Off Road Hangout Spots HANGOUTS, Mysterious Residents of Werewolf Hill History & Adventure Await Waterin' Holes Escape to SKP Ranch & Make- ut Points Chamber News & So Much More
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inside this issue SUMMER 2017
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FROM THE EDITOR CARLSBAD HANGOUTS MYSTERIOUS RESIDENTS OF WEREWOLF HILL
13 WAY OFF THE BEATEN PATH AND ADVENTURE 16 HISTORY AWAIT IN CARLSBAD 20 CALENDAR OF EVENTS 22 ESCAPE TO SKP RANCH MAINSTREET 26 UPCOMING ACTIVITIES 28 30 31 32 33 36
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Bob and Joy Springer park their 1955 T-Bird and enjoy the beautiful view from Carlsbad’s C-Hill. In this edition, Carlsbad residents share some of their favorite hangout spots. Photo by Jessica Addington Lajuana Martinez, Publisher - Staci Guy, Associate Publisher Adrian Martinez, Director of Business Development Kyle Marksteiner, Editorial Director - Rachel Hughes, Advertising Photography by Kyle Marksteiner, Special Contributors & Submitted Special Contributors: Sharon McIntire, Staci Guy, Martha Mauritson, Tarrant Blake & the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce FOCUS ON CARLSBAD IS PUBLISHED QUARTERLY BY AD VENTURE MARKETING
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SUMMER 2017 | A COMMUNITY MAGAZINE
from the editor
o ad Of f RHangout Spots, KYLE MARKSTEINER Editorial Director
FOCUS ON CARLSBAD
Ever since I moved here some 18 years ago, I’ve been in awe of the mystique of growing up in Carlsbad. Eddy County is lathered in locations that sound like the title destination of a Hardy Boys novel. Ramble off to the boonies and you may just have to solve some sort of an adventure at “Werewolf Hill,” “Fleapicker’s Ditch” or “Higby Hole.” You may also wander lost on uneventful oilfield roads for hours, so get directions first. Young people (and people of all ages) still visit “Lake Avalon,” “the Ropes” and “Hippie Cave,” where, I assume, a percentage of them do some things, or perhaps drink some things, that they should not be doing or drinking. I’ve only explored the daytime aftermath. “It’s where we went to explore each other’s bodies,” quipped one older local resident, who declined to be interviewed. We didn’t really have memorable places like that growing up in the suburbs of Houston. If you drove out of your neighborhood, you’d wind up in a slightly different neighborhood with a slightly different collection of chain restaurants perched around the perimeter. There were, undoubtedly, hangouts
FOCUS ON CARLSBAD | SUMMER 2017
and make-out points, but their names were vastly more utilitarian. The more popular kids from my high school would do their making out and so forth in places like “the parking lot at West Oaks Mall,” or “Jim’s house, because his parents are gone.” Not quite as poetic. My friends who grew up in small towns are reading the prior mention of multiple chain restaurants and sighing wistfully. The nostalgia is always greener on the other side of the hill. What’s really amazing about these locations is their timelessness. Dairy Queens on the main drag have come and gone, but Werewolf Hill is forever. (Note: I’m really stuck on the fact that one of the most popular “smooch spots” is named Fleapicker’s Ditch. I’ve got a visual of a posh young woman from the 1950s, recently arrived from New York or Boston, being informed by her new Carlsbad boyfriend that their romantic interlude for the evening was going to be at a spot named Fleapicker’s Ditch and wondering what on Earth she’d gotten herself into.) Please don’t at all consider this to be any sort of endorsement of teenage drinking or other behavior. And the avoidance of authority can, sadly, lead to much worse than French kissing and wine coolers. It should be noted that these locations have been host to their share of abuse and tragedy, best evidenced by a cross
now greeting visitors to Fleapicker’s Ditch that memorializes the 2008 victim of an exceptionally horrifying incident. But a more extensive documentation of the locations themselves is still appropriate. Years ago, I asked a local sheriff for insight on how he knew where to go when he was busting parties. “We just drive to the same places where we went as kids,” he laughed. Without any evidence, my guess is that many of these destinations are still popular hangouts for young people, but not quite at the level they once were. We have video games now, and the internet, and, if you are somehow reading this during the summer of 2016, Pokemon Go. Still, all the technological distractions in the world can’t overcome hormones or the restless dreams of youth. Let us all hope for migration toward a comfortable middle ground in which our teenagers are making fewer unsafe choices but have also not become smartphone automatons. The title of this edition is “Hangouts, Waterin’ Holes and Make-Out Points.” Enjoy the magazine. ABOUT THE EDITOR
Kyle Marksteiner is the editorial director of Focus on Carlsbad. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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CARLSBAD HANG Waterinâ€™ Holes & Make-Out By Kyle Marksteiner
Every coming-of-age film ever made features a local speed track, a romantic nook where young couples might park their cars, and a shoreline of some sort where teenagers could gather to celebrate the coming of summer or even just the arrival of the weekend. Carlsbad had all this in spades, and its Baby Boomers, in particular, love to wax nostalgic about where theyâ€™d hang out during their formative years.
FOCUS ON CARLSBAD | SUMMER 2017
On a warm weekend, numerous visitors still fish and relax along Lake Avalon, north of Carlsbad.
“Growing up here in the 1960s was just like American Graffiti,” explained Carlsbad resident Larry Coalson, referring to the famous George Lucas coming-of-age film. “Even though we were on the frontier, it was very Middle America. I think we had three Dairy Queens at once!” Things have changed a little bit for those who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s in Carlsbad, but they haven’t changed completely. Some of 2017’s hangouts frequented by today's teenagers and 20-somethings are surprisingly similar. Ask some of Carlsbad’s native “old timers” (just don’t call them that), and one of the first places you’ll probably hear about is Fleapicker’s Ditch. Fleapicker’s Ditch is located on S. Orchard Lane, near the end of
the railway switching yard. A small grove of trees surrounds the ubiquitous ditch, which leads into an irrigation canal. A pile of old mattresses and assorted junk has been dumped nearby. “Fleapicker’s Ditch was the place in the 1950s and 1960s to go and party,” recalled Coalson. “To the best of my knowledge, there was no real outbreak of fleas.” For a decade or two, it was the popular party spot for doing all sorts of things that mom and dad would not have approved of. Carlsbad native Tony Davis observed that the ditch had a reputation for being a “smooch place.” Coalson had “just arrived” at a party at Fleapicker’s Ditch one night during his high school tenure when things got pretty eventful. “There were a couple fires going,” he admitted. “All of a sudden,
PHOTOS ABOVE (TOP): Fleapicker’s Ditch, off of Orchard Lane, has been a popular hangout location for generations. Amenities include train tracks and a copse of trees. (BOTTOM): Higby Hole, near Loving, remains a popular fishing and swimming spot. Pictured here is a small waterfall near Higby Hole.
SUMMER 2017 | A COMMUNITY MAGAZINE
here comes every cop in the county.” He feared the wrath of his parents if caught during the party bust, so he swam across the nearby irrigation canal and crawled through a cotton field. “I wound up on N. Canal Street covered in mud!” he finished. According to former mayor Bob Forrest, the police officers pretty much recognized every single car when they drove by. “You’d usually see five or six cars out there. They (the police officers) weren’t sure who was in there, but they certainly knew who the owner of the car was,” he contended, speculating that at least a few local marriages may have kicked off following interludes at Fleapicker’s Ditch. “But I’ve asked quite a few people, and nobody can remember where the name came from,” he added. Out past the Village of Loving, near the juncture of the Pecos and Black Rivers, was (and still is) a fishing hole/make-out point that locals long ago christened Higby Hole. It was, of course, also a popular spot for swimming. “There were always rumors of a big crowd down there,” stated Davis. “It was a big place to hang out.” The road to Higby Hole is named--wait for it--Higby Hole Road, but nobody interviewed seemed to know what a "Higby" is.
many more participants. Davis said the locale where the North Y Drive-In was previously located was a popular hangout for cowboys. “We called them Stomps,” he reflected. “Down the street where Western Commerce has a bank was a Dairy Queen that was a big hangout for everybody else. All Friday night and Saturday all day people would drive up and down Church and Canal Streets.” The Arrowhead Drive-In at the corner of Mesquite and Church Streets was also a popular destination. Now located within Carlsbad's city limits, some of the places were unsettled back then. There were small caves on top of C-Hill, and the area across from the Flume was called Boy Scout Canyon, featuring untamed springs boiling up from below. Forrest remembered hanging out on Kerr Hill, located east of town, and visiting with friends near the area that would become Sunset Elementary. There was also a homemade drag strip north of town near Lake Avalon, according to Coalson, where a quarter-mile stretch was marked off for competitors. “Lots of people went to Lake Avalon,” remarked Davis. “There were flood gates out there, and people would hang around Avalon on weekends.” Davis confided that the lake froze one day, and he and his friends could walk across it.
