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NM AG Vows To Protect Cattle Industry

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas has announced a multi-pronged investigation to review what he is calling unfair and anticompetitive practices in the national cattle industry. He says this is harming New Mexico ranchers and cattle folks, who he says are the backbone of New Mexico’s economy. The AG says he is concerned that New Mexico’s cattle industry is being threatened by regulatory practices and corporate entities that he says have no meaningful ties to the state. He discussed the launch of the investigation alongside ranchers and the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association in Las Cruces and Albuquerque.

NMSU:Gifts Of Time And Caring Have Tremendous Impact

When Jag and Linda Cheema needed a family in their new hometown, New Mexico State University answered the call. When NMSU students needed a home away from home, the Cheemas dialed in. Now, the Jag and Linda Cheema Endowed Scholarship will create a way for student athletes to be their best, not only on the playing fields and courts but in the classroom as well. “When we first moved here, we didn’t know anyone,” Linda Cheema said about their arrival in Las Cruces in 1988. “Jag said to me – the very weekend we were moving in – everyone around here already has their friends. They don’t need us – we need them.” Jag Cheema, a tennis player, picked up the phone and called NMSU to ask for a tennis partner. “We met the coach and the rest was history,” Linda said. “We became more and more involved in the tennis program, and then women’s athletic programs. We realized that the women’s athletic programs don’t always get the same attention as the men’s programs.” The stories of NMSU students affected Jag and Linda in different ways. Jag, originally from India, felt a desire to help foreign students, the way he was helped as a student. Jag’s family also had innate expectations of education and giving back. It was an example set by his grandfather, an Indian freedom fighter, who showed that it was their duty to take care of people who cannot take care of themselves. Linda, a first-generation college student, wanted to pay tribute to a great uncle who helped her through school, even though he only had a third-grade education. “He developed tools, got them patented and made money, but he could hardly read a paper,” Linda said. “He knew the value of an education and he helped me. Giving back is my way of honoring him.” For years, the Cheemas’ gifts were in the form of something intangible, but invaluable – being the community that NMSU students needed. Jag remembers the first time they got involved with the women’s basketball team, spending time with the players after the game. “They were so nice, so thankful that we came out for them,” Jag said and both he and Linda started to laugh before he continued: “We called up the coach later and said we want to have them over for dinner and he asked, ‘Which student?’ and I said, ‘The whole team!’” “When we couldn’t afford to create scholarships, that’s what we were doing instead – we were their biggest cheerleaders and doted on them,” Linda said about how they welcomed the students into their home. “And they need it,” Jag agreed. “I tell the parents who don’t live in the area, I can get to your kid a lot quicker than you can,” said Jag who remembered helping a student who needed knee surgery. “Her parents couldn’t come, so I said we’ll sit with her,” Jag said. “I called the father after surgery and it barely rang once. He was waiting for my call.” “A few years later,” he continued, “we went to her wedding in Salt Lake City. I asked her dad where can we stay and he said, ‘No, you’ve done more for my family than any of my own kinfolk has,’ and we ended up staying with them at their home.” On a recent trip to Croatia, they met up with a former Aggie basketball player – one of the many former students whom they consider a daughter. “Her husband said that when we met her that it couldn’t have come at a better time in her life,” Jag said. “Now, their 4-year-old daughter’s name is Linda. I don’t think there is a bigger honor than that.” “We have two sons and four grandsons, but we have hundreds of daughters,” Linda said. Their gift of time and devotion extended not only to their new daughters, but to the students’ families as well. When Jag and Linda sat down to consider giving a financial gift to NMSU, they decided to go with their core values. “We are concerned about the first-generation students – the ones with financial need. We want to increase the quality of lifestyle for the whole community,” Jag said. “Plus, most people who receive a scholarship are very receptive to help others, when they are able. It starts a process of change, and that’s our goal.” The Cheemas took advantage of NMSU’s Giving Tuesday initiative focused on raising dollars and participation. Some donations were even matched dollar-for-dollar, thanks to revenue from the NMSU license plate program and an estate gift from a generous donor. “We’re not going to solve all the problems,” Jag said. “But how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Linda continued, “For us, it’s helping one student at a time. You help your family, and for us, New Mexico State University has become part of our family.”

