteering,” said Berni Cordova, […]

Floyd fifth-graders stage holiday plays

Joshua Lucero: staff photo
Hannah McDonald, left, checks out Nicole Pacheco as she plays Paulina during the Floyd fifth graders rendition of First Stop, Ellis Island!

By Joshua Lucero Staff writer jlucero@pntonline.com Floyd fifth-graders treated elementary students and parents to two holiday plays Tuesday at Floyd Schools. Students in Monica Gibson’s 5th grade class performed a historical fiction play about immigration called First Stop, Ellis Island! and a fairy tale based on Chicken Little. She said her fifth grade classes have […]

Community Thanksgiving meal in 12th year

Staff photo: Kevin Wilson
Michelle Armijo of the Lighthouse Mission chops celery for stuffing to be served Thursday at the mission. Armijo has helped with all 12 meals for the mission, which expects to serve about 500 this year between on-site meals and deliveries.

By Kevin Wilson Staff writer kwilson@cnjonline.com Even if there’s no place to go for Thanksgiving on Thursday, Clovis and Portales both still offer a place to go. Whether it’s to help the homeless, hang out with friends and family or just help out, a pair of lunchtime meals are a constant in the area, with […]

Turkey to go

Joshua Lucero: Staff photo
Super Save deli manager Lamario Miles removes a baked turkey from the store’s bakery oven Thursday afternoon. Grocery stores in Portales and Clovis have prepared Thanksgiving meals to ease the holiday stress for area residents.

By Joshua Lucero Staff writer jlucero@pntonline.com With Thanksgiving days away, local grocers are looking to help out those who don’t have the time to spend preparing a full Thanksgiving meal. Tim Russell, owner of Russell’s Super Save Discount Foods in Portales, said he has been selling complete Thanksgiving meals for more than 10 years, and […]

Toy run produces about 40 toys, $300 in donations

Joshua Lucero: Staff photo: Los Reyes members drop off new toys into the Santa Cop donation box at the police department. Each toy run participant brought a new, unwrapped toy to be donated during Saturday’s event.

By Joshua Lucero Staff writer jlucero@pntonline.com Los Reyes Motorcycle and Car Club and the Portales Police Department teamed up Saturday to bring Roosevelt County children a toy-filled Christmas this year. Bikers and car enthusiasts were invited to enter Saturday’s toy run for a fee and an unwrapped toy to donate. Participants were escorted by police […]

Youths join with seniors to make holiday ornaments

Joshua  Lucero: Staff photo
Portales Recreation Center’s after-school program participants get to work painting ornaments for the mayor’s Christmas tree Wednesday with the help of senior center volunteers.

By Joshua Lucero Staff writer jlucero@pntonline.com Paint and smiles were abundant Wednesday afternoon at the Portales Senior Citizens Center as volunteers and children came together to decorate Christmas ornaments for the mayor’s Christmas tree. Portales Recreation Director Jodi Diaz said the Portales Recreation Center’s after-school program kids teamed up with senior center ceramics class volunteers […]

Williamson building nearing completion

Joshua Lucero: Staff writer
The exterior of the Jack Williamson 
Liberal Arts building seen as workers pour concrete and lay bricks outside the facility’s west entrance. The exterior of the building is set to be completed within the next two weeks.

By Joshua Lucero Staff writer jlucero@pntonline.com Updated looks and modern classrooms are a few of the things Eastern New Mexico University students and faculty can expect to find in the newly renovated Jack Williamson Liberal Arts building. According to Bradbury Stamm Superintendent David Burks, the building is less than two weeks from completion after receiving […]

Habitat short on homeowner candidates

Photo courtesy of Joyce Davis
Habitat for Humanity volunteers work on Gay Luna’s house during Habitat’s Women’s Build Day in July 2013 as part of Habitat’s affordable housing program. Habitat for Humanity Director Joyce Davis said the program has been unable to find a qualified candidate for the program this year.

By Joshua Lucero Staff writer jlucero@pntonline.com With no families qualifying for Habitat for Humanity’s affordable housing program this year, the eastern New Mexico organization is looking to take on smaller projects until it can find a qualified applicant. The organization, which has built 12 homes in Curry and Roosevelt Counties since it became an HFH […]

Sunday’s snow results in minor accidents, delays at area schools

Staff photo: D’Nieka Hartsfield
Joe Salazar rakes the snow from his driveway early Monday morning on Clovis’ Timothy Street. He said he always makes sure to clean up the driveway and around the area when it snows to make it safe for him and his family to move around. National Weather Service reported Clovis had 1.5 inches of snowfall on Sunday.

By Steve Hansen Staff writer qcsunomline.com Portales police said they responded to eight traffic accidents on Sunday with no serious injuries, but first the season’s significant snowfall — 2 inches in places — mostly was an inconvenience. Accompanied by temperatures in the teens and low 20s, the weather did delay school and some business openings […]

Purr-fection

Kevin Wilson: Staff photo
The Elida Lady Tigers celebrate after winning the Class 1A volleyball championship Saturday night at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho. Elida beat Carrizozo 25-9, 25-10, 18-25, 25-10 in the title match for the school’s seventh state crown.

By Kevin Wilson Staff writer kwilson@cnjonline.com RIO RANCHO — The Elida Lady Tigers are the B team no longer. Elida finished off a resounding return to Class 1A Saturday, beating Carrizozo in four games at the Santa Ana Star Center to wrap off a 26-0 campaign and take the seventh volleyball blue trophy in school […]