Werewolf Hill west of Carlsbad also had a reputation for attracting a rough crowd, but “I didn’t get into a lot of trouble," Davis maintained. "My dad was pretty strict.”
The age of the internet hasn’t completely erased the relevance of hangout spots. Lake Avalon, in particular, still has a reputation for being a popular party destination. However, Davis noted that quite a bit has changed in Eddy County over the past lifespan.
Other popular destinations with interesting names, according to a Focus Facebook survey, include the Ropes, the Tunnels, Diving Rock, Rocky Arroyo, Hippie Cave, Sitting Bull Falls, Blue Falls (Crystal Falls), the Flume area, Wildcat Bluff, Champion Bay and Rattlesnake Springs, just to name a few.
“I remember a guy in Big Dog Canyon, an old man, talking about how when he was a young man there were Indians who lived up there,” Davis confided. “It would snow up there every November and the mountains would remain white through January.”
“Dirt road country...the roads lead to nowhere, but you see heaven on those dirt roads,” declared local resident Buddy Farrar.
The more you stay the same, the more you change.
Of course, not every teen hangout spot involved a trip outside of the city limits. Dairy Queen parking lots and cruising drew
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The Mysterious Residents
of Werewolf Hill by Sharon McIntire
WARNING: THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT THAT MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR ALL READERS. DISCRETION IS ADVISED.
Ask any of the Carlsbad locals about Werewolf Hill and you’ll get the same response from every single one: laughter. Not just laughter--the same kind of laughter. More of a giggle, actually, even from the men. Stifled, suppressed, but threatening to erupt. And then, always, a pause before they ask why I want to know about
Werewolf Hill and, possibly more to the point, what I want to know about Werewolf Hill, located just to the west of the Happy Village neighborhood, itself west of Carlsbad. Not many will come clean. But almost all of them have been there, at
least once (hence, the giggle). But no one seems to know where this most intriguing place got its name. Did someone see a werewolf on that lonely hill or something
that reminded them of a werewolf? Or was it given that much-celebrated name by some creative but over-protective dad who wanted to make sure his daughter didn’t respond with that same giggle when someone asked about her memories of Werewolf Hill? If so, it worked for some. JoAnn Madron confessed she was “scared to death of that place!” and only ventured into the neighborhood after she was a mom herself-accompanied by several 4-H bodyguards. Others thought it added to the fun. Zayjean Clark related, “A friend and I went out there one night with two guy friends. We all got out of the car and started walking. On cue she and I screamed bloody murder and ran to the car, got in, and locked the doors. The guys were screaming and begging us to let them in! It was pretty funny to us, but not so much to them.” Although information about a werewolf is a bit sketchy, there are a couple of versions about the Hatchet Lady with the Lamp. Denise Meaders has lived with her husband, Luke, at the bottom of Werewolf Hill for 44 years and recounted this tale:
SUMMER 2017 | A COMMUNITY MAGAZINE
One hot summer night, a high school couple found themselves wrapped up in a night of drinking and loving on one of the many little side roads leading off of Werewolf Hill. They enjoyed the romantic crooning on the car radio as the moon meandered through the velvet sky. Then all too soon they realized it was getting rather late. The poor boy realized he’d better get the little lady home before her daddy sent the cops out looking for them. So he tried to start the car, but it only turned over once. The battery was dead, and he feared he would be, too. He realized he was going to have to go call in the troops, so he kissed her and walked away, warning her to stay in the car and keep the doors locked. As he disappeared in the distance, the poor little lady began to forget the warmth of her lover’s embrace and wish more for her daddy’s solid security. As she huddled in the increasingly cold car, she became aware of the night sounds outside, none of which
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sounded at all friendly. Eventually, as she realized she was safe in the car, she drifted off to sleep. Thump! She was startled awake by a loud bang on the top of the car. Terrified, she curled up into a ball on the floorboard of the car. Finally, after hearing nothing else for what seemed like an eternity, she slowly inched her way back up into the seat. Peering out the window, she saw a light. But the light wasn’t coming from the direction of town. It was coming from the opposite direction and was quite a distance away. When she cautiously rolled the window down slightly to take a closer look, she could barely make out the silhouette of a woman carrying a lantern and something that looked like a hatchet! Daybreak came shortly after, and as the sun broke through the darkness with its comforting warmth, she felt relieved of her fears. But where was her boyfriend? And what was that?! It looked like blood running down the rear window. Just then she saw a vehicle approaching and tore open the door to greet her returning boyfriend who surely had come back with help. The vehicle slowed down as it approached, but when she stepped out to greet him, it quickly sped away! Heartbroken and defeated, she turned around to step back
into the car. And there, staring down at her from the top of the car, was the bloody gaze of her beheaded boyfriend! It was the last thing she remembered until a deputy sheriff helped her into his squad car. So, did the Hatchet Lady with the Lantern kill her boyfriend? No one knows. But Meaders gave this parting advice: “If you are ever on Werewolf Hill some night and see a lady carrying a lantern and a hatchet, you’d better run for your lives!” She admitted to regaling her two teenage sons with the story of the Hatchet Lady with the Lantern who wanders around the area at night. And if they were to go wandering around too far from home in the middle of the night, they would be bound to run into her sooner or later, and then… Several other locals have repeated the story on the Carlsbad High School Alumni Facebook page. One added
that after finally driving home, the traumatized girl found the poor boyfriend’s bloody hand attached to the passenger door handle. Another remembered a similar story but that it was a hook hand hanging from the door. Either way, it would make one think twice about venturing into the wilderness--or at the very least, to check door handles.
Werewolf Hill, located west of Happy Valley, has been a popular teen hangout destination for many years. Not pictured: a werewolf (or the Hatchet Lady).
SUMMER 2017 | A COMMUNITY MAGAZINE
The infamous hill has been used for other purposes, too. There have been reports of satanic services with bonfires and animal sacrifices. And, defying the tales of horror, churches have offered Easter sunrise services. Perhaps those early morning church services have purged the hill of its evil. Meaders and her family have occasionally braved the possibility of meeting the Hatchet Lady. They admit to enjoying a few beers on Werewolf Hill while listening to Friday night Cavemen football games over the radio, and they take a chance on the lights frightening her away on the 4th of July as they enjoy the area’s most panoramic and spectacular view of the fireworks. If you’re an adventurous soul and would like the chance to meet the Hatchet Lady with the Lantern or the more reclusive werewolf, Werewolf Hill is located two miles west of the intersection of N. Happy Valley Road (State Highway 524) and Jones Street (County Road 427). Just, please, don’t tell them I sent you.