Roswell Gets Ready For Another UFO Fest

Roswell is getting ready to host this year’s UFO Festival June 29-July 2, the 22nd year of the event that annually welcomes UFO enthusiasts and skeptics alike to join in the celebration of the much-debated 1947 incident that many believe involved a UFO crashing on a ranch in the Roswell area of southeast New Mexico. The four-day event – which this summer comes during the 70th anniversary of the famed “Roswell Incident” – will feature guest speakers, authors, live entertainment, costume contests, a parade, vendors and more. Details about the various events at the Festival, which is organized by Roswell MainStreet in cooperation with numerous other organizations. A new attraction at this year’s Festival will reach toward the sky but a spaceship won’t be necessary. The “Extreme Water Slide” is four stories tall and up to 150’ long. All-day slide passes can be purchased for $15 through June 2. After that date, they will cost $20. The human and pet costume contests are always one of the more popular highlights of the Festival and are expected to be a big draw again this year. There will also be a song contest. In addition to showing off costume creativity and singing talent, people can put their vehicles on display in a car show and take part in the light parade through downtown Roswell. You can download registration forms for all these events online. For those in search of musical entertainment, the Festival will feature the U.S. Air Force Band of the West. For theater fans, a free movie, hosted by Comet TV, is being planned. Downtown will also be filled with a wide variety of vendors during the Festival. The vendor application form is available online ( The International UFO Museum and Research Center will host an event titled “70 Years Later: Modern Challenges to the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis.” It will feature more than 30 presenters at multiple venues discussing UFOs and aliens. Meanwhile, the Roswell Daily Record will again bring in UFO historians, journalists, investigators, a scientist and a former United Kingdom Ministry of Defence UFO investigator to speak on a variety of subjects related to the 1947 incident. Clyde Lewis, radio host of “Ground Zero,” will be doing live remote broadcasts from the Festival. The Pecos Valley Amateur Radio Club will also do some live remotes. In addition, the Travel Channel will visit the Festival for one of that network’s shows. While the Festival takes place, the 2017 Roswell Galacticon will also be going on. The seventh annual Galacticon is held at the Roswell Mall and features vendor booths, comic-book collectibles, artists, Cosplay, gaming, workshops and panels. It also includes a Sci-Fi Film Festival and Steampunk Ball. In addition to visiting the event website (, more information about this year’s UFO Festival can be obtained from MainStreet Roswell at (575) 914-8018.

Event To Welcome Fish Water Feature Play Structure To Zoo

There is a fish coming to the Spring River Park and Zoo. This fish is metal rather than marine. And instead of living in water itself, it gives kids a chance to get wet and refreshed. The public is invited to a special event Saturday, April 29, when the new water feature play structure will officially be welcomed to the zoo. Saturday’s event at the zoo (corner of East College Boulevard and North Atkinson Avenue) will take place from 11 a.m. to noon. During the event, the zoo will offer free train and carousel rides, as well as free snow cones. There will also be an information table for people to learn more about the zoo and its animals and talk to zoo representatives. The fish water feature play structure was donated to the City of Roswell’s zoo by Roswell residents Kyle and Yasine Armstrong and Jacque and Randy Miller, along with Gemini Rosemont Commercial Real Estate, a national firm that has properties in New Mexico. The two couples and Gemini Rosemont purchased the fish at the 2016 New Mexico Appleseed`s Parade of Playhouses auction fundraiser in Albuquerque. New Mexico Appleseed is an organization dedicated to addressing poverty in the state. “The money New Mexico Appleseed raised at the 2016 Parade of Playhouses is directly supporting our primary initiative to end poverty in Roswell and around our state by battling hunger, child maltreatment and family homelessness,` said New Mexico Appleseed Executive Director Jenny Ramo. “This kind of community support is imperative to successfully combating poverty in New Mexico.” The fish play structure was designed by Mark Baker of Baker Architecture + Design of Albuquerque. It was built by AnchorBuilt, Inc., also of Albuquerque, with financial support from New Mexico’s Southwest Capital Bank. The fish was originally named “Trout, No Doubt.” However, its arrival in its new city will also bring to it a new name. A contest to name the fish will kick off Saturday and continue through May 26. Children of all ages will be able to submit their name ideas. Details about how entries can be submitted are now being finalized. Information about the contest will be made available at Saturday’s event and soon after on the city’s website and Facebook page. The first-place prize for the entry selected to be the fish’s new name is a kid’s bike and helmet. Second-place prize is a scooter. Third-place prize is four movie tickets. Winners will be announced no later than June 15. “This is a perfect example of how a community partnership should work,” said Joe Farr, senior vice president for Gemini Rosemont. “It began with a talented group that donated Photo by Matt Oberer, FBT Architects time, effort and funds to design and build the fish. Then New Mexico Appleseed hosted the auction event to raise money to combat poverty across New Mexico. Ultimately, the group that bought the fish at the auction donated it back to the community.” (Photo by Matt Oberer, FBT Architects)