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f f O y a W
the Beaten Path
THINK YOU’VE SEEN ALL THAT EDDY COUNTY HAS TO OFFER? THINK AGAIN! HERE ARE A FEW SPOTS WE BET SOME OF YOU HAVE NEVER HEARD OF BEFORE. PLEASE NOTE, SOME OF THESE LOCATIONS ARE ON PRIVATE LAND AND MAY REQUIRE SPECIAL ARRANGEMENTS TO VISIT. ACCESS TO CAVES ON BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT (BLM) LAND MAY REQUIRE PERMITS AND PRIOR APPROVAL, AND SOME REQUIRE CAVING EQUIPMENT AND AN EXPERIENCED GUIDE. PLEASE BE SAFE AND FOLLOW ALL LAWS! ‘HOPELESS’ DAM – West of the Village of Hope (near the northwest corner of Eddy County), this dam was completed in 1938. It completely flooded out just three years later and was never used again. Now, it’s somewhat of a local attraction for explorers who get permission. “It survived just one irrigation season,” noted Woods Houghton, Eddy County extension agent. “You can see the concrete works and a whole lot of dirt, but you have to go through private land to get there.” PARKS RANCH CAVE – There are an awful lot of cave and karst features in or near Eddy County, which is why the National Cave and Karst Research Institute was so excited about locating in Carlsbad. Parks Ranch Cave, for example, is the second longest gypsum cave in the United States at 4.3 miles long. It is located close to U.S. 62-180 and Washington Ranch in southern Eddy County. According to the BLM, the cave system is located in gypsum karst lands and contains 18 entrances. To plan a visit, call 575-393-3612.
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COTTONWOOD CAVE – Located on a narrow limestone ridge off of Forest Service Road 540/Guadalupe Ridge Road (near Queen), Cottonwood Cave is one of the largest caves in the area outside of Carlsbad Caverns itself. It’s a 15-minute hike from the lookout tower parking area to the cave. Cottonwood Cave is a popular spot for scientists due to its extensive gypsum and sulfur deposits and because of the replacement textures exhibited in its gypsum blocks and rinds. PLANE RANCH – A World War II plane crashed on a ranch somewhere in western Eddy County near Dog Canyon, and the industrious rancher put the material to good use. Some of the buildings and fences on the property are noticeably made out of old plane parts, according to Houghton. “I know the Air Force took some things and left,” he reflected, “but you can still see parts from the old airplane.” For more information on exploring Eddy County, email email@example.com.
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History and Adventure Await in Carlsbad for Local Explorers by Tarrant Blake
FOCUS ON CARLSBAD | SUMMER 2017
Carlsbad’s typically dry weather, wide-open spaces and quick access to dozens of trails and less-traveled roadways offer runners, hikers, bicyclists and motor sport enthusiasts many wonderful adventures. Exquisite views of the Chihuahuan Desert, challenging terra firma and unpopulated highways to explore are only a few of the possibilities. “One thing really nice about Carlsbad,” observed medical professional Shirley Joy, “is that with all the oilfield roads around, it’s really easy to reach an object you can see in the distance. In other areas of New Mexico, you can see whatever it is, but you can’t always find a way to get out there to it.” Joy’s partner, Jon Jay, commented that they really like riding his Honda CRX dirt bike on the trails across the highway from Lake Avalon. “It’s a great way to relax and enjoy the wildlife. We had jackrabbits that looked to be about three feet tall that would run alongside my bike and race us. We’ve seen all kinds of wildlife out there--rattlesnakes and even a badger.” The area out near the old motocross track east of Lake Avalon has seen better days, but the junk and trash left on the trails encourage Joy's creativity in a big way. Joy and Jay like to pick up these abandoned items, and oftentimes she will take them home and either trash them or repurpose them. “I like to make that junk into art pieces,” she added. Sometimes, however, she just reuses them as they are. “Once we found an old rusty pail, and I made an interesting planter out of it. I even made a fountain out of an old paint can I found out there.”
She has painted and sold old empty bottles. She also cut up another rusty pail, and together with some old bottle caps, made the image of the world on a piece of painted canvas. For those interested in astronomy, Carlsbad’s view of the night sky can be breathtaking. “There is a ridge out there on the east side of the highway across from Lake Avalon,” Jay declared. “We love to take the pickup out there sometimes in the evening and do some stargazing, especially on nights with a meteor shower. It’s a great place to get away from the lights of the city.” Carlsbad is definitely family oriented with activities to offer all year round. Mechanic Jason Cannady Sr. likes to spend time with his son, Jason Jr., out at the Hackberry Lake Dune Area on Shugart Road east of Carlsbad. They love to run the trails on ATVs. “It’s a great way to spend time with friends and family. The kids have a blast out there, and we like to picnic or go camping. It’s just a really good way to bond," he pointed out, noting that his wife and daughter also like to participate. “On top of that, it’s also a good way to meet new people. I still have friends I met from when I first started trail riding out there.”
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SUMMER 2017 | A COMMUNITY MAGAZINE
The sand dunes near Carlsbad are another popular destination for exploring and off-roading.
Hackberry Lake Dune Area has maintained trails and is popular for ATVs, UTVs, dirt bikes, dune buggies and motorcycles. It is part of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and is open year-round. There is no fee for use, but an Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) permit is required. It has campsites and picnic tables, which, as Cannady said, makes it a great spot for family activities. If you like to be alone with nature, Carlsbad has just the spot with your name on it. Rather than using prepared trails, Mike Huber, owner of Audiomotive, a company specializing in vehicle electronics, prefers to ride his Kawasaki KLR 650 motorcycle and explore the less-traveled roads around Carlsbad. “You just find more interesting things that way,” he explained. “I like getting away from town to get out there and be by myself. Sometimes I can be gone all day.” One of Huber’s favorite places to ride is out Lea Street past Werewolf Hill.
"There’s an old homestead out there I discovered. One day I was looking around, and there was this broken down windmill, and up on top of it was a nest with three baby hawks nestled inside. I took some pictures and just sat there for 30 or 40 minutes watching. It was really a beautiful sight.” Huber also enjoys riding in Loco Hills and the Hagerman area. “You have to be respectful of private property and not enter fenced property or any place that is marked ‘No Trespassing,’ but there are some really interesting areas out that way.” Recently, he and a friend were exploring the old airbase near the Cavern City Airport and some of the many bombing target areas around Carlsbad. “I looked it up on Google Earth first. We found an old bottle dump and some of the old practice dummy bombs. You know, they were the big concrete bombs. There was a lot of interesting stuff out there, but we knew not to remove anything. We just took a lot of photos.”
FOCUS ON CARLSBAD | SUMMER 2017
Runners also find Carlsbad a perfect place to practice. When Imy Parraz, a telecommunicator for the City of Carlsbad, and her husband A.D. Florez, owner of Florez Paint and Wall Decorating, can get away from work, they enjoy running the trails and practicing for marathons. They and some friends often use the Ocotillo Hills Nature Trail that runs from behind New Mexico State University to just below Skyline Drive. She reported, “It’s just under two miles and takes me about 35 minutes to run it, both up and down.” If they want to try to get in more miles and time permits, they will continue along Skyline Drive to Highway 285 and back to the university. “That’s about three miles,” she added. “I do that on work days.” On their days off, they try to go out to the La Cueva Trails. “That’s when we try to get in about 8-13 miles. A.D. likes to take his mountain bike out there, too.” He’ll sometimes ride while she runs. When asked about wildlife, she shared, “The snakes are coming
Mike Huber takes a break from off-roading south of Carlsbad.
out now on the trails, so you better watch where you’re going. They usually clean the snakes off the trails at La Cueva, but there are some areas, way back, where you really have to pay attention.” The La Cueva Trails are approximately three miles off Standpipe Road and have about 15 miles of maintained trails. It is open throughout the year and is available to all non-motorized sports, including horseback riding. Yes, Parraz and Florez run with a purpose--to practice for the marathons--but they also run to relieve stress. They believe the scenery they encounter while running and the beauty of it are relaxing and help to drain away the tension
Local runner Imy Parraz runs the La Cueva Trails.
built up during the day. “We really enjoy running up near the Caverns as well,” she concluded. “The scenery up there is just spectacular, especially when you go out toward the Guadalupes, where you may find quite a few wild pigs and deer.” Carlsbad has been blessed with numerous trails and lowtraffic roads to explore. Some are maintained by BLM and some by Carlsbad citizens, while others are not maintained at all. Each has fascinating scenery and wildlife, and most are blessed with a lot of history. If you want to get out and enjoy the trails, you will find no lack of colorful adventure.
APPOINTMENTS AVAILABLE IN ARTESIA AND CARLSBAD CALL TODAY! 575.748.8526
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The Bulletin Board
2017 CARLSBAD AREA
Calendar of Events
TO BE INCLUDED IN THE FOCUS CALENDAR, PLEASE EMAIL YOUR ITEM TO EDITOR@AD-VENTUREMARKETING.COM
LEA CO. AREA
DATE COLOR CODE INDICATES EVENT LOCATION EVERY FIRST FRIDAY OF THE MONTH
First Friday Downtown Market Downtown Roswell Every first Friday of the month 5 p.m.-8 p.m. Free Admission www.mainstreetroswell.org/ first-downtown-market/
Carlsbad Community Focus IHOP 2529 S. Canal St. Every Friday 7 a.m. • Speaker begins at 8 a.m.
Stand Up Comedy Live Inn of the Mountain Gods 287 Carrizo Canyon Road Mescalero Every Wednesday 6:30 p.m. 575-464-7089
MAY 19 - 22
AspenCash Motorcycle Rally Inn of the Mountain Gods 287 Carrizo Canyon Road Mescalero Patric Pearson: 575-973-4977
Ruidoso Downs Opening Weekend 26225 U.S. Highway 70 East Ruidoso Downs 12 p.m.
Carlsbad Water Park Opening Carlsbad Beach Area 708 Park Drive TBD firstname.lastname@example.org
United Way Color Dash Carlsbad Beach Area 904 E. Riverside Drive Carlsbad Race starts 10 a.m. 575-887-3504
MAY 29 - JUNE 30 LCCA Summer Art Camps Center for the Arts 122 W. Broadway Hobbs 9 a.m.-4 p.m. lccanm.org
PVT 4th Annual Cruz’n for Vets From Artesia to Roswell TBD 575-308-3987 or email@example.com
Cavernfest Downtown Carlsbad 102 S. Canyon St. Carlsbad 8 a.m.-11 p.m. 575-628-3768
JUNE 10 - SEPTEMBER 23 2017 New Media Show/ Hobbs Outdoors Vision Fest Shipp Street Plaza 122 W. Broadway Hobbs 8 p.m. lccanm.org
JUNE 24 - JULY 29
2017 Downtown Concert Series Center for the Arts 122 W. Broadway Hobbs lccanm.org
International Day of the Cowboy Ocotillo Performing Arts Center & Bennie’s Western Wear
FocusNM.com for additional events and up-to-date info.
575-887-8000 • 2525 South Canal Street • Carlsbad, NM
Picnic Chicken in a Basket Taken from cookeatshare.com
Herb & Seeds Butter Sauce:
• 1 c. flour • 1½ Tbsp. sesame seeds • 1 Tbsp. dried thyme • ½ tsp. garlic powder • ½ tsp. onion powder • ½ Tbsp. poppy seeds • 1 tsp. salt • 1 tsp. pepper • 2½ pounds chicken drumettes • 2 eggs, lightly beaten • 2 Tbsp. butter • ¼ c. olive oil • 1 round fresh sourdough bread • ½ c. barbecue sauce for basting
• • • • •
4 Tbsp. butter 3 Tbsp. sesame seeds 1 Tbsp. dried thyme ½ tsp. garlic powder 1 Tbsp. poppy seeds
Directions: Preheat oven to 400°. In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, sesame seeds, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, poppy seeds, salt and pepper from the list of main Ingredients. Dip the chicken drumettes in the flour mixture and shake off any excess. Next, dip the chicken in the beaten egg and then coat each piece thoroughly in the flour mixture again. Melt the 2 Tbsp. butter and the olive oil in a large skillet. Brown the chicken thoroughly, about 3 minutes per side, over medium heat. Put the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 20 minutes. Meanwhile, to prepare the bread basket, cut a large circle in the top of the bread round. Scoop out the inside of the loaf, leaving about ¾ inch of bread all the way around the edge. The circle you cut out will be a lid for the bread bowl. For the Herb and Seeds Butter Sauce, melt the 4 Tbsp. butter in a small saucepan and add the remaining sauce ingredients. With a pastry brush, spread the sauce over the entire inside of the loaf and inside of the top. Place the loaf and top on a cookie sheet. At this time the chicken should have cooked for the 20 minutes. Remove chicken from the oven and brush the drumettes with barbecue sauce and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until done. Also put the bread in the oven at the same time and bake uncovered for 15 minutes. Remove both cookie sheets from the oven, then put the chicken in the bread round and put the top on. Wrap the bread basket in several layers of heavy duty foil surrounded by several layers of newspaper. It will remain very warm for several hours this way.
Punched Up Potato Salad (Here’s one that even I can handle! – Kyle)
Taken from cookeatshare.com
Ingredients: • 32 oz. container of potato salad • 1/4 c. chopped cilantro • 3 green onions, chopped • 1 tsp. lime zest • 2 tsp. lime juice
Directions: Place the potato salad in a large bowl and mix in the remaining ingredients.
ADVERTISE FOCUS CARLSBAD!
Rachel Hughes MA R KE TI N G CO N SU LTANT & A D VE RTI SI N G SA LES AD VENTURE MARKETING
Call Rachel at 830.446.9315 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
915-888-2815 | 4020 National Parks Highway | Carlsbad, New Mexico 88220
If Youâ€™re an
FOCUS ON CARLSBAD | SUMMER 2017
Ranch, Escapee by Staci Guy
In between Carlsbad and Artesia sit two camping sites. One is the Carlsbad KOA, located right off U.S. 285 near Brantley Lake. It is well-known and open to the public as an option for anyone wishing to camp by tent, cabin or RV. The other, which is a bit more difficult to find and is reserved for members of a national group called the Escapees, is called the SKP Ranch (a shortened version of Escapee). People often mistake the two, although the only similarity between them is that they are both camping sites.
SUMMER 2017 | A COMMUNITY MAGAZINE
Several years ago, Dick Montgomery and his wife, Joyce, decided to turn over the keys for their family restaurant in Kansas to their daughter and settle into life as retirees. He joked that after meeting with their accountant, they quickly realized they would not be retiring to a fancy condo in Florida, so they began weighing more feasible options. It wasn’t long before they found the perfect scenario: membership in the Escapees RV Club. Escapees is a national organization for full-time RVers headquartered in Livingston, Texas. It was founded by Joe and Kay Peterson in 1978 as the answer to a growing need for “community” among early RVers. Club membership grew from the original 82 families to more than 10,000 and continues to grow. Two more generations of Petersons have since joined the ranks and have assisted the club in expanding their vision. They are credited with spearheading the fight to maintain legal rights for RVers on multiple occasions, which included protecting voting rights as well as working diligently with the RV and camping industries to develop the Good Neighbor Policy. In addition, they developed a mailforwarding service which is used by thousands of RVers today. The Escapees RV Club is broken down into nearly 60 chapters nationwide. In the Land of Enchantment, the local chapter is aptly called the Chili Chapter, and their headquarters are at the SKP Ranch in Lakewood, just up the road a ways from the KOA. The local SKP Ranch is owned by a co-op and boasts 120 RV spaces. Each space is leased from the co-op, and when a lease is purchased,
the transaction is for the purchase of the space, not the actual plot of land. Co-op owners also pay an annual maintenance fee, which covers issues such as sewage and overall park maintenance. “If you don’t want someone else on your lease when you’re not there, you pay a higher maintenance fee than you do if you allow the park to lease it out when you’re gone,” Montgomery noted. Members who allow their lot to be used by other Escapees are required to be gone at least 120 days a year. “The majority of us use it as a home base to travel the West.” “This type of park is more like a dry land cruise ship,” Montgomery joked. “There are happy hours, monthly anniversary and birthday parties, different card or board games down at the Ranch House almost every night… We have Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. We had a St. Patrick’s Day dinner (in March). There’s also a pool table, crafts room, puzzle room--lots of amenities.” Because the SKP is owned by a co-op, Montgomery said it allows for flexibility in amenities and other issues specific to the ranch. “The thing that’s cool about these places is, as ages change and older people leave and younger people come, activities can change as well,” he observed. “Nothing is set in stone, and it tends to match the personalities of those currently owning leases.” So why are the SKP Ranch and the Escapees RV Club important to the surrounding communities? It boils down to economics. “We’ve
PHOTOS ABOVE (CLOCKWISE): Chores at the SKP Ranch tend to be a group effort, such as this group of residents Scotchguarding the new cushions for the Ranch House. There were many helping hands, so it only took about an hour to do 200 cushions. These ladies took their morning coffee on a field trip to see a great horned owl hunkered down in its nest. A group called Native Spirit wowed the crowd at Escapade57 with impressive hoop dancing. A group of ladies at SKP Ranch enjoy the outdoors during one of their weekly coffee hours.