APD Hosting Drug Take Back And Taste Of The Blue

Commander Lindell Smith(pictured) offers more information on the Drug Take Back Day this weekend and next month’s Taste of the Blue.

Artesia City Council Delays Water Rate Vote

The Artesia City Council has decided to wait before voting on an increase on water rates. Artesia Mayor Phil Burch(pictured) offered more information Wednesday on KSVP.

Registration Begins In May For Youth Summer Soccer

The City of Roswell Parks and Recreation Department is sponsoring its annual youth Summer Soccer League. The league is open to boys and girls ages 3-13. Cost is $35 (plus tax) for the first child and $30 (plus tax) for each other child being registered by an adult. Registration will take place at the Roswell Adult and Recreation Center, 807 N. Missouri Ave., from May 1 through May 31. The center is open Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday 8 a.m.-7 p.m., and Saturday noon-7 p.m. The Roswell Adult and Recreation Center is also looking for coaches and officials for the league. For more information, contact the center at 624-6719 or place a message on the Roswell Adult and Recreation Center Facebook page.

Tourism To Carlsbad Caverns National Park Creates Major Economic Benefit

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 466,772 visitors to Carlsbad Caverns National Park in 2016 spent $30.1 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 444 local jobs and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $33.8 million. “Carlsbad Caverns National Park welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Doug Neighbor. “We are delighted to share the story of this place and feature the park as a way to introduce visitors to this part of the country. National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning more than $10 for every $1 invested, and it’s a big factor in our local economy as well. We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back to local communities.” The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service. The report shows $18.4 billion of direct spending by 331 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 318,000 jobs nationally; 271,544 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $34.9 billion. According to the 2016 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.2 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.2 percent), gas and oil (11.7 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent), souvenirs and other expenses (9.7 percent), local transportation (7.4 percent), and camping fees (2.5%). (Photo courtesy of National Park Service)

NMED Seeks Appointees For Recycling And Illegal Dumping Alliance

The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) is now seeking appointees for the Recycling and Illegal Dumping (RAID) Alliance that supports a cleaner, healthier environment for New Mexicans. The industry waste generator seat, the nonprofit organization seat, and the solid waste authority seat are open. The RAID Alliance, established by the 2005 New Mexico RAID Act, provides recommendations to NMED to award grants designed to protect the health and welfare of the environment and current and future residents of New Mexico by preventing and abating illegal dumpsites; promoting environmentally sound methods for reuse and recycling; managing scrap tires; and encouraging economic development, community development, and collaboration that promotes the efficient and sustainable use of resources, sustainable recycling, to support a cleaner and healthier environment. Members of the RAID Alliance are appointed by the Environment Department Cabinet Secretary for two-year terms with no compensation from the state. The 12 RAID Alliance members represent: state government, local government, a solid waste authority, an industry waste generator, a tribal government, a nonprofit organization, a recycling company, a retailer, an agricultural producer, a soil and water conservation district, a waste management company, and the public at large. The RAID Alliance meets in Albuquerque up to five times a year to set priorities and discuss grant applications. Service on the RAID Alliance provides a great opportunity to participate in protecting and improving the health and welfare of the people of New Mexico and the environment. If interested in serving on the RAID Alliance or for more information, please contact the NMED Recycling Program Coordinator, Neal Denton, at (505) 827-2653