FOCUS ON CARLSBAD | SUMMER 2017
got 120 sites here that are spending money on shopping and dining; you would expect that,” Montgomery acknowledged. “But there are on average about 50 couples a month that pass through and stay at the ranch. We give those folks a packet that was given to us by the local Chambers, and we are directing people to spend money in those cities as well. We also talk to them about things like Sitting Bull Falls and things that might not get advertised as much as, say, the Caverns do.” If you take a closer look at the SKP Ranch, you’ll likely find people from many walks of life. While the vast majority of residents are retirees, their backgrounds range from military to business, from the medical field to truck drivers, and from pilots to oilfield workers. “It makes it nice for running a place like this,” Montgomery admitted. “We have a guy that was the mayor of a small town, so it’s nice to have his expertise on how things run, things like that… My porch was even built by one of the folks here.” The diversity is important because in essence, the SKP Ranch is a small, self-sustaining community with smaller subgroups much like in any community. There are men’s groups that go out for coffee and donuts once a week and women’s groups that meet for craft time or breakfast or whatever strikes their fancy; some groups meet weekly for dinner and others gather to play card games. On a broader scale, Escapees nationwide also divide into groups, including everyone from nudists to wildlife aficionados. Montgomery and his wife belong to the Boomers, though they are not particularly active at the present time due to the amount of work he has been putting in at the ranch. In recent years, a group of
younger RVers called Xscapers was formed to accommodate full-time working families that also desire full-time RVing. “That group tends to be more concerned with connectivity, because a lot of them work via the internet and many of them homeschool their children. It’s a way for them to connect with other people who want to see the country,” he explained. Traveling the country in an RV is one thing, but how does actually living in an RV compare to life in a stable home with a fixed address? According to Montgomery, there’s no comparison, and he means it in the best possible way. “If I don’t like my neighbors or something about where I’m living, I can just hook up and drive off!” he laughed. Size doesn’t seem to be a hindrance either, as their fifth-wheel camper boasts more than 1,400 square feet of living space. “These aren’t our parents’ RVs,” he boasted. “You’ve got electric recliners, slide-outs for more room, appliances, solar panels and water tanks… What we’ve got here is basically a New York apartment on wheels!” For anyone interested in trading a life of stationary living for one of RVing on the open road, he offers a bit of parting advice: “You and your partner need to be best friends, because you’re going to spend a lot of time together in a small space. It really isn’t for everybody. There are plenty of people who do this and still have a home; some stay in summer or winter and then go back to wherever their home is. But if you and your partner aren’t best friends, you’ll get sick of each other pretty quick! It works for us because Joyce really is my best friend. I wouldn’t trade this for anything.”
SUMMER 2017 | A COMMUNITY MAGAZINE
Greetings from Carlsbad MainStreet! The Carlsbad MainStreet Project was formed in 1996 by a group of people with a vision for downtown who knew that becoming a MainStreet program was vital in attaining a strong community. MainStreet is a non-profit organization working to bring stronger economic vitality to downtown by providing resources that make the overall downtown area look more attractive and encouraging more businesses to become a part of our downtown. One of our goals is to make downtown Carlsbad a place where families come to shop, eat, be entertained and create a lifetime of memories. We want to provide activities that will engage families, community members and tourists to come together for a more cohesive connection for our town.
Upcoming MainStreet Activities by Karla Hamel MainStreet Executive Director
The growth and sustainability of our organization comes from public/ private partnerships that help to support events like CavernFest, Carlsbad Downtown Farmers’ Market (every Saturday June 17-September 23), Progressive Dinner (September), Fall Festival (October 31), Small Business Saturday and the Electric Light Parade (November 25) with sponsorships, donations and volunteers. Let me tell you a little bit of history about CavernFest.
MainStreet received a telephone call from a company in January 2016. The caller asked if we had an event that they could help us sponsor. “Absolutely,” we said. That was the beginning of what would ultimately become the biggest event in the history of Carlsbad. We wanted an event that featured our local merchants, vendors and artists, and provided a place where local bands, and maybe even a big name band, could perform all day. The vision
shopping and food.
grew and grew and grew until MainStreet came up with an all-day event called CavernFest. Partnering with the City of Carlsbad, we made history with MainStreet CavernFest 2016. MainStreet hosted the biggest event downtown Carlsbad has ever seen! We proved that we can have a quality event in the center of Carlsbad where people from all over can feel a sense of community. With the help of many sponsors, volunteers and donations, we started the day with the opening of the Carlsbad Downtown Farmers’ Market and ended with Little Texas performing. An estimated 10,000 people were in and out of downtown from early morning into the late night. Downtown merchants, as well as other local merchants, farmers, craft vendors, artists and food vendors, all came together to provide plenty of
The courthouse lawn and the streets were packed with smiling faces of all ages as attendees watched over 15 bands, including the Henningsens and Little Texas, on three stages. Patrons shopped, ate, played and danced all day. We are pleased to announce that MainStreet is once again partnering with the City of Carlsbad to host our second annual CavernFest on Saturday, June 3 starting at noon. This year’s featured band will be Restless Heart along with up-and-coming acts Brian Schram and the Highway Women. Local bands will be performing throughout the day while our community has the chance to shop, eat, be entertained and create a lifetime of memories. We want to extend a big thank you to our first sponsors, Bhakta-Waters and Thunder Run. For more information about how to be involved with MainStreet CavernFest or Carlsbad MainStreet, please email us at carlsbadmainstreet@ gmail.com or call 575-628-3768, and check us out on Facebook, too.
Farmers’ Market June 17–September 23 Every Saturday Morning at 8:00am
Last year’s CavernFest drew an estimated crowd of 10,000 and bands at multiple stages. CavernFest 2017 will take place on June 3.
Produce • Crafts • Entertainment • Games • Prizes WIC and SNAP accepted
CarlsbadMainStreet • CarlsbadMainStreet@gmail.com • 102 S. Canyon Street • Carlsbad, NM 88220 • 575.628.3768
Paid for by Carlsbad Lodger’s Tax
SUMMER 2017 | A COMMUNITY MAGAZINE
1 | Members of the Carlsbad community march to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in January. Many participants carried signs honoring King's legacy. 2 | Members of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce’s Retirement Committee celebrate the city’s designation as an “age friendly” community. 3 | The Barbecue JAM at the Carlsbad Beach Bandshell drew local and national competitors for a popping competition. Participants also had the opportunity for a special clinic the night before. 4 | The Carlsbad Labyrinth celebrated a ribbon cutting in March. A previous labyrinth was removed to make room for the new water park, and the new labyrinth was completed off of Mission Avenue. 5 | Local students sing as part of Carlsbad’s annual MLK Jr. celebration. A number of participants also read poetry or spoke at the event. 6 7
6 | Members of the Carlsbad Fire Department’s Combat Challenge Team, as well as Fire Chief Rick Lopez, were honored by Rep. Cathrynn Brown this year at the New Mexico Roundhouse. 7 | Carol Worley, with Packs for Hunger, speaks at the Mayor's Shindig benefit event this year. Carol and Wayne Worley, as well as Epsilon Sigma Alpha’s Zeta Nu chapter, feed hundreds of children every week through the program.