Roswell Neighborhood Watch Taking Back Unwanted Prescription Drugs

Roswell Neighborhood Watch, working with the Roswell Police Department and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), will again offer citizens an opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs. The public can bring unwanted and unneeded prescription drugs to the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day event Saturday, April 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Roswell Police Department (128 W. Second St.), where Neighborhood Watch is now based. The service is free and those bringing prescription drugs can remain anonymous, no questions asked. Please note, however, the DEA – which will dispose of the collected items – cannot accept liquids or needles, only pills or patches. This event, held twice a year, has seen citizens turn in hundreds of pounds of pills each time. A wide variety of agencies throughout New Mexico and nationally participate in Prescription Drug Take Back Day. This initiative addresses a public safety and public health issue. According to the DEA, medicines that languish in home cabinets are susceptible to misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, officials say a couple of often-used methods for disposing of unused medicines — flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash — pose potential safety and health hazards.

ASHD Board Meets

The Artesia Special Hospital District Board of Directors’ held their April meeting Monday. The Vice Chair Mike Deans says the meeting was rather routine.

Paul Gessing Podcast Returns

This week the head of the Albuquerque based Rio Grande Foundation free market think tank offers some thoughts on public school spending in the state, how a skilled workforce is relative to sound public policies, oil prices taking a dive, the unemployment rate in the state and Medicaid rolls continuing to grow in the state.

Developing Public School Students Correctly

© 2017 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” Michelangelo His full name was Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni. He died at age 88, 453 years ago and left us wondrous art that we enjoy to this day. Two of his statements many years ago go directly to problems in our public education system today. First, we Americans are not aiming high enough for our students and assuming this generation cannot do things. They can do what they think they can do. It is critical to awaken the curiosity and passion inside each student early in their education. Example: public schools are telling young students that they simply must go to college. What about our society’s artists, artisans and trades people? We need electricians and woodworkers. But the Educational Industrial Complex needs students to go to college to keep those educational dollars up. The second statement is central to the dysfunction in our public schools. Michelangelo wrote: Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it. The educational leadership task is to reveal what is inside of each student as to their curiosity and passion to learn. Instead, the Factory Model of Education believes the public schools should mold the students into something useful for the society, not necessarily useful for the students. Public schools are not looking at the wondrous statue inside of the child, rather, they are only focused on their own self-perpetuation. Example: in 2009 Sir Ken Robinson gave a talk about creativity. He found a music teacher in Liverpool, England who at one time had both George Harrison and Paul McCartney in his class. He had half of the future band, The Beatles but he noticed nothing creative about them. How many truly exceptional people are languishing in public school because the factory model is not looking for exceptionalism or creativity, it only rewards compliance with rules and learning to take tests well. The huge problem is that public schools are run by distant autocratic administrators who rarely see the little blocks of marble. Certainly, the administration does not see anything but test scores. How sad. The teachers can get a glimpse of greatness in students but are threatened with being fired if they do anything with the students other than what the administrators command. Why even have teachers, eh? The leaders of our educational systems must support the students rather than the adults working in the system. Superintendents of Public Schools must see that the students develop according to their curiosity and passion, not just to be a widget in society. That is an awesome responsibility that these leaders have. Can they be true to the students? We must watch for the student’s sake. Forget all the testing administrators. Our society needs more public school teachers who understand curiosity and passion in their students. Email: - Swickard’s new novel, Hideaway Hills, is available at

Artesia Breakfast Tradition Returns

First Evangelical Presbyterian Church will be hosting their 106th May Day Breakfast on Monday May 1. Pastor Dan Phelps offers more information.