SUMMER 2017 | A COMMUNITY MAGAZINE
FOCUS: First of all, please give us a little bit of your professional bio. How long have you been a teacher and where have you taught? Where did you go to school? SMITH-PAYNE: I have a master’s degree in education administration from New Mexico State University. I have been in the Carlsbad Municipal Schools system for 21 years. Within that time period, I served as principal at Emmitt Smith Elementary and Pate Elementary for PHOTO: Seventh grade teacher Bernita Smith-Payne has been with Carlsbad a total of four years. Municipal Schools for the past 21 years. Additionally, I was the night school principal for one year. The remainder of my tenure with the Carlsbad Municipal Schools has been spent as a teacher and/or gifted facilitator at the middle school level. FOCUS: Why did you decide to become a teacher? SMITH-PAYNE: Both my parents were educators, so as fate would have it, I didn’t have much of a choice. In my younger years, I didn’t think I wanted to be an educator, so I entered the world of business. When I came back to Carlsbad to take care of my father, I realized that getting into the school system would be a good thing for me. I’m really glad that I’ve had the opportunity to teach. Now that I’m a veteran teacher, I have some of the children or grandchildren of students I had many years ago. That’s exciting! It also makes me feel great when former students tell me that I had a positive impact on their lives as they went through the process of becoming adults and parents. FOCUS: Tell us a little bit about your family. SMITH-PAYNE: I’m an only child. I have two adult children and two adult grandchildren. My family moved to Carlsbad in 1946. My father, Dr. Emmitt M. Smith, had been hired to be a coach and a biology teacher at Carver School, which at that time was segregated. The school was located where Furr’s Cafeteria used to be. My mother had the credentials to teach—she had a B.A. in library science from Spelman College. Unfortunately at that time, husbands and wives were not allowed to teach in the school system simultaneously. As an alternative, she opened a day care center for the working mothers in the neighborhood. Many adults today still talk about how she taught them some basics at a very early age and that when they entered the first grade, they were well prepared. After Carver School we relocated to New San Jose, and my dad was given credit for helping to integrate the schools a full year before the Brown vs. Board [of Education]
of Topeka case. He wasn’t the only one involved, but as you know, when there are major changes, one person is chosen as a spokesperson. That’s what happened to him. By the mid '70s, Carver School had been torn down, and a new school had been built. It was named Southridge. When the late '80s arrived, Dad had retired, and Southridge’s name was changed to Dr. Emmitt M. Smith Elementary! It was an exciting time for my family. When I was growing up, my father was my principal for the first six years of school. Later, he was principal to my children for two years. As the legacy continued, I taught both of my grandchildren in middle school! FOCUS: What are your hobbies and interests? SMITH-PAYNE: My hobbies are reading, writing, trying to figure how a plot is going to develop, AND…interacting with students to help them become more productive. I was part of a pilot speed reading class while I attended Carlsbad High School (which is now P.R. Leyva), and I read quite rapidly. I challenge my students and myself about how fast books can be read, and personally I try to determine how the plot is going to end. I also enjoy public speaking from time to time. I enjoy the students…but sometimes they can be a real challenge! FOCUS: What classes do you currently teach? SMITH-PAYNE: This year I’m teaching seventh grade New Mexico history. I’ve taught language arts, New Mexico history and U.S. history. My enjoyment of social studies and language arts is equally balanced. I really like both disciplines. FOCUS: What changes have you seen to the field of education over the past ten years? SMITH-PAYNE: There has been a great push for students to read and write better by a certain grade. There has also been a focus on preparing students to be able to compete for jobs in the 21st century. I’ve also noticed a demand for more reporting systems and more contact with parents about their children’s progress or the lack thereof. Special education has evolved into a very diverse, dynamic segment of education. FOCUS: What changes do you anticipate will happen in the future? SMITH-PAYNE: I foresee more technology in the classrooms beginning at first grade and continuing throughout high school. I also predict that there will be more schools opened to accommodate students who can move through school at varied paces, in lieu of “standard” classes. FOCUS: What’s the best part about teaching? SMITH-PAYNE: When I hear students explain a concept that I’ve taught then extend it by using critical thinking, I GET OVERJOYED!!! Their statements let me know that I’ve actually taught them something they can use later in school and perhaps in life. FOCUS: Why is learning about the digital arts important? SMITH-PAYNE: I think it’s important for art to reflect our experiences as human beings. Technology is everywhere, and decisions digital artists make are in everyone's face every time they unlock their phone or purchase a product. Being a digital artist is part creative, part entrepreneurial, and part technical, and all three of those can be taught and implemented anywhere.
Plains Welding Supply, Inc. Welding / Cutting Equipment & Industrial Gases
575-748-1343 • 203 N. First St.
575-885-8854 • 522 S. Main St.
S E R VI NG T H E WELDING INDUSTRY SINCE 1 9 4 6 • P L A I N S W E LD I N G . C O M
Pl a n n i ng On Swi m ming O v e r t he Sum mer? H E R E 'S S OME SW I MMI NG T R I VI A!
THE TITANIC WAS THE FIRST SHIP TO HAVE A HEATED SWIMMING POOL.
NIAGARA FALLS HAS ENOUGH WATER TO FILL ALL THE SWIMMING POOLS IN THE UNITED STATES IN LESS THAN THREE DAYS.
JOHNNY WEISSMULLER (TARZAN ACTOR AND OLYMPIC SWIMMER) SAVED THE LIVES OF 11 PEOPLE WHEN A BOAT CAPSIZED IN LAKE MICHIGAN.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN INVENTED SWIMMING FINS.
PRESIDENT GERALD FORD HAD AN IN-GROUND POOL INSTALLED NEAR THE TENNIS COURTS ON THE WHITE HOUSE GROUNDS IN 1975.
AN HOUR OF VIGOROUS SWIMMING WILL BURN UP TO 650 CALORIES, MORE THAN WALKING OR BIKING.
MOST SWIMMERS AT THE HIGHEST LEVELS OF COMPETITION TRAIN FROM FOUR TO FIVE HOURS PER DAY AND FIVE TO SEVEN DAYS PER WEEK. THEY WILL TYPICALLY SWIM ANYWHERE FROM SIX TO TWELVE MILES EACH DAY.
Compiled from assorted locations
business spotlight Interview with Jay Jenkins, CNB President and CEO
FOCUS: Please give us a little history of your company. JENKINS: Carlsbad National Bank is a community bank, locally owned and operated since 1924. The bank has been through various ownership changes over the years with the last investor group purchase in 1986. Back then, the bank had assets of approximately $119 million and today has crested over $330 million as of year-end 2016. FOCUS: We understand that your bank was the first member of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce. Can you explain that part of your history a little more?
PHOTO: CNB President and CEO Jay Jenkins
JENKINS: I am not familiar with the details, but the tradition of community involvement with our bank holds true today just like it did in the beginning. FOCUS: Please give us a little bit of your own background and tell us what you do at your company.
FOCUS: What role does your board play? JENKINS: Our board of directors sets the direction and strategic initiatives of the bank for the short and long term. They are active with internal bank PHOTO: Carlsbad National Bank celebrated its 25th anniversary around 1949. committees, set policies and are key to helping promote the financial services we offer. FOCUS: Tell us a little bit about your team and workforce. JENKINS: We have the best employees in town who perform many different job tasks and are very good at what they do. We maintain a workforce of approximately 70 employees and are considered very efficient when compared to other banks of similar size. Our workforce maintains a professional environment for our customers with personal service.
PHOTO: Carlsbad National Bank makes a donation to the Inspired By Science project.
JENKINS: Born in Artesia, I grew up in Carlsbad and have been with the bank approximately 18 years. I have a real estate and finance background. I am the president and CEO, and my primary responsibilities at the bank really revolve around making sure we are providing valuable financial services to our customers and helping our staff internally achieve that mission. Everything else seems to revolve around that initiative. FOCUS: Your bank employees tend to be very involved in the community. Can you explain a little bit about your policies and philosophies regarding volunteerism? JENKINS: We have over 36% of our staff directly involved with civic, community and related organizations and gave out over $80,000 last year directly benefiting Carlsbad, Southeast New Mexico and the people we serve. Our bank, like other community banks, is the heartbeat of capital and economic development grooming community leaders, which we believe makes a difference. We strongly encourage folks to be involved in the community at our bank and provide the support to help PHOTO: Employees of Carlsbad National Bank celebrate their annual them make a difference.
FOCUS: What are some things about working in a bank that most people don’t know? JENKINS: There is much more to banking than taking deposits and making loans. The regulatory framework in which we operate requires a tremendous amount of “behind the scenes” work many of our customers never see. This would include creating and maintaining reports to monitor various aspects of what we do in practically every department of the bank. Additionally, our team does an outstanding job of providing the services we offer while minimizing the regulatory burden to our customers. FOCUS: What changes have taken place within the banking industry over the past 15 years? JENKINS: There is not enough paper to point out the changes which have taken place during that time, but maybe I can elaborate on a couple. Technology has ramped up tremendously, causing big changes--consider online banking, bill pay, mobile apps and paperless statements. Much of what we do now or the direction we are heading involves less paper and more scanning of documents and signing on “pads” so that your signature is recorded. The regulatory environment has also changed the way we do business, many times requiring more time and parts and pieces to accomplish simple transactions. Finally, the last change I would like to point out is that the banking industry continues to consolidate with an average of one bank disappearing every business day. We have gone from 8,249 banking institutions in 2000 to 5,522 in 2016.
Relay for Life donation.
FOCUS ON CARLSBAD | SUMMER 2017
by Kyle Marksteiner
These days, with allegations being shouted back and forth about “fake news,” it can be difficult to decide what is fact and what is fiction. Websites such as Snopes have their work cut out for them, especially since the human condition of confirmation bias makes it hard to convince us to change our minds. Appropriate to this edition, Focus on Carlsbad conducted its own Snopes-style investigation into a few local legends. Results are by no means complete, and additional tidbits of information are welcome at email@example.com. RUMOR: The lunchroom of Carlsbad Caverns National Park was once the site of a kidnapping. FINDING: True THE STORY: To examine this case, we caught up with Ned Cantwell, publisher of the Carlsbad Current-Argus from 1971 through 1993. Cantwell, who has recently relocated to Abilene, Texas, stated that he received a call from Caverns staff at around 4 p.m. on July 10, 1979. “They said, ‘We’ve got some guys who have taken over the Caverns, and one of their demands was that they wanted to talk to a reporter,’” he remembered. The four men had kidnapped a young woman and were asking for $1 million and a plane to Brazil.
Cantwell spoke to the men over the phone, but they insisted that he join them in the Caverns lunchroom. He borrowed a tape recorder from another local member of the media and was greeted at gunpoint by the hostage takers in the park’s underground lunchroom. That’s when they told him their story and went over their demands. “As best I could tell, the whole thing was somewhat spontaneous,” Cantwell mused. “Dennis ( James Mark) was their leader, but he didn’t seem to have an end game.” The kidnappers called family members and friends, and Cantwell was made to verify the authenticity of the situation over the phone.
SUMMER 2017 | A COMMUNITY MAGAZINE
As the interview went on, trained negotiators eventually also began dealing with the four men. “At one point, they were going to trade me for a bottle of whiskey,” he laughed. “Then they were going to have me drive them to Odessa. I kept thinking ‘I don’t want that to happen.’” Ultimately, through the efforts of the FBI and Caverns negotiators, the four men agreed to release Cantwell and their hostage. Cantwell immediately set to work writing his story, which was especially interesting since he had also become part of the saga. He told then-radio reporter Stella Davis that the tape recorder and tapes which she’d loaned him were confiscated by the authorities. “That was a lie,” admitted Cantwell, who wanted to break the story himself. Many years later, he finally returned the tapes. Cantwell was later one of about 20 journalists who had the opportunity to meet President Jimmy Carter, who recalled details of the Carlsbad journalist’s adventure in the underground. Then, a year or so later, kidnapping ringleader Dennis James Mark called Cantwell with a unique proposal, suggesting, “You got to meet the president. Let’s do another one of those in Odessa." The newsman was never totally certain whether or not the other man was joking. “If you told me to write 5,000 things that were going to happen to me, what happened on July 10, 1979 would never come up,” Cantwell exclaimed. “It’s still this weird thing.” RUMOR: The tower at P.R. Leyva holds a dark legacy. FINDING: Partially True THE STORY: The tall tower at Carlsbad Intermediate School (on the P.R. Leyva campus) has been the centerpiece for numerous urban legends over the years. The reality of the story is that on November 3, 1971, 23-year-old Michael O’Hearn barricaded himself in the tower. He fired two dozen rounds at police officers, injuring one, before taking his own life. According to an Associated Press article at the time, O’Hearn, diagnosed with a prior mental condition, came into the school armed with two rifles, a .22 automatic and a 30-30, and demanded keys to the tower. Sheriff Tom Granger tried to talk O’Hearn
down from the three-story facility. O’Hearn reportedly never issued any specific demands, but he did begin firing at nearby law enforcement officials. He eventually took his own life with his last shot. At the time, the incident drew some comparison to a similar tragedy, the August 1, 1966 shooting at the University of Texas. Since the 1971 shooting in Carlsbad, students and teachers have sometimes reported unexplained sights and sounds around the tower and nearby classrooms on the second floor of P.R. Leyva. On the Lincoln County Paranormal and Historic Society web page, a woman claiming to be from Carlsbad alleges that the tower is haunted. Focus attempted to contact several former P.R. Leyva teachers or students to ask if they ever saw or heard anything unusual near the tower, but nobody was willing to go on record. Whether reports of locker doors opening and lights flickering are the activities of a bona fide haunting or are simply the byproduct of overactive middle schoolers' imaginations will remain up for debate. RUMOR: Radio legend Paul Harvey once denounced Carlsbad as the place to go to get away with murder. FINDING: Unlikely THE STORY: “Paul Harvey once said, ‘If you want to get away with murder, do it in Carlsbad.’” This phrase has been cited so many times through letters to the editor and in online discussions that it has become accepted as fact. But did the legendary Paul Harvey really say that about Carlsbad? At least according to the web page mythandurban101.blogspot. com/, which chronicles the same statement claimed by dozens of towns, Paul Harvey never made such a proclamation about any town, including Carlsbad. “I’ll get hundreds of people who ‘heard it with their own two ears,’ about their specific town,” writes the
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author of the web page. “Sadly, they are incorrect.” The web page presents two key points of rebuttal to the claim that Carlsbad, or anywhere else, was mentioned as the place where someone can get away with murder. 1. All transcripts of Paul Harvey’s tapes exist, and nobody has been able to find this statement. The author claims to have listened to every single one of them. 2. Carlsbad is one of dozens of towns across the country reputed to be the place mentioned by Paul Harvey (or in some cases, Johnny Carson). Did Paul Harvey really mention every single one of the hundreds of towns who claim this same legend? What about all the people who swear to hearing it directly? According to a 2013 article in Time magazine, additional research has recently concluded that nearly everyone is vulnerable to false memories, even people with superb recollection. In this case, the urban legend would have kickstarted Carlsbad’s collective memory. Not buying it? The author of the mythandurban web page challenges doubters to go through the Paul Harvey transcripts and find the reported statement about his or her community.
Carlsbad native Tony Davis also related the story that the Come and Get It was shut down after an inspector discovered the use of at least some feline meat in its tacos, and he also recalled a related newspaper story. Nobody seems to remember exactly when the shutdown took place, however. “I texted a whole bunch of people, and I got back a whole bunch of answers,” Coalson shared. “Anywhere from 1957 through 1966.” Nobody interviewed had a detailed recollection of the specifics of the incident, and the bizarre details of “the discovery” varied quite a bit with the story’s teller. Without a more specific date, it would be difficult to find a newspaper article, and a response to a record request to the state’s environment department was not received by this edition’s deadline. Former Mayor Bob Forrest acknowledged he was well aware of the urban legend surrounding the Come and Get It, but he professed skepticism as to the veracity of the story. “I know that’s the story,” he remarked. “But I never saw it.” Still, there remains one indisputable truth… “They were really great tacos,” Davis concluded.
RUMOR: A popular taco stand once shut down due to an unusual choice of meat. FINDING: Highly Probable THE STORY: Everybody agrees that the Come and Get It had the absolute best tacos in town. Almost everybody insists that the taco stand was shut down by the authorities for a rather specific reason, but nobody we interviewed knows exactly when that happened. The popular takeout spot was located on Canal Street near its intersection with Lea Street. There’s a laundromat nearby. “I remember it was on the front page,” insisted local resident Larry Coalson. “It was cited by the health department. I believe people found out that they were serving cat.” Um, what?
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PHOTO ABOVE: The tower at P.R. Leyva Junior High was the site of a 1971 tragedy and home to numerous local ghost stories. PHOTO BELOW: Former Current-Argus publisher Ned Cantwell, in the hat in this 1984 photo, had a part in a famous story at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Photo courtesy of Nearlovingsbend.net
YOUR CHAMBER STAFF ROBERT DEFER, Chief Executive Officer firstname.lastname@example.org
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WELCOME NEW CHAMBER MEMBERS! Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce is proud to welcome the following businesses as new members: BOCK ELECTRIC 575-644-4879 CARLSBAD COMMUNITY OF HOPE CENTER 1314 S. Canal St. CARLSBAD SMALL ENGINE, LLC 2310 W. Church St. • 575-885-2788 CHUCK’S FLEA MARKET 575-520-1676 COVENANT MEDICAL GROUP
CARLSBAD MEDICAL CENTER URGENT CARE CENTER
COMMUNITY OF HOPE 1314 S. Canal St.
3909 National Parks Highway
2319 W. Pierce St. • 806-725-4529 NEW BEGINNINGS CARING PREGNANCY CENTER 108 W. Hagerman • 575-885-0848 R360 ENVIRONMENTAL SOLUTIONS 6601 Hobbs Highway, Mile Marker 66 575-263-6959 ROOFCARE 102 N. Main • 505-246-6960
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THUNDER RUN QUARRY AND CONCRETE 5216 Corrales Rd. • 575-200-4227
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UNITED WELL SERVICES, LLC 109½ S. Canal St. • 575-649-5634 For more information or to join the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce call 575-887-6516 or visit carlsbadchamber.com.
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FOCUS ON CARLSBAD | SUMMER 2017
CHAMBER RETIREMENT JUST HANGING OUT People of all ages enjoy “hanging out” from time to time. If you are over the age of 40, Carlsbad has the perfect place for you. San Jose and North Mesa Senior Centers offer a wide variety of activities that appeal to everyone’s taste. Some examples:
COMPUTER CLASSES CROCHET CLASSES EXERCISES CLASSES BINGO ARTS AND CRAFTS QUILTING
LINE DANCING BRIDGE LESSONS SOCIAL DANCES MISCELLANEOUS GAMES POOL TOURNAMENTS
The centers also host socials for different holiday events, and the San Jose Center serves weekday meals. If you are looking for an active, friendly place to hang out, visit one of the senior recreation centers. As the old saying goes, "Try it, you might like it.” Janell Whitlock, director of retirement for the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, can be reached at 575-887-6516.
The Zia Quilters at the North Mesa Senior Center produce works of art.
Everyone is smiling at the San Jose Senior Center.
CHAMBER MARKETING CARLSBAD CAVERNS NATIONAL PARK HIGHEST VISITATION IN FIFTEEN YEARS
Carlsbad Caverns National Park reported excellent visitation over the spring this year.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park reported higher than average visitation for the 2017 spring break season. During the first three weeks of March, the park hosted over 42,000 visitors who enjoyed taking the self-guided walk into the caverns down the Natural Entrance, hiking the Chihuahuan Desert, joining a ranger on a cave adventure and watching bats exit the cave in the evening. This is a 44 percent increase in visitation compared to the same period in 2016 when about 29,000 people visited the park. For more information on park regulations, visitation or park tours, call 575-785-2232 or visit www.nps.gov/cave. The park’s visitor center is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
SUMMER 2017 | A COMMUNITY MAGAZINE
Join the 4th Annual
Microbrew Festival Carlsbad's fourth annual Microbrew Festival on the Pecos is Saturday, May 13 on the grounds of the Pecos River Village Conference Center at 711 Muscatel Ave. from 3-8 p.m. There will be microbreweries from New Mexico, food for purchase and commemorative t-shirts. Seating is limited, so please consider bringing lawn chairs. No alcohol will be sold after 7:30 p.m. and no one under age 21 will be allowed into the event. IDs will be checked. Only 100 tickets will be sold to the VIP event from 3-4 p.m. Tickets are $50 per person and include a commemorative pint glass and t-shirt, one pint of the beer of your choice, AND the opportunity to sample the beer without waiting in long lines! Tickets for the public event from 4-8 p.m. are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. The ticket price includes a commemorative pint glass, six beer samples and one pint of beer of your choice. Advance tickets are available at the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, 302 S. Canal, or at www.carlsbadchamber.com. Please note that tickets for the VIP event cannot be purchased at the door but must be purchased in advance at the Chamber of Commerce. The fourth annual Microbrew Festival on the Pecos is sponsored by the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, AR Foreman Construction LLC, Albertsons Market, Closed Loop Specialties, TDS Telecommunication and TownePlace Suites by Marriott.
40 40 UNDER
The Carlsbad 40 Under 40 Class of 2017 was announced at a banquet in their honor on Thursday, April 13. This annual event honors 40 dynamic young leaders for both their occupational and community leadership. Each nominee was required to meet certain criteria to be considered. SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR CORPORATE SPONSORS: Carlsbad Current-Argus, Chevron, Mosaic Potash, Financial Security Credit Union, GardenMart and Xcel Energy. WE'RE PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS OF THE CLASS OF 2017: Sarah Abell, Melissa Angelis, Tyrie Ballard, Matt Baltzell, Lacy Beasley, Chaning Brown, Timothy Brown, Shane Carpenter, Ana Carrasco, Raquel Chacon, Tammy Clifton, Sara Cordova, Judith Cox-Tindol, Jill Crandall, Loren Darby, Alvin Doporto, Sean Dunagan, Heath Fowler, Sarah Gonzales, Madeline Hayden, Haley Jones, Scott Keener, Justin Kirkes, Cynthia Madrid, Jennifer Martinez, Angie May, Jasmine McCauley, Isaac Morales, W.J. Napoleon, Julie Porraz, Melvin Pyeatt Jr, Rachel Pyeatt, Kimberly Sanchez, Michelle Sapien, Ashley Switzer, Jared Walterscheid, Darren Warren, Ida Webb, Mike West and Michelle Whitzel.
SUMMER 2017 | A COMMUNITY MAGAZINE